East Region (299)
The 2017/18 season was one to remember for Fairmuir 2002s, as they completed the league and cup double undefeated.
YFS caught up with manager Graham Buchan and captain Mark McCrory to find out about their super season:
Fairmuir watched rivals Dryburgh complete a domestic clean sweep in the 2016/17 campaign and manager Buchan admits his sides aims for the new season were simple.
“The aim this season was to try and win at least one bit of silverware and to give 100% every game.
“We started off pre-season with a strong squad, but we decided to go with a new set up, a new formation.
“It took a while for the lads to get used to but after a tough pre-season of fixtures and after four or five league games, the boys really started to kick on.
“In terms of progression; the biggest progression was the cohesion of the squad. There were no longer any individuals on the pitch. The team played as one and fought for each other.”
As well as long-term rivals Dryburgh, newcomers to the league Jeanfield Blacks were fancied to challenge for the titles, and captain McCrory felt the Perth side were more than a match for his Fairmuir teammates.
“Our toughest opponents this season, for me, would have to be Jeanfield. One of our first games of the season was against them and we grabbed a 3-3 draw, but it gave us a taster of what they were about, and they weren’t messing about in the league.
“They were there to prove themselves. Our second meeting with Jeanfield was at home at the closing end of the season and they proved to be tough opponents as predicted but our boys didn’t give up and were able to come out of the game with a narrow 1-0 win.”
Buchan added, “I’d have to say Logie, Ferry and Jeanfield were all difficult games. They are all very good teams in their own way with different strengths throughout their teams.”
One of the few games played over the winter months saw Ferry knock Fairmuir out of the John Clark Motors Cup. The effects of the winter weather left Fairmuir with half of their league fixtures left to play over the final six weeks of the season, while rivals Dryburgh remained unbeaten at the top of the table.
Buchan was delighted with how his side navigated their hectic end to the season.
“The boys were simply outstanding in the final few months. We were low on numbers due to injuries etc. as we went into most games with a maximum of one sub. This was a massive challenge.
“On top of three games a week, most players also had big games for their school in between. It was clear to see in some games that we were fatigued but the fighting spirit took over that saw us grind out important results to produce an outstanding season.”
After 17 league fixtures, the season climaxed in a winner takes all encounter between Fairmuir and Dryburgh at South Road.
“To be honest, there wasn’t much of a team talk needed before this match. This game meant everything to the players, to the supporters and to the coaches” admitted Buchan.
“I told the boys not to go home after the match thinking, ‘What if I had done that? What if I had just pushed myself that little bit harder?’
“I told them to have no regrets, to give their absolute everything from the first whistle to the last whistle and not to let their heads go down if we conceded and went behind because we are capable of scoring at any stage of a match.
“They had the instruction of ending the match as league champions.”
The pre-match huddle is something of a Fairmuir trademark, and McCrory provided some insight into what he said to his teammates before the biggest game of their season.
“When it came to the Dryburgh game I was reassuring the boys that we had nothing to lose, so we go out there and give it our all. In the huddle I was trying to motivate each of my players to help them get out at the other end as winners and lift the league shield.”
The match between the two longstanding foes proved to be a classic, as Fairmuir, inspired by Jake Grady’s hat trick fought back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 and clinch the title.
Both McCrory and Buchan look back on the Dryburgh game as the highlight of their season.
McCrory said, “The feeling of beating Dryburgh in the last game of the season, coming back from 3-1 down with 20 minutes to go was just unreal.
“You couldn’t ever imagine it in those circumstances but the Fairmuir boys showed fight and pride for the badge and gave it their all to came out on top.”
Buchan added, “To win the league by beating our rivals was an amazing feeling. Our whole season boiled down to this one game, all or nothing. A great achievement!”
The season wasn’t done there for Fairmuir, with the Queen’s Jubilee Cup quickly added to the trophy cabinet after a convincing 5-1 win over Ferry.
Glenrothes Strollers denied Fairmuir a shot at the treble with a penalty shootout win in the semi-final of the East Region Cup, but the Glenrothes result didn’t take the shine off the season for McCrory.
“To win the Queen’s Jubilee cup in the fashion we did, the boys should be pleased at the way the season has played out.
“Lastly, to get put out in the semi-finals of the East Region Cup is obviously heart-breaking but we couldn’t have asked anymore from the boys, they gave it their all and that’s all there is to it.”
Buchan was quick to emphasise that Fairmuir’s success was down to strength of the squad.
He said, “I honestly couldn’t single any player out. There were so many top performers throughout the season; every player deserves a massive mention.”
McCrory added, “There are many key players that I can think of for being our unsung hero, but overall Fraser Nelson takes the cake for me.
“He’s been improving massively throughout the season just progressing every game he played. Without him our team could have been in real danger throughout the season.”
Having won back the title from Dryburgh, Buchan is expecting them to be challenging his side on all fronts once again but knows his players will be ready for the challenge.
“They have a good strong squad throughout and they will be determined to get back on top.
“There is a great confidence amongst the squad and we will only get stronger. We don’t think we are better than anyone else; the players go into every game with the same mentality, just to give 100% and enjoy the game.”
For both manager and captain, 2017/18 is their second invincible season, and both believe that this season’s achievements top those of the 2013/14 campaign.
McCrory said, “Obviously being part of that invincible 2013/14 season was an unforgettable moment. However, it doesn’t come close to comparing with this seasons efforts and outcome.
“To be unbeaten in the league with the best defensive record, it’s a tremendous achievement for the boys and they should be really proud of their contributions.”
Buchan added, “The first season was unforgettable with excellent life long memories for everyone involved.
“This season for me though tops the first season for the simple fact of how hard and competitive the season has been. Every game is a difficult game with so many good teams throughout the league.”
Both McCrory and Buchan had a final message for the Fairmuir squad and supporters.
McCrory said, “I’d like to say how proud I am of each one of my teammates and coaches. None of it would have been possible if it wasn’t for all the time the coaches put in to get us where we needed to be, and our supporters have been brilliant throughout the season.”
Buchan added, “Thank you to everyone who pulled on the Fairmuir jersey this season! Each and every one of you have really been outstanding and it’s been a privilege to share this season’s success.
“We go again next season!”
Fairmuir 2002s Double Winning Squad: Cameron Hendry, Evan Adam, Mark McCrory, Alex Stewart, Ben Tolmie, Logan Bonella, Ross Hazel, Jake Grady, Jamie Timmons, Rory Jagusinski, Ethan Samson, Ethan Tosh, Kane Hynes, Fraser Nelson, Matthew Nelson, Nairn Bonner, Seff Mohammed
The 2017/18 season produced two invincible sides, an East Region Cup finalist and plenty of drama in both leagues.
Here’s how the 2016/17 season went down:
The W Mills League kicked off with two of the sides that would go on to battle it out for the title facing off on the opening day of the season. Monifieth looked to have made the perfect start to the campaign when they raced into a 3-0 half time lead but couldn’t hold on as Dryburgh CC fought back to earn a 4-4 draw.
In the top flight, newly promoted St Murdochs travelled to Broughty United in early September. Doubles from Simon Sharpe and Rory Jagusinski secured Broughty a first win of the season.
Blairgowrie, Jeanfield Blacks and Scone Thistle had all joined the DDYFA set up from the Perth leagues, and made their mark early in the season as Scone and Jeanfield both took points of title chasing Fairmuir.
The early signs were that the W Mills League was going to be a four-horse race, with Monifieth, Lincraig, Dryburgh CC and Riverside all starting brightly. Monifieth beat Riverside 3-0 while Dryburgh and Lincraig drew 3-3 at the end of September.
Dryburgh Athletic had started strongly in the league but came unstuck at the hands of Glenrothes Strollers in the third round of the Scottish Cup.
Like Dryburgh, Fairmuir were also unbeaten, and they started October with a strong showing away to Logie Harp in less than ideal conditions. Jake Grady netted twice as Fairmuir leapfrogged Logie in the table.
Monifieth’s fine form in the W Mills League continued as they swept Lincraig aside with a 3-0 win, while Dryburgh CC beat Riverside 4-1.
Riverside’s 5-2 win over Lincraig ensured they remained in the hunt for the title.
Lennox Slater scored one of the goals of the season to earn Logie Harp a point against Broughty United. The big striker thundered in a late equaliser to secure Logie a 2-2 draw in early November.
Ferry Athletic had been making strides in the Scottish Cup but were knocked out by St Andrews BC in the Last 32. The visitors ran out winners by three goals to two.
A 1-0 win over Dryburgh CC ensured Monifieth kept up their unbeaten run in the W Mills League.
Dryburgh had been the dominate side in 2016/17, but they were knocked out of the John Clark Motors Cup by Jeanfield. Despite fighting back to earn a 3-3 draw, Jeanfield’s Sam Townsley produced the goods in the penalty shootout, meaning there would be no double treble for Dryburgh.
Jeanfield’s penalty success didn’t transfer into the new year, as they lost their semi-final shootout 9-8 to Broughty United. Ferry Athletic would be Broughty’s opponents in the final of the John Clark Motors Cup after they beat Fairmuir 3-2.
The final of the Chuck McGowan Cup would bring together Monifieth and Dryburgh CC once again. Monifieth beat Riverside 3-0 in their semi, while Dryburgh edged past Lincraig.
Monifieth were held by Lincraig before Dryburgh CC drew against a revitalised Dundee Thistle. Riverside took another step towards the title with a 5-0 win over Lincraig.
The first cup final of the season proved to be a classic, as an injury time goal from Ross McDowell won Monifieth the Chuck McGowan Cup at the expense of Dryburgh CC. The striker secured a 4-3 win for Monifieth.
Fairmuir hosted league leaders Dryburgh in a top of the table clash and picked up a 3-1 win over the reigning champions that allowed them to chip away at their lead. A 2-0 win over Ferry 48 hours later kept Fairmuir in contention for the title.
A 0-0 draw between Riverside and Monifieth meant the W Mills League title race would go the wire, while Lincraig beat Dryburgh CC 2-1 to knock them out of contention.
Ferry booked their second cup final appearance with a 3-2 win over Dryburgh in the semi-final of the Queen’s Jubilee Cup. Fairmuir would be their opponents after beating Logie Harp 1-0.
Fairmuir continued their marathon of matches against Jeanfield and picked up a 1-0 win as Dryburgh’s lead at the top of the table continued to decrease.
As well as fighting it out for the domestic title, Fairmuir and Dryburgh were both competing in the East Region Cup. Wins over Rothes Juniors and Pitreavie Pumas respectively earned them a place in the last four.
Ferry Athletic came out on top of their cup final derby against Broughty United. Ewan Stewart was the hero, netting the winner as Ferry ran out 2-1 winners.
Riverside’s 3-1 win over Lincraig and Monifieth’s 3-1 victory against Dundee Thistle ensured they shared the W Mills League title. It meant a league and cup double for Monifieth while Riverside were promoted back to the top flight at the first time of asking.
The outcome of the Maryfield League title would be decided by the final game of the season as Dryburgh hosted Fairmuir. Despite trailing 3-1 with 20 minutes to go, Fairmuir clinched the title with a thrilling 4-3 win.
The final weekend of the domestic season saw Fairmuir and Ferry face off as both tried to end the season as double winners. Fairmuir would take that title with a 5-1 win in the final of the Queen’s Jubilee Cup.
Dryburgh bounced back from their loss to Fairmuir by booking their spot in the final of the East Region Cup. They would take on Glenrothes Stroller who beat Fairmuir on penalties.
Strollers knocked Dryburgh out of the Scottish Cup and inflicted more misery on them as they triumphed 3-1 to lift the East Region Cup.
After a tough campaign in 2016/17, Riverside found their feet in the W Mills League and were well worth their status of joint champions. They will look to carry their momentum into next season.
Monifieth showed tremendous character to go through the campaign unbeaten and lift the Chuck McGowan Cup. They may feel that they had enough to win the league outright, but 2017/18 was still a tremendous season for them.
After a near perfect 2016/17 campaign, not much went Dryburgh’s way in 2017/18. Their early Scottish Cup exit looked to be a blessing in disguise as they opened up a big lead on Fairmuir, but their failure to take points from their rivals ultimately cost them the title.
Despite that, reaching the final of the East Region Cup is still a fine achievement, and they will fancy themselves to retake the titles from Fairmuir next season.
Ferry Athletic saved some of their best form for the cup competitions, reaching both the domestic finals. A cup win, a third-place finish and a stronger squad than they started the season with represent a good season for them.
Fairmuir’s invincible season is even more remarkable given that they played 10 of their 18 league games over the final six weeks of the season, on top of several cup fixtures. Their defensive record, 12 goals conceded in 18 games, was the foundation of their success throughout the campaign.
The 2017/18 season was full of twists and turns, with a new side taking home all three of the domestic titles, new winners of the East Region Cup and a record breaking striker.
Here’s how the 2017/18 season went down:
The new format saw all 14 teams competing in the same league. The first set of midweek fixtures served up a Broughty United derby, as Broughty faced off against Broughty Panthers. It was the Panthers that took the bragging rights thanks to a 6-0 win.
That same set of fixtures saw Monifieth hold Fairmuir to a 1-1 draw at Graham Street.
Dundee West got the better of Pitfour when the sides met in 2016/17, but the reigning champions flexed their muscles with a 7-1 win in the last week of August.
The Watson McInally Champions quickly bounced back as an injury time penalty from Callum Rae held Fairmuir to a 3-3 draw at Charlotte Street before they knocked Blue Brazil out of the Scottish Cup.
Carnoustie knocked Monifieth out of the Scottish Cup with a 2-1 win.
Pitfour were the pacesetters early on, but they were run close by Ferry Athletic at Dawson Park. The St Madoes side lost keeper Archie Kelly-Barton early on but held on for a 4-3 to keep up their unbeaten run.
Dundee West ended Monifieth’s unbeaten run thanks to Nick Fletcher’s goal at Charlotte Street. Pitfour continued their run in the Scottish Cup with an 8-1 win over Deveronvale.
The winter weather was in full effect as most teams were put out of action for several weeks.
One match that survived the frost was Broughty Panthers and Dundee United SC’s Tommy Clark Trophy quarter final. Wilson Price was Broughty’s hero as the keeper saved an injury time penalty to earn Broughty a 3-2 win.
2018 began with a bang for Monifieth, who ended a seven-week hiatus by coming from behind to beat Fairmuir in the semi-final of the Jean Pierre Babin Cup. Aidan Lorente was Monifieth’s hero as he fired in a hat trick. Carnoustie were beaten by Pitfour in the other semi-final.
Pitfour visited Dundee West in the East Region Cup, and advanced into second round thanks to a 2-0 win. It would be the start of a run that saw the St Madoes side advance to the final, where they would meet Blue Brazil.
Riverside were one of the season’s surprise packages, and they served up one of the games of the season when they travelled to take on Broughty Panthers. Sam Grimes netted in the fourth minute of injury time to earn 10-man Broughty a 3-3 draw.
The second domestic cup final of the season would also be contested by Pitfour and Monifieth. Pitfour beat Broughty Panthers 4-3 while Monifieth needed penalties to see off Fairmuir.
With the business end of the season approaching, there was still plenty of football to be played.
The first of four Monifieth vs Pitfour matches kicked off the home stretch of the season, and it was the league winners that picked up a statement victory as they won 7-2 at St Madoes.
Pitfour were thrown back into action 48 hours later against Fairmuir and picked up a 2-2 draw while Monifieth recorded a big win over a depleted Dundee West, whose own title aspirations were slipping away.
While Monifieth took the points in their league meeting, Pitfour were still very much the 2003 age groups cup final experts. Despite this, it was Monifieth that grabbed the glory in the first final between the sides thanks to Arran Ferry’s strike that secured a 2-1 win.
Cavan McLaren scored a hat trick for Dundee West as they beat Pitfour 4-3. It was a result that left Pitfour relying on other results if they were to retain their league title.
Both Celtic Boys and Carnoustie were in fine form in the final months of the season, and the latter managed to do what only Dundee West and Fairmuir had done before them by taking points from Monifieth. Khalid Bjeirmi’s late free kick earned Carnoustie a 2-2 draw.
While Monifieth and Pitfour had been battling on three and four fronts respectively, Fairmuir had kept up their unbeaten run. Monifieth travelled to Graham Street knowing that the winners would likely be champions, and when Arran Ferry netted a double, it looked like the title would be heading to Monifieth.
After taking a big step towards the title, Monifieth and Pitfour met at North End Park for the second time and for the second time, Monifieth ran out 2-1 winners.
Once again, Pitfour were straight back into action with a league game against Fairmuir. A win would have kept their title dreams alive and when Pitfour found themselves 3-0 up it looked like the title race would continue, but Fairmuir fought back and ran out 5-3 winners to all but confirm Monifieth as champions.
Monifieth were confirmed as champions with a 7-1 win over Broughty United. Their final game saw them go down 7-2 against Pitfour. It was a consolation win for Pitfour, but the match saw striker Ally Alcorn break the club record for the most goals scored in a season.
The 2017/18 season ended in Tayport as Pitfour faced off against Blue Brazil in the East Region Cup final. After a season that saw them lose all three of their domestic titles, it was third time lucky for Pitfour, who thanks to Ben Clos and Alcorn’s 74th goal of the season, recorded a 2-1 win to be crowned East Region champions and end their season on a high.
While there was no silverware for Celtic Boys or Carnoustie Panmure, both finished the season strongly and will certainly be in contention for silverware in some form next season.
Another of the season’s surprise packages were Riverside, who finished fifth in last season’s Watson McInally League. Out with the top four, they were the “best of the rest”, and if they can turn some of their draws and defeats into wins, there’s no reason they can’t challenge for silverware next year.
Given some of the football they played last season it’s easy to forget that Dundee West were part of the second tier. Finishing joint third alongside Pitfour represents a strong season, especially when you consider the threadbare squad they operated with for most of the season. If they can recruit a few bodies, then they will fancy themselves to lift silverware.
While Fairmuir ended the 2017/18 season without silverware, there were still plenty of positives for a squad that looked stronger at the end of the season than it did at the start. Losing one league game is still an impressive achievement, but the four draws are ultimately what cost them the title.
They managed to get their long-awaited win over Pitfour, although they will need to get the better of Monifieth if they are to lift their first trophy.
There can be few teams that played as many matches as Pitfour did in the 2017/18 campaign. Their 2016/17 campaign consisted of 12 league matches, this season they had 26, and given the five-month gap between their ninth and 10th league games of the season, they were always going to be fighting an uphill battle.
Playing 20 games in 45 days, including four games against Monifieth, two against Fairmuir, one against Dundee West and the latter stages of the East Region cup is not just physically draining but mentally also. Despite all they had gone through ahead of their East Region Cup final, they showed their champions quality and picked up a well-deserved piece of silverware after the longest season of their footballing careers.
Monifieth are undoubtedly the success story of the season, going from bottom of the league two years ago, to champions of arguably the most competitive and unforgiving of the DDYFA leagues. In the biggest matches of their season, they were fearless and never strayed from their footballing principles.
The 2017/18 campaign was full of twists and turns on all fronts, with first time champions in all of the competitions.
Here’s how the 2017/18 season went down:
After going through the entire 2016/17 unbeaten, Forfar Boys were beaten by Broughty United on the opening day of the season. It was a statement win from Broughty, who were the league’s early pacesetters.
Dundee West were one of three newly promoted sides into the top flight, and they went down at the hands of Ferry Athletic in their second game. Owen Boath grabbed a hat trick for Ferry that day, a trend that would continue throughout the season as he went on to notch 38 goals in all competitions.
In the Watson McInally League, two of the sides in contention for the title Riverside and Dryburgh faced off early in the season. Both sides were unbeaten, but it was Riverside that took the points with a 2-1 win.
In the top flight, highflying Broughty were beaten 2-1 by new boys ACSC, while title contenders Celtic Boys were beaten by Dundee West by the same score.
November 5th saw fireworks at Dawson Park as Ferry dumped top of the league Broughty out of the Dundee West Anniversary Cup thanks to a 2-0 win.
Monifieth Athletic inflicted Riverside’s first defeat of the season at the end of November with a 1-0 win.
Forfar Boys stole the headlines in 2016/17, but their neighbours Kirrie Thistle were stealing the show in 2017/18. Their first game of 2018 saw them keep up their unbeaten domestic run and knock Fairmuir out of the Reilly Falconer Cup with a 5-2 win at Graham Street.
Dundee West were finding their feet in the top flight and beat Montrose 6-1 to set up a cup final with Kirrie Thistle, who beat Celtic Boys in their semi-final.
Riverside and Dryburgh faced off again in the Watson McInally League, and Riverside took another step towards the title with a thumping 7-1 win.
Maryfield United and St Andrews Colts both made it to the Mac Brown Cup final after wins over Monifieth Athletic and Vale of Tay.
Kirrie’s unbeaten run was brought to a halt by Broughty United, who picked up a 3-1 win in the DS Rennie League. The Angus side got their revenge a week later as they picked up a 7-2 win in the semi-final of the Reilly Falconer Cup. That set up a meeting with title rivals Celtic Boys, who beat Forfar Boys in the other semi.
The first cup final of the season pitted Dundee West against Kirrie Thistle in the final of the Dundee West Anniversary Cup. Both sides were in fine form ahead of the final, but it was Kirrie who came out of top of the back-and-forth final thanks to a 6-3 win.
With the winter weather putting most of the teams out of action for weeks on end, there was a backlog of fixtures for the sides in the hunt for the title.
Celtic Boys beat Broughty 4-3 and Forfar Boys won 2-1 against Kirrie as the title race looked like it would go to the wire.
In the Watson McInally League, there wasn’t as much tension as Riverside were crowned champions and secured promotion at the first time of asking.
Kirrie were held to a 3-3 draw by Ferry Athletic, with Owen Boath bagging a hat trick. Dundee West’s 9-4 win over Broughty United all but ended their title dreams.
St Andrews Colts ended their 24-year trophy drought as they beat Maryfield United 3-2 in the final of the Mac Brown Cup.
Kirrie returned to North End Park for their second cup final of the season as they faced Celtic Boys in the Reilly Falconer Cup, but the effects of their fixture backlog were clear to see as they were outclassed by a rampant Celtic, who ran out 4-0 winners.
There was no cup final hangover for Kirrie, as they picked up a 1-0 win over Forfar to move into pole position in the title race.
Fairmuir were saving their best form for the East Region Cup. They fought back from 2-0 down in their semi-final against Burntisland Shipyard before winning 5-4 on penalties to set up a final clash with Pitfour.
Kirrie were crowned champions with a 3-0 win over Brechin. Kian Martin, Cammy Simpson and Zak Innes all netted to make it a league and cup double.
The final match of the season saw Fairmuir face Pitfour in the East Region Cup final. There was nothing between the sides throughout the 70 minutes, and Fairmuir thought the cup was won when Mark Ross hit the inside of the post in injury time.
Torran Juggins netted a brace to consign Fairmuir to defeat, despite Ryan Hutton netting late on.
The 2017/18 season saw the latest group of youth footballers make the step up to 11-a-side football. The 2005 age group produced three double winners, Scottish Cup Quarter Finalists and the East Region Cup winners.
Here’s how the 2017/18 season went down:
The campaign started with the group stages of the Diamond Jubilee Cup, with Montrose, Riverside, Carnoustie and Fairmuir all topping their groups with 100% records. They were joined by Ferry Athletic, Pitfour, Broughty Pumas and Maryfield United in the Café Royale League.
Two of the top-flights early pacesetters met in the quarter finals of the Jubilee Cup in November, as Ferry hosted Riverside. Despite Riverside racing into a 3-0 half time lead, Ferry, aided by Blaike Kyles hat trick, went on to win 4-3.
Both Ferry and Riverside, along with Fairmuir, were flying the flag for the DDYFA on the national front as they advanced into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup.
In the P Gibson League, Dundee SC inflicted Celtic Boys first league defeat of the season courtesy of a 4-1 win.
Round Five of the Scottish Cup saw Ferry face Fairmuir in the final game of 2017 as the winter weather put a halt to all three of the leagues. Blaike Kyles brace either side of Aiden Lockhart’s goal saw Ferry become the only side from Dundee left in the competition at any age group.
Ferry’s Scottish Cup heroics continued into the new year as they beat Deveronvale 3-1 to advance to the quarter finals, but their run would go no further as they went down at the hands of The Celtic BC.
Carnoustie Panmure beat Maryfield 5-3 to advance to the final of the Jubilee Cup, where they would meet Ferry, who came from behind once again to beat Pitfour 6-1 in their semi-final.
The Café Royale League title challenge was a four-way race with Ferry, Riverside, Pitfour and Fairmuir all in contention. Stuart Heenan scored a hat trick as Fairmuir beat Riverside 6-3 at Graham Street. Both Riverside and Pitfour picked up wins over previously unbeaten Ferry in February.
Fairmuir and Riverside would renew their rivalry in the Ross Ballantine Cup final after semi-final wins over Pitfour and Montrose.
Carnoustie and Pitfour were both flying high in the East Region Cup. Wins over East Fife YA and AM Soccer secured both sides a spot in the Last 16.
In the P Gibson League, Celtic Boys wrapped up the league title in mid-March with a 3-1 win over Dundee SC.
The fifth instalment of the Fairmuir vs Ferry saga produced a 4-4 draw with Stuart Heenan’s hat trick putting another dent in Ferry’s title dream.
There was another title dreamed recognised in the J Clenaghan League as Dundee United SC wrapped up the title with a 3-2 win over Newtyle.
A two-week break over Easter offered much needed respite to all the teams ahead of the business end of the season.
The Diamond Jubilee Cup final was the first match after the break, and both Carnoustie and Ferry put on footballing displays far beyond their years at North End Park.
It was Carnoustie that took the lead through Scott Hamilton, but as they had done in both their matches en-route to the final, Ferry came from behind, with Aidan Lockhart netting both the goals as they won 2-1.
Next up was the final of the Marshall Cup, as champions DUSC took on bottom of the league Arbroath Lads.
Arbroath had saved their best form for the cup competitions with wins over Dundee West Reds and Broughty Panthers earning them the spot in the final, but it was DUSC’s day at North End Park as they ran out 6-0 winners to make it a league and cup double.
Carnoustie and Pitfour both reached the Quarter Finals of the East Region Cup, but it would prove to be the end of the journey for Carnoustie, while Pitfour advanced to the semis, and eventually the final where they would meet Glenrothes Athletic.
Ferry Athletic met Riverside in a potential Café Royale League title decider. Blaike Kyles brace and Aidan Lockhart’s goal earned Ferry a 3-2 win that denied Riverside the title. The Scottish Cup Quarter Finalists did clinch the title with a 6-2 win over Maryfield.
Stuart Heenan proved to be the difference in the final of the Ross Ballantine Cup between Fairmuir and Riverside. The Fairmuir man netted nearly 40 goals in all competitions, and netted his side’s third as they ran out 3-1 winners.
The final weekend of the season saw Celtic Boys take on Mearns in the final of the Celtic Jubilee Cup. Formed in 2015, Mearns are the DDYFA’s newest side, but it was the elder statesmen Celtic Boys who made it a league and cup double.
Josh McGuire scored four times as Celtic ran out 7-3 winners against a spirited Mearns side that fought to the very end.
With the domestic titles wrapped up, there was the small matter of the East Region Cup final to draw the curtain down on the 2017/18 campaign.
Pitfour were the DDYFA’s representatives as they took on Glenrothes Athletic, and they got off to the perfect start when Brodie Pollock curled in a free kick early on.
As they had done throughout the season, Pitfour put on a scintillating passing display for the opening 25 minutes but were pegged back on the stroke of half time.
Extra time was required, and it was Pitfour that grabbed the winner when Thomas Drysdale drilled home from the edge of the box.
The 2005 age group have served up some sensational football at times this season. In the P Gibson League, Celtic turned on the style with 13 wins in their 14 league games.
There were also strong showings from Dundee Sporting, Dundee Thistle and Dundee West Royals, while Mearns put in a great showing in their cup final.
Dundee United SC showed the are not to be taken lightly next season, as they scored goals for fun in all the competitions they entered this season. Forfar Boys, Dundee West Reds and Newtyle also laid strong foundations for the coming seasons.
In the top flight, only six points separated the top four sides, but all eight sides showed that they were more than capable of taking points off each other on their day.
Carnoustie’s style of football was excellent to watch, and they stuck to their principles throughout the season. Their experiences in the East Region and Diamond Jubilee Cup will serve them well over the coming seasons.
Fairmuir will look to a lack of consistency as to why they came away from their first season at 11-a-side with just one piece of silverware. They put in a strong showing in the Scottish Cup only to come up against a Ferry side that denied them on two domestic fronts. Don’t be surprised to see those two renew their rivalry over the coming season.
Pitfour will also consider themselves a tad unfortunate on the domestic front, having shown themselves to be a match for anyone in the Café Royale League. Their East Region Cup win showed that they have the big game mentality to accompany their passing style, a combination that will make them a side to watch over the coming seasons.
Riverside were the only side in the top four to walk away from the season without a piece of silverware. They have proven themselves to be just as capable as Fairmuir, Ferry and Pitfour will have learned some harsh but valuable lessons over the course of the season. Next season, they will fancy themselves to go and lift silverware in some form.
Ferry Athletic proved to be one of the biggest surprises of the season in any league. Their run in the Scottish Cup was remarkable and they will certainly fancy themselves to push on in that competition next season.
The side effect of their national success meant they were playing catch-up in the league for most of the season, leaving them with little margin for error. This would prove to be their making however, as they came up with the goods against their title rivals on numerous occasions, and managed to edge out a strong Carnoustie side in their first ever cup final.
The Queen’s Jubilee Cup final brings together two side’s looking to lift their second piece of silverware of the season. Fairmuir were crowned Maryfield League Champions after a thrilling 4-3 win over Dryburgh in their final game of the season while Ferry Athletic lifted the John Clark Motors Cup against Broughty United.
Ahead of the final, YFS caught up with Fairmuir manager Graham Buchan and Ferry boss Jamie McGrath to find out about their seasons so far and their previous meetings.
Here’s what they had to say:
The 2016/17 season saw Fairmuir finish runners up to Dryburgh and fail to reach any cup finals. This season has been a different story as they went through the entire Maryfield League season unbeaten.
Manager Buchan admits that last season’s lack of success has been a catalyst for their success this year.
He said, “Passion, desire and togetherness is the massive change from last season. The lads had a point to prove this season to get back on top and the only way to do that was together, to fight for everything as one.
“There is a belief in this squad like no other, they are never beat, and they will never give up. That is what has made them champions again.”
Fairmuir’s run to the final started with an 8-0 win over St Murdochs Colts before beating Monifieth 1-0, St Murdochs 6-0 and finally Logie Harp 1-0. Buchan was pleased to see his side navigate these ties on top of a hectic league schedule.
“The hardest match by far was against Logie in the semi-final, this is no disrespect to the other teams we faced to get to the final. Our players were fatigued with a very congested fixture list as we played Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday fixtures for a few weeks.
“To be fair to Logie, on that day they were very good and could have had a couple of goals. As always though, our boys stuck to the task, they gave everything, fought for everything and earned an impressive clean sheet and victory at Fairmuir Park.”
The three meetings of Fairmuir and Ferry have produced a win a piece and a draw, and Buchan is expecting another tight affair in the final.
“Ferry are a very good footballing team and thoroughly deserve to be in the final. They have had some impressive results and the final is set up to be a cracker. We are expecting a tough match against them as we always do.
“We have kept 14 clean sheets this season and set our own record of eight clean sheets in a row. Both those stats are incredible at this level. We managed this as the team play as a unit; we play together, for each other and as one.
“If anything will make the difference, it will be our belief and desire to win as a team.”
Ahead of their big day, Buchan had this message for his players.
“Go out and enjoy yourselves lads. Believe in your ability and believe in each other. 110%, nothing less.”
The 2016/17 saw Ferry achieve a sixth-place finish in the G Taylor League, but the last few weeks of the season saw them struggle to field 11 players. Manager Jamie McGrath explains the changes that have been made to the squad over the last 12 months.
“We were close to folding at the end of last season as we were struggling to field a team at times.
“We decided if we were going to carry on we needed to bring in new players, and in total we managed to bring in two new goalkeepers and six new outfield players which was needed as we took some heavy defeats last season.
“We want to compete in every game we play in and see how far we can go.”
The sides have met three times this season, with Ferry knocking Fairmuir out of the John Clark Motors Cup, and McGrath is anticipating another close match in the final.
“It’s going to be a close one. We’ve played them three times this season, we’ve beat them once, they’ve beat us once and we’ve had a draw so there’s not much between the teams.
“After winning the first cup our confidence is up and I like to think we can go and win a second cup.
““The semi against Fairmuir was without doubt our best team performance this season as we were right up for it, we dug in and I think we just deserved it in the end, and that has given us a bit more confidence and belief we can, on our day, compete for trophies.”
McGrath had this message for his players ahead of the final. “Go out there and give it everything you've got, don't let it pass you by as you never know when you're next one will be!! Enjoy it and of course WIN!!”
The last remaining league titles were won as the DDYFA season nears it completion.
Here’s how the action went down:
Fairmuir picked up a 6-1 win over Dundee West in the DS Rennie League. Mark Ross scored twice with Rhys Ross, Josh Robertson, Kyle Smith and Dylan Patullo also notching for the East Region Cup finalists.
Celtic Boys and Forfar Boys played out a 2-2 draw that sees the sides finish second and third respectively.
Monifieth were crowned G Taylor League champions as they beat Broughty United 7-1. Aidan Lorente scored a hat trick with Elliott McCafferty, Ruari McQuillan and Dylan Ferguson also on target as Monifieth completed the domestic clean sweep.
Ryley Duncan’s hat trick put Dundee West on course for a third-place finish as they beat Celtic Boys 4-2. Lewis Hutton also netted with Zak Benmalek and Dylan Young scoring for Celtic. Riverside beat Broughty Panthers by the same score.
A hat trick from Jake Grady handed Fairmuir the Maryfield League title as they came from 3-1 down to be crowned champions.
Fairmuir had the edge in the title race going into the match with a draw enough for them to secure the title, while Dryburgh knew that only a win would see them retain their crown.
Ryan Smith put Dryburgh ahead, but Grady levelled the tie before half time with a curling effort.
Quickfire goals from Jack McKellican and Aaron Flynn put Dryburgh 3-1 to the good, but Fairmuir responded through Grady and Rory Jagusinski.
When Flynn brought down Grady in the box, the striker had the chance to complete the comeback, and he made no mistake as he emphatically dispatched the penalty to clinch the title for Fairmuir.
Ferry Athletic beat St Murdochs 3-2.
The penultimate weekend of the season saw East Region Cup action, domestic cup finals and title deciders take place.
Here’s how the action went down:
Fairmuir clinched the Ross Ballantine Cup at the expense of rivals Riverside. Harrison Smith gave Fairmuir the first half lead only for Aiden McDougal to bring Riverside level.
Blair Fyffe put Fairmuir ahead from the penalty spot before Stuart Heenan fired home Fairmuir’s third late on.
Pitfour are into the final of the East Region Cup after beating Bayside on penalties. The sides were tied at 3-3 after extra-time, but Pitfour held their nerve emerging as 3-1 winners. They will face Glenrothes Athletic in the final.
Champions Ferry Athletic signed off their Café Royale League campaign with a 4-4 draw against Monifieth. Goals from Blaike Kyles, Aiden Lockheart, Stevie Grogan and an own goal secured them a share of the spoils, while Carnoustie and Broughty Pumas played out a 1-1 draw in their final game of the season.
Ryan Hutton scored twice as Fairmuir came from 2-0 down to beat Burntisland Shipyard 5-4 on penalties and secure their place in the final of the East Region Cup.
Kirrie Thistle were crowned champions of the DS Rennie League with a 3-0 win over Brechin. Kian Martin, Cammy Simpson and Zak Innes got the goals that completed their league and cup double.
Ferry Athletic signed off their season with a 6-4 win over Dundee West. Charlie Massie scored twice, with Owen Boath, Rian Clark, Leo Murrie and Jacob Sharpe also netting. Forfar beat DUSC 9-0.
10-man Pitfour ended a run of three defeats with a 5-2 win over Real Fife. Kai Finnie was shown red with Pitfour leading 2-0 thanks to Ben Clos and Ally Alcorn.
Alcorn bagged three more goals to set up a final against Blue Brazil, who beat Kennoway 5-3 in the other semi-final.
Jamie McCann scored five times as Fairmuir ended their G Taylor League campaign with a 9-1 win over Broughty Panthers. Graeme Stewart netted a brace with Callum Rae and Mason Anderson also netting. Josh Knight got Broughty’s goal.
Carnoustie beat Forfar 4-1 thanks to goals from Khalid Bjeirmi, Harry Law, Jay Bryce and Lewis Sivewright, while Riverside beat Dundee Thistle 7-2.
Fairmuir took the Maryfield League title race to the last day of the season with a 4-1 win over Forfar. Goals from Jake Grady, Rory Jagusinski, Mark McCrory and Jamie Timmons set up a winner takes all clash with Dryburgh.
Blairgowrie beat Broughty United 1-0 while Jeanfield beat Ferry 2-1 to ensure a third-place finish.
Monifieth Athletic made it a league and cup double as they beat Dundee Thistle 3-1 in their final game of the season.
East Craigie Swifts completed the double treble as they turned on the style against Kirrie Thistle in the final of the Henry Dolan Cup. A first half double from Keir Gardiner followed Ethan Bannon’s opener.
Reece Lornie and Hayden Burr netted in the second half, with Aaron Barnett heading in a Kirrie consolation late on.
Partan Craig beat Dryburgh 5-2 in the Bodycare Complimentary Clinics League while St Andrews Colts beat Monifieth 2-0.
Ferry beat Luncarty 6-2 in their final game of the season.
The Henry Dolan Cup final brings together two of the top sides from the Dave Pullar League. Having already lifted the Elwood Trophy and clinched the league title, East Craigie are looking to make it back to back domestic clean sweeps, while Kirrie Thistle are looking to end the campaign that has seen them finish third in the league on a high.
Ahead of the final, YFS caught up with Kirrie boss David Brown and East Craigie manager Steven Fallon to find out about their runs to the final and previous meetings.
Here’s what they had to say:
Kirrie have secured a third-place finish in the Dave Pullar League, and with only three defeats in the league this season, manager David Brown is delighted to see his side reaping the rewards for their hard work over the years.
He said, “Our team is made up of 17 boys mostly from Kirriemuir but a couple from Forfar and Alyth. The majority of the team have been together since under nines.
“This season we wanted to be more competitive throughout the whole year and have a good cup run.”
Kirrie’s run to the final began with a win over neighbours Forfar Boys, before victories over Brechin and Monifieth sent them to the final. Brown is pleased with how his side have navigated the ties.
“A local derby kicked off the cup run, and a good solid performance resulted in a 2-0 win. Next, we encountered Brechin and had a comfortable victory.
“On to the semi-final where we took an early lead against Monifieth only to be pegged back in the second half, but the team dug deep and secured their final berth.”
Two of Kirrie’s league defeats have come against East Craigie, both by four goals to two, and Brown is expecting another tough match in the final.
“As always it will be a difficult game against a top-quality side who play the game in the right manner.”
Ahead of their big day, Brown had this message for his players.
“Believe in yourselves and let everyone see how good you can be. Enjoy the day and create lifetime memories.”
East Craigie Swifts
Having already clinched two pieces of silverware over the past few weeks, East Craigie go into the match as favourites, but manager Steven Fallon will make sure his players take nothing for granted.
He said, “Cup games are unpredictable, so we will just aim to go out and do our best. Boys have experienced both winning and losing finals, however we certainly know what experience we enjoy more.”
East Craigie’s run to the final started with a 6-0 win over Partan Craig before beating Celtic Boys 5-0 in the quarter-final. A 2-0 win over Dryburgh booked their place in the final, and Fallon was delighted with his side’s defensive showings in these matches.
He said, “We haven’t lost a goal in any of these games which shows our strength defensively. Performance wise we have played better in other cup games but can’t argue with the results we have had and with reaching another final the boys should be proud of themselves.”
With two 4-2 wins from their previous meetings with Kirrie, Fallon is expecting a competitive final.
“It was a tough game away from home against Kirriemuir. It was 2-2 at one point but we managed to pull it back with two late goals.
“It should be a great final and hopefully we do ourselves justice and play to the best of our ability.”
Having established themselves as one of the teams to beat at the 2005 age group, Fairmuir are looking to finish an impressive debut season at 11-a-side football by lifting the Ross Ballantine Cup.
Having reached the Last 32 of the Scottish Cup and secured a top four finish in the Café Royale League, rivals Riverside stand between them and the cup.
Ahead of their big day, YFS caught up with manager Paul Conway to find out about his side’s run to the final, their season so far and their previous meetings with Sunday’s opponents.
Despite being one of the top sides at seven-a-side, Conway knew that wouldn’t guarantee success on the 11-a-side pitch.
“Our main aim was to be competitive in a very strong league, that’s all we could ask from the boys. The league is exactly as we expected it to be.”
Fairmuir’s run to the final started with a 4-2 defeat against Ferry, but they were reinstated into the competition after Ferry fielded an ineligible player. A 3-1 win away to Pitfour booked their place in the final, and Conway was delighted with how his side navigated such tricky ties.
He said, “In the Ferry match I thought we started very well and went two goals up then stopped playing.
“Pitfour are an excellent side and to get any victory against them is a great achievement, especially in a cup semi-final. We worked hard for the whole 70 minutes, which for the coaches was very pleasing.”
Riverside took the points in the side’s first meeting courtesy of a 4-1 win, but Fairmuir bounced back with a 6-3 win when the side’s clashed in January. Conway is expecting another tight affair in the final.
“Both were very tough games and could have went either way.
“Riverside are a good team who try to play football in the right way, we expect a very tough but exciting game on cup final day.
“We feel we are a strong unit and it’s been a great team effort to get this far in the cup and to be where we are in the league.”
Ahead of their big day, Conway had this message for his players.
“Go out and enjoy it and show everyone watching what a fantastic team you are becoming! Win or lose, leave nothing out on the pitch just give your all.”