View Photo Gallery | Discuss the Match | Create a Souvenir Newsprint
I am starting this match report with words from Currie BC assistant coach, Jim Clark. This excellent role model to younger men said: “Thanks for your coverage of the game between ourselves and Linlithgow. The response we had from the players in the second half was exceptional. We started late this year as we were desperately trying to put a coaching team in position to take the boys to under 19s. To me it appeared that the level of fitness turned out to be the difference, something we coaches have been working hard on."
Clark continued: "I agree with your view though that some of the football from Linlithgow was excellent but as the game progressed Currie more than matched them. The movement for our second and equalising goal makes you feel proud to be involved in youth football. Paul Bell joined the coaching team this year from Merchiston and his enthusiasm for the game is being expressed through the guys excellent start to the season. Thanks again for your coverage and could I take you up on your offer for a set of the pictures you took?”
In keeping with a super Scottish under-19 tie, lovely, accurate words from Jim Clark. This game did indeed ‘come alive’ in the second half, after a great show of passing football from Linlithgow Rose in the first half and their reward came when they scored two really good goals to lead 2-0 at the break.
Then the big Currie side took over, but more of that further on. The football from the visiting side in the first half had to be seen to be believed and it was, for me, another game I usually only dream of seeing. Scottish footballers full of talent and vision. Wonderful for me to see it happen. Currie defended as if their very existence depended on keeping Linlithgow from scoring and goalkeeper, Grant Steele, was outstanding. So too were the Currie back four and I particularly liked the attitude of these young players who went on to play such an important part in the success of their club.
Linlithgow, I have to say, missed four great chances in the first half, all from the left and indeed all 1-to-1 with Currie’s magnificent keeper, Grant Steele. Possibly, I should rename that part of the glorious synthetic pitch at Meggetlland as ’amen corner’! It was not all one-way traffic in the first half and Currie did have their moments as well, but the better football came from Linlithgow. So much skill and flair from where I was watching from on the sidelines. But it took the West Lothian combine until well in to the first half of a game brilliantly controlled by young Callum Doyle before they managed to put the ball past Grant Steele. It was a very good goal at that. A tremendous shot rebounded off a post and Harry Bennett, one of many very good young players in the Rose ranks, was well placed to stick the ball in to the Currie Star net and Linlithgow were, at last, a goal in front.
I had the feeling that the home side were starting to ‘wake up’ but they lost another goal before half time, with Michael Adams on the mark and the Linlithgow No 6 scored a terrific goal to put his side in to a good 2-0 lead. Adams, I must say, looked a very good player throughout this cup tie.
Half Time: Currie Boys 0-2 Linlithgow Rose CFC
So, two-nil down on the restart and I wondered if Currie could up the pace and take the game to Linlithgow. YES THEY DID! Gradually, I have to say, but as time wore on and Linlithgow appeared to run out of ideas, so too did Currie improve. It wasn’t a great science to realise that a goal for the home side would transform the game. AND IT DID! The game was perfectly poised well in to the second half and Currie did struggle a wee bit but Kieran Milligan changed all that when he finished a move on the left off expertly with a well-taken goal to make it 2-1.
I suppose most of those reading this report will know what came next! Another goal for Currie and it was not just ‘any old goal’ at that, in fact a tremendous striker from Lee Watt and the ball went in off the inside of the left-hand post. WHAT THE HELL HAD HAPPENED TO LINLITHGOW ROSE? They were a pale shadow of the team that played so well in the first half, but just as important was the raised profile of Currie BC. What do goals bring - CONFIDENCE! And that was certainly true for the Edinburgh club!
The closing minutes of the second half were riveting and Linlithgow, to their credit, tried to get back in front, but they had lost the shape they had in the first half - why was Fraser Law (who played so well wide on the right) substituted for example? Ah, well, I am not a coach, so I am in no position to criticise, am I? Whatever, a change of position for Currie Star No 3, big, powerful Alex Smith, was equally important to what followed.
Full Time: Currie Boys 2-2 Linlithgow Rose CFC
The game went to the dreaded ‘extra time’ and the proverbial ‘roof fell in’ on Linlithgow! In their opening raid on the Linlthgow goal, Currie were awarded a penalty and Fraser Clark (gleefully) rammed the spot-kick past excellent Linlithgow keeper, Jordan Hamilton, to put the Edinburgh club in front for the first time in the game.
There was only one winner from then on, in my opinion and that was Currie BC. Linlithgow had lost the pace of the game and they just could not match the fitness levels of their opponents, who also looked a totally different side from their listless performance in the first half. Trailing by a goal, Linlithgow were forced to ‘chase the game’ and how they were made to pay by Currie BC. It took Kieran Milligan two attempts to beat Jordan Hamilton and that goal made it 4-2 for Currie BC.
Hard to take, I think, for the Linlithgow contingent but all hope was lost when Fraser Butler scored a fifth and final goal for the home side. The amazing turnaround in this Scottish Under-19 Cup tie was complete and Currie, rightly, celebrated a wonderful fight back, while Linlithgow must still be wondering where it all went so wrong. Missed chances galore; a change in shape in the team; or the upsurge in confidence in the Currie team, possibly the move to put Alex Smith in the centre of defence, take your pick!
What really marked this game as being wonderful to watch was the sportsmanship from both sides at the finish. Dare I say it again ‘a great day for youth club football’! Here are the names of the players who made it so special, and thanks to the young people from Linlithgow who spoke to me with such politeness, in particular one articulate young man from South Africa and goalkeeper, Jordan Hamilton.
Final Result: Currie Boys 5-2 Linlithgow Rose CFC (AET)