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Larkhall secure silverware by beating EKFC in thriller Featured

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Larkhall United Under 16's


EKFC Gold Under 16's
Competition: Lanarkshire FDA Division 'A'
Venue: Raploch Park
Date: 23/05/2012

Author: Andrew Watson


Larkhall United vs EKFC Gold - Under 16sLarkhall United took on EKFC Gold knowing that just a point would be good enough to win the LFDA U16’s League title. EKFC travelled to Raploch Park with plenty to play for, and a win for them would blow the title race open again, however they would have to overturn Larkhall’s fearsome home form of losing only twice at Raploch in the last two seasons. However, Larkhall’s only league defeat this season was at the hands of EKFC so this was by no means a formality.

This match was also a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s LFDA League Cup final between the sides, and based on the evidence from this match, the final should be another thrilling game.

Larkhall started with a purpose, twice in the opening ten minutes coming close to opening the scoring, with Ryan McKechrie and Josh Anderson coming close as EKFC struggled to cope with Larkhall’s pace in attack and strength in midfield.

On 15 minutes though, Larkhall were stunned by EKFC taking the lead with their first attempt on goal. After winning a free kick on the left, Jordan Craig’s pinpoint ball into the Larkhall area was met by Ross Simpson, whose header looped over Larkhall goalkeeper David Henderson into the roof of the net. Speaking before the game to a Larkhall parent, he said set pieces were the side’s Achilles heel, and so it proved here as EKFC threatened to spoil the title party.

Larkhall responded immediately, and within two minutes they were level. Jordan McCrorie and McKechnie played a well worked short corner, and though McKechrie’s initial cross was cut out by Jacob Kean in the EKFC goal, the loose ball fell to Lea Elliot who tapped into the empty net from close range.

Larkhall were well in the ascendency after the equaliser, and just before the half hour, they were given the opportunity to take the lead. From a throw in, McKechrie controlled the ball facing away from goal, but EKFC defender Jordan Boyd charged into his back to concede a needless spot kick, which McKechrie stepped up to convert to the right of Kean.

Taking the lead gave Larkhall a freedom to play football, and only good goalkeeping from Kean stopped McCrorie, McKechrie, and Elliot from adding to the score.

With half time approaching, on a rare attack EKFC almost made Larkhall rue those missed opportunities when the twice almost levelled. Firstly, Henderson in the Larkhall goal made a key interception when EKFC had a 3 against 2 situation, then Craig’s dipping volley from 20 yards struck the crossbar with Henderson beaten, but Larkhall survived until the break with their lead intact.

Half Time: Larkhall United Under 16's 2-1 EKFC Gold Under 16's

Larkhall United vs EKFC Gold - Under 16sAt the start of the second half the game continued at a frantic pace as if there was no break. Inside the first five minutes, the woodwork was rattled three times, and Jacob Kean made 2 extraordinary saves. Firstly, when McKechrie robbed the EKFC defence, Kean was quick off his line to save well, but when the rebound fell to Elliot 25 yards from goal, the goalkeeper was off his line. Elliot’s sweetly struck dipping volley was bound for the top corner until the backpedalling Kean made a quite amazing fingertip save onto the crossbar.

At the other end, a similar volley to Jordan Craig’s effort in the first half which hit the frame of the goal again hit the bar, and Nathan Gilchrist’s cross shot from the right rebounded off the post to safety with Henderson scrambling to his near post. EKFC looked a different team in the second half, with the midfield that was overrun in the first half beginning to stamp its authority on the game, and the visitors looking more likely to score the next goal.

However, the next chance of the game fell to Larkhall. On the hour mark, a well worked free kick routine led to McCrorie beating the offside trap and advancing on goal, only to be denied yet again by the brilliance of Kean.

Five minutes later, after both sides had threatened up front, it was Larkhall who extended their lead, and seemingly killed off EKFC hopes. Jordan McCrorie, who had faded out of the action after being denied by Kean, suddenly burst into life, and was not to be denied when played through by Ross Callan, emphatically firing into the roof of the net.

With ten minutes to go and the score 3-1, Larkhall appeared to be heading for the title. However, EKFC again had not read the script, and set the tone for a breathless finale by pulling a goal back. Jordan Craig collected the ball on the left, and his crossfield pass found Stephen Oates, who controlled well before striking an unstoppable effort across Henderson and into the top corner.

With 76 minutes on the clock and only 4 to play, EKFC incredibly equalised. Their second goal rattled Larkhall, and when EKFC’s midfield won the ball 30 yards from goal, a shot was instantly unleashed which caught out Henderson and sailed over his head into the top corner to give Gold a stunning leveller.

This was not to be the end of the drama. Larkhall attacked immediately attacked from kick off, and McCrorie’s drive from 18 yards produced a fine save again from Kean. From the resulting corner, Ross Callan soared above the static EKFC defence, but saw his header rattle the crossbar and deflect to safety.

With the game in stoppage time, EKFC were under wave after wave of Larkhall attacks, and with the last chance of the game, they succumbed to the pressure, and United snatched the victory. The EKFC defence gave away possession cheaply, and were punished when McCrorie’s low ball found Callan in acres of space at the back post. The midfielder produced a composed finish, with Kean for once helpless, to send the large Larkhall support delirious, and to secure the title with the last kick of the ball, as there was no time for EKFC to even kick off again.

This was a game that had everything. Seven goals of the highest quality, phenomenal goalkeeping from Jacob Kean in particular, goalmouth scrambles, the woodwork being struck no less than six times, two teams giving their all to win, and at the end of the match they all pack up to produce the same end to end entertainment in the LFDA League Cup Final on Sunday. If they do, we are in for another feast of football.

Full Time: Larkhall United Under 16's 4-3 EKFC Gold Under 16's


Larkhall United Under 16's

EKFC Gold Under 16's
1.David Henderson
2.Ross Callan
4.Josh Anderson
5.Aaron Irving
6.Arron Brown
8.Dean Anderson
9.Graeme Nisbet
10.Robbie Taylor
11.Ryan McKechrie
12.Lea Elliot
14.Darren Marshall
15.Ewan McTaggart
16.Jordan McCrorie
17.Daryl Cooper
18.Darrell Hamilton
Jacob Kean
Bruce King
Jacob Aitchison
Jordan Boyd
Ross McKechnie
Liam Donnelly
Chris Lennon
Jordan Craig
David O'Neill
Stephen Oates 
Dale Gordon
Nathan Gilchrist
Ross Maxwell
Michael Perikleous
Ross Simpson
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Givova UK Man of the Match: Ryan McKechrie

Givova UK Man of the Match: Jacob Kean
Last modified on Friday, 16 August 2013 18:17
Andrew Watson

Andrew Watson | YFS Central Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

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