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National Competitions (587)

It was Glasgow who headed back along the M77 with the SSFA Under 15s National Trophy after a well-deserved victory over Ayrshire at Rugby Park.
 
The cup encounter got off to a slow start, Ayrshire got the game ahead and attacked straight from the off, bursting forward but the Glasgow defence stood up to the early opportunity.
 
Glasgow’s first real attack found the back of the net, Gregor Nicol had a deflected effort from just inside the box, but the linesman’s flag was up and was given as offside.
Ayrshire then had a really good period of dominance in the period after the offside goal with a real chance for Micheal Mullen. Ayr had the first corner of the match and it fell straight to him at the back post, unfortunately his shot fizzled just wide of the post with just over ten minutes played.
 
It would be the visitors that would break the deadlock, a great free kick whipped into the box saw Matthew Collins get a shot away, it ricocheted off a few Ayrshire players before find the net in the seventeenth minute of the game.
 
Glasgow continued their high pressure as they searched for their second goal, another free kick taken by Luke Kenny was whipped in to the far post where it fell to Collins who was unable to find the net like last time.
 
With halve the half of football played; Ayrshire had their best spell of the half. Steven Warnock came close, a low free kick from just outside the box picked out the winger but he couldn’t finish.
 
Almost straight after, Alex Dean had a superb chance to get an equaliser. A lovely through ball catches the defence off guard but he can’t finish as the on rushing keeper makes a great save.
 
Ayrshire continued to press and attack in numbers as they searched for the elusive equaliser before the break, Ryan McDowell came close with ten minutes to go, his header from the free kick lacked enough power to go past the keeper.
 
That attack would prove to be the final chance of the half, with both teams still finding their feet in the cup final, Glasgow went into the break with a goal advantage. A team that made the most of their chances, Ayrshire on the other hand would rue their missed opportunities and feel frustrated for not being on the goal sheet.
Wednesday, 18 April 2018 18:00

Edinburgh College through to College Cup Final

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It was Edinburgh College who travelled back along the M8 knowing that they had claimed their place in the Scottish Student Sport College Cup Final after victory against City of Glasgow College at the Glasgow Green football centre in an intense, well-fought victory.
 
However, it was Glasgow who almost had the perfect start to the match. Douglas Macleod found himself in space and took his shot, which looked goal bound, but thankfully for Edinburgh, the shot was deflected wide.
 
After a shaky start, it was Edinburgh who looked the more dangerous of the teams. Sam Nhamburo tried his luck with an ambitious acrobatic volley but the shot wouldn’t trouble the keeper and it flew over the bar.
 
He had another opportunity to put his side ahead when he produced a lovely bit of skill, taking out two Glasgow defenders but only to fire his shot over the bar once more.
 
The start of the game was end-to-end football, but Edinburgh eventually broke the deadlock after 18 minutes with an unbelievable strike. Nathen Aiyegdusi picked the ball up from the right flank and smashed his shot right into the top left corner of the goal. A superb strike from the winger, who left the keeper in no-mans-land.
 
It was very much all Edinburgh after the goal, who continued to look the more threatening team but were almost caught out when the keeper's clearance fell straight to a Glasgow player, with an empty goal beckoning, but John Paul Conroy couldn’t find the back of the net.
 
That chance seemed to have spurred the Glasgow team on, who enjoyed their best spell of the game. Jamie Martin was making a menace of himself down the wing and he eventually broke free of his marker only to blaze his shot over the crossbar.
 
Towards the end of the half, Edinburgh found their feet again and had a great chance to double their lead. Jack Inglis flicked the ball over starting a counterattack in which Mohamed Dukuray picked it up only for Toby Macleod to lose possession in the box as he was about to pull the trigger.
 
But it was to remain 1-0 to the visitors at the half-time whistle. Glasgow had yet to make a real impact on the game with Edinburgh being by far the better team. The midfield ran riot throughout the half and this resulted in better chances and a superb strike for the goal as well.
 
Glasgow needed a big reaction for the second half to get back into the game.

Hibernian were crowned Development League champions as Edinburgh neighbours Hearts beat Dundee 4-2. Hibs' win over Aberdeen earlier in the day left the young Dees with no margin for error, but they couldn’t take the title race into the final week of the season despite leading twice through Craig Wighton and Cedwyn Scott.

After sustained early pressure, Dundee broke the deadlock after seven minutes when Craig Wighton fired home from a well worked corner.

Euan Henderson had Hearts first chance of the match but lashed a shot over from 15 yards. Lewis Moore tried his luck from distance but dragged his shot wide.

Henderson did well to hold off Kerr Waddell before squaring the ball to Rory Currie, but Jesse Curran managed to deny him a shot at goal. At the other end, Cedwyn Scott flicked a Jack Lambert free kick towards goal, but was denied by the post.

Currie brought Hearts level on the stroke of half time with a cross-cum-shot from the right that looped over Kyle Gourlay and found the net via the post.

Hibs won a hard-fought battle with Celtic on penalties, securing their spot at Hampden in the SYFA cup final.

The hosts were the first to threaten when Fraser Murray managed to bring out a powerful strike from the edge of the box which headed towards the bottom left corner, but the right hand from Ross Doohan was enough to deny an early lead in the second minute. Murray was unlucky once again not to put the team from the capital in front in the 3rd minute after Celtic captain Robbie Deas heroically threw himself in front of the wingers shot from close range.

Celtic got their first chance in the fourth minute when Michael Johnston showed his trickery down the right wing and sent a bullet of a cross in, which was unlucky not to be met by a teammate. Johnston was at it again in the 8th minute, this time from a free kick which went narrowly over the bar.

The end-to-end action continued at Easter road when Ryan Shanley made room for himself in the box but saw his finish sail over the bar in the 18th minute. The next chance for the hosts came in the 23rd minute when Adam Watson smartly found F. Murray at the edge of the box, who couldn't be anymore unlucky when his strike was deflected over Doohan and clipping the underside of the bar.

Celtic’s youngest ever scorer, Jack Aitchison was the next to threaten for Celtic in the 31st minute when he touched the ball down at the back post but saw his shot go wide of the target. The bar was struck again in the 34th minute, this time the Hibs bar, when Johnston found Ewan Henderson who had his powerful effort tipped onto the woodwork by keeper Maciej Dabrowski. Defender Stephen Welsh was then unfortunate to find his curling strike go just over from the resulting corner.

F. Murray was courageously denied once again by a Celtic defensive block when Stephen Welsh flung himself in front of the close ranged effort in the 36th minute. Hibs continued the pressure when a minute later Adam Watson had an attempt from range which was comfortably saved by Doohan. A long-range attempt from Hibees defender Callum Donaldson which cruised over the bar in the 40th minute, ended up being the climax of an action packed first half.

Gartcairn Academy met Arthurlie Juniors in this rearranged Scottish Cup semi-final at Benburb Juniors Football Club, that attracted a huge crowed for a eagerly anticipated match.

Arthurlie defeated Milngavie 2-0 to reach this stage, whilst Gartcairn beat Murieston United 4-1 to reach the semi-final. The game began at a frantic pace, with both teams trying to put an early marker down with some heavy challenges and quick passing.  

Luke Kelly had the first chance of the match for Gartcairn when his free kick was deflected just over the bar from 25 yards out. 

Despite the quick start, it was a quiet beginning to the game in terms of chances as both sides cancelled each other out with some strong defensive work. 

Gartcairn had the first big chance to take an early lead after 15 minutes, after some great work on the left side from Josh Moore, he was able to cross for Jordan Shaw and he was only inches away from putting his team in front.

Arthurlie slowly started to get a foothold in the game and their first real chance of note came after 25 minutes. Lwis Garner's header was brilliantly saved by the Scott Matthews in the Gartcairn goal from close range and he was able to gather the ball at the second attempt. 

At the other end, Shaw was then denied by the Arthurlie goalkeeper Mark Parson only minutes later, who also produced a great save from close range after some more good work from Moore.

Gartcairn deservedly took the lead after half an hour, and it was a special goal for the big occasion. From almost 30 yards out, Moore, the best player on the park so far, struck a wonderful, knuckle ball free kick into the top corner that left the goalkeeper with no chance. 

 Arthurlie responded well to the set back but despite their pressure on the Gartcairn goal they couldn’t create any clear cut chances and it was a frustrating first half for them.

It was the team in blue and white that finished the first half the stronger but they couldn’t add to their one goal advantage before the whistle. 

St Andrew’s University won a gruelling battle against Strathclyde University on penalties – securing the Scottish Student Sport’s Queen’s Park Shield for the first time since 1943.

It was a game that was always going to be won in a narrow fashion, and St Andrew’s had goalkeeper Alec Cadzow to thank for some terrific saves in the second half that kept Strathclyde at bay.

However, the game’s MVP, Alex Dodgshon, stole the show with a combative display that really symbolised the effort and commitment St Andrew’s put into the game.

The victory just typified St Andrew’s run throughout the tournament, having beaten Heriot-Watt University on penalties in the last-16 before knocking out Stirling and Aberdeen universities by one-goal margins respectively.

In contrast, Strathclyde had powered their way to the final. Nine goals scored in their previous three games had them coming into the game flying with confidence, and they started this one well.

Harry Clark worked well down the left to whip in a cross for Ross MacKenzie, but the midfielder’s header was held by Cadzow.

St Andrew’s threatened for the first time before the 10-minute mark, with Max Balmford hooking a well-taken effort over.

 

Dodgshon and co started to take control after the opening 15 minutes - creating several big openings that should’ve put them ahead.

Bolotov was set up after a terrific through ball from Dodgshon, but fired a low effort just wide. Minutes later, as St Andrew’s started controlling possession, Bolotov connected well with Balmford’s cross – forcing Ryan Truesdale to tip over.

From the resulting corner, Matthew Holden nodded over at the near post.

Despite the opening period of dominance from St Andrew’s in the opening 25 minutes – Strathclyde nearly caught them with a big sucker-punch.

Kyle Richford found space to run through on Cadzow. The St Andrew’s goalkeeper came out to smother, but the ball fell kindly for David Aubrey, who fired a miss-hit effort wide.

Strathclyde really grew into the game afterwards and made it a scrap after the impressive opening from St Andrew’s.

Chances weren’t flowing towards the end of the half, however.

Aubrey fired in a free-kick from 20 yards that was clutched by Cadzow, but it was the only real moment Strathclyde had before the break as the football became scrappy.

It was a half in which St Andrew’s started well, but some early misses cost them the lead going into the break.

On the other hand, Aubrey missed a big chance for Strathclyde just after the half-hour mark, as both sides had big regrets going into the break.

Thursday, 05 April 2018 17:50

Hampden bound Dons defeat ten man Kilmarnock

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It was Aberdeen who claimed their spot in the Scottish Youth Cup final after a Bruce Anderson hat-trick led the Dons to an impressive 3-0 away win at Rugby Park over opposition Kilmarnock.
 
A decent crowd turned up to witness the semi-final at a sunny Rugby Park in a game that didn’t disappoint. Kilmarnock, shooting into the sun, looked to have started the brighter of the two sides.  Killie number nine Innes Cameron had an early chance but nothing came of it.
 
It would be Aberdeen that would break the deadlock, Toby Wells picked up the ball on the left hand side of the pitch where he floated the ball into Bruce Anderson who took one touch and placed it into the net.
 
Just before the fifteenth minute mark Killie got another real chance on goal, Alex Samizadeh won the ball before bursting into the box, however, he was unable to get a shot away on the turn and the Dons cleared.
 
As the game entered the 20th minute the home side were dealt a major blow, Samizadeh, Killie’s top goal scorer in the cup, was red carded for an apparent punch on Toby Wells off the ball. The incident took place before the free kick was taken but the linesmen spotted the incident before consulting the referee.
 
Despite being a man down, Kilmarnock enjoyed one of their better spells of the match with some several half chances, but the Aberdeen defence stayed resilient.
Kilmarnock’s defence on the other hand was beginning to show signs of slackness; Anderson almost got a second just before half time after a long clearance found the youngster unmarked on the edge of the box. He unleashed his shot but it was saved well by Keranovic in the Kilmarnock goal.

The University of Stirling retained the coveted Scottish Students Women’s Cup of 2018, after defeating Edinburgh University 2-0 at Lesser Hampden.

It was a terrific display from Stirling, who, after an initial early scare after Edinburgh raced out the traps, ended up controlling the game well through an impressive midfield display.

In the end, a goal from Ellie Simpson added to a first-half goal direct from a corner from Beth McKay to secure the title for Stirling.

Stirling had hammered Glasgow University 4-0 in the semi-finals, but it was Edinburgh who came out strong in the first 10 minutes.

Edinburgh knocked out St Andrew’s University on penalties in the semi-finals, and Rebecca Gray had their first shot of the afternoon when her low effort was well held by the impressive Chloe Logan.

The conditions made things difficult for both sides, but there was an eagerness from both to keep the ball on the deck and play attractive, passing football.

Jordan Doak showed good endeavour to win the ball high up the park for Edinburgh, and laid it off to Margaux Durand-Watson. The number 10 had a strike from 20 yards out, but Logan again was equal to it.

Doak was looking lively in the first 20 minutes, and fed Beth MacLeod with a lovely through ball. However, her low strike was tremendously blocked again by Logan.

MacLeod was showing some lovely touches around the box, but Edinburgh really lacked a killer instinct in front of goal in the first half hour.

And they were punished on 24 minutes. Beth McKay curled in wicked corner, and Parker-Smith could only parry the ball into her own net. It was a rotten piece of luck for an Edinburgh side who started extremely well.

There was a zip to Stirling going forward after their early opener. They were looking to exploit the flanks after the first and really took the game to Edinburgh.

In contrast, Edinburgh looked sapped, and that early energy they were showing in the final third wasn’t on display after the opener. Too many loose passes were going back into Stirling University’s hands.

Chances, however, were at a premium for both sides before the break. Kim Guthrie had a pot-shot from 20 yards that was easily gathered by Parker-Smith.

Half-time would arrive with Stirling firmly in control, but with both sides still looking for additional cutting-edge in the final third.

Glenvale AFC Under 16s are set to face Spartans in the SYFA Cup final for the second successive year after comfortably dispatching Hillwood in the semi-finals on Sunday.

Glenvale hit seven past Hillwood in a commanding win to reach May’s cup final, due to be held at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium.

Hillwood kicked off on a chilly afternoon at Parklea but it was Glenvale who enjoyed the better start to the game. The Paisley side dominated possession during the opening exchanges and won a few corners, where they highlighted their effectiveness from set pieces.

It was from one of their corners that John Cumming opened the day’s scoring with around nine minutes on the clock. Jack Smith floated in a delivery towards the back post from the right and found Cameron Crooks waiting. Hillwood keeper James Burns parried Crooks’ header but the ball fell invitingly for Cumming, who poked the ball home from close range to give his side an early lead.

Vale came close to doubling their advantage minutes later, again from a corner. This time Smith played a low ball towards the edge of the box, spotting centre forward Rhys Best McDonald’s late run towards goal. The striker fired a low shot at goal but Burns smothered his shot well.

Best McDonald looked up for the game and was heavily involved in Hillwood’s next opportunity. The forward picked up the ball on the right of the Glenvale attack and charged down the wing, beating two Hillwood defenders in the process. He then teed up Aaron McDonald but his shot flew harmlessly over the bar.

With 25 minutes on the clock Fraser Lee then extended Glenvale’s lead to two. A long ball over the top reached Brian Connor, who thundered down the left wing towards goal. Connor squared the ball with a lovely outside-of-the-boot pass to Lee, who took a touch before calmly placing the ball in the bottom corner.

The Hillwood players struggled to create chances in this period, finding Glenvale’s defence particularly stubborn and difficult to break down.

Seven minutes later, it was three. Crooks was played in down the right and fashioned a one-on-one against Burns before he showed great composure to roll the ball past the onrushing keeper and into the Hillwood net.

Glenvale continued to press for a fourth goal with Best McDonald looking particularly dangerous, but the striker was unable to find the net despite going close on more than one occasion.

Vale would grab a fourth before halftime however, with the Paisley side once again taking advantage of their set piece abilities. Smith fired in a cross towards Harry Pittaway at the back post, where a simple tap in was all that was required to extend their lead to four.

The referee then called time on a superb first-half performance from Glenvale.

Abertay University battled to a 1-0 win over Stirling University B to secure the BUCS 2A League title in their final game of the season. A wonder strike from Holly Napier was enough to see off the home side, whose own title aspirations vanished with defeat at Gannochy Sports Centre.

Stirling came into the game on the back of a 3-2 win against Edinburgh Napier University, and knew that four points from their final two games would make them league champions. The home side were also looking to avenge a penalty shootout defeat to Abertay in February, which had sent them crashing out of the Scottish Cup at the semi-final stage, and certainly started the brighter of the two sides. Ruth Clark had a number of shots saved by opposing goalkeeper Amy Hiddleston, before Lauren Hill sent a strong shot over the crossbar.

Emily Gray was dominating the midfield area in the air for the home side, with Abertay’s attacking threat diminishing as the half went on. However, Holly Napier began to grow into the game and was sent through on goal; her shot was saved well by Rebecca Sjogerud. Sabrena Craib sent a wild shot over the bar, and Victoria Kane spurned a glorious opportunity when she screwed the ball wide after being sent through on goal.

Ruth Clark headed just wide from a Rachel Armstrong cross, and was made to pay just minutes later when Abertay took the lead. Napier lined up a free kick thirty yards from goal, crashing the ball into the roof of the Stirling net to hand her side a priceless advantage.

The remainder of the first half was a very scrappy affair, with Katie Caine nearly seeing her long-range effort fumbled over the line by Sjogerud, but the keeper just managed to recover her error.