Spartans FC Reds advanced to the next round of the John McConnell Memorial Cup by beating Edinburgh City Whites 5-0 at Ainslie Park, despite having a depleted squad after some of their players were invited to regional try-outs.
City kicked-off and had the first clear opportunity. A ball over the top of the defence found Charlie Cameron who fired a shot goalwards on the half-volley but he didn’t connect sweetly enough and the ball drifted to the right of the post.
Spartans responded quickly as Jack Tait played in Cameron James who took the ball round the keeper but couldn’t convert from the tight angle and the ball rattled off the post.
James was denied again five minutes later as he beat the goalie one-on-one but his effort was cleared off the line by a defender who read the play brilliantly to keep the score level.
However, minutes later James made amends for his earlier misses. This time Lewis Bright provided the ball forward and James smashed a shot at goal. The keeper managed to get a hand on the ball but the power of the shot carried it into the net.
James was a constant thorn in the side of the City defence. He came very close to doubling the lead but was denied by a tremendous save as instinctive reactions helped the keeper stop the shot from only six yards out.
City came close to equalising five minutes before half-time as Pol Adrian and Evan Lonnie linked up well but the shot again drifted wide of the post.
At half-time Spartans lead 1-0 but were disappointed as they let some chances go to waste. City, a third division side, pressed well at the end of the half but were unable to trouble the keeper of their first division opponents.
Spartans started the second half with a bang and scored within the opening two minutes. It was a good team goal as Mac Rintoul crossed the ball in from the right finding Byron Archibald at the back post. He cut it back for James who had an easy finish.
Spartans made it 3-0 in the 66th minute and Archibald claimed a second assist. A through ball bisected the two centre backs andLewis Fox turned in on goal and slotted home.
City struggled to find a way into the Spartans final third as the match progressed. Graeme Dailly, Adrian and Lonnie looked the most likely to create opportunities but they could not test the keeper.
In the 73rd minute Bright extended Spartans’ lead. A defensive mishap left the ball bouncing invitingly on the edge of the box and, meeting it with a first-time shot, Bright curled it away from the keeper into the bottom left corner.
Two minutes before time Aidan Savage added his name to the list of scorers. Dean Wilson played a perfectly weighted ball forward from midfield to Savage who somehow managed to guide the ball past the onrushing keeper to stick it in the net.
The match finished 5-0 with Spartans the deserved winners, though City can hold their heads high though as they put up a respectable performance in the first half and gave Spartans a challenge that they were perhaps not expecting.
Spartans FC Reds 15s: Alistair Adam, Byron Archibald, Lewis Bright, Reece Cairns, Lewis Fox, Cameron James, Mikolaj Komocki, Charlie Peet, Mac Rintoul, Aidan Savage, Jack Tait, Dean Wilson.
Edinburgh City Whites 15s: Pol Adrian, Alex Breslin, Charlie Cameron, Gianluca Cockburn, Graeme Dailly, James Jackson, Aiden Jeffrey, Andrew Johnston, Steven McNally, Evan Lonnie, Ryan Walker, Lury Zuchinalli, Matteo Macantonio, Blair McCabe, Mackenzie Robertson.