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Tuesday, 08 March 2016 00:00

Holytown Colts celebrate 40th anniversary

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- Holytown Colts were founded in 1976, meaning this year they celebrate their 40th anniversary.
- The club now has 17 sections, over 350 players, and 60 qualified coaches.
- As part of the celebrations, the club has designed a new badge and will be holding a special ball this year.
2016 is a huge year for the players and coaches of football club Holytown Colts YC as this year they celebrate a massive milestone after their founding date in 1976. Holytown compete in the South Lanarkshire league with a massive 17 sections of the club ranging from three to five year olds (mini Colts) all the way up to aged 35 plus, known as "Football for All. Football for Life". In its 40 years the club now has over 350 registered players and 60 qualified coaches. Also in the last year the club has received the Standard, Development and Community Awards from the Scottish FA.
Holytown certainly have been busy the last few months in the lead up to this monumental occasion. In June the club held their third annual tournament which is growing in stature in the grassroots game. Over 1000 kids took part over the weekend event. Also a foodbank was held which turned out to be a massive success. 
The club also partnered up with the Scottish FA for the "UEFA’s Captains for Change programme". This has resulted in various meetings with the local mosque to discuss cultural issues.
In August, the Lanarkshire club held their first 11 a side tournament for the adult section which seen 16 teams participate which was great to see. Also with the new season approaching and having a massive 15 different sections at this point the club can be proud with how they are doing.
In September and October Holytown succeeded in getting another attempt up and running. With the under 9's and 2010 girls getting the go ahead to proceed. This now meant Holytown had an astonishing 17 sections. Holytown then got their first ever club photo at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility which all players and coaches attended.
November was a busy month for the club. The club was put towards two local primary schools to see how they can help them. As part of these discussions the club has donated £250 to each school to help buy sports equipment which is much needed. In addition they have agreed to go into each school in the new year and deliver some taster sessions for the nursery and primary one children.
More recently, in December Holytown they ran a foodbank from all the players to donate to a foodbank.  The club celebrate December by having parties for the youngsters also going paintballing and bowling.
For the anniversary the club have a few things planned. In April there will be the 40th anniversary Ball and for the younger ones there is a football tournament in June. In August there will be another 11 a side tournament following the success of last years first one. Holytown will also focus on the development of Keir Hardie.

Fixture: EDFC v Jim Baxter Memorial - Under 16
Competition: Cumbernauld & Kilsyth DYL
Venue: Broadwood
Date: Sunday 7th February 2016
Jim Baxter Memorial under 16's ran out resounding winners over EDFC in the Cumbernauld & Kilsyth DYL. Even without influential players Sanderson and Mitchell, the JBM players were more than convincing in victory.
As the game kicked off the horrendous weather seemed to subside slightly, but a JBM storm was brewing and blew EDFC away as the away side found themselves three goals up inside seven minutes. Dalziel scored all three, and it must be up there with Fowler & Lewandowski as one of the fastest hat-tricks of all time. Unfortunately EDFC were reduced to ten men as the defender had denied JBM an obvious goal scoring opportunity, which allowed Dalziel to score the second of his three early goals from the spot.
Goals seemed to be reigning in as much as the rain that fell from the large grey cloud over Broadwood. Rundell continued the scoring and made it four, and Malone got himself a double with two good finishes for goals five and six.
JBM rung the changes and immediately substitute McChesney was looking to prove to the coaches that he should of started the game as he grabbed himself a quick fire brace before firing an exceptional strike into the top corner to secure his hat-trick. Just before half time, debutant Munro got himself a goal from a fantastic solo effort.
Half Time: EDFC 0-9 Jim Baxter Memorial
As the second half kicked off JBM showed total control once again by keeping the ball for long periods of time but to no great affect in front of goal. However, after moving Davenport and McSharry up front and Dalziel to the right of midfield, the pressure on the EDFC goal was relentless.
McChesney scored his fourth with a great header from a corner and then another when Dalziel fed the ball into his path. Malone added the next one and McSharry again added to the scoring after a superb ball in from the left from Malone.
Munro was very unlucky again not to get his second with an outstanding run towards goal, and he again showed superb composure to get his shot away but somehow the keeper managed to pull off a stunning save onto the post to prevent Munro from grabbing a brace.
Malone then added another as a game of pinball took place in the 6 yard box, eventually he managed to tuck the ball home. The tireless efforts of Davenport in the game had not given him the personal reward he deserved until Dalziel fed him in on goal with a great pass and Davenport calmly rounded the goalkeeper to slot the ball home, and eventually put a smile on his face.A thoroughly strong and excellent performance from Jim Baxter Memorial.
Full Time: EDFC 0-9 Jim Baxter Memorial

Fixture: East Kilbride Caledonian Thistle FC v West Park United U13
Competition: Central Region Cup - Round 3
Venue: Ballerup Pitches, East Kilbride
Date: Sunday 24th January 2016
At the third attempt, due to fixtures being postponed due to bad weather the previous weekends, West Park travelled to East Kilbride to face Caledonian Thistle from the Lanarkshire FSA in their Round 3 match in the Central Region Cup.
It took both teams some time to get into their stride and deal with the windy, blustery conditions. The first half was a case of both sides trying to settle themselves back into a match rhythm. With the Christmas break and the recent match postponements, both teams will not have played a competitive match for about 5 weeks so it appeared players were a bit ‘rusty’ and took their time to find their passing range.
The first half was mainly a midfield battle, with both teams trying to gain the upper hand with play switching from half to half with little clear-cut chances for either side. Of those that did materialise, West Park had the best of these despite playing into the wind, but were unable to find the net.
West Park midfielder and captain Ryan Todd had a couple of long-range efforts that just went over the bar, whilst Rhys McNamee also had a couple of chances. The closest came when the EKCT keeper raced out to block a shot just inside the box after a great defence splitting pass had sent the West Park striker in on goal.
Half Time:  East Kilbride Caledonian Thistle  0-0 West Park United
A half-time change of formation and tactics for West Park were quickly rewarded with the opening goal in the first minute of the second half. The deadlock was broken by Ryan Todd, who raced through past the defence after a loose ball and finished well in a one-on-one with the East Kilbride keeper.
West Park started to regain their pre-break confidence, and now with the advantage of the wind behind them, started to create more chances to extend their lead. The second arrived 10 minutes later, after a brilliant run down the left wing by Ryan Todd, followed by a deft cut inside to his right and lofting an excellent shot into the far side of the goal for his 2nd goal of the game.
This lifted the spirits of West Park, and they continued to take control of this Cup match. The midfield stood up well to the expected East Kilbride fightback, with the defence also ensuring that any opportunities were kept to a minimum, and the goalkeeper Euan Murray collecting everything that came near him.
The third goal duly arrived 26 mins into the half, Ryan Todd forced the keeper into a great save with the ball ricocheting loose in the box which Rhys McNamee didn’t hesitate in following up and slotting home into the net.
West Park wrapped up the win four minutes later with a well worked team goal. Jamie Etherson intercepted a goal kick by East Kilbride, moving the ball forward quickly to Arren Molloy who played a lofted ball over the defence to Rhys McNamee, who cleverly kept himself onside and finished well in the opposite corner for his 2nd of the match and West Park’s fourth.
West Park emerged victorious and moved into the 4th Round of the Cup, where they face a long trip to Oban this Sunday (31st January) to play Oban Saints Youths for a quarter-final place.
Full Time:  East Kilbride Caledonian Thistle 0-4 West Park United
Friday, 22 January 2016 00:00

New position pushing on Brown at Motherwell

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Grassroots football in Scotland is developing at a rapid rate in recent years with what seems like a never-ending growth of new clubs and talented young players.
One such example is 14 year-old Dylan Brown who is the latest in a trend of highly promising footballers to emerge from the Scottish Grassroots scene. Currently plying his trade in the Motherwell youth academy, the Steelmen had to fight off fellow SPFL clubs Hearts, Rangers and St. Mirren in order to sign the young winger.
Dylan's footballing journey started at the age of six when his father Craig signed him up to Strathaven Dynamos. Having performed to a high quality with the Dynamos, he then went on to join Scotland Boys Club having been brought in by Operations Manager Richard Bullough.
“The help he [Dylan] got from the [Scotland] Boys Club shaped his start to pro-youth”, according to father Craig. “We always thought Dylan had something in him and a lot of people started to notice Dylan's ability.”
Brown then joined Rangers SABC, a boys club set up by members 
of the Rangers Supporters Association, and straight away became a regular for the U11's under manager Kyle Stewart. During his time at Rangers SABC, pro clubs from Scotland started taking an interest in Dylan. This was heightened when he scored in the Scottish League Cup final and helped the team to their second Scottish Cup final and went on to score in that final too.
Rangers, Hearts and St. Mirren were monitoring Dylan's progress closely but ultimately, he signed for Motherwell. Brown started off with Motherwell as a left winger where he was most comfortable previously. Dylan quickly found out the difference in quality of the opposition he was facing with Motherwell and he struggled at left wing. As a result, coaches Brian Kerr and Stevie Hamil pushed him further down the field and deployed Dylan as a left back.
The position change has been a revelation and he has improved his game ten-fold, although Dylan still has plenty to learn. As a natural attacker, his defensive game is something that Dylan needs improving, according to father Craig. Saying that, he has already been asked to play for Motherwell's U16's and U17's after only six months at the club which can only boost Dylan's morale.
Since joining Motherwell, Dylan has two main ambitions that he wants to achieve. The first one is to work his way through the ranks play for the Motherwell senior squad. The other is to represent Scotland at international level, ultimately at senior level, but would be delighted to represent them at any youth level. While he hasn't yet been called up for Scotland or for Motherwell's senior side, he is working hard and is determined to achieve his two main goals.
“Dylan realises he has been given a fantastic opportunity to become a footballer,” added father Craig. “He knows that he has to train hard and keep learning as he has only started on the road to what could happen.”
Monday, 11 January 2016 15:12

Kingsley makes Swans debut

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Former Falkirk FC defender, Stephen Kingsley, made his first-team debut for Swansea in their shock 3-2 defeat to Oxford United in the FA Cup yesterday. The left-back came on after an hour for Franck Tabanou when his side were already three goals down.
With his introduction, Bafétimbi Gomis grabbed a life-line for the Welsh side five minutes later and Kingsley himself tested the Oxford keeper after 87 minutes. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to save his from the embarrassment of the loss to the League Two side.
While a disappointing result for the club overall, it’s a moment that Stephen won’t forget after loan spells with both Yeovil Town and Crewe Alexandra in 2015. This appearance will hopefully usher in a positive 2016 for the young Scot. 
The player tweeted, “Devastated with the result today but glad to finally make my debut! Time to kick on now. Thanks for all the messages.”
Forth Valley Football Academy, a regional academy which includes Falkirk also tweeted, “Congratulations to ex @falkirkbairns player @stephokingsley making his debut yesterday for @SwansOfficial”.
Wednesday, 06 January 2016 12:10

A step up in standard? No problem for Blantyre

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"At the start of season, our aim was to progress as a club, create a better profile and compete with better teams".
Those the words of Blantyre Soccer Academy U14's head coach Stevie Owens as he looks to guide his side to bigger and better things this season. With a solid start being made, he predicts 2016 to be even better for the Blantyre boys.
The biggest achievement that Owens feels his team has made was reaching Round 5 of the Scottish Cup. A 3-2 win over Giffnock SC Red gave the team fantastic belief going into the last 16. A tough East Kilbride side stood in their way, and unfortunately for Blantyre couldn't take that next step to the quarter finals as they were beaten 3-0. "The Scottish Cup took priority this season for us, and despite the step up in the league standard, we wanted to go as far as we could go, and it was unbelievable", said head coach Owens.
The Blantyre revolving door has been in constant use this season so far with the changes to the squad have been the biggest problem for Owens. "We have went up a few levels in standard. Most of the boys have coped but it is always sad to see the ones that don't cope".
"Since the beginning of the pre-season there has been 6 or 7 new faces. My phone is certainly busier anyway. I look on this however as a sign the profile has really improved".
"The first half of the season has been absolutely fantastic! There have been a lot of highs and very few lows. Our league campaign had been on hold because of our adventures in the Scottish cup. If you had told me that at start of season I would have laughed"
A brilliant first half of the season for Blantyre Soccer Academy was topped off when they signed up to go to the Norway Cup in 2016 with Youth Football Scotland. "We can't wait to go to Norway. Just another way of raising the profile of this club".
Having volunteered in Grassroots Football for over a decade now, Jim Baxter Memorial Under 16's Head Coach William Dalziel is no stranger to the problems that can arise when you're thought of so highly in the game. With aspirations to pursue his dream of progressing as a coach, he moved on from his beloved Jim Baxter Memorial side 2 years ago, believing he had left them in safe hands.
At the end of the 2013/2014 season, the coaches that had taken over from Dalziel decided to disband the team that had been together since 2005, leaving the boys distraught. Dalziel heard the news, and in December of 2014 he returned to his first love, Jim Baxter Memorial to give these boys a football team again. Travelling the length and breadth of Scotland to get these boys a game was such a joy for Dalziel as no league association could take them halfway through a season. From Edinburgh to Greenock and Aberdeen to Ayrshire, it didn't matter where they went, it was all for the love of the game.
In July 2015 they joined the Cumbernauld & Kilsyth District Youth League, with the singular aim for William Dalziel of getting these boys back to enjoying their football. "We'll take every game as it comes", said Dalziel, who with no real targets other than development, sees his side sitting 1 point ahead of closest challengers Camelon Thistle in the B Division of the Cumbernauld & Kilsyth DYL.
The biggest test for the team so far came in the form of Milton FC in the Central Region Cup. The league leaders in the division above, it was to be no easy task for the Jim Baxter Memorial players, and with an outstanding display, they almost caused the upset of the entire compeition. Milton were put under immense pressure, but they showed resiliance and ran out 1-0 winners, leaving the Jim Baxter Memorial team with no shame what so ever.
Under the guidance of  wonder coach Dalziel, and his trusty right hand men Robert Hughes and Gordon Gray, the Jim Baxter Memorial under 16's have enjoyed a solid 2015 so far, and the only way is up for the team now. "Re-establishing this team was the right thing to do for the boys, and I want to inspire my players! Forza JBM".
Wednesday, 23 December 2015 10:05

Lenzie hold top spot with win over Gartsherrie

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Fixture: Gartsherrie Boys Club v Lenzie Youth Club
Competition: Cumbernauld & Kilsyth DYL U15 Division B
Venue: Coatbridge
Date: Saturday 19th December 2015
Lenzie held on to top spot in the league at Coatbridge on Saturday with a win over Gartsherrie. Gale force winds were providing tricky playing conditions, but the Lenzie players took their chances and piled relentless pressure on the home side from start to finish.
The pressure paid off early on when Cairney found Thomson with an exquisite pass, and the hitman rounded the onrushing Gartsherrie keeper and slotted the ball home from 6 yards out.
Ten minutes later and Lenzie's lead was doubled as Kinnell ran onto a Dudman pass to fire the ball into the net.
Gartsherrie pulled a goal back from the penalty spot just before the break to half the deficit, but only just as Lenzie stopper McQuillan got a hand on the spot kick, but it wasn't strong enough.
Half Time: Gartsherrie Boys Club 1-2 Lenzie Youth Club 
The second half seen Lenzie become more in control of the game and with the wind at their backs they fired numerous shots towards the Gartsherrie goal. Several chances fell to Tedeschi, Inglis & Elliot but they couldn't find their way to goal.
The home side to their credit threw everything forward, but Lenzie defenders Douglas, Craig, and Brown did well to prevent an equaliser.
With only ten minutes to play, striker Thomson sent Kinnell baring down on goal and he slotted the ball low into the net for the Lenzie's third goal of the match and to knock the wind out of the sails of the home side.
With their tails up, the confidence was oozing from the Lenzie players and substitute Routledge was unlucky as his shot from 18 yards flew inches wide of the post, and efforts from McMahon, Gilchrist, Kasubandi & Lother came close to increasing the lead.
Full Time: Gartsherrie Boys Club 1-3 Lenzie Boys Club
Tuesday, 22 December 2015 16:07

Cleland survive the storm to progress to the semi's

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Fixture: Kirkintilloch Rob Roy v Cleland Boys Club
Competition: Jackie Morton Memorial Cup 1/4 Final
Date: Saturday 19th December 2015
With the weather conditions providing a challenge for both sides, chances were at a premium as Cleland progressed to the Semi Final of the Janice Morton Memorial Cup with a 1-0 victory at Kirkintilloch Rob Roy.
Cleland were up against it before the game even started as with only thirteen players available, 2 of them were carrying injuries. Against all the odds the boys rose to the challenge to overcome a very good Kirkintilloch Rob Roy side.

The game started slowly with Rob Roy taking advantage of the wind and controlling the game early on. They were firing shots from distance that were testing Cleland keeper Craig Harvie but he was more than equal to them on many occasions.
As the half went on Cleland defended well against the fierce wind but nearly feel a god behind if it weren't for the crossbar coming to the rescue. Straight up the other end it was the visitors turn to hit the woodwork as Dominic Small hit the post from a great move. Connor Phairs and Greg Taylor also went close for the village men as the half ended a stalemate.
Half Time: Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 0-0 Cleland Boys Club

The second half began with Rob Roy on the front foot, but the Cleland back line of Jamie McNab, David Fagan, Declan Bell and Marc Cutler stood firm to protect their clean sheet.
The Cleland defenders eventually were given some rest bite as the visitors took the lead. Great trickery from Cleland's left winger Aiden Rooney, allowed him to drive into the box and square the ball for poacher Connor Phairs to stab the ball home and send the men from the village into dreamland.

The Cleland tails were up, and efforts from Rooney almost gave them a two goal cushion with limited time left in the game.
Rob Roy at this point had been nullified by the Cleland back line as the visitors created more chances. Good interplay between Connor Phairs and Reece Watson resulted in a header from Rooney that looked net bound  but only for the Rob Roy keeper to somehow pull off a world class save to prevent his side from going two nil down.
The energy levels were running low and eventually the referee signalled the end of the game to send the Cleland boys into raptures.
Full Time: Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 0-1 Cleland Boys Club
Cleland now face a trip to Rossvale Milan in the semi final. With the confidence booming from this victory, the belief is there and the final is in the sights.
• Bellshill club Mossend FC raise funds to build wells and supply football kits to people and Pakistan and Malawi. 
• They are also holding sessions in conjunction with Show Racism the Red Card. 
• Interview: Club Development Officer and Publicity Secretary Russell Sanderson
Bellshill, birthplace of legendary Manchester United manager Matt Busby and ex-Celtic captain and Lisbon Lion Billy McNeill, was once renowned as the home of some of the greats of Scottish football. But now, Mossend FC is putting the North Lanarkshire town back on the map with its pioneering, pro-active stance against discrimination and disadvantage.
In recent years, the club has worked relentlessly to eradicate prejudice and intolerance by bringing together local young people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Since working with a local mosque to encourage young players with a Muslim background to get involved with the club, Mossend’s charitable and community outreach programme has snowballed, taking their fight against injustice as far afield as Pakistan and Malawi. 
Club Development Officer and Publicity Secretary Russell Sanderson takes up the story. “We heard there were a lot of local children who were going to school, going to the local mosque and then going to football training, but training by themselves. What we wanted to do was to get them involved with us as the local football club.”
And so, they began holding training sessions aimed at local ethnic minority children which now hosts over 80 kids. The club now has plans to reach out to the local Polish community too.  
Mossend’s close association with Show Racism the Red Card (SRTRC) began when an ugly racist incident occurred at one of their games. Sanderson felt the club had to confront the issue. 
“It didn’t sit right with me, although the incident was dealt with at the time. Academy Director Paul McDonald and I approached SRTRC and arranged to hold an anti-discrimination workshop with our kids. The impact was immediate,” he said.
“Discrimination is completely unacceptable in society, never mind football. It is about educating young people, exposing stereotypes and prejudice.
“Our involvement is long term and we’re fully committed to the project of getting as many local people involved with the club no matter what race, religion or background.”
As the club’s horizons expanded, officials decided to partner with the Well Foundation, a Bellshill-based charity which builds wells and installs hand pumps to provide safe water to the world’s poorest and most isolated people. Players and parents raised funds to build two wells – to be named after the club – in deprived communities in Sindh province, Pakistan, where 50 degree heat and lethal droughts are common.  
“Mossend FC know that there are countries in the world that are living in abject poverty with no access to fresh, clean water. When we spoke to the Well Foundation we wanted to try and do what we could to help.
“It was brilliant to see the reaction and how much the kids bought into this.”
In addition, the club has also donated kit and equipment to impoverished children in Pakistan and Malawi. 
“I have passed some kits to Fahim Baqir [Chair of the Well Foundation] to get to Pakistan. Fahim is also travelling to Malawi to help reconstruct a school and he will take some more kits with him for the kids there. We see this as an incredible opportunity to use football to bring some happiness to kids in these countries.”