Spartans Reds 17s added yet another piece of silverware to their season’s collection as they ran out 3-0 winners in the Craig Gowans Memorial Cup final against Loanhead MYFC at New Dundas Park.
Having already picked up four honours this season, including the Division 1 title, Spartans were keen to continue the winning trend and they performed well again when it mattered against a determined Loanhead side.
Loanhead got the game underway on a bright and beautiful afternoon and the final quickly became an end-to-end battle with little space for either side to create in the final third.
Chances were therefore initially limited to distance and Spartans tried their luck first. Liam Currie took aim from 30 yards but his effort was high, wide and not at all handsome.
With 20 minutes on the clock Spartans’ Mark Mackay took advantage of a miskick at the heart of the Loanhead defence to side foot into the bottom right corner past keeper Ross Jardine.
Loanhead were visibly disappointed to concede after defending stubbornly in the opening stages and they got to work finding an equaliser. Callum Crawford wasn’t a million miles away from levelling the scores for Loanhead as his first-time shot from the edge of the area skimmed Jamie Mitchell’s crossbar.
Spartans were the next to threaten as Lewis Hall’s free kick from the left wing was met by the head of Cameron Dawson at the back post, but Jardine plucked the ball out of their air well.
Spartans continued to push high up the park in search of another goal before half time and they once again weren’t too far away. Dawson hit a laced strike from 18 yards which Jardine matched with a sublime save to tip the ball over. Then, minutes later, Dawson hit a loose ball in the box just wide of the mark.
Loanhead also threatened before the half was out. Aidan McMillan picked the ball up on the left, cut in and struck the ball against the base of the left-hand post with Mitchell beaten.
It was the last real action of the half and as Spartans got the second 45 underway there was still all to play for. Quickly though Spartans tipped the final in their favour with a goal a minute after kick off. Dawson’s shot from close range was cleared off the line by Loanhead’s Rory Rutherford but Lewis Hall fired in the rebound for 2-0.
Spartans suddenly got a little complacent with the goal and they almost conceded from the restart. A misplaced goalkick from Mitchell fell to Aidan McMillan and he sprinted through to rattle the crossbar.
Loanhead were fighting to create a route back into the final, but again and again Spartans defended resolutely.
When Spartans had the ball Loanhead defended well with little action in the final third as a result. Substitute Oran Hosey tested Jardine with a free kick from distance but although he did well to get it up and round the wall the Loanhead No.1 caught the ball.
Loanhead almost pulled one back with 12 minutes remaining as Joshua Fital’s corner was volleyed over by Cameron Leslie. It was a crucial miss as seconds later Spartans secured the win with a third goal. Hosey ventured down the right and delivered a cross which Dawson stabbed in at the back post under pressure from Loanhead defenders.
It was a well taken finish and Spartans didn’t stop pressing into the final minutes of the game, but they couldn’t quite add to their tally for the final. It wasn’t to matter though as they saw out the remainder of the final to win 3-0 and continue a fruitful season for silverware.
Spartans Reds 17s: Jamie Mitchell, Daniel Sutherland, Sean McCorkindale, James Pringle, Oran Hosey, Josh Williamson, Lewis Hall, Murray Hand, Ryan Farrell, Michael Allan, Cameron Dawson, Liam Currie, Mark Mackay, Jack Murray, Matthew Brady, Ogulcan Yildirim.
Loanhead MYFC 17s: Ross Jardine, Joshua Fital, Robert Sterricks, Rory Rutherford, Michael Lennie, Jamie Baillie, Lee Barrett, Ryan Dunbar, Aidan McMillan, Greg Park, Callum Crawford, Jamie Underwood, Cameron Redpath, Mark Barnet, Cameron Leslie, Blair Ferguson.