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The future's bright for South East Region side

South East Region 5

Carr 15, Laidlaw 24, Walker 58, Rafferty 61, Crombie 68

St Johnstone 0

  • Friday, 26 February 2016
  • Forrester High School 3G
  • Under 14´s
  • Friendly
Jack Whitlam

Jack Whitlam | YFS South East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

The South East Region representative team began their journey together with an excellent win over St Johnstone. The team, containing players from clubs around the South East Region, have only recently been put together. Spartans FC and Tynecastle will be proud of the large number of players representing their club, as will the other clubs from around the region whose players were picked for the side.
 
In their first game as a team, they linked up with St Johnstone U14’s at Forrester High School for a friendly. St Johnstone had been without a game in three weeks before their weekend match against Dundee so for both teams this was an opportunity to get minutes under their belt.
 
Left winger, Kyle Burns was involved in two attacking chances early on for St Johnstone. The first saw a good free kick evade everyone and come to nothing and the second, his shot from the edge of the area was well defended by a combination of goalkeeper and full back. Ivan Aplapiki also created a chance when he combined with Blair White and got a cross away, but it was again well defended.
 
At the other end of the pitch, there was a scary moment for centre back, Andrew McKenzie, as his headed back pass almost evaded on-rushing keeper, Jack Wills. As South East Region settled down and got used to their new teammates, they began to get the better of St Johnstone.
 
The following five minutes saw South East Region have a lot more of the ball and the better of the chances too. On 11 minutes Jack Crombie played an excellent cross field pass to Aaron Laidlaw who played a one-two with Kieran Rafferty before getting a fierce shot away. The shot was saved by Wills, but South East Region had signalled their intent.
 
Four minutes later, South East Region did break the deadlock. Jack Carr found the ball at his feet 30 yards from goal. He sprinted forward, out pacing the St Johnstone full back and centre half. As he invaded the opposition area, he calmly slotted his shot into the far bottom right-hand corner, out of reach of the keeper.
 
South East Region continued in similar fashion following the goal. They had better possession of the ball, eager to win it back as soon as possible. St Johnstone were determined to play out from the back but with South East Region playing a high pressing game, they were unable to get the ball forward.
 
Despite SE Region’s superior possession, their best opportunities came from counter attacks. On 22 minutes, wingers Laidlaw and Carr and central midfielder, Kier Russel, exchanged passes in a swift counter attack following an opposition corner but it came to nothing.
 
Two minutes later however, they were successful. Another counter attack, this time after winning the ball in midfield; Rafferty played a perfectly weighted through ball to Laidlaw who sprinted forward and found the far left hand corner to make it 2-0 going into half time.
 
SE Region were looking like a team who had played together all season. The speedy front four of Laidlaw, Carr, Rafferty and Crombie combined well and caused Saints lots of problems in the first half. St Johnstone needed to keep the ball better in the second half if they were to get anything from the game.
 
Their forward passes were picked off by a SE Region team who were more switched on. Centre back, Andrew McKenzie, tried to play out from the back but his options were all closed down and Saints had little movement in a rigid 4-4-2 formation. Tall centre forward, Aplapiki, had little support when he did receive the ball so he was unable to cause a threat.
  • Half Time:
  • South East Region
  • 2-0
  • St Johnstone
Both teams made wholesale changes at half time to give everyone on the team some game time. SE Region’s goalkeeper was replaced having barely touched the ball in the first half but he did marshal his defence well. The second half started slowly with the substitutes trying to get into the game but following a quiet ten minutes, the game livened up again. Chances came at both end with St Johnstone looking to get back into the game and SE Region looking to score another to put the game beyond reach.
 
SE Region kept the ball moving around in the opposition half, subtly probing but the killer pass to unlock the defence never prevailed. Their possession did mean Saints weren’t getting any chances of their own however.
 
More changes on 12 minutes from SE Region slowed the game down again and St Johnstone looked to capitalise as they started to carve out some attacking opportunities. SE Region couldn’t get as much of the ball and Saints looked like lively. Whilst SE Region lacked opportunities from open play, they did have two good opportunities from set pieces put no one could apply the finish.
 
Minutes before the end of the second half, SE Region got a third goal to put the game out of reach of St Johnstone and kill any attacking threat they had. Tenacious full back James Scobie made an excellent run from his left back position and teammate Lorcan Gray found him with an excellent pass from the centre of the pitch. After sprinting up the wing, Scobie put in a low cross which found Robbie Walker. Walker took the ball on his back foot and was able to stab it towards goal as he fell under pressure from a Saints defender. The ball bobbled over the keeper and into the goal.
 
The second half was a lot quieter than the first which was understandable given the number of changes made but there was some good individual play. With it only being a friendly and both managers eager to see their team play as much football as possible, the referee played a further ten minutes after the second half. The St Johnstone players however would probably have been happy to end the game there having conceded late on to see their chances of salvaging a draw slip away.
 
In the first minute of the extra ten, SE Region’s Sami El Yamani played a fantastic chipped pass through to Rafferty whilst stood on the half way line. Rafferty chased down the ball and drove towards goal before getting a shot away. The shot flashed across the face of goal and nestled in the far left bottom corner.
 
SE Region were enjoying this final ten minutes with the comfort of a four goal lead. They were playing well and with five minutes to go they scored a fifth. The two strikers Crombie and Rafferty combined well, exchanging passes on the edge of the opposition area. Rafferty nutmegged the left back with a cute turn and set Crombie up who fired into the top corner.
 
The remainder of the game played out with SE Region looking for a sixth having found the intensity they had in the first half. The referee blew for full time before SE Region could score any more goals but they will be pleased with their impressive 5-0 win.
 
Their emphatic win signals a bright future for SE Region’s representative side. The team, who have only trained together twice, showed togetherness and combination play of a team that have played together for a long time. The remainder of the season will be spent playing friendly matches against other pro youth sides in preparation for competitive seasons at u15s and u16s level. If they maintain a similar level of performance and keep the squad together, they should be successful.
 
St Johnstone will put this game to experience and focus on their upcoming fixtures. Though SE Region were the better side, the Saints weren’t disgraced and can take positives from the game.
  • Full Time:
  • South East Region
  • 5-0
  • St Johnstone

Lineups

South East Region
St Johnstone
1. Dean Beveridge
2. James Scobie
3. Luke Wilkie
4. Scott Jardine
5. Kieran Moyles
6. Jack Sharples
7. Jack Crombie
8. Kier Russel
9. Kieran Rafferty
10. Aaron Laidlaw
11. Jack Carr
12. Lorcan Gray
14. Lewis Glennie
15. Blair Ramamge
16. Sami El Yamani
17. Kieran Ngwenga
18. Robbie Walker
19. Harry Stone
1. Jack Wills
2. Tommy Penker
3. Steven McGuigan
4. Andrew McKenzie
5. Thomas Gray
6. Peter Thompson
7. Blair White
8. Cieran Fearns
9. Ivan Aplapkik
10. Murray Findlay
11. Kyle Burns
12. Scott Hunter
14. Murray Childs
15. Joshua Scoon
Star Player
South East Region
St Johnstone
James Scobie – His work may have gone unnoticed during the game but the full back worked tirelessly to support his teammates. His overlapping runs caused havoc for the Saints and his defensive work was solid. He was always available to receive a pass after getting himself in good space. This meant his team always had an outlet when trying to maintain possession. The front four of Laidlaw, Carr, Rafferty and Crombie also deserve a mention.
Andrew McKenzie – The central defender had a difficult game having to deal with the pace of the opposition but worked hard, winning some good headers and making some important interceptions. McKenzie stuck to the game plan, looking for a way to play out from the back and didn’t hurriedly give the ball away.
Magic Moment
South East Region
St Johnstone
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  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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