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Monday, 14 April 2014 08:07

Experienced Hearts cruise Into Youth Cup final

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Hearts booked their place in the Scottish Youth Cup Final with a convincing win against Kilmarnock at Tynecastle. With both first teams having the week end off, both sides opted to select all of the players eligible to play at this age group. For Hearts first team regulars Callum Paterson, Dale Carrick and Sam Nicholson started whilst for Kilmarnock Craig Slater, Mark O'Hara and Chris Johnston all featured. A healthy crowd of 1500 also packed into Tynecastle's main stand.
 
The front players for both sides showed a lot of great movement and pace throughout the game with Johnston for Killie and King for Hearts looking lively early on. Both sides created half chances in the opening spell of the game but both 'keepers remained largely untested. However after 24 minutes Hearts grabbed the lead. A great touch and pass from Gary Oliver found the onrushing Billy King and the winger whilst running in on goal from the right hand side of the penalty box was tripped and a penalty was awarded. Dale Carrick, the scorer of Hearts first goal in the senior Edinburgh Derby a few weeks ago stepped up and made no mistake, slotting past Connor Brennan.
 
After 30 minutes Killie did get a clear sight of goal as a poor pass by Aaron Scott was picked up by Chris Johnston. Johnston's shot though was wide of Jack Hamilton's right hand post much to the winger's disappointment. His and his team's disappointment at that was compounded when Hearts doubled their lead. Great play between Oliver and King once more allowed the latter to find space on the byeline. His cross looking for Carrick appeared to then hit a Killie defender and spiralled into the net beyond Brennan. Carrick's lack of a celebration appearing to confirm that it was indeed an own goal.
 
As the game headed for Half Time Hearts intricate play in the final third was causing Killie more problems. The front four of King, Carrick, Nicholson and Oliver were all willing to swap places and play quick, intricate  passes making it so difficult for the Kilmarnock defenders. Liam Gordon, Hearts centre back, did almost make it three right on the stroke of HT when he got on the end of a McGhee knock down from a corner. Keeper Brennan though was well placed to make a decent save.
There will be a North Region representative at this year’s TWS Scottish Youth FA Cup final weekend after Colony Locos beat FC Bonnybridge 2-1 to book their place in the Under 19 final. Colony striker Alex Duguid was the hero, scoring a goal in each half to secure the victory. Bonnybridge’s Darren Manson pulled a goal back late on but it wasn’t enough to force extra time. That was only half the story though. Colony had to play more than half this semi-final with a man less after defender Phillip Woodgreaves was sent off in the 35th minute for a second bookable offence.
 
Locos will now face Barrhead YFC in the final in Airdrie on Saturday 24th of May. Barrhead overcame Ballieston Juniors 5-3 after extra-time in their semi-final.
 
The match was played out in front of nearly 300 spectators at Harlaw Park and there was an almost tangible sense of anticipation and tension in the air before kick-off. But if that tension had spilled through to the Colony Locos’ players they did a super job of hiding it.
 
The Inverurie side started the game on the front foot and they were rewarded for their fast start within two minutes. Joe Burr’s cross from the right found lone striker Alex Duguid wide open in the middle of the penalty area and he dually slotted the ball into the net from 10 yards. 
 
As Duguid reeled away to celebrate his goal you could hear the majority of the crowd take a conscious sigh of relief while thinking to themselves: “Well, this is going to plan”.
 
Colony were radiating confidence and they threatened to double their lead immediately when good build up by Daniel Crisp saw Kieran Lawrence’s cross-shot go marginally wide. 
 
The hosts continued to be in the ascendency but failed to score a second goal during that time. 
 
Bonnybridge were always going to grow into the contest and they shot a warning fire after half an hour. Josh Taplin chested the ball and volleyed it off the crossbar from 16 yards.
 
If that wasn’t enough encouragement for the visitors then they were given even more five minutes later. Locos defender Phillip Woodgreaves had already been booked when he dived in recklessly at the feet of an opponent 30 yards from goal. He knew and everyone in the ground knew that referee James Hunter had little choice but to show him the card.
 
Colony had started the match in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Crisp in the number 10 role. After Woodgreaves’ sending off Crisp dropped back into centre defence and Colony went 4-4-1.
It was a dramatic game in East Kilbride, as Barrhead YFC took on Bailleston Juniors in the semi finals of the Scottish Cup. The tone was set right from kick off as Fraser McLaughlin picked up a back pass from Thomas McHaughey; letting fly from 20 yards to smack the post.
 
Barrhead built off the move applying more pressure, eventually they found Brian Ashe who twisted and turned in the 18 yard box – but couldn’t direct his left foot curler on target. Bailleston’s defence managed to settle after the opening salvo, Stephen Paterson making several top notch slide tackles to deny the Barrhead strikers.
 
Barrhead again threatened to break the deadlock, only for Sam McNeil’s final ball to get away from McGaughey. The game shifted from end to end, Bailleston managed to ask questions of the Barrhead back four, with Chris Watson and Stephen Paterson coming close.
 
The game's tempo was ratcheted up by Barrhead and it allowed McLaughlin and Jack Easdon to cut apart the Bailleston back line with some crisp passing. Easdon finished the move with a shot that rocketed into Stephen Thomson’s gloves.
 
Dale Dickson was the next to have a go at the Barrhead goal, taking a 20 yard shot that deflected off John Planas onto the post. The following corner was met by John Middleton who looked absolutely dominant in the air, rising above four or five of the opposition.
 
But the scoring was finally opened when Brian Ashe blitzed forward in the middle, pulling McLaughlin’s marker to him before he laid a nice reverse pass through into the penalty area for McLaughlin to put into the bottom corner on the 30th minute.
 
Bailleston proved they weren’t rolling over; a magnificent sequence picked out Paterson on the penalty spot who tried for a spectacular (and unlikely) overhead kick. But it only got so far as Anthony Etherson who cleared it well after his vital block.
 
Watson picked up a switch and form out of nowhere let fly from 26 yards on the half volley, Alistair Hughes didn’t manage to get his gloves behind it and it went into the roof of the net to make it all to play for. As Watson wheeled away in celebration the tension reached boiling point as with 39 minutes played we were back where we started.
 
The pace was frantic and half chances fell everywhere, though nobody managed to convert. Barrhead went into the break looking the most likely to get themselves in front, as Ashe McLaughlin and Sam McNeil all came close.
 
The first half was a great example of what both sides were capable of, with both sides using the ball well and causing trouble for their opposition.
Heriot-Watt University and the University of Stirling met at Ainslie Park on Wednesday night, both looking to be crowned winners of the Scottish Student Sport Queen’s Park Shield. Penalty kicks were needed to separate the sides after a goalless ninety minutes, in which chances were few and far between for both sides. Ultimately it was Stirling who emerged victorious in the tie, perhaps deservedly so, given the way in which they had created most of the game’s few chances. 
 
Stirling went into the match with a huge favourites tag. They ply their trade in the top tier of British university football, where they were crowned league and cup winners. Watt are in the Scottish top tier and had narrowly lost out in their quest for the league title, before bouncing back to beat rivals Edinburgh University in the semi finals of this competition.
 
The early stages of the first half consisted of both teams trying to take charge of the game. Neither team were shy in going forward but similarly neither team were able to retain possession for a prolonged period of play. Both defences were on form and alert to the danger of the opposition and as a result, there were very few clear-cut goalscoring chances. 
 
Heriot-Watt did create an attacking opportunity early on however through great link up play on the left between Thomson and David. The shot at the end of the move was no trouble for Stirling’s keeper Ryan Marshall though. His opposite number was called into action moments later when Stirling came close to opening the scoring. A scramble on the edge of the six yard box forced Craig Saunders into making a fantastic double save. Heriot-Watt were inspired by this chance and continued to push forward, looking to break the deadlock. Cameron Dunn came close to doing so but a great block by Calum Burns ensured that the game remained goalless.
 
Stirling had looked the more likely of the two sides to score from open play in the first half, although it certainly couldn’t be said that they had any golden opportunities to do so. The best chance was thwarted by a last ditch block by Finn Watt. Khan Mitchell-Williams was probably the stand out player of the half, spreading plenty of passes across the midfield and pushing up to have a couple of attempts on goal himself. However, as was the story of the first half, nothing could find the back.
 
Braidhurst made it a third Scottish cup final in a row with a convincing 5-2 victory over Bishopbriggs Academy, the school from Motherwell now not only have their sights on the final at Fir Park but also have an eye on the British cup at the start of the summer which was actually won by a Scottish team last year in the shape of Bannerman High.
 
Braidhurst started off the game in real style putting their opponents on the back foot from the word go and within 15 minutes were not just one but two up, Dylan Falconer blasted his side one up with a brilliant finish then soon after the lead was doubled by Nicholas Mullen. All this had happened before Bishy had even got the chance to test Braidhurst's keeper properly.
 
Bishopbriggs did start to try attacking Braidhurst more and looked like getting a bit of joy down the right hand side and this is exactly how they wriggled there way back in to this first half when some lovely play down the right flank resulted in a cross being whipped in and after some bad defending let Andrew Cook in to pull it back to 2-1.
 
Just before half time Braidhurst player Falconer thought he grabbed his second when he latched on to a slipped ball through but couldn't keep his composure to net.
 
Braidhurst finally got another goal however to extend their lead back to two and it was centre back Rico Quitongo who rose above his marker to header home and give his side a two goal advantage at the break.
It was a blustery day at Spain Park when Glasgow made the trip up North, two Aberdeen boys play for Scotland Schools compared to Glasgow's two, Chris Liversedge got the headlines last week with his hat-trick at New Douglas Park for Scotland against Wales however Glasgow kept him at bay to ensure they would progress.
 
Aberdeen had the 1st chance of the game,a defensive lapse from Dominic McLaren found Scott Adams whose effort was wasteful and went wide, Adams came on in the 93rd minute at Gayfield Park for Arbroath against Rangers on Saturday.
 
Another player who plays for Scotland Schools, Mikey Hopkins who attends St Peter the Apostle had a chance to give the visitors the lead via a free kick however it just went inches wide of the left hand post.
 
There was good spells from both teams midway through the first half, first through Glasgow after a through ball from Rosshall's Chad Meechan found Kieran MacPherson whose effort went wide of the right hand post.
 
Then, a Lenny Wilson goal kick found Westhill Academy's Ewen Ritchie who then fed in Harlaw Academy's Liversedge who knocked his effort wide, it was a game that contained lots of chances however came to no avail in the end.
 
Edina Hibs versus Hutchison Vale in the Scottish Cup semi finals. You don't need to know a lot about youth football in the south east of Scotland, to know that this would be a fixture which would get people talking. Despite the direct clash with the professional Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle, a large crowd descended on Dalkeith to watch an absorbing contest between two sets of Edinburgh's brightest young players. After a deadlocked first half the magic moment came midway through the second period, when Liam Edmonston stepped up to curl a free kick into the top right hand corner. Vale fought until the end, but they couldn't break down the Edina wall and it was the boys in green and white who celebrated reaching the national final.
 
Despite both playing a huge part in the history of youth football in Edinburgh, the contrast in fortunes between Edina Hibs and Hutchison Vale in this prestigious competition has been stark in recent seasons. Edina Hibs last won the trophy in 2003/04, a year which also saw Vale triumph at two age groups. Since then, Hutchie have racked up eight competition wins across a variety of age groups. Edina's last appearance in a final came in 2010/11, when the (nearly) all conquering 1996 born squad fell short at the final hurdle. Since then the club has somewhat reinvented itself, with a focus on the younger age groups, and perhaps this year's Under 13 squad is the start of a renaissance.
 
There was no doubt who took the favourites tag going into this tie. Hutchison Vale. Top of the table, without a defeat to their name, they put no less than 15 goals past Edina in two early season meetings. However, a more recent meeting which saw Vale progress in a local cup with the help of extra time, indicated that the gap was getting narrower. 
 
In this competition both teams had been in fine form. Vale had succeeded against Leith Athletic, Musselburgh Windsor, Elderslie Amateurs, FC Rochsoles, Edinburgh City Real and EKFC Blue - with only the first and last ties providing them any cause for concern. Fauldhouse Foxes, Longniddry Villa, Dundee West, Stonehouse BC, Spartans and St Mirren YFC had fell to Edina. Notable milestones for them were the banana skin slip avoided when Longniddry Villa of the league below forced extra time in Round 2, and a penalty kick victory over Spartans in a thrilling last 16 tie.
 
The match kicked off at a high tempo with both teams largely cancelling each other out in the opening exchanges. The first chance fell to Vale's Lewis McCann, who half volleyed wide after a good lofted pass from Callum Anderson. Anderson was next to have a go from the edge of the area, but his effort couldn't find the target.
 
Edina Hibs had the first clear cut opening of the match. Seamus Russell produced a well timed challenge before sending the ball in the direction of Owen Bryce, who in turn picked out the run of Alassan Jones. Jones raced in on goal but his low drive was excellently saved and held by Vale goalkeeper Ciaran Cairns.
 
The South Edinburgh outfit were growing into the game and had another chance to open the scoring five minutes later. Mitchell Robertson and Liam Edmonston combined to set up Bryce, but his effort was well dealt with by Cairns.
 
Vale ended the half as they started, with the better of possession and territory, creating a flurry of late chances. Brandon Blair shot over; McCann tried to round Edina goalkeeper Thomas McLean but saw the ball smothered by the alert stopper; and Blair hit a final shot just wide of the post to wrap up the first half action.
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 10:19

Wilson the hero as Goldenhill reach final

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Marc Wilson was the hero for Goldenhill as they booked their place in the Scottish Cup final. Wilson saved three penalties for the Gowdie in the penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw after extra time. Yoker Athletics’ Holm Park was the venue on a cold, dull day that saw a scrappy affair which didn’t produce the best footballing display from either side. Goldenhill won’t mind that though after gaining their place at the finals in Airdrie in just over a month’s time.
 
Tower Hearts started the brighter of the two sides and took the lead with just five minutes on the clock. Captain Jonathan Allan floated a free kick deep into the Gowdie box which was knocked down to Graham Boyd. Boyd attempted to get the shot away but his effort was deflected into the path of Jamie Boyle. The number 10 was all on his own as he fired home a neat strike at the near post, leaving Goldenhill’s Wilson with no chance.
 
Tower dominated the early proceedings and had a legitimate shout for a penalty after Boyd looked like he might have been taken down. Whilst the defender never took any of the ball it was debatable as to whether he caught Boyd. They continued to press Goldenhill in search of a second goal and forced an error out of Shaun Kelly who gave the ball away to Fraser Barbour who tested Wilson but it was easy for the keeper.
 
Goldenhill weren’t having any clear cut chances but were awarded a free kick in a dangerous area. Andrew Campbell stepped up to take it but his effort crashed off the wall before his rebounded strike settled straight into the arms of Tower Hearts goalkeeper Daryll Jones.
 
Whilst not being the best of efforts, Gowdie had their tails up and saw a fizzing drive from Steven Dock goes just wide of the right hand post. They also had the last chance of the half after Davie Manley was played in following a terrific long ball from Shaun Fraser, finding Manley in space but he sliced the saw wide.
It was a cold day at Craigie Park, but both Dundee and Arbroath were fired up to try and grab a vital three points. It was hard to say who would come out on top today as both teams have been on good form.
 
Arbroath started the game off well, putting Dundee under a lot of pressure. Their first chance came early as a chipped ball was played into the box for Patrick Martin who then headed it to Dayle Robertson. Robertson then sent a powerful header at the goal but John Bonnar made a superb save.
 
Dundee were passing the ball around well but struggling to create chances, whilst Arbroath were still looking dangerous. Robertson was through on goal again but Sean Gallacher tackled him well whilst inside the box. 
 
Arbroath grabbed the first goal of the game in the 20th minute, Patrick Martin sent a brilliant low cross into the box for Scott Alan who then smashed it into the bottom corner making it 1-0.
 
Dundee started to create some better chances, with some nice passing moves from Callum McHardy and Dale Davidson. Josh Skelly came close to equalising after beating an Arbroath defender with a quick cut back and then sending a curled shot towards goal but it was blocked. 
 
Arbroath nearly increased their lead just before half time after Dayle Robertson managed to control the ball in the box and hit a low shot at goal but Bonnar got down well to save it. The half time whistle blew shortly after and Arbroath were 1-0 up. Dundee were passing the ball around well and had a couple of close chances, but Arbroath were working hard and creating some great opportunities. 
Ayr Boswell hosted Hillwood Boys Club in the semi-finals of the Under 14s Scottish Youth FA Cup. Playing the game at Somerset Park - the stadia of Ayr United's professional team - Boswell ran out 4-2 winners and advanced to the finals being held in May. Boswell were up 3-0 after only sixteen minutes, courtesy of a Gavin Todd double either side of a Jack Taylor header. They made it 4-0 only two minutes into the second half when Robbie Meikle swept home. Hillwood captain Barry Knox did grab a couple of late consolation goals in the dying moments of the match - however it was too little, too late for the away side and Boswell were the team celebrating at the full-time whistle. 
     
Boswell could not have started the match any brighter than they did. Inside two minutes, they took the lead when Todd pounced onto a cut-back from the right to fire his side into the lead.
     
Buoyed by a huge crowd, Boswell were relentless in the opening minutes, and were two-nil up only five minutes in. It was Taylor who got the second, timing his run to perfection to nod the ball beyond Ross Stoddart in the Hillwood goal.
        
They then had a couple of more chances in quick succession: first, Meikle attempted to flick his header in at the near post but his effort went marginally wide. Then, Arran Sawyer's cheeky corner almost went straight in at the back post, but Stoddart managed to just get back and stretch in time to divert the ball wide.
      
A third Ayr Boswell goal looked inevitable, and it arrived on the sixteen minute mark when Todd doubled his tally for the game. First, Meikle drove beyond his marker and sent in a stunning cross - however, no one anticipated it and the ball went all the way to the back post to Taylor. Picking up the pieces, he drilled in a cross that took a wicked deflection that produced a wonderful reaction save from Stoddart. However, Todd was on hand to fire his team three nil ahead and to raise the Somerset Park roof by sending the crowd into raptures. 
     
Hillwood were stunned in the opening passage, but did get back into the game a bit in the second period of the first half. Kyle Alexander would have been in utter disbelief that his effort on a rebound did not end up in the back of the net; with the goal gaping the striker had did everything he could... only for Boswell's Jordan Bell to slide in and deflect the ball out for a corner, somehow denying Hillwood what looked like a certain goal. 
     
Then, Knox had a half-volley well held by David Hill in the Boswell goal.
     
It was almost 4-0 on the stroke of half-time when Arran Sawyer raced one on one with Stoddart, however the keeper again denied the pacy winger - this time using his leg to block the effort. 
      
Derry McGettigan almost pulled a goal back for Hillwood with a lob: he looked to have caught out Hill but the ball didn't come down enough and instead it remained atop of the roof of the net. That effort concluded the first half, with the whistle blowing straight after.