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Thursday, 02 April 2015 12:14

Sensational Stirling win Forth Valley Cup

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Stirling High School overcame Alva Academy to lift the Forth Valley Schools Cup in a thrilling encounter at Ochilview Park. 
 
Stirling High, cheered on by their vocal support, started brightly and went ahead within ten minutes through Connor Preston. Alva Academy responded in spectacular style ten minutes later with Ross Kempski lobbing the helpless Chris Nairns from 35 yards out to equalise. With just over 5 minutes remaining, Preston bundled in a Ross MacFarlane cross to ensure the trophy was returning to Stirling High.
 
The energy from Stirling High's noisy supporters appeared to filter down from the stands as the team in blue started brightly, Beausang forcing a corner early on with his direct running before some intricate interplay between Hutchison and Paul Gillespie had the Alva defence is disarray.
 
Stirling dominated the early stages and were rewarded for their efforts on the ten minute mark when Alexander Ogilvie danced past two red shirts before laying off Preston to coolly put the boys in blue 1-0 in front.
 
Alva were struggling to cope with the high intensity of the Stirling team particularly down the left hand side with Gillespie and Hutchison creating havoc with their neat passing and dangerous crosses into the Alva box.
 
The Alva captain Sam Fisher was becoming increasingly influential making some important challenges to deny Stirling and he almost created a goal for his team with a free kick that Nairns just managed to tip over the bar.
 
The Alva players who had beginning to look frustrated were rejuvenated half way through the half when Ross Kempski lobbed Nairns from 35 yards out to equalise with a strike he won't be forgetting about in a hurry.
 
Stirling responded to the set-back quickly, the marauding Hutchison was a constant threat whilst MacFarlane showed flashes of brilliance that had it not been for the awareness of Fisher would have punished Alva.
 
Half-time was fast approaching and it came to a close much in the same way it had began, this time it was Stirling's number seven Gillespie that raced venomously toward the Alva goal but Alex Neil was quick off his line to clear the danger and the teams went in on level terms.
 
Monday, 30 March 2015 11:41

Jags steal late winner against Motherwell

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Partick Thistle came from behind late on to snatch this match from a very young Motherwell side. It was a closely contested match, the first half proving to be intense, scrappy and bleak at times for us neutrals, the second half however was end to end and full of creativity and skill, from two sides that wanted a win.
 
We had to wait until the seventh minute for a chance on goal, when a mix up in the Motherwell defence allowed Jordan Leyden to steal the ball, run in on goal and put a shade too high over the crossbar. 
 
Thistle showed a touch of class when they had a five pass sequence in front of the Motherwell penalty area that ended with Matthew McInally’s low twenty yard shot across the face of goal, missing by inches!
 
Motherwell managed to get their first shot of the match when Danny McNulty played the ball through for Liam Anderson to unleash his effort from eighteen yards which goalkeeper Connor Cullen saved comfortably. 
 
Thistle’s McInally made a nice run out on the flank, going past a Well defender before turning inside and setting up Leyden for a strike that went close but on the wrong side of the crossbar from thirty yards out.
 
Towards the end of the first half the Lanarkshire men started to look much more comfortable and began to impress with their productive play up front. 
 
Dylan Mackin played a lovely back heel out to Jack McMillan on the wing, passing back for Mackin who then crossed towards the back post area, unfortunately Anderson was unable to make a good contact with the ball and his header didn’t trouble Cullen. 
 
Well had another decent chance when Steven Higgins played the ball into a crowded penalty area for Mackin to hold up whilst under pressure from the Thistle defence, he played back out to McNulty who then hit back in towards the goal, Robbie Leitch managed to connect and send the ball just wide of the post! 
Monday, 23 March 2015 19:21

Motherwell Community edge out Rannoch Rovers

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Kieran Etherson's goal ten minutes from time gave Motherwell Community Trust a 1-0 victory over Rannoch Rovers in their Central Lanarkshire Youth Football Association League match on Saturday.
 
The first half was tight with neither team creating many clear cut chances. Motherwell perhaps had more of the play however several attacks were cut out by the solid Joshua Lowe in the Rannoch defence.
 
Ten minutes in Dylan Morrow played a through ball to Etherson however his shot from a tight angle was comfortably saved by Ryan McDonald in the Rannoch goal.
 
With Motherwell playing further forward, there were chances for Rannoch to break quickly and on twelve minutes a counter attack saw Keiran Gray put through but Motherwell goalkeeper James Low was quick off his lines to smother the ball before Gray could get his shot away.
 
Just over five minutes later Motherwell had two good chances to take the lead. A good passing move down the left hand side saw a good chance for Motherwell go begging. Morrow flashed a ball across the goal that was just asking to be stuck away but there were no takers and the ball went out for a throw in to Rannoch. From the resulting thrown in, Motherwell pressed high up the park and won the ball back. The ball found its way to Geordan O'Brian who had found space just over twenty yards out. He struck the ball sweetly, but his shot went just wide of the post.
 
Another counter attack saw them nearly take the lead. After some good play down the right wing, a low cross was swung in and a couple of deflections saw it land at Nicky Presland's feet. His shot however was well saved by Low who pushed the ball out for a corner.
 
Daryl Bowie's pace had caused Rannoch a few problems during the first half and he came close to opening the scoring with less than ten minutes of the first half to play. He received the ball midway in the Rannoch half and beat a few defenders before shooting straight at McDonald from just inside the area.
 
Rannoch ended the half strongly and some great play from Presland almost lead to the opener. He received the ball and ran straight at the Motherwell backline, beating several players before forcing Low into a great save who palmed his high shot wide of the post.
Saturday, 21 March 2015 16:24

Silky Stenhousemuir see off Saints

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Stenhousemuir Community Club earned a hard-fought League Cup section stage victory against Alloa Saints on Saturday. Saints started strongly in the first half, settling into their rhythm quicker than the visitors. They took the lead mid-way through the first half, with standout player Jamie Lee scrambling home from close range.  However, Stenhousemuir equalised on the stroke of half time through a Tiwi Daramola penalty and went on to earn a 4-1 victory with 2 more goals from Daramola and a Max Rintoul strike capping off a well-earned victory.
 
Although the weather conditions were perfect for football, the bumpy playing surface proved difficult for Stenhousemuir to adapt to in the early stages. The home side looked to take advantage of this, applying good pressure on the Stenhousemuir defenders as they attempted to play out from the back.
 
Saints had the better of the early exchanges, with Lee getting involved and pulling the strings at every opportunity. He seemed to be everywhere in the opening 20 minutes, linking up well with striker Ross Gilvear in particular.
 
However, the first real chance fell to the away side, with a ball over the Saints defence sending Mitchell Wallace through on goal. Saints goalkeeper Charles Dawson was off his line quickly and made himself big to foil Wallace’s effort on goal, and recovered his position well to save the rebound from Jake Shearer. 
 
Stenhousemuir continued to grow into the game and came close to taking the lead. Ross Buchanan was unlucky to miss the target after meeting a dangerous corner kick from Jack Donaldson at the back post.
 
The visitors went close again soon after when Stenhousemuir standout Daramola beat the offside trap to get on the end of a through pass by Shearer. Once again, Dawson was off his line quickly, this time forcing Daramola to place his lobbed effort just over the bar.
 
Lee continued to be at the heart of the action for Saints, showing some clever footwork to open up an opportunity for a long range shot which resulted in a routine save for Robbie Lyall in the Stenhousemuir goal.
 
Daramola proved difficult to deal with for the Saints defenders, winning several free kicks during the course of the game in various areas of the pitch. Donaldson’s quality of set piece was excellent, and he was unfortunate not to find a teammate or the far corner of the goal from 25 yards after Daramola was brought down on the right flank.
 
Saints continued to apply high pressure to the visitors, and it nearly paid off when Martin Ramage won the ball near the edge of the Stenhousemuir box, laying it off to Breandan McDade who was unlucky to see his cross flash past his teammates as well as the far post.
 
Saints’ strong start was rewarded midway through the first half. Inevitably, Lee was at the heart of the action, winning a corner and scoring from the resulting delivery. The ball was whipped in to the 6-yard box, and Lee was able to divert the ball home in the ensuing scramble after the visitors were unable to clear their lines.
 
Lee could have doubled his tally for the day soon after when he got on the end of an Aiden Turner free kick from deep, but he was unable to get the correct contact on the ball to divert it goalward.
 
Saints looked dangerous from throw-ins throughout the first half, and had another opportunity to extend their lead; this time through Aiden Cruickshank. After a long throw-in evaded Lyall due to a difficult bounce at the front post, the ‘keeper recovered well to stop Cruickshank from taking advantage.
 
The home side had yet another chance to make it 2-0 before the break. Stenhousemuir’s corner kick was collected calmly by Saints ‘keeper Dawson, who sent Gilvear through on goal straight from his long kick. However, he shot wide after showing great pace to get himself clear of the visitors’ defence.
 
Soon after, Saints were made to pay for not taking their chances as they were pegged back on the stroke of half time. Daramola was played through over the top once again, using his pace to great effect to beat a fully committed Dawson to the ball and win a penalty from the resulting coming together. The pacey forward stepped up to take the penalty and slotted it home confidently to Dawson’s left, sending his side in level at half time after an entertaining first period.
Thursday, 12 March 2015 14:29

Brophy brace shoots down Staggies

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This was a fine display of football from Hamilton Accies and showed just why they will be there or there abouts, come the end of the season. We seemed to have had four seasons in one match and at times the weather conditions were brutal for the players, this didn’t stop the home side from dominating in terms of possession, creativity and chances on goal.
 
Accies got a chance on five minutes when Danny Armstrong passed to Eamonn Brophy expecting the ball back inside the County penalty area, Brophy however felt he had a better chance and his shot from ten yards was deflected out for a corner. 
 
Hamilton won themselves a free kick seven yards outside of the Ross County area on the near side, Stephen Boyd struck the ball towards the far post allowing Brophy to head in from the six yard line, for his first of the match, 1-0. 
 
Accies then produced a nice six pass sequence that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Camp Nou, it unfortunately ended when Armstrong was brought down by Steven Saunders as he was running in on goal. Brophy stepped up for the free kick and passed inside for Greg Docherty to attempt a strike from twenty yards, it flew just wide of the target.
 
At this stage the Staggies had hardly been out of their own half and Accies, with the wind at their backs, produced chance after chance. Darren Lyon played a long cross field ball for Armstrong to rise and meet mid-air, bringing the ball beautifully under control and shooting wide from eighteen yards. 
 
Another free kick this time taken by Boyd and passed inside for Armstrong to have a crack, but saved well by keeper Peter Tait who got down low to stop. Accies again impressed with their crisp decisive passing when Armstrong and Nico Sumsky combined well to set Brophy up with a chance fifteen yards out, this time Brophy’s shot sailed high.
 
County's Tom McLennan almost drew his side level when his shot from outside the Accies area was deflected off of a defender and whistled inches wide of the post.
 
Brophy got his second of the afternoon when a long ball, played out of the Hamilton half towards the County penalty box, went through two defenders and Brophy met the ball as Tait came out to narrow the angle, Brophy calmly slipped the ball past the keeper, 2-0.  
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 10:01

Cambuslang sunk by Blantyre super sub

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This top of the table Lanarkshire derby clash was played out in dreadful weather conditions on Sunday morning but Blantyre managed to make the most of a bad situation and come out on top, mainly down to the quality of their finishing.
 
The match started scrappy due to the strong wind and lashing rain, it wasn’t long before Blantyre had taken the lead when Aaron Chambers took advantage of a mix up in the Cambuslang defence and skilfully lobbed the ball over the goal keeper from the edge of the penalty area, 0-1. 
 
The home side almost equalised minutes later when a long ball was played up the pitch to Barry Platt who then passed to Johnathan McLean out on the wing, McLean’s cross found Dylan Wilson and the resulting shot was cleared from the line by the quick reflexes of keeper Ryan Whitelaw.
 
Cambuslang by now were starting to take control of the match but proved wasteful with the ball in and around the Blantyre penalty area. On the half hour mark, Wilson crossed for Platt to shoot from the edge of the box, the ball seemed to be goal bound but for a deflection that sent it out for a corner.
 
Blantyre finished the first half strongly when Charles McLuskey gained possession deep inside Cambuslang territory and played a short ball inside for Ross Lyons to strike from twenty yards and narrowly miss the target.
This match was played in at times atrocious weather conditions but both sets of players contributed to provide a decent game for the spectators. The young accies team however coped better with the elements and with the ball at their feet, winning the match comfortably at 3-1. Forth Valley managed to get back into the match midway through the second half, showing enough to take something into their next match.
 
Forth Valley got off to an early start when Grant Hamilton’s quickly taken free kick from twenty five yards was sent just wide of the target, shortly afterwards Hamilton were awarded a spot kick. Accies Daniel O’Halloran headed the ball down for Marc Kelly to have an attempt on goal, unfortunately his feet were taken from him before he got his chance, up stepped Ryan Tierney to slot the ball past the Forth Valley keeper for 1-0.
 
Forth Valley soon put the penalty behind them when Conor Langton managed to hold off two Hamilton players before running down the wing and sending a pass inside for Paul Nash to shoot from twenty yards, the shot went narrowly wide.
 
Just after the half hour mark, Tierney broke from a thwarted Forth Valley attack and made a strong run down the touchline, he managed to send a low ball into the goal mouth which was cleared through a crowded penalty area for an off balance Kelly to have an attempt that somehow landed in the grounded keeper’s arms. 
 
The second goal from Accies came in the thirty fifth minute when Kelly played a perfectly weighted ball into the box for the awaiting Ronan Hughes, who with his back to goal rose majestically to put the ball into the net with a great overhead kick!
 
Within seconds of the restart Forth Valley’s Chris Snedden managed to slot a nicely timed ball through the Accies defence for Langton to chase down, Alexander Marshall, keeping goal for the home side, read the situation and managed to get there first. 
 
Hamilton had the last chance of the half when Steffan Connelly sent his free kick from the edge of the Forth penalty area into the near post for Scott Granger to put wide.
Clydebank Under 19s came from a goal behind to edge out Campsie Black Watch 3-2 in a five goal thriller on Sunday.
 
Zack Birnie’s header, alongside a double from Kevin McNaught cancelled out Logan McIntyre and Oliver Meggit's earlier strikes as Bankies left Lenzie with their unbeaten league record intact. 
 
With a little over sixty seconds played, a long ball from Campsie goalkeeper Stuart McGarry caught out the Bankies back four and Oliver Meggitt was on hand to prod the ball past Paul McKenna in the Clydebank goal to give Campsie the lead.
 
Joe Toye looked most likely to get Clydebank back into the game, first being denied from twenty yards before he lifted the ball into McNaught, but the lone strikers acrobatic effort flew narrowly wide of the post.
 
Both sides were then forced into early substitutions, Callum Batemen replacing Lee McPherson for the hosts and the influential Toye making way for Darren McKinley.
 
McNaught tried his luck from a free kick thirty yards out, and McKinley had a shot tipped round the post after turning his defender well.
 
A sweeping counter attack from the home side nearly resulted in a second goal, this time Stuart McCann flashed his header wide after a great cross by Ryan Blair.
 
In a dominant ten minute spell, Sean Stewart could’ve twice put Clydebank level when he blasted his header straight at McGarry while also having a shot cleared off the line. 
 
Two minutes before the half time whistle, Jamie Grimes’ long free kick into the box feel perfectly for McNaught who guided his header past McGarry to equalise.

Saturday saw the first game of the season for both Armadale Thistle and Armadale Falcons Red after an extended break due to the bad weather. The top of the table clash, held at Armadale Academy, made for a very interesting game.

Falcons Red started well keeping the pressure on early in the first half. Kai Lees made an early break for the goal but was met by Thistle's defence on the penalty box. Thistle received the first free kick of the game. It was a good ball into the box but the forward broke too early and were caught offside. 10 minutes in Falcons were still on top but had failed to make the break.

As the first half progressed, Thistle became more confident. A rocket shot from Ewan Pearson looked set to be heading straight for the top right corner of the goal but was intercepted by a superb save from Falcon's keeper, Jay Anderson.

The first corner of the game was taken by Thistle at the 15 minute mark. It was a good ball to the front post but was knocked out for another corner. Falcons took possession from the second corner with Lees breaking away down the right. Lees ripped Thistle's defence apart but put the ball just wide of the goal. A nice one two put Falcon's AJ MacMillan in the clear and a great pass to Jack Mullen gave Falcon's another opportunity at the goal but again the ball was played wide.

A long ball from the defence put Thistle's Pearson in the clear but keeper, Jay Anderson, was alert and made clearance outside the box.

There was controversy at the 30 minute mark after MacMillan played an excellent ball through to Lees putting Lees in the clear once again. However, the game was stopped due to discussions between Thistle's coaching team and the referee.

Thistle piled on the pressure at the end of the first half with Douglas Lafferty taking a free kick from midway inside the opposition's half. It was a good shot but was met by another excellent save from Anderson. The final five minutes were an end to end game but the first half finished without a goal for either team.

Sunday, 15 February 2015 20:16

Clydebank Boys stung by Blair Thistle

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A tasty league in counter was in store and it didn’t let us down as Blair Thistle beat a hard fighting Clydebank side. Who can count themselves unlucky not to come away with at least a point. 
 
The Thistls goals came from Jamie Fadian and Kyle Gorman. Clydebank’s goal came from Cameron McGrath. Thistles victory can be credited to tenacious defending, but never the less took their chances.
 
The game started off at a blistering pace.  Blair Thistle received a corner Kyle Gorman took for Jamie Fadian to head home from six yards out. It was a brilliant start to the game for Blair Thistle.
 
From then on in the half the Bankies had several chances to equalise. The pick of the chances fell to Darren Omnet as the bankies countered his shot was saved well by the thistle ‘keeper Andrew Campbell.