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Sunday, 17 April 2016 20:39

Kirkcaldy YM storm to League Cup glory

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Kirkcaldy YM produced a stunning second half display to dismantle Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts in the AFYFC League Cup Final on Sunday. After goals from Zack More and Joe Kinninmonth sent the sides in level at the interval. Terry Ormiston, Morgan Dow and a brace from James Mackie saw Kirkcaldy pull away in the final twenty minutes of an enthralling game at Warout.

The opening exchanges were tight as both sides looked to control possession until Logan Donaldson had the game’s first shot on target, but his effort was scuffed and easy for Ryan Hume in the Kirkcaldy goal.

The first goal wasn’t long in coming, however, and it was an absolute rocket from the boot of More that sparked the game into life. After a foul some 25 yards out, More placed the ball down before sending a bullet into the bottom corner, leaving Hume absolutely no chance.

Kirkcaldy went in search of an instant equaliser, and Joe Kinninmonth was played through one-on-one with David Webb, but the goalkeeper came out well to stop the attacker and clear the danger.

Jack Moffatt was then played clean through at the other end, but just as his opposite number had done moments earlier, Hume rushed off his line and bravely cleared the danger from the feet of the attacker to prevent his team falling further behind. The save came at a cost though as, after picking up an injury, Hume was replaced with substitute ‘keeper Ben Graham.

Kirkcaldy were beginning to set the tone of the game, and were finding a lot of joy on the right wing with the dangerous looking Liam David Macduff.

The pressure soon told, as Kirkcaldy levelled the scores to make it game on. A corner from the right was controlled in the box by Kinninmonth, who did well to turn his marker and finish on the half volley.

All the danger for Kirkcaldy was coming from the right side, and some neat play from Macduff and Daniel Corstorphine resulted in the latter sending a low cross into the box, but the ball was blocked and the danger cleared.

Calum Reid then sent a wonderful looking cross into the box from a free kick, but it was too deep and evaded everyone in the box.

As half time approached there was one final chance, and this time it was Swifts who had the opportunity to sneak in front; but after a cross from the right found Logan Donaldson unmarked, he was unable to beat Graham with his shot, and the sides remained level at the break.

East Fife Youths needed penalties to overcome Rosyth in the Summer Cup Final at Warout Stadium in Glenrothes on Sunday. After a goalless game offered little to separate the two sides, it was Jay Chricton who kept his composure to score the decisive spot kick and bring the cup home for his team.

In a tight and closely fought match, it was Rosyth who perhaps started the better; pressing high up the pitch and possessing a dangerous outlet in forward Jay Thompson. East Fife were looking to capitalise on their opponents high line however, and created the first opportunity of the match when, following a corner, Jack Strang fizzed a shot at goal but to no avail.

East Fife were looking to hurt Rosyth on the counter attack, and when a corner routine broke down at one end, Corey Jardine did well to carry the ball forward and win a corner for his own side. When the ball was delivered into the box, it fell kindly for Dylan Page, but he couldn’t control the shot and the ball sailed harmlessly over the bar.

East Fife soon found joy again playing into the space behind Rosyth’s defence, as Ryan Gilmour was released on the right to deliver a fantastic ball into the box, but despite getting a glancing touch on the ball, Thomas Birrell couldn’t direct the effort towards goal as another chance came and went.

Despite being vulnerable to the counter attack, for the most part Rosyth were doing a good job of controlling possession and looking to play their way through the East Fife defence. Sam Russell was next to try his luck, taking aim with a right footed shot from distance; but the shot was comfortably saved.

That chance proved to be the catalyst for Rosyth to pile on the pressure as the game moved towards half time, with Cain Dow doing well to dance his way past the East Fife backline, but he couldn’t finish as the goalkeeper came out to smother the danger.

Then, a well worked corner routine resulted with Rory Watson being teed up on the edge of the area, but his side footed effort whistled over the bar.

There was just enough time in the half for one more chance, as Zachary Humphries whipped a dangerous looking ball in from the right wing, but it was too close to the goalkeeper who collected with ease; leaving both teams to leave the field at half time with the score locked at nil-nil.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016 19:03

Berwick convincing winners over Shire

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Berwick Rangers continued their impressive home form with a comfortable 3-0 victory over East Stirlingshire at Shielfield Park. Daniel Watt and Regan Graham put Berwick 2-0 up at half time, with a third added early in the second half from the unfortunate Adam Murray who sliced into his own net from an Ethan Anderson cross.
The hosts started the brighter of the two sides with Daniel Pattenden heavily involved in the opening exchanges. First he went close with an effort from 12 yards that he blazed over the bar after an excellent delivery by Graham on the right. Not long after he mustered another opportunity, skipping past his man in the area before unleashing a powerful effort that swayed just past the goalkeepers left hand post.
Berwick were entering the Shire final third with ease, but had to be wary of the away sides counter attacks, and that nearly proved when Callum Brown almost found himself in on goal but a vital touch from Dean McConnell prevented any danger.
From the following attack, Berwick broke the deadlock in the 19th minute through Daniel Watt. His quick feet gave him a yard of space in the box before rifling the ball beyond Michael Fairbanks.
Home side kept pressing, not giving the Shire defence a moments piece. Full backs Ewan Herriott and Anderson were heavily involved with overlapping runs and dangerous crosses but none of their team-mates were gambling to get into those areas.
They remained patient and doubled their advantage in the 35th minute. Watt the provider this time unselfishly squaring the ball to Graham in the box who tapped in from ten yards. The least they deserved from a dominant first half display.
Monifieth Athletic and NCR contested the John Clark Motors cup on Sunday at North End Park in an incredibly closely fought affair. In the end it was Monifieth that took home the trophy with Ryan Scobie’s strike from the penalty spot, seven minutes from time, the only goal that separated the sides in a game where defences shone.
Both teams were keen to make an early impression on the game and the first chance fell to Monifieth’s Gavin Westwater. The number six picked up the ball from a ricochet and wasted no time in firing the ball at goal. NCR ‘keeper, Liam Moore, was on hand, quite literally, to parry the ball away before it was cleared by the NCR defence.
Eight minutes into the game NCR’s Nathan Burns was played in on goal. As he bore down on the target Scobie recovered well, intercepted the ball superbly and knocked it out for a corner – the first incidence of great defending in the game.
With 16 minutes on the clock Ryan McLaren came close to opening the scoring. After a nice touch and turn he rifled a low strike towards the target. Moore was there to deny McLaren with an excellent save, as he dived down low to meet, and hold, the ball.
Soon afterwards Westwater had another opportunity. After making an excellent solo run through midfield he unleashed a fearsome strike that, unfortunately for him, flashed wide of the mark.
The game soon became an intense midfield battle and no further clear cut opportunities arose by the time the half time whistle arrived. It was time for the teams to think outside of the box in order to break down the two resilient defenses. As it turned out it was what occurred inside the box that would prove vital. 
This Easter Sunday North End Park was treated to one very egg-citing final as Montrose won the Brown Cup following an incredible end to the game against Riverside. Riverside looked threatening in the first half and took the lead through Adam Flynn two minutes before the half time break. Both teams tussled superbly in the second period and it looked as though that one goal might be enough.
However, Montrose had other ideas as Ben Stott thumped home an equaliser in the first minute of stoppage time. A penalty shootout was needed to decide which team would be taking the cup home and Montrose kept their composure to triumph 4-2. This was one truly eggs-hilarating final (no more Easter puns from now on I swear).
The boys in blue began the game well as they looked to take an early advantage. Steven Reilly had an early chance to put Riverside 1-0 up but he stabbed the ball just wide of the mark following a nicely worked short corner routine.
Riverside continued to look good on the offense, with Jack Kingston and Roan Mearns looking particularly dangerous. However, the killer pass to open up a clear-cut opportunity continued to evade them for much of the opening period.
In the 27th minute they did manage to generate a superb opportunity to open the scoring as Kingston was fed through on goal down the right. He looked to shoot across goal, and bury the ball into the bottom left hand corner, but his shot flashed across the face of goal and wide of his intended target.
Six minutes later, however, Riverside made the breakthrough. Darren Lamb was slotted through, beyond the defence, excellently and, with just the goalkeeper to beat, he slid the ball past the oncoming netminder and towards goal. The power on the effort was minimal, however, and there was now a footrace on, between Flynn and the Montrose defence, over who would get to the trickling ball first. Flynn was the man to win the race and he prodded the ball home at the far post to give his side a one-goal lead.
After this initial setback Montrose almost executed the perfect response. Shortly before the half time whistle went Cameron Kerr fired a header just over the bar from a Calum Taylor cross.
Monday, 28 March 2016 11:52

Forfar end Raith’s unbeaten run

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Forfar Athletic condemned Raith Rovers to their first defeat of the season in the SPFL Development League East with a convincing 3-1 win against an unfamiliar home line-up featuring five young trialists.  
Kerr Hay bagged a brace and Matthew Aitken added a third on the stroke of half time for the away side in what was a dominant first half display. Jonny Court grabbed a lifeline for Raith, pulling one back twelve minutes from time, but Forfar held on to claim their eighth consecutive league win.
Away side showed intensity from the off with fluid passing combinations and pressing the opposition high up the pitch forcing them to lose the ball in there own half on many occasions.
The bright start was rewarded with a goal in the seventh minute when the referee pointed to the spot following David McKay bringing down Matthew Aitken in the area. Kerr Hay poised himself and made no mistake sending the keeper the wrong way.
Five minutes later they doubled their lead, that man again Hay skipping past two markers on the edge of the area before firing a powerful effort that went under the keeper’s body and into the net. 
Raith were digging in deep to try and get back into the match with James Berry, Ryan McGowan and B Trialist coming up with a neat passage of play but Forfar defended resolutely.
Contest was becoming scrappy as neither side could keep hold of possession and both were committing there fair share of fouls.
From nothing though Forfar added a third in the 44th minute, Aitken finishing from close range after winning the ball from a lapse in concentration by Oliver Fleming on the edge of his area.
Montrose can call themselves Jim Duffy Cup champions after a well fought final against DUSC at North End Park. Kai Henderson put the boys in blue 1-0 up just a couple of minutes before the half time break. The number 14 then doubled his tally, and his team’s lead, in the 43rd minute and leaving them in a strong position. With full time closing in DUSC rallied the troops and grabbed one goal back in the 70th through Kieren Barron. With just injury time remaining they were unable to find a second for themselves and Montrose held out to secure the win and the silverware.
Montrose began the game strongly with Henderson and Calum Bisset looking particularly threatening. The first golden opportunity arose in the 8th minute as Henderson latched onto a stray back pass. The Montrose forward turned the oncoming ‘keeper and took a shot at goal. He was denied from opening the scoring, however, by some superb last-ditch defending from Kane Hynes, who was on hand to head clear off the line.    
The game then began to settle down as both teams tussled for full control, a sign of how well matched the sides are.
The next clear chance fell the way of Montrose. Henderson displayed some great hold up play, waiting for his teammates to join him in attack. He then laid the ball off to Bisset who fired a shot at goal. Leighton Quinn, in goal for the Tangerines, expertly saved and held the shot to keep his side from falling behind.
With four minutes remaining of the first half DUSC came close to opening the scoring themselves after being awarded a free kick within shooting range. Rory Jagusinski, taking the kick, successfully lifted the ball over the wall but just past the post.
Two minutes later the game witnessed its first goal. Henderson latched onto a free kick delivered long into DUSC’s penalty area and, with a neat one touch finish, lifted the ball over the on rushing goalie and into the net. Montrose grabbed their 1-0 advantage at a perfect time.
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 12:37

Penalty kings Pitfour win Diamond Jubilee Cup

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Forget the Dundee derby. Those at Dundee’s North End Park got to witness a Sunday afternoon game that was full of twists, turns and a dramatic penalty shootout to round things off. The game in question was the Diamond Jubilee Cup final, which was played out between Arbroath Lads and Pitfour, which finished 1-1 and culminated in a dramatic penalty shoot-out win for Pitfour.
It was evident from the very beginning that the final was going to be close as the teams are two very well matched outfits. However, it was Pitfour that made the breakthrough as they went one up, courtesy of Kai Finnie, in the first minute of the second half. It looked as though one goal might be all that was needed until Bartosz Kwiatek leveled the scores six minutes from time with a superbly executed overhead kick. The full time whistle soon arrived and a penalty shootout was needed to decide who would be taking the cup home. In the end Pitfour managed to triumph 4-3 on penalties and they were crowned Diamond Jubilee Cup champions. 
The first half was a titanic tussle between the two sides which exemplified just how well matched the final was. Jack Bledowski had an early chance to open the scoring for Arbroath but he sent his effort over the bar after latching onto a right wing cross.
The next clear opportunity fell to Arbroath in the 20th minute. Connor McFarlane drove towards goal, from the right, and fired a low shot at goal. Pitfour ‘keeper, Archie Barton, was on hand to make the save with his legs. Leo Boath, however, pounced onto the rebound and hit a first time shot back at goal. Once again Barton was there to keep the score at 0-0 as he dived down low to his left and held the rebounded shot. Excellent goalkeeping.
In the 25th minute Pitfour very nearly worked an opportunity for themselves. Finnie attempted to latch onto a through ball that was fed beyond the Arbroath defence. The pacy forward was soon involved in a footrace against Arbroath’s man between the sticks Shaun Watt. It was the goalkeeper who reached and cleared the ball just ahead of the pacy forward but he took a wallop as a result – the perfect example of taking one for the team.  
Sunday, 13 March 2016 13:19

Swifts in control as Pumas brushed aside

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Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts kept the pressure on the sides above them in the Fife Development League as they recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Pitreavie Pumas at Ballast Bank on Sunday.
Lewis Nimmo opened the scoring early on with a well taken finish, before Kieran Young doubled the lead from the penalty spot to put the hosts firmly in control, and it was Young who was on hand again in the final seconds to round off the win in style.
Despite the sides being separated by just one point at the start of play, Swifts set about asserting their dominance right from the off, and were rewarded with an early break through.
A deep ball from a corner fell to Nimmo just inside the area, who after shifting the ball onto his right foot fired a low shot into the far corner, with Blair Gibb in the Pumas' goal unable to keep it out despite getting a hand to the ball.
With their tails up the home side were soon presented with a superb chance to double their lead, with a penalty awarded after a foul inside the box. It was a gift Young was all too happy to receive, as he calmly rolled the ball beyond Gibb to put his side two up.
Ronan Hall then looked to stretch his sides lead even further, but his volleyed effort whistled just wide of the post.
Despite suffering two early blows, the Pumas were now beginning to find their feet. Some nice link up play on the right flank between John Sutherland and Lewis Petrie resulted in a corner, from which Lewis Haggett rose highest to nod the ball just wide of the post.
Pitreavie continued to grow in confidence, and Petrie did well to escape his marker before firing a shot agonisingly over the bar.
A third goal before the break would surely have put the game to bed for the Swifts, and Innes McMenamin Hunter looked to provide it as he won the ball high up the pitch, before stepping into the space in front of him and taking aim with a right footed effort. But his shot was straight at Gibb who was able to save comfortably.
A strike from Ryan Hush two minutes from time sent Monifieth U16s into the final of the Queen Jubilee Cup at the expense of Fairmuir U16s.
Both sides came into the tie held at Riverview on the back of impressive form in the Maryfield U16s league, with Fairmuir sitting second in the table and Monifieth amassing six points from four matches.
It was the home side who settled first in blustery conditions. A well weighted through ball from Cavin Tosh released Ryan McLaren into space, after showing good composure to round the keeper the striker was crowded out by the Fairmuir backline.
Having enjoyed their first spell of possession in the contest, Fairmuir almost broke the deadlock. Jack Taylor’s surging run from deep allowed Ross Bell to bring out a solid stop by Monifieth goalkeeper Alex Smart.
Tosh and McLaren continued to display good link up play in the final third, with McLaren’s having an effort which finished wide of target and then calling Rory McInally into action from distance.
The Fairmuir number one continued his impressive form moments later when called upon to palm away a well drilled shot by Tosh. Despite the best efforts of the McInally the first goal of the semi was scored on 34 minutes with Tosh rewarded for his early attacking endeavour, picking up a loose ball and sending a looping shot into the top corner of the net.
Fairmuir responded well to going behind and almost level immediately, Zander Chaplin flashing an effort wide of target ensuring Monifieth would have the advantage at the interval.