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It was a highly competitive game as Motherwell FC CT hosted Holytown Colts FC in the second round of the Scottish Cup, as both teams looked to ensure their place in the next round.

However, there could only be one and Motherwell came out on top with an extra - time winner from Lewis Simpson which sealed his teams place in the third round.

Motherwell started the strongest of the two sides, taking the lead within the first ten minutes. Simpson, who was at the heart of many of his teams chances, had his initial shot blocked just on the edge of the eighteen - yard box. However, the ball fell invitingly to Ben Fitton, who curled the ball into the far corner from the left of the box.

Motherwell continued their dominance throughout the first - half, enjoying most of possession and creating the better chances. They almost doubled their lead at the half hour mark, when Simpson almost completed an impressive run with a goal, as he strolled past two of the Holytown defenders like they weren't even there.

However, he was matched by Holytown keeper Robin Dingwall who met Simpson on the edge of the box and smothered the ball gratefully.

It was very much a battle of the midfields in the first half, as Motherwell centre - midfielder and captain Kirk McKnight ran the show alongside his partner Nathan Gardner, as the two covered the entire pitch in the first - half alone, acting as the engine for this solid Motherwell side.

However, Holytown forced themselves back into the game just before half - time through a piece of individual brilliance from striker Shaun Ward who had been isolated for much of the first half. The ball fell to Ward from around 25 - yards out, he danced through the challenges of two oncoming Motherwell defenders before smashing the ball into the top right corner.

EKRR Youth came into the match in good form, as they sat top of the table with three wins from three games but they did lose a Scottish cup tie 6-1 to Drumsagard.
 
Wishaw only had four points to show from their first three league games but did win their last game 2-1 against Hamilton Thistle, so a tight match was expected. 
 
The home side started off the stronger and should really have taken the lead as early as three minutes in. Ross Davie in the Wishaw goal missed the ball and Steven Richard had the goal at his mercy but somehow hit the crossbar when it seemed easier to score. 
 
Cole Esson had Wishaw's first shot on target a few minutes later after some good build up but it was a comfortable save for Nathan McCrohon in goal for EKRR.
 
The match was fairly even in the opening stages as both teams sized each other up and were desperate to get a foot hold in the game. Adam Walker had another long range shot for Wishaw that was again saved comfortably by the goalkeeper.
 
Wishaw were the slightly better team in the first twenty minutes, dominating possession but couldn't create any clear cut chances. 
 
Grant Sneddon was particularly impressive in midfield for EKRR, winning almost every header in the middle of the park. This resulted in a good opportunity again for Richard but his shot spun just wide of the Wishaw post after a good block from defender Mark Cairns.
 
The away side were restricted to efforts from outside the box and were struggling to break down the home team. After 25 minutes Esson had another strike from outside the box but it was an easy save for the McCrohon.
 
Both sides in fact were struggling to create clear cut chances, and maybe a goal was needed to spark each teams attacking players. It was the home side who were to break the deadlock.
 
EKRR took the lead after 36 minutes played. The ball was played through to Gregor Neilson just on the edge of the box and he finished terrifically past the Wishaw goalkeeper on the half volley giving Davie in goal no chance.
 
EKRR gained confidence from the goal and Dylan Price's great effort from 20 yards out went inches over the bar with the Wishaw goalkeeper scrambling.
 
The away side were still battling and it was a really tight contest. Wishaw won a free kick just before half time but Adam Lynch's effort went straight to the goal keeper. 
Saturday, 16 September 2017 11:54

Airdrie hit eight past Syngenta

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Airdrie Utd faced Syngenta Juveniles at Airdrie Sports Centre, only a few weeks after playing them in a thrilling cup tie that finished 5-5. If this game was half as exciting as that one, it would be one to remember.
 
Airdrie came into the match off the back of two defeats, after going through their league cup group campaign undefeated. Syngenta would be confident of defeating their opponents, as they were 4-0 up after only 20 minutes in the previous encounter. 
 
The home side started the brightest and should have taken the lead after only three minutes. Dominik Kaska had a free header inside the six yard box from a corner but his effort at goal was brilliantly cleared off the line by a combination of Harry Thomson and the Syngenta Goalkeeper Robbie Love.
 
Airdrie were the dominate side all over the pitch in the opening stages, and Cameron Stuart had an effort at goal that went just over.
 
Airdrie took a deserved lead only eight minutes in. Jordan McPharland's cross (or maybe it was a shot only he knows!) ended up in the back of the Syngenta net with the goalkeeper helpless.
 
Syngenta were really struggling to get a foothold in the game, and it was only a matter of time before Airdrie doubled their lead. Liam McMeekin finished well past Love in goal after a nice move with 15 minutes on the clock.   
 
A highlight of the first half was a great piece of skill from Christopher McGhee for Airdrie, as he beat his marker easily before and almost created a third for McMeekin.
 
Airdrie continued to be on top throughout the first half an hour, and could have easily made it three after 26 minutes but McMeekin wasn't as composed as he was with his first goal and his effort went just wide of the post. 
 
John Hamilton then had another chance for the home side to pull clear of their opponent and he would have felt that he should have scored having been played through but his shot went inches wide of the post. 
 
Sygenta were really holding on however with their first notable chance of the game, they were extremely unlucky not to score. Thomson picked the ball up on the edge of the box and his left footed strike from almost 25 yards out smashed off the cross bar and Airdrie were able to clear.
 
Stuart eventually made it three for Airdrie on the stroke of half time but Syngenta will feel it was a soft goal to concede. Stuart's fired low shot from a free kick under the wall to put his side 3-0 up at half time. 

Pro Football Academy continued their impressive start to the season, making it three wins out of four games as star striker Connor Swan led his team in a dominant display against Kirkwood.

Pro Football Academy started the stronger of the two sides, as they piled the pressure on the Kirkwood defence. They took the lead in the first ten minutes as centre back Cian Murphy played a straight ball from the half way line which sliced open the Kirkwood defence, allowing Barry Lee Rowlands to break through on goal and put the ball past the Kirkwood keeper Niall Sharkey.

Kirkwood's defence never got a moment to rest throughout the first half as Pro Football Academy's attack was relentless, with another chance coming shortly after their first goal as Alexander McKay floated the ball from the left into the path of Swan, who tried to catch the keeper off his line with a chip from just outside the box but put too much on it as it went just over the bar.

Swan was the star man for Pro Football Academy, playing a big part in his team's second goal as he played the ball in from the left to Roman Martin's feet, leading him to putting the ball in the bottom right corner.

Two quick fire goals from Pro Football Academy extended their lead to four after 25 minutes, with McKay getting his first goal of the game while Martin put his tally up to two.

Another Pro Football Academy goal came shortly after, as McKay won the ball on the half way line, before lofting a perfectly waited ball to Swan who had the easy job of putting the ball past Sharkey.

Swan doubled his tally shortly after by latching onto a loose backpass from the Kirkwood midfield, before rounding the keeper and putting the ball into an empty net.

Pro Football Academy got their seventh just before half time, as Sharkey was forced to bring down Anton Kelly who broke through on goal, leading to a penalty which Kelly tucked away in the bottom left corner with ease.  

Sunday, 10 September 2017 20:46

Accies Cruise to Victory against EKFC Reds

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A strong team performance from Accies seen them come away with all 3 points away from home against EKFC Reds. Accies came into the game top of the table with 4 wins from 5 and kept up their impressive form against EK who had won 1 and lost 1.

It was a scrappy affair in the opening stages with the best chance coming from Accies Stuart McIntyre who put a header narrowly wide. The Deadlock was broken on the 17th minute with Cameron Stewart getting on the end of a loose ball to coolly place it in the bottom corner to make it 1-0 Accies.

Not long after this on the 19th minute Accies doubled their lead with Jonathon Banks getting on the end of a long ball rolling it into an empty net after the Goalkeeper slipped when coming to collect the ball.

This gave EK a wakeup call, growing into the game more and more having multiple opportunities including Kieran McGuire’s effort being superbly stopped by Craig Murdoch in the Accies goal.

But, their hard work was undone after a dip of the shoulder from McIntyre allowed him in behind to fire home and make the game seem beyond EK before half time. 

Baillie Hunter had about six or seven EK players in his back pocket as his fast direct football left the opposition stunned in the headlights. Hunter had been previously of St. Mirren and was only just recovering from a long time out with a broken leg but you couldn’t tell as his magnificent performance lifted the entire team.

The second half for Drumsagard was straight from the training ground as their pre-season work on possession based direct play with neat one-touch passes clearly paid off. Their forwards scored three in the second 45 but if they’d been a little more clinical it could have ended up being in double figures.

Despite the final scoreline, the first chance actually fell to East Kilbride as an initial high press forced Calyn Gerraghty to misplace a sideways pass, allowing Zak Maher to have a shot from a tight angle on the left straight into the hands of Paul Everett.

This high press continued for the first seven minutes as Anson Lung and Gary Clark looked tetchy at the back during the opening developments, failing to deal with the EK forwards when they pressured them into stray passes and unkempt clearances.

This good work halted, though, on seven minutes as a long throw on the right was launched into the EK box and Gerraghty bravely nodded the ball home to make it 1-0. The EK confidence absolutely drained away following the goal as Drumsagard started their dominance as they meant to go on with beautiful interplay through the middle of the park involving Jay Nelson, Aaron Lonie and the aforementioned Hunter who had a big hand in the second goal.

Hunter had attempted a few direct through balls before one satisfyingly connected with Fraser Scott on 15 minutes, finding him in a crowded penalty box, but the forward stayed calm to stroke the ball into Kyle Brooks’ near post.

The game then calmed down for 20 minutes as Drumsagard were happy to hold on to the ball without much urgency of trying to find an opening, this allowed the back four, who had previously been shaky at best, to really come into the game and keep the EK forwards at bay. Drumsagard weren’t going to settle on a 2-0 lead for long, though, as Nelson turned it up a gear and played in Ronan Gillon who finished in identical fashion to the second goal.

3-0 with only a minute left until half time, this is easy, right? Wrong. Grant Sneddon was one of the few EK players trying to go forward with purpose and he got his reward on the stroke of half time when he was clattered in the box by Anson Lung.

The forward stepped up to take it himself and sent the ‘keeper the wrong way with a high shot into the left of the net. 3-1. Comeback on?

Dalziel BC continued their impressive start to the new season with a comprehensive 6-0 victory over Strathaven Dynamos. Goals from Joshua Brodie, Adam Barton, Joseph McNally, Luke Dickson and a Scott Livingstone double resulted in an easy day’s work for the travelling side.

Strathaven were up against it right from the off, and should have been behind after just a couple of minutes when Mark Walker headed wide from an Andrew Grant cross. A well-timed tackle from William Poulton then prevented Scott Livingstone getting through on the Strathaven goal.

Joshua Brodie opened the scoring for Dalziel in the 12th minute, his low drive finding the back of the net via a combination of the post and Strathaven goalkeeper Ross Dyet. Some good defending from Gregor Mitchell and Elliott Sorbie stopped the score line going up too quickly, with the latter deflecting a Brandon McKenzie shot behind for a corner.

With Strathaven struggling to get out of their own half, Dalziel continued to pile on the pressure and Strathaven debutant Harrison Ewart produced a goal saving tackle after a long ball caused havoc in the home side’s penalty area. However, Dalziel’s persistence was rewarded when Brodie found Livingstone with a lobbed pass, who duly turned and finished coolly past Dyet.

Livingstone doubled his tally soon after, a sublime lob nestling in the bottom corner of the net after good work from Barton. In a half where Strathaven failed to register a single shot on goal, Livingstone was cruelly denied a hattrick when he cannoned a header off the crossbar from a corner.

Four goals from Ben Hardie inspired Aston Villa to a comfortable opening day win against East Kilbride YM.

It was a cagey affair in the first half an hour with East Kilbride being more dominant in possession, however overall Aston villa where just too strong for the opposition on the day.

Chances came few and far between and it wasn’t until the just after the half hour mark minute when Aston Villa were presented with a real chance.

A good ball from Daniel McAlinden fell to the feet of Ben Hardie who had his shot destined for the bottom right hand corner saved by East Kilbride goalkeeper Aidan Smith.

This was the beginning of a manic four minutes as just two minutes later Nico Maclachlan puts a neat pass through to Hardie who lobbed the keeper to put Aston villa into the lead.

Just two minutes after that on 35 minutes Stephen Mcdowell and Hardie combined as Mcdowell won the ball off EK defender Steven Addison near the by-line putting it back to Hardie who put it into an empty net to make it 2-0 villa before the break.

A commanding performance saw Stenhousemuir FC Community lift the FVFDA League Cup at the expense of Dunipace Juniors. 

Dunipace had the first clearcut opportunity of the match when Martin Bell connected with a Darren Wright corner and forced a save from the goalkeeper. 

With 13 minutes on the clock, the Warriors won a free-kick. Crawford MacKay lifted the ball up and over the wall but it was too close to the goalkeeper who dealt with it comfortably. 

A minute later Stenhousemuir missed a glaring opportunity when Jude Weir headed wide from a corner. 

It was then Dunipace’s turn to go close from a corner as Jack Binnie’s header was cleared off the line. 

On 17 minutes Jack Shand was sent clear with a delicate lobbed ball from midfield but the striker saw his chipped effort clear the bar. 

The opening goal came in the 32nd minute. Boston Blair controlled the ball outside the area and unleashed a half volley which was saved by the goalkeeper. However, Finlay Fleming was on hand to sweep home the rebound. 

Dunipace were given an opportunity to level when Stenhousemuir’s goalkeeper was adjudged to have handled outside the box but Binnie’s deflected free-kick was turned round the post. 

The last chance of the half fell the way of the Warriors when Sam Kinney cracked the bar from distance with an excellent driven effort. 

 

Three first half goals were enough to put Stirling Albion on track for victory in the FVFDA League Cup final at the Falkirk Stadium. 

The opening goal came on 7 minutes when Alexander Davidson raced clear. The forward was tackled but Thomas Sessford was on hand to thrash the ball home from just outside the penalty area. 

At that point the game became quite scrappy with countless loose passes, until the 21st minute when Stirling Albion’s Lewis McFarlane came close with a lob. 

The Binos had a second on 23 minutes and it was Sessford again. This time, the forward had spectators applauding with a lovely Dennis Bergkamp-esque turn before rolling the ball into the bottom left corner. 

On 31 minutes, Albion had a third and it was game, set and match. A short corner fed the ball to Arran Ward on the edge of the area and his driven effort couldn’t be held by the goalkeeper, allowing Callum Tough to head home. 

They nearly had a fourth minutes before the half when Jake MacGowan cut in from the right, only to see his curling effort palmed away. McFarlane looked set to put away the rebound but the goalkeeper saved again.