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National Competitions (531)

A stunning second half comeback from Hutchison Vale was enough for the Under 13s inspiresport Scottish Cup Final to head to Edinburgh in what was a great cup final for the neutral.

Cove Youth FCs route to the final involved wins over Middlefield Wasps, Lasswade Thistle, Kilwinning Rangers, Erskine Youth, Banks O'Dee Albion and Falkirk CFC.

Hutchison Vale beat Loanhead Miners, AM Soccer Club, Knightswood,Stenhousemuir, Eddlewood, Johnstone Burgh and Grassroots Development.

Hutchison Vale had the first big chance of the game when Tyrone Core raced clear of the Cove defence and his effort from the edge of the box evaded Cove goalkeeper Lloyd Sharp, however defender Calum Somers was there to block the shot off the line.

Cove went a goal ahead in the 25th minute. A good corner from Josh Robb from the left hand side came into the danger zone which tested the opposition defence and Liam Duthie was there four yards from goal to volley home and give Mark Robb's side a dream start.

The Aberdeen side kept at Hutchison Vale and a second goal arrived four minutes later when a Robb pass found Kasen Seed who produced a half volley which found the roof of the net past Vale goalkeeper Dean Brownlee.

It was turning into an entertaining final and Vale reduced the deficit, Core turned his marker getting the striker free on goal and the forward found the bottom left hand corner from 16 yards to put the Edinburgh side back into the game.

In the last of seven Scottish Cup finals of a marathon weekend, Longniddry Villa met Falkirk Foundation Blue in the eagerly anticipated 2003s final.

It was a fairy-tale moment for Longniddry to find themselves in the Scottish Cup final, their first, and they had certainly exceeded expectations, but they had more than deserved to be in the final.

In their run to the final, Longniddry had a relatively comfortable run, with wins including 7-2 over Portobello CFA in the second round and 5-2 over Stenhousemuir BC round four. However, the most difficult games came in the quarter final  against Celtic BC, which finished 2-2 after extra time and Longniddry prevailed 5-4 on penalties. In the semi-final they narrowly defeated Tynecastle 1-0 to reach the final.

Falkirk will also be delighted with their cup run, as they have juggled it with a successful league campaign so far in which they have only lost two games and sit third with games in hand.

Falkirk’s run was simlar to Longniddry in terms of their biggest challenge being in the semi-finals. The run included a 10-1 win over Wishaw in the first round and a 9-2 win over Musselburgh in round four. In the semi-final they were pushed all the way by Johnstone Burgh but prevailed 2-1 after extra time.

Longniddry kicked the game off, playing in light blue with Falkirk in all black, and the match began at a good pace as both sides wanted to set a marker down early.

Jack MacDonald, who looked lively early on, had the first strike of the afternoon for Longniddry but his left-footed strike sailed over the crossbar.

The first good chance of the match fell to Falkirk’s Euan Hunter who, after some great work from Liam Fagan to square the ball back, missed his shot completely from only eight yards out.

Despite this early chance for Falkirk, it was the team from East Lothian who started the match stronger, as they were dominating possession and causing their opponents problems.

After ten minutes Falkirk began to get a grip of the game and put some pressure on their opponents, winning three successive corners but nothing was to come of them.

Halfway through the first half and the game had become somewhat scrappy, as loose passes from both teams had resulted in the game simmering down.

A well worked free-kick from Longniddry on the edge of the box allowed Euan Donaldson some space on the left-hand side, but his cross was well punched away from Gregor Fullerton.

Longniddry produced another good opening and perhaps Aiden Walsh should have done better as his strike from only ten yards out was well saved by Fullerton.

From the resulting corner a flick on at the near post gave Matthew McMillan a great chance to open the scoring but he couldn’t quite reach the ball.

Longniddry’s good pressure at the end of the first half was rewarded as they took the lead five minutes before halftime. A mistake at the back from Falkirk resulted in MacDonald going clean through on goal, his initial effort was well saved by Fullerton but the ball fell to Ben Dixon who finished well to put his team in front.

Falkirk equalised only minutes later and it was a mistake from the Longniddry goalkeeper that handed them the goal. Michael Beattie’s long free-kick looked comfortable for Sam Capes but he dropped the ball onto Fagan who inadvertently equalised for his side.

In what was otherwise a quiet first half, it was a manic end to it and the sides went into halftime in the final level.

East Kilbride met Hurlford in the final of the Scottish Cup on a chilly Sunday morning the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie. It was a fantastic match by two teams determined to play attractive attacking football despite the biggest of stages.
Hurlford took the lead in the first half, courtesy of Conan Mackin. An early goal after the break from East Kilbride's Dylan Collins levelled up the scores and from that point onwards it was both goalkeepers that stole the show for the regulation time that remained. Both sides could have snatched it during extra time but it was that man Collins who kept his cool and sealed Scottish Cup glory for Kilby.
East Kilbride needed extra time to win their very first match in this competition against Clydebank. They then saw off Rossvale and Gartcairn with a little more ease (although the Gartcairn tie did go to extra time), before a last minute goal won a gripping tussle against Hill O'Beath, again with the help of extra-time. Two established Edinburgh sides were next up, but the Lanarkshire side were able to negotiate their way past Hutchison Vale and Edinburgh City to seal their cup final berth.
Hurlford's road to Airdrie began with a few routine victories over KSC Kilwinning, Caledonian YC and EK Burgh United. They then secured an impressive victory over a well renowned Cantera side, before hitting four against Kirkfield United, Westdyke CC and Jerviston in succession to reach the final. 

For Hurlford, they were aiming to make history and win the club's first ever Scottish Cup at youth level. EKFC were victorious at the 2002 age group a couple of years back, but the 2001 squad were chasing their first cup win.
The first half started at a frantic tempo, with neither team able to take a grip of the match. The play swung from end to end, with the Hurlford fans in full voice from the first whistle.
With nearly ten minutes on the clock, East Kilbride had the first clear sight of goal. Max McWilliams created space brilliantly in the attacking third and then delivered the killer pass for Ross Smith. Smith took an excellent first touch and drilled the ball across goal, but Lauchlan Kirkland saved well with his feet to keep the score goalless.
Within a few minutes the scoring was opened and it was at the other end of the part it happened. Hurlford's Jack Mullen showed excellent composure in midfield and produced a perfectly weighted through ball for Conan Mackin, who lobbed the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper.
The remainder of the half continued in a similar fashion. Kirkland was called upon to make a few routine saves and his opposite number Adam Haynes likewise. However, neither side could add a goal in what remained for the first half, leaving the Ayrshire side the happier with their slender lead at the interval.
The playmaking and goalscoring threat that St. Cadoc's provided was too much for Syngenta in this Scottish Youth FA Cup Final, and they ultimately overpowered them, despite a spirited second half comeback. Kieran Boubekri and Ross McDonald both got doubles, cancelling out goals from Declan McQuillan and Robbie McCafferty at the other end.
There was a goal after only 40 seconds at the Excelsior Stadium, and it went the way of St. Cadoc's. Grant Forrester tried to head back to his keeper, but instead knocked it past him. Mark Gordon scrambled back and clawed it off the line, but Kieran Boubekri was quickest to it and slammed into the net to make it 1-0 early on. 
The first chance for Syngenta was a speculative effort. A corner was floated in by Robbie McCafferty, headed down and Flynn Gray attempted the bicycle kick, but it went just wide. 
Boubekri was proving to be a constant menace to the Syngenta back-line, but it was the Grangemouth side who went close next. McCafferty’s free-kick on the edge of the area fooled the keeper, but smacked the face of the crossbar and the ball was cleared.
The number of chances started to dwindle, with both sides struggling to get a real foothold, both occasionally getting into good positions but never managing a final product. McCafferty was proving the most dangerous man for Kevin McGuire’s side, bombing down the right-hand side and breezing past his man regularly.
Boubekri could have made it 2-0 just before the half time whistle. Michael Blues direct run caused a 3-on-2, and he played Boubekri in. St Cadoc’s top goalscorer bared down on goal, but he chipped it straight into the keeper’s chest.
The Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie played host to this U21 Scottish Youth FA cup final. It was a night to remember for Tower Hearts, who dominated the game completely, scoring five excellent goals and, therefore, they went on to lift the illustrious inspiresport Scottish Youth FA Cup.
Arthurlie’s route to the cup final was quite tricky. They saw off Ardgowan comfortably in round two, however, this was followed by three close encounters with Dalziel BC, Milngavie FC and Gartcairn.
Tower Hearts, on the other hand, had a much more comfortable passage to the final, not even conceeding a goal in the process. Hearts defeated Steins Thistle, Milton FC, Knightswood and, finally, Harmony Row to set up the show piece game with Athurlie. Tower are an experienced campaigner at Under 21s level with numerous local trophies but never this one. Arthurlie were fresh on the scene having just moved up from Under 19s.
Tower Hearts began the brighter of the two sides and took the lead after only five minutes. Sean Smith picked up possession in the final third and found Scott Cameron on the left corner of the box. Cameron’s curling effort was, initially, tipped onto the post by the keeper but Scott Cameron was on hand to volley in the rebound and give Tower Hearts an early lead.
Arthurlie began to grow into the game after Hearts opener and in the next ten minutes had a couple of great opportunities.  Firstly, left back Michael Connolly won the ball in midfield and drove forward, before unleashing a powerful effort which flew just over the bar. 
Scott Cameron picked up possession in the final third and found Sean Smith on the left corner of the box. His curling was initially tipped onto the post by the 'keeper but Cameron was on hand to volley in the rebound and give Tower Hearts an early lead.
Then, only moments later, Arthurlie were almost level. A throw-in was flicked through to Lewis Garner who attempted to lob the keeper but his effort came back off the crossbar.
Arthurlie would live to rue these misses as on 23 minutes Tower Hearts doubled their lead. A long ball from defence found David Seagrave on the wing and he delivered an inch perfect cross for Cameron, who nodded past the keeper for his, and Hearts’, second of the game.
The Tower Hearts pressure continued and just after the half-hour mark they increased their lead further. A free-kick was won about 25 yards out and Ben Cappie took responsibility. Cappie stepped up and curled the ball over the wall and into the bottom right corner, giving the keeper no chance.
Five minutes before the interval Tower Hearts well and truly put the game to bed. Ben Cappie was the provider again, winning possession in the middle of the park before slipping in Sean Smith. Smith composed himself before stroking the ball into the bottom corner to put Hearts 4-0 up before half-time.

Holyrood triumphed in a fantastic final that saw free-flowing, attacking football played by both sides, created from confident play, clever passing and fantastic first touches. Goals from Shay O'Donnell and Euan Rodger put the 'Rood in front, before Logan Buick got one back for St. Andrew's and St. Bride's. It set up a tense finish, but ultimately the Holyrood defence held firm. 

The first chance of the game saw St. Andy’s centre-half Cameron Stuart send a header towards the corner of the net, but it was wonderfully saved by Holyrood keeper, Jaques Heraghty. 

Holyrood's first chance came from Niall Ferry's great trickery. The kinky winger turned his man multiple times before sending a cross to the back post, but Christos Balas couldn’t stretch enough to get on the end of it.

But, they managed to get the breakthrough after 25 minutes. Balas showed good skill and released a great pass to Josh Milligan. His cross was blocked, but it came back to Balas, who cut back to Rodger. His pass found Shay O'Donnell, who let the ball run across him before hitting a low, left-footed shot into the corner.

St. Andy's best chance to equalise again fell to Hagen. A great ball in from the Matthew McKinlay found the unmarked left-midfielder, but he didn't connect properly and his volley trundled to the keeper.

Blantyre SAC Black secured the win against Milton Rovers to lift the LFDA Cup at the John Cummings Stadium.

Blantyre SAC Black defeated Cleland 6-2 to reach the final, whilst Milton Rovers narrowly beat Holytown 3-2 at the semi-final stage.

To say Blantyre started quickly was an understatement. Rhys Mallin found himself free down the right hand side almost immediately from the kick off and his powerful shot was too much for the Milton goalkeeper, giving his team the lead after only 11 seconds, which was surely one of, if not the fastest, LFDA Cup final goal ever. 

Milton Rovers responded really well to the goal however and they deservedly equalised after 6 minutes through a great finish from Connor McIntyre that gave the goalkeeper no chance. 

McIntyre almost grabbed his second after good work from Ciaran McKenna but his effort was well saved by the Blantyre keeper. 

After 15 minutes the game had settled and was pretty level, as Blantyre were having more possession but Milton were creating the better chances. 

The team in black started to put pressure on their opponents defence, winning three corners in a row but the Milton Rovers defence held firm. 

After the blistering start from both teams, the game had few other clear cut chances for the remainder of the first half, as perhaps the magnitude of the game started to play in the minds of both players.

Although there was some good play and passing from both teams in the first half, the final just wasn't quite there.

Cathkin overcame St Ninian's Giffnock on penalties in the final of the Scottish Schools Senior Shield at Hampden Park on Friday night, after a ferocious battle that ended 0-0 after 90 minutes.

Both sides came into the contest on the back of 3-0 victories each in their respective semi-finals, however they couldn't find a way past each other in a battling display from both side's defences.

Martin Cassells and Iain Last came closest for St Ninian's and Cathkin respectively, but in truth it was a victory for both defences in what was a nerve-shredding contest between the pair.

The game started at the pace it would generally stay at - scrappy and full-throttle. Paul Smith typified St Ninian's aggression in the midfield with some hearty challenges and determination early on, and that's a theme that would stay with both sides when battling for the ball.

Neither side took control of proceedings, but there was always hearts in the mouth for Cathin when Paul Kennedy picked the ball up in the number 10 position. The creative midfielder set up his side on several occasions, but some unfortunate finishing and sterling goalkeeping from Robbie Hemfrey kept Cathkin level.

The first real chance of the game came from Cassells. A lovely move down the left saw St Ninian's have a three-on-two counter, but when the ball fell to Cassells he fired low and hard at the grateful Hemfrey, who got down well to smother.

Up the other end, Last was causing some real problems. His physical style and hold-up play was allowing the odd spur from Cathkin, and he created a lovely opening for himself down the right that forced Matthew Boyle into a smart stop.

Picking up the ball down the right, Last took on one of the St Ninian's defenders. After darting past him, it opened up an angle for a left-footed effort that he fired at Boyle. The goalkeeper was ready, however, and palmed the ball away confidently.

Moments later, Callum Miller blazed an audacious volley over the bar as Last used his power to win another corner for Cathkin.

The Cambuslang-based high school were looking the better side heading into half-time, but Kennedy provided them with a warning of his ability as he created space for himself 20 yards out and fired a shot straight at Hemfrey before the break.

In a strange turn of events two youth teams battled it out in this Division 1 Cup Final and it was Celtic who prevailed to lift the trophy. In a very tight affair, Celtic probably just shaded it, and on the back of their second performance, were worthy winners on the day.

Both sides entered this match high on confidence, with Celtic and Hibernian both winning their previous three matches, however, it was Hibernian who began brightest.

Good work in midfield by Hibernian’s Morgan Turner allowed her to find Jamie Lee Smith, who engineered space well before unleashing a powerful effort which Celtic keeper Lisa Kerr turned round the post.

Celtic hit back immediately and only a few minutes later were very unlucky not to be ahead. A corner from Cara Henderson was met well by Shannon Nagle, however, her header went just wide of the post.

On the back of this chance, Celtic began to take control of possession, without fashioning too many chances. Their only other major opportunity before the break came on 20 minutes when a long ball found its way to Kathleen McGovern. She managed to knock the ball over the goalkeeper, however, she couldn’t force the ball over the line, as the Hibernian defence cleared.

Despite prolonged periods of Celtic possession, the Hibees did create probably the best opportunity of the first period just before the half-hour mark. Celtic’s captain Nicole Cairney was caught in possession by Nicole Rutherford and she drove forward and played in Kirsty Morrison but her tame effort was straight at Lisa Kerr.

This chance was the last of a very close first half, as both sides went into the break on level terms.

Friday, 04 May 2018 19:14

St Aloysius College win the SISFA Cup

Written by
St Aloysius College headed back down the M80 with the Scottish Independent School’s Football Cup after defeating George Watson’s College 4-1 at a rainy Falkirk Stadium.
Brian McLean and James Lamont grabbed themselves a double as the Glasgow side made the most of their chances in a hard fought win in this physical encounter.
George Watson’s College had their fair share of chances but the Edinburgh side failed to capitalise on them.
The final had a slow start as both sides tried their best to grab an early goal and dictate the play, but the first ten minute didn’t show anything conclusive with all the attacks coming to nothing.
The first chance of the game fell to George Watson’s in the 14th minute, a counter attack started by Max Bendle who subsequently played through Louis Miller on goal. The winger found himself one on one with the keeper but his shot ricocheted off the post.
After that early warning, St Aloysius seemed to jump into life and looked the most likely to score as the clock ticked over 22 minutes. Making the most of the space out wide, their early chances all come from crosses into the box from the wings. The build-up play was good but the crosses were easily defended.
It was St Aloysius who would eventually break the deadlock though on the 28th minute, Brian McLean scored straight from the restart after play was stopped due to an injury. He saw the keeper off his line and tried his luck from range, unleashing a shot from just outside the box. The keeper was rooted to the spot and was helpless as the ball flew into the net. A cracking finish from range to put the Glasgow side in front.
The goal seemed to have rejuvenated the Saints in their push for a second, but shortly after handbags between the players would stop the game which would sum up the intensity of this physical encounter.
On the 37th minute, Watson’s has the ball in the net, but the ref has already blew his whistle because of an apparent hand ball in the build up to the goal.
A matter of minutes later, St Aloysius doubles their lead with McLean grabbing another goal in the 40th minute. Saints were all over the Watson box, countless shots were blocked as the ball couldn’t find the net. Eventually, the ball was cut back to McLean who made no mistake and blasted the ball home to double the advantage.
The goal signalled the end of the first half, the Saints took their chances in the first half with Brian McLean netting both. But the score line was a fair reflection of the game as the saints looked the more dominant team.
However Watson’s had their share in opportunities,  Max Bendle had a great chance early on in the match to put his side 1-0 up but the woodwork denied him. Good end-to-end half of football. 
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