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Wednesday, 04 October 2017 17:57

Dees down champions County at Dens

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Goals from John Smith and Jesse Curran were enough for Dundee to see off Ross County in the Development League. Dundee lined up with Josh Meekings in an experienced defence, and were rarely troubled by the reigning champions as they moved six points clear at the top of the table.

Dundee were bossing possession in the opening stages, but did little to trouble Ross Munro in the County goal. The keeper’s only test came when he had to catch Matty Henvey’s attempted lob after 13 minutes.

Henvey is the young Dees top scorer, and he set up strike partner John Smith for the game’s opening goal. Henvey clipped the ball into the box, giving Smith a simple header past Munro to give Dundee the lead.

Jack Lambert had the opportunity to double the Dees advantage after 36 minutes when Jesse Curran set him up inside the box, but his low shot was easily gathered by the diving Munro.

Hamilton Academcial U20 needed extra-time to overcome Queens Park U20 in a Scottish Youth Cup 2nd Round epic at the SuperSeal Stadium.

The support were treated to a six goal thriller that included a penalty and a late red card as Accies booked their place in the 3rd round of the tournament.

Hamilton were missing Lewis Ferguson who was preparing to play France on international duty for Scotland U19. There was an added interest for Robert Walker, a former Hamilton player who is now one of the coaches at Queens Park.

Marc Kelly had the first significant chance of the match for Hamilton after eight minutes when he caught the ball on the edge of the box and his quick-fire shot was met by a routine save by Owen Stott in goal.

Accies gained a foothold on the game playing some tidy passes while Queens Park took a more direct approach when in possession. It almost paid off for the young Spiders when a long ball over the top reached Grant Brennan who smartly beat the offside trap to find himself one on one with Alex Marshall in goal who parried away the attempt. It was the first time Queens Park had managed to exploit the Hamilton rearguard but it would not be the last.

Ronan McGlaughlin spurned a chance from the resulting corner as his shot skewed wide under pressure from the Accies defence. Despite this scare Hamilton stuck to their game plan and continued to dominate with Rico Quitongo looking particularly dangerous down the left flank.

The home side were rewarded on 25 minutes when a neat piece of tika-taka on the left wing unravelled the Queens Park defence and Kelly burst into the box before being brought down with a clumsy tackle. The referee, Gary Logan, showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Ross Cunningham stepped up to smash the ball into the right side of the goal.

Hamilton continued to press and Jordan Pender was booked for pulling his opposite numbers shirt when they were breaking up the park on another attack. Ronan McGlaughlin won a free kick for Queens Park soon after and the whipped cross was met by the Hamilton defence before McGlaughlin caught the ball on the volley missing the target by yards.

It was no surprise that Ronan McGlaughlin was involved when Queens Park scored the equaliser. The number 9 fought for scraps in the middle of the park before the ball broke fortunately to Declan Walsh who carried it to the edge of the box beating his man and curling is shot past Marshall into the back of the net.

This was the spark the away side had been looking for and they began to grow in confidence in the match. Accies nearly burst their bubble when a cross from the right wing was met with a free header from Kelly but he couldn't get the effort on target.

Logan called time on a first period that had been evenly contested by the two sides. Hamilton had dominated the early moments before Queens Park clawed themselves back into contention as the half wore on.

Inverurie Locos progressed to Round Three of the Scottish Youth Cup with a comprehensive and dominant victory on Sunday against Montrose. Heavy morning rainfall had largely given way to better conditions as this tie got underway in front of another good Harlaw Park crowd.
 
The young Locos were attacking the Railway End in the first period. Jordan Cooper sent in a rasping shot that was inadvertently blocked by a team-mate. Ethan Grant was looking strong and dangerous - he let fly from distance, his shot just clearing the bar. The same player then bent a curling right foot attempt wide of the far stick.
 
Craig Gill left his opponents aware of his presence on the park with a couple of wholehearted challenges, the type that a cup-tie is always the better for seeing. Montrose were struggling to construct anything meaningful in the Locos half but Liam Stewart was almost played in, but the energetic Cameron Moultrie tracked back forty yards to not only intercept but immediately set up a counter attack.
 
Josh Bolton and Damien Kalinowski traded shots on target but neither troubled their opposing keeper. Bolton then got a slight glance that took his headed attempt over keeper Euan Rose but agonisingly inches wide of the goal. Referee Spence halted play to issue a stern lecture to Owen Lawrence for dissent.
 
Inverurie were well worth their lead when it came but it arrived courtesy of a cruel piece of luck for Murray Soutar. A Moultrie whipped cross was loaded with quality and danger, forcing the defender to get something on it but the ball spun off his forehead and crashed into the Montrose net. Thirty three minutes, 1-0 Locos.
 
Owen Lawrence had to receive a caution on thirty five minutes for a jersey pull. Defender Soutar was keen to atone for netting at the wrong end and the defender sent a low drive towards goal that was deflected wide. Locos were set to double their advantage however and it was a belter.
 
If you like your football to be on the deck and see the ball zip around with purpose this was right up your street. A succession of neat passing was followed by a killer one-two that saw Cameron Moultrie clear inside the box, wide to the right. He drew the keeper and drilled a fantastic shot low into the onion bag.
 
Thirty nine minutes gone. Reece Brown smashed in a rising shot from close in that Rose did ever so well to beat away to safety. The keeper came off worst in an honest fifty-fifty challenge soon after, and unfortunately had to leave the park on a stretcher after a very long stoppage. Sad to see. Tyler Webley took to the field and his first involvement was to tip a Craig Gill shot over the bar. The sub goalie then watched a Thomas Reid header go over and did brilliantly to dive low to block a Moultrie effort. 

Inverness Caledonian Thistle were taken to extra time by Forfar in the second round of the Scottish Youth Cup, however eventually came out victorious.

After heavy rain pre match the game began with Forfar making the better start.

The first chance however fell to Inverness with centre back Ryan McRitchie on the fifth minute going one on one with the goalkeeper. Forfar keeper Jason King was however able to smother the ball.

King continued to look impressive in the Forfar goal as he played sweeper keeper multiple times throughout the game.

Both teams struggled to maintain control as both sides winger pushed so far forward they were virtually playing 4-2-4 formations.

These formations isolated the central midfielders for both sides but central midfielders Kieran Chalmers and Jack Brown for Thistle both did well regardless.

It was Chalmers who almost opened the scoring in the 24th minute as his cross hit the top of the bar and bounced out of danger.

King was again called into action as he saved low to his right after Aidan Wilson had avoided multiple challenges to get a shot off on the half hour mark.

The best chance of the half fell to Forfar’s striker Joseph Johnson on the 35th minute, when he capitalised on McRitchie’s scuffed clearance but Inverness keeper Daniel Hoban saved at close range.

Port Glasgow Boys Club Orange progressed to the third round of the Scottish Cup after a 4-2 win over Finnart at Glasgow Green.

Port Glasgow came into the game sitting top of the Paisley, Johstone and District 2004 Division 3 while Finnart sit fifth in the same division, five points behind Port Glasgow. Finnart overcame Palace Park Pride 3-2 to reach the second round. Port Glasgow received a bye missing out on the first round.

The visitors would have fancied their chances going against Finnart, with their current superiority in the league. They lined up; O’Neill, Campbell, Fuller, Watt, S. Gault, Ingram, Brown, Gilmour, P. Gault, MacDonald, Rodgers in a 4-4-2 formation.

It took Port Glasgow only 22 minutes to open the scoring. Lyle MacDonald put his side in front, from there a strong finish to the half saw the visitors take a commanding lead into the break. Kyle fuller doubled his side’s lead on the 42nd minute before Declan Bryne came off the bench to score a third a minute before half time. 

A hat-trick from Matthew Magowan help Giffnock to ease into the next round of the Scottish cup after a one-sided victory over Westerton.
 
A brace from Harry Martin and goals from, Lewis Taylor, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Gebreyes, Max Bannerman, Aaron McGillivray and Jed Lover pushed Westerton aside in the cup.
 
The match started with Giffnock on the front foot and Bannerman was causing the Westerton defence all sorts of problems down the right-hand side of the park and the first real chance of the game came from that side. When Bannerman whipped a ball into Love but he struggled to get onto the end of it.
 
Not too long after McGillivray got the ball on the edge of the box he went to curl it into the top corner but he was unable to generate the power needed so the keeper there to catch it.
 
Giffnock could’ve and should’ve taken the lead when Euan Inglis had some great footwork and took it to the byline cut it back into the middle of the 18-yard box to Love but his shot was blocked on the line then subsequently cleared.
 
But they did, deservedly, take the lead through Taylor. Again, it came from Inglis who went down the line with some tricky footwork crosses it in and Taylor had enough time to take a touch and slot it home with his left foot.
 
Three minutes later it was 2-0 and it came from a corner. A ball whipped in from Banner man to the back post and it was tapped in by Gebreyes, and at this point it looked like it was going to turn into a cricket score.
 
Then came the best goal of the game it was well so worked. A long pass from Bannerman to Connor McCrea who touched it down to Magowan who finished well into the roof of the net.
 
Then there was a bizarre moment in the game came as Bannerman got his goal that was deserved but in weird circumstances. As it looked like he took the ball too far but he got to the byline and crossed the ball but it rolled along the line it went to the keeper but he fumbled the ball into the net.
Yaw Osei Opoku-Berchie’s broke Edinburgh City hearts as he guided Raith Roivers into the Scottish FA Youth Cup third round with a cool finish following a clever one-two in the dying seconds at Ainslie Park.
 
It was a hard fought cup tie with the ever changing weather conditions making it difficult for both sides, although throughout the piece Raith were probably deserved winners.
 
Raith certainly started the brighter of the two, with Opoku-Berchie, Ryan Stevenson and David McKay all coming reasonably close for the visitors in the early stages.
 
However City grew into the game and a teasing ball by Kyle McClung was dealt with by the Rovers defence as the rain began to pour down onto the artificial surface.
 
Jamie Watson watched his long range strike comfortably caught by Fraser Morton in goal for the hosts and a few minutes later the referee had his yellow card out for a late challenge from City skipper Ryan Day on Jack Smith.
 
The best chance of the game fell the way of Raith Rovers after 31 minutes when the impressive Stevenson picked out Kyle Bell with a pinpoint pass and Bell rolled Opoku-Berchie in on goal and his was shot was met by a strong hand from Morton who wasn’t to know the attacker was offside.
 
Stevenson had a couple of attempts blocked a few minutes later and at the third time of asking the midfielder lashed the ball over from the right of the area.
 
As the interval beckoned, Raith surged forwards in search of the opener. Initially Smith rounded Morton but failed to convert from the wide position as he was dispossessed. 
 
Moments later a ball into the back post and a free header from Opoku-Berchie brought out a stunning point blank range save by Morton to keep his side on level terms going into the break.

East Kilbride booked their place in the third round of the Scottish Cup after overcoming Whitehill Welfare 4-0 at Ferguson Park.

Whitehill kicked off on a windy Sunday afternoon and were immediately on the back foot due to East Kilbride’s high press.

The first chance of the game fell to East Kilbride’s Gavin Millar after three minutes. The left winger got on the end of a long throw and drove toward goal down the left, but fired his shot wide of the far post.

East Kilbride went close to taking the lead following a fortuitous cross from left-back Conor Bell. The defender curled a high cross in from the left that swerved towards goal, forcing Welfare keeper Ross Jardine to acrobatically tip the ball over the bar.

East Kilbride continued to dominate the game and deservedly took the lead after 27 minutes. Central midfielder Lewis Doherty had the ball in the centre of the pitch about 35 yards out and found Jay McInally with a superb through ball. McInally kept his composure and slotted past the left of the onrushing Jardine.

Millar then came close to grabbing East Kilbride’s second. The winger received the ball in the middle of the park, beating one player before lashing a right foot shot from 25 yards that Jardine parried over.

Whitehill Welfare struggled to create clear-cut chances and their striker Declan Knox became increasingly isolated.

McInally would have grabbed a second if not for a fantastic reflex save from Jardine. The ball fell at McInally’s feet following a corner and the forward blasted a close-range shot at the Whitehill Welfare goal, only for Jardine to tip the ball wide of his near post.

The referee soon blew his whistle for half-time with East Kilbride narrowly leading by one.

Celtic booked their slot into the semi-final of the Scottish Women’s Youth Cup with a win against Central Girls at Ainslie Park. Two quickfire first-half goals from Lucy Sinclair, the standout being a thirty-yard strike, put the Celts on their way to victory. In a frustrating game for the losing side, they saw three attempts all rebound off the woodwork.

In what was predicted to be an even game, Central had the upper hand in the early stages of the match. A few minutes in Naomi Welch was set up after a lengthy run from Morgan Cross, but the resulting shot was too tame to cause any worry for Celtic.

Kimberley McAlpine also had an effort for Central early on, striking a free-kick with pure power from distance but seeing the effort rifle over the goalkeeper’s head for a goal kick.

The goal appeared to only be destined for one side when Central came even closer, cracking an effort off the bar in the 15th minute. McAlpine, who appeared to be her team’s main attacking source, forced her way through the centre of the pitch with a powerful bursting run, before gaining a yard and smacking an effort which rebounded off the woodwork, with Celtic clearing the rebound.

Just when it appeared that The Hoops were about to have their defence breached, they broke up the other end and opened the scoring against the run of play. Lucy Sinclair picked up the ball from well outside the penalty area, seized up her options, and set her sights for goal. From 30 yards out she picked the far corner with perfection, few would have expected her to take the opportunity and she pulled it off beautifully.

Minutes later, Celtic displayed their ruthlessness and scored a second goal to extend the gap between the two teams even further. Emma Craig, was the architect as she gained a yard on the right wing, and swung a teasing ball into the penalty area where Lucy Sinclair was waiting eagerly to double her tally. She used the momentum on the ball well and helped guide her effort into the far corner, well beyond the goalkeeper’s reach.

The two goals came as a sucker punch to Central who would have been satisfied with their showing up until Sinclair’s double, and they  struggled to create chances for the remainder of the half, despite controlling much of the possession.

Thursday, 28 September 2017 00:04

Hibs progress despite Celtic comeback heroics

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Hibs struck three times in extra time to progress into the Scottish Youth Cup final after a second half comeback produced by Celtic. Hibs led at half time after Caley Gibb converted a chance received over the top in the 16th minute. The Hibees doubled their lead after the break when Amy Hay shot hit off the post and in during the 50th minute.

Celtic got themselves back in the game however, strikes from Ellie Jai Reid and Holly Hart in the 55th and 58th minute respectfully meant the tie when into extra time. Despite great performances from both sides, Phoebe Friend gave Hibs the lead once again in the 84th minute before Tegan Bowie bagged herself a brace in the final stages of the game.

The scoring got underway for Hibs in the 16th minute. Anna Dickov sent a ball in over the top to Gibb who tapped the ball under the keeper. As the ball creeped towards the left side of goal, Bowie approached the ball ready to tap it into a vacant net, however, carefully judged the situation by not making contact as she was in an offside position. The goal was subsequently awarded to Gibb as Hibs lead first in the semi-final.

Celtic had a chance to level things soon after as Reid forced Hibs keeper, Mia Smith to make a save in 22nd minute. Reid managed to get a shot away on the right side of goal with the ball looking like it were arriving at the near post until Smith dived low to halt the effort from entering the net.

The side from Glasgow had another opportunity to get themselves back into the game shortly before the break as Hart was through on goal in the 31st minute. The Hibs defence was racing back to catch Hart as she took the ball past the keeper on the right side but her touch that followed was too strong as she couldn’t get on the end of it to slot the ball into the empty net, the Hibs defence then regained possession and cleared away the dangerous effort.