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Sunday, 22 January 2012 22:04

Domino stay standing after Cove comeback

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Domino United Under 19's
Cove Rangers BC Under 19's
Competition: SYFA Challenge Cup - Round 5
Venue: Fairmuir Park
Date: 22/01/2012
Author: Joe Birchenall
Domino United managed to seal a hard fought win over Cove Rangers despite having to come from behind after finishing the first half 2 – 0 down. An unlucky own goal from Kerran Foy and a strong header from Lee Ritchie gave Cove a deserved lead going into the break but United came out with all guns blazing in the second half and managed to score three goals in eight minutes, inspired by two excellent free kicks from returning centre half Mark Duffy. The defender finding the net either side of an excellent shot from Kieran Lowden after his team passed apart the Cove defence. 
Lowden and Duffy both announcing their return to football with style. Christopher Brash volleyed low and hard past Callum Steer and substitute Scott Hamilton added the fifth following excellent possession play from United. Rangers’ Liam Page fired in from close range to give his side a glimmer of hope going into the last few minutes, but United held on to ensure their progress in the SYFA Challenge Cup.  

The conditions at Fairmuir Park were far from ideal as a muddy pitch and strong winds threatened the quality of the football but spectators were treated to a great game played at a high level from start to finish. Both teams showed attacking intent in the opening exchanges as players vied for dominance, Lowden winning United a corner before Craig Buchanan and Danny Anderson linked dangerously down the Cove left flank. Grant West looked to be in the mood as he brought down ball after ball with ease but both teams found clear chances hard to come by in the first ten minutes as defences held strong. Cove looked to be gaining the upper hand as they used the wind to their advantage and managed to restrict Domino to playing in their own half. West continued to look dangerous but it was Ben McGregor who carved out the first real opening with a teasing cross to the back post aimed towards an unmarked Lee Ritchie who was mere inches away from connecting.

As possession stats started to lean more favourably towards the visitors, the attacking threat remained and a strong defensive tackle from Kieran Duncan was required to keep out Rangers. His efforts proved to be in vain as on 21 minutes, a lofted ball in from the left glanced off the hapless Foy and into his own net, unlucky from the defender who knew he needed to get something on the ball with Grant West lurking behind him.

Cove got into their stride following their goal and started to link up with quick, intricate passing, often leaving their markers trailing. Ben McGregor almost set up another goal as his cross found Buchanan in the box, but the young man was unable to keep his header on target. The pressure continued and a powerful shot from range by Neil Ross forced an awkward save from Mathew Laing as the ball bounced just before reaching the Domino keeper, Laing doing well to parry the ball round his post. From the resulting corner McGregor, whose crossing had been a constant threat, whipped the ball in and Lee Ritchie made no mistake with his near post run. A commanding downwards header gave Laing no chance as the Aberdonians extended their lead with 15 minutes of the first half to go.

Sensing the game was falling away from them, Domino raised their game and threatened down the left wing, almost forcing a mistake from Callum Steer in the Cove goal after a period of sustained pressure. Cove, however, did not look like relinquishing their lead and but for a timely interception from Mark Duffy possibly could have gone into half time with a three goal lead. A final ball into the United box from Irvine was collected by Laing as the referee brought the first half to a close.
Cove Rangers would have been happy with their first half display as they had shown an attacking intent without over committing going forward, they looked well organised at the back by Liam Page and very comfortable in possession. 
Intricate passing had at times left Domino exposed, and they would be keen to continue in the same fashion with both Grant West and Ben McGregor looking dangerous. For Domino United, whilst behind at the break the game was by no means over.  A late revival towards the end of the first half had shown that they had the potential to overcome the odds and comeback, but whether or not they had the character was debateable judging from their first half performance. 
Whilst by no means playing badly, United would have been eager to up their work rate and to start putting in a few stronger challenges in the midfield. When playing football on the ground they had looked far more dangerous than when going long with Lowden and Ross Milne both looking hungry for goals, and all was still very much to play for in the second half.
Half Time: Domino United Under 19's 0 – 2 Cove Rangers Under Do19's
Cove Rangers got the second half underway and straight away Joe Kidd made his presence felt on his opposite number with a spirited and crunching but well timed tackle, a sign of things to come? Only time would tell, and in fact it took only three minutes for Domino to find a way back in. 
A miss-timed tackle down the right wing from Ritchie, presented Mark Duffy with a sight of goal from 23 yards out. The returning defender stepped up admirably and hammered home the free kick, low and hard to Steers’ left with the ball still curling as it hit the net. A great free kick from the player, and scored at exactly the right time to give his side a decent chance of an upset.

United had started the second half very well, all over the park they were combining and using the ball to keep their opponents running after them. Clearly lifted by the goal, they continued to press and just a minute later they had the Cove defence scrambling frantically with their incisive passing and link up play. 

Christopher Brash managed to steer the ball into the path of Lowden who still had lots to do as he bore down on goal. If the young man was feeling the nerves he certainly didn’t show it as he lashed the ball first time well and truly beyond the Rangers goalkeeper and into the top right corner. A great finish to some great passing play, and the Cove defence that had looked so strong in the first half was suddenly starting to look panicked as Domino equalised within four minutes of the restart.

Domino continued to stride forward relentlessly in the opening minutes and were enjoying their best spell in the game by far. Ross Milne used a combination of pace and trickery to draw the foul from Neil Ross, which presented Duffy with another chance to shoot at goal, but from a tighter angle down the right flank. It was a chance that the young man once again took full advantage of. Another low and hard shot bounced dangerously across the face of the Cove goal with Steer unable to get enough on it to prevent the third United goal in just eight minutes, much to the delight of the home side’s fans.

Dominic Blair might have made it four goals were it not for the efforts of Callum Steer, the United man running down on goal after more delicate passing put him past the Cove defence and towards goal, Steer doing very well to make the stop as he bombed off his line. Cove knew they needed to get back into the game and started to launch attacks of their own but faced a very committed United side who were more than willing to chase and track back as necessary.

As the game continued it, Cove started to claw a way back into the tie. Liam Page very nearly provided the spark they may have needed with a powerful run from centre half as he evaded three United players before releasing substitute Darren Forbes down the left wing. Forbes ran dangerously at goal but was unable to find the net with his shot towards the far corner, unlucky from Rangers who had reorganised well since conceding and looked like they may force another comeback yet. The pressure continued from Rangers and Lee Ritchie forced an incredible reflex save from Mathew Laing who had so little time to respond as the young man turned and shot in one fluid movement. Breathtaking football from both sides as the Domino keeper flung himself to his left to keep out Ritchie’s great effort and preserve his sides lead.

Cove continued to look for an equaliser as Buchanan found himself unmarked in the United box but was just unable to keep his header under the bar. Rangers had done themselves proud since falling behind and could have argued they deserved to equalise, as it was though they found themselves falling further behind in the 77th minute. Following a good Gilmour throw, Christopher Brash kept his cool inside the Rangers penalty box, to volley the bouncing ball past Steer to make the score 4 – 2. Brash showing great composure to keep the ball down and to the left of the keeper who, yet again, had no chance.

Cove Rangers continued to look for a way back into the game and the influential Lee Ritchie fired just wide from inside the United box. As Rangers continued to press they started to leave gaps at the back, gaps which United would punish in clinical form. As United absorbed the Cove pressure then broke on the counter their pin point accurate passing had the outnumbered Cove defence scrambling as they switched from left to right. United’s Euan McIlevenny playing a cross field ball to Dominic Blair who ran menacingly at goal before squaring to Scott Hamilton who then finished off a sumptuous passing move eight minutes from time.

To Cove’s credit they never gave up, and Liam Page found the back of the Domino goal with a strike from inside United’s box, the defender picking up a loose ball from a corner and making no mistake with his shot. A consolation goal for Rangers and for the defender who was clearly upset with the score line as he was sent off with two minutes remaining. The game continued without incident before the final whistle ensured a remarkable cup comeback for Domino United.

Both teams gave a great account of themselves and for all the plaudits that Domino deserve, Cove will feel slightly hard done by. A poor start to the second half cost them, as United combined to tantalising effect and ripped apart their defence to gain the upper hand. Rangers showcased their own passing abilities in the first half and had they been a bit luckier in front of goal could have put Domino in an awkward position as the game came to an end.  
Cove Rangers never gave in and fought until the death, but ultimately Domino more than matched their effort. Lowden epitomising his teams spirit as he chased down and injured himself in winning the ball in the Cove half, despite a two goal cushion with mere minutes to play.  
Excellent passing and finishing saw Domino United defy the odds and pull of a remarkable comeback that is testimony to the intensity of youth football. Both teams can be proud to have played a part in such a great game, lit up by moments of individual skill and combination play of the highest order.
Full Time: Domino United Under 19's 5 – 3 Cove Rangers Under19's
Domino United Under 19's
Cove Rangers BC Under 19's
1. Mathew Laing
2. Keiran Duncan
3. Kerran Foy
4. Euan McIlevenny
5. Dylan Boyd
7. Steven Butler
8. Allan Wilson
9. Christopher Brash
10. Kieran Lowden
11. Joe Kidd
12. Scott Hamilton
14. Nicky Gilmour
15. Ross Milne
16. Dominic Blair
17. Keiran Strachan
18. Mark Duffy
20. Paddy Dolan

1. Callum Steer
2. Jonathon Millsom
3. Shaun Goate
4. Neil Ross
5. Liam Page
6. Lee Ritchie
7. Danny Anderson
8. Grant West
9. Craig Buchanan
10. Darryn Irvine
11. Ben McGregor
12. Ryan Stewart 
14. Chris Pawlett
15. Steven Wilson
16. Kai Ross
17. Darren Forbes
Givova are an Italian sportswear brand (click here to see range) who cover all tiers of the game, from Serie A's Chievo Verona and Catania, to grass roots. They have hit Scotland so look out for YFS team members in their Givova kit at your game!
Givova UK Man of the Match: Mark Duffy
Givova UK Man of the Match: Ben McGregor
Last modified on Sunday, 04 August 2013 17:07
Joe Birchenall

Joe Birchenall | YFS East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

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