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Tuesday, 12 March 2019 13:11

Barrhead storm through to final

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In a game where we saw all four seasons at New Tinto Park, Barrhead and Rossvale were involved in an entertaining affair to see who could progress to the Scottish Cup U21s final.

Things started slowly for both teams with Barrhead looking slightly stronger than Rossvale in the opening stages of the game, but no chances seriously threatened either goal.

As the game approached the half hour mark the first big chance came for Barrhead with Joseph Manderson striking well from the edge of the box, the ball was heading into the top corner of the goal however Rossvale keeper Stuart Goodfellow saved brilliantly to prevent Barrhead from taking the lead.

The resulting corner from Malcolm McDonald saw Barrhead come painfully close again when Dylan Stewart's header came crashing off the post. However, Rossvale's resolve broke down when the ball came back into the box just seconds later and Goodfellow failed to catch, leaving Dylan Stewart with the opportunity to finish this time, sending Barrhead 1-0 up.

Rossvale started to come back into the game after this as they looked for an equaliser, with a shot from John McCrae going just over the bar, however they were unable to score before the first half came to a close.

It was Hearts who prevailed in an entertaining Edinburgh derby on Friday night, edging local rivals Hibs in a 3-2 thriller. The home team saw more of the ball throughout the game, and ensured their superior possession did not go to waste as they seized a three goal lead, thanks to goals from Connor Smith, Leeory Makaovora and Cameron Logan.

Hibs were determined not to go down without a fight however; Callum Yeats pulled one back for the visitors, but Josh O’Connor’s late tap in proved too late as Hearts claimed bragging rights on Derby Day.

Hibs made their attacking intent clear in the opening seconds of the game when centre half Jayden Fairley released pacey striker Yrik Galantes, but a timely tackle from Arron Darge, who was imperious throughout, quelled the danger to the Hearts goal. Hearts’ first chance came from a Makovora cross that found Ryan Schiavone, but the target man headed wide of Jay Cantley’s goal.

The deadlock was broken after 35 minutes when Smith fired Hearts into the lead. A throw in resulted in the Hearts captain collecting the ball on the right hand side of the box, with options in front of him, Smith elected to float into the box, whilst skilfully evading multiple Hibs tackles. He then picked his moment perfectly, unleashing a ferocious strike that flew across goal into the bottom right corner to give Hearts the advantage heading into the break.

Hearts may have doubled their lead before half time had it not been for an excellent save from Cantley. Schiavone used his strength to fend off the Hibs defence, but was denied by Cantley’s quick reflexes, as Hibs’ number one tipped the volley over the bar.

Rangers booked their passage to the Scottish Youth Cup Final on Friday, as they came from behind to advance with a 3-1 win over Aberdeen in Cove. 

Both teams had produced strong runs in the competition to reach this stage, and the match promised to be tightly contested, with a place at Hampden on the line.

It was the young Dons, who saw off Kilmarnock in the last round, grabbing the early initiative here. A goal kick by Rangers stopper Nicky Hogarth was returned by the hosts’ midfield with emphasis, the looping ball evading the jump of centre back Daniel Finlayson. Aberdeen’s Kevin Hanratty raced through on the net, and his low cut back found Connor Barron for 1-0. The young man showing great desire to arrive in the area and slide the ball home neatly through a crowd of bodies.

Winger Lewis Duncan was next to test the Rangers rear-guard with eight played. One on one with Nathan Patterson, he fizzed a dangerous cross in from the right. Hogarth this time displaying smart reactions to get down and push the first danger away across goal. With the ball now on the left of the box, possession was recycled and Jack Chesser had space on the edge, but pulled his effort wide of the post.

In reply to the concession, Rangers were trying to build play up to their own forward players. Striker Adedapo Mebude went hunting several times to get involved, and had done a good job, tasking himself with dropping slightly shorter from the frontline and holding the ball up for his teammates. This work would pave the way for the equaliser on nine. Mebude tracked to steal the ball back from Lloyd Robertson. After a quick exchange with Joshua McPake, the latter weighted a ball for Ciaran Dickson, piercing the defence. Dickson’s first shot was blocked nicely by Archie Mair, but the rebound fell for him to tuck in. The game now level at 1-1.

Beginning to settle into a flow, the chances kept coming for both teams. Hanratty had another left footed effort saved, whilst Rangers forced a pair of quick corners.

What was clear at this stage was an attacking approach adopted by either side on the ball. Nobody was giving an inch, with the intense pressing of the fullbacks pivotal in forcing the ball forward; an escape from the tightness of midfield. Harris O’Connor provided this for Rangers on several occasions throughout. Probing on 19 minutes, his interchange with McPake nearly created the next opening, but was thwarted.

Then it was defensive duty two minutes later. Hanratty this time skipping past O’Connor, but he couldn’t pick out Kieran Shanks as he stabbed the ball to the centre. Chance gone.

Ben Williamson was instrumental in two following opportunities for Rangers. First his clever pass put McPake in the clear. Mair again matched him with the save, and Mebude lashed the bobbling rebound over. Williamson then presented O’Connor with the time to carve out a cross. Plucked out by Mair ahead of McPake.

Aberdeen’s best chances came on the break, with Rangers now beginning to take control of relatively safe possession. On 35, Kieran Shanks, back to goal, had the opportunity to release Lewis Duncan, instead opting to lay the ball off for Ethan Ross. Ross then did well to burst forward, but the space to shoot was closed off by Kyle McLelland.

Adedapo Mebude called Mair into action again after a reversed pass from McPake. The keeper denying him. Moments later though, we would close the half with a Rangers goal.

Four minutes from the break, strength from Joshua McPake saw him hold off Aberdeen’s Luke Turner on the edge of the area. Spinning, the forward found a yard to notch the visitor’s second into the bottom corner. 2-1 at the whistle.

Cove Rangers' Balmoral Stadium played host on a blustery day as the North region’s Under 16’s faced off against their Eastern counterparts.

High winds were always bound to play a part in the fixture, which benefited from otherwise perfect conditions and a top standard playing surface.

North dominated the early stages of the game. Number ten Logan Watt – who was very much playing as a number ten – was part of the bulk of the North attacks. First Watt’s effort following a loose ball falling his way was straight at the goalkeeper. His ball out wide to winger Jordan Lynch also resulted in Lynch getting a shot off – but it was saved by East’s number one Craig Doctor.

Next it was the turn of North’s goalie – Jamie Williamson – to make a save. He rushed out to meet Rudy Bou as the East player made a cutting run in from the right hand side. Williamson made a timely block with his chest.

North’s Lewis McDonald had the next close call – he turned on the ball just outside the area before flashing a shot over the bar – a warning to the East defenders not to give him too much time on the ball.

The game was beginning to have an end-to-end feeling, and as that would suggest – East were next up to have an opportunity. Jack Reid’s surging run put him into the box on the wide right and just as it looked like he’d have a shooting opportunity, defender Tait Duthie came sliding in with a fantastic challenge – putting it out for a corner.

At this point North were beginning to control possession, but East looked increasingly dangerous on the counter-attack. Making it a difficult game to call.

McDonald had a repeat of his earlier chance – although this time slightly further in – again, it had the East goalkeeper Doctor thinking, this one came even closer to dipping into the net, but had the same result as the stalemate continued.

The game was no longer goalless just moments later. With just under five minutes to go in the first half, East took the lead. The away side’s striker Connor Reid chased down a loose ball, forcing a back pass which goalkeeper Williamson attempted to clear – only to see the clearance cannon off of Reid and into the net.

The game would go into the break with East leading 1-0.

On a windy day at Spain Park in Aberdeen we saw the select teams of the SYFA’s North and East regions face off, four goals from Zayne Laird was enough for SYFA North to come out on top against SYFA East in a goal littered first half.

The first goal of an exciting first half came in the 15th minute when the North and Peterhead striker Zayne Laird dummied and then shot from 12 yards past the stranded East goalie Nathan Wilson into the bottom left corner.

The lead was short lived as in the 23rd minute, the East and Pitfours Sony Simpson picked the ball up from a through ball and shot but his effort was matched by the North keeper whose excellent save was unfortunately parried back into the path of Simpson who made sure he didn’t miss the second chance to tie the game.

The North took the lead for the second time in the 27th minute as Laird latched onto a ball from Albions Seth Holod and tucked it home neatly from the right hand side of the box to the left hand bottom corner.

A third goal for the North and Laird came only 7 minutes later as a ball from Westdykes Samuel Sandilands was parried by the East Goalie over to Laird who completed an impressive hat-trick.

Minutes later, the fourth goal arrived when captain Ryan Fraser played a 1-2 pass with Holod who played a lovely through ball to Fraser to cooly slot home into the back of the net to make it 4-1 to the North.

A fifth goal for the North came only 60 seconds later where Sandilands beautiful link up play with Laird was shown again as Laird was set up by the Westdyke CC midfielder to run onto the ball and score his fourth goal from 12 yards.

A calamitous opening minute, in which they conceded a penalty and were reduced to 10 men, proved a mere speed bump for Hutchison Vale on their way to a 4-1 defeat of Drumsagard Blue in the inspiresport Scottish Cup. The comeback victory puts the Edinburgh outfit into the semi-finals, two games from glory.

Drumsagard could barely have envisioned a better start. Their first clearance, hit firmly by Alistair Gould, sailed over the hosts’ high defence but was caught by Cole Polson, who touched the ball past onrushing keeper Bruce MacKenzie. With an open goal before him, the striker’s heels were clipped by a scrambling defender. A penalty after 26 seconds; a red card after much official consultation; and a lead after Liam Miles took the spot kick.

Concluding that if it worked once, try it twice, Drumsagard utilised the very same tactic immediately. Surreally, another Blue’s forward was left alone and deja vu was only avoided by MacKenzie colliding with Cole Logan wide right of the box. With calls of “calm down” ringing from the sidelines, Vale were experiencing a horror start.

Possession, however, is good for the nerves, and Hutchison’s efforts to pass the ball brought the match ten minutes of equilibrium. In the 14th minute, it brought an equaliser. Neat play in midfield provided the chance to push Bryan Mwangi forward and he, in turn, located Ryan Finday on the left corner of the box. Finday cut onto his right foot and struck a shot over the fingertips of keeper Nathan Welsh.

Stirred with belief, Vale centre back Mario Gronell headed a corner centimetres over moments later, before the turnaround was complete in the 19th minute. Mwangi was played in behind the right full back by Mason Renton, forcing Welsh from his line. Mwangi opted to forego shooting, nonchalantly using the outside of his foot to lay across for Finday to control, swivel, and double his tally.

Right on half-time, the 10 men claimed a third. Mwangi’s free kick from the edge of the box was struck low and left, and when Welsh parried the only player following in was Hutchison striker Rayan Mohammed. From two yards he ensured the half ended in stark contrast to how it began for a now thriving Vale.

On a cold Sunday morning when most games had fallen victim to the freezing temperatures, Middleshot 3G in Prestonpans played host to a thrilling battle in the latter stages of the Under 16 inspireSport Scottish Cup between Longniddry Villa and Rowallan SC.
 
As expected in a fixture with so much at stake, the action started right from the opening whistle and much like the large crowd in attendance, the Rowallan defence were caught cold. As the ball came in from the right hand side, the Rowallan defence could only partially clear to the edge of the box where Adam Matthews swept home a controlled finish in to the bottom left hand corner to give Longniddry Villa the lead with only 55 seconds on the clock.
 
Instantly after Rowallan had restarted the game, Villa had their tales up from the early goal and began to press the visitors at every opportunity to regain possession. This led to Tyler Bolochoweckyj robbing his man of the ball and feeding in Aiden Walsh who broke the offside trap and lifted the ball over Taylor Callaghan in the Rowallan goal but could only watch on as it went agonisingly past the post.
 
Moments later Bolochoweckyj switched the ball to Walsh again who drilled a perfect ball along the six yard box that was parried by Callaghan. The ball broke to Jack Macdonald who hit a powerful effort towards the left hand corner that was blocked by a sea of Rowallan bodies on the goal line.
 
Pressure was beginning to mount on the Rowallan defence and once more Longniddry Villa came close to doubling their early lead. An inswinging corner was met with a towering header by Ben Wright however Callaghan smartly caught and held his effort to the keepers left.
 
Further heavy pressure from the home side led to another half clearance by the Rowallan defence which Matthews very nearly doubled his tally with. Another strong left footed effort to the goalkeepers right hand post, this time just narrowly whistling wide.
 
Matthews then turned provider for Walsh who again sprung the offside trap and raced in on goal. Callaghan was alert once more and rushed from his line to win a vital 50/50 with the Longniddry number 11.
 
After a scrappy period in the game and having weathered the initial storm, Rowallan hit back with a goal of their own. A long ball over the top was not dealt with by the Villa defence and Barrie Preston pounced immediately, getting the wrong side of his man before unleashing an emphatic finish past a helpless Sam Capes in the home goal.
 
Longniddry seemed to use this minor set back as wake up call for not taking their earlier chances. Straight from kick off once more, the ball was worked out wide to Walsh who brilliantly skipped by the Rowallan full back before hanging up a delightful cross at the back post for Bolochoweckyj to head in from close range.
 
Down the other end saw Rowallan's best move of the half. Preston received the ball in to his feet with his back to goal and played a clever one-two with Keir Miller before rifling another fierce attempt at Capes' goal which the keeper smartly stopped with his feet. 
 
However every Rowallan attack seemed to spur the home side on further and almost cause Villa to shift up a gear in retaliation. Macdonald cut back for Euan Donaldson who had a snap shot on the volley but could only direct it straight at Callaghan who held it well.
 
The half hour mark brought the best move of the half. Macdonald held the ball in around 25 yards out with his his back to goal, he shrugged off his man and slipped a great ball out to Bolochoweckyj on the left wing who delivered a wicked first time cross for Walsh at the back post who was inches away from adding to his sides lead.
 
With half time approaching, Rowallan launched a counter attack where the dangerous Preston was tugged back in cynical fashion and a freekick was awarded to the right of the box. The visitors worked a set piece from the training ground to nullify the Longniddry wall by rolling the ball across the 18 yard line for Andrew Spencer to hit, however he could not get over the ball amid pressure from the onrushing defence and blazed his effort well over.
 
With the game still finely poised, there was a moment of controversy as Longniddry wrongfully had a goal chalked off. Walsh was slipped through one-on-one with Callaghan and after rounding the Rowallan keeper the winger lost his footing. Bolochoweckyj was alert and ran in on goal to tap in to the empty net before being incorrectly flagged offside.
 
Seconds later however and the home side had the third goal that their performance deserved right on the stroke of half-time. The impressive front three of Bolochoweckyj, Macdonald and Walsh all combining once again with the former feeding the ball in to Macdonald who was able to release Walsh on the remaining defenders. The mercurial winger beat his man before checking inside of a recovering defender and calmly sliding the ball past Callaghan.

Cove Rangers' Balmoral Stadium played host as Aberdeen met in Kilmarnock in the Quarter-Finals of the SFA Youth Cup – a round earlier than last season’s clash in the semi-final where a Bruce Anderson hat-trick downed Killie.

Aberdeen recorded results against Inverurie Loco Works and Motherwell to reach this round. Meanwhile, their opponents knocked out Camelon Juniors and Dundee United in previous rounds.

The conditions were near perfect in Aberdeen for this match, with Aberdeen aiming to beat Kilmarnock once again in this competition, as they look to go one better than last season, when they were defeated in the final by Hibernian. While Killie had aspirations of gaining revenge on the Dons.

The match started off fairly equally, with both sides showing no fear of attacking – Kilmarnock’s high line was a clear potential opening for Aberdeen, while the visitors forward line were more often seen engaging their hosts defenders physically in the early stages.

Aberdeen’s Captain Ethan Ross – who has appeared on the bench for the senior side, as well as recently jetting away to Dubai with the first team – was the key man for the start and his jinking run from the right side just after the five minute mark got him past two Killie defenders. However, Ross’s cross flashed across Jamie Walker’s goal front.

Just a minute later a dangerous corner from Kilmarnock on the right hand side was met by the head of Josh Walker, but the wingers stooping header on the penalty spot just went over Archie Mair’s crossbar.

It was once again Walker almost giving his side the lead a moment later. Tomas Brindley delivered a cross from the left wing towards the back post and Walker’s volley into the turf bounced over the Aberdeen goal again.

Killie were made to regret those misses as on the quarter hour mark, Ethan Ross latched onto a through ball from his striker Kevin Hanratty after some neat link-up play in the middle of the park. The attacking midfielder made no mistake as he slotted past Jamie Walker to give the hosts the lead.

Dean Campbell and Connor Barron were beginning to take control in the centre of the pitch for the home side. Barron’s excellent ball to his midfield partner drew in the Killie defender who fouled Campbell, resulting in a free-kick right on the edge of the area. Campbell’s cheeky low free kick deflected wide of the mark.

The chances kept falling for Aberdeen in the following 15 minutes, Tyler Mykyta’s runs from left back were causing issues as he combined well with Kieran Shanks further down the line. Mykyta’s ball in from a free kick was headed wide by centre back Kyle Dalling. The big man may have felt he could have done better, the Kilmarnock defenders had stopped tracking, believing Dalling was offside, but the flag never went up.

Aberdeen had chances before the close of the first half to double their lead, Lewis Duncan saw a shot just go over and a mix up following a back pass almost allowed Kieran Shanks in for a tap-in. However, the Don’s looked like they would see themselves into the break with a lead.

Kilmarnock had other plans however and a cross from the left hand side from Killie winger Brindley met the head of striker Andy Monk at Mair’s back post and the forward nodded Kilmarnock back into the game. The scores were level at half time.

Rory Jagusinski’s cross-cum-shot sealed Fairmuir’s place in the Last Four of the Scottish Cup as they edged out Blantyre SA in the tightest of quarter finals.

A heavy pitch and near gale force winds meant that the match was never going to be a free-flowing affair as both sides battled hard in the midfield in search of an opening.

Fairmuir failed to trouble Blantyre with a series of free kicks, while the visitors went close breaking the deadlock when Anthony Hampson was sent through on goal, only to lift his shot against the crossbar.

A quick free kick played into Jay Swan threatened to unlock the Fairmuir defence on the stroke of half time, but Ethan Samson was on hand to deal with the danger.

Glenbrae Colts have a date with the quarter-finals of the Inspiresport Scottish Cup after a penalty shootout success edged them past Lochend in Edinburgh. Minutes from being eliminated in normal time, a Sonny Patterson goal brought the Paisley club to 2-2 and the chance to keep their cup run going.

The match was heavily influenced by a miserable northerly wind that blew straight down the pitch. This favoured Lochend in the first half, who found great success in having striker Jamie Bannerman play on the last man. As Glenbrae struggled to judge clearances and bounces, Bannerman frequently had them scrambling.

Colts’ did provide their opponents and the elements some resistance, and had either a Sam Hunter pass found Brogan Bradley breaking from midfield, or Bradley’s cross not located keeper Kieran Wood’s fingertips, they could have led. That honour, however, went to Lochend in the 17th minute thanks to a wind-assisted error: Jay Bett came to the edge of his box to claim a clearance from his opposite number, only to have it bounce up through his gloves. Bannerman duly rolled the ball into the empty net.

Lochend’s second, ten minutes later, was considerably more attractive. A pass from midfield revealed a gap between Glenbrae’s defenders, and Athan Barry was away. Despite a man coming back, Barry kept calm. Delaying the shot as the defender went to ground, he moved to his right before passing into the bottom left.

Two chances before the break for Colts did not bring a goal. First, Alex Clark hit a free kick centimetres over. Then neat wing play by Hunter fed Steven Cardy, who laid back to Lewis Kenmore eight yards from goal and with keeper Wood now out of position. The covering defenders ensured Lochend remained intact as the whistle went for half-time.