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It took a stunning Rob Black penalty save to finally separate Burnhead Colts and Finnart AFC after a breathless League Cup final.

Headers from Burnhead’s Dylan Wilson and Michael Sweeney, late in each half, forced the game into extra time, and eventually penalties, following early strikes from Finnart’s Adam Benelkaied and Jack Mcilveen, which had put the boys, in bright pink, in a commanding position.

The first was a superb counter-attack; striker Mcilveen held the ball up well, finding Connor Mckenzie who played a lovely first time pass to Benelkaied on the edge of the box. A delightful turn saw him evade his marker and from there he made no mistake as he fired low past the helpless Black in the Burnhead goal.

It was no less than Finnart’s early dominance deserved; they were first to every loose ball in the middle of the park and they showed some delightful touches in and around the Burnhead box. Benelkaied almost doubled his tally for the match following some lovely link-up play between Mcilveen and Martin Scanlan, but when the ball found its way to him, six yards out, his effort was deflected behind for a corner.

But Finnart weren’t to be denied for long. A few minutes later some unselfish play from Scanlan saw him elect to square the ball across the face of goal when in shooting range. His pass found the unmarked Mcilveen who couldn’t miss from six yards out.

It seemed as though it was going to be a long afternoon for Burnhead, who had yet to have much of an impact on the game. However, their first opportunity at goal a few moments after Finnart’s second – Alistair Dewar forcing a good save out of keeper Paul Monaghan when played through on goal – seemed to spark them into life as they began to gain more and more of a foothold in the match.

Their efforts were rewarded five minutes before half time when an in-swinging Lewis Murdoch cross, from the left hand side, was glanced home off the head of Wilson, leaving the game finely poised heading into the interval.

Sunday, 24 April 2016 10:46

Jerviston stroll into challenge cup final

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The Challenge Cup Semi Final saw Jerviston Boys Club go head-to-head with Bargeddie Colts. Bargeddie could do very little as Jerviston breezed into the final with the game well out of sight by the half time whistle.
 
Bargeddie had the first attempt of the match when Oliver Ferguson blazed his shot high over the bar.
 
Jerviston got the opener through a corner kick, Alistair Small got on the end of Scott Hamilton’s floated cross and headed the ball into the top left corner to start off what would be a successful day in front of goal.
 
Jerviston built up momentum and quickly doubled their tally. The ball was whipped into the far post and Liam Milne tapped the ball into the net.
 
The goals were coming thick and fast as Liam Milne grabbed his second goal of the evening. He played a quick one-two with Robbie Payne inside the box and slotted the ball into the near post.
 
Jerviston continued to dominate the match as Robbie Payne was driving down the line, he cut inside onto his strong foot and hit a shot wide of the target.
 
Liam Milne secured his hat trick after the ball spilled to him on the edge of the box and he struck a curling effort into the top right corner.
 
Bargeddie pulled one back towards the end of the first half. Oscar Ferguson pressed the Jerviston defence, won the ball off of Aidan McDade and passed it by the goalkeeper.
 
The Bargeddie goal was proven to be just a conciliation goal as the two centre backs ventured up for a corner kick, Aidan McDade headed the ball off of the crossbar, Fraser McDonald was the quickest to react and headed the ball home, sealing Jerviston’s place in the final.
Sunday, 20 March 2016 20:12

Bankies extend unbeaten run to six

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Clydebank U17s maintained their unbeaten run with a 2-1 win over league leaders Rossvale Inter.

Goals from Louis Robertson and Paul Rankin saw Bankies win their sixth consecutive league game, with a wonder-strike from Kieran Hill not enough for table toppers Rossvale. 

Clydebank started on the front foot, with crosses from Matthew Maclean and Ben Jenkins causing problems for the Rossvale back line. 

With eleven minutes played, Bankies took the lead. Great play down the left saw a cross into the box, Louis Robertson making an intelligent front post run to bundle in the opening goal of the top of the table clash.

A well worked corner kick saw the ball played to the edge of the box, but the resulting shot went just over as Bankies piled the pressure on.

Ben Jenkins was next to test Jamie Brown in the Rossvale goal, forcing a strong save from the stopper.

Clydebank continued to put the pressure on, and almost added a second. Connor Nelson latched onto a ball over the top, but the chance petered out and they went into the break a goal to the good.

A cagey affair at Forthbank Astro saw Stirling Albion come out on top over local rivals Alloa Athletic and regain top spot in the SPFL Development League East.
 
Salim Kouider-Aissa gave the home side the lead three minutes before half time with a neat finish, before Isaac Layne equalised for The Wasps three minutes into the second half, after he missed a penalty midway through the first half before the deadlock had been broken. Salim Kouider-Aïssa was the match winner for the hosts reacting first from a Tommy McAllister free kick taken from just outside the left edge of the box.
 
Both sides were playing a fast technical brand of football in the opening exchanges, but neither side could create any real openings with Lee McLelland’s header straight at Cammy Binnie from 16 yards the only effort of any real note.
 
The Bino’s were dealt a huge blow midway through the first half when the ever present winger Moses Olanrewaju, who has recently broken into the first team squad with his impressive performances for the U20s came off injured and was replaced by Tommy McAllister.
 
Stirling came up with a glorious chance to take the lead, Jordan Herron’s through ball carved open the Alloa back line putting Kouider-Aïssa through one-on-one but his finish went narrowly wide.
 
Alloa had an even better opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot when McAllister appeared to have handled in area. Isaac Layne stepped up to take but Binnie produced a fabulous save getting down quickly to his right hand side to keep it all square.
 
Opening goal came in the 42nd minute and it was in favour of the home side. Another through-ball splitting the Alloa defence open, this time Craig Comrie provided the pass and Kouider-Aissa was on hand to race through cooly slotting past Andrew Wilson.
Thursday, 17 March 2016 10:33

Raith new leaders with convincing win

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Raith Rovers are temporarily the new leaders of the SPFL Development League East with a convincing 5-1 victory over an unfortunate Cowdenbeath at Central Park. 
 
A Jonny Court hat-trick and a Joel Thomas brace rallied them to the top of the table with Callum Robertson grabbing a consolation goal late on for the home side, who had to play out the last twenty minutes with ten men as Brian Nelson had already made his three substitutes when Harvey Swann left the field injured. Cowdenbeath more than matched their opponents for long spells of the game who included six players with first team experience in their starting eleven. 
 
The contest did not start well for Cowdenbeath, just a couple of minutes into the game striker Craig Johnston came off through injury and he was replaced by Kyle Mitchell.
 
Cowdenbeath had the first attempt of the game, Harvey Swann cutting inside from the left dancing his way past two players before laying it off to Callum Robertson who fired over from just outside the area.
 
Raith’s first real sight of goal proved to be the opener in the 14th minute. Joel Thomas controlled a long throw in the area before his cheeky back heel fell to Jonny Court, he made no mistake from twelve yards with a ruthless finish past Shaun Hunter.
 
Neither side could get a foothold in the first half due to amount of fouls both sides were giving away in the middle of the park.
 
Blue Brazil got into a dangerous area when Cameron Muirhead chased down a Kieran Campbell pass but the full back recovered well blocking his attempted cross on the byline.
An early kick off at the Bothwellhaugh Sports fields saw Jerviston turn on the style against Glenboig United and get the job done early in the match. Jerviston’s conversion rate was phenomenal as nearly every chance created in the first half ended in a goal.
 
It was an early opener for Declan McLaughlin as Henry Kyanda dribbled the ball by the Glenboig defence and played it across goal, taking the goalkeeper out of the equation and McLaughlin had an easy finish into an open net.
 
The second goal came just minutes later Ryan Bourke took a big touch to beat his man, he hit the by-line and crossed the ball in for Henry Kyanda to tap the ball into the back of the net.
 
Jerviston were in a goal-scoring mood. A goal kick gone wrong gave Ryan Bourke the opportunity to sprint towards goal and slot the ball into the far post to give his side the three-goal advantage.
 
It seemed like Jerviston could do no wrong in the final third as they took a commanding lead. Ryan Bourke again causing the Glenboig defence problems with a chipped ball over the top for Henry Kyanda to get on the end of, Kyanda calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper and secured his second goal of the day.
 
Ryan Bourke was involved in yet another goal. A disguised pass from Anthony O’Rourke played Ryan Bourke through on goal, who slipped the ball past the keeper.
 
Glenboig finally got a shot away when Mark Caldwell picked the ball up at the halfway line, stayed strong against the Jerviston centre back and powerfully smashed the ball into the top corner.
 
Martin Boyle grabbed a goal to end an extremely dominant first half for Jerviston. The ball fell to Boyle’s feet inside the six-yard box and he managed to sneak the ball inside the near post to make it 6-1 at the interval.

It was a game of two halves at the Jock Stein Centre in Hamilton. The away side, Wishaw Wycombe went in at the break with a two goal lead, however Mill United came out fighting in the second half and pulled the game level before grabbing all three points with a late injury time winner.

It was Wishaw Wycombe who got the game underway as both teams started strongly. The majority of the first half was end-to-end attacking football, however the chances being created weren’t enough to cause any concern to either goalkeeper.

Mill United were going for an over the top ball attacking approach, trying to use their height advantage, whereas Wishaw Wycombe kept the ball on the ground and tried to pass their way through the United defence.

Wycombe broke the deadlock when Cameron Browning won the ball with a sliding challenge on the touchline; he played the ball through to Colm Lafferty, who flicked the ball through a gap in the Mill United defence for Mark Kyle to slot it into the back of the net, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

It was two goals in quick succession for Wycombe. Fantastic football down the right hand side, a series of 1-2’s across the edge of the box before slipping the ball through to Josh Lindsay who’s shot was blocked, but the rebound fell to Mark Kyle, leaving him with the simplest of finishes as he hit the roof of the net to secure his second of the afternoon.

Mill United tried to get a goal back before half time. Kieran Mulvanney did well to stay strong in the corner, holding off two defenders but his cross hit the side netting.

Ross Brown was showcasing his skills when he found himself under pressure from Colm Lafferty and Josh Lindsay, instead of passing the ball he pulled off a magnificent roulette turn and then played the ball up the line to Ross Dunbar.

Wishaw Wycombe came close to making it 0-3 just before half time. Cameron Browning struck a free kick from 30 yards out, with Jack Campbell tipped his curling effort onto the bar.

The referee blew for half time. Both teams played very attractive football but chances were hard to come by, the few chances that Wycombe created were taken.

Villa Park hosted Wishaw Boys Club in a LFDA league clash on a sunny afternoon at the Jock Stein Centre. Wishaw had the majority of possession throughout the ninety minutes. Christopher Bruce gave his side the lead in the first half. A quick second half goal from Ross Park gave Wishaw a two-goal advantage however Villa Park pulled one back through Andrew Wilson which gave them a fighting chance. But the chance of a comeback was killed off when Morgan Jones sealed the three points for the away side with a third goal. 
 
It was Wishaw who got the game underway and for the first few minutes kept possession of the ball. Trying to force open a gap in the Villa Park defence. Connor Bohan tried a ball over the top towards Ross Park, but Adam Love rushed out of his goals to put the ball out for a corner.
 
Jamie Gribbons knocked the ball past Jordan Docherty as he looked to get a cross into the box, but Docherty recovered well and put a tackle in to win the ball back for Wishaw and launch a counter attack. Ross Park got the ball wide right and tried to cut inside, but Jack Kelly deflected it out for a corner kick.
 
Ross Paton won the ball at the half way line before floating a terrific ball over the top of the Villa Park defence in search of Ross Park, who tried to square it to Jonathan Lamond but the goalkeeper Adam Love was first to it.
 
Wishaw kept up the pressure when Connor Bohan drilled the ball into the box from a corner and Ross Paton struck a volley was just over the bar.
 
Wishaw won another corner shortly after, Jonathan Lamond crossed the ball into the box for Christopher Bruce to get on the end of, but he couldn’t direct it towards goal. 
 
Villa Park looked to grab a goal against the run of play. Aaron Thompson had a driving run down the right wing, he cut it back for Jamie Gribbons whose shot went agonizingly wide as it grazed the post.
 
Wishaw immediately went up the pitch and had an almost identical chance to the one Villa Park just missed. Ross Park had the ball out wide and played the ball across to Mark Ritchie who hit a shot on the turn but it took a deflection of Jack Kelly and went narrowly wide for a corner.
 
Wishaw wanted a goal before half time. Jack Gold played an excellent curling ball to split the defenders and play Ross Park through on goal, but Adam Love sprinted out of his goals and put pressure on Park and the attack broke down.
 
Wishaw finally broke the deadlock through a corner kick. Jonathan Lamond whipped the ball straight to Christopher Bruce’s head. Bruce lost his marker and made no mistake in burying the ball in the back of the net.
 
Villa Park tried to get themselves back on level terms straight from kick off as Jonathan Whelan ran down the right wing and cut inside. He tried to sneak the ball into the near post, which nearly caught Nathan McCluskey off guard, but the shot hit the side netting.
 
Wishaw nearly ended the half on a high when Ross Park was out wide, he played the ball inside to Jonathan Lamond on the edge of the six yard box, but a shot that would have given the keeper no chance was blocked at the last minute by Jack Kelly, who yet again was there to deny Wishaw from scoring.
Saturday, 27 February 2016 13:37

Cleland cruise into final with win over Rossvale Milan

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Cleland BC are through to the final of the Janice Morton Memorial Cup after firing ten goals past Rossvale Milan on a beautiful sunny day at the Milton Sports Club. Four goals from Connor Phairs was the icing on the cake of what was a remarkable team performance. 
 
The first few minutes of the game were a frantic, end-to-end affair, with Dillon Cooper hitting the post for Rossvale and Dominic Small forcing a save from keeper Mark Dickson at the other end for Cleland, all in the first two minutes.
 
The scoring was opened in the third minute for Cleland with a delightful goal from Dean Cornes.  With two defenders on his tail, the striker kept the ball in the air from a long pass with two touches before volleying in to the back of the net from the edge of the box.  
 
Rossvale, however, hit back immediately – Patrick Buchanan firing an overhead cross on to the head of the Milan number ten Alan Orr.
 
Connor Phairs then fired Cleland back in to the lead with a strike in to the bottom corner, making it 2-1 after just nine minutes.
 
The match decidedly calmed down after the first ten minutes, giving everyone in the crowd time to catch their breath. The game settled in to a steady rhythm, with Rossvale generating some good build-up play in the middle of the park. Cleland favoured a more direct approach, keeping the Rossvale defence on their toes, with centre-back Derek Walker playing particularly well to keep Cleland at bay. Mention must also go to Rossvale full-back Greg Powell for clearing a header off the line to save his team.
 
Cleland then went on to score the next two goals, setting up a comfortable 4-1 lead before the break. Goal machine Phairs found space on the right after a ball was splayed from the middle of the park and comfortably slotted the ball in to the bottom corner.
 
The fourth came from a great pass from Cornes, gliding a pass to his teammate Aidan Rooney to put the ball away.
Monday, 22 February 2016 07:02

Rossvale run riot to make final

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Substitute Ben Currie’s second half double sealed Rossvale Inter’s place in the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth District League Cup final and ended Hamilton Accies hopes of an unlikely comeback.

Some of the Hamilton players were still in their beds sleeping when Christopher McKeown volleyed home from a corner to give Rossvale the lead and when they finally woke up after Kieran Hamill had doubled the advantage they found they had a mountain to climb. An unstoppable drive from Cal Connolly made it three before the break and Currie’s goals either side of consolations from Evan Duffy and Lee Brown made it a dream performance from Rossvale.

Accies nightmare began when they went behind with the first meaningful attack of the game. Slack marking allowed McKeown to ghost in from outside of the box and volley home Connolly’s corner from 12-yards.

Neither side looked particularly fluid or commanding. This wasn’t a free-flowing football match, more a battle for supremacy in a tightly packed middle of the pitch. Accies managed to force Jamie Brown into a smart stop from Conner Smith’s twisting volley, but Smith’s resulting corner was easily dealt with.

Then, as quick as a flash, Rossvale were 2-0 up. A rapid counter attack looked to have been mopped up by the Accies defence but Fraser McLennan dispossessed a defender and instantly played through Hamill who lobbed Jordan Pettigrew in the Hamilton goal with ease. It was all too easy for Rossvale who were alert and ready to pounce on any Accies slip up.

Going two down finally seemed to rouse Accies who managed a sustained spell of pressure for the first time in the match. They caused some panic in the Rossvale defence with cross balls that the keeper struggled to deal with, but despite some spills and scrambles the defence held firm. It looked for all the world that Brown was about to pull one back for Accies when Duffy’s shot was parried into his path with the goal gaping but it was taken off his toes by an excellent tackle from Owen McGoldrick.

Accies were still suffering from the same frailties at the back however, switching off and allowing Connolly to play through Hamill one on one only for the striker to screw his shot wide. The lack of concentration was pervasive throughout the Accies team and contributed to the third goal. A simple pass in midfield went astray, with Rossvale showing more fight and desire to get to every ball first, Hamill this time turned provider to Connolly who hit a curving, dipping drive from 25-yards right into the postage stamp, leaving Pettigrew helpless.

It was a stunning strike and with only a few minutes till half-time you felt it was a killer blow for Accies. They threw everything forward to try and get back into the game before the break, Smith coming close after Duffy had won the second ball from a deep free-kick. Something Accies hadn’t done enough of in the rest of the half.