Central Region (553)
This first round league cup match was always going to be a battle and from the start it was clear East Stirlingshire were up for it! The home team started strong and were pressing high with 3 up top but Riverside handled the initial pressure well. After 4 minutes, it was only Riversides' second venture into the Shire half when Alex let fly from 30 yards and beat the outstretched keeper to hit the top corner. An excellent goal to open the scoring. 1-0 Riverside.
Riverside then started to get into a rhythm and were passing the ball better, creating the majority of the chances. Flemming, Stephen and Duncan all coming close to doubling the lead following good build up play and perfectly weighted through balls that Shire managed to stop before they reached Riverside players. The structure was good and the defenders were dealing well with the pressure from the long ball.
It was 8 minutes before half time when Riverside doubled their lead. Stuart played the through ball to Stephen W and he made a driving run to the byline, cutting the ball back to Fin and he fired it home at the back post. 2-0 Riverside.
East Stirlingshire were still dangerous on the counter and just before the break they played a neat one-two on the edge of the box and forced Lewis F to pull off a great one handed save to preserve his clean sheet.
Half Time: East Stirlingshire 0-2 Riverside FC
The second half did not start well for Riverside and within 30 seconds the home team had pulled one back. Shire raced out of the starting blocks and launched an attack in numbers down the right. A cross into the box and Riverside were sleeping as the Shire striker was given the freedom of Stirling as he nodded the ball home. 2-1 now, game on!
Riverside were quick to respond and Stevie played a nice through ball to Stephen who finished well to restore the 2 goal advantage. A slick passing move that was finished off in style. 3-1 Riverside.
It was Shire on the counter attack and a mistake at the back seen them back in the game at 2-3 with 10 minutes of the second half played. Dilly-dallying on the ball seen the striker nip in and score to reduce the deficit again.
It was a scrappy second half with East Stirling mixing strong midfield play and long ball, and using it to good effect. Riverside did not have the same attacking flow but still created a couple of chances. The home team then had a stroke of luck and a good Riverside line is caught out by a suspect offside decision but it was tight, and Shire equalised to take the game into extra time.
Full Time: East Stirlingshire 3-3 Riverside FC
Two periods of 15 minutes followed and thankfully it was Riverside that came out the blocks quicker in the first half that, putting the game out of reach in the first period. The first came from a corner, Bradley delivered a perfect corner and Scott attacked the ball at the back post to bullet his header into the roof of the net, making it 4 goals in 4 games for the big centre back. 4-3 Riverside.
With 2 minutes to go in the first period, Lewis W played a well weighted through ball to Fin who volleyed into the back of the net for his second of the game and to put the game (hopefully) out of sight.
The second period of extra time seen East Stirlingshire pushing forward, forcing 2 cracking point blank saves from Lewis in goal to ensure the game does not go to penalties this time!
Full Time AET: East Stirlingshire 3-5 Riverside FC
Overall a good Riverside performance playing the better passing football. It was a determined performance from the entire squad and the lads were praised for coming out in extra time, showing what they are made of to progress to the Quarter Final.
Starting with the Lanarkshire FDA 19’s, Aston Villa had a disappointing weekend after being beaten at home 0-4 by Mill United whilst East End Thistle found themselves on the end of a 0-1 defeat to Dalziel BC. The Motherwell side have now moved into fifth on nine points and still have a game in hand. EK Hotspur had a good 3-0 victory over Baillieston BC and are equal on points with Dalziel BC and EKFC Blue, who have yet to find themselves a point, suffered a 0-4 defeat to Villa Park who managed to get their first win of the season. Moorlands BC remained on top with a resounding 1-7 win away to EKFC Red and the tie between EKYM and EK Thistle YC was postponed. Holytown Colts were beaten by 2-4 by Bellshill Athletic, Colts sit mid table on six points and Athletic have moved into third on ten points. Mill United Colts were beaten 0-2 by fourth placed Blantyre BC and second placed Wolves BC scored five against Hampden BC, the match finished 5-0.
Drumsagard FA had a good 3-2 home win against Dalziel BC and moved above them and into third place on twelve points, East End Thistle remain on six points after their 1-5 defeat to DC Bishopbriggs who are on fourth with eleven points. EK Thistle YC lost their match against Wishaw BC by 1-3. Larkhall Thistle AFC moved into second place on thirteen points with a 5-3 win over Claremont AFC and Mill United continued to lead the pack with a 4-1 home win against Mossend FC, United have 16 points whilst Mossend sit on four. Strathaven Dynamo found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-6 defeat at the hands of Blantyre Yellow, the teams have three and nine points respectively. Villa Park were well beaten 0-5 by Westwood Rovers and Wishaw WW were beaten 0-4 by EK Burgh United who remain the only side with a 100% record, with three wins from three.
Dalziel BC came out on top against Mill United in a 5-3 thriller and now sit in joint second place alongside Cambuslang and Muirton with seven points. EKFC Gold retained their 100% record with a 3-0 win against Blantyre BC and Mossend FC were well beaten 1-6 by Cambuslang. In another thriller, Muirton FC edged Larkhall Thistle by 5-4 and Wishaw WW lost out by a single goal too Jerviston, 0-1.
The LDFA 16’s section B saw a couple of high scoring wins at the weekend, the first of them being the EKFC Red 3-9 EKYC result that gave EKYC their first three points, Aston Villa lost out at home to EKFC Blue, the final score being 0-6. The tie between EKRR Red and Whitecraigs AFC was postponed. New Stevenston won 9-0 at home against Whitecraigs Viola with the sides being on six and zero points respectively. Newton had a great result which saw them end ’s 100% record when they won 3-1, Thistle remain on nine points and Newton now have six. Lastly, East End Thistle sit top of the league due to goal difference over Kelvindale Thistle with a 0-3 away win to Strathaven Dynamo who have six points.
Jerviston BC moved into joint third place with Drumsagard after beating them 4-5, the teams now have six points apiece. EK Burgh United lost out to Mill United when they lost 1-3, Mill United remain top with Mossend BC on nine points and Burgh sit mid table on four. Mill Rovers had a resounding 9-1 win over Clyde Valley, Rovers win was their first of the season and sees them move away from Valley at the bottom. Joint leaders Mossend BC beat bottom side Dalziel BC 6-0 and Wishaw WW won by five goals to two when Eddiewood BC visited.
We end the review in LDFA 15’s section B, Blantyre BC moved closer to fifth placed Holytown Colts by beating them 7-3 at home, the gap between both sides has now been reduced to two points. League leaders Drumsagard Blue increased their lead by five points when they beat second placed Blantyre Yellow 4-6. Claremont AFC moved into joint second with Blantyre Yellow when the managed to beat Aston Villa 5-1 and Coatshill BC managed to get their first points after beating Newmains BC EKYC were beaten 2-3 at home by Whitecraigs AFC who now move level on six points with the home side, whilst Stonehouse BC went down 3-6 to EKRR Youth who now sit on nine points, level with Holytown Colts in fourth. Westwood Rovers got their second win of the season when Milan BC visited, the match finished 9-2 and Rovers now find themselves in ninth place.
The managerial merry-go-round in the professional game each season suggests that improving a team in a short space of time is never easy. Implementing a new philosophy, however, takes even longer, and many a coach has been sacked prematurely due to suffering from an adaptation period. At youth level though, coaches are still allowed to work properly, which has paid dividends for Motherwell Girls FC 15s.
Adam Shaw has been at the club for three years, taking his 13s side up to 15s and 11-a-side matches. Reflecting on the development he has observed so far, the coach said: "In that period of time, the majority has been massive. When I first joined, no disrespect to the girls, they couldn't really pass a ball to be honest with you and they'll more than admit that themselves. But everything they've put in in the last three years, just the attitude, the commitment, has been ideal and you can see that in the performances now. They're starting to gel, they're starting to become a good football team, they're starting to become good friends on and off the park which makes life so much easier for you as a football team."
In a sense, 15s vice-captain Lauren Simpson embodies this development. A late bloomer, she only started playing football three years ago and, after a few positional changes, now fancies herself as a ball-playing centre back. Talking to Youth Football Scotland, Simpson echoed her coach’s statements about the team’s development when asked about how things have gone so far in the season: "Actually they've gone quite well. In our first season, halfway through the season, we moved up to the highest league and I think we got one point out of 18. This season, we've only lost two games with four games to go, so, a big improvement."
While saying that the girls "worked really hard during [their] breaks", she put a lot of that positive development down to the coaching team of Shaw and Maxine McCrindle: "For all of us, I think they've helped a lot, because when I started I had never really played football, and they improve very, very much. I could never really kick a ball, really. The two of them have improved together, they've learned to work together and have obviously helped us out lots."
It has been an eventful three years for Simpson, who admits starting so late was "hard, very hard" and came to training just to try it out: "I think I saw it on the internet or something and my mum said, ‘Do you want to go along?’ and I said, ‘Why not?’. I expected to last a week, and that's it, just go a week."
Commenting on her role in the team, she said: "I've been told that I can read the game very well, so if I sit back a bit, I can see where the play is going to go.You can see the whole game, so it's much better [playing at the back]."
Simpson has also been appointed vice-captain for her good communicational skills and key position on the park. She described herself as "loud and communicative", a leader on the pitch who "speaks out and organises a bit".
Listening to her coach talk about his influences, it is no surprise Simpson is quite a refined, modern centre back: "I'm a big fan of watching Arsenal and Barcelona, so just passing and possession football. I love how they get the ball out through the back. I've always said to the girls if we lose a goal from trying to play football, then it won't bother me, because at that age you can't discourage young players from trying to play football. Girls and boys of this age, they need to learn how to play football first and foremost before results."
And Simpson clearly enjoys that style of play: "It makes it a lot more enjoyable because you're not just playing for a win, you're playing to play football. Yes, I think that the way we've played football has made us closer as a team and I think that it has really worked."
In terms of administration and organising the club, Shaw is quick to point to the support he gets from his fellow coach and Motherwell FC: "I'm quite lucky because Maxine, the other coach, she does the majority of that for me, so it's just a case of me of getting the footballs and the cones in. I get to do more stuff on the football part, but I do help a hand and it's a lot easier, the club help us a lot. Motherwell feel that if you build a pathway, you get more faces in the game, so they're very supportive towards us, especially, and they're starting to do that towards other clubs that are coming up."
However, as Shaw points out, significant progress in promoting the women’s game has been made already: "Back then when I first joined, it was only 13s, 15s and there wasn't even a ladies team. There were just 13s, 15s, when I first joined three years ago, now the club have got a minor side, under-11s, under-13s, 15s, 17s, and we've now got a ladies team and are looking to make the step of a reserve team as well, so you can see that it's a work in progress but the club are building for the future."
Shaw and nine of his current players, including Simpson, will move up to the17s next year and are looking forward to further improvements.
Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy is the shining light of football schools, having produced players such as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Bayern’s Thiago, Arsenal's Mikel Arteta and Thiago Motta of Paris Saint Germain, among many others. All of these players share not only a way of seeing and playing the game, but also a professionalism that makes them stand out in a world where footballers seem to be put on a higher pedestral every day.
The Drumsagard Football Academy, founded in 2009, holds similar beliefs to its hugely famous relative. Having started with only a dozen kids, it has seen a meteoric rise in player numbers, with more than 250 on its books now.
John Love, chairman and founding member of the academy, outlined its vision: "The philosophy basically is to get kids to play football, get them away from the PlayStations, the TVs, to get them out. We try to teach them to play proper football: The ball on the ground, passing and moving."
Drumsagard under-16s captain Joe Dickson agreed, explaining how his team "work from the back, keep the ball on the deck and, as the opportunity opens up, make sure to get a shot away quite quickly".
In his short stint at Barcelona, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was surprised at the modesty and professionalism of his new teammates, values that are fostered at La Masia. Equally, education at Drumsagard is also not just limited to football. Love commented: "We've had boys who've had problems at school and everything else. But every kid is told at a young age that they still represent Drumsagard if they're at school or outside, so the behaviour and the discipline have got to be good, or they wouldn't be a part of the club. And we've got feedback from the schools and from the police as well, saying that the behaviour of some of the kids that were unruly before is quite a turnaround."
Young central midfielder Joe Dickson seems to have taken the academy’s philosophy on board and is keen to act as a role model for the other players. Talking about his role as a captain, he underlined the "good team spirit", while revealing that he offers his teammates "a bit of advice" on and off the pitch.
Last year’s campaign proved very successful for the academy. Their 2003s and 2000s won international tournaments in Holland, with the latter team also winning their league and league cup. Additionally, their 2001s won the Glasgow Cup, while the 2002s also won their league. Drumsagard will be particularly proud of its newest team, the 2007s, who only suffered one defeat in the whole year.
Despite all of these successes, Love said the priority was education rather than silverware: "We insisted on the kids playing football, but playing it in a correct way. Trophies are just a bonus. I've got several trophies in the house, as has every coach that runs an age group, they've all won trophies at tournaments, or in preseason, throughout the years. But trophies are only a bonus. If you get three players that make professional football, your job as a club is done. As I said, it's about them playing a certain style of football, and trophies are only a bonus, as long as the kids are playing with a smile on their faces and are enjoying it."
Still, not putting pressure on the players to win trophies does not inhibit their willingness to do so; rather, it helps them find intrinsic motivation to do well. Dickson showed this when talking about his aims for the new season:
"Well, we’ve moved into a new league, so we want to win that league and win as many cups as we can, especially the Scottish and Regional."
Keen to continue the academy’s rapid progress, the chairman then detailed his plans for the next years: "Every year we'll start a new academy team, so they'll be coming through as future players for the under-21s, so everything will be done in-house and we'll keep going to tournaments abroad and in Britain and see how we go from there. Hopefully, in the future we'll have a few players playing professional football saying they came through the Drumsagard Football Academy."
If some of their players do make it as professionals, there is no doubt that they will play their football in the right mindset and the right way.
Riverside Athletic came back from one-nil down to win a dramatic encounter against Stirling City at Haws Park in Bridge of Allan.
In a tight first half, Athletic began the game on the wrong foot. With 25 minute played, they found themselves a goal behind when a City forward coolly slotted home from the penalty spot after being brought down in the box.
Half time: Riverside Athletic FC 0 Stirling City FC 1
After the interval, however, Athletic grit their teeth, started the second half with a bit more urgency and got their reward after 15 minutes. A good corner by Jordan White found Adam Sharp on the edge of the box, who then fired a fine shot beyond the otherwise excellent City goalkeeper.
Athletic were well on top afterwards, playing the better football, and it eventually paid off as they went ahead 10 minutes later through a brilliant solo effort by Garry Laird.
Despite further chances for both teams, the home side managed to hold out for a well-deserved victory which put them up to ninth place in the league table.
Full time: Riverside Athletic FC 2 Stirling City FC 1
Aaran Blackley again played well as stand-in goalkeeper for Athletic and there were good performances from Callum Peebles and Aarron Stevenson at the back.
The man of the match award goes to Luke Forsyth, who had another solid performance on the left.
Bargeddie Colts are a youth football club playing out of Bargeddie in the Monklands area of Lanarkshire and are playing their last year of non-competitive football in the Soccer Sevens. This year the club will be building their squad and developing the team to compete in the full 11-a-side version of the game. Youth Football Scotland managed to grab a word a word with 2004s coach Alan Kelly and youth player Ruaridh Howat during our recent Open Night at Glasgow's Woodside Hall.
Commenting on last season, Kelly said: “We had a decent season last year and the boy’s done really well, but our main aim is to develop their skills. We have also taken part in a football tournament in Blackpool, this time last year and in Easter.
“The boy’s done well and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Last August we reached the semi finals and in Easter we won four and lost two of our games.”
Coach Kelly is looking forward to an important season ahead for his team. “We have actually already started our season and won our first two matches and we are about to head down to Blackpool over the bank holiday weekend for another football tournament. Everyone is really excited. Our football is non-competitive but the boys still like to do well in everything they do.”
Kelly’s main aim for the coming season, he says, is “to get everyone ready for entering full 11-a-side football next August and after this tournament in Blackpool is out of the way, we plan to build up the current numbers of our squad. We currently have ten boys playing for us and obviously that’s not enough, so we will be recruiting new players to develop for the next season’s 11-a-side team.”
Bargeddie Colts player Ruaridh Howat told YFS about his favourite part of being involved with Bargeddie Colts. “I just love playing football and the atmosphere at the Colts is really good and since being there I’ve met plenty of friends," he said. "My friend from home played at the Colts and one day I went along hoping to join my friend in the older side. There were not any places available, so Alan asked if I would like to play with the 2004s and so I did.”
Howat was enthusiastic about the prospect of new boys joining the team. “I know that we need new players joining us for next year, they should come along and join as it is fun and can be a good laugh with the rest of the boys in the team.”
Since YFS spoke to Kelly and Howat, the boys at Bargeddie Colts gave a good account of themselves at the BJFF tournament in Blackpool, remaining unbeaten until the quarter-finals where they were defeated on penalties.