|CM||6||Ross Ballantyne (vc)|
|12||Andy Ward (c)|
With the erratic winter weather putting off a run of recent fixtures the Colts travelled to Ainslie Park to take on Spartans in their first competitive fixture for a month, the first of a league and cup double header between the sides.
Colts managers Orr and McKinlay came into the game with something of a selection headache. With Selkirk and McDonald injured and Brown still returning from his long term layoff the Colts travelled without a recognised central striker. Recent signing Andy Hunter came in for his first start and for a man usually found in the wider areas he enjoyed a fine full debut up top.
In midfield the Broadwood men were without the creativity of Jamie Broadfoot, also ruled out through injury. With 12 assists and 8 goals from midfield so far this season the Colts will be hoping Broadfoot won't be out for too long.
In all that meant 7 changes in the Colts starting lineup from the previous win against Preston. Chris Fahey and Scott Davidson joined Hunter in making their full debuts for the club, Oliver, Ramsay, Duncan and Barclay also coming into the side.
It was clear from the off the visitors had a game plan and in the early stages it was working for them. Despite their early possession Spartans failed to manage a shot on target, the visitors having three good chances to take the lead.
First it was Barclay running forward from midfield and getting in the end of a pass from O'Neill before firing towards the top corner with his left from 12 yards, the home keeper diving full stretch to turn around the post.
From the corner Munn delivered a fine ball which led to a good old fashioned stramash inside the 6 yard box, Hunter, Oliver and Barclay all trying to turn the ball home but seeing it blocked away by defence and keeper.
Spartans served notice of their own intentions as a fine 1-2 on the right led to a shot whistling over the bar from 20 yards, before Colts had another chance to score on the break as Munn delivered to the far post for Hunter who headed towards goal but saw his effort saved by the keeper.
The visitors would have been disappointed, given their approach seemed to be working, not to have taken the lead with one of those chances. As is often the case when you don't take your chances though, the home side punished them by scoring with their first effort on target at the end of a fine move.
Given too much time Greenhill turned first time into the feet of his forward before going for the layoff and sliding an inch perfect pass between the centre backs. Davidson may feel he could have reacted sharper as the Spartans forward ran onto the ball and tucked beyond Fahey confidently, but it was a fine pass and finish.
Despite the setback the Colts continued to threaten their hosts and should have been level soon after when fine work between Hunter and Barclay set O'Neill free through on goal. 1v1 with the keeper the Colts top scorer looked set to make it 1-1, but for the home keeper who managed to stop the ball low underneath his body.
Hunter forced the stopper into another save soon after as he got on the end of Duncan's cushioned header to volley towards goal with his left from 12 yards, the home stopper again making the save.
There certainly wasn't much between the sides, completely contrasting from the earlier game at Broadwood where Spartans were by far the better team. The visitors would certainly have been frustrated to go in at half time with a 2-0 deficit given the chances they had created and, more frustratingly, the nature of the second goal two minutes before the break.
From a Colts free kick on the left Munn swung in a fine ball which Davidson turned back across goal which was gathered by the home keeper. The keeper punted the ball 60 yards up field early where the Spartans forward flicked on to an unmatched runner, no cover for the initial header and no-one tracking the forward run from deep. Fahey was left helpless as the Spartans man lofted the bouncing ball over his head and into the net.
For all their hard work and chances created the Colts saw the game slip further away through a goal that should never be conceded at this level. It's the kind of goal that frustrates coaches at Under 15!
Into the second half and the home side squandered an early chance to make the game safe as slackness in the Colts backline saw the forward round Fahey but take the ball too wide, only managing to find the side netting.
Pirrie replaced Munn after 60 minutes as the Broadwood men looked to find a way back into the game but in the early stages of the second half they struggled to trouble the Spartans keeper, the home side looking more likely without really testing Fahey in goal.
As the half wore on though it became clear it was going to be one of those days for the visitors as they hit the woodwork twice. First it was Barclay getting on the end of an O'Neill centre to head against the post from 8 yards before O'Neill himself stepped inside two players on the Colts right before bending towards the top corner with his left, the keeper helpless as the ball hit the bar and went over.
Young Jeff Fergus replaced Kirwan, joining Pirrie to make two Under 20's on the park and making his senior debut for the club.
With the game nearly done it was confirmed as one of those days as Spartans added a third in stoppage time. Fahey skipped past the onrushing striker from a back pass from Oliver and looked to have been fouled, but the official (who had an interesting afternoon), waved play on leaving the forward to finish over Oliver's head into the empty net for 3-0.
On paper it looks a resounding victory, the frustrating thing for the Colts that it was nowhere near as comfortable for the home side as the scoreline suggests. On another day the visitors would have had at least a couple themselves and will be frustrated by the goals conceded, particularly the second.
From a positive perspective there wasn't as much between the sides as in the first game, the difference on the day: Spartans took their chances when they created them, as good sides tend to do.