Youths: Spartans Reds 13s clinch Scottish Cup triumph

Spartans Reds 13s defeated Leith Athletic A Team 13s 2-1 in the Scottish Cup final at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium. Picture: Craig Halkett

Spartans Reds 13s defeated Leith Athletic A Team 13s 2-1 in the Scottish Cup final at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium. Picture: Craig Halkett

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A JOSH CURRIE brace crowned Spartans Reds 13s Scottish Cup champions as they defeated Leith Athletic A Team 13s 2-1 in a tightly contested affair.

On an overcast morning at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium it was Spartans that got the game underway and they had the best chance to get ahead with less than 60 seconds gone. Lawson McConnell half-volleyed the ball into the area from the right and Kyle Robertson had a free header which he put just over the Leith crossbar.

Up the other end Leith went close. Cameron Kerr raced through the middle after he chased Ethan Wynne’s early through ball from halfway, but Spartans goalie Lewis Fox made a good save low to his left.

After what was a fast-paced start, the game began to settle with both sides competing in midfield to dictate the game.

The chances continued to flow and with 17 minutes on the clock Leith had a great opportunity to take the lead. Owen Gray picked up a ball into the Spartans penalty box and with the opposition crowding him out, he hammered a shot at goal which Fox palmed away.

It was end-to-end stuff and Spartans came centimetres away from gaining the advantage shortly after. Currie squared the ball to Glen Lorimer 25 yards from goal and the midfielder rattled the Leith crossbar with a stinging strike. Currie was looking lively and moments later he broke the deadlock for Spartans. A low ball in from the right picked out the forward and he supplied a cool finish into the bottom left corner past Leith keeper Jamie Smith.

Leith’s response was instant and it was only thanks to keeper Fox that they didn’t level the scores from the restart. Ethan Wynne carved out the chance as he ran from deep before teeing up Kerr to lace a shot at goal from just inside the box. Fox reacted well to save Kerr’s effort as well as the shot from Gray on the rebound.

Spartans thought they were going to take their advantage in at the break but Leith had other ideas. Ben Murray picked up the ball on the right of the area and drilled a low pass to the left-hand post where John Ward had the simple task of a tap in from three yards out to make it 1-1.

With that, referee John Doogan blew for half-time and the teams went in level with all to play for in the second 35 minutes.

When the teams came out in the second half Spartans again rattled the frame of the Leith goal as Chad Barclay struck the left-hand post from close range. It wasn’t to matter though as minutes later Spartans were back in front. Currie dropped off the shoulder of the last man before racing through on goal to pick out the bottom right corner for his and Spartans’ second of the game.

Leith found themselves behind once more, having to again respond. As the half wore on they determinedly pressed forward but Spartans defended resolutely for extended periods of play. Into the final ten minutes chances were few and far between for both sides. Leith were continuing to probe in search of an equaliser but Spartans were standing firm at the back and keeping the ball well. That pattern of play continued until the end as Spartans continued to keep their opponents at bay until the final whistle blew, to crown themselves Scottish Cup winners 2016.

Leith Athletic A Team 13s: Jamie Smith, Cameron Kerr, Daniel Turner, Cameron Stewart, Euan Howie, Adam Zajac, Ethan Wynne, Lewis Owens, Ben Murray, John Ward, Strathy Mackay, Sam Lewis, Thomas Ramage, Cal Stenhouse, Owen Gray.

Spartans Reds 13s: Lewis Fox, Mikolaj Komocki, Reece Cairns, Jack Tait, Dean Wilson, Alistair Adams, Aiden Savage, Kyle Robertson, Joseph Nicholson, Chad Barclay, Glen Lorimer, Lawson McConnell, Lewis Bright, Pablo Martina, Josh Currie, Charlie Peet.