Spartans 19s held on at the death to edge out Hillfield Swifts 19s and claim a 4-3 league victory at Meggetland.
In what was an end-to-end encounter, Hillfield landed the first blow when they broke forward in the fourth minute. With Spartans pushing forward, Cameron Cook ventured down the right flank before looking for options in the area. His cross was missed by its intended target but Ryan Barry was alert and smashed the ball home at the back post. One shot on target, one goal for the hosts.
With the momentum in their favour, Hillfield continued to press and almost had a second not long after. A corner into the area wasn’t dealt with by Spartans and Scott Russell volleyed over with little time to direct his shot.
After a shaky start, the away side began to settle into their stride and started passing the ball around with purpose. Severyn Syska delivered a driven, low cross from the right wing to Danny Cameron but his first-time shot was mistimed and flew wide.
Spartans were looking dangerous in attack and turned the game on its head with two quick-fire goals in two minutes from Aaron Murrell.
Firstly, a ball was played into the striker on the edge of the opposition’s area. With his back to goal, he showed great strength and determination to shrug off his marker, spin and rifle a clinical shot into the bottom corner. Hillfield were suddenly looking nervous at the back and the visitors took full advantage.
A long ball forward was contested by Murrell and, after shrugging off a Hillfield defender, he sprinted into the box to fire the ball under Ross Morgan in goal.
Just before the end of the first half, Murrell grabbed his hat-trick to give Spartans a commanding 3-1 lead. Jack O’Donnell did well down the left and found space to get a cross in to the far post where Murrell was waiting to headthe back across goal and in.
After being under the cosh in the first half, Hillfield came out with a point to prove and managed to pull a goal back two minutes after the restart.
Daryl Healy sprinted onto a through ball from midfield and ,with just the onrushing goalie to beat, he calmly scored from outside the box.
Keen to re-establish a two- goal cushion, Spartans kept it tight in midfield while looking a threat in attack.
Arguably, though, it was a bit of good fortune which put them 4-2 ahead.
Coming forward down the left-hand side, Kristian Dixon broke away from his man and tried a cross 25 yards from goal which flew over Morgan’s head in the Hillfield goal and found the back of the net.
Despite comfortably leading, the away side weren’t allowed to sit back and enjoy it. Refusing to give in, Hillfield continued to go in search of goals.
A free-kick into the area found Brandon Cameron, who got to the ball ahead of the keeper. With the goal at his mercy, however, he was unable to direct his header on target.
With time running out, Hillfield grabbed a lifeline through Euan Aitken. Receiving the ball at the edge of the box, the No.12 turned and buried the ball into the bottom corner.
Despite a valiant rally in the final ten minutes, the hosts just couldn’t grab an equaliser and the away side defended stubbornly to take all three points.
Hillfield Swifts 19s: Ross Morgan, Marcus Hall, David McNamara, Mark Higgins, Aidan McGuire, Daryl Healy, Mohammed Asam, Blair Cook, Brodie Hamilton, Blair Springhall, Cameron Cook, Ciaran Chalmers, Ryan Barry, Euan Aitken, John Francis, Scott Russell.
Spartans FC 19s: Calum Paton, Lee Horribine, Tony Hepburn, Blair Lawson, Scott Ewan, Saif Qadir, Brandon Cameron, Danny Cameron, Aaron Murrell, Ben Lovie, Kristian Dixon, Jack O’Donnell, David Fayks, Severyn Syska.