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National Competitions

National Competitions (590)

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The tumultuous Scottish Cup finals continued with Barrhead YFC taking on Colony Loco, both sides hadn’t been on the best of from locally and that meant that the favourite was anyone’s guess. The Barrhead lads came into the game off the back of a dramatic 5-3 semi final. Whilst their opponents have to play against a massive Barrhead support and travel lag. The air was definitely electric and chants rang back and forward as both sides fancied their chances of bringing home the trophy.
 
Straight from kick off Barrhead almost bagged the opener as a hopeful shot from Brian Ashe slipped from Jordan Garrow’s gloves and landed on the roof of the net. Barrhead continued to apply pressure, looking to pacey winger Thomas McGaughey to control the flow of play.
 
Colony looked for an overlap and found some joy with Lukas Kennedy and Grant Dawson. It looked to be a well oiled partnership as Colony started to play through them as much as possible. The opening minutes were as torrid as the previous games’ final one, but this looked set to be a cracking final.
 
Barrhead threatened again as McGaughey broke down the left and cut inside, moving along the byline and playing it backwards Fraser McGlaughlin took a stab at goal only for the mess of bodies to prevent his effort reaching the 6 yard box. Nobody was backing down early on, but Barrhead looked the more likely to score in the opening minutes.
 
Number 5 John Planas came on with under 15 minutes played, an injured Ciaran O’Donahue coming off to make way. 
 
A lovely bit of skill allowed McLaughlin to turn his man when the Barrhead attack was being crowded out – but in the end all he can get for his creativity is a corner.  
 
Soon after it was a Barrhead free kick over 30 yards from goal. We saw a goal like it earlier, the only difference this time was Garrow got a glove to it. McLaughlin steps us as casual as you like and curls it right into the top right corner.
 
Barrhead pushed forward, they smelled blood and looked to take it with wingers and forwards all finding space. But almost right away Colony came close. Greg Wood getting one on one and it was only the strong gloves of Alistair Hughes that tipped it out for a corner, after it bounced ominously in front of the goal. 
 
Colony began to establish a foothold in the game – playing in Daniel Crisp who was linking the midfield and attack very well, in the end though the Barrhead back four were standing very strong to keep out the Loco strikers, thanks in no small part to Anthony Etherson.
 
Brian Ashe then made it 2-0 for Barrhead scrambling from the ashes of a half chance. A great cross almost results in a goal and Colony’s Lukas Kennedy went down only for Ashe to slot home in a classic example of ‘playing to the whistle.’ That took a lot of awareness and composure and the ref had no choice but to keep the play moving to allow the second goal.
 
Colony began to try and find their way back in, pinging passes around between Crisp,  Watson and Burr. But their great passing was far too deep and the Aberdeen side needed to show a lot more urgency to get back in the tie. 
 
A great piece of passing from Crisp, he found Alex Duguid on the edge of the box, who slipped through a great weighted pass back to Grant Dawson who side-footed it past the keeper into the net to make it 2-1. Football is all about momentum and it looked here like the momentum was shifting to support the side looking for an equalizer.
 
The goal almost acted as a reset as both teams began to play like the game had just started – neither able to hold the ball for a particularly long time. But it was Kieran Lawrence who broke down the Colony left to get space, but in the end his cross was too late to get past the right back.
 
Then again the pressed on the opposite side Kennedy puts in for Duguid who tries a flick back into the centre only for it to be cut out by Sam McNeil.
 
Barrhead free kick from a very tempting crossing position out on the right, good left foot cross floated towards Ashe, but in the scrum it was punched out. It came back in to McNeil who turned and shot only for it to be deflected over the bar. The East Renfrewshire side then produced a creative set piece routine from that corner. Two short passes between Easdon and McLaughlin was then squared to Etherson who connected cleanly from 35 yards out, sending the ball sailing into the top right corner. The goalkeeper was rooted to the spot, without a hope of reaching the ball.
 
Burr took Colony forward on the counter, a lovely pass through to Crisp set up a great killing cross only for McNeil to block it and send Barrhead back up the park. 
 
Front to back Barrhead kept up the performance, Etherson showing his worth at the back by preventing any chance of a chance before he cleared into row Z to take us into a halftime. Barrhead went in after a dominant half and the talking point had to be that 35 yard monster that put Barrhead 3-1 ahead.
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Antonine Blacks defeated twice reigning champions Tynecastle on sudden death penalties after the two sides could not find a winner after regulation not extra time. The first half was a close affair, but Antonine goalkeeper Scott Wright saved Greg Kerr's nineteenth minute penalty. However, Ciaron Small fired Tynecastle ahead shortly before half time. Six minutes after the break, Kerr made amends after he fired in his side's second. A stunning free kick from Euan Urquhart halved the deficit, and then a header from Andy Nixon sent the game to extra time.
 
Nixon got his second goal of the afternoon in the second half of extra time. With the game into added time, Jason Kerr's late goal sent the game to penalties. After each team had scored all five penalties, Scott Wright saved the first sudden death penalty when he denied Mark Shiel. The pressure fell on Antonine's Calum Campbell to score the winning penalty in a Scottish Cup Final penalty shoot-out, which he duly rose to by sending the ball into the top corner and his team into cloud nine.
       
Everything was being made of the fact that the last three Scottish Cups had been claimed by one of these sides, and of course that these two teams had played each other in the 14s and the 15s finals. Antonine won the first meeting, and Tynecastle the second, who of course then defended their title against Clydebank last year.
        
Both sides had saw off strong opposition en route to the final: many people indeed argue that these two sides are still the absolute very best in Scottish youth football at the 1997 age group, therefore it was only fitting that these two sides were to meet yet again in a show case Scottish Cup Final.
       
They walked out at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium to a loud support, with Survivor's classic 'Eye of the Tiger' also booming out over the stadium. Their was plenty of noise coming from the stands, particularly from the Antonine sides - this all of course only adding the grandeur of the occasion. Both sides had tasted victory in this trophy - the biggest trophy their is - prior to today and both teams now were now fully focused on reigning victorious as Scottish champions yet again. Of course though, there could only be one victor at full time...
       
Unsurprisingly, the opening spell of the game was neck and neck, with both sides playing attractive, fluent and attacking football. Tynecastle's Jason Kerr was the first player to register a shot on target inside two minutes, however Antonine goalkeeper Scott Wright held the ball well.
        
Up the other end, it looked like Antonine were going to take a six minute lead when Andrew Nixon bore down on goal, however David Henderson's last gap slide tackle prevented a sure goal.
       
Tynecastle midfielder Ryan Mayer came close to breaking the deadlock when he tested Wright with a fine curling effort, however the goalie produced an equally fine stop when by tipping the ball over the bar.
        
Nineteen minutes into the 1997 Scottish Cup Final the game got it's first real talking point when Tynecastle's Greg Kerr was tripped in the penalty box. Kerr dusted himself off to take the spot kick himself just as the Antonine fans began to chant the name of their goalkeeper praying for him to be their saviour... and the goalkeeper answered those prayers by indeed saving Kerr's spot kick! An opportunity missed for Tynecastle - and they knew it.
        
Up the other end, Antonine rallied on the back of that penalty save. Andrew Nixon even had the ball in the Tynecastle goal just before the half hour mark, but the offside had been raised in plenty of time.
       
Half time was near when Tynecastle broke the deadlock. A corner from the right hand side was floated in by Liam Thomson, and following a goal mouth scramble Ciaron Small was on hand to fire home at the near post.
       
A great time to get the opener as the referee soon after concluded the first half - and it was Tynecastle who were only forty-five minutes away from a third successive Scottish Cup victory.
 
The first half was a close affair, and the second was sure to be a nervy spectacle.
A clinical performance from Lasswade High School, saw them run out 7-0 winners over Bannerman HS, to lift the TSB Under 15 Girls’ Shield at Ainslie Park. A first-half strike from Eilidh Morris and an excellent free kick from Lauren Watters put the girls in red in control. After the break, a second goal for Morris, a Zoe Carmichael wonder-strike and an Angyl Learmonth hat trick sealed a memorable result for the girls.
 
With only two minutes on the clock, Lasswade launched their first meaningful attack of the game, with only a great tackle by Bannerman’s Amy Copeland stopping Eilidh Morris going clean through on goal. And, five minutes later, Morris was at it again, running onto a good header by Aimee Russell to flash a cross in front of the Bannerman goal, however, to Bannerman’s relief, there was no one in red to tap the ball home.
 
With no one winning the midfield battle early on, there were chances for both sides. Bannerman’s impressive captain, Hannah Fulton, had a great dipping shot from outside the box palmed away, while at the other end, Gaby Wright headed over from a Lauren Watters’ corner.
 
With twenty minutes on the clock, once again, it was Morris who ran onto Angyl Learmonth’s ball, only to see her shot well saved by Sophie Mattheson.
 
Lasswade were starting to dominate the goal, particularly thanks to the impressive performances of Morris and Watters, and it was well deserved, when Morris put them ahead on twenty three minutes, finishing well from inside the box.
 
Minutes later, Morris was involved again, winning a free-kick for her team to the right of Bannerman’s goal. Watters stepped up to take it and when her curling shot beat the keeper from a good 20 yards out, it was no less than her performance merited.
 
With the first half coming to a close, there were half-chances for both teams, with Bannerman’s Zoe McGurn dragging a shot just wide, while Lasswade’s Amber Scotland, was inches away from connecting to a Morris cross and adding to her team’s total.
Celtic sealed victory in the SPFL U19 League Cup Final over Ayr United thanks to a Luke Donnelly goal early in extra-time at Somerset Park on Sunday. It is the young Hoop’s third trophy of the season, having also won the U19 League title and Glasgow Cup.
 
Despite Ayr having the home advantage, it was Celtic who started the brighter team and almost took an early lead after only a few minutes. 
 
Innes Murray got down the wing to send in a tempting cross which was almost turned into the goal by Ayr’s Jackson Longridge. Keeper Shaun Newman managed to react well to tip the ball onto the post and Ayr survived the early scare.
 
Celtic kept their bright start up, with Mark Hill having an effort from just outside the box after a poor clearance from the Ayr defence. Ryan Caird was next to try his luck, but could only find the wrong side of the post after a nice pass from Regan Hendry.
 
After a sluggish start, Ayr grew into the match and found themselves with the better chances late in the first half.
 
Michael Wardrop had an effort on goal blocked by Celtic goalkeeper Connor McCabe. Then it was the turn of Ayr forward Ryan Nisbet to test the keeper, but McCabe was proving a stubborn figure between the sticks.
 
Nisbet had another opportunity to get a shot on target, but Celtic defender Jamie McCart did ever so well to get in front of the striker’s powerful dig.
 
The first half was proving to be a war of attrition, with a stalemate inevitable at the break.
 
Both sides had another chance to go ahead before the interval though as Murray saw an ambitious effort soar over the bar before Ayr’s James Finlay prodded the ball just wide of the post at the other end.
A wild and wet night welcomed us to Airdrie on Friday night as the two best Under 15 school sides met to contest the national cup final at the Excelsior stadium and a sizeable crowd would be in attendance to see one of them write their names into history.
 
The combination of the slippery surface and Airdrieonians plastic pitch made controlling the ball a nightmare for both sides and most of the first period would be spent chasing stray passes and trying to pick out teammates but with players of such quality it wouldn’t be long before things clicked into place.
 
It would be Strathaven who found their feet first and following a scrabled goalline clearance from Jonathan McCabe early on Ross Fleming capitalised on a defensive mix up between Darren Wilson and goalkeeper Adam Sinnet and showed excellent touch and composure to move into the box and fire past the goalkeeper goal to give his side the lead.
 
The boys in pink would be quick to respond and following a Dylan Flaconer corner Jake Hastie was quickest to react and glanced the ball home to restore parity before the half tie break and level the scores heading into the break.
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The best in the West arrived in Airdrie to settle a riveting Scottish Cup campaign as the champions Campsie Black Watch looked to secure a second consecutive trophy in their fourth straight final to complete a league and cup double whilst their opponents had spent the season snapping at their heels to finish second behind them in the league and  knock them out of the Golden Goals cup on penalties and were hoping to snatch another trophy out from under their noses.
 
Kicking off in front of a raucous support Goldenhill were straight on to the attack and early efforts from Kieran O'Brien  and Daniel Gibson showing early intent but Campsie are rarely so easily shaken and they began to assert themselves after a period of pressure with Stephen Aitken glancing a Kieran O'Hare header goalward before O'Hare  himself saw a shot blocked before being cleared in a hectic opening quarter of an hour.
 
Richard Henry would then nip in ahead of his marker for Goldenhill to create space from a corner but his shot was deflected and cleared and moments later Nicholas Prentice was sent racing though for Campsie but was just levered off the ball as both sides exchanged possession and momentum.
 
Play would often be stopped in the first period to allow for free kicks and throw ins to further enforce the competitive nature of the contest with the majority of the play taking place in the middle third of the park, Goldenhill attempting to make the best of the running through players like Gibson and Marc Morrison and Campsie playing their way out of danger more often than not through their composed back line which was shepherded well by Martin Storey in goal.
 
It would be Morrison who came closest for Gowdie as the first period came to an end, the ball breaking to him on the edge of the box and his right foot effort narrowly zipped over the bar but that would be the last action of note in a breathless opening 45 minutes.
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A superb attacking display from Edina Hibs saw them break down a determined Rangers outfit to win the Under 13’s TWS SYFA Cup Final.  The Edinburgh outfit were on the front foot from the start and scored the goals to earn a well deserved victory.  Hibs used the 3G surface to their advantage to move the ball about diligently with Rangers just unable to respond.  
 
There was a real cup final atmosphere at the Airdrie Excelsior Stadium as two of the form teams in under 13 football prepared to kick off.  The rain had cleared and a big crowd had gathered in anticipation of a great contest.  Both sides had scored freely on route to the final and would be looking to continue in this vein on a dull Airdrie afternoon. 
 
Rangers kicked off and instantly set about passing the ball about their back three.  As ever on these occasions the opening exchanges were somewhat cagey as each team looked to settle into the game.  Both sides were being roared on by vocal supports that had travelled to back their respective teams.  Rangers had some early pressure without being able to properly penetrate the Hibs back line.  There was a steely focus to each team which meant space was at a premium.  In the sixth minute Hibs Mitchell Robertson had a shot that was easily gathered by Robbie Walker in the Rangers goal.  
 
Hibs were knocking the ball about well with Robertson and Alassan Jones starting to have an influence in midfield.  Rangers run to the cup final proved they do not give away goals easily however with just one goal lost over seven games and that not until the semi final against Harmony Row.  Jones produced a terrific driving run down the left but just lacked the final pass to allow a teammate to capitalise.  Hibs were on top at this stage with fifteen minutes played.
Jones drew a free kick in the nineteenth minute.  Dean Burgess took it from the left hand side but as was becoming increasingly common it was dealy with easily by the Rangers defence.  It was clear that it was going to take a moment of inspiration for Hibs to be able to break them down.
 
 John Gilmour and John Balsillie appeared a bit isolated in the forward positions for Rangers but would be looking to capitalise on any chance offered to them.  The Rangers back three whilst under pressure from Hibs appeared relaxed and happy to defend anything that was thrown at them led by Zach Brown in the centre. Leno De Gaetano earned a free kick on the left for Hibs in the twenty fifth minute Nicholas Aitchison flighted in an enticing cross but it was once again cleared.  This led to a long range shot from Dean Burgess which lacked any power or precision to fade wide.  
 
Hibs did eventually break the deadlock just before half time and it was no surprise to see Jones as the scorer.  Aitchison once again delivered a terrific cross this time from a corner.  It was met terrifically by Jones who nodded emphatically into the top corner.  Hibs deservedly ahead and Rangers would now have to open up in order to try and get back into the match.  The goal eased some of the frustration Hibs had been feeling at being unable to break their opponents down.  Jones had won the corner himself with threatening run down left and this allowed the influential Aitchison to provide the delivery.
 
The half time whistle blew and this would allow Rangers the chance to regroup and consider how they might get back into this game.  Hibs were definitely on top and well worthy of their lead at the break.
St Ambrose High School triumphed in the SSFA Senior Shield for the first time in their history after a dramatic penalty shoot out victory against their Springburn Academy counterparts.  St Ambrose just about edged a hard fought encounter and managed to maintain their composure to score all five of their spot kicks.  Springburn’s Jamie Brown had looked unbeatable for much of the second half but was eventually undone in the shoot out.
 
A noisy crowd of 630 was gathered on a dull Hamilton evening.  The travelling St Ambrose fans were making themselves heard and there was a real sense of occasion.  It would be hard for the players to live up to the atmosphere and so it proved as each side seemed to cancel one another out with very little in the way of clear cut chances.  Springburn almost opened the scoring after five minutes however as Stuart McCann took advantage of hesitancy in the St Ambrose defence to latch on to a long Brown goal kick.  His effort was poked just wide but gave an early indication of the amount of pace he possessed.  The ball in behind certainly seemed to be an encouraging tactic for Springburn early on.
 
McCann’s strike partner Ryan Gemmell was also starting to assert himself on the game, his quick feet allowing his side the opportunity to break at pace.  Gemmell was able to link with Scott Forrester and get a shot away.  It was a weak effort though and easily held by Euan Perry.  Gemmell was the dominant player at this point but a clear cut chance did not seem to come his way.  Forrester forced another save but was too straight and central to worry Perry.  Perry was concerned moments later as he had to rush out of his box to deny Gemmell whose claim that he was in fact outside the box quickly dismissed by referee David Doig.
 
At this stage it looked like Springburn would open the scoring and McCann did find the net in the twenty second minute with a fine shot through a ruck of players into the bottom corner.  The assistant referee was quick to raise his flag and the goal was disallowed, much to the chagrin of the celebrating Springburn players and supporters.  Billy Vidler then set McCann up in the box but again he was quickly closed down by St Ambrose players which mean his shot lacked the necessary power to worry Perry. 
 
McCann was now becoming the prominent striker and a superb turn and driving run at pace led to him being chopped down and saw Jack McCormack become the first player to be booked.  The free kick from Dylan Trewavas was again too straight though and posed no threat.  Springburn were definitely the better side in the first half and should have been ahead.  The passing ability of Thomas Lone offered some hope for St Ambrose, especially when he was able to get Connor Shields involved on the right hand side.  The half finished with Vidler firing over the bar after Gemmell created the opening for him.  No goals but plenty of commitment from each side.
Saturday, 03 May 2014 16:15

Holyrood hold nerve to grasp national glory

Written by
National glory was on the line tonight at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie as the two strongest sides in the country went up against each other for the honour of being the 94th team to lift the under 16’s shield. On one side, playing in green, were one of Glasgow’s strongest sides and twice previous winners Holyrood Secondary and standing in their way were a team in all black from West Lothian who were aiming to succeed on the national stage for the first time.
 
The match kicked off under a cold Lanarkshire sky and almost immediately Holyrood looked to heat things up as they flew into attack, Kieran McGrory crossing in well from the right but Conan Shields volley was off target before Connor McCorry got the break of the ball to tee up the same player but yet again his effort would be thwarted.
 
In spite of this early inventiveness their defence would not have it all their own way, having won a corner just on the quarter hour mark St. Margaret’s swung the ball in where it was met just under the bar by Luke Dwyer who rose bravely amongst a host of bodies to nod home from close range and give his side the lead.
 
The lead would not last long however and when a free kick was lifted into the box by Holyrood goalkeeper Jakub Welna failed to gather cleanly leaving a chance for McGrory who contorted his body well to get a foot to the ball and stab it home from eight yards out and restore parity for his team only a few minutes after going behind.
 
Back at the other end Dwyer’s movement was causing problems and when Robbie Oag sent a cross in that missed the centre back he found himself one on one with the goalie but his effort was mistimed and spun into the welcoming hands of Christopher Shields.
 
Despite a few chances the first period had been dominated by Holyrood and their strength would show heading into the interval, a cross from the left was superbly controlled and smashed goal wards by Shields but blocked on its way before it fell to Anthony Houghton who reacted quickly to wrap his foot around it and sent it into the net off the palms of the despairing Welna to give his side a deserved lead at the break.
The two strongest Under 15 sides in regional football came together to contest this seasons cup final and all in attendance were expecting a close contest. West began the match attacking from left to right and attck was the operative word early on as the took the fight to their opponents from the off.
 
After only nine minutes the scoreboard had lit up fllowing superb play on the right from West's Nathan McGarvey as he whipped the ball into the danger area where Connor Baird was gratefully waiting to control before stabbing his effort past the stranded Fraser Briton before wheeling away to celebrate breaking the deadlock.
 
The boys in dark blue responded in fine style by putting the pressure on in their pursuit of an equaliser, soon after the opener there was a display of great vision to play in Euan Maguire up front but his left footed shot, though well struck, posed no danger to Ross Fisher as he watched the ball bounce wide.
 
It was almost 2-0 moments later as white shirts poured forward with both wingers joining Mark Taylor and Baird in attack and a superb move across the pitch from right to left saw the latter play in the former who lashed the ball home but the linesman had raised his flag just after the final pass to keep the difference to a single goal.
 
The momentum then swung back again and, following a superbly won header, South East had possesion in the final third where Maguire was able to play in Cameron Dawson but despite his twists and turns he was unable to break through the West defence which was being superbly marshalled by Niaill Herron in the middle.
 
At the other end chances were also coming thick and fast, no sooner had Briton got his legs to an effort from Fraser Burns after he was superbly set up by Jack Purdue than he he was turning a Nathan McGarvey effort round the post after a beautifully disguised pass from Tony Coutts.
 
A pattern had definetely emerged during this first 40 minutes and neither side was able to sustain any kind of pressure, South East racing back up the park to try their luck and Owen Richardson swarmed all over centre back Kalvin Warren, forcing the defender into a mistake and then cutting the ball back to the unmarked Dawson who fired straight into the arms of Fisher to the dismay of his teammates.
 
On the balance of play it would be fair to say that West had had the lion's share of chances heading into the break and their overall domination would be reflected in the scoreline as the minutes ticked down they won a corner that was then swung onto the head of the unmarked Mark Seggie who glanced his effort past Briton to make it 2-0 at the interval.