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.