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South East Region (487)

Fixture: Redhall Star YFC v Tynecastle FC Colts U16s
Competition: South East Region YFL U16s Division 2
Venue: Redhall Park
Date: Sunday 18th October 2015
Redhall Star YFC U16's left it late to pinch the points in a pulsating league match at Redhall Park in a 3-2 victory over Tynecastle Colts. The visitors led with a penalty from Gary Tickle but Redhall levelled before the break with a fine strike from Adam Shortiss. Tynecastle regained the lead with the unfortunate Grant Doyle knocking the ball into his own net. Redhall struggled for most of the second half with keeper Ryan Green making several saves to keep the home side in the game. Five minutes from the end Robbie Campbell knocked in an Adam Shortiss cross to tie the scores. Both sides went for the win but it was Redhall who got the winner as Josh Slow-Clayton turned in another Adam Shortiss cross from 12 yards. Still time for Green to make another fine save to secure the points for Redhall. 

Midway through October and this was Redhall Star's first home league game of the season. Couldn't have asked for a tougher game than hosting Tynecastle Colts, who comfortably won both fixtures last season without conceding a goal. Both teams have been in decent form this season and there was plenty of commitment in the early stages as both sides fought their battles. 

The first chance of the game fell to Tynecastle, but Green held on well from a long range shot. Redhall responded with a shot from Slow-clayton which ad the keeper scrambling, but flew wide of the Tynecastle goal. Cameron Mills was a dangerous outlet for the visitors and from one run he cut inside the Redhall backline and his shot crashed off the face of the crossbar. Up the other end, some neat play between Henderson, Shortiss and Slow-clayton ended up with a shot which was well blocked by Tynecastle's Balloch. 

It wasn't too long however until the deadlock was broken, and it was Tynecastle that took the lead from the penalty spot. On 20 mins the dangerous Mills was caught in the box by Lewis Blues. No complaints at all, and Gary Tickle stepped up to send Green the wrong way.
Redhall were sloppy from the restart and it took a smart reaction from keeper Green to prevent a second goal for Tynie. From the resulting corner Tickle attempted an overhead kick which was again superbly saved by Green for another corner, which then came to nothing. Redhall's Sam Donachie created a chance after a fine run from the right side as he drove past four defenders but his shot flew over the bar and into the nearby trees. 

Redhall's backline of Doyle, Robertson, Mitchell and Henderson were getting a good workout, but they held firm by winning their challenges and headers to keep Tynecastle at bay. Another penalty claim against Redhall was waved away by the referee as Tynecastle pressed for another. Tickle took a sore one from a late Robertson challenge which went suprisingly unpunished. 

As we approached half time Redhall did manage to draw level. Cameron Grant won the ball in midfield but was caught by a late challenge. Referee MacBeth played a superb advantage as Slow-clayton drove forward. A pass to Adam Shortiss was thumped high into the roof of the net to level up the scores. A great finish, and a great advantage from the referee. 

Half time: Redhall Star YFC 1-1 Tynecastle FC Colts

Redhall made two changes at half time as Anderson and Campbell replaced Parente and Grant but it was Tynecastle who got their noses in front. A shot across the box was saved by Green but the ball deflected off poor little Grant Doyle and ended back in his own net. Such an unfortunate goal to lose. 

Tynecastle got a lift from this early goal and pushed for more. Shots were fired on the Redhall goal but Green was in fine form as he saved shots from Tickle, Whalen and Mills. Redhall were struggling to create anything and were chasing shadows for long periods in the second half. Tactical changes were made in an attempt to get back into the game. Green saved again and again before a break from Redhall had Donachie chasing down a through ball. He clashed with keeper Colley. Now, it was a brave move from the keeper to allow a collision with Donachie to happen. I certainly wouldn't want to run into the 6ft 2 striker. Colley, after treatment was replaced by Fielding in goal.

Redhall were soon under the cosh again but Green was on hand to keep out shots from Miranda and Mills. Tynecastle had a great chance to seal the points but Miranda screwed the shot wide when through on goal. A real let off for Redhall. Two more changes for the home side in a final push to get something from the game as Nathan Robertson and Cameron Markham replaced Henderson and Donachie. 

Tynecastle lost Tickle to injury after strong challenges from Slow-clayton and Markham, and yet again Green made another save from a shot by Miranda. From Green's clearance Redhall drew level as Nathan Robertson won a corner after skipping past Balloch's challenge. The corner was half cleared by Tynie, but the ball was fed wide to Shortiss who fired a low cross into the box. Running onto the cross was Robbie Campbell, who shot low into the net, giving Fielding no chance, to level the scores up at 2-2. 

Straight from the restart Tynecastle pushed forward to try and get their noses infront again, but again Green saved and conceded a corner. From the corner, Mitchell headered away and Redhall were looking for the counter attack. The ball to Shortiss, but his attempted cross-field pass was well intercepted by Balloch. Tynecastle poured forward thanks to this interception, but to no avail. Once again Redhall held firm and it was the home side that managed to take the lead in the final few minutes. Shortiss received the ball out wide, eased past his marker and drove the ball into the area. The ball ended up at the feet of Slow-clayton who controlled and fired high past Fielding in the Tynecastle goal.
With time almost up Tynecastle thumped the ball forward. Green blocked a shot and pounced on the rebound before Smith could get to the ball. The ball was cleared upfield and referee Paul MacBeth blew the final whistle. What a game! 

Full time: Redhall Star YFC 3-2 Tynecastle FC Colts

It certainly wasn’t the best performance from Redhall but they showed great desire especially as Tynecastle bossed the second half. Tickle had a fine game for Tynecastle in the midfield and Redhall had Green to thank for keeping them in the game with several fine stops. Shortiss also had a fine game with a goal and two assists for Redhall.

Fixture: Cavalry Park v Dunbar United Colts U14s
Competition: South East Region YFL Division 2
Venue: Dunddingston Playing Fields
Date: Sunday 18th October
A return to league duty for the travelling Dunbar side who had been on a run of cup fixtures since the 1st of September.  It was new territory and formidable opponents with the hosts Cavalry Park boasting a 100% league record this season having experienced division 1 football last season.  They bolstered a strong squad with 3 new signings in the last week alone, all with division 1 experience.

With the country currently enjoying an Indian summer, there could be no complaints about the weather and the pitch looked in good condition.

Dunbar were able to field a new signing of their own with Ewan Ford making his debut in the right back position.

With both teams appearing ready, the referee allowed the game to kick off a few minutes before the scheduled 11am kick off.  Dunbar were clearly intent on not playing until 11am and were slow out the blocks.   Cavalry Park made the running in the opening few minutes and forced a couple of early corners which keeper Purves was alert to deal with. 

The clock struck 11 and Dunbar decided to start playing; their first attacking move saw Knox through on goal.  His shot from the right hand side of the box saw the home keeper make a good stop. 

Dunbar were now alive and involved in the game.  Knox was pushed further forward in what the FIFA obsessed players would call the ‘CAM’ role.  He looked the main threat and it was no surprise that he opened the scoring for Dunbar with 7 minutes on the clock.  The goal hungry midfielder added to his tally of impressive strikes this season with a powerful shot from the edge of the box.  The opening goal of the game was Knox’s 9th of the season, and indeed 9th in his last 8 games.

The game looked eagerly contested but Smillie and Kielty in the Dunbar midfield looked in control, and were covering a lot of ground, both protecting the Dunbar back 4, and supporting the attack.  Dunbar edged further ahead and it was Knox who shot; this time the home keeper could only parry into the path of Dixon who slotted home.

Dunbar were defending high with Ford, Brunton, Hall and Hood enjoying the battle against a physical and mobile home attack.  They were playing well as a unit and stepping up at the right moment leaving the Cavalry Park attack offside on several occasions and the home coach growing more and more frustrated.

Dunbar looked dangerous in attack and they really do have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to pace, with Cooper, Renton, Knox and Dixon all combining well. The third goal however was a back to front passing move which was as good as any goal scored across the country this weekend. It started from Ford at the back who already looks like an asset to the team.  He linked up with Cooper, Kielty and Knox as Dunbar made progress down the right.  Knox then looked up and delivered a superb cross field ball, switching play from right to left.  Renton killed the ball on the left edge of the box, cut inside and unleashed a screamer into the far top corner.  The finish more than matched a superbly crafted build-up with the visiting support showing their appreciation.

The game was still hugely competitive with Hood and Kielty covering a lot of ground and defending well.  The Dunbar defensive line was finally breached when a long ball did see the Cavalry Park striker judge the offside line better – he collected the ball through and his finish left Purves with no chance. Superb finish.

Dunbar then had to work hard as the home side lifted their game.  They did well to see out the half with no further breaches to their goal; a combination of superb goalkeeping and industrious defending frustrating the home attack. In fact, with only a few minutes left of the half it was Dunbar who extended their lead.  A Dixon shot was cleared out to Kielty.  The busy midfielder collected from around 20 yards and unleashed an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net for his second long ranger of the season.  Kielty only scores spectacular goals and it was no more than the he deserved for a commanding midfield performance. 

There was still time for one more Dunbar attack and the home goalkeeper pulled out the save of the game to deny Knox a second goal, as the energetic Dunbar Captain raced into the box like a young Ted McMinn.  The referee almost looked relieved to see 35 minutes were up and he blew his whistle to call a halt on a fast-paced half. 

Half Time: Cavalry Park 1-4 Dunbar United Colts

The second half kicked off and it was no surprise to see the home side up for the challenge, clearly buoyed by their half time team talk. With Cavalry Park looking dangerous, the next goal always looked like a key goal and it was the home side who claimed it in a direct move similar to their first goal.  A long ball over the top saw the Dunbar back 4 stuck with arms raised Tony Adams style.  The referee ignored the pleas for offside and the Cavalry Park striker again finished comfortably.

The next 5 minutes seen the action swing from end to end with Cooper and Renton looking dangerous down the flanks for Dunbar while the direct long ball game from the home side looked like troubling the Dunbar defence which was well marshalled by Hall.

Dunbar did score the next goal which seemed to calm the nerves.  Cooper’s persistence down the right led to a mistake in the home defence, and when the ball was missed by the centre half, Renton needed no second invite and he sneaked in to extend Dunbar’s lead.

Cooper was again instrumental in Dunbar’s 6th goal. He won the ball from his opponent and his vision was matched by his execution as he played in Dixon.  Dixon finished expertly, curling the ball past the keeper with the outside of his right foot as the visitors took the game away from their hosts.

With players tiring, Dunbar called for back-up and Kinghorn, Sutherland and Foggo were introduced. Kielty showed his versatility as he slipped back a position to steady the Dunbar defence while Sutherland slotted in to the  engine-room as if he had been there all his life.  Kinghorn was his usual threat down the left, and again looked to impose himself on a tiring defence.  Foggo also looked like he had a point to prove with the Dunbar squad all competing for starting places right now.

The changes were positive ones with Sutherland and Foggo in particular wasting no time in influencing the game.  Dunbar soon made it 7 and it was again as a result of great defending from the front.  Pressure from Renton and Foggo saw a mistake in the home side’s box, and Dixon was left with the simplest of chances to complete his hat-trick.

Cavalry Park remained a threat and Purves still had work to do in the Dunbar goal.  He pulled off a classy stop to highlight his importance to the team.  Mclean took Dixons place in the Dunbar XI and he too looked to impose himself as the Dunbar goal factory showed no signs of ceasing production any time soon.  Foggo seen an effort well saved before Knox shot wide as the Cavalry Park team pushed forward in numbers.  Renton and Foggo missed further chances as the game continued to flow from end to end.  Cavalry Park did score a third – the threat down the right finally was rewarded when the right winger danced his way through a tiring Dunbar defence before finishing in style.

Sutherland in the Dunbar midfield clearly took exception to this and he produced the pass of the game, a superb through ball presenting Foggo with a one on one with the keeper. He was calm and skilful as he cleverly dispatched his effort in to the net to round off the scoring for the day.

To be fair to the home side, this was a well-contested game, with Dunbar simply reserving their best display of the season for a game against the league leaders.  In a performance where every player contributed heavily, Kielty shone the brightest as he claimed the man of the match for Dunbar.

League action continues at Hallhill next weekend as Dunbar entertains Borders visitors for the first time as Peebles come to town.

Full Time: Cavalry Park 3-8 Dunbar United Colts

Linlithgow Rose Girls are the latest team to confirm they will be attending the world's largest youth football tournament this summer, the Norway Cup. Rose’s Under-16s team will be going under the YFS banner, along with many other teams in 2016, with announcements still to be made...watch this space!
Doug Johnston, Linlithgow Rose Girls Section Secretary and Under-16s Head Coach, told YFS that the team was delighted to be going to Oslo for the tournament. He said: ‘The team had an exceptional trip when attending the Gothia Cup in summer 2015 and we were very keen to have another similar but different experience.’
Linlithgow successfully applied to YFS for selection as one of a number of Scottish clubs being assisted on the road to Norway. The YFS selection process focuses not based on players’ ability, but on identifying teams with players and coaches who would be excellent positive ambassadors for Scotland on the international stage.
Over 1,600 teams competed annually at the Norway Cup from 52 different countries last year, making it one of the most diverse youth sporting events on the planet. The tournament is so big in the host nation that some matches are even screened live on Norwegian TV.
For Johnston, the Norway Cup’s mind-boggling diversity is – along with the ‘excellent’ facilities – one of its great attractions and strengths. He said: ‘The mixing of so many youth footballers from around the world – the opportunity to compete against and socialise with such a diverse group in a very safe environment is fantastic.’
YFS is providing Scottish teams who register to attend the Norway Cup with bespoke support and advice. We will keep you fully informed of all tournament information, handle media related activities including local and national press, assist in fundraising support with the YFS fundraising guide and handbook and provide a special YFS football kit personalised with your club crest and any of your trip sponsors.
Throughout the process of registration, preparation and fundraising, a dedicated YFS team member will be on hand answer any queries and solve any problems by phone or email.
Click here to find out more about the Norway Cup 
Thursday, 15 October 2015 10:26

Musselburgh Windsor Goalkeeping Academy takes off

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When Scott Robertson returned to Musselburgh Windsor as Club President, one of the first things he did was introduce a decicated academy for the Goalkeepers at the club. With tremendous support from both the clubs' board and general committee, they decided the 'forgotten' position of of goalkeeper needed addressing. The next step for Scott was to approach myself, Jim McLean.
35 years a Goalkeeping development coach ,qualifications with both the SFA and KNVB (Royal Dutch Football Association) I was brought in to oversee the creation of an academy for Goalkeeping development at Musselburgh Windsor. 
The academy provides the safe, fun environment and quality coaching for the keepers to learn and develop their goalkeeping and life skills. The 'Goalkeepers Union' is one of the strongest unions in the world, and for these goalkeepers to train together every week is invaluable. The reward for myself and Scott Robertson is ultimately seeing these goalkeepers develop as footballers, but also as people. We try as much as possible between all of the coaches to seeing these goalkeepers outside of training by attending games, and showing our commitment to each and every one of the boys/girls in gloves I have been told is greatly appreciated by them.
The structure of the Goalkeeping Academy is as follows.
GK Academy Director - Jim MacLean
Development Co-ordinator - Kevin Higginson
Associate Coaches consultant - Bob Warby - Elite glove supplier
Senior Section (U13s - Amateurs)                                                           
Coach - Mike Windram
Coach - Kieran Green - Former MWFC GK, Qualified Referee
Coach - Mikey Welsh - Current MWFC Amateur GK
Coach - Daniel Laing - Current MWFC U21's GK
Junior Section (U12's & Below)
Coach - Charles Brooks 
Coach - Graeme Ayton
Coach - Dominic Falconer - Qualified Referee
When we set out in October 2014 our aim was in providing quality tuition to these goalkeepers, and we would enhance the general standards of all Musselburgh Windsor Goalkeepers. The academy would also let potential new players to the club see that we will advance their skills in all areas.
Since last season we currently have a keeper that signed with the club after being being persuaded by the knowledge of goalkeeping
development coaching, but commutes all the way from Coldstream. The engagement we have made with the goalkeepers has given them this dedication and commitment to travel from far distances. Their parents must be delighted with all that travelling.
We now have potentially 22 keepers age appropriate for the academy, with only one of them missing the opening week of this season's academy due to
work commitments.
When Scott brought me in last season, I knew we could all create a superb academy for these goalkeepers to enjoy and to develop themselves, and that is exactly what we are doing now here at Musselburgh Windsor.

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