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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
Loanhead Miners are having quite a season both on the field and off of it. With the recent “Best Volunteer in Youth Football” given to the club`s secretary, Peter Frame and the 19s marching on in the SYFA Youth Cup and facing the semi-final of the South East Region Cup, they also are celebrating the lasting partnership with Colin Campbell Sports.
"LMYFC have used Colin Campbell Sports for numerous years. Simple, good service and quality prices", states Peter Frame.
For the club, which has been attracting interest from scouts through the success of their small sided teams (4s, 5s and 7s), when Colin Campbell Sports moved from Ratcliffe Terrace shop to Inverleith, it would have made sense to try and find somewhere closer to the club, but why change a working relationship to a doubtful one? Peter believes that there were no reason for change: "Colin Campbell Sports is reliable and trustworthy. So why move, when nothing is broken?’
The strips acquired through the partnership are Stanno, with sky-blue strip and navy trimmings. The away colours are a reference to the Old Loanhead Mayflower Junior colours – yellow with royal. Click here to enquire about the 'Stanno Club Account' scheme where your club can earn over £5000 worth of kit.
Apart from strips, tracksuits, jackets, balls, speed and agility equipment were all acquired through the long-term partnership of Loanhead Miners and Colin Campbell Sports.
Have a look at the full range of teamwear and equipment at Colin Campbell Sports by visiting www.colincampbellsports.com.
Alternatively, you can call 0131 556 8605 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Sunday, 06 December 2015 18:05

Bonny times for blossoming Rose

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• Grassroots speaks to Bonnyrigg Rose Girls and Boys about developments at the club.
• Both branches of the club have been awarded the Scottish FA Legacy award.
• Interviewees: Robin Laing, Jim Wilson
At Bonnyrigg Rose Girls FC (pictured right - pic: Susie Raeburn), one of the club’s main aims is to try and introduce more girls to football. With a group of youngsters that have grown from 12 players to 75 players in the last four years, the club is so far excelling.
“With the growth we have had it is clear to see the progress we have made, the recent Women’s World Cup has probably created more interest too,” coach Robin Laing said. 
Bonnyrigg Rose have always tried to do the best for the community and have recently gained their Scottish FA Legacy Award as a result of all the hard work they have done in the community, including continuing to provide a “safe environment for our girls to train and play football”. 
Laing said that he has high hopes for next season and wants to “keep moving our club forward and developing the good reputation we have in our region”.
As for the boys, Bonnyrigg Rose FC has recently reached a significant milestone in the club’s history after receiving the Scottish FA Legacy Award. Bonnyrigg Rose FC compete in the South East Region and as a Community Football (Sports) Club they are always looking to give back to their community, which has played a big role in earning the award.
One of Bonnyrigg’s coaches, Jim Wilson, spoke about what it means to win such a prestigious award: “It was of course important to gain the Legacy Award. However, it made us realise we were actually carrying out community tasks and providing a service to the community without realising it, much of which met the Legacy standards set by the Scottish FA.”
Wilson went on to say, “It brings our club closer involvement with the Scottish FA and their Development officers, who have been very supportive of the work we do. The Legacy Award raises awareness in the community and beyond and formally recognises what we do which will be important going forward in our attempts to gain sponsorship and funding for future development plans.”
In order to gain recognition from the Scottish FA and receive their Legacy Award, clubs have to engage with and benefit their community. Bonnyrigg’s activities include running an after school club, leading the establishment of the New Lasswade Community Hub bringing together all organisations in the Bonnyrigg area and providing secondary school students seeking Princes Trust awards with the opportunity to coach younger children and gain valuable credits towards their award.
Since securing the Legacy Award, the club has noticed increased interest in their youth teams. Although, there is one thing which is holding Rose back from bringing in more players, as Jim explains: “The difficulty we have is our training facilities are at saturation point and we are limited in how many more players we can take into the club.
"For example, our Youth Academy Director now has a waiting list for new four and five year old players as we have had to restrict him to an intake of only 30 players this year. This will however stand us in good stead once our plans for further facilities are in place."
Sunday, 06 December 2015 18:01

Edinburgh City embrace sports science approach

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• Edinburgh City are including sports science methods within their training.
• The Under-20 Lowland League team are using the training techniques, with a view to implementing the system across the club.
• Interviewee: Rob Hart
Football, as a game, is ever-changing and so there always needs to be vision; an idea which defines you uniquely as a club and preserves your place at the top. Whether it is through game-changing nutritional methods, inventive aerobic exercises or revolutionary training practices, coaches are always looking for an extra yard of advantage.
Edinburgh City FC is well and truly a club that aims to stretch boundaries. Rob Hart, sports science expert, has his sights set on taking City to the next level. Despite being a Lowland League club, they certainly do not lack ambition, if you take into consideration how speculative this approach is. Although, the rewards may be enormous.
Hart spoke of his strong personal ambition to introduce sports science into the grassroots game: “During my time studying Sport and Exercise Science at Edinburgh Napier University, I came across academic research, and in this case Sport Science research, that has led to many discoveries on best practices when it comes to developing athletes and coaches based on their needs through sport & healthy lifestyles,” he said.
“It is important to understand these physiological and psychological principles together with the correlation between sport and healthy living.
“There is certainly a need for further support, through sport science programmes at clubs like Edinburgh City FC for their participants, coaches and parents on nurturing healthy lifestyles.”
Hart’s journey through the Edinburgh City system began years ago, when he managed the 2005 age group. He was not satisfied with the then climate of our game at youth level and felt a new approach was required. With the assistance of his fellow coaching staff member, Ross McNamara, he was able to contact the youth section committee regarding his concept, with which they wholeheartedly agreed. 
Since then, Hart has meticulously planned and developed the programmes to be implemented with youth sides, one of them being the club’s under-20s Lowland Development Team, of which he also happens to be manager.
The benefits from sports science will be felt by both players and managers. With the sessions containing enjoyable, unique and educational methods of training, players will see their self-esteem soar and their style of play develop into a free-flowing and enterprising standard. 
Coaches will also see the advantages that come with the strategy, as they will collaborate with Edinburgh Napier University students, sharing their knowledge, ideas and experiences in order to solidify one another’s coaching credentials.
Long-term is the focus at City, as Hart explained. “All players at Edinburgh City FC will have the opportunity to develop in a player centred pathway, built on the needs and demands of those individuals. This will allow them to develop both physically and psychologically through football.” 
“We also aim to create better coaching standards, improve players’ health and fitness levels and create well-rounded footballers within the club.”
He added: “This in itself will encourage all at the club to continue their participation from fun 4s, soccer 7s and 11-a-side to the first team.”
If these risks end up paying off, then it would be fair to say that Edinburgh City would be on the verge of something special.
Sunday, 06 December 2015 17:55

Forty not out for Broxburn as Colts march on

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• Broxburn United celebrate their 40th anniversary this season.
• The West Lothian club are celebrating with a number of events over the course of the next 12 months.
• Interviewee: Marc Hagan
Broxburn United, founded in the 1975/76 season, are celebrating their 40th anniversary in style this year with a host of events to mark the progress they have made so far, and the progress that they will surely make in the years to come. 
Club Secretary Marc Hagan said: “The club was formed in 1975/76 by local volunteers Jimmy Chapman, George Samuel, Bill Simpson and Tom Pegg, through two Scout troops coming together to create Broxburn Colts.
"The club was competing well in local and national competitions under the influence of coaches Willie Kelly and George Samuel, both ex-professionals. In the first full season together, Colts reached the semi-final of the Scottish Cup at under-13 level where they were beaten by a talented Salvesen BC team.
“In the '80s and '90s, the club had started to introduce more teams, with five or six operating under the Colts banner,” Hagan said. “However we felt with an expanding community, the club could be serving more children who wanted to play football locally. In 1999, with the support of volunteers, we established a plan to take the club forward into the new millennium.”
He added: “Throughout the new millennium we have created a huge community spirit and our numbers have now increased to 30 teams playing football. The club was instrumental in the formation of Broxburn United Sports Club – an amalgamation of local clubs coming together to create a community sports club.
"Today the Colts base themselves at Albyn Park, Broxburn, alongside our colleagues Broxburn Athletic Juniors and Broxburn Amateur Boxing Club. The facilities we share today include an astroturf pitch, five grass parks, a ten-team changing area, a community room, boardroom, cafeteria and a boxing club. The investment by the local authority and other government agencies has been hugely beneficial to the Colts and the community.”
Hagan also explained that the club has helped to develop many players who have reached the professional and junior level of the game. “A few of our youth team coaches are ex-Broxburn Athletic Junior players who enjoy working with the young players and look to enhance player development. The experience that they bring to the club is hugely beneficial.
"James McDonagh played with the club and has now become assistant manager at Falkirk. He learned some of his coaching techniques at the club under the guidance of our former community coach, Joe Craig (Celtic).”
Broxburn United have already held their annual tournament for soccer 7s teams in June and 11s in August, but are planning further events throughout the season. “We have planned for a Girls event in February 2016 where we hope to have girls’ teams from under-9 to under-15s playing,” Hagan said. “We also plan to hold a celebration for the 40 years within Albyn Park at the end of the 2015/16 season.”
Having reached their 40th anniversary, the club still have ambitions for the future, says Hagan. “We are looking to develop greater engagement with the local community and business, and to continue further development of coaches education on playing the game and child protection.
“We want to introduce more young players to football at the club and give them more off-field experiences. We’re holding our second annual Christmas end-of-season event for boys and girls playing 7s, and will be holding the first whole club end-of-season awards ceremony in 2016.”
With such an incredible history, it certainly looks as though their 40th season will be an exciting one for Broxburn United.
Saturday, 05 December 2015 18:12

Scottish Lowland Football U20 League mid-season review

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After an eventful few months of action, the Under-20 Scottish Lowland Football League has reached its mid-season milestone.
With the senior side into the fourth round of the Scottish Cup after an impressive surprise victory over SPFL League One's Stenhousemuir, East Kilbride's young charges are also doing the club proud leading the league table on 17 points with eight games played.
This gives them a slender one point advantage over Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale. The Saughton side have a game in hand over their West of Scotland title rivals.
East Kilbride's success has been built on a rock-solid defence, which has conceded just 12 times. At the other yet, they have netted on only 19 occasions, significantly less than a number of mid-table outfits. Although clearly not free-scoring, East Kilbride have found a way to grind out narrow results like no other team in the division.
However, the title race remains wide open. Both Spartans and BSC Glasgow are also on 16 points, having played nine and seven games respectively. Whitehill Welfare and Edinburgh University are not far behind on 14 points after eight matches.
At the other end of the table, Edinburgh City have just one point to their name with half of the season remaining. The capital side have been unable to emulate the scintillating form of their senior eleven who, after romping home to the Scottish Sun Lowland Football League last campaign, are once again out in front at the league summit with Christmas fast approaching.
Civil Service Strollers, Cumbernauld Colts and Heriot-Watt University also look set to be part of the inevitable relegation dogfight. For Colts, however, there may be an escape as they have only played six matches so far.
As for the League Cup Preliminary Stages, it has been a somewhat similar story. In Section A, Lothian Thistle HV and East Kilbride finished joint top on nine points, with Edinburgh City languishing at the foot within a win or draw after four head-to-heads. In Section B, BSC Glasgow came out on top, finishing three points ahead of Cumbernauld Colts in second place.
Under-20 League Cup Preliminary Stage League Section A
TEAM                                  POINTS
Lothian Thistle HV             9
East Kilbride                          9
Whitehill Welfare               7
Civil Service Strollers       4
Edinburgh City                     0
Under-20 League Cup Preliminary Stage League Section B
TEAM                                  POINTS
BSC Glasgow                    10
Cumbernauld Colts         7
Spartans                                 4
EduSport Academy          4
Preston Athletic                 3
Under-20 League
TEAM                                       POINTS
East Kilbride                                 17
Lothian Thistle HV                    16
Spartans                                          16
BSC Glasgow                                 16
Whitehill Welfare                        14
Edinburgh University                 14
Preston Athletic                            13
EduSport Academy                      10
Heriot-Watt University               7
Cumbernauld Colts                      5
Civil Service Strollers                  4
Edinburgh City                                1        
Wednesday, 02 December 2015 22:00

Peebles out but not down

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Peebles U13's crashed out of the SYFA Youth Cup on Saturday, but will take plenty of positives from their run to round four of the national competition. They were the last remaining Borders based side, making it to the final 32.
Manager Kevin Ryalls was philosophical about his team’s 3-1 loss to Lewis United. He said: “They were a good team. We actually got off to a good start and knocked the ball about. But to be fair they were very fast, took control and scored a goal.
“But our goalie was phenomenal and kept it down. It was 2-0 at half time but could have been more. The last ten minutes was quite even and we got a goal back and hit the post. We could have got back into it but that would have been harsh on them as they were very good.”
Despite the disappointment of not going one further, being one of the final 32 in the country is no mean feat. Ryalls and his team are aware of what they have achieved. He attributes it to the togetherness and positive attitude of his squad.
“We have a good team spirit. There have been a couple of games where we have had to defend strongly, including Claremont in the last round. We pulled together and were brave. That is something we talk to them a lot about – the value of team spirit, learning from mistakes, being disciplined and that the team is more important.
“We will take confidence from this. They were gutted after the game, which is a good sign. But at training last night we had a chat about how good they have been. They have got to be really proud. In a competition like the Scottish Cup you are going to come up against good teams, but we’ve done well.”
Peebles are currently mid table in the South East Region Division Two, and they will now be able to turn their attentions to league affairs. They are also still in three cup competitions. Ryalls added: “We want to compete in every game and learn as we go along.
“They are young lads and they have got to learn about themselves as individuals as well as learning about working as a team.”
The Borderers will look to bounce back with an away league fixture against Edina Hibs this Sunday. Edina sit two places and four points behind them in the table.

Fixture: Hutchison Vale v North Merchiston U17
Competition: South East Region YFL U17 Division 1
Venue: Meggetland 3G
Date: Saturday 28th November 2015
Hutchison Vale 17s were ruthless in front of goal as they brushed North Merchiston aside 9-0 at Meggetland.
The game was goalless up to the half hour mark after some stern resistance and a dogged attitude from Merchie, but eventually Hutchie broke the deadlock as Callum Mackie popped up in the box to head home a brilliantly whipped in cross. It was soon 2-0 as Harry Pullar tucked away his penalty into
The bottom corner.
Hutchie found two more before the break to put themselves in a good position. Liam Willis hit the net with a header in the box  minutes before he grabbed another with a composed finish 6 yards out.
Half Time: Hutchison Vale 4-0 North Merchiston
After the break, Merchie had keeper Ciaran Pugh to thank as he kept Hutchie at bay on at least half a dozen occasions, but it wasn’t long before the goals inevitably continued to flow.
Callum Fitzpatrick added Hutchie's 5th goal with a spectacular volley from outside the box that rocketed into the roof of the net.
Substitute Jamie Watson then managed to bag himself a ten minute hat-trick with three excellent finishes.
The scoring was rounded off as Ross Watters got on the end of a lovely through ball to finish well under the keeper.
Full Time: Hutchison Vale 9-0 North Merchiston
Wednesday, 02 December 2015 10:07

Dunbar back to winning ways over City Reds

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Fixture: Dunbar United Colts v Edinburgh City Reds U14's
Competition: South East Region YFL U14 Division 2
Venue: Hallhill, Dunbar
Date: Sunday 22nd November 2015
Dunbar United Colts returned to league action for the first time since the 25th of October defeat at home to Peebles.  They were in a poor run of form having suffered four consecutive defeats for the first time in over a year, being knocked out of the Scottish Cup, SE Region Cup and Willie Bauld Memorial Cup as well as the narrow 2-1 reversal to the Tweeddale team. 
The players gathered and resources were depleted with Brunton a late call-off.  Mclean was already out ill while defensive cover looked light with Kielty and Hall off to Glasgow to take in some badminton.  So, with only 13 players available, Dunbar were forced to field Smillie at centre half and Knox was given a start despite not fully recovered from a calf strain that saw him miss the previous two games.
Edinburgh City Reds were the visitors, a team that had come up with Dunbar United Colts from the 3rd Division last season.  Dunbar had also enjoyed home and away success in the league against the Capital side. 
Dunbar kicked off and it was obvious from the opening exchanges that they were keen to return to winning ways.  Indeed, such was the positive start that Dunbar made, they were able to string more passes together in the opening 5 minutes than they had managed in the two previous weeks.  Foggo, Knox and Twist were at the heart of the good passing on display.
As well as enjoying the lion’s share of possession, they looked the likelier team to open the scoring.  Kinghorn found some space down the left and he tested the pace of his marker, leaving him in his wake before delivering a great ball in to Dixon who could only put the ball wide.
In terms of passing, this was night and day when comparing the disappointing defeat at home to Spartans Colts last week to the touches on display here.  Or in literary terms, the team appeared to don the strips with Dr. Jekyll on the back with Mr Hyde banished to the reserves.  
The next move saw Dixon again spurn a golden opportunity, as he headed a free kick wide as Dunbar looked keen to mark their possession with a goal.  Their patience and play was rewarded when Dixon stormed into the box – his effort was saved but the ball rebounded to the edge of the box where Twist was lurking.  He controlled then shot high into the net for only his second goal of the season but a really classy finish.
Renton and Kinghorn were enjoying a lot of the ball and Renton was next to stretch the defence.  His run from the half way line and cross into the box saw the defender nod narrowly over and concede a corner.  From the corner, Kinghorn and Renton combined in a great short corner move.  Renton swung in a ball from a different angle and Dixon’s volley was smashed off the underside of the bar.  The home side appealed that the ball had crossed the line but the referee waved play on and the ball was cleared. 
It wasn’t all one-way traffic and with Dunbar getting a little bit too excited in attack, they were grateful to keeper Purves who stood tall when faced with a 1 v 1 with the opposition striker surely favourite to score.  Purves was tested in similar fashion just moments later and again emerged the victor in a personal battle with the opposition striker.
The next move saw Dixon rugby tackled to the ground, giving the referee one of the easier decisions he had to make.  With Kielty blasting the penalty over last weekend, Dixon dusted himself down and decided to take the spot kick himself.  He was very sympathetic to the keeper and he tamely struck the ball down the middle to a grateful keeper who had not even bothered to move.
Would Dunbar be forced to pay for so many spurned opportunities?  It certainly was beginning to look that way with the City team slowly creeping into the game.  Smillie was a rock in his first outing at centre half and he was brave in the challenge on several occasions.  Ford, Pickles and Hood were also outstanding in the tackle and quick to breakdown any threat.
With half time nearing, Edinburgh City Reds were awarded a corner – it was headed clear by Ford but the away team midfielder controlled and curled in a great effort to level the scores. 
Half Time: Dunbar United Colts 1-1 Edinburgh City Reds
The second half half kicked off with Dunbar again on top.  They spent the first 10 minutes camped in the opposition half, with a slight change in formation.  Knox was tiring in the engine room so was moved up top, with Dixon slipping into the midfield. 
Dunbar won a corner early in the second half and again were denied by the woodwork.  Another short corner routine saw a Foggo delivery placed on top of Hood’s head and with the keeper beaten, his effort came crashing back off the bar. 
Renton also looked like scoring as he raced through on goal but dragged his effort wide. 
Dunbar made some changes as tired legs were evident with Sutherland and Jones on the park.  They both looked up for the challenge with Jones slotting in at left back and winning every challenge he faced while Sutherland turned in the sort of performance that has been missing for a few weeks. 
Despite all the possession, Edinburgh City Reds strolled up the park and with the ball bouncing in the box, the striker poked the ball past Purves to take a 2-1 lead. 
Crucially, Dunbar were level within 30 seconds of the restart.  Renton was the tormentor and creator down the right as he out foxed his marker and placed a perfect pass into the path of Kinghorn who timed his run at the back post to perfection and crashed home from close range. 
Dunbar were up for closing this out but again would spurn several opportunities – Knox ran his heart out all day but was denied a goal on several occasion with a little bit of game time composure the missing ingredient.
Kinghorn and Renton combined for Dunbar to regain the lead.  Kinghorn struck a shot from outside the box; the GK pushed the ball on to the bar and with the City Reds team napping Renton patiently waited for the ball to fall before volleying into the empty net.
The points were safe when Dunbar were awarded their second penalty of the game.  On this occasion Renton was crudely brought to a halt.  He showed Kielty and Dixon the way as he stroked the ball into the bottom corner to secure the points for the home team. 
Full Time: Dunbar United Colts 4-2 Edinburgh City Reds
A great team performance for Dunbar with Smillie emerging as the star player.  He had never played at centre half before but clearly modelled his game on Mike Smalling, winning every header and tackle that came his way. Did I say Mike? I meant Chris.

Fixture: Redhall Star YFC v Livingston FCBC U16
Competition: South East Region YFL U16 Division 2
Venue: Meggetland 3G
Date: Sunday 29th November 2015
Redhall Star were held to a 1-1 with Livingston FCBC at Meggetland. The visitors took the lead with a vicious shot which home keeper Ryan Green got a hand to but couldn't keep it out. Redhall levelled the match early in the second half as Antony Little got on the end of Calum Henderson's corner. Redhall created many chances with the Livingston keeper denying the Redhall forwards on numerous occasions in the second half. Livingston will be happy with a point but the home side will feel this was a chance missed to reduce the gap at the top.

The lights were on at Meggetland for this clash between 5th placed Redhall Star and leaders Livingston FCBC. Thankfully the rain had relented as Livingston got the game underway. first chance fell to Redhall as a Jack Anderson free kick was met by the head of Sam Donachie, but his effort was wide of the target. The home side continued to attack with Josh Slow-clayton setting up Antony Little but his shot was pushed into the path of Donachie was onto the rebound in a flash and smashed the ball towards goal but the Livingston keeper was back on his feet to block the effort for a corner. Slow-clayton fired in the corner which was cleared by the Livingston defence.

Redhall continued to press the visitors back with Anderson feeding a ball through to Donachie but again he was to be denied by the keeper. Little forced his way down the right side winning a free kick which was fired in by Slow-clayton. Donachie and Little both threw themselves at the ball but failed to connect with the ball and it fizzled out for a goal kick.

The home side were well on top but it was Livingston who took the lead. A foul was committed by Grant Doyle with the resulting free kick thrown into the Redhall area. Ewan Mitchell headed clear with Calum Henderson helping it further but the ball was picked up 30 yards from goal. Redhall didn't press and the Livingston lad fired in a vicious shot from 25 yards. Home keeper Ryan Green got a hand to the shot but couldn't keep it out as the ball flew into the net. League leaders in front, with their first shot at goal but Green will be disappointed he didn't keep it out despite the quality of the strike.

A free kick on the edge of the Livingston area was fired wide by Slow-clayton as Redhall chased to get back in the game. A Henderson free kick was put behind for another home corner as the pressure mounted. Donachie and Slow-clayton combined well to set up Little who fired towards goal from 20 yards but the keeper saved well.

Half Time: Redhall Star YFC 0-1 Livingston FCBC

Redhall got the second half underway and were straight on the attack as Tommy Hendry burst in from the left. His shot towards goal took a deflection which helped out the keeper as he saved easily. Thomas Steedman, in the middle of the park, combined with Anderson who sent Donachie free down the right. Donachie skipped past his man and fired a great cross across the box. Little and Hendry were inches from getting a touch to put the ball in the net.

Livingston had a rare attack which was well defended by Marc Hannah and Green cleared to safety. The tackles were getting fierce as a Livingston lad picked up the first yellow of the game for a clip of heels. From the free kick Donachie was off down the right. Square ball to Slow-clayton who played in Hendry. The keeper advanced from his line and made a fine save from Hendry's shot. Slow-clayton and Hendry combined again with Little on the end of the pass but his shot was just wide of the target.

The pressure eventually paid off as Redhall levelled. Steedman drove forward from midfield, past one, then another with his final ball into the box blocked which resulted in a corner. Henderson swung in the corner which fell nicely for Little who fired home from 8 yards to level the scores. No more than Redhall deserved. 

Redhall, buoyed from the leveller, almost went in front a minute later as the ball was won by Anderson in midfield. Little picked the ball up, turned and drove towards goal. Skipping past his marker he was in on goal. Little gave the keeper the eyes but his shot was well saved to prevent Redhall taking the lead. A great chance.

As the rain started to hammer down tempers started to flare as the intensity of the tackles increased. Neither team wanted to lose but who would be brave enough to grab the three points. Henderson picked up a yellow card for a late tackle. Livingston fired the free kick towards goal but the ball sailed out the park. Hannah clashed with Livingston lad not once but twice and referee Gordon had to speak to both players. Another Livingston free kick sailed out the park, not troubling the Redhall backline.

Redhall introduced Adam Shortiss for Hendry and Robbie Campbell for Slow-clayton. Shortiss was lively down the left as he crossed into the Livingston box. Donachie was on the end of the cross but shot tamely as the keeper gathered. Redhall had a claim for a penalty as a good run had Campbell into the area. There was a clip of heels but Campbell tried to stay on his feet with the referee indicating a goal kick much to the disbelief of the Redhall touchline. 

As we entered the final 10 minutes a through ball had Donachie chasing it down. Keeper came out, with leg raised, and clearly caught Donachie. Screams of penalty from the home touchline with Livingston claiming a punch from Donachie. A contentious moment as referee Gordon stopped the play. He was surrounded by players from both sides but what was the decision to be? Is it a penalty? Free kick? What has he given? Nothing was the verdict, but at the same time behind the referees back, Redhall's Hannah and the Livingston number 77 swapped handbags as other players got involved to pull them apart.

The final few minutes was littered with petty fouls as neither team really created a chance to claim the points. In the end the points were shared with the only winners being the other challengers in the league who would be happy at the draw.

Full Time: Redhall Star YFC 1-1 Livingston FCBC

Redhall will feel they should have claimed the points but yet again not being clinical in the final third has cost them. This was a good battle between two good sides and both are sure to feature in what is turning out to be a fantastic battle at the top of division 2. There will be many twists and turns before this league is decided.