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My last visit to Dunbar's New Countess Park didn't go too well, whilst on goalkeeping duty, and I'm not going to mention what happened! Today was fairly relaxing, with only 2 games, this match and later on the Under 16's Inter Region Final between the same two sides. Now, onto this match. The South East managed to get to the final by beating the North and East Regions, whilst the West got here by beating the Central Region. The game was set up to be a cracking encounter, and nobody was disappointed.
The South East were missing top goalscorer Bradley Sinclair, a team mate of mine at Tynecastle, to injury. However strikers for the afternoon Aaran Currie and Ewan Stark didn't disappoint at all! It was Currie who had the first chance of the match. He found himself running on to a ball over the top from Andrew Taylor, and he found himself to get a left foot shot away, but Brad Newlands stood firm at the back for the West, diverting the ball for a corner. Jamie Chapman took the corner, centre half Robbie Renwick, another Tynecastle compatriot of mine, was unmarked at the back post, but his header was well over the bar. A great delivery from Chapman.
Michael Kennedy was the set piece specialist for the West, and almost produced the delivery for the opening goal of the match. His free kick on the right hand side, taken left footed, inswinging, Renwick missed the header, and Jame Crawford found himself 12 yards out, with only Macauley Jarret to beat in the goal, but his toe poked effort was weak, and the keeper gratefully holds onto the ball. A nervy moment for the South East, as they had applied all the early pressure in the match.
Sonny Swanson was at the heart of most of the South East attacks, and yes, yet again, Sonny is another one of my Tynecastle team mates. On this occasion, he cut inside of West left back Conor Bell, beat Brad Newlands, but Staurt Fyfe was forced to bring him down, 30 yards from goal. Chapman was on free kick duty, and he struck the ball with amazing technique, as the ball looked to be going well wide, but at the last moment, changed direction and swerved inches wide of Lloyd Fallon's right hand post.
To follow, was a moment of controversy. Elliot MacKenzie, ANOTHER, yes another one of my team mates, not Tynecastle this time, the SYFA National Squad, was bombing up the right hand side, and he swung in a wonderful cross to Jamie Crawford at the back post. Crawford headed the ball back in towards the the penalty spot, Campbell Gibson arrived to head the ball towards goal, managing to get the ball past Jarret the South East keeper, but Mark Mathison had backpedalled to clear the ball away. It appeared as though the ball had crossed the line, but it was very tight. MacKenzie's powerful running down the right hand side was causing problems for Headspeath and Chapman on that side, up until he was subbed at half time.
This match certainly wasn't short of major talking points, as another arose. A short backpass from West centre back Stuart Fyfe, forced Fallon to come racing from his goal. Once he was 35 yards out, he had almost reached the ball, but Ewan Stark was too quick for him, knocking the ball past the keeper, and Fallon wiped Stark clean out the game. The linesman immediately flagged to speak to referee Kevin Ferguson. After a brief consulation, my SYFA National Goalkeeping compatriot was shown the yellow card. Fallon was lucky to stay on the park, as from my angle, there was no covering defender.
The deadlock was soon broken, when Aaran Currie scored to give the South East the lead. Newlands attempted to launch the ball forward, the ball rebounding off of Marco McBride, into the path of Currie, and the striker didn't need a touch to compose himself, finishing well to Fallon's left. The goalkeeper furious with his defender, and I should think so aswell! The South East find themselves a goal to the good. Which was just about justified, with all the early pressure they have had.
Set piece delivery specialist for the West, Michael Kennedy was working wonders again, with a corner from the right hand side, inswinging, and met by the head of Newlands, but the defender couldn't manage to get his header on target, under the watchful eye of Andrew Taylor.
The South East were working wonders down the right hand side with Swanson, and another team mate of mine at Tynecastle, Aaron Nugent. The pair were showing their understanding of how each other play, with overlaping runs, and interchanging passes all afternoon. The latest attack for the South East came from Nugent thinking he was Messi for a while, using his trickery to go past Gibson and Bell with ease, playing the ball inside for Swanson, continuing his run with Swanson returning the ball, and Nugent beating Newlands with a cheeky nutmeg, cutting the ball back to Stark, but he blazed the ball over the bar. Lloyd Fallon was furious with his teams defending, allowing Aaron 'Messi' Nugent to run so far without any sort of a challenge.
That was that for the first half, as the South East edged the score, and also the performance. The West with some work to do to get themselves back into the match.
Half Time: SYFA South East 1-0 SYFA West
Lloyd Fallon was replaced at half time by another one of my Goalkeeping colleagues at the SYFA National team, Connor Houghton, and his first duty of the afternoon was to pick the ball out of his own net. Marco McBride finding Swanson on the right hand side straight from the kick off. Taking on Conor Bell, beating him, and firing an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner across the keeper. A great strike from Swanson, who was unplayable on the right hand side all afternoon. Any game plan the West came into the second half with had just been completely wiped out.
The South East did look vulnerable from set pieces, and this time was no different. Kennedy choosing to float the ball into the box towards Crawford. The ball looking too strong for the striker, but Jarret waited for the ball, and Crawford was inches away from getting a head to the ball, as nobody took charge of the situation in the box for the South East.
The West did pull a goal back, and it came from a free kick. I did say the South East looked vulnerable from set pieces, and with the wonderful delivery from Kenedy always a threat, they did concede. A ball into the box, with pace this time, from the right hand side, evaded everybody before taking a slight nick off of a South East defender, and Jarret was wrong footed, with the ball skidding past him. Indecision as to who was going to go for the ball at the back for the South East. 2-1, game on!
Crawford made way for speedy striker Ryan Shields to come on for the West, and his first real involvment in the match was to equalise for the West. A chipped ball over the top from Bell, gave the number 9 something to run onto. Onside, beating Daniel Headspeath for pace, and finishing past Jarret at the near post. Finding the smallest of gaps between the keeper and the post, he rifled a rocket into the bottom corner, with all but Connor Houghton racing towards him to celebrate. Coming back from two goals down, the West deserve great credit for their comeback.
Houghton in the West goal was called into action to make a save from Ewan Stark. Swanson and Nugent playing the ball between them before Nugent floating in a wonder cross onto the head of Stark, and his header had to be saved smartly by the keeper down low to his right. Keeping the scores at 2-2 with a great save.
With Aaran Currie drifting to the left hand side on ocassions, he masterminded the South East's third goal. Headspeath played the ball down the line for Currie, he came inside with the ball, beat Fyfe with a nutmeg, gave the ball for Stark, he turned and hit the ball on the turn, past the full stretch Houghton, hitting the inside of the post and into the back of the net. The South East restored their lead. 3-2.
The West just were not going to give up atall. Altering to 3 at the back, and two up top, re-introducing striker Crawford to play with goalscorer Ryan Shields. This was to pay dividence, as they equalied for the second time in the match. Crawford with great hold up play, laying the ball off to Kennedy, and his ball over the top was brought down brilliantly by Shields, almost a replica of his first goal, he outpaced Headspeath, and nipped in infront of the onrushing keeper in Macauley Jarret, and despite the best efforts of Renwick, the ball crossed the line, and the West had made the score 3-3. The subsitute Shields doubling his tally for the afternoon.
The script could not have been written in this match, as amazingly, the South East were back infront! Heaspeath and Currie were working brilliantly together down the left wing, a one two from Headspeath to Currie, receiving the ball back, Headspeath played the ball into the feet of striker Charlie Adams, and the rest was just magical. This touch from Adams made me think it was Bergkamp against Newcastle, as he chipped the ball slightly up, squeezed himself between the two buildings on feet in the centre of the West backline, struck his shot, which was saved outstandingly by Houghton, but Adams was alert to the rebound, and volleyed the ball into the back of the net to win the game for the South East. Adams dedicating the winning goal to his late father, who was also his coach at his club side, Edinburgh South. A great way to end the game for Charlie, as his Dad would've been so proud of his wonderful goal. Outstanding way to win a match.
It was all or nothing for the West in the final minute of additional time, all but James Traynor were commited forward for the corner. Kennedy delivered from the right, headed away by big Jack Landsbrough, and it was 4 against 1 in favour of the South East. Swanson, Adams, Currie and Landsbrough baring down on poor old Traynor. Unfortunately for the South East, Swanson's ball towards Currie was overhit, and he kept the ball in the corner.
Referee Kevin Ferguson, from East Lothian, blew his whistle to signal the end of one of the most pulsating matches I have watched this season, and to confirm the South East Region as Inter Region Under 15 Shield Champions.
Full Time: SYFA South East 4-3 SYFA West