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Highlights from the Lowland League U20 tie at Peffermill, courtesy of Gary Fox.

Highlights from the Lowland League U20 tie at Meggetland, courtesy of Gary Fox.

Hibernian FC's youth academy recruitment took a unique step and organised a pilot event aimed at providing an opportunity to young players who are potentially disadvantaged by the time of year they were born.

YFS TV visited the event. Watch a selection of highlights and interviews below:

Graeme Mathie said: "We were delighted with the turn-out to the 4th Quarter Kids event. The whole idea was for us as a Club to bring together players born late in the year as research has shown youngsters born in the 4th quarter of the year appear to have less opportunity to engage in a talent pathway within team sports. Academic studies show that this isn’t simply an ‘Academy’ problem, nor is it just a football problem, nor is it just a Scottish problem and as a Club we used our own research to start the ball rolling and find ways we can identify players who might not be currently viewed as the ‘best’ in their age group – possibly because they are 10-12 months younger than the oldest players in their team.

"The research goes further than just to suggest that physically developed players stand more of a chance of being seen. I am delighted that our ID Scouts have identified a wide range of players at the youngest age. Some of them are tall, some are small, some are quick, some are technically better than their peers but they have all been identified because they influence matches with their youth clubs.

"This event was an opportunity for us to explore other ways to identify players for the Club who have an attitude and skill-set that we can develop. There were over 70 youngsters who turned up on the day. The youngest players were involved in sport science testing and we can compare their results with those we have invited into the Academy of a similar age. All players were viewed in matches against their peers and we now have a further database of players we can ask scouts to view differently in matches, with the knowledge they are younger than most others involved in that particular game.

"We have invited 4 players to train with Academy squads a year younger – so now they are in a football environment where they are 2-3 months older than the majority of their peers and not 7-12 months younger and we hope this will give us an advantage as we look to recruit talented players for the Academy.”

Fixture: Penicuik Athletic YFC v Edinburgh City FC U16's
Competition: South East Region YFL - Division 3
Venue: Beeslack CHS
Date: Sunday 10th April 2016
Top of the table Edinburgh City travelled to Midlothian to take on 2nd placed Penicuik Athletic in a top of the table clash at Beeslack CHS. The game itself lived up to the top billing it was given as it was end to end stuff for the full 80 minutes.
Both teams created chances with the opening exchanges without either keeper having to be called upon. It was the visitors that created the first clear cut chance of the match. Left back Chris Bennett broke down the left whip a dangerous ball into the heart of the Penicuik penalty area. Jason Whitehead found some space after losing his marker, but turned his effort wide of the upright.
With their first real chance of the game, Penicuik took the lead in rather fortuitous circumstances. Ross Loudon lost his footing on a poor surface, allowing the Penicuik striker a clean run on goal. Despite the best efforts of Aidan Lawson chasing back, the big striker’s shot beat Dean Shearsby in the City goal and nestled in to the corner of the net. A well taken finish.
City responded well and forced a succession of corners. Ryan Foggo was orchestrating things from the back and was playing some lovely cross field passes as City searched for the equaliser. Ali Hogg then had a great effort from a free-kick which whisked past the post with the Penicuik goalkeeper beaten.
City were rewarded for their efforts when Whitehead broke down the right and cut in to the penalty area. Whitehead go to the by line and crossed but was tackled from behind and brought down. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot. Hogg stepped and tucked his penalty in to the bottom left corner. 1-1, game on!
With half-time approaching, City were awarded a second penalty when Bennett was bundled over in the penalty area which again gave the referee an easy decision to make and he duly pointed to the spot. Hogg stepped up again and put City 2-1 up this time putting the penalty in to the bottom right corner.
Half Time: Penicuik Athletic YFC 1-2 Edinburgh City FC
City started the second half well and again had a succession of corners. The industrious Jamie Black was at the centre of everything that City were creating with his midfield partner Ryan Deans doing a lot of the good work, breaking up play and getting City on the attack. Lawson then hit the post from a free-kick and then from another corner had a great chance but was in an offside position so it wouldn’t have counted.
Penicuik got themselves right back in the game and it was the hosts this time that were awarded a penalty. A free kick was launched in to the box which City seemed to have dealt with but as the ball broke the Penicuik player and Foggo challenged for the loose ball with the Penicuik player just getting to the ball before the City defender.
Unable to pull out of the challenge, the big defender tripped the Penicuik player. Another easy decision for the referee who pointed to the spot. Penicuik’s number 8 stepped up smashed the ball straight down the middle to equalise. That's how to take a penalty.
City were on the attack immediately and the visitors were back in front thanks to Lawson. A City free-kick was not dealt with by Penicuik, and the ball found its way out to Lawson on the right and he rifled in an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner. Some say the net is still rippling!
That was enough to give City all 3 points and with the league leaders still unbeaten they moved 9 points clear of Penicuik having played a game more. A really good game today and it was obvious both teams wanted the 3 points.
Full Time: Penicuik Athletic YFC 2-3 Edinburgh City FC

Fixture: Dunbar United Colts v Edinburgh South FC
Competition: ISouth East Region YFL
Venue: New Countess Park, Dunbar
Date: Sunday 10th April 2016
Dunbar entertained fellow promotion side Edinburgh South for the first time this season, with New Countess Park the venue for the fixture, home of Dunbar United FC. Heavy rain before kick-off made the playing surface slippy underfoot but the pitch was still in very good condition.
Edinburgh South kicked off and it was a slow start for both teams.  There appeared to be a lack of urgency or energy in the opening 5 minutes or perhaps both teams were sizing each other up. 
Dunbar were first to test the goalkeeper when with 5 minutes gone, Cooledge, making his competitive debut, arrived in the box but could not keep his well-struck volley down and it blazed over. 
Fellow debutant Dluzak, operating on the right was also instrumental in creating Dunbar’s best moments. His ball in was narrowly missed by Twist who arrived to header the cross but he could not make the necessary contact and the goal keeper collected. 
Both teams struggled for any real rhythm but Dunbar looked the more dangerous offensively with Edinburgh South dangerous on the counter. Their first attack was as a direct result of this when Ford, Smillie and Brunton were exposed to a 3 on 3 but the defence held firm. Edinburgh South did look like scoring when their winger appeared through on keeper Purves but the home side’s number 1 put him off sufficiently and the effort was scuffed wide. 
Dunbar’s next effort on goal came from a free-kick. With Renton brought down on the edge of the box, he led the race to the ball and up he stepped. His effort was well struck but just caught the end of the wall. Renton’s next effort had the crowd cheering but the Edinburgh South keeper did just enough and he tipped it into the side netting, fooling the crowd. A goal mouth scramble followed with Knox, Cooledge and Twist having a shot blocked. 
The next shot on goal was an Edinburgh South effort. A cross from the left was headed clear by Brunton and the Edinburgh South full back showed incredible technique as he arrived and met the shot on the half-volley. It looked like heading for the top corner, with the shot hit with real power. Purves in the home goal thought otherwise as he adopted a great starting position before launching full-stretch to the ball and pulling off a truly remarkable save which left the opposition coach dumbstruck. 
The referee brought to a halt an entertaining and competitive first half but no goals to trouble the record books.
Half Time: Dunbar United Colts 0-0 Edinburgh South
Dunbar changed things a little with Cooper struggling for full fitness changed out. Sutherland was brought on with Knox pushed further into attack. 
He immediately imposed himself on the Edinburgh South defenders as he surged into the box with Dunbar’s first attack of the half. The South defenders matched his run and closed him down quickly.
Dunbar looked the more likely team to score and their football was more fluent in the second period. They were struggling for that final ball with Renton and Dluzak regularly beating their markers but no takers inside the box.  Hood and Ford were finding more room to push up and support from the full back position. 
Cooledge and Sutherland both fancied a shot from distance but their efforts were too high. 
It wasn’t all one way traffic however when a simple kick from the Edinburgh South goalkeeper saw the ball split the two centre halves.  The striker was suddenly clear and he made his way into the box. He lost his composure and to the relief of the Dunbar defence, his effort was sent wide.   
Dluzak then had Dunbar’s best chance of the game. Hood, Twist and Knox combined to send the winger into the box and with the goalkeeper retreating; his effort was hit high, and brought a great save from the keeper. Low and hard would surely have seen him open his account for his new club. 
Maclean was introduced to the Dunbar team at right back and he made an immediate impression. He linked with Dluzak down the right and continued his run into the box. His cross was met by Knox who saw his shot saved at point blank range. 
Minutes later and Dunbar did open the scoring. Maclean took the ball at the right back position, and his ball up the line saw Dluzak emerge with it. He kept it simple and turned the ball into Twist. Twist turned and spotted Knox breaking down the right. The pass was perfect and Knox took the ball in his stride. He flew past the full back and his low cross was met perfectly by Renton who arrived on time to knock the ball past the keeper.It was a great team goal.   
Unfortunately for Dunbar, the celebrations were short-lived. A break down the Edinburgh South left saw the ball passed inside. The Edinburgh South striker got the break of the ball as he advanced into the box. The defenders could not close him down quickly enough and he swept a great effort into the bottom corner, giving Purves no chance. 
This was a hugely competitive and well-fought game with both Coaches probably claiming a draw was a fair result. However, Dunbar had one final opportunity to win it at the death. A cross into the box saw Knox connect with the ball powerfully with his head. The South keeper spread himself well and pulled off another great save.
Full Time: Dunbar United Colts 1-1 Edinburgh South
Hibernian FC's youth academy recruitment has taken a unique step and organised a pilot event aimed at providing an opportunity to young players who are potentially disadvantaged by the time of year they were born.
Recent studies have demonstrated that players born in the latter stages of the calendar year - specifically the 4th quarter (October - December) - are less likely to make the grade as a professional footballer.
The logic behind this is simple. With youth football in Scotland (and in the majority of European countries) operating by birth year, children born January will be the oldest players in the squad. Their physical development will be several months ahead of their team-mates and naturally they'll have an advantage. This advantage can lead to success on the park and in turn breeds confidence when they make the step up to play with older players at the latter age groups.
Hibernian released a story on their official website, stating:

The Hibernian Academy will run an event named “4th Quarter Kids” to give young players the opportunity to be assessed by Academy scouts and coaches on Thursday 7th April at the Hibernian Training Centre.  
Registration will take place at 3pm, and the event will finish at 5pm. No dressing room facilities will be available so players should come ready to play, and bring footwear suitable for astroturf and grass.
This event is free of charge, but is by registration only. Unfortunately players who are already registered with a professional academy cannot be considered.
As this is a pilot event, we can only accommodate players born in October, November and December in years 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. 

For more information on the event, click here.

Fixture: Dunbar United Colts v Penicuik Athletic YFC
Competition: South East Region YFL - Division 2
Venue: Hallhill Sports Centre 3G, Dunbar
Date: Sunday 14th Ferbruary 2016
Hallhill was the venue for Dunbar United Colts as they entertained Penicuik Athletic in a Valentine’s Day league fixture. With the grass pitch playable but resembling a tattie field, the hosts elected to a last minute change of surface to the lush, true carpet of the 3G.  The two teams appeared evenly matched on paper with a 3-3 draw last May in the league, and Dunbar emerging victorious on penalties after a frenetic league cup fixture which saw the team’s share 8 goals just before Christmas. 
Dunbar had been rocked with the news that their goalkeeper Purves was bed bound, struck down by a nasty virus which had also restricted training time for Pickles. Pickles was just about fit enough to take a place on the bench with Twist also declaring himself available to play if required, despite a knock to his knee last weekend. 
The Dunbar coaches put on their best poker faces as team lines were sent with Finlay Hood playing only his second ever, and first competitive game in the Dunbar goal.  Such is the lad’s commitment to the team; he didn’t even hesitate when asked if he would don the gloves for the day. Further news emerged that athletic and robust midfielder Knox would dampen pre-match spirits by announcing he was struggling with his chest and unable to play in midfield.
The Dunbar Coaches did well to hide any nerves in the changing room toilets but were still able to field a strong eleven. Ford, Smillie, Brunton and Sutherland formed a formidable defensive line and they were under strict instructions to clear whenever required as Dunbar momentarily abandoned any back-to-front build up play to protect their enthusiastic but inexperienced keeper.
 In a move which would later become the trump card, Hall was asked to further protect by operating in a defensive midfield role with Renton and Mclean asked to pull the strings in the middle of the park and Kinghorn and Foggo the wide men supporting Knox.
With the positive message still ringing in their ears, Dunbar were fast out the blocks.  Within a minute it looked like a master stroke to play Knox up front as he was put through on goal, only to see his effort blocked as the visiting keeper was called upon early.
From the resulting corner, the same player was first to the ball but could only direct his header over the bar. With still only two minutes played, Renton was next to test the Penicuik keeper with the number one able to keep the Seasiders at bay for now. 
Dunbar were winning everything with Hall winning header after header in the middle of the park within the first few minutes as the hosts bombarded the visitors' goal. A quick break in attack saw a long ball forward from Penicuik. Hood was in no mood to demonstrate any nerves and he was sharp off his line to collect at the feet off the onrushing striker.
With only four minutes on the clock it was no surprise to see Dunbar open the scoring. Renton with the fancy footwork, outfoxing the defence as he waltzed into the box before blasting home. A minute later and the perseverance of Knox upfront saw him win the ball and lay it off to Kinghorn on the edge of the box. The tall winger still had work to do but superb technique saw him volley home from 20 yards. A quickfire double from the seasiders.
With just eight minutes played, Dunbar would go three goals to the good as they quashed any anxiety that may still be simmering away in the home Coaching staff’s mind. A corner from Renton was delivered to perfection and Smillie was up from the back to nod the ball down in to the turf and back up into the roof of the net.
There was only one way to stem the flow and it was a goal for the visitors. A little bit of sloppy defending, and a break of the ball saw the Penicuik striker smash past helpless keeper Hood and reduce the deficit.
This only served to energise the home team as Hall and Mclean took control. Hall was winning everything while Mclean’s distribution saw him link brilliantly with Foggo, Renton, Kinghorn and Knox as Dunbar turned in one of their most impressive offensive displays of the season. 
Hall demonstrated his Makelele like qualities as he won a tackle in his own half. He emerged with the ball and played Knox through. The brave Penicuik defence were defending close to halfway and Knox blasted past them. He continued his run from halfway and into the box, before capping a superb burst by smashing into the corner of the net.
Goal number five was not too far away. Renton spied Sutherland free as they quickly took a short corner. Sutherland lined up a pile-driver, which the Penicuik defender could only deflect in to the path of a very grateful Smillie who collected and smashed in for his second of the game.  He could not hide his joy as his team mates ran in to celebrate his two goal contribution from centre half.
Dunbar deservedly scored another before the referee could find time to offer some respite to the suffering visiting defence. It was Hall again who would win the ball and his first time ball saw Renton burst clear of the chasing pack and join Smillie on a brace of goals.
Half Time: Dunbar United Colts 6-1 Penicuik Athletic YFC
Such are the margins for error in youth football that the match looked far from over and the visitors would start the second half with a wind in their favour. Indeed, they benefitted from a few poor Dunbar tackles as the striker broke clear into the box and left Hood no chance with a terrific finish and reduce the deficit.
Renton was tormenting the Penicuik defence and he was very unlucky not to grab a hat-trick. His first shot saw the keeper save but the ball bounced straight back in to the path of the tricky striker. He fired it goal bound but the Penicuik keeper turned in a great double save to momentarily stem the Dunbar goal traffic.
Hall left the pitch with Pickles testing his fitness by slotting into the home midfield. This did nothing to alter the Dunbar play – Kinghorn, playing one of his finest games in a Dunbar shirt, was chasing everything. He was fast onto a back-pass, charging down the goalkeeper’s clearance but his quick attempted finish was dragged wide. 
Pickles had not been on too long but he decided to join the goal scoring party as he leapt the highest to header home his second of the season to effectively kill off any hopes of a comeback for the visitors. 
Dunbar opted to go defensive as Balmforth-Tait slotted in to the midfield. Again, he stuck to the game plan brilliantly as Dunbar collectively continued to press their opponents whenever possession was surrendered. 
Knox was the final Dunbar scorer on a day when he showed no signs of a nagging sore chest and tormented the visiting defence all morning. Again, his endeavour to win the ball back saw him chase down a ball on the Dunbar right. His determination and strength saw him win the ball and he surged into the box. He dummied the lunging centre half tackle and smashed home. 
Penicuik did have the final say in the game as a flurry of long range shots tested Hood to the full. He was beaten in the last minute with a great effort from the Penicuik midfielder which was placed perfectly into the corner of the net. Great way to round off the scoring for the day.
To a man, Dunbar were superb. Hall’s break-up play and ball-winning was pure poetry while Hood was the Rose in the Dunbar colours to earn the star player award for sheer guts and attitude and no shortage of skill. Mclean was the conductor of everything good in Dunbar’s play as the troops stuck to the game plan set out.
Dunbar continues their home run next weekend as they entertain Hutchison Vale Colts. The two sides met in a cup competition earlier in the season when Dunbar were outmuscled and beaten by 5 goals to 1. A big test for the boys but one they will relish.
Full Time: Dunbar United Colts 8-3 Penicuik Athletic YFC
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 11:11

Preston aims to make team GB ladies deaf team

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Football can at times be a very challenging sport. You have the best part of twenty other team mates competing for a place in the squad who have similar abilities to you.
Being deaf as well as playing football is an even greater challenge. That is according to Olivia Preston (pictured right for Bonnyrigg Rose Girls 17's), one of Scotland's rising young talents in football. She plays her football with a cochlear implant due to the fact that she is deaf. She explained how challenging it can be when playing football with limited hearing.
“Some difficulties the deaf athlete may face are communication barriers with their team mates and coaches when calling out plays, stopping the game, or calling for the ball,” according to Olivia, who also hopes to one day represent Team GB and Scotland's ladies team.
Being deaf has had quite an affect on my performance a lot because every time when I'm playing at football match, I couldn't hear very well,” she added. “The wind kept blowing in my cochlear and I couldn't hear my team mates shouting, referee's whistle, offside, my coaches shouting.”
Without the cochlear implant, Olivia wouldn't be able to hear anything. Communication with players and coaches is the hardest thing to overcome. This hasn't affected her ability to play football. She says that “I'm trying as best as I can” and hopes to “become a famous footballer like Alex Morgan or Cristiano Ronaldo.”
She added that “I'm hoping that one day I play for Team GB ladies deaf team and playing for Scotland.”
- Penicuik Athletic YFC celebrate their 60th anniversary this year.
- At the current moment there are 390 players and 60 volunteers.
- Harvey Nafpliotis spoke to club secretary, Catherine Boal.
Penicuik Athletic Youth Football Club are this year celebrating their 60th anniversary. The club traces its origins to the Eskmills football club back in 1955, founded to give local people sporting opportunities and, in its present format, the club have continued to do exactly that and more, growing from a small base to now having over 390 registered players and 60 volunteers.
The ethos of community enhancement and development, as well as a strong focus on family is clearly visible to anyone who takes an interest in this football club.
Catherine Boal, the club's secretary, who provided me with much of the information which formed the basis of this article has two children who have been directly involved in the club for nearly sex years. Son Liam is involved at 2002 level and daughter Gemma is playing in the girls team at 2005s. Catherine's infectious passion for the club was hard to ignore. Indeed, when I asked how long she had been involved in her role as club secretary I was somewhat shocked at her response.
"I've been secretary now for three years” she said. I'm not much of a player or coach but it was important for me to give something back to the club.”
Catherine's knowledge and enthusiasm for all things Penicuik Athletic Youth Football club is truly phenomenal. During our short telephone conversation she not only shared with me the history of the club but also provided a wealth of information on their fantastic community work.
They have links with local school Beeslack High, giving the youngsters there not only traditional football playing opportunities but coaching as well. Local running club Penicuik Harriers also have a link with the club, indeed members of PAYFC helped at a recent 10K event involving the Harriers by manning the water stations.
Combine this with foodbank collections and a planned kit donation to Malawi and it’s easy to see that this club is not only succeeding in achieving its goals of maintaining strong community links but is indeed surpassing them with every advancing step they make.
Out with their formidable charity work and community work however, PAYFC are importantly a club moving in the right direction on the football front. 
They recently were award the Scottish FA Legacy Quality Mark, a tremendous achievement which signifies their positive governance and coaching. As well as their admirable positive football stance the club ensure their players have a well-rounded football education from a young age, encouraging older players to help with and learn about coaching, as well as taking refereeing courses. From all this it can be seen PAYFC are making significant strides in the footballing department. 
It’s easy to see as such that the club is actively involved both in the community and the development of young footballers. Local family the Shepherds perhaps have a unique connection with the club and epitomize both these aspects perfectly.
Dad, Stuart Shepherd coaches, at the club, while sons Adam and Jack are involved on the playing front, but the connection doesn't end there with grandad James also lacing his boots to play for the walking football team. 
Fair to say, then, that the volunteers, players, coaches and supporters can celebrate PAYFC 60th anniversary with an immense feeling of pride and satisfaction for what they have achieved. With that being said however from what Catherine tells me the club have no intention of resting on their laurels.
"We want to move forward and think 10 years down the line about how we can progress and develop what we have here” she said. “The girls section has 60 players and is growing all the time which I think is hugely important.
“When Gemma started playing football she was playing with the boys, which she enjoyed immensely. But it’s important for her to be able to develop and we are very proud of the work being done within the girls section. 
“Not only that we are looking at making use of the astro pitch at the school and are constantly thinking of new ways to improve what we have at the club"
All things considered the club appear to have made a huge impact on both the local community and on the football pitch and with all their achievements considered one wonders just where might Penicuik Athletic Youth Football Club might be in another 60 years.
With kind thanks to Catherine Boal without whom this article would not have been possible.
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 00:00

Peebles push for 3G facility

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- Peebles FC is pushing for the construction of a 3G pitch at Victoria Park
- This feeling has been enhanced at the recent flooding that has hit the area.
- Blair Meikle spoke to U14’s manager, Fergus Millan.
There has been much debate in Peebles recently as to whether construction of the pitch in Victoria Park should go ahead. Many locals feel that it would be destruction of a precious green space, while others think that it would be an important addition to sporting facilities.
The Borders town was among the worst hit by the recent Storm Frank and the grass pitches at Kerfield and Whitesone Park did not escape.
Peebles FC Under 14’s manager Fergus Millan reckons that recent flooding in the town has further highlighted the need for a 3G facility.
Millan explained: “The flood at the New Year was something else.  Locals said that they had never seen the water that high up on Kerfield. What made it worse was the fact that the ground was already saturated due to the heavy rainfall during November and December.
“I don't think any of the local clubs have managed a game at home since November 1. The only away games my team have played were on 3G. There is no doubt that if we had access to a 3G pitch we would have played several more games. Instead we are going to have a pile up of games at the end of the season. Three or four games a week is not good for the kids.”
Several homes and other buildings in the town such as the swimming pool and a nursing home were adversely affected. Millan revealed that the club were also left counting the cost and that it was not only the pitches that suffered.
“Our huts and changing rooms were also hit by the flood. The water was around three to four feet deep. Compared to home owners who were affected we don't really have much to complain about as most of the kit is for outdoor use.  But they still need to be cleaned up and internal wooden doors replaced.”
Opponents of the current plans for a 3G have launched a ‘Save Victoria Park’ campaign and argue that a more suitable venue should be sought. Scottish Borders Council have already discounted Kerfield and Whitestone Parks as well as the nearby Gytes rugby pitch due to flood risk. Recent events seem to have vindicated such a decision.
“Everyone would have preferred to have the 3G at the Gytes, but even before the first consultation we knew that it was unlikely to get the go ahead there because of the risk of flooding”, continued Fergus.  
“So I think this has confirmed in people's minds that the 3G cannot go at the Gytes.
“Those of us who have been around the discussions and consultations understand why the council is considering Victoria Park. It probably seems to some like the location choice has come out of the blue, when in reality it hasn't.
“I think the Council have a tough decision but there are so few options open to them.  The 3G facility is not just important for the local community in terms of having the best facilities possible, it also makes sense as it provides so much more potential for managing the capacity that a growing town like Peebles needs.
“Fundamentally I think Peebles needs a 3G pitch, and I believe most people in Peebles see it is a boost to the local community.”
The council are pressing ahead with the planning process and the deadline for comments was January 8. These are being considered before a final decision is made. Whatever the outcome, one part of the population of Peebles is going to be disappointed.