National Competitions (589)
A Jack Purdue penalty in the second-half saw Greenock Morton beat Ayr United to lift the SPFL Development League West title, completing a dramatic final week of the season for Morton, Ayr, Airdrieonians, and Stranraer.
Both sides went into the game at Cappielow knowing that a win for either side would secure them the league championship, whilst a draw would've seen Airdrieonians take the title. However, it would be Derek Anderson's men that would take the spoils thanks to Purdue's calm spot-kick.
The win capped a tremendous comeback week for Morton, who began their title-charge last Friday night in a dramatic 3-2 win over Airdrieonians. This was then followed by Stranraer being docked three points after an SPFL disciplinary hearing ruled that they had fielded an ineligible player - opening up the title race.
A 6-1 hammering of Albion Rovers on Monday night meant that the home side came into this one in fine form, whilst Ayr came into this one on the back of five straight league victories themselves.
Both sides knew the importance of the occasion, and a whirlwind start saw chances for either team in the first five minutes.
Firstly, some lovely play down the left from the home-side saw the ball cut-back to Reece Lyon. The midfielder snapped at the shot however, and saw it lash wide.
Right up the other end, an attempted clearance from the Morton back-line saw the ball oddly bounce off of Jamie Martin and nearly sneak in over Daniel Farrell before going over. The Morton goalkeeper was once again on fire tonight though, and had to beat away a low strike from James Hilton as United threatened to take control.
Yet, after a quick start, the game started to settle into a scrappy affair. United were getting some real joy down the flanks at times, whilst Martin was good about many things going forward for the visitors. Aye were missing a final ball though, and allowed Morton off the hook on several occasions.
Morton's outlet, unsurprisingly, was often Kieran Brophy, who scored their memorable winner against Airdrieonians just five nights ago. The right-winger got several teasing crosses into the penalty area, with Purdue on the end of one that he scooped high over.
The rain was lashing down at Cappielow, adding a fitting obstacle to what was already a difficult and monumental occasion for both sets of players.
Morton started to get control of proceedings before the break, and will wonder how they never took the lead right on the stroke of half-time.
The ball dropped nicely for Shaun Rodgers to hammer a volley off the far post, before the ball bounced right in front of Alexander Easdale, who could only poke over in a reactionary attempt.
The half-time whistle would blow immediately after, and Easdale had his head in his hands as he knew how colossal that opportunity was.
Hibernian were crowned Development League champions as Edinburgh neighbours Hearts beat Dundee 4-2. Hibs' win over Aberdeen earlier in the day left the young Dees with no margin for error, but they couldn’t take the title race into the final week of the season despite leading twice through Craig Wighton and Cedwyn Scott.
After sustained early pressure, Dundee broke the deadlock after seven minutes when Craig Wighton fired home from a well worked corner.
Euan Henderson had Hearts first chance of the match but lashed a shot over from 15 yards. Lewis Moore tried his luck from distance but dragged his shot wide.
Henderson did well to hold off Kerr Waddell before squaring the ball to Rory Currie, but Jesse Curran managed to deny him a shot at goal. At the other end, Cedwyn Scott flicked a Jack Lambert free kick towards goal, but was denied by the post.
Currie brought Hearts level on the stroke of half time with a cross-cum-shot from the right that looped over Kyle Gourlay and found the net via the post.
Hibs won a hard-fought battle with Celtic on penalties, securing their spot at Hampden in the SYFA cup final.
The hosts were the first to threaten when Fraser Murray managed to bring out a powerful strike from the edge of the box which headed towards the bottom left corner, but the right hand from Ross Doohan was enough to deny an early lead in the second minute. Murray was unlucky once again not to put the team from the capital in front in the 3rd minute after Celtic captain Robbie Deas heroically threw himself in front of the wingers shot from close range.
Celtic got their first chance in the fourth minute when Michael Johnston showed his trickery down the right wing and sent a bullet of a cross in, which was unlucky not to be met by a teammate. Johnston was at it again in the 8th minute, this time from a free kick which went narrowly over the bar.
The end-to-end action continued at Easter road when Ryan Shanley made room for himself in the box but saw his finish sail over the bar in the 18th minute. The next chance for the hosts came in the 23rd minute when Adam Watson smartly found F. Murray at the edge of the box, who couldn't be anymore unlucky when his strike was deflected over Doohan and clipping the underside of the bar.
Celtic’s youngest ever scorer, Jack Aitchison was the next to threaten for Celtic in the 31st minute when he touched the ball down at the back post but saw his shot go wide of the target. The bar was struck again in the 34th minute, this time the Hibs bar, when Johnston found Ewan Henderson who had his powerful effort tipped onto the woodwork by keeper Maciej Dabrowski. Defender Stephen Welsh was then unfortunate to find his curling strike go just over from the resulting corner.
F. Murray was courageously denied once again by a Celtic defensive block when Stephen Welsh flung himself in front of the close ranged effort in the 36th minute. Hibs continued the pressure when a minute later Adam Watson had an attempt from range which was comfortably saved by Doohan. A long-range attempt from Hibees defender Callum Donaldson which cruised over the bar in the 40th minute, ended up being the climax of an action packed first half.
Gartcairn Academy met Arthurlie Juniors in this rearranged Scottish Cup semi-final at Benburb Juniors Football Club, that attracted a huge crowed for a eagerly anticipated match.
Arthurlie defeated Milngavie 2-0 to reach this stage, whilst Gartcairn beat Murieston United 4-1 to reach the semi-final. The game began at a frantic pace, with both teams trying to put an early marker down with some heavy challenges and quick passing.
Luke Kelly had the first chance of the match for Gartcairn when his free kick was deflected just over the bar from 25 yards out.
Despite the quick start, it was a quiet beginning to the game in terms of chances as both sides cancelled each other out with some strong defensive work.
Gartcairn had the first big chance to take an early lead after 15 minutes, after some great work on the left side from Josh Moore, he was able to cross for Jordan Shaw and he was only inches away from putting his team in front.
Arthurlie slowly started to get a foothold in the game and their first real chance of note came after 25 minutes. Lwis Garner's header was brilliantly saved by the Scott Matthews in the Gartcairn goal from close range and he was able to gather the ball at the second attempt.
At the other end, Shaw was then denied by the Arthurlie goalkeeper Mark Parson only minutes later, who also produced a great save from close range after some more good work from Moore.
Gartcairn deservedly took the lead after half an hour, and it was a special goal for the big occasion. From almost 30 yards out, Moore, the best player on the park so far, struck a wonderful, knuckle ball free kick into the top corner that left the goalkeeper with no chance.
Arthurlie responded well to the set back but despite their pressure on the Gartcairn goal they couldn’t create any clear cut chances and it was a frustrating first half for them.
It was the team in blue and white that finished the first half the stronger but they couldn’t add to their one goal advantage before the whistle.
St Andrew’s University won a gruelling battle against Strathclyde University on penalties – securing the Scottish Student Sport’s Queen’s Park Shield for the first time since 1943.
It was a game that was always going to be won in a narrow fashion, and St Andrew’s had goalkeeper Alec Cadzow to thank for some terrific saves in the second half that kept Strathclyde at bay.
However, the game’s MVP, Alex Dodgshon, stole the show with a combative display that really symbolised the effort and commitment St Andrew’s put into the game.
The victory just typified St Andrew’s run throughout the tournament, having beaten Heriot-Watt University on penalties in the last-16 before knocking out Stirling and Aberdeen universities by one-goal margins respectively.
In contrast, Strathclyde had powered their way to the final. Nine goals scored in their previous three games had them coming into the game flying with confidence, and they started this one well.
Harry Clark worked well down the left to whip in a cross for Ross MacKenzie, but the midfielder’s header was held by Cadzow.
St Andrew’s threatened for the first time before the 10-minute mark, with Max Balmford hooking a well-taken effort over.
Dodgshon and co started to take control after the opening 15 minutes - creating several big openings that should’ve put them ahead.
Bolotov was set up after a terrific through ball from Dodgshon, but fired a low effort just wide. Minutes later, as St Andrew’s started controlling possession, Bolotov connected well with Balmford’s cross – forcing Ryan Truesdale to tip over.
From the resulting corner, Matthew Holden nodded over at the near post.
Despite the opening period of dominance from St Andrew’s in the opening 25 minutes – Strathclyde nearly caught them with a big sucker-punch.
Kyle Richford found space to run through on Cadzow. The St Andrew’s goalkeeper came out to smother, but the ball fell kindly for David Aubrey, who fired a miss-hit effort wide.
Strathclyde really grew into the game afterwards and made it a scrap after the impressive opening from St Andrew’s.
Chances weren’t flowing towards the end of the half, however.
Aubrey fired in a free-kick from 20 yards that was clutched by Cadzow, but it was the only real moment Strathclyde had before the break as the football became scrappy.
It was a half in which St Andrew’s started well, but some early misses cost them the lead going into the break.
On the other hand, Aubrey missed a big chance for Strathclyde just after the half-hour mark, as both sides had big regrets going into the break.
The University of Stirling retained the coveted Scottish Students Women’s Cup of 2018, after defeating Edinburgh University 2-0 at Lesser Hampden.
It was a terrific display from Stirling, who, after an initial early scare after Edinburgh raced out the traps, ended up controlling the game well through an impressive midfield display.
In the end, a goal from Ellie Simpson added to a first-half goal direct from a corner from Beth McKay to secure the title for Stirling.
Stirling had hammered Glasgow University 4-0 in the semi-finals, but it was Edinburgh who came out strong in the first 10 minutes.
Edinburgh knocked out St Andrew’s University on penalties in the semi-finals, and Rebecca Gray had their first shot of the afternoon when her low effort was well held by the impressive Chloe Logan.
The conditions made things difficult for both sides, but there was an eagerness from both to keep the ball on the deck and play attractive, passing football.
Jordan Doak showed good endeavour to win the ball high up the park for Edinburgh, and laid it off to Margaux Durand-Watson. The number 10 had a strike from 20 yards out, but Logan again was equal to it.
Doak was looking lively in the first 20 minutes, and fed Beth MacLeod with a lovely through ball. However, her low strike was tremendously blocked again by Logan.
MacLeod was showing some lovely touches around the box, but Edinburgh really lacked a killer instinct in front of goal in the first half hour.
And they were punished on 24 minutes. Beth McKay curled in wicked corner, and Parker-Smith could only parry the ball into her own net. It was a rotten piece of luck for an Edinburgh side who started extremely well.
There was a zip to Stirling going forward after their early opener. They were looking to exploit the flanks after the first and really took the game to Edinburgh.
In contrast, Edinburgh looked sapped, and that early energy they were showing in the final third wasn’t on display after the opener. Too many loose passes were going back into Stirling University’s hands.
Chances, however, were at a premium for both sides before the break. Kim Guthrie had a pot-shot from 20 yards that was easily gathered by Parker-Smith.
Half-time would arrive with Stirling firmly in control, but with both sides still looking for additional cutting-edge in the final third.
Glenvale AFC Under 16s are set to face Spartans in the SYFA Cup final for the second successive year after comfortably dispatching Hillwood in the semi-finals on Sunday.
Glenvale hit seven past Hillwood in a commanding win to reach May’s cup final, due to be held at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium.
Hillwood kicked off on a chilly afternoon at Parklea but it was Glenvale who enjoyed the better start to the game. The Paisley side dominated possession during the opening exchanges and won a few corners, where they highlighted their effectiveness from set pieces.
It was from one of their corners that John Cumming opened the day’s scoring with around nine minutes on the clock. Jack Smith floated in a delivery towards the back post from the right and found Cameron Crooks waiting. Hillwood keeper James Burns parried Crooks’ header but the ball fell invitingly for Cumming, who poked the ball home from close range to give his side an early lead.
Vale came close to doubling their advantage minutes later, again from a corner. This time Smith played a low ball towards the edge of the box, spotting centre forward Rhys Best McDonald’s late run towards goal. The striker fired a low shot at goal but Burns smothered his shot well.
Best McDonald looked up for the game and was heavily involved in Hillwood’s next opportunity. The forward picked up the ball on the right of the Glenvale attack and charged down the wing, beating two Hillwood defenders in the process. He then teed up Aaron McDonald but his shot flew harmlessly over the bar.
With 25 minutes on the clock Fraser Lee then extended Glenvale’s lead to two. A long ball over the top reached Brian Connor, who thundered down the left wing towards goal. Connor squared the ball with a lovely outside-of-the-boot pass to Lee, who took a touch before calmly placing the ball in the bottom corner.
The Hillwood players struggled to create chances in this period, finding Glenvale’s defence particularly stubborn and difficult to break down.
Seven minutes later, it was three. Crooks was played in down the right and fashioned a one-on-one against Burns before he showed great composure to roll the ball past the onrushing keeper and into the Hillwood net.
Glenvale continued to press for a fourth goal with Best McDonald looking particularly dangerous, but the striker was unable to find the net despite going close on more than one occasion.
Vale would grab a fourth before halftime however, with the Paisley side once again taking advantage of their set piece abilities. Smith fired in a cross towards Harry Pittaway at the back post, where a simple tap in was all that was required to extend their lead to four.
The referee then called time on a superb first-half performance from Glenvale.
Abertay University battled to a 1-0 win over Stirling University B to secure the BUCS 2A League title in their final game of the season. A wonder strike from Holly Napier was enough to see off the home side, whose own title aspirations vanished with defeat at Gannochy Sports Centre.
Stirling came into the game on the back of a 3-2 win against Edinburgh Napier University, and knew that four points from their final two games would make them league champions. The home side were also looking to avenge a penalty shootout defeat to Abertay in February, which had sent them crashing out of the Scottish Cup at the semi-final stage, and certainly started the brighter of the two sides. Ruth Clark had a number of shots saved by opposing goalkeeper Amy Hiddleston, before Lauren Hill sent a strong shot over the crossbar.
Emily Gray was dominating the midfield area in the air for the home side, with Abertay’s attacking threat diminishing as the half went on. However, Holly Napier began to grow into the game and was sent through on goal; her shot was saved well by Rebecca Sjogerud. Sabrena Craib sent a wild shot over the bar, and Victoria Kane spurned a glorious opportunity when she screwed the ball wide after being sent through on goal.
Ruth Clark headed just wide from a Rachel Armstrong cross, and was made to pay just minutes later when Abertay took the lead. Napier lined up a free kick thirty yards from goal, crashing the ball into the roof of the Stirling net to hand her side a priceless advantage.
The remainder of the first half was a very scrappy affair, with Katie Caine nearly seeing her long-range effort fumbled over the line by Sjogerud, but the keeper just managed to recover her error.
It was a set piece show in the SYFA Cup as East Kilbride saw off a strong Edinburgh City side to progress to the final. Two goals in five first half minutes were enough for the Blues who, despite a second half reply from City, battled well to set up a mouth watering final with Hurlford Boys Club.
New Dundas Park, home to junior side Bonyrigg Rose Athletic, played host to this crunch game between two well established youth sides. Both teams were full of confidence before kick-off but it was Edinburgh City who dominated early on. Just four minutes in and City left back Blair Short came close as his free-kick from the left hand side of the box hit the side-netting.
City’s good opening spell continued over the first 20 minutes, as Jonathan Sedstrem fired just over from the edge of the box before Cai MacDonald stung the palms of EK goalkeeper Adam Haynes.
For the next 15 minutes, the game descended into a midfield battle. Both sides tried to play football, however the pitch, which wasn't conducive to good football, had an impact on the quality of play.
However, on the hour mark, it was the Blues who came closest to scoring. A corner was not properly cleared by the City defence and, as EK returned the ball to the penalty area, Dominic McLaughlin’s flicked header clipped the outside of the post. This was a sign of things to come from EK, who dominated the final 15 minutes of the first half.
East Kilbride’s Ross Smith then began to pull the strings for his side. Smith picked up the ball at the edge of the box and engineered space well, before unleashing a powerful shot, which was gathered at the second attempt by City shot stopper Thomas McLean.
The Blues were not finished there and 10 minutes before the interval they won a penalty. Zak Lindsay’s low shot was parried and the incoming attacker was bundled over by a combination of McLean and Lennie. Ross Taylor placed the ball on the spot and remained calm to send the keeper the wrong way and put EK in front.
East Kilbride, cheered on by a large travelling support, continued their dominance and a few minutes later they were two in front. Ross Smith, who began at left back before being moved up front by his manager, placed a free kick low, in off the right post to put EK in full control of the cup tie.
East Kilbride held firm for the remainder of the first half and went in at the break the happier of the two sides.
A confident performance from Tower Hearts secured a deserved place in the SYFA Scottish Cup final, after they overcame Harmony Row 2-0 at New Tinto Park on Sunday.
A first-half penalty from Stuart Gauley was added to by Sean Smith's late chip, as Tower put in a controlled display in a game that was wholehearted and energetic from the start.
This was the first time the sides have met this season, with Harmony Row top of the West of Scotland 21s Premier League table, and Tower down in third, with 15 points separating the sides. Harmony Row have played five games more than Tower.
The game certainly didn't disappoint, and from the first whistle it was full of energy, determination, and physical challenges as both sides looked to gain the upper hand early on.
Both sides created early opportunities. Within two minutes, Ciaran Mulcahy flicked a ball on for Josh Winton. He raced in behind down the left, but fired his first-time effort over the bar.
Up the other end, a terrific swivel on the ball from Scott Cameron got him away down the right, but his low and powerful effort was well blocked.
Tower were causing problems down both flanks in the first 20 minutes with their crossing, particularly through the noticeable Aaron Graham, who seemed to pop up on either side and try to deliver crosses. Harmony Row's back-line were dealing well enough however.
The first half was a period really devoid of clear-cut chances. Many times both sides looked to have wriggled into some space in and around the box, but every defender on the pitch was ensuring they were getting important blocks on the opposition's shots.
David Ramsey, who really grew into the game for Harmony Row down the right, was a constant menace throughout. However, his crosses weren't being profited upon when they did go into the Tower Hearts penalty area.
Winton came close with a free-kick that was curled over, before Hearts' Cameron glanced McIntyre's free-kick wide.
Winton again nearly sneaked an opener as he sent a low, curling effort towards the back post. Credit must go to Daniel McLean, who palmed the ball out of the area, and generally showed terrific ball-handling throughout.
The first big chance of the game came on the half-hour. Sean Monaghan controlled the ball well in the box after David Seagrave headed it into the area. However, on the turn, Monaghan slashed over.
Harmony Row then nearly immediately took the lead Cameron controlled Winton's clever pass, and, after cutting inside from the right, sent a low effort that was well-held by McLean.
The opener came 12 minutes before the break. Tower won a free-kick on the edge of the box, and when Cameron's powerful strike struck the wall, the referee saw a hand-ball offence and gave a penalty. It looked a little harsh on Harmony Row, but Stuart Gauley was composed from the spot to bury home the opener - hammering his shot down the middle.
The response from Harmony Row was positive. Twice, Ramsey got in down the right and sent teasing crosses into the box. However, both inviting deliveries went unmet by Harmony Row's front-men.
An equaliser nearly came on the stroke of half-time. Again, Ramsey found space down the right and crossed high into the area. Christopher Scott rose well but headed just wide as Tower got in at the break in front.