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Thursday, 28 January 2016 10:59

Dunbar come out on top in 10 goal thriller

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Fixture: Dunbar United Colts v Bonnyrigg Rose Pumas U14
Competition: South East Region YFL - Division 2
Venue: Hallhill Sports Centre, Dunbar
Date: Sunday 24th January 2016
With the temperatures incomparable to last weekend, it was a return to grass pitch action after a brief and costly couple of weeks on the luxury of the Hallhill 3G. The pitch was heavy after another wet January week but otherwise conditions looked good as Dunbar entertained Bonnyrigg Rose Pumas for their first league encounter. The Pumas were looking for their first league win of the season, having had their win against Tranent Colts removed from the record books with the surprise news that the league division 3 winners from last season had withdrawn from the league.
For the first 5 minutes of the game both teams struggled to find a team-mate with the ball as the players adapted to the heavy underfoot conditions.There was a fair bit of aerial ping-pong with Pickles and Hall in the Dunbar defence comfortably dealing with the high ball.
The first chance of the match saw Twist break free down the left, and with Foggo a better option, unmarked in the box waiting for the cutback, he instead looked to pick out Renton at the back post.  The ball took a bobble which accounted for the fact that Renton took a fresh air shot, letting the goal keeper off as the chance passed him by.
Over the next 15 minutes, Bonnyrigg belied their league position as they began to stroke the ball around with real assurance. Sure enough, with 10 minutes on the clock, the Dunbar defence headed the ball out the box but it was returned straight back in where the striker controlled and fired past keeper Purves who was defeated by a wicked bounce. The visitors had taken the lead.
This buoyed the visitors and they looked up for the challenge. On their next attack, the Bonnyrigg striker broke into the box.  Pickles ran side by side with the striker and appeared to use his upper body in the right way as the striker bounced off the robust defender and fell to the ground. The referee adjudged that this was a foul and a penalty was awarded to the visitors. The Bonnyrigg player stepped forward and converted the penalty with confidence as the visitors surged into a 2 goal lead. 
This served as a shock to the home side but such is their composure and maturity they appeared unflustered.  Sure enough, from the kick off, Kinghorn took the ball on the halfway line and delivered a terrific through ball for Renton to chase. The striker collected and opted for the lob rather than a low shot past the keeper. The lob looked good as it cleared the keeper but the ball didn’t drop in time and it went over the bar. 
For the first time in the match Dunbar began to play a bit of football with Foggo, Knox and Sutherland beginning to stamp their authority in the match. While the Pumas looked well-drilled and retained their shape well, Dunbar were restricted to long range efforts but for the first time in the match, they were enjoying possession with Ford and Hood pushing forward from full-back, and Kinghorn and Twist offered some freedom down the flanks.
Despite their patient play, it was 10 minutes to the interval before Dunbar reduced the deficit. It was take two with Kinghorn again delivering a great ball over the last defender and this time Renton fine tuning his lob to perfection as he volleyed over the helpless keeper with the home support grateful to see the ball drop under the bar and nestle into the back of the net.
Dunbar now looked dangerous, and their next attack saw the ball fall to Twist in the box – his effort was cleared on the line with some brave Pumas defending though.
Dunbar’s domination then saw a series of corners. From one such Renton delivery, Pickles and Twist rose the highest and the ball found its way into the net. It was difficult to tell exactly who had the last touch but Pickles looked to claim his first goal of the season with suspicions that it came off his back and into the net.
The Pumas were keen to see the half time whistle blow for some respite, but Knox had other ideas. He collected the ball from close on halfway and drove towards the box. Such was his determination, there only looked like one result and sure enough he burst past two defenders and retained composure to curl the ball past the keeper into the far corner of the net to allow Dunbar to take the lead for the first time in the match.
The Pumas had one last opportunity before the half time whistle blew. From the edge of the box, the striker blasted an effort which looked goal bound all the way but for the heroics of home keeper Purves. He turned in a world class save as he dived full stretch and retained sufficient hand strength to tip the effort over the bar. The referee decided that both teams deserved a break and blew for half time.      
Half Time: Dunbar United Colts 3-2 Bonnyrigg Rose Pumas
Dunbar were forced into a re-shuffle at the break with Foggo complaining of a sore ankle. Cooper was brought on, having missed the last couple of games himself through injury. 
Dunbar began the second half on the front foot this time and stretched their lead within a few minutes. From a throw from the right, Kinghorn came in from the left, controlled and turned inside the penalty box before stabbing home a toe poke into the corner of the net to give the home team some breathing space.
Knox looked hungry for a second goal and he was unlucky to see his first time half-volley from a corner go over the bar. Kinghorn as well was unlucky to see a top corner bound flashing drive from outside the box expertly tipped over by the Pumas stopper.
Dunbar were not having all their own way and Smillie and Pickles were anticipating and blocking everything that came their way. Mclean was introduced for the tiring Twist and he settled into the game well, forming the link between midfield and attack. Brunton also came in and took hold of the midfield, controlling the area and marshalling the players beside him.
The next chance fell to Renton, with Knox sending him through – he took the shot early but his effort was pulled wide of the target.  Knox seemed to be involved in every Dunbar attack now and his battling run down the left and cross in to the box saw Mclean header over the bar as Dunbar forced the pressure. 
Eventually, the Pumas resistance was worn down as Knox scored an outstanding individual effort. He collected the ball on the left of midfield, burst past his man, and beyond the full back.  He cut in from the bye-line and as he waltzed into the box he unleashed a pile driver into the far top corner.  Such was the accuracy in finding the postage stamp that the ball rocketed into the stanchion and stuck there. The Goalkeeper had to retrieve the ball wedged in the top corner stanchion – he could not have placed it better and the crowd showed their delight.  This was the midfielder’s 16th goal of an increasingly impressive campaign, stretching ahead of his 11 goals he managed in his first 11-a-side campaign.
Dunbar had turned this game around and were now in control of the game.  It was no surprise that the home side would score again, perhaps the bigger surprise was the goal-scorer. Over the last few weeks, Ford from right back has increased the attacking options Dunbar possesses, carefully judging when to push forward and linking well with his right winger. 
He hasn’t scored a competitive 11-a-side goal, but when it came, it was worth waiting on.  He gathered possession on the right, linked with Mclean who returned the pass and with the confidence of a man who looks like he scores these every single day, Ford struck the shot from 20 yards, sending the shot soaring over the helpless keeper into the roof of the net.  The celebrations were slightly delayed as he slowly realised what he had just achieved.
At 6-2 Dunbar could relax although the Pumas were gifted a goal when the defenders were well-spread and an errant goal kick was delivered straight to the striker and he dispatched gratefully. 
Dunbar added a 7th and again it was a well-worked goal. Brunton does what he does best, breaking up play before feeding Mclean.  Mclean delayed the pass as he waited the arrival of the cavalry – Cooper obliged, making a lung-bursting run as Mclean put the ball through and Cooper slotted home.  Hood was unlucky not to add his name to the score sheet when a cross from Renton found the lad at full stretch and he narrowly headed wide.
There was still time for both Smillie and Pickles to break from defence as the game became more open.  Pickles defied any pre-match injury concerns and a tough morning’s work, with a great run from his penalty box into the opposition half, before being crudely brought to a halt. In a match where Bonnyrigg passed well, and retained their shape throughout, each Dunbar player shone at various times. The goals were of a high calibre but best for Dunbar was Ben Pickles who not only delivered his first goal of the season but was simply a rock at the heart of defence.  
Dunbar continues their home run, the region making use of their superb pitches as they entertain league leaders Cavalry Park next weekend. Dunbar are the only side to have defeated the table-toppers this season who are sure to be up for revenge at the home of the Seasiders.
Full Time: Dunbar United Colts 7-3 Bonnyrigg Rose Pumas
Thursday, 21 January 2016 14:52

Top of the league will do for Broxburn

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Broxburn Athletic Colts United Under 13's have enjoyed a fantastic start to their first season playing 11-aside football, winning 11 of their 12 league games up to Christmas and are sitting pretty at the top of the West Lothian AYFC league. Head coach Willie Fleming has been delighted so far.
"The transition from 7's to 11's was all new to the players and even most of our coaches. In terms of objectives and setting goals, we never really talked about these. All we were hoping for was that the players responded to their new environment, and they have done that superbly"
The league that United are in is a very competitive one, and closest challengers Bathgate Dynamo sitting 9 points behind United, but with 2 games in hand on the league leaders.
As Fleming said, they never spoke about objectives, but he certainly didn't expect them to be where they are. "The players have more than exceeded our expectations so far. Winning 11 out of 12 league games is very special".
Despite the many cups that under 13 teams participate in, the league matches have been the priority for Fleming and his team. "I think our main priority has always been in the league. Cup games are a welcome break from the league, but over the season the team will be judged on how well we do week in week out."
It has been a fairly simple transition for United from 7 aside to 11 aside, with the only problem arising is getting the pitch lined! They managed to keep the majority of the boys that began Soccer 4's all those years ago, and the stability that has given the team has proved invaluable. "We've been really lucky in that eight out of our original nine boys that we started with at Soccer 4's were in our squad for the beginning of this 11 aside season. We took the decision to run with two 7 aside teams last season, and merged them in the summer of 2015".
Given the league position, the season has been a really successful one so far for Broxburn Athletic Colts United, and Fleming is looking for more of the same.
"The team has been excellent in the first half of the season. You are always apprehensive as how the players will react to the big pitches, competitive environment etc, and our main worry is that we would not be able to compete at this level. Our results and league position has proved there is no need to worry.
"Unfortunately we were paired with a top team from Edinburgh in both the Scottish Cup and South East Region Cup, but the players showed great commitment, desire & spirit even in defeat. We've got a great group of boys at the moment, and both the players and coaches are looking forward to the second half of the season".
Tuesday, 19 January 2016 16:31

Man United hand trial to Livingston striker Knox

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English Premiership giant Manchester United have handed a trial to 16 year old Livingston starlet, Matthew Knox. The forward has impressed a number of scouts and had interest from other Premiership outfits including Everton, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea.

In fact, Knox has already been at Merseyside on trial at Liverpool and Everton, as well as with Tottenham. The teenager has now travelled to Manchester and will spend the next week trying to catch the eye amongst the Manchester United coaches.

While the young forward has a lot of work to do, he already has a record to his name. He became Livingston's youngest ever player in their 4-1 victory away to St Mirren on boxing day, taking the record from Celtic's Leigh Griffiths. Knox's record now stands at 16 years and four days.

Knox has been at the club since he was 11 and was given his chance by former Celtic, Portsmouth, and Dunfermline striker Mark Burchill who is now the manager at Livingston FC. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 11:10

Hutchie unveil new 'skills badge' initiative

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Edinburgh outfit Hutchison Vale have unveiled a new initiative which will hopefully put more players onto the professional pathway. Vale have produced many players over the years who have went onto play at the highest level and last night saw Heart of Midlothian midfielder Sam Nicholson in attendance to welcome the new idea.
The initiative is for the tots and kids playing at seven-a-side level. The badges are awarded from white through seven stages to gold for performing skills, fast footwork and technical ability. The kids are taught the skills at training and then given them as homework to practice and complete.
Each stage gets progressively harder and the skills focus on fast-footwork, technique and touch. The initiative is being developed to challenge the kids and to also add personal goals for them, with the added incentive of achievements and rewards for showing self development.
Malcolm McKenzie, who is a coach for the under 15's said, "...Compared to what has happened in the past, it was a case of one ball and shuttle runs for the players and then a match at the end.
“This new initiative is great and standing at the side looking at the players in attendance the balance and talent of some of the players is great.”
The plan behind the whole initiative is to get players on the professional pathway and maintain the proud history that Vale has of players going on to play at the highest level.
McKenzie added, “The number of boys who have made a career in football after being with Hutchie is brilliant. At one time there was over 100 boys who played professional football in Britain after being at Hutchison Vale so it is a great advertisement for the club and especially for Tam Smith who has done so much for the club.
“...All the kids are here tonight with a smile on their face and the fact that they are here tonight getting to learn new skills is brilliant.
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale have a game away to East Kilbride on Wednesday night with the prospect of Scottish Premiership side Celtic in the next round. McKenzie said, “It has been great for us all at the football club. When the draw was made the tie you look for is Celtic and we have a great chance to do so. We have had a great journey in the Scottish Cup so far and went to Division two side Montrose and got a victory.”
Sam Nicholson, who left Vale in 2007 for Hearts, spoke about his time at the club, saying “When I started at Hutchie, I was in the camps similar to what they have here tonight. They have some good coaches at the club and Tam Smith has got everything organised perfectly here and always has been."
“I think the new initiative will benefit Hutchison Vale in the future. There has been some terrific players brought through from the system here at Hutchison Vale in the past. I came through with Jason Cummings from Hibs and you can always tell from a young age that he was going to go onto bigger things.
“Hutchison Vale is a proper family club and everyone is close with each other and everyone gets on well with each other here at the club."
Nicholson also looked ahead to the big game for Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale tomorrow night away to East Kilbride and said, “It's these kind of games which inspire the young guys here at the club. No matter where the venue is, it's going be good as a whole for the club and for the boys looking to get to the next stages in their career.”
Nicholson finished the interview with giving some advice to the young players associated with Hutchison Vale at the moment by saying, “The most important thing is to listen to your coaches. These coaches are here for a reason..."
Hutchison Vale under 12s player Murray Connelly also gave his views on the whole initiative. He said, “The new initiative has improved my technique, since I came from my last club. The new initiative gives us the incentive to go and be like players such as Sam Nicholson and Jason Cummings. The things I have been doing since I have joined Hutchie, I have been doing every day.
“With Lothian Thistle having the potential of Celtic in the next round, it's great to be involved in a football club that the adult team could be playing the Scottish Champions in the next round.
“I am doing well with my football just now and I am currently preparing to go onto 11-a-side level next season. It will be a bit of a transition and the pitches will be bigger, however, we will adapt to it.”
At 14 years old, Heart of Midlothian youth player Anthony McDonald is working his way to living the life he has always dreamed of, becoming a professional footballer. Even at his young age, he’s already been training with the U20’s squad and has had sessions with the first team.
Anthony’s Dad, Alan said “He is loving it (life at Hearts). Last year he had a few injury problems so he was in and out of the side, but this year he has been much fitter and stronger and that has resulted in him being moved up to the U17’s squad from the U15’s. He has coped very well with this transition and is now learning another position, playing in a wider role for the 17’s. 
“Over the last couple of months he has trained with the U20’s and with the first team and I think he is in dreamland. This is what he has always wanted, what he works hard for every single day and he is now starting to see the kind of life he could have if he keeps working hard and listening to his coaches.”
His hard work is already paying off as he travelled with the U20’s squad to their recent trip to Spain, facing opposition including Levante. “The trip to Spain was a shock to all of us, a wonderful happy shock” said Alan. “He is absolutely loving it and the coaches and older players have been fantastic with them (the younger players). Anthony is not alone in this, he has some other under 15’s players with him as well which is great testament to Hearts.”
With all the progress he is making, both Alan and Anthony still haven’t forgotten the roots from where it all started, Real Fife FC. “Real Fife was started in 2009 when I and some other parents decided we wanted to give our kids something a bit different from the same old that everyone else was doing” said Alan. “Anthony and his brother Jack played in the side along with their cousin Nicole so even from a very young age Anthony was playing against players who were older than him. In our training he would play against players who were two years older as Real Fife also had a 1999’s side.”
Anthony’s love for the game was apparent from a young age with Alan admitting he always had a ball at his feet and that his first word was appropriately, “ball”. However, Alan has no doubt about what helped shape Anthony into the player he is, saying “At Real Fife we became the first club in Fife to bring in Coerver Coaching Scotland to work with the players and coaches. This changed the way the kids were taught and the content they were taught. Everything was about working with the ball, learning the moves with both feet, understanding when to execute them, and ensuring that for the whole session the players had a ball. Anthony also attended the Coerver Elite Coaching every month in Edinburgh as well and I firmly believe that this and his Real Fife coaching was fundamental in helping to shape him as a player.”
With Anthony developing, it wasn’t surprising that pro-youth teams were interested as early as 2009/10. However, the temptation to move at the younger age was resisted with Alan saying “Anthony liked where he was, he enjoyed playing with his brother and his friends so there was no pressure applied to him to go to pro youth.”
Eventually though, the time was right for all involved. “When Anthony and his brother decided to go Pro Youth it was to Livingston” said Alan. "The Coerver attachment played heavily on that decision with John Collins and Shaun Scobie both being instrumental in the boys signing. 
“At the time five of the Real Fife squad signed for Livingston in one night. Shaun had worked with these boys before as had John in various Coerver camps or demonstrations, so the kids were comfortable with them and liked their coaching methods. 
“Anthony was again playing a year older than himself and the initial step up from boys club took a little time to adjust to, but as time wore on he adapted well. When the squad went to under 15’s Anthony stayed at his own age for the first time and it was then you could see the difference in the way he played. A change of position from striker to attacking midfield also saw him on the ball much more and in a position where he could influence games.”
Aided by his time at the Scottish FA performance school, it was decided to take a step to try and further Anthony’s career. If things progress at the current rate, it could also be a case of what might have for the green half of Edinburgh after Anthony's move didn't work out. Invited to train with Hearts though, Anthony has never looked back.
“From the very first training session at Hearts, Anthony looked relaxed and happy” said Alan. “He knew a lot of the kids from Broughton so that made joining in much easier. It was good to see him playing with a smile and when Hearts said they wanted to sign him I was very happy, very happy for Anthony.”
Despite currently living the dream life, Anthony still has his feet firmly placed on the ground. “He (Anthony) knows how hard that will be and how much help, luck, hard work he will need to even get a glimpse of it. 
“In terms of setting goals that is down to Anthony, he understands what he wants and as he matures he is understanding more what is required to achieve these. The club are very proactive with the young players, sitting them down every six weeks to look at their progress, highlight areas for development\improvement and to also set new targets for them to work towards, no room for complacency or standing still.”
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 12:08

5-star showing from Dunbar as Gala are turned over

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Fixture: Dunbar United Colts v Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts
Competition: South East Region YFL U14 Division 2
Venue: Dunbar 3G
Date: Sunday 10th Janaury 2016
League action returned with Christmas and New Year but a distant memory. Dunbar welcomed visitors from the Borders with the team with the longest name in the SE Region on their farthest travels for a league fixture. With heavy rain all week, the Hallhill grounds man declared the grass pitches unplayable and so the game was switched to the 3G.  Dunbar would like to thank their Borders visitors for agreeing to a 10am kick off, meaning they were up and travelling before the sun had breached the horizon.

The 3G carpet at Dunbar is an excellent surface to play on, but the match kicked off in cool, damp, dreich conditions with a steady drizzle tormenting the supporters.

Dunbar were missing Knox who was on the piste for a week, while top scorer from last season Dixon looks like missing a few weeks with Osgood-Schlatter disease which has troubled him for much of the campaign. The home team number 1 Purves picked up the Captains armband for the first time this season in recognition of continued excellent performances.

Dunbar were strong from the start and had obviously been missing their football. They created their first chance of the match with only a few minutes played Cooper weaving some magic down the left before sliding Renton in. The keeper was out quick to thwart the young striker.

Kielty returned to the Dunbar midfield and he was keen to take the game by the neck very early.  He was showing lots of good touches and he was joined by Pickles who shows such versatility and has played in a number of positions for Dunbar.  The key ball players Foggo and Twist made up the rest of the midfield as Dunbar fielded an offensive looking team.

5 minutes played and Dunbar did open the scoring.  Pickles delivered an exquisite and superbly timed through ball, setting Renton on his way.  Renton was on it in a flash and fired home the opener.

Dunbar were controlling possession but slightly wasteful with it.  They were patient and full backs Hood and Ford were again showing great support options while Hall and Smillie formed a new centre half pairing.  Both are very comfortable with the ball at their feet and looked secure with any balls heading their way.

Dunbar’s next opportunity came from a dead ball with Kielty firing in a free kick from 25 yards out that the keeper comfortably dealt with.  Foggo and Cooper were winning the battle against their full backs and Dunbar won a series of corners but they didn’t look like creating clear-cut chances.  Such is football that with 5 minutes to go to half time, Gala raced up the field for their first attack of the match.  With the Dunbar midfield stranded up-field, the ball bounced around the Dunbar box before the Gala striker poked home beyond a grounded keeper Purves. 

But, before the referee thought about blowing for half time, Twist won the ball in midfield with Renton sitting right on the shoulder of the last man, ready for that through ball.  Kielty delivered and so did Renton as Dunbar turned around 2 goals to 1 up. 

Half Time: Dunbar United Colts 2-1 Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts

Dunbar were forced into a re-shuffle at the break with Cooper complaining of a hamstring niggle while Sutherland came on to his favoured left back position, with Hood pushing further forward. 

Such was Sutherlands impact in the game that Dunbar would score a further 3 goals after the break, with all of them coming from the left of the pitch. Mclean was also on after looking sharp in training during the week. 

Dunbar were again patient in possession, and unlucky not to stretch their lead early in the half. Sutherland travelled down the left and put Renton down the wing.  Renton lost his marker and his ball in saw Hood and Twist get in each other’s way and the chance was wasted. 

Sutherland picked up the ball minutes later and as the gap opened up in front of him, memories of his strike against Earlston were clearly running through his mind.  He struck a really clean shot from full-on 30 yards that unluckily cannoned back off the crossbar. Instead, he would be satisfied with being a part of the next goal when he passed into Mclean.  He linked with Hood who slotted Renton down the line again – he played a great ball into the middle with Mclean continuing his run and guiding the ball home with his left foot with such calmness and assurance. 

Balmforth-Tait joined the party and Dunbar made a few positional changes with Pickles reverting to sweeper and Hall asked to sit in front of his back 4.  This move looked good for Dunbar as they looked to close the game out with some good possession play.

Number 4 was on its way and again it stemmed from the left. Sutherland turned his man with some great footwork, slid in a great pass down the line for Renton to run on to.  Renton made his way into the box before unselfishly laying the ball into the path of Twist who passed the ball into the net for his 4th of the campaign.

Number five arrived late in the game with the ball breaking at the edge of the box. Renton hit the ball first time and he could not have hit it cleaner – his 20 yarder soaring into the top corner of the net to top off a great day for the pacy marksman. A hat-trick for Renton and his 41st of the campaign while credit goes to the braw lads of Gala for sticking with it on a day when they travelled with the bare minimum of 11 players on a big pitch. 

Full Time: Dunbar United Colts 5-1 Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts

It is a return to cup action for the Seasiders when they host Hutchison Vale Colts in the David Innes Cup next weekend.  This is the first meeting of the two teams and the winner earns a place in the semi-final of this competition. 

Having joined the South East Region Divsion 2 almost halfway through the season last year, a 5th place finish wasn't too shabby for Livingston FCBC. The aim this season is to improve of that and challenge for the league title this campaign, and they are certainly on their way to doing so thus far.
That 'never say die' attitude is circulated a lot in football these days, but the results that Livingstone have picked up so far this season really are down to that. "We have picked up too many draws for our liking, but we always play right to the final whistle, and that's what has got us those draw. We have only been beaten once so far, so that's great testament to the attitude of these boys".
Sitting five points clear at the top of division 2 at the halfway stage couldn't of made Jamieson more happy with his players, and the aim for the second half of the season is to keep going the way they are going. "We really can't complain given our current league placing, so we have to give the boys a lot of credit for this and our target is to continue playing to the high standards we have already set"
"We go into every game with the same attitude". Priorities in terms of competitions are non-existent in Jamieson's eyes, and unfortunately for Livingston they haven't been able to give the cups a real go as they were knocked out of three competitions in the early rounds. However, is this a blessing in disguise? The current league position would suggest so.
The key to success is having a large squad, and with the injuries and suspensions Livingston have suffered this season, it has paid no price as the squad has great strength in depth to deal with any issues.Nothing unusual, we have had injuries and suspensions but our squad has proven to be big enough and strong enough to cope with any issues. 
"We lost five players and brought in four for the start of the season, and we also added another player two months into the season. The most pleasing thing is that all new players have contributed significantly to the team. Overall we have a very good bunch of boys with a great work ethic and the mentality amongst the group is very strong".
"We are delighted with our season so far overall. The attitude and commitment levels have been first class and long may it continue" Jamieson hopes his side can continue the form they have shown so far and push on to finish as high up the table as they can. 
Thursday, 07 January 2016 15:23

High flyers with high Hutchie standards

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With an aim from the start of the season to achieve silverware, one might think that the Hutchison Vale Colts Under 14's might have had extra pressure on them. However, as the results show with only two league defeats so far, they seem to be right on track and bursting with confidence. "We are right on track to challenge and achieve those targets", says head coach Paul MacBeath.
McBeath can feel the positive vibe flowing through the camp, but he believes there is no sign of overconfidence. "It will be a tight division, Bonnyrigg Rose, North Berwick, Peebles, Cavalry Park have all shown some consistent league form so far this season and will come down to the head-to-head ties with each other to determine who comes out on top. We want to win the league, it's as simple as that".

Every team wants to win every game and competition they play in, and when we asked McBeath about the priorities he has in regards to league over cup, or vice-versa, he feels there is no such thing as priorities. "We want to win trophies, so of course the cup games are just as important, but we do not prioritise any one competition"
Being defeated in the Scottish Cup 2-1 by Musselburgh Athletic, and in the South East Region Cup on penalties by Bathgate was a bit of a blow for Hutchie with those being the biggest two competitions in the region. However, the team are still sitting top of the table, and are still in all other cup competitions. Fighting on as many fronts as possible will give the players belief that can win the silverware they so desire.

McBeaths' phone was ringing non-stop throughout pre-season with players wishing to join the prestigious Hutchison Vale. Many new signings were made and the head coach is very pleased with the quality he acquired and high interest from trialists during the summer, the head coach can be very pleased with the added quality acquired throughout the sunny season. One of the newcomers, striker Lucas Hoenigmann, has added six hat-tricks to his tally in the season, and is one of the many great players responsible for the current success achieve at Hutchinson Vale Colts Under 14's.

Fixture: Earlston Rhymers v Dunbar United Colts
Competition: Kenny McLean Cup 
Date: Sunday 13th December 2015
Dunbar were in cup action at the weekend and with the Rhymers pitch still resembling a paddling pool, and a heavy overnight frost forecast for the Borders, the Earlston coach kindly opted to travel to Hallhill, Dunbar.  

The goals were set-up with a light frost sitting on the surface but by kick off time, the pitch was soft and looked tricky to play on.  Dunbar defied these conditions and settled from the start.  The Rhymers had been out of action for a number of weeks and the Seasiders looked to expose this rustiness early on. Within minutes of the kick off Hood looked lively down the left and Renton was presented with the first chance of the match but could only put it over the bar. 

5 minutes in and a great passing move did see the deadlock broken.  Knox picked up the ball in midfield and shipped it wide to Hood.  His through ball found Renton skipping by his marker – the move was slick and Renton squared for Twist who simply passed the ball into the net to round off an excellent move.

Dunbar were dominating early possession and all players were involved.  Sutherland and Ford were pushing high from the full-back position and overloading the Rhymers defence.  Brunton, Hall, Smillie and Knox sat in the middle as Dunbar patiently built from back to front.  Pickles was employed further up the pitch and he was a good foil for Ford who was bursting forward from right back with increasing regularity.

Dunbar doubled their lead with 10 minutes played.  A sharp pass from Smillie to the feet of striker Renton saw the frontman control the ball before turning a great pass round the corner as Knox burst through from his own half.  He continued his run all the way into the box and finished well, showing great energy and composure.

Dunbar were aware the Rhymers were rusty and used their substitues well, rolling players on and off, early in the game. 

The Earlston team settled into the game at last and showed good shape and strong defending.  They were neat and tidy in possession and with Dunbar defending high, did have a few chances at goal.  On one occasion, Brunton recovered well to put in a challenge as the striker shaped to shoot while Purves showed his strength lies in dealing with a 1 v 1 and emerged on top as the Blues number 9 worked his way into the box. 

Jones and Mclean were introduced to the Dunbar team and such is the Dunbar strength, there was no break in the pattern or passing of the ‘home’ team.  Renton was unusually wasteful in front of goals although Dodds in the Earlston goal was having a good game. 

Half time approached as Dunbar carved a final chance.  A well-worked short corner routine between Renton and Jones saw the ball worked into the middle – Hood knocked the ball down but Knox dragged his effort wide.

Half Time: Earlston Rhymers 0-2 Dunbar United Colts

Dunbar brought Foggo and Balmforth-Tait on in the second period and Dunbar started the half brightly again.  Foggo linked with Twist who slipped Mclean in with a great pass – Mclean, now playing further forward, could only shoot over the bar.

Another exquisite through ball from Twist found Knox and this time the big man made no mistake.  He shot with the outside of his right foot and the ball sneaked under the Rhymers keeper and into the corner of the net. 

It should be noted at this stage that the referee was enjoying a particularly good game.  He was clearly a good listener as he could be heard praising and encouraging both sets of players, and calling them by their first name.  It certainly contributed to a game played in very good spirits.  He also agreed to the game going ahead in Dunbar and he showed no signs of jet lag with his performance (Selkirk are GMT – 10 years).

Dunbar were stringing plenty of passes together and Balmforth-Tait and Foggo down the right were linking brilliantly.  In fact, Balmforth-Tait at right back was playing like Alves, pushing forwards and I’m guessing a pass completion rate of at least 99.9%.

Dunbar produced chances but were finding an inspired keeper in Dodds keeping the Rhymers in it.  Mclean was put through and the Earlston number 1 showed bravery as he saved at the feet of the Seasiders forward.  Next to be denied was Smillie – Renton swung a corner in and to all on the touchlines, it looked like a Smillie bullet header was goal bound but Dodds threw himself at it and saved brilliantly. 

He could do nothing to prevent Dunbar scoring a 4th.  Twist and Foggo drew the keeper, and a neat pass inside to Mclean saw him turn and fire into the empty net. 

The best save of the game was still to come when Renton found space in the box, his shot across goal looked destined to stretch the net but Dodds dived low and his hand kept the busy Renton at bay.

Renton was not to be denied however and he never likes to go a game without a goal.  His endeavour was finally rewarded as he struck home Dunbar’s fifth of the game and his 38th of the season. 

Earlston were still looking to play and their team shape was very good throughout.  They still looked dangerous on the attack and Jones and Pickles were quick to cover on a few occasions, while Jones was watchful as he made his way across from left back to make a great clearing tackle down the middle.  Purves was keen to keep a clean sheet and despite long periods of inactivity was on hand to produce good saves when called upon. 

Dunbar played with great maturity and with very patient football. They never once deviated from their passing game and created numerous chances. Missing in the Dunbar armoury this season has been a Sutherland pile-driver. The talented left footer only scores spectacular goals and he decided to treat the crowd to a special that has been left in the locker for too long. Taking possession from outside the box he unleashed a fierce effort that rocketed into the far corner of the net for his first of the season. 

Even rarer than hen’s teeth are goals from Dunbar right back Ford.  He was attacking well throughout and found himself in the box with Dunbar’s last attack of the game  – he didn’t know quite when to shoot and found himself on the ground with the Rhymers defender puzzled as to how Ford got there. The referee said nothing and blew for full time.

Full Time: Earlston Rhymers 0-6 Dunbar United Colts

It is league action and a home fixture for the Dunny boys in their final game of 2015 when AC Oxgangs visit Hallhill on Sunday 20thDecember.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 17:20

Windsor strike it lucky over in form Redhall

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Fixture: Musselburgh Windsor FC v Redhall Star YFC
Competition: South East Region YFL U16 Division 2
Venue: Pinkie 3G
Date: Sunday 13th December 2015
Redhall Star clashed with Musselburgh Windsor but a disappointing performance had Redhall returning home pointless as they went down 1-0 at Pinkie 3G. The game was a stalemate at half time with neither side able to take control. A poor 20 minute spell by Redhall at the start of the second half had them going behind. Improvement in the final 20 minutes after a number of changes almost levelled the game but Windsor held on to claim the points.

Cold, frosty, and a frozen 3G for this Division 2 clash which Windsor got underway. Both teams were on decent runs and would be keen to keep the momentum going. Redhall created the first chance as good work between Josh Slow-clayton and Antony Little ended with Sam Donachie flicking the ball wide of the target.

Windsor had a great chance to take the lead but Redhall keeper Ryan Green was out to superbly save the effort from the Windsor midfielder who had burst into the box. A Redhall free kick from Calum Henderson had the Windsor keeping sprawling about before the ball was eventually cleared. Grant Doyle and Little then combined but Grant hurried his shot instead of showing more composure and the ball flew wide.

Both sides were cancelling each other out as the tackles were fierce and the chances limited. Redhall won a free kick on the edge of the Windsor area after Slow-clayton was fouled. He dusted himself down, hit the free kick into the wall and his follow up effort was well wide of the target.

Half time: Musselburgh Windsor 0-0 Redhall Star YFC

Into the second half and it was Windsor who started to take control. Marc Hannah and Ewan Mitchell were holding the Redhall defence together as the pressure increased. Green was called upon with a fine diving save at the feet of the Windsor forward. The midfield battle was swinging in favour of the home side but no clearcut chances were being created.

Green was called into action as he gathered in a shot from 20 yards as Anderson was then yellow carded for a trip on the Windsor playing charging forward. The free kick into the area was well held by Green. The visitors were struggling to get a foothold in the game and went behind from their own free kick. An free kick from outside the Redhall area was lost by Slow-clayton. Windsor poured forward and a neat pass through the midfield had the striker through on goal. The shot was slipped past Green as he advanced from his goal, into the net for the first goal to Windsor.

Redhall reacted with three changes in an attempt to get back into the game. Pass over the top had Donachie racing onto the ball but his shot from distance was just wide of the target with the keeper beaten. A spark from the visitors. Slow-clayton was then strangely yellow carded for a tackle which wasn’t even given as a free kick and no one had even claimed foul.

Robbie Campbell and Tommy Hendry were starting to have an influence on the game and a dangerous cross from Hendry was scrambled behind for a corner. Henderson threw in the corner which just evaded Donachie. Redhall were having a go and from their next attack they should have levelled the game. Campbell and slow-clayton exchanged passes with the final ball finding Donachie, 12 yards from goal. Donachie controlled but fired straight at the keeper with the rebound falling to Hendry who also fired his effort straight at the keeper. Redhall should have levelled.

Windsor were content to sit in and hit on the break. Neat piece of skill from the Windsor winger created a chance as he burst down the left wing but his final cross into the area was well claimed by Green. Redhall poured forward in search of the equaliser as Adam Robertson fired in a shot from 25 yards. A cross from Adam Shortiss ended with the Windsor keeper dropping the ball. A Redhall leg was on the end of it but Windsor scrambled the ball clear as the home side held on for the points.

Full time: Musselburgh Windsor 1-0 Redhall Star YFC

Not the best performance from Redhall as too many were off their game today. Disappointing for the unbeaten run to come to an end so tamely. The game itself was a little disappointing as both teams failed to create many chances. Once Windsor led they were content to sit in and protect