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National Competitions (590)

Campise Black Watch again booked their place at Airdrie for the Scottish Cup final with a 2-1 win over Mill United in extra time after both sides were locked at 1-1 after normal time.
 
For any follower of the Under 21 game, these sides needed little introduction. Campsie Black Watch were the holders of the coveted national trophy, having won last season's final against Knightswood Juveniles following two seasons of cup final heart break. Up against them were a Mill United side who had enjoyed success in the Central Region Cup last season and had made a promising start to their first season of West Region football.
 
The weather brought out the crowds and the venue was perfect. Campsie started well knocking the ball about and having a good bit of success in the middle of the park but could not make any threat on the Mill United goal.
 
Steven Aitken made a late run in to the box and connected perfectly with his header but the attempt which looked to be flying in was cleared off the line by a Mill United defender.
 
Campsie had scored at least four goal in every Scottish cup tie this season but just couldn't seem to find the back of the net in the early stages of this game. As for Mill United, they weren't shy of scoring goals either, having netted 13 goals already in there Scottish Cup campaign.
 
The visitors from Hamilton were playing some good passing football in the middle of the park but they could not seem to break clear of the Campsie defensive line, who were happy to keep the Mill United players passing it around in the middle third.
 
In the 32nd minute the deadlock was finally broken. It was Jordan Mcguire who ran in on goal and slipped the ball past the last defender and knocked it past the keeper to put Campsie 1-0 up.
 
Steven Aitken had a great chance saved by the keeper on the 43rd minute, which kept United within touching distance.
 
Minutes later Mill's Christopher Brannan had a great shot come off the bar, on the stroke of half time, and this was to be the last action of the first half.

Sauchie Juniors booked their place in the 2014 Lady Darling Cup Final with a confident 2-0 victory away to a solid Harmony Row side.
 
A classic blend of confused weather welcomed Sauchie to the Alex Ferguson Park, with players no doubt unsure whether to go for snoods or short sleeves amidst the sun, hail and wind. The weather may well have been to blame for the underwhelming crowd at this semi-final, but the action on the park proved enough to heat up all those present.
 
Sauchie got the game underway but the first chance of the match fell to Harmony Row’s Cameron Haddow. After being played through on goal, the frontman was unlucky to see his effort slip past ‘keeper Dylan Harrison before edging just by the right post.
 
Sauchie weren’t to be pinned back in the early stages though as they had a chance of their own through Greg Gunn, who had a decent shot parried away by Jordan Bowskill.
 
After a bit of a scramble in the Harmony Row box, the ball fell to Jack Docherty who fired a shot just past the bottom left corner.
 
The Row’s Mark Burbidge was next to throw his name in the hat after some silky dribbling down the right wing saw a chance open up for him. His shot with the outside of the right foot was heading for the far post but a deflection forced the corner, though nothing came of the set piece.  
 
At the other end, Sauchie’s Josh Walker was brought down in the box, and the Alloa men won themselves a penalty and a decisive chance to open the scoring in a tightly-contested first half.
 
Stuart Love stepped up to the spot and sent Bowskill the wrong way, slotting home into the bottom left corner and giving Sauchie the crucial edge.
 
And they were at it again not long after, as firstly Anthony McTaggart saw a left-footed shot whistle past the left post before Stuart Love tried for his second goal, though the shot was too high.
 
The Row were trying valiantly to get themselves level and maybe should have when Mark Burbidge again got past his man to put in a dangerous cross. It fell to Ross McEntee who probably should have done better from short range, with his shot going wide of the right post.
 
Another chance came for Harmony Row as a great ball in from left-back Graeme Anderson found the head of Steven Young in the area. The frontman’s header could easily have found the net but sneaked just past the right post.
 
But it wasn’t to be for the Row, as Sauchie soon found themselves two-nil up. Graeme Gunn had too much time and space on the edge of the Row box, and he arrowed a right-footed shot into the top left leaving Jordan Bowskill with no chance.
 
It was almost three-nil before half-time but for an incredible save from Bowskill. Stuart Love found himself with an almost open goal, only for Bowskill to recover brilliantly and get a crucial toe to the shot.
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 00:00

Syngenta silence impressive Celtic to reach final

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Celtic Juniors’ impressive fight was just short of the mark as Syngenta Juveniles stole the show late in this Scottish Cup semi final. 
 
The struggle to break the deadlock did not come easy for either team in an end-to-end clash dominated by midfield battles and strong displays from both goalkeepers. All three goals came in the second half with an unfortunate own goal from Celtic being the first, the fight was not over when Celtic’s Mark McBeth slotted home a crucial equaliser which looked to be the action that took the game to extra time before a late piece of magic from Syngenta’s Jake Coulter. 
 
Celtic kicked the game off, both teams displaying aggression and creativity straight from the whistle. Chances on goal were slim in the first quarter with most of the play dominating around the midfield areas. 
 
On the 10th minute Syngenta were granted the first corner of the game from a strong tackle by Celtic’s Joseph McKenna – there was no break in the defence as the ball was cleared up-field and onto Celtic’s offense, which proved to become a trend of end-to-end football in the game. After a marginally offside claim which looked to be a goal-scoring opportunity for Syngenta, they pushed on with the momentum and in the 15th minute looked to open the scoring again with a series of 1-2s and slick movement pioneered by Grant Forrester but a strong catch from Celtic’s goalkeeper pacified the situation. 
 
It did not take long for Celtic to retaliate when a run and long range shot from McBeth pushed Syngenta on their heels after marginally going over the bar. Breaks in both teams’ midfield were becoming more apparent as the box-to-box chances began to pick up nearing the 20th minute. A great display of passing witnessed Coulter curling the ball just round the post, which was sharply added to by a Syngetna punt from the goalkeeper which Coulter again acted upon forcing a corner. From the corner Celtic counter-attacked which saw the ball land at McBeth’s feet as he put a worthy effort just past the far post. 
 
Approaching half time close calls came fast from Celtic’s Kieran Douglas, McBeth, Ronan Fox and a remarkable run from Robbie Lennon which watched him go past three defenders and force Allan Dickson into tipping the ball to the left of the goal and it echoed around in the Guy Meadow stand that it would take something out of the ordinary to separate these two strongly matched teams.
A bright but blustery day at Olive bank in Musselburgh was the venue as Rossvale Thistle booked themselves a place in the Scottish cup final. The team from Bishopbriggs were boosted by a large following who weren't shy in showing their delight at the full time result.
 
The ‘home’ side Musselburgh Windsor did give a good account of themselves and despite having two or three good spells of pressure during the match they simply couldn't get past the solid Rossvale defence, boosted by an excellent goalkeeper.
 
The early stages of the game were very well contested, with both sides trying to get the ball on the ground and play from the back. A few early chances followed with Paul King coming close for Rossvale before a long range attempt from Sean Gilroy, the Musselburgh wide man, sailed high and wide despite initially looking like it may test Graeme Milne in the Rossvale goal. Rossvale came very close to opening the scoring when Jack Crumlish smashed the ball against the post as he got a sight of goal. 
 
The agony for Thistle was short lived though as Paul King opened the scoring, the striker who had already threatened made no mistake in finishing when he was played in one on one with Windsor's Marc Aitken.
 
The opening goal gave Rossvale a major advantage and they came close again as a header from Aiden Wisely was blocked on the line by Gary Howie. Musselburgh had a similar chance at the other end before they almost equalised through Christopher Robertson who had his shot well saved by Milne.
 
Goals in each half from Connor Smith and Callum Douglas saw Hamilton Accies edge a hard fought Scottish Cup semi final against Blantyre BC Yellow at a windswept Robertson Park.  In a game of very few chances Accies took theirs when it mattered and were able to keep a determined Blantyre out at the other end.  Blantyre battled manfully throughout the game but it is Accies that will take their place in May’s final in Airdrie.
 
A real semi final atmosphere was in place as Hamilton kicked off, the natural sense of nervous anticipation augmented by a noisy Blantyre travelling support who had brought a drum, an air horn and some smoke bombs with them.  It was all good natured backing for their side and well captured by the YFS cameraman and videographer who were in attendance for this eagerly awaited contest between two free scoring local sides.  The only worry for those in attendance at Thorniewood United’s Robertson Park was that the strong swirling wind might limit each team’s ability to play the positive attacking football for which they have been renowned this season.
 
The opening exchanges were very cagey as the teams struggled to deal with the wind and also a pitch that was slightly bobbly, meaning possession was being given away relatively cheaply.  In the seventh minute Accies Dean Burton had a fairly muted claim for a penalty when challenged by Blantyre goalkeeper Mark Cunningham; only a corner was given however which was the correct decision.  Burton had given early notice of his pace and strength breaking down the left though.  Blantyre were aware of this threat and were once again being led excellently at the back by Ryan McGuinness who seemed to be getting in the way of everything Hamilton could throw at him.
 
Throughout this season the main men for Blantyre have been Michael McGinty and Lee Brown but they were being kept quiet in the early part of the game.  That was until the sixteenth minute when Blantyre produced a superb piece of counter attacking football to almost take the lead.  A corner from Accies on the right was cleared and taken in his stride by McGinty to create a crucial yard of space.  Brown had already read his teammates intentions, darting forward purposefully.  McGinty flighted a superb ball over the head of the last Accies defender which it looked like Brown would be able to get on the end of.  Unfortunately for Brown and his team however Jordan Pettigrew in the Accies goal was equally sharp, rushing out to clear the danger.  If Accies had been marginally on top in the opening stages this gave them a reminder of exactly what Blantyre were capable of, particularly if McGinty was able to get on the ball in midfield.
 
Blantyre seemed to grow in confidence following this action, forcing a free kick on the right that McGinty took.  This was clutched easily by Pettigrew who then produced an outstanding save in the twentieth minute to tip over a long range Brown effort.  The subsequent corner was cleared and it was a feature of the game that each side was unable to capitalise on a number of set piece opportunities when they were presented with them.  Hamilton had a couple of efforts from long range, most notably after thirty minutes when a twenty five yard effort from David Thomson brought a flying save from Cunningham.
 
Accies had more success in the thirty third minute when they took the lead with a goal almost from nowhere.  A high ball forward seemed to catch in the wind and was gratefully seized upon by Connor Smith who brought it down before taking it towards the byeline on the left.  From there he produced an emphatic finish from a tight angle that flew past Cunningham to put his team one goal up.  A very well taken goal that looked to be crucial in a match of very few chances and it gave Accies a lead that they held until the half time interval.
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:00

Dazzling Rangers see off brave Row to make final

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Harmony Row hosted Rangers SABC in the very first of the 2013/14 Trans World Soccer Scottish Youth FA Cup semi finals. The stage was McKenna Park, home to junior outfit St Anthony's and a large crowd assembled for the first of two derby matches to determine the Under 13 national finalists - the other being the all Edinburgh affair of Edina Hibs vs Hutchison Vale. 
 
A pulsating match saw Rangers go ahead through Dylan Brown and miss a series of chances, before Harmony Row equalised through a sublime Alistair Goodnight free kick. The sides couldn't be separated in normal time, but Brown scored his second during extra time before Josh Gordon sealed the Gers' victory and their place at the prestigious cup final at Airdrieonian's Excelsior Stadium.
 
The Under 13 'Scottish Cup' is special for many teams, as it is their first taste of playing in a national cup competition, played over the course of several months. It's safe to say the two sides who took to the field in this semi final tie had enjoyed contrasting journeys. Rangers had been simply devastating. Linwood Rangers, Renfrew FC, Formartine United, Kilsyth Athletic, Largs Spartans and Jerviston FC had all fell to the light blues. 35 goals had been scored and a grand total of zero conceded. At an age group where high scores are the norm, for a team to go so long without conceding a goal was quite remarkable. Whilst most of Rangers ties were close to home, they had also negotiated away trips to Aberdeenshire and Ayrshire, so they hadn't had it all their own way.
 
On the other hand, Harmony Row had endured a much tougher run to get to the semi final stage. After an initial comprehensive win over Giffnock Soccer Centre, they were matched against league rivals East End United, a match which eventually saw Row progress following a SYFA committee decision. Row then produced consecutive 3-2 wins against Lanarkshire outfit Drumsagard and Albion BC of Aberdeen, before enjoying a more comfortable Round 5 victory against Carbrain BC. The final leg of their journey saw a nail-biting affair at home to Newcraighall Leith Vics of Edinburgh, which eventually saw Row hold their nerve to win a penalty shoot out.
 
If the Scottish Cup form indicated Rangers going into the tie as favourites, the league form only vindicated that further. The wee Gers boast a 100% record in the Glasgow and District YFL, winning all 14 of their ties to date. Row ply their trade in the neighbouring Paisley & District YFL's top flight and have also been enjoying a good season, although their cup campaign has seen them rack up several games in hand on runaway leaders East End United - leaving them with a tough task to pull themselves back into the title race.
 
The match kicked off on a mild Glasgow afternoon, with Harmony Row getting proceedings underway, playing from right to left. An early period of cautiousness soon subsided, as Rangers started to stamp their authority on both possession and territory.
 
As the Rangers pressure grew, the first moment of excitement for the crowd unsurprisingly took place inside the Harmony Row penalty box. A lofted ball from the Rangers right, courtesy of John Gilmour, had Harmony goalkeeper Ross Kane scrambling to adjust his feet. At the Under 13 age group, it isn't uncommon to see goalkeepers helpless as a high crossed ball sneaks underneath the crossbar. However, on this occasion the ball went over the bar, before making contact with Kane from the other side of the net, and going backward. From certain angles it looked like the Row goalkeeper might have tipped the ball into his own net, however after a consultation with his assistant, the referee came to the correct decision.
 
However, it wasn't long before Rangers did take the lead. Andrew Paulley's superb outswinging cross saw Gilmour connect brilliantly, only for his effort to cannon off the crossbar. Quickest to react was Dylan Brown, who produced a scissor volley to smash the ball high into the net and give his side the lead.
 
Paulley's deliveries were causing no end of chaos for Harmony Row and it was from another of those set pieces that Rangers nearly doubled their lead. Gilmour produced a delightful lay-off and John Wilson's shot was well saved by Kane, before a crucial intervention from Cameron Clark saw the ball to safety.
 
The final chance of the half saw more good build up play from Brown, who surged through midfield before dinking the ball into the path of Gilmour. His effort was once again superly saved by Kane, before more heroic defending allowed Row to clear their lines.
Monday, 24 February 2014 20:50

West and Central share spoils in six goal thriller

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The West and Central region's under 16's sides locked horns in what can only be described  as an action packed six goal thriller. This inter region cup match had everything a rivalry match needed goal, a man of the match hat trick,some crunching tackles and all under the floodlights at the Sir Alex Ferguson park in Braehead.
 
The opening stages of the game was spent with both teams trying to get in to their style of play which was exciting to watch as every player was striving for perfection mistakes were bound to be made with such high tension. Clear cut chances were few and far between though at the start of the match and Central looked more likely to break the deadlock if anyone with some long balls from the back testing West's defence and giving speedy striker Gavin Miller something to chase.
 
Some good West defending kept out the Central attack for a good while but the long ball seemed to be getting the better of the defenders in blue and this was how the first goal of the game would be decided, a perfectly weighted long ball from the back was taken down with ease by Paul Archibald who then went of to slot in the the bottom right hand corner leaving the keeper no chance.
 
Their defending of Central's main threat the long ball wasn't getting better as the game when on and again this cost West and again it was Archibald who produced the end product this time the winger showing magnificent pace to burst away from his marker and great composure to fire home and double his sides lead.
 
Danny Williamson fired in his effort from the edge of the box to pull a goal back for the West region just before half time, a lot of improvement needed in the second half if they wanted to win this game though as playing nice attractive football is a great thing but some composure in the final third was certainly needed.
Saturday, 22 February 2014 21:11

South East hit four in campaign opener

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A South East Region 15s side cruised to a comfortable 4-0 victory against an East Region 15s team on a cold, wet and windy evening at Meadowbank. The South East region side looked on top for the majority of the game and a brace from Robbie Polson, as well as goals from Tommy Walker and Lewis Junner merited what was a fine performance.
 
In the early stages of the game neither side were coping well with the conditions. It wasn’t until the fifteenth minute when the first chance of the game came. The South East side, playing in blue, brought the ball forward and played an inch perfect ball into Polson. His initial shot was met with a decent save by the goalkeeper Costello, but there was little he could do to prevent Polson poaching in the rebound. This was a taste of things to come as the youngsters from the South East looked to exploit the defensive frailties in the East side’s team.
 
Just over ten minutes later it could have been 2-0 if not for Costello. Lewis McKay got forward and made a nuisance of himself down the left hand side before delivering a low cross to Polson who looked certain to score. His shot was however met with a fine save by the East goalie who tipped the ball onto the crossbar.
 
Just before half-time the East team began to look a bit more lively. Callum Smith was played in behind the SE back four and from a tight angle unleashed a shot on goal. The South East goalkeeper was equal to it though and got down low to smother the shot.
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 02:31

Celtic come from behind to claim top spot

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Celtic came from behind to beat Ayr United in the League cup, The Hoops had already won two and lost one previous to the game with Ayr, so they knew a win here would take them to the top of the West region section. Goals from Connor McLaren and skipper Joe Thomson were enough to secure Celtic claimed top spot ahead of their game next week were they travel to Queens Park.
 
Early morning breeze at Barrowfield wasn't the perfect way to get the players from both teams hyped up for this game and it showed in the early stages and neither side were looking to go all out and looked pretty happy to just keep possession of the ball and try make the other team work perhaps forcing a mistake.
 
Celtic looked to us the channels to look for goals and they came close when Connor McLaren showed a good burst of pace to create himself space for a cross, hiss ball it to the danger area was met by his skipper Joe Thomson who's attempt was saved well by the Ayr United goalie.
 
Andrew Muir bombed forward for Ayr and his attempt on goal was tipped just on to the bar by the massive Celtic keeper.
 
Shortly after the Celtic bar was rattling it was the turn of Ayr's keeper to tip a shot on the woodwork, after some great work in the midfield Regan Hendry found space to get a shot away but he could only watch his attempt be fantastically touched on to the crossbar by Bobby McLatchie in the United goal.
 
Just when it looked like both teams would be going in to the half time break without a goal the visitors opened the scoring when some poor defending from Celtic led to Ayr being awarded a free kick just outside the box, the delivery was great less can be said about Celtic's clearance as a Hoops played fired the ball straight off Josh McCarthur and in to the back of the net.
Hamilton Accies Boys Club booked their place in the Trans World Soccer Scottish Youth FA Cup Semi-Finals with a well organised but narrow win over Celtic Boys Club Green & White on Saturday.
 
This rescheduled fixture took place in the miserable conditions of wind and rain and luckily for everyone involved, it was played on the fantastic artificial surface of Toryglen. 
 
Celtic got the game underway playing into the wind and it proved to have an effect on the first half proceedings. 
 
Hamilton started bright and never really looked back from then on.
 
Some nice passing from the Accies led to a half chance for striker David Thomson early on, but his powerful drive flew just wide.
 
Hamilton came at Celtic again soon after and this time it was Thomson's turn to set up a chance for fellow forward Callum Douglas. Better defending this time from Celtic though, and beanpole defender Jamie Mulligan did well to get a foot in and clear the danger.
 
Fraser McLennan did well not long after to win the ball for Hamilton after his persistence paid off, though his effort at goal was high, wide and not-so-handsome in the end.
 
Celtic had their first real chance of the match at around the 20 minute mark after winning a free-kick just outside the Hamilton box. Jamie Mulligan saw a very decent effort smothered well by Accies 'keeper Jordan Pettigrew though.
 
Hamilton hit the crossbar from a corner shortly after. Midfielder Connor Smith's delivery proved a real danger to the Celtic goal but some good defending saw the ball cleared away, only for Dean Burton's looping volley to come off the back of the crossbar.
 
The wind was proving to be a real nuisance for the Celtic defence, with many of their clearances ending up swirling back towards them. 
 
The last chance of the first half fell to Celtic's Lewis Mooney, who fairly pinged the ball towards goal only for it to veer off target at the last second.