Edinburgh clinch place in the semi-finals

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Edinburgh City booked their place in the semi-final of the South East Region under-17 Victor Paris Bathroom Cup, after defeating Spartans 3-2 at Meggetland.

Two late goals from Stuart Donaldson and Kieran McGraw helped City see off their Division 1 rivals and set up a meeting with Haddington Athletic in the semi-final.

The match produced two goals in the opening 11 minutes.

With seven minutes played, Donaldson volleyed the ball into the bottom-left corner of the net from a left-wing cross to give City the lead.

The score was levelled just four minutes later.

Spartans’ Sean Stewart skilfully dribbled through the City defensive line and stroked the ball towards Lewis Scott, who tapped the ball in to the net from five yards.

Spartans were given another opportunity to score after 14 minutes.

Matthew Underhill was fouled on the edge of the area by Jaxon Wishart but Elliott Mitchell’s low free-kick was deflected by the wall into the side netting. Three minutes later, Peter Mair volleyed the ball over the crossbar for Spartans after Ross Harris’ corner. The two teams failed to sustain the pace of the opening 20 minutes, however, and the developing midfield battle proceeded for most of the match.

Spartans retook the lead after 48 minutes when Scott Bonar’s long range free-kick went over the goal line after bouncing off the crossbar.

City pushed for an equaliser and Mark Osborne forced a superb low save from Spartans goalkeeper Mark Horsburgh after he had been played in by Fraser Johnston after 70 minutes.

Horsburgh denied the City attack twice more, firstly saving Osborne’s free-kick from 20 yards out and, moments later, keeping out Lewis Cockburn’s close-range effort.

City looked to have missed their chance to equalise when, with eight minutes remaining, McGraw’s placed penalty was saved after defender Martin Lackie had handled the ball inside the penalty area. Ewan Castle’s rebound effort went wide of the right post.

But, late drama was to follow. With five minutes to go, Donaldson headed the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to give City a dramatic equaliser, after Castle’s pinpoint cross.

And the team in black were able to grab the winner deep into stoppage time when McGraw struck the ball neatly into the bottom left corner from 20 yards.

Edinburgh City coaches Derek Turkington and Stuart McGraw were delighted with their team’s determined attitude.

McGraw said: “It was a great comeback at the end. Considering we missed a penalty, to score two goals in the last five minutes showed a lot of courage and guts.

“There was not a great amount of football played in the second half but there was a good amount of determination. I think overall we deserved to win the game.”

Turkington said: “We let Spartans into the game in the first half by giving away a goal with their first attack.

“I think the referee was a bit inconsistent at times.

“We didn’t take enough chances in the second half but overall the guys kept attacking.

“We are still in three cups at the moment and second in division 1, so we have quite a lot to play for this season.”

Meanwhile, Ally Mitchell, coach of the defeated Spartans team, was critical of their opponents’ style.

“We weren’t allowed to play our normal game,” said Mitchell.

“When we were 2-1 up we were intimidated by City and the referee did not do anything to protect our players.

“During my time in charge of this team, we’ve only ever had one sending off, and we encourage good, passing football, but today we could not play our usual game.

“The referee failed to protect our players.

“This team is made up of a great bunch of lads who all have a great work ethic, but it is difficult when we get bullied.

“I can accept that we lost the match, but I find it hard to accept that we were given no protection at all.

“I was pleased that the team did not lose their discipline.

“It takes a very good team to beat us.

“On our day, we are a great team, and we can hopefully reach a few cup finals this season.”

Edinburgh City: Craig Moffat, Greg Powrie, Kieran McGraw, Ruaridh Waddell, Rory McIver, Mark Osborne, Stuart Donaldson, Jaxon Wishart, Tinashie Rowana, Ewan Castle, Daniel Brigain, Lewis Cockburn, Fraser Johnston.

Spartans: Mark Horsburgh, Ruairidh Smith, Bruce Gorrie, Bradley Raiker, Lewis Scott, Peter Mair, Matthew Underhill, Elliott Mitchell, Martin Lackie, Sean Stewart, Ross Harris, Gregg Veitch, Marc Kustra, Ali Chrisp, Harry Moore, Scott Bonar.