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An exceptional second-half display from Inverness Caledonian Thistle under-20's saw them capture a 4-2 win over local rivals Ross County in the first Highland Derby of the season. An array of first-team players featured for both clubs with Scott Boyd, Tony Dingwall and Raffaele De Vita making appearances for the young squad. Meanwhile in the away team summer signings Iain Vigurs and Nat Wedderburn were both named in the starting 11.

The first real chance of the game fell to Calum Ferguson just 10 minutes in. Lewis Horner surged down the right flank before finding Ferguson who hit it on the volley first time but his shot flew over the bar. Inverness were carving the hosts open time after time when Polworth just ran from midfield unchallenged before getting a left-footed drive away but Mark Foden got down well to parry away the danger. 

Up the other end of the park though Ross County had very strong claims for a penalty waved away by the referee. Darren Moffat's ball into the box found Greg Morrison whose first touch took him past Cameron Gilchrist but Morrison was fouled. The referee told the young striker to get up which infuriated the home dugout.

Then just a minute later the away side got the opening goal of the game. Ferguson's persistence in closing down the back line of Ross County saw him intercept a loose pass then he took the unselfish decision by feeding the ball into Ali Sutherland who hit a low drive into the bottom corner of the net.

This opened the game up a lot more and just three minutes later Ross County equalised. Raffaele De Vita took the ball down expertly around 30 yards from goal before unleashing a ferocious right-footed shot into the corner of the net. A simply stunning strike that would have had the best keepers struggling to save. 

The game was end-to-end with Dingwall first testing Daniel Hoban with a tame right-footed strike before Jaime Wilson had a left-footed shot saved by the feet of Foden. But it was Ross County who would lead at the break. Horner was adjudged to have brought down Dingwall and De Vita brushed himself down to step and slot the penalty into the right side of the net sending Hoban the wrong way.

Monday, 31 August 2015 11:33

Ellon Meadows make it two in a row

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Colony Colts and Ellon Meadows FC met in warm conditions at Davidson Park. It was Ellon who proved triumphant, with a 5-2 win. Their goals were scored by Cameron Moir, Ross Fraser, Cameron Bain and two from Fraser MacLeod, while Colony’s goals both came from Callum Webster.

From the kick-off, Ellon Meadows showed their intent, with Calum Cummings putting the ball into space for Cameron Moir who shot from the edge of the box and found the top corner of the net to take the lead in the first minute of play.

The home side fought back, with Rory Gauld pushing the ball forward. Daniel Cowie then had a one-on-one with Ellon goalkeeper, Reece Lawrence, but his shot went over the crossbar. Colony continued to exchange some nice passes but could not penetrate Ellon’s defence.

Ellon were then able to push up field with a series of free kicks. Cummings pressed forward but Colony held their defence to clear the danger.

Colony were on the attack again, with Gauld running onto the ball only for Lawrence to get there first. Declan Abel then linked up with Callum Webster, who was able to shoot from 25 yards but his shot was wide.

However it was Ellon who were to have the next successful attempt, after Fraser MacLeod beat several defenders with a strong run from his own half, shooting from the edge of the box and finding the top of the net in the fourteenth minute to increase his side’s lead.

Yet Colony responded almost instantly, winning a corner from the right-hand side. Gauld crossed the ball into the box where Webster was waiting to put it into the corner of the net with sixteen minutes played.

Colony had another chance when Cowie lobbed the ball over Ellon’s defence but Ellon got to the ball before any Colony players could follow through. This gave the visitors a chance to drive the ball up field and Ross Fraser chased but Colony goalkeeper, Caleb Millar, got to the ball first.

Webster then created another chance for Colony, crossing the ball in from wide but Lawrence held under pressure from Colony’s Tom Adams. Logan Scott then shot from 35 yards only for the ball to clip the post.

Then in the thirtieth minute, Ellon mounted another attack. Fraser lured Millar from his goal and found the net to increase his side’s lead. 

Colony were to have the last chance of the half, with Adams and Cowie linking up but Cowie’s shot was wide.

Monday, 24 August 2015 16:26

Paul Lawrie Foundation start season on a high

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In the rare Aberdeen sunshine, Byron Swifts got their season underway, playing against Paul Lawrie Foundation. Paul Lawrie picked up the three points with a 6-2 win, their goals coming from Connor Strachan, Fin Troup, and four from Joy Banda, while both of Byron’s goals came from Owen Dickson.

The first attacking play of the game came from Byron Swifts as Harry Glennie burst down the wing but his shot from out wide was smothered by Paul Lawrie Foundation goalkeeper Archie Coulesant. 

Paul Lawrie were soon mounting their own attacks, with Shay Farooq making a break but becoming isolated and unable to make the offload he was looking for. In the following phases of play, he was supported by Glen Brown and Banda. Banda took a shot at goal from just inside the box but it was wide, while his next attempt went just over the crossbar. 

Byron pressed back through their captain, Robbie Hay, who made the yards but Paul Lawrie held their defence strong to deny any chances. Christopher McCaughtrie and Babil Saru then set up interchanging play. McCaughtrie’s shot from just outside the box was deflected by Coulesant, and Saru took his shot from 25 yards but Coulesant was able to prevent the score.

End-to-end play ensued, with both teams trying to penetrate their opposition’s defence. It was Paul Lawrie who were eventually rewarded in the 18th minute, when Banda broke though and shot from 25 yards and wide out to the right to put his side in the lead.

With the momentum in their favour, Paul Lawrie were soon on the attack again and, in the 21st minute, Banda crossed the ball in from the corner and slipped it past Byron goalkeeper Scott Freckingham’s hand, to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

Down but not out, Byron responded through McCaughtrie who linked up with Owen Dickson before the ball was forced out of play. Saru set up another chance for his side with a high ball but Paul Lawrie cleared well.

Another change in momentum saw Banda luring Freckingham out of the goal before crossing to Connor Strachan, who chipped it into the net to increase his side’s lead in the twenty-seventh minute.

Paul Lawrie continued to demonstrate their strength in attack through some neat footwork by Gavin Troup, who created space and shot but Freckingham caught the ball to deny the score. Gavin Troup then had another shot after creating space but he could not get the ball past the Byron goalkeeper.

The last chance of the half came for Byron, with Saru shooting from 30 yards and wide to the right but the ball was smothered by Coulesant to end the half.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015 20:32

Balloan go joint top with victory over Thistle Colts

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Balloan Athletic moved onto 24 points, joint top of the Inverness Street League Division B, following a comfortable 9-0 victory over Thistle Colts. The win comes at a good time ahead of next weekend's Cup Final showdown versus Balloan Fury.

Athletic never really looked like losing this game as both teams got off to a slow start.  They had the first opportunity of the match when Jack McGilvray found an extra few yards in the box but his tame shot was gathered easily by Jack Grieve in the Thistle Colts goal. Just five minutes later, a fine piece of individual trickery from Clarke Hendry sent Gavin Urquhart free but his shot was well parried by Grieve. 

Fourteen minutes in Rowan Earl's pace beat two defenders and his cross-shot took a massive deflection and rolled passed the diving Grieve.

Number two followed minutes later. Brodie Watson's long ball was headed down by McGilvray into the path of Gavin Urquhart who coolly slotted it home.

Fine work by David MacLaren of Thistle Colts beat the Balloan defence but his shot went well wide. But straight after that phase of play Rowan Earl's pace rounded Grieve and he was brought down. McGilvray stepped up and fired a powerful right-footed shot past the keeper. From here on in it was plain sailing from Balloan as they made it four just before the break. Brodie Watson's fine solo run beat three defenders before he cleverly rounded the keeper before slotting it into the empty net.

Formartine United bounced back from cup final heartbreak last weekend to overcome Glentanar and lift the Murray Cup.

A David Clark goal as early as the 15th minute was enough to settle the final and ensure Formartine lifted the cup for only the second time in their history, and the first time since 1998.

The win will help exercise the demons of last weekend’s 4-2 defeat to Stonehaven in the final of the Sunnybank Shield; a match which they had led twice.

Formartine evidently used that defeat as motivation as they started this Murray Cup final on the front foot.

And they should have taken the lead after 10 minutes. Clark crossed low from the right for strike partner Tito Silva but he steered the ball wide of goal from six yards.

United did not have to wait long for the opener though as it came just five minutes after that miss. Clark’s half-volley from the edge of the box found the back of the net via the inside of the post. 

Glentanar had started the contest slowly but gradually grew into the game after that setback. They threatened for the first time a few minutes later when Matthew Steer’s cross was headed wide by Lewis Stephen.

Glentanar then came even closer in the 26th minute. Elliot McDonald crossed for Craig Simpson who looked destined to score but he was superbly denied by goalkeeper Ryan Thomson. 

After a good start, Formartine had lost the ascendancy and had the post to thank for maintaining their lead. McDonald’s low shot from 20 yards struck the post and rebounded away from danger. 

Lewis United beat Deveronvale 5-1 in the final of the Noskab Trophy to complete a clean sweep of trophies this season.

It means the United trophy cabinet will be kept company by the 17s SoccerWorld League A, the Trans World Soccer Scottish Youth FA Cup, the Raymond Kelly Association Trophy, and now the Noskab Trophy.

A hat-trick from midfielder Marc Lawrence and a goal a piece by Dylan Leslie and Drew Canale secured victory for Lewis United. Deveronvale striker Michael Ironside’s late reply was only a consolation.

Deveronvale would have entered the game with a small degree of confidence that they could end Lewis United's run. They took the Scottish Cup champions to extra time in the third round of the Raymond Kelly Association Trophy, before eventually losing 6-3.

And they had the first opportunity of the game. Ironside’s powerful run took him all the way into the Lewis penalty area but his side-foot finish went narrowly wide of goal.

From that moment on Lewis United never looked like losing this final. Callum Youngson and Leslie both had a goal disallowed for offside within the first 10 minutes.

Both wingers in their 4-3-3, Youngson and Leslie, were getting chalk on their boots and were a constant out ball for Lewis.

And it was third time lucky for Lewis as they eventually took the lead after 14 minutes. Lewis Masson’s delicate pass through found Lawrence who blasted past goalkeeper Dylan Gray from eight yards.

Lewis striker Craig Mackie then broke the offside trap but he was brilliantly denied by Gray who made himself as big as possible.

But Lewis did double their lead in the 38th minute. A great turn and pass by Youngson found Mackie whose cross was steered home by Leslie.

Glentanar gained promotion to League B by beating Paul Lawrie Foundation by three goals to nil in a well fought C League match at Aberdeen’s Aulton Outdoor Pitches.

They had the game’s first opportunity as Josh Yeats’ half volley from inside the box went just wide of the target.

Glentanar got the opening goal as Sol Kench’s curling chip from the right side of the box found the back of the net to make it 1-0.

Kench nearly scored his second and his team’s second as his shot from the right of the box was well saved by Archie Coueslant in the Paul Lawrie goal.

Jack Thorne then had a shot from outside the box that went just over the crossbar. After this Kench’s dipping effort from outside the right of the box was caught by the Paul Lawrie goalkeeper.

Glentanar doubled their lead as Thorne scored with an audacious chip from outside the box on the left hand side to make it 2-0.

They continued to look for the third goal and Thorne’s shot from the left inside the box went just wide of the target.

Despite the scoreline Paul Lawrie were playing well and looked to control the ball in the centre of the park.

Glentanar made it 3-0 just before half time as Lewis Downie’s low shot from outside the box found the back of the net.

The competition was fierce as Cove BC and Kemnay FC met at Hazelhead Joe Paterson Pavilion. However it was Cove who picked up the three points with a 4-3 victory. Lewis Wilson and Colbie King each claimed two goals while Kemnay’s goals were scored by William Duthie, Tristan Clark and Leah Mearns.

Play got underway with the sun shining, and Cove made the initial press forward. However William Duthie soon counterattacked for Kemnay, driving the ball forward with a strong run. He beat several defenders and lured out Cove goalkeeper Samuel Paterson to slide it past him from the edge of the box to open the scoring with only two minutes played.

Soon after, Cove had a chance to equalise with a free kick 25 yards from goal. Lewis Wilson stepped up to take it but the ball went just over the crossbar.

Possession went back and forth between the two teams and Kemnay exerted pressure with a long kick from their own half which was chased down by Tristan Clark but Paterson dived to smother the ball before Clark could take a shot.

End-to-end play continued and though Cove tried to drive forward, Kemnay maintained a strong defence to deny them the chances that they were looking for. 

Then came Cove’s best chance of the half, as Colin Chen put the ball through for Jamie Thomson. He was challenged by Kemnay goalkeeper Adam Newlands and Cove were awarded the free kick. Wilson crossed the ball into the box but Kemnay cleared the danger.

Cove pressed forward once again with a series of passes and Fraser Neave looked dangerous as he reached the edge of the box but Leah Mearns swept in to deny him the chance to score. 

Clark then pressed forward for Kemnay, making another good run but Cove’s defence closed in, giving them the chance to counterattack. Jay Ridgeway drove the ball down the wing before putting it through for Ben Campbell. However Kemnay’s Dax Mahoney made the challenge to relieve the pressure on his side.

With the half drawing to a close amidst a drastic change in weather conditions, Newlands’ huge clearance kick forced Paterson out of his own goal to clear. However the ball bounced at the feet of Clark who chipped it over Cove’s defence, bouncing into the net to increase Kemnay’s lead as the half ended.

Inverurie Academy lifted the Aberdeenshire Schools FA Cup after defeating their near neighbours Meldrum Academy by three goals to one in an entertaining final at The Meadows in Ellon.

Meldrum took the lead as Calum McDonald’s powerful strike from outside the box found the back of the net to give them the lead.

They nearly doubled their lead as Bryce Dawson’s long-range free kick took an awkward bounce and just went wide of the target.

Meldrum had another opportunity as Dawson’s powerful shot from outside the box was saved by the Inverurie goalkeeper.

Jamie MacIver had a shot from the left side that went just wide of the target as Meldrum looked to make it 2-0.

Inverurie had an opportunity as Hamish Hinks’ header went just wide of the target.

They got their equaliser as Callum James scored a header after a corner was delivered into the box to make it 1-1.

Inverurie looked to take the lead and Alan Smith had a shot saved by the Meldrum goalkeeper as the score remained 1-1.

The final for the Belmont Trophy was valiantly fought out by Banks O’Dee Albion and Deveronvale at Colony Park. However, in a game far more competitive than the score may suggest, it was Banks O’Dee who lifted the trophy with a 6-0 win. Their goals were scored by Jevan Anderson, Hamish MacLeod, Cameron Imrie, Calum McKenzie, Mark Reid and Shaun Cameron.

Play got underway with a determined Deveronvale on the attack, pressing forward through Fergus Edwards. However Banks O’Dee goalkeeper Vitali Sahhalevits cleared the danger before a shot could be taken. 

Banks O’Dee were quick to press back and were soon awarded a free kick at 25 yards out. Jason Ritchie stepped up to find the box, where there were a number of headers before Deveronvale goalkeeper Craig Sutherland pushed it wide. Ritchie then stepped up for the resulting corner, finding the box once again where Jevan Anderson tapped it in from close range to open the scoring with only two minutes played.

Deveronvale were not put out and were soon exerting pressure as Lewis Buxton challenged Banks O’Dee’s defence, only to be called back for being offside. The side continued to press but Banks O’Dee held their defence to deny any scoring opportunities.

Play went from end to end, with Banks O’Dee’s Hamish MacLeod getting to the box and trying to flick it in but Sutherland kept it out and set his side up to counterattack. Lewis Strachan drove the ball down the wing, luring Sahhalevits away from his goal before crossing it in for Buxton. However, Banks O’Dee had defenders ready to clear the danger.

Deveronvale had more chances, with Keith Cruickshank taking a corner which reached the box but was caught by Sahhalevits. Then Mark Tait took another corner for the side but his shot went inches wide of the post.

Banks O’Dee took the ball to the other end of the pitch through a series of passes but struggled to penetrate Deveronvale’s defence. A free kick taken by Ritchie from 28 yards was only denied by Sutherland pushing it over the crossbar, followed by Ross Christie shooting from the edge of the box only for the ball to go wide. The side continued to look dangerous and press forward, but Mark Reid’s shot from just outside the box was caught by Sutherland.

Buxton drove the ball and was looking dangerous. As Banks O’Dee closed in, he passed to Tait who hit the ball from inside the box but it went into the hands of Sahhalevits.

Banks O’Dee were soon driving it back to the other end of the field with another series of passes. From the left edge of the box, MacLeod struck and found the top corner of the net to increase his side’s lead.

Moments later, the side were pressing again with Christie crossing the ball in for Cameron Imrie who struck just inside the box and also found the net to add another score.

Deveronvale responded with John Geddes pressing forward and shooting from 30 yards. Sahhalevits made the save and as Tait and Buxton continued to challenge, he cleared the danger. However it was not long before Buxton was pressing again and he put the ball through into space but Banks O’Dee cleared it before Deveronvale could take any shots.

They were soon at the other end again with Reid trying to shoot from the edge of the box. However Deveronvale were defending well, so he made the pass inside the box to McKenzie who sent it in to add one more score before half time.