Four goals from Cameron Dawson helped Spartans Reds march into the semi-finals of the Tom Wilson Memorial Cup with a 6-0 win over North Merchiston.
Dawson scored twice either side of half time before goals from Matthew Brady and Mark Mackay secured a comfortable win for the away side.
North Merchiston battled well for most of the first half, but in the end were overrun by a dominant Spartans team who will now face Tynecastle FC in the final four.
The opening stages of the match was defined by a midfield battle between Merchiston’s Thomas Reitvelt and Calum Hope and Spartans midfield three of Liam Currie, James Pringle and Murray Hand.
Spartans, with an extra man in the middle, had the upper hand and showed a glimmer of their attacking threat when Currie made a solo run from deep, beating a couple of defenders before shooting into the arms of goalkeeper Ciaran Pugh.
Although Merchiston often found themselves a man down in the middle of the park, they benefitted from having an extra man out wide and created their best chances from such positions.
Winger Frank Gill in particular offered his side’s greatest threat, getting to the by-line on a couple of occasions and delivering the ball to the back post. Unfortunately for him there weren’t any Merchiston players attacking the box.
The pressure on the Spartans goal built until Merchiston won a corner on the left side. The ball was swung in and found Reitvelt who had a free header but couldn’t get a decent connection on the ball as it bounced harmlessly wide.
Minutes later Spartans punished the home side and took the lead. A ball whipped in from the right wing was met on the half volley by a Spartans man whose shot was scuffed and instead fell to the feet of Dawson who swept the ball inside the near post.
After an injury to Hope forced a lengthy stoppage to the game, Spartans threatened again. Dawson popped up on the left wing and fed the ball back to Pringle whose shot was heading straight into the top left corner until it was spectacularly saved by Pugh.
It wasn’t long after until Spartans, and Dawson, doubled their tally. William Linton played the ball into the box from the left side and Dawson out-jumped his defender to send a looping header under the bar and into the net.
Merchiston responded well and could have pulled a goal back just before half time. After winning the ball back in the middle of the pitch thanks to some excellent pressure from the Merchiston midfield, Paul Hope was released through on goal. The striker lifted the ball over the arm of diving goalkeeper Jamie Mitchell but with the ball rolling towards the goal, Spartans’ number one leapt back up and dived on the ball before it crossed the line.
The first action of the first half resulted in a third goal for Spartans and again it was Dawson who was clinical in front of goal. He was played through behind the Merchiston defence, who froze appealing for offside, before calmly rounded the goalkeeper and passing the ball into the net.
After conceding again so early in the second half, Merchiston’s heads seemed to drop and Spartans grew into the game even more. Matthew Brady in particular found himself getting more involved on the right wing and tested the goalkeeper after having cut in onto his left foot.
Spartans managed to put the game beyond doubt soon after. Again Dawson evaded the Merchiston offside trap and found himself through on goal. This time the striker choose to dink the ball over the keeper and into the bottom left corner to score his sides fourth goal of the afternoon.
A few minutes later Spartans scored their fifth. Sean McCorkindale, now playing at right back after coming off the bench, did terrifically on the right wing to beat his man and drive into the box before executing an exquisite back heel to Brady who finished into the bottom left corner.
The game past by after that with little action, but the home side deserve some credit for shutting up shop.
There was still time for Spartans to add a sixth, however, and it was another excellent finish by one of the away side’s front three. This time it was left winger Mark Mackay who was played through on goal thanks to a wonderful ball from by left back Michael Allan, Mackay took his time to shift it onto his right before lofting the ball into the bottom right corner
Original Report: http://www.youthfootballscotland.co.uk/south-east-region/item/18897-dawson-fires-spartans-reds-into-semi-final.html