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Thursday, 05 May 2016 20:41

Watch: Seafar Villa Blue v Carbrain BC Sky U17

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Highlights from an incredible game of football at Ravenswood Playing Fields in the Cumbernauld & Kilsyth DYL D2.

The Holland Cup is an international youth football tournament held in Almere, just east of Amsterdam and organised by FC Almere. The event, held over the Easter period, is widely regarded as a leading youth football tournament in Europe and has been run annually for over twenty-five years. Around two thousand teams from twelve countries compete across the various age groups of the event, which is eventually split into the Challenge Cup and the prestigious Holland Cup. One such team who has participated in the tournament, not once but twice, is East Stirling Boys 2002s. Roddy MacPhee, one of the coaches at East Stirling Boys, spoke exclusively to YFS, to share their experience.
MacPhee said: “Our aim from when we started 11-a-side was to develop the boys as best we could, not just in football but in life with experiences such as winning, losing, discipline, friendship, and hard work, so we researched the European tournaments. The Holland Cup was highly regarded and recommended so we felt that taking part in the competition, regarded as the best on the continent, was the one for us. That way we knew we were going to test the team and give them new boundaries to work within.”
East Stirling Boys sailed over for the tournament last year, and the side were pleasantly surprised to win the Challenge Cup. MacPhee noticed the benefits of the experience in his side instantly. “The experience they gained was visible almost straight away through their maturity, understanding and willingness to help and look after each other and the way they converse with adults and coaches.  It is extremely satisfying to see them celebrate and be so happy- to see them enjoy tangible success.”
He added: “It’s easy to forget they are only 13 and 14 years of age, children, and we expect so much from them. But without question having experience of playing abroad, competing, winning, taking responsibility for themselves and each other, with the pride in their club is standing them in good stead for the future.”
Already, the team have shown how much they have grown from the experience. The side returned to Holland this year with aspirations of qualifying for the Holland Cup. MacPhee said: “Last year, playing and winning the Challenge Cup in Amsterdam gave them such a different mindset to go and compete in the Holland Cup this year. They were more confident and while last year they had trepidation, this year was excited nervousness with a determination to do well and a belief they belonged there.”
Not only did the Falkirk-based side manage to qualify for the top trophy, but they finished third in their age group, in which seventy-two teams from twelve European countries competed. Out of the seventy-two teams, East Stirling were delighted to finish third, winning their third versus fourth place play-off after losing 2-1 in the semi-final to what MacPhee described as a "powerful French side".
In addition to the tournament, the boys had the opportunity to experience an international football match. MacPhee said, “To further the experience of being in Holland we decided to take everyone on a trip along to the Amsterdam ArenA on the Friday evening to watch Holland v France in a Euro 2016 warm-up match.
"We had great seats and the boys had a fantastic time, laughing and joking around with each other while watching international players play, trying to garner knowledge they could apply to their own game.”
The boys also had some time to explore Amsterdam city centre and MacPhee described it as "a great trip all round."
As the season draws to a close, there are still aims to fulfil with the side hoping to continue their successful runs in the domestic cups and finish in the top three in the league. MacPhee added, “While we currently sit 5th in the league having played fewer games than everyone else due to our cup demands we hope to start making progress in our ambitions for a top 3 finish in the coming weeks.”
Club manager, Jim Callaghan, also shared his pride for the Falkirk-based side, and his belief in their ability. “It’s a huge pleasure to be the manager of this fantastic group of players who every single week show their commitment. They train hard and enjoy being part of East Stirling Galaxy so much. We have great facilities at Little Kerse that helps us in our preparations.
"They are a joy to be around and while they keep me and all the coaches on our toes they are a great group of boys. We obviously give up our time to coach and encourage them, but the reward we get is watching them play and be successful and without doubt they have created some great moments each and every one of us will never forget.”
MacPhee acknowledged the importance of the support that the team and coaches receive from the parents. “We are extremely fortunate to have supportive and understanding parents who are as determined to see the whole team be successful and happy as the coaches are. It would be remiss of us not to acknowledge the support we receive from parents and grandparents that not only wish to see their own successful but to see the support they give to all our boys.”
Hopefully East Stirling Boys 2002’s can use their experience from Holland to fulfil their aims during the remainder of the season and have many more fantastic experiences in the future.
Thursday, 31 March 2016 11:51

Video snapshot: Mossend Easter Festival 2016

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Video snapshot from the 2016 Mossend Easter Festival.

Fixture: Motherwell FC Community
Competition: Cumbernauld & Kilsyth DYL - Under 16
Date: Sunday 20th March 2016
Jim Baxter Memorial under 16's visited Motherwell Community, the only undefeated side in the Cumbernauld & Kilsyth DYL this season. Motherwell were also the only side not to concede a league goal this campaign, but JBM were in free scoring mode this season. Could they be the team to unlock the Motherwell back line?

After a very dominant performance last week without scoring as many goals as they would of liked, JBM knew they wouldn't have as much of the ball this time around as Motherwell are a good possession side.

The game was less than two minutes old when the deadlock was broken. JBM forced the Motherwell left back to concede a corner, and from the corner, Hamilton rose highest to bullet a header into the back of the net.

Motherwell were shell shocked and were now aware that JBM meant business. Every time that Motherwell got the ball in midfield, the tireless twosome of Malone and Mitchell were constantly closing down and winning the ball back for JBM.

JBM were dominating the early stages of the game and increased their lead midway through the first half. Mitchell gathered the ball forty yard from goal, and danced his way through the Motherwell challenges, and as he reached the edge of the box he superbly curled his effort out of the reach of the keeper and into the bottom corner.

Motherwell came out all guns blazing, looking to get themselves back into the game. The back four of the visitors stood firm however and never looked troubled. JBM increased the lead to 3-0 after Malone had been fouled inside the penalty area. The referee awarded the penalty and luckily for the defender he was only given a yellow card. With the usual penalty takers on the bench, Munro stepped up with confidence and great composure to slot the ball into the bottom corner.

Just before half time, Motherwell were awarded a penalty themselves. A much disputed one I must say but we just get on with it. Goalkeeper Sanderson was unlucky not to save it as the power was just too much for him.

Half Time: Motherwell Community 1-3 Jim Baxter Memorial

The second half kicked off and immediately is was evident to see that the Motherwell players had received the proverbial rocket up their posterior and came out looking like a different team. However, once again this was no match for the JBM defence who continued to win every challenge, every 50/50 ball, and were composed in their defending.

Motherwell were beginning to get frustrated and the referee had to hand out a few yellow cards here and there, and they were eventually reduced to ten men midway through the second half.

JBM continued to contain Motherwell, hitting on the break and where exceedingly unlucky not to add to the lead after McChesney fed an excellent ball to Davenport who was unlucky to see his chance just go wide.

The game was mostly being played in the Motherwell half of the pitch with JBM showing their dominance. Dalziel then fed McChesney with a superb reverse ball and put him in one on one with the defender but the attack fizzled out after some good defending from Motherwell.

With second remaining on the clock, JBM won a free kick thirty yards from goal. Set piece specialist Dalziel stepped up but the keeper saved his superb effort low down in the bottom corner.

That was that, and the performance from the JBM boys was excellent. They should superb discipline from the first whistle to the last despite being on the receiving end from a few heavy Motherwell challenges. The home side conceded their first goals in the league this season and suffered their first defeat also. Great JBM performance.

Full Time: Motherwell Community 1-3 Jim Baxter Memorial

Man of the match: Rennie Hamilton

In the words of Willie Dalziel, "Forza JBM".


Fixture: Jim Baxter Memorial v Campsie Black U16
Competition: Cumbernauld & Kilsyth DYL
Venue: Broadwood 3G
Date: Sunday 13th March 2016
Jim Baxter Memorial faced up against Campsie Black and were looking to solidify their position at the top of the table. The home side had to work extremely hard against a very organised Campsie team, however JBM had enough in the tank to take all three points.
For the majority of the first half, JBM looked very comfortable and some of the football being played was a joy to watch. JBM took the lead twenty minutes into the match after relentless pressure. Dalziel delivered the perfect corner to the back post, and with Hamilton losing his marker he found some space to bullet his header into the back of the net, giving the goalkeeper no chance. It was Hamilton's first ever goal for the club.
The domination from JBM continued but they couldn't find that second goal. McChesney and Dalziel were working hard up front, but they weren't being presented with many opportunities.
As half time approached, Campsie equalised after a mix up in the JBM defence. The visitors won a free kick 40 yards out, and it was delivered into the heart of the penalty area. Goalkeeper Sanderson came to claim it, but mis-judged the flight of the ball, and as he was caught underneath it. As he tried to rescue this situation, he unfortunately couldn't claw the ball back and it flew in just underneath the crossbar.
Half Time: Jim Baxter Memorial 1-1 Campsie Black
A couple of half time changes for Jim Baxter Memorial, to try and break down a stubborn Campsie side. Cunningham replaced the hard working Mitchell and Bailey Milne, JBM's newest signing making his debut, replaced the impressive Davenport.
The second half kicked off but it took the players a good ten minutes to get back into full flow. Most of the second half was played in the Campsie half, with league leaders JBM showing their dominance, but just couldn't find the final ball to allow McChesney or Dalziel any opportunity despite their excellent movement to find space.
With twenty minutes to go, the JBM coaches decided to gamble and introduce Malone and Gray to replace Dalziel and McChesney who had ran themselves in to the ground. The game continued again with JBM pushing for the winner but Campsie were holding firm and defending really well.
With the game heading towards the final whistle, one penultimate attack was launched by JBM. The ball broke to Milne on the left hand side, and he whipped a delightful ball into the box, which the Campsie keeper few out towards, but he couldn't gather, and Gray was on hand to pounce on the loose ball and burst the back of the net.
That was to be the last chance of the game, and much to the relief of everyone involved as far as JBM's concerned, they got the win they deserved.
Full Time: Jim Baxter Memorial 2-1 Campsie Black
Many people would thing winning 2-1 meant the game was an even contest. That is far from the real story of the match however as the Jim Baxter Memorial boys deserved a lot more, but couldn't find that cutting edge in front of goal. Campsie defended well to their credit, but JBM more than worth their win. Every player gave 100% on the pitch and left nothing behind.
Friday, 04 March 2016 17:37

Watch: Gartcairn FA Winter Festival highlights

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Highlights from the sixth annual Gartcairn Football Academy Winter Festival, sponsored by Health Rewards.
Thursday, 03 March 2016 16:40

Watch: Coatshill FC v Mill United Colts U14s

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Video highlights from the Lanarkshire FDA tie at Hamilton Palace, courtesy of BroPro Studios.
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 12:37

Watch: Stenhousemuir FC v Alva Swifts U17

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Highlights from the Forth Valley FDA clash between title challengers Stenhousemuir and Alva Swifts at Ochilview Park.
- Sir Alex backs proposal to give Dunblane SC a new 3G home
- He has written to the Provost Robbins, stating the positive role the club has
- Judy Murray has also been involved in the plan and its support
Former Manchester United and Aberdeen manager Sir Alex Ferguson has thrown his support behind Judy Murray's proposals for a state-of-the-art sporting complex which would give Dunblane Soccer Club a brand new 3G home. 
Ferguson, who began his illustrious career in football as a young player at Harmony Row YC in Glasgow, whose own ground is now named after the club's most famous son, has written to Stirling Council's Provost Michael Robbins calling on local councillors to approve plans to construct new indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a golf course and all-weather astroturf football pitch at the Park of Keir site between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan.
A meeting of the council's planning board will consider the proposals, drawn up by Judy Murray, mother of world-class tennis stars, recent Davis Cup champions and local heroes Andy and Jamie, and Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie, on Tuesday the 8th of December.
The plans, to which some locals have objected for its intrusion upon the nearby countryside, also include housing and a hotel. For supporters, however, not least Dunblane SC and their powerful ally Ferguson, the potential development represents a unique opportunity to transform the provision and quality of sporting facilities in the area.
In his letter to Provost Robbins, Ferguson expressed his "strong support" for the plans, writing: "Dunblane Soccer Club already plays a huge role in the lives of almost three hundered young people, but despite that the club has no home ground and has constantly struggled to find local pitches to use. Surely the club deserves its own home and a new all-weather pitch as proposed at Park of Keir."
Like many clubs throughout Scotland, especially at this time of year, Dunblane SC has faced extreme difficulty in ensuring scheduled matches go ahead on notoriously waterlogged surfaces, including at the town's Laighhills park. This weekend all Forth Valley FDA matches were postponed due to the bad weather.
Noting the tennis and golfing components to the plans, which developers argue will help breed the next generation of Scottish sporting stars close to the hometown of Scotland's two Wimbledon champions, Ferguson added: "The Stirling area will have its very own world-class 'golden triangle' of new sports facilities at Park of Keir that can help give future generations their own lifelong love of sport.
"I do hope that Stirling Council will take the right decision for the right reason."
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 00:00

Flooding runs riot at Riverside FC

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- Riverside FC in Bridge of Allan was severely affected by the winter flooding of last year.
- Their pavilion was flooded, despite the fact it sits 6-8 feet above the pitches.
- Club now seriously considering the option of relocating according to Ian.
In the winter of 2015 not only was Scotland inundated with stormy weather, but the floodwater that followed found its way to affect the beautiful game too. Carlisle United's ground was flooded beyond recognition, while Riverside FC in Bridge of Allan had a similar experience. YFS sat down with Chairman Ian Anderson. 
Q: The club was hit by flooding after Storm Desmond battered Scotland, what was it like to see the weather close in knowing the club would be affected? 
Ian Anderson: Knowing the issue we have with the Allan Water we are always on alert when the forecast is for prolonged heavy rain. Generally we try to rearrange games as early as possible but very often alternative pitches are already full and games have to be postponed. 
Q: How was the club affected by the recent floods?
IA: Games were postponed and the pavilion was flooded, with loads of silt deposited up the walls despite the fact the pavilion sits 6-8 feet above the pitches. Our office was flooded.  Our car park at the site is in poor repair too and the flood water has done further damage to the surface 
Q: How high did the water rise? What damage was done to the pavilion?
IA: We have had this happen previously so do what we can to minimise damage.  The pavilion is concrete floors and block walls so no permanent structural damage was done on this occasion, but the carpet in the office may have to be replaced. The container where we keep our goalposts and training kit was also flooded but nothing was permanently damaged – it just created a mess.
Q: What does this mean for the club going forward?
IA: For the club going forward we need to think seriously if we should relocate and, if so, where we could go.  We had an option to take a long term lease at Haws Park, but to do that we would also have to take responsibility for all of the costs of repair to the pitches and pavilion for any damage arising, in addition to the running costs of the facility.  That would include repairing flood damage, which is potentially open ended, and as a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers, we just cannot take on that potential liability.  The alternative financial model for using the Haws Park facility is that our youth teams pay £250 per annum to the Council and around £25 per game, while adult teams pay £400 pa and around £35 per game. This is not value for money for us at the moment - flooding events do seem to be happening more often, and we will also struggle to use the pitches in January / February if there is a prolonged cold spell with frozen ground.  One alternative that we try to use is to book local 3G pitches – but this is expensive and there is a lot of demand for these pitches due to the number of teams in the Stirling area.  Our Under 19s that I am involved with has paid its annual fee and we have only managed to play 1 home game at Haws Park. Could we afford to play all games on 3G? - probably not. The Club Committee is discussing the future of the club and our home location regularly but there will be no easy answer. 
Q: What work-around solutions have the club created to get around the flooding?
IA: The only work around we can have is to try and forecast in advance and book 3Gs where possible. We do make use of the local 3G parks for matches, but these are expensive when added alongside the costs of midweek training sessions on these facilities. Funding teams is an ongoing problem.
Q: Has the community rallied around the club? 
IA: Riverside were originally formed in the Riverside area of Stirling in 1989. We later relocated to The Kings park pitches but about 10 years ago we got the chance to relocate to Bridge of Allan. The town is not large and many of our players are from surrounding areas. We are trying to develop our links with all of the local schools and also provide regular updates to the Community Council. They have been very supportive and this is greatly appreciated. One of our challenges is to try and embed the Club further into the Community and hopefully through that we will be able to get some additional financial support through sponsorship. I was brought up in Bridge of Allan and the local team was Strathallan Hawthorn. In those days quite large crowds attended games but I do realise that things have changed. 
Q: What is the club doing to protect itself against future flooding?
IA: There is nothing we can do other than keep our office materials and training equipment above the flood line – our pitches are on the flood plain for the Allan Water and the cost of stopping it flooding would be considerable. When the river floods it can be half a mile wide from Cornton Road accross to the railway line.
Q: If anyone would like to help, how can they?
IA: There is little that can be done to stop the river flooding, although we do believe there will be some community council led work in spring 2016 to clear some of the vegetation from local burns feeding the river, which may help to allow flood water to dissipate more quickly.  The car park surface is a real issue, with major potholes and related damage to cars using it, so we will need to find a solution to get this resurfaced this year if there is any way to do that.  Other than these areas, which really need council support, our wider support needs as always are to get volunteer assistance with running teams and financial assistance with the costs of running the club.