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Saturday, 10 October 2020 11:39

Scotland U21 2 - 0 Czech Republic U21

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Scotland certainly got the job done against the Group D leaders, the Czech Republic, after putting in a professional performance, with their goals coming in both halves. 

 

As the game got underway, chances for both sides were of a luxury with the two sides largely feeling each other out. As the game matured you could begin to see the two sides begin to input their tactics on to the game.

 

Scotland went down the route of playing more higher risk passes up to their lone striker Fraser Hornby, which at first glance would seem as though it was a failing system, but the more and more it was tried the clearer it became that with Lewis Ferguson and Allan Campbell running the channels and at times narrowly missing out on Hornby's flick ons, it was only a matter of time they would get  the right ball.

 

The Czechs opted for a more patient approach, with slick shorter passes, trying to play through Scotland's press and produce chances. However a common theme throughout the game was McCrorie's exceptional screening of the back four which limited the spaces that the Czechs could explore with their link up play, largely being forced down the flanks and playing hopeful crosses which were lapped up by the Scotland centre-backs; Lewis Mayo and Tom McIntyre.

 

At the fifteen-minute mark, the Czechs looped a cross into the Scotland box which was primarily spilled by the goalkeeper Doohan but recovered. This may have encouraged the Czechs to test the Ross County keeper, with crosses but they'd soon find that this would be a dead-end with Doohan putting in a fine, commanding performance in this match.

 

 

Despite the pressure, Scotland finally got the break they had been searching for, as they opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Nathan Patterson latched on to a sloppy throw from Soucek and the Rangers youngster quickly played a one-two with Hornby giving time for the striker to set himself for the return pass, which he received and on his second touch placed past the keeper. 

 

Three minutes, the Czechs tried to fire a reply. They got themselves a free-kick in shooting distance, following a Lewis Ferguson handball. Czech captain Michal Sadilek duly stepped up, firing a shot that called Doohan into action. The keeper made a great save tipping it away from goal and more importantly away from the onrushing David Zima who was lurking at the back post, ready to dispatch the rebound. 

Two first half goals from Michael Ruth were good enough to see Aberdeen’s Under 18 starlets get the better of Rangers and win their way through to the final of the SFA Youth Cup where they will meet either Kilmarnock in April. 

Rangers had the first shot at goal in the third minute, Malcolm Ebiowei doing well to create the opportunity with a neat turn, his shot though too high to trouble Tom Ritchie. Aberdeen responded quickly, Michael Dangana firing over from Michael Ruth’s driven cross.

The Dons struggled to clear the box following a Rangers corner and the ball fell to King on the 18-yard line, but again the shot was lifted high over.

On nine minutes, a long ball from Connor Barron sent Dangana racing down the left and the striker did well to cut inside and fire in a fierce shot which was well saved by Lewis Budinauckas in the visiting goal. 

A dangerous cross from Ebiowei flashed across the face of the Aberdeen goal, but there was no-one in a blue shirt to get a telling touch. The game was screaming out for a goal however no teams grabbed the deadlock after the midway point of the 1st half. 

Aberdeen had settled into the game well and were beginning to dominate possession. And they got their reward in the 20th minute. The ball was played to Ruth in the box, but he couldn’t get a shot away so laid it back for Ramsay whose left footed effort was spilled by the keeper. The alert Michael Ruth was first to react to the loose ball and fired it into the net despite a defender’s desperate effort to keep it out. First goal to the Dons which proved to be quite decisive. 

Nine minutes later it was two. Ruth again the scorer as he turned Barron’s corner in from close range after the keeper had been caught out by the flight of the ball. A very wind assisted delivery & goal however not a care in sight was had by Aberdeen who were 2 to the good & the advantage was certainly doubled. 

Rangers fought back and after a good spell of possession, full back Adam Devine broke clear on the right to provide the perfect cross for Ross McCausland to slide the ball past Ritchie to make it 2-1 on 39 minutes. Rangers were always proving to be a danger however until this particular moment hadn’t done enough to find the back of the net.

Saturday, 16 November 2019 00:00

Hoops edge out Dons to seal league and cup double

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Celtic eventually secured an impressive victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish Women’s Football Youth Cup final. In a nail-biting match, both teams gave their absolute all but it was Celtic who proved stronger, with two impressive goals that came late on from Maria Mcaneny and Aimee Anderson.
 
Celtic got the game underway and looked impressive early on, moving the ball around well and making sure the whole team got a touch of the ball to calm any early nerves. Celtic forward Aimee Anderson put in a brilliant challenge early on to set the tone of the game but was unable to pick out a teammate with the resulting long ball. After some early Celtic dominance it was now the Don’s turn to put some pressure on and they did just that, with Hannah Innes creating some good chances from the right flank. Aberdeen started to move the ball swiftly and started creating a number of chances, however the ball just wouldn't seem to fall right for their waiting strikers.
 
Aberdeen’s Emma Rodgers played an excellent pass through but again Celtic defended well, with skipper Elise Mccormack keeping her back four well organised. From the resulting corner Aberdeen had their best chance of the game, with Leah Jones firing over from very close range. Aberdeen seemed to just be edging proceedings but Celtic looked dangerous on the counter, with both Aimee Anderson and Maria Mcaneny looking to break at any given moment. Towards the end of the first half Aberdeen were dominating the game but struggled to break down Celtic’s tremendous back four. 
 
Just as the first half was dwindling out and most supporters had their eye on a half time coffee, Celtic’s Maria Mcaneny hit a sublime strike which looked set for the top corner before Ellen Reid made a last-gasp save to just tip wide. This was the last of the action for the first half with both teams walking in wondering how it was still 0-0. A very fiery first half with some very good football played from both sides. 
 

Despite resilience from Rangers and almost coming back into the game Celtic came out on top in what became a dominant performance by the Hoops.

Both sides were lucky enough to receive a bye in the first couple of rounds, meaning they entered the competition at the third round stage. Celtic were comprehensive victors over Boroughmuir Thistle Purple and Hibernian, before coming through much sterner tests against Glasgow City and Lanarkshire Hibs. Rangers enjoyed comfortable victories over Aberdeen FCL in the third round and Hearts in the final four, sandwiched between tight encounters against FC Kilmarnock and Boroughmuir Thistle.

Celtic started the game brightly with Keira Chuter attacking the Rangers backline early causing Jodie Baker to make a save. In the 15th minute Celtic made a breakthrough as slick team play from the midfield into the attack resulted in Abbie Ferguson passing to Chuter on the left flank who cuts inside and slotted home a tidy finish into the bottom left corner away from the keepers reach. 

Losing a goal so early in such a big match can't have been easy but to the credit of the Gers they reacted in the best possible way. Jodi McLeary’s cross was met by Lily Caldwell who tapped the ball past Ava Eason but she was able to recover and pick up the ball before it crossed the line. A few minutes later the equaliser did arrive. McLeary latched onto a perfectly weighted through ball from captain Kirsten Love, before curling an exquisite shot over Ava Easdon and into the top left hand corner.

However, Celtic's lead was restored in the 25th minute after good interplay on the left wing between Tiree Burchill and Chuter who played in a fantastic cross to Ami Robertson who escaped her marker and scored an free header from close range, frustratingly for Rangers who felt they had just found a way back into the game.

The Hoops' advantage was doubled just two minutes later as Burchill took a quick-thinking throw to Georgia Gray who skipped past a couple of Rangers defenders before sending in a cross which sneaked past the keeper at the front post.

The game took another twist with 21 minutes on the clock. A penalty kick was awarded to the light blues and McLeary tucked it away with composure to bag her and her team's second of the match.

However, Celtic regained their two goal lead soon after as Lauren Richmond scored a stunning long range strike over the keeper’s head, following a blocked shot from Ferguson that broke well for the shot. Celtic then got a fifth which appeared put the game to bed before the half time whistle as Gray drilled a dangerous ball into the box iand it came off a Rangers defender last.

With this reporter on the verge of running out of paper, thankfully the goalscoring came to an end for the half. The teams headed back into the changing rooms to a loud applause from the thoroughly entertained crowd.

Saturday, 16 November 2019 09:52

Amazing Accies strike late to secure Scottish Cup

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Hamilton Academical WFC secured a historic Scottish Women's Football Youth Cup final victory after an inspired display against a strong Celtic side at Oriam. A late first half strike from Morven McLellan gave Accies the lead, before Lucy Barclay levelled midway through the second half for the Hoops. The game was in the balance but Sophia Martin stepped up to the plate with a superb double, before skipper Abigail Tobin rounded off the scoring with a sublime fourth.
 
Both sides had been in red hot form going into the match and it was a final that certainly had the nation gripped. Accies had been in relentless goalscoring form on the road to Oriam, scoring no less than 52 goals in their victories over Murieston United, Hibernian Green, Heart of Midlothian, Drumsagard, Raith Rovers and Central Girls Legends.
 
Celtic had also hit the goal trail in the opening three rounds with comprehensive victories over Stenhousemuir, Cambusdoon and Clark Drive. They then faced sterner tests in the form of Hibernian, Celtic 12's and Donside Juveniles - who had won the cup last year. However, they saw off all comers and took their place in the showpiece final.
 
The match started with some understandable nerves on both sides, given it was the first occasion like this for both sets of players. However as the minutes ticked away the football started to flow and the players started to show what they were capable of.
 
The first half chance of the game saw Hamilton captain Abigail Tobin test Abbie Fearns, but the Celtic keeper was equal to it. Rebecca Brady then drilled an excellent ball into the penalty box, but the onrushing Celtic forwards just failed to get the vital touch. 

It appeared as though the half would end on level terms, however Accies had other ideas. The pushed for the opening goal and with just a couple of minutes left on the clock made the breakthrough. A cross into the box was cleared by Celtic, but only as far as Morven McLellan. With all the composure of a player beyond her years, she opened up her right foot and placed the ball in the right hand corner. The half-time whistle blew shortly afterwards and the teams headed back to the changing rooms with all to play for.
Saturday, 08 June 2019 13:13

Donside into quarter-finals after derby victory

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Last years Scottish Cup winners Donside Juvenile Under 13s Girls made it into the quarter-finals of the SWF Under 13s Scottish Cup after a 7-2 derby win over Colony Park in the Scottish Cup on Thursday evening at Davidson Park, Port Elphinstone. The Alford side deserved to prevail through this contest however Colony played some fantastic football throughout and scored two well earned goals.

Sofia Ross started the game with real intent and desire for Donside and had a couple of early chances to give Juvenile the opening goal in this tie, a quick throw-in found the attacker on three minutes only to be thwarted by a good save by Kelsie Allan before a dangerous ball came into the box by Holly Daniel which Ross got on the end of however her goalbound effort was blocked.

On six minutes, Donside opened the scoring after a good ball by Darcie Miller found Sofia Ross who got her just rewards for her hard work and determination in the earlier exchanges of the game by getting a deserved goal, Ross hit home a good effort which smacked off the left post and into the net to open the scoring for the Alford side.

The same two players then combined on nine minutes with Miller this time finding the back of the net, Ross played a good pass before Miller took the ball into her stride and smashed the ball into the bottom left hand corner.

Donside were going to maintain their momentum and on 15 minutes, it was 3-0 with Michela Ferdinando getting in amongst the thick of the action and had a good shot off the post before Miller was there to grab her second goal of the game by netting the rebound, Colony weren't playing bad however were just switching off against a vibrant and quick Donside outfit.

Aimee Black completed the scoring for Donside just before half time and a good finish it was as well after Black got into a good position before slotting the ball into the top right hand corner to complete a good halfs work for the Alford side, they showed why they are one of the best sides not just in the North region however Scotland as well.

Picture the scene: Two sides lined up across the half way line doing their bit to show racism the red card whilst the Champions League theme music has to compete with one sides singing section, armed with nearly one flag per person, just to be heard. You would be forgiven for thinking this was another famous night at Anfield, however on this occasion it was the Under 16 inspiresport Scottish Youth FA Cup final between Giffnock SC and Longniddry Villa.
 
With the game underway to crescendo of noise, particularly from the Giffnock ultra's, the side from East Renfrewshire started on the front foot and after just three minutes Ben Conroy twisted and turned inside the right hand side of the box before getting his shot away which was smartly stopped by Villa goalkeeper Sam Capes.
 
Longniddry responded well when Lewis Inglis won the ball in the middle of the park and drove into space before releasing the ever dangerous Aiden Walsh who after beating his first man was thwarted by a great covering block which presented the first corner of the game,
 
The resulting corner in from the left was put directly on top of Giffnock goalkeeper Colin Thomas however a melee in the box let the Renfrewshire side off the hook when a foul was awarded and stopped any immediate danger.
 
The games first real chance came after 12 minutes when a long clearance from Longniddry's Ben Wright wasnt dealt with by the Giffnock defence and Nathan Muir raced in to try and take advantage of the error however after getting in behind the defence his touch was smothered by Thomas in the Giffnock goal who reached well to the danger.
 
Aiden Walsh began to grown in to the game for Villa and on 17 minutes he cut inside his man and played a delightful switch for Jack Macdonald to race on to, his first touch was excellent and he turned the defender to get on to his left foot but again Thomas was sharp off his line and narrowed the angle well to deny the Villa number seven.
 
Longniddry started to apply further pressure and this time Matthew McMillan released Walsh on the right who once again skipped by the first Giffnock shirt before being crowded out by a second covering defender. In an almost identical chance just moments later, Walsh again beats the first marker and this time is able to deliver a low cross in to the box however the ball gets stuck under Macdonald's feet and the chance goes begging.
 
With almost every attack going through Walsh he again wriggles free of two Giffnock shirts and releases Macdonald once more. The Villa forward this time checks in on his right foot and has his effort blocked, much to the frustration of Nathan Muir who felt the better option was to square the ball for him to tap home.
 
Down the other end Giffnock start to rally and end the half on a high themselves. James Dolan picked the ball up inside the box and danced through three defenders before forcing another smart stop from Capes in the Villa goal. The resulting corner is met by Jamie McEntegart however his glancing header goes agonisingly past the far post.
 
After a broken down Giffnock move on 36 minutes, Longniddry sprung on the counter which was the best move of the half and deserved better. The ball was won by Ben Wright after two colossal challenges and Inglis latched on to the loose ball and played a wonderfully weighted pass to Macdonald who teed up Muir but he dragged his effort harmlessly wide of the mark.
 
With just two minutes to half time, the deadlock was finally broken, but not the way that it had looked like going. Scott McMillan picked the ball up on the edge of the Villa box and was quickly surrounded by three blue shirts, he took his time and with great close control managed to shift the ball a yard to create the space for his looping effort which caught out Capes in the Longniddry goal. 

Musselburgh Windsor were crowned champions of the Inspiresport Scottish Youth FA Cup at Under 15s level with a 3-2 win over Tynecastle in a pulsating game of football for the supporters, neutral, officials and players involved in this contest.

Tynecastle beat Broxburn Whites, Spartans Youth, Aston Villa, Giffnock North, Burntisland Shipyard, Glenvale and AFC Glasgow whilst Musselburgh dispatched of Hillfield Swifts, Hutchison Vale Colts, Caledonian, Blantyre, Kilsyth and Dyce BC.

Musselburgh threatened early on in the game with Robert Hunter playing a nice diagonal ball out wide which was met by Tyler Pryde who then broke into the danger area and sent a lovely ball into the box however nobody was on the end of the cross and Tynecastle dealt with the ball with ease.

Tynecastle had the first real chance of the game, the Maroons were patient in their play during the opening exchanges of the game however seen a release in the Windsor defence to try and break an opening, Murray Connolly found Charlie Nairn however a half volley by the forward went over the bar.

A Musselburgh attack on nine minutes almost resulted in the opening goal of the match after a fantastic ball from the right hand side came into a dangerous area in which Jacob Shyngle pulled the trigger from 12 yards however his own player Robert Hunter blocked the ball on the goalline before a header by Josh Murray was saved by Josh Philp.

Tynecastle took the lead on 10 minutes, a fantastic ball came into the box by Corin Brown which troubled the Windsor defence in which Sam Hood parried the ball away but only came into the pathway of Callum Todd 12 yards out who kept his composure with a lovely finish past the jam packed goal line beating Hood and his Musselburgh defence, Windsor had threatened on a few occasions prior to the attack however Tynecastle played some great football on the counter attack which paid off in the end.

Musselburgh pressed again in search of an equaliser, Daniel Combe doing well to get apart of his Tynecastle counterpart however a good effort from the winger hitting the side netting, Combe had done well for Windsor and looked a danger when he got on the ball, Windsor went forward more times than Tynecastle did in the opening 20 minutes of the game however didn't produce much quality in the forward ranks compared to Tynecastle with the Maroons taking their chance when it mattered.

The,last period of the first half was quite subdued in terms of chances however Musselburgh continued to try and get themselves back into the game with Tyler Pryde having a chance from just inside the box going wide of the right hand post, at the Tynecastle goal kick, the ball came into the path of Charlie Nairn who then curled in a good ball from the left hand side and the ball came into Koren Brown who volleyed at goal however regardless, was denied by an offside call from the linesman.

Musselburgh equalised on 36 minutes with Evan Fleming and Josh Murray linking up very well together, Murray put the ball out wide into the feet of Fleming who ran up the wing before sending in a fantastic ball which was met by an unmarked Murray 15 yards from goal who headed the ball into the net beyond Josh Philp in the Tynecastle goal, the tall goalkeeper didn't even attempt to save the ball with a fantastic header from Murray, the goal was just rewards as Musselburgh had played some great football however missed getting that all important goal.

Windsor continued to threaten immediately after the goal and retrieved the ball right away and got a free kick in a good position just a couple of minutes later, a free kick by the talented Daniel Combe looked like it was going into the back of the net however the only burden for Windsor was the crossbar which was a blessing for Tynecastle, Musselburgh had been well on top in the latter stages of the half with Tynecastle delighted to see the half time whistle.

Four goals from Brian Connor helped Glenvale retain the Scottish Cup as they blew Fairmuir away in Airdrie.

Connor’s four goals were added to by Euan Rodger, Fraser Lee and John Cumming as Glenvale lifted the trophy for the second consecutive season.

Glenvale couldn’t have asked for a better start as they took the lead after just three minutes through Euan Rodger. Fraser Lee picked the ball up in midfield and released Brian Connor in behind the Fairmuir defence.

Connor’s strike was tame but an uncharacteristic mistake from Cameron Hendry saw the Fairmuir keeper spill the ball into the path of Rodger, who bundled the ball over the line from a matter of yards out.

It was a nightmare start for Fairmuir, whose first chance came courtesy of a long-range effort from Mark McCrory on the 10 minute mark.

Things got better for Glenvale after 12 minutes when Rodger turned provider for Connor with a volleyed pass that Connor gathered before rounding Hendry and slipping the ball into the net.

Two minutes later, Connor had the ball in the net again as Glenvale added to their lead. The striker flicked the ball through to Sean Borland, who cut the ball back for Connor, who squeezed it past Hendry into the bottom corner.

Fairmuir were beginning to see more of the ball but couldn’t ask any questions of Ciaran McDowall in the Glenvale goal.

Glenvale added a fourth goal on 27 minutes when Connor’s cross was cleared as far Fraser Lee, who fired a low shot home through the legs of Hendry from eight yards.

Connor completed his hattrick after 32 minutes when he was played in by Aidan McLaughlin, before once again rounding Hendry and slipping the ball into the net.

Ross Hazel hit a shot wide from 20 yards for Fairmuir before Connor saw a header bounce over the bar from close range.

Connor found Borland with a deft flick that sent the midfielder through one-on-one with Hendry, but the Fairmuir keeper stood up and kept out the low effort.

In first half injury time, Glenvale got their sixth goal through John Cumming, who powered a header home from a corner.

Dyce produced a thumping second half to defeat Airdrie 4-0 and take the U13s Scottish Cup. Two goals from Matt McFarlane were complemented by a long range strike from Ethan Sutherland and an Aidan Brookes penalty, giving the Aberdeen side their silverware in the Lanarkshire team’s own stadium.

The opening half was scrappy and often lacking in concentrated possession. Dyce were quicker into the game, with their attacking players getting touches of the ball advanced within the Airdrie half. However, bar a 20 yard free kick by Brookes and cross-shot by Sutherland, in the 6th and 7th minutes respectively and both comfortably saved by Airdrie number one David Milligan, the pressure was at a distance.

Airdrie’s place in the match strengthened with a quarter of an hour played. Initially their endeavours produced no more than throw-ins, but soon direct balls began to show promise. These encouraged striker Michael McKinley to chase against the centre backs, and he won space for a brace of long but wayward shots.

On the half hour a fine saunter out of defence by Dyce’s Scott Robertson led to an unsuccesful penalty claim by Sutherland, and for a few minutes the final found a previously lacking bite. This piqued attitude duly produced the best chance of the half, as McKinley caught a hopeful punt, wrestled inside his two markers, and was only denied by the out-rushing Sam Inglis.

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