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Fixture: Hutchison Vale v Cavalry Park U17
Competition: Victor Paris Bathrooms Cup
Venue: Meggetland 3G
Date: 10th October 2015
 
Hutchison Vale 17s eased into the third round of the Victor Paris Bathrooms Cup with a convincing 7-0 win over Cavalry Park at Meggetland.
 
Hutchie wasted little time in facing up to the task ahead and took the lead after 12 minutes. Owen Richardson latched onto a long ball over the top of the Cavalry back line, before dinking it first time over keeper Scott Capaldi. 1-0 Hutchie.
 
To their credit, Cavalry Park didn't lie down to Hutchie, and showed great fight in response, but there was little they could do to contain Hutchie’s attack. Despite some sustained pressure from the visitors for 5 minutes or so, Hutchie's Murray Rose set up Jamie Watson to make it 2-0 on 20 minutes.
 
Half Time: Hutchison Vale 2-0 Cavalry Park
 
After the interval, Hutchie continued to dominate and things got even more difficult for Cavalry when Keeper Capaldi was dismissed for a foul on Fareid Yassein. Yassein then dusted himself down and got on the scoresheet from the spot, and soon after, Lewis Wright made it 4-0 as he found the net with 
Cavalry despondent.
 
The goals kept coming for Hutchie and they found three more in the final ten minutes to extend their winning margin. Cavalry’s Lewis Thomson was unfortunate when he turned the ball into his own net for goal number 5 after some superb football from Hutchie down the flanks. Thomson's attempted clearance unfortunately ended up in his own net.
 
Then, after Wright struck once more to complete his brace, Cameron Walker stroked home for goal number 7 to make a statement of Hutchie’s intent for the competition.
 
Full Time: Hutchison Vale 7-0 Cavalry Park
 
 
Wednesday, 14 October 2015 15:04

Redhall Star race night a success

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Redhall Star YFC held their annual race night on Friday 9th of October, and despite a poor turnout we managed to raise a staggering £1295 which was achieved by having 8 races on the night, in which two of them were auction races. The winners even put their winnings into the club pot, which we really do appreciate from them.
 
We held 'pitchy' for bottles of vodka, champers and a few other spirits too, and at a £1 a throw, combined with awful accuracy, this raised us a large amount of money. A Football card did the rounds and the winner also donated their winnings, which once again really is appreciated.
 
The final part of the night was the auction of three football shirts. First of all we had former Hearts winger Andy Driver donate a signed shirt from his spell in the USA with Houston Dynamos. We got £25 for that. A little disappointing considering the large amount of Jambos in the room. Many forgetting he played on the 19th of May 2012 I think.
 
Next up was a Hearts home top, signed by the current first team, and that one was bought by the manager of the Redhall Star 16s team for £100.
 
The final auction was a Hibs away top from last season, but signed by the first team squad from this season. and that went for a crazy price and was bought by my son Kieran Green of £145! A daft Hibby he is, but I give him huge credit for paying that much money into the club fund. 
 
All of the cash raised on the night will go towards taking the 16's away next year. Just need to get the passport dusted off and pick a venue.
 
Redhall Star would like to say a big thanks to Sighthill Bowling Club, Hearts FC, Hibs FC, Disco DJ Gordon Bain, his glamorous assistant Jan Bain and all those who turned up. Also a huge thanks to the winners who put their winnings back into the pot for the boys.
 
Last but by no means least, the chief organiser, Michelle Green, for her tireless work in organising the entire event.
 

 
Fixture: Longniddry Villa Blues v Lauriston Thistle U13
Competition: South East Region YFL
Venue: Longniddry
Date: Sunday 11th October 2015
 

Today seen the visit of Lauriston Thistle to little old Longniddry and after a difficult few weeks in which we had been in control for long periods of games creating so many chances to win comfortably only to somehow lose. What would today bring? Joy? Tears? Or just total disbelief?

As always with this team nothing is ever simple. No game goes by without some sort of situation. No subs, kicking off with 10 men and even playing a whole game with 10 once, but today even had the referee puzzled. Due to circumstances beyond my control we had to play today’s game without a Goalkeeper. Yes you read correctly, no keeper! Never have I felt so downhearted looking at our guys having to break the news. 12 sets of eyes just looked at me puzzled (yes 12 more on that later). "What are we going to do?" was the collective reply. What could we do but sit in dressing room 20 minutes before kick off and ask one of my players to step up? And so they did. First of all Hamish agreed, and then Martin both said they would take a half each. inside I was both proud and scared we might be on the end of a heavy defeat, but I wasn't about to let the boys know that.

The first half was an even and honest contest played in good spirit, with both sides getting the ball down to play some superb football which was a joy to watch. Some light rain earlier in the day meant that the pitch was fast and ideal for passing beyond and behind the defence and into space. Both teams were hitting what looked to be good passes but due to the pitch, they were skidding away from the strikers and causing a real lack of chances being created in the first half. But I was happy and impressed with the first half performance under the circumstances.

Half time: Longniddry Villa Blues 0-0 Lauriston Thistle 

The second half began,(remember I said 12 sets of eyes) and yes I finally got to make a substitution. The change seen Sam come off and Murray take to the field as lone striker. Hamish vacated his goalkeeping gloves and Martin took his place in the sticks for the second half. I had a sensing feeling we could get in-behind the Lauriston defence I was hoping Murray could break their backline.

Some neat passing in midfield played in Murray early in the second half, and he was on his way to goal. A great first time got him away from the chasing pack of defenders, then some good close control gave him the shooting opportunity and he fired the ball into the corner to break the deadlock.

Our joy was short lived as a corner from Lauriston forced Martin into a top save but the ball broke kindly to the Lauriston player inside the box as we failed to clear our lines and they managed to squeeze the ball into the net. A lovely finish from the lad as he somehow managed to find a way past so many players in a crowded penalty area.

This didn't seem to affect the Longniddry boys as previously the heads would go down and we would of lost this game. It was time to roll the sleeves up and get stuck in. There was a couple of nervy moments for the home side as Lauriston grew into the game but Martin more than once showed good safe hands to prevent the visitors from taking the lead.

Another good move from Longniddry played in Murray, and this time he rounded the onrushing keeper but the ball was skidding across the wet surface and looked to be heading out. Ah well, unlucky Murray. To my disbelief however, he got on the end of the ball and somehow managed to score from the most acute angle i've ever seen. What a goal son! Pure genius, and to the disbelief of everyone at the game, including himself.

We where now starting to boss the midfield more and goal number 3 soon followed. Murray once again escaping his marker then unselfishly squaring the ball for Ross to knock the ball home to give us some breathing space.

The lads seemed very relaxed now and with only 5 minutes to go an unfortunate mistake between their keeper and defender allowed Murray to pick up the loose ball and lash home for a very nice 4-1 victory.

Full Time: Longniddry Villa Blues 4-1

I was delighted with the boys today despite everything these lads have had to put up with over the last few weeks. Last minute call offs, no subs, extra time cup exit heartache and now losing our keeper, they have once again shown that they have the will, desire, ability and passion when faced with unbelievable hurdles. They all pulled together as a team their spirit will not be broken.

Credit must go to Lauriston Thistle though as the football they played was sublime and a very good match that was played in the best of spirits by both sets of players.

Massive well done to everyone of my little lions today it’s been a tough few weeks but our defence was solid, captain for the day Gregor was great pushing the team forward and barking instructions, the midfield battled and chased every ball, Young Sam ran his heart out in the 1st half being asked to play the lone striker role is never easy & Murray may have grabbed the goals but it was a team effort today.. And a massive thank you to Hamish and Martin for stepping up and filling the void in goal.

 
 
Wednesday, 07 October 2015 15:24

Currie Star U13s make winning start in League and Cup

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Currie Star U13s have made a blistering start to the 2015/16 league campaign with six wins out of six. Moving from 7-a-side matches to 11-a-side has brought its hurdles to overcome but on the pitch everything is going right. 
 
Ian Dracup, head coach of the U13 side has pinpointed having a large pool of players and playing competitive matches in pre-season for the early success. “Having a large pool of players has definitely helped as there are so many activities happening now we can’t always guarantee the same players are available every week" he said. "So far this season we have had to rotate the squad quite a bit but that can be a good thing with the less experienced players being given a chance to develop and boost their confidence.
 
We played a full pre-season which was good. We were out at Broxburn for a tournament and some of the boys were over in Sweden in the Gothia Cup too so we came into the season off the back of some competitive matches.”
 
The change in team numbers as the age of the group increases has posed some issues. Despite the majority of the players having been at the club for the last four or five years there were two 7-a-side teams being run individually. Bringing the players together to form one 11-a-side squad means that players will now be playing with others they haven’t played with up until now.
 
This was one of the reasons that the decision to play in Division Four was taken. “We had to decide what league to enter and while we have some players who would be comfortable in Division Three we felt that it would aid the development of the other players to play lower down and learn the 11-a-side game; by doing that we can move players around a bit during matches so players will possibly end up playing more than one position during a match" he said. "In the higher league we wouldn’t have that flexibility, but in swapping positions we learn more about the different roles. We have a big squad of around 20 players so in order to give everyone game time we need to rotate the team so that can be difficult for the formation; we don’t want to tinker with it too much. In Division Four we can manage that a bit easier than in Division Three.”
 
As often can be seen in football matches a score can only tell so much but Ian assures me that the football has been good with a lot of confident performances throughout the team each week, saying “The first few games we were finding our shape but that’s starting to come through quite well now. The football is still good, we’re doing the right things in terms of passing and playing the ball out from the back which is encouraging but we know that there are a few bigger tests around the corner as the season progresses.” 
 
Looking ahead for the rest of the season the main aim is to win promotion to Division Three. Ian Dracup said, "The aim is to get into the third division. This year is a development year to get used to the 11-a-side game but next year we will have to make sure that everyone has their positions and be a bit more rigid with that. Hopefully we can achieve that and give ourselves a chance at competing well in that league having had a year of playing together and developing as a group with a bit less pressure in the lower division first. This year is about giving more opportunities to the big squad that we have through rotation and hopefully bring them on quite a bit and give them some experience to be competitive in the higher league next year.”
 
While the league results are ticking over there are also cup games to take into account. An extra time win over Arniston Rangers (Division Three) today puts them into the next round of the Lothian Buses Cup while there are still fixtures to play in the Ken Ritchie Cup, the Polar Foods Cup as well as a quarter final in the AC Taxis Cup against Edinburgh South Reds. A busy schedule ahead but next week sees league matches return with a difficult away fixture at St Bernard’s BC Midlothian Blues who currently top Division Four.

“Attitude wins games”, these are the words that Mark Rodgers and his Fauldhouse United side live by. It is a mind-set that has seen them start their first ever SERFYA campaign unbeaten so far and places them at the top of the league table.

Rodgers spoke exclusively to Youth Football Scotland to discuss his side’s impressive beginning to life in the SERFYA, and was pull of praise about the team’s characteristics. “A big factor and contribution to this run of form is having quality players who are prepared to work hard. The boys have taken on board the importance of looking after themselves with good habits, such as diet, fitness and rest.” he said.

“The most important factor for the boys was to enjoy their training and football, listen to coaches and be prepared to work hard for the team and believe in yourself. As well as creating a winning mentality, even when not playing well.”

A key component to any successful season is well structured preparation, and Rodgers made it clear that Fauldhouse are no strangers to that: “Pre-season was extremely tough for the boys with punishing schedules working alongside Fauldhouse United Juniors. The sessions included running up Arthur’s seat and boxing training, where the boys’ fitness levels were challenged to reach their potential.”

“The boys enjoyed their pre-season and this has given Fauldhouse a mental confidence and toughness for the challenges ahead.”

Ever since an 8-1 opening day victory against Edina Hibs, Rodgers’ outfit have oozed confidence in front of goal, which was on display in an impressive 2-0 victory away to Hutchinson Vale earlier this season. One game however, stands out for the United coach: “The most important moment so far this season was at Leith Athletic, where we found ourselves 3-0 down at half-time to miraculously recover with an amazing display of determination, sheer will-power and belief to overcome Leith, scoring 5 goals in the final 20 minutes” he said.

“It was a game that our character and desire shone through in, winning a match that looked impossible at half-time.”

Rodgers was quick to acknowledge the efforts of all his players, in particular, the man between the sticks: “The whole team have contributed to our fantastic start, especially our defence and goalkeeper Mathew Craig who has been outstanding. A goalkeeper who can give confidence to his defenders is worth his weight in gold. The midfield have worked extremely hard, and forwards have given teams big problems.”

The incredible start for United has been a collective effort, as Rodgers was keen to point out. “The support and help of Fauldhouse United Juniors has been amazing, where we have the luxury of playing at Park View. Fauldhouse play on a surface that contributes to a passing game, it is a wonderful footballing surface” he said.

“Many thanks go to our loyal ground staff and support from the local community, who have taken us to their heart. This has benefited us immensely and it is very much appreciated.”

Well done to Fauldhouse United on their wonderful league start and best of luck for the rest of the season!

 
Fixture: Dunbar United Colts v Blackburn United U14
Competition: South East Region Cup
Venue: Hallhill, Dumbar
Date: 4th October 2015
 

Dunbar faced West Lothian opposition for the second week running.  Having visited Armadale last Saturday in the Scottish Cup, it was Dunbar’s turn to host with Blackburn Utd the visitors in the regions second biggest cup competition.

The game kicked off at noon to allow the travelling support time to shake off any Saturday night effects. 

It didn’t take long for the home side to kick into life, and from a couple of Cooper runs up the right, Dunbar won a corner.  Unfortunately, Cooper seemed to tweak a hamstring and he could not continue.  A reshuffle seen Renton switch from left to right and Kinghorn take his spot down the left.

With only 5 minutes played, a corner swung in from the left by Renton seen Smillie rattle a volley home from about 8 yards out.  It was a very composed finish and the players enjoyed celebrating and acknowledging his first goal of the season. 

A minute later and it was 2-0.  It came from what is now becoming a trademark Ben Knox run into the box, where he collected the ball and fired a low shot into the bottom corner for his 8th goal of the campaign.  He looks sure to beat his 11 goals from last season and is in a rich vein of form at present.

Dunbar laboured slightly from here, and their attacking threat came from the right hand side with Twist pushing high up the park, linking with Foggo and Renton and saturating the Blackburn left.  This did expose the Dunbar defence on a few occasions but Brunton, Hall and Hood looked relaxed and able to deal with anything thrown their way.

The third goal was not long in coming and it came from goal machine Renton.  He received a ball out on the right and spied the keeper off his line.  The execution in chipping the ball over the Blackburn No. 1 and into the roof of the net was perfect.

Blackburn then lost their busy number 10 Ben Jamieson to a serious looking injury.  It looked like a fairly innocuous challenge between Jamieson and Knox, with the Blackburn player landing awkwardly.  There was concern from both sets of supporters as the young lad appeared unconscious for a few minutes and on coming to, was clearly confused and dizzy.  An ambulance was called and play was stopped for approx. 20 minutes.  Dunbar Utd Colts wish the player all the best with his recovery. 

When play resumed, it was Blackburn who looked like they had adapted better to the stoppage.  From a long ball, Purves came off his line.  The striker nicked the ball past Purves but Twist was alert to the danger and sped back to make a goal-saving tackle. 

However, Dunbar were outdone with a very similar move moments later when a long ball evaded Brunton and Hall.  The Blackburn player was again quickly through and he rounded the Dunbar keeper and knocked the ball into the empty net.

With half time closing, Dunbar came back into the game and scored their 4th of the match through Dixon.  Renton was the creator as he surged down the right – his ball in saw Dixon hit it first time.  The goal keeper saved brilliantly but Dixon was calm and he curled it over the despairing keeper with his left foot.

Half Time: Dunbar United Colts 4-1 Blackburn United.

The second half showed how much strength in depth is on offer in the current Dunbar squad with Mclean, Kielty, Pickles and Sutherland all able to come on.  The game looked won but the match was disjointed with regular niggly fouls and stoppages breaking up any periods of play.

Knox was pushed further up the park in recognition of his goal scoring form, but he seemed to change his shooting boots for two left feet at the break.

He was sent through 1 on 1 on goal – he looked certain to score, opened his body and pushed his effort well wide of the target.  Kielty fell victim to the niggly passage of play when he was booked for speaking out of turn.

Knox recovered from his misfortune in front of goal and sent Renton through who showed him how it was done.  His clinical finish making it 5-1 to the home side.  It looked like 6 was right behind it when again Knox was in on goal – this time he saw the keeper make a great stop. 

Goal number 6 did arrive soon after.  Kielty’s persistence down the right and clever play on the touchline saw him charge into the box – his cutback was slotted home by Dixon who met the cutback just as Mclean was lining up his shot.  This takes Dixon into double figures for the season and still a long way short of his 51 from last. 

The Blackburn number 11 Stewart was the next player to be booked – again, for use of his tongue when the energy would have been put to better use playing football.

The second half continued in a fairly disjointed manner – Blackburn did threaten with the same long ball but on each occasion the added pace of Pickles in the home defence ensured Purves had little to do.

Knox had one more effort at goal but for some reason he seemed destined not to add to his tally.  He again pulled his effort wide when he looked like scoring. 

Kinghorn did score and he seems to regularly find himself in the right place at the right time – this time a Sutherland ball saw Mclean flick it on to Kinghorn, and he showed great composure to fire in his 9th of the season.

Dunbar rounded things off with a hat-trick for Renton – his pace took him clear, and when his effort was saved, he was clever enough to respond to the rebound and lift the ball over the keeper for his 30th goal of the campaign.

Full Time: Dunbar United Colts 8-1 Blackburn United

 
Dunbar are much closer to home this time in the next round, as we make the short trip down the A1 to North Berwick
 
 
 
Monday, 05 October 2015 15:38

Musselburgh Windsor look for new coaches

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Club Coaching/Committee Requirements
 
Musselburgh Windsor FC is one of the oldest Youth clubs in Scotland and maintains an impeccable history in the game, widely known and respected for it “honest” brand of football.
 
In recent years the club as undergone significant restructuring to provide a coach centred approach to running youth football teams for boys, girls and adults. Based at Pinkie Playing Fields, Musselburgh, the Windsor has access to grass and synthetic pitches for training and matches.
 
To continue to provide both coaches and players with the best experience, we are looking to attract volunteers to several of our teams to support the coaching and committee already in place.
 
As a coach within the club you will be given a Player Protection Input and we will assist you in gaining your PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) certification. First Aid courses are available as are the extensive coaching courses that Scottish FA provide. These courses will be provided by the club at no cost to the individual. All kit and equipment is provided by the club and each coach will be provided suitable apparel.
 
The positions currently available are as shown below, but however we are also keen to welcome coaches that can make significant input into other areas. This is an opportunity to become involved in the community, providing youngsters with an invaluable experience. Coaches take a great deal of enjoyment from being part of our club. Younger applicants find volunteering a fantastic opportunity to improve their personal statement and CV’s or enhance their inter-personal skills, whilst maturing applicants simply wish to share their knowledge and experience of football as well as life!
 
 
On Wednesday (29/09) I had the privilege of speaking to Scottish FA and McDonalds Grassroots Winner for “Best Volunteer in Youth Football 2015”, Peter Frame. Now you could say that’s a bit of a mouthful, but given the tremendous achievements of the man in question perhaps rather than being too long, the title doesn’t do Peter justice!
 
Peter’s involvement in grassroots football goes back more than 40 years. “I was actually involved with the forerunner to Loanhead, Eskdale" he said. "Once Eskdale was disbanded and Loanhead came about I continued to work with them, and I haven’t stopped since!”
 
You might expect, and indeed understand, that after such a long time the level of enthusiasm may have diminished. With Peter however nothing could be further from the truth. Now responsible for the coordination of a plethora of youth leagues across the region as well the running and coaching of his own girls teams for Loanhead this is truly a man who lives and breathes grassroots football. 
 
I asked Peter how he felt upon hearing he had received the award. “I felt ecstatic, but for me the most rewarding thing is seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces” he said.
 
This answer alone tells its own story about what has motivated Peter to be involved with grassroots football for so long. Although he himself acknowledged that winning and competition are part of the game, for Peter the motive appears to be clearly to make sure that the players for whom he is responsible, is coaching or has coached, are enjoying what they are doing and some would argue that this is the true ethos of grassroots football.
 
Such an outstanding level of commitment may warrant the award on its own. However as Peter himself was keen to point out, the age bracket he looks after in terms of his activities falls somewhat out of the conventional. 
 
“In one of my teams, the two wingers are both aged 84” he said. No, you read that correctly it does say eighty four. You see outside of coaching and coordinating youth football teams and players, Peter is also responsible for Loanhead’s 'Walking Football' team. This form of football, in which running results in a free kick being given to the opposition, has become an increasingly popular way for the older generations to keep playing the sport we all love. “The team are going to be representing Scotland at a competition in Portugal” he added. 
 
As you can see from the above it is perhaps unsurprising that Peter has claimed the award, it is a fantastic and in my opinion fully deserved recognition of a man who has devoted his life to the beautiful game. I’d once again like to extend my warmest congratulations to Peter and I hope that his passion for doing what he does continues for many years to come.
Thursday, 01 October 2015 20:34

Livingston FCBC U16's get off to ideal league start

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Five games into the season, four wins and a draw sounds like an ideal start. That is exactly the case for Livingston Boys Club U16s, who sit at the peak of the SERYFL Division Two table, four points clear of second.
 
Speaking exclusively to Youth Football Scotland, coach Stephen Jamieson pointed to the hard work put in before the season began. “We had a very good pre-season" he said. "We got the team back early and the programme we had in place went very well, we also arranged a lot of pre-season games to get the match sharpness up in time for the season starting.”
 
We lost five players from our squad so this meant we had to bring in a number of new faces and by playing as many friendlies as we did enabled the team to gel before we went into our first league game.”
 
For Jamieson, there is not any standout players in the squad. He insists that it is a group of team players, not individuals. “It would be unfair and very hard to single out one or two players" he said. "Our new players have settled in very well.”
 
His side have averaged just over four goals a game, with only three conceded so far. However, the Livi coach insists that is not the point of focus, saying “The most pleasing aspect though for myself and the other coaches is that every single member of our squad has contributed. This is something we have always focused on.”
 
After finishing the previous campaign with three successive defeats it may come as a surprise to see this emphatic start, something that has pleased Jamieson. “It was important to make sure we were ready for our opening fixtures and to open up the season a lot more positively than we did last year" he said. "I think the main thing for us was getting off to a good start, so all fixtures and results have been key.”
 
Our aim for the rest of the season is to try and finish the season higher up the table than we did last year and ensure everyone in the squad enjoys playing football!”
 
Good luck to Livingston Boys Club under 16s for the rest of the 2015/16 season!

Musselburgh Windsor U13s Girls created club history in winning the Hayley Lauder League Championship. The first Girls team at the club to win any major honour.

After a shaky start to the campaign with just 2 points from their first 3 games they went on an 11 game winning run to clinch the League Title by 7 points. The season had its ups and downs with their Captain Ceri Thomas suffering a serious knee injury in a freak accident in a friendly midway through the season putting her out of action for the remainder but the girls didn’t let that affect their performances on the pitch. With a strong squad of determined Girls who all but one player were playing their first year at U13s and four players who could still have been playing U11s, they continued to surprise both coaches and parent each week as they went from strength to strength and grew in confidence with every game they played .

The turning point in the season was when they came up against a strong Hutchie Vale side who had been leading the League for a few weeks in the last game before the summer break. A win for Windsor would put them 2 point ahead of Hutchie and top of the league at the break. Windsor sensed the chance was there for them and grabbed it with both hands with a convincing win and after that never looked back. Ironically they clinched the League in a midweek fixture that they weren’t playing in when Leith Athletic won against Broxburn who were the only team that could catch Windsor.

The Windsor U13s Girls have achieved the title by applying themselves and a great deal of hard work and the support from their parents and very proud coaches Robert Taylor and Michael Windram

Congratulations again Musselburgh Windsor U13s Girls

League winning squad:  Jade Sinclair, Brooke Robertson, Ceri Thomas, Hannah Jack , Jennifer Gallagher , Sarah Knox , Cleo Paris , Sasha Hewett-Marshall , Freyja Bjarnason , Megan Wood , Amy Forbes , Mia Brotherston & Rosie Livingston.