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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.
 
 

 
Fixture: Edinburgh City v Peebles FC U16
Competition: South East Region YFL U16's Division 3
Venue: Forrester High School 3G
Date: Sunday 22nd November 2015
 
Edinburgh City U16's were back in league action after a run of cup games in recent weeks. Peebles were the visitors to Forrester High School as the home side were looking to keep up their 100% league record.
 
City started the game slowly and found themselves a goal down after only 10 minutes. Credit to Peebles however as the hit City on the counter attack, and a well-timed through ball seen the Peebles striker beat City goalkeeper Dean Shearsby to the ball to knock it home. 1-0 to the borderers.
 
Going a goal down sparked City in to life with Aidan Lawson and Jamie Black taking a hold of the game in the midfield. Robbie Telfer was seeing plenty of the ball as City pressed for the equaliser. It was a moment of brilliance that seen City equalise. Jamie Black passed the ball in to Alistair Hogg, and Hogg then turned his marker and struck a shot in to the top right hand corner from 25 yards out. A spectacular way to level the scores.
 
Moments later City were in the lead as Robbie Telfer picked up the loose ball from a poor clearance and on the half volley seen his shot fly past the Peebles goalkeeper to dip right just under the crossbar.

Half Time: Edinburgh City 2-1 Peebles FC

In to the second half and City picked up where they left off in the first half by, on the attack. Wallace Jennings won a corner on the left, and a great delivery from Robbie Telfer found defender Ross Loudon. Unmarked, he bulleted his header towards goal, and it was superbly saved by the goalkeeper but Loudon was first to react to knock the ball over the line to put City 3-1 up.
 
Changes were made by the home side as Patterson Marfo and new signing Jason Whitehead entered the fray. Jason is no stranger to Edinburgh City having played at the club for 3 season before a prior to a brief spell with North Merchiston. Whitehead was straight in to the action as he burst clear of the Peebles defence, and his shot beat the goalkeeper but was then cleared off the line superbly well by the retreating defender.
 
City went 4-1 up with an excellently worked team goal. Jason Whitehead broke down the right hand side before playing in Aidan Lawson who burst in to the box. Defenders couldn't make a challenge with the pace of Lawson beating them all, and Patterson Marfo was on hand to finish high into the net from Lawson's cut back.
 
Panashe Lifa & Kieran Ross then both came on for City before Captain fantastic Aidan Lawson wrapped things up for City with 10 minutes remaining. Left back Chris Bennett was fouled just inside the Peebles half, and he took the free kick himself. It was a delightful free kick as he picked out the run of Lawson, who found himself unmarked in the penalty area. He then turned superbly to create space for the shot, and a brilliant composed finish gave the Peebles keeper no chance, to give City a 5-1 victory and a deserved 3 points.

Full Time: Edinburgh City 5-1 Peebles FC
 
City keep their 100% league record intact as they go in hunt of league leaders Penicuik Athletic who sit 4 points in front, but City have 3 games in hand.
 
 
Frustrated with the lack of all-weather football facilities in their town, Peebles FC are pushing the powers that be to drive forward plans to construct a new 3G pitch facility at Victoria Park.
 
A controversial planning application which has split local opinion has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council seeking permission to build a synthetic sports pitch with changing facilities, floodlights and car parking on the greenfield site. 
 
The debate in Peebles is just the latest battle in a long-standing struggle replicated all across Scotland for several years. Compared to similar-sized nations with similar climates, especially in Scandinavia, Scotland has a severe lack of high-quality all-weather outdoor and indoor football facilities for community use in winter. 
 
According to Peebles FC, the need for such a facility is urgent. Last weekend, all youth football matches in the town were cancelled for the third week running after every single grass pitch (alongside Peebles' only synthetic surface) was deemed unplayable due to frost and flooding.
 
The club argues that a 3G surface at Victoria Park would be transformational for sport in the town, enabling competitive matches to be played on a consistent, safe and quality surface throughout the Scottish winter, come rain or shine.
 
They say that 350 registers players, over 70 coaches and volunteers, 13 separate age groups, eight 11-a-side teams and four 7-a-side teams will benefit. Through social media, officials have step up efforts to rally the troops to express their support for this "necessity".
 
However, not everyone in Peebles agrees. A debate is raging locally with opponents of the plans stepping up their fight against the proposals. The Save Victoria Park campaign group's peition calling on Scottish Borders Council to block the development has amassed almost 1,700 signatures in a matter of weeks.
 
In response, supporters of the idea have recently arranged their own peition on change.org, demanding that "if there is no other viable site", the local authority press ahead with the Victoria Park blueprint. James Swann, the petition's originator, said: "As everyone is aware there is a debate regarding a 3G pitch being built at Victoria Park. There has been a petition for those against this scenario. This gives the people in the community who are for a 3G pitch the opportunity to have their opinion heard. 
 
"This petition also, however, extends to the people against the 3G pitch at Victoria Park.  If there is no other viable site, then as a last resort would you rather have a 3G pitch at the aforementioned site or none at all?"
 
Swann's counter-petition, at the time of writing, has secured over 650 signatures in just six days. There is clearly significant and passionate feeling in Peebles on both sides of the debate. Signatory David Davidson said: "Really important for the development of potential talent in Peebles. All for it."
 
Fellow supporter and local player Cameron Jarvie made a passionate plea for councillors and citizens to throw their weight behind the plans: "I'm sick of playing in puddles or games getting cancelled because of poor weather. Also, Peebles loses a lot of young talent because of this lack of decent facilities, I have suffered this first hand throughout my time in Peebles and my team (under 19s) now face folding for the second time in two years, because no one wants to play or train in horrible conditions like what we have.
 
"It's not just my year that have faced losing their players. Each and every year has had this happen and as a club we aren't progressing. However, this 3G gives us the chance to equal the facilities of that in Edinburgh and maybe a hope of not losing young talent. Getting this facility would mean a step in the right direction.
 
He added: "Those who oppose this can't see the massive benefits of having this facility and what it would mean to the hundreds of kids and adults who are part of the set up in Peebles. Peebles has to keep up with modern times and not stay in the Stone Age of games getting cancelled in winter."
 
Opponents, however, believe that other sites should be explored and the natural heritage of Victoria Park preserved for future generations and not, as they see it, blighted by an intrusive development.
 
They have also called in legal experts with experience of contesting attempts to build on normally protected greenfield sites. Save Victoria Park's Frances Mordaunt said: "If Scottish Borders Council won't stop this development voluntarily, we will have to take a court action."
 
The matter is complicated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of the land which now makes up Victoria Park was bequeathed to the town of Peebles by Sir John Adam Hay in 1888 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, allegedly on the condition that the land should be held in the common good and never been built upon. It is currently unclear whether the land on which developers wish to construct the 3G facility is similarly protected.
 
Graeme Murray of Peebles Civic Society, which opposes the proposals, said: "There are alternatives sites for a 3G pitch, we just hope Scottish Borders Council starts listening to the people of Peebles."
 
In Peebles, the big debate continues to rage and, for both sides, the fight goes on. 

 
Fixture: Redhall Star YFC v Gala Fairydean Rovers U16
Competition: South East Region YFL U16's Division 2
Venue: Meggetland 3G
Date: Sunday 22nd November 2015
 
Redhall Star returned to their winter home of Meggetland and won the three points thanks to a second half strike from Antony Little to edge out Gala Fairydean Rovers 1-0 and keep in touch with the pack at the top of SERYFA Division 2. 

Gala Fairydean Rovers, winners of the 3rd division last season, got the game underway but it was Redhall who burst forward and almost took an early lead. Tommy Hendry won a corner down the right hand side which was swung in by Calum Henderson. Up went Sam Donachie but his bullet header thumped off the crossbar.
Donachie was soon back involved in the action as a free kick from Henderson ended up in the Gala box but Donachie just couldn't get a strong connection on the ball. Redhall did have the ball in the net with a lovely finish from Tommy Hendry but he was adjudged to be offside.

Redhall continued to press for the opener, and a great ball from Josh Slow-clayton put Donachie clear of the Gala backline, and as the keeper came rushing off of his goalline, Donachie looking to loop the ball over him but he couldn't get the accuracy he wanted as his effort flew wide of the goal.
Slow-clayton then had a great chance to open the scoring as he turned two Gala defenders from Antony Little's pass, but instead of taking care of the shot Slow-clayton attempted to burst the net which he failed to do as the ball was sliced well wide. 

The home side continued to push forward with Donachie through on goal but the ball wouldn't come down for him and his effort was off target. Gala were not creating much but they were dogged in the tackle and pressed as high up the park as they could to try and unsettle the home side. Redhall's Marc Hannah picked up a yellow card for something he said to a Gala lad and this created an edge to the game as the tackles were raised a level. Redhall made two changes at this stage with Robbie Campbell and Lewis Blues being replaced in the middle of the park by Jack Anderson and Thomas Steedman, making his debut.

Little and Hendry switched wings and this instantly brought a chance for Redhall. Little burst past a couple of challenges and headed for the goal. His shot had power but the ball flew over the bar when maybe the better option was to pass inside. Another chance had Hendry just failing to connect at the back post.

Gala, on a rare attack, fired in a shot from the edge of the area which Ryan Green saved at full length to divert the ball behind for a corner. A superb save to prevent Gala from taking a surprising lead. The corner then came to nothing as Redhall cleared the danger. A warning for the home side.

Half Time: Redhall Star YFC 0-0 Gala Fairydean Rovers

As the temperature dropped Redhall got the second half underway after some strong words at half time and were on the front foot straight away. Hendry burst down the left and fired in a cross which fell for Slow-clayton but his effort was blocked. Hendry was causing Gala major problems down the flanks, and this time he burst clear on the left side and drove towards goal. He cut inside, and his shot beat the keeper, but clipped the outside of the post and trundled out of play. So close.

Grant Doyle and Steedman combined well down the right side as Steedman produced a cross from the byline but there were no takers in the middle for Redhall. Little was next to have a run and shot which the keeper put behind for a corner. Henderson fired in the corner which Hannah met in the box but headed over. That will be a nosebleed for Hannah being that far forward!

Adam Shortiss, match winner from last week, replaced Hendry as the home side looked to break the deadlock. Shortiss looked in the mood and had a shot blocked seconds after coming on, then headed over the bar from a corner.
The pressure from Redhall was mounting, and from the next attack, they eventually took the lead as Doyle passed inside to Slow-clayton, who turned his man excellently, playing a ball in behind the defence. Little outfought his marker to fire low under the keeper to give Redhall a deserved lead. This was Little's first goal for the club.

It was almost a second for the home side as Steedman ran from half way and fired in a thunderous shot which the Gala keeper did well to turn over the bar. From the resulting corner the ball broke to the edge of the box where Steedman fired towards goal but the keeper got down well to save to prevent Redhall from doubling their lead.

Redhall's Anderson was cautioned for a foul, 25 yards from goal, as Gala had a rare attack. Green did well to tip the ball over the bar from the resulting free kick. From that, the corner into the box caused havoc for the Redhall defenders, but somehow they managed to clear the danger.
Little picked up a knock and was replaced by Nathan Robertson just before Steedman went off on another run down the right side and this time won a corner. Henderson’s corner worked its way to Campbell, who had replaced Slow-clayton, but he somehow fired over the bar from a yard out.

Gala won a free kick after a challenge from Doyle, but the Gala player receiving the yellow card from referee Bathgate for trying to get Doyle booked himself. The free kick was hit into the box but evaded everyone and sailed out for a goal kick, much to the relief of Redhall Star.

Full Time: Redhall Star YFC 1-0 Gala Fairydean Rovers

Not the greatest game and would say an ugly win for Redhall. Creating many chances but just not taking them. Gala were dogged and had great desire. Ewan Mitchell held the home backline well and Redhall did defend well as a team but need to be finishing the chances at the other end.
 
 

 
Fixture: Gala Fairydean Rovers v Edinburgh City U16
Competition: Jackie Faichney Memorial Cup - 3rd Round
Venue: Netherdale 3G, Galashiels
Date: Sunday 15th November 2015
 
After having 2 weeks without a game, Edinburgh City travelled to the Borders as they met Gala Fairydean Rovers in the 3rd round of the Jackie Faichney Memorial Cup. Despite the torrential rain, the game survived thanks to the excellent 3G playing surface. Before kick off a minute’s silence was held following the tragic events in Paris which was impeccably observed by teams.
 
The opening stages of the game was very even with neither side able to find any real openings. Robbie Telfer’s free kick was saved by the Gala goalkeeper before the same player’s corner evaded both Ryan Foggo and Ross Loudon inside the 6 yard box just minutes later.
 
City were just beginning to settle and getting to grips with the game when the home side took the lead. Goalkeeper Arron Webster cleared a back pass which unfortunately landed at the feet of the Gala midfielder. His shot from the edge of the area took a wicked deflection off of Foggo, sending the helpless Webster completely the wrong way.
 
City's reaction to going behind was excellent and equalised almost immediately. Alistair Hogg had a half chance but couldn’t get his shot on target. Wallace Jennings then chased down the loose ball and forced the Gala defence in to an error. Jennings cross found Hogg in the penalty area, and his shot could only be parried by the goalkeeper and it crossed the line to give City a deserved equaliser, despite the best efforts of the Gala defender on the line.

Half Time: Gala Fairydean Rovers 1-1 Edinburgh City

The second half performance from City was superb from start to finish, and they took the lead for the first time in the match only 2 minutes into the second period. A lovely through ball from Foggo was controlled first time by Hogg, and with a sublime touch on the edge of the area and he swivelled and shot on the half volley finding the top corner. An excellent finish from the young striker.
 
City were seeing more of the ball but Gala were far from out of this and only an excellent save from Webster kept City in the game when the Gala striker looked certain to score. The visitors were looking for the third goal and it duly arrived as midfield maestro Jamie Black combined well with Chris Bennett who then found captain Aidan Lawson in the centre. Lawson picked out Patterson Marfo with a pin point pass, and the big striker turned superbly and finished with a low drive into the bottom corner.
 
Although City were 3-1 up Gala it was Webster again that prevented Gala from making it a very interesting final 10 minutes. A free kick just outside the area looked destined for the back of the net, but somehow Webster managed to get fingertips to the ball and tipping it on to the cross bar in the process, before Deans cleared to safety.
 
City secured their place in the next round when Telfer picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box, spotted the goalkeeper off his line, and delightfully chipped the goalkeeper to put City 4-1 up and complete a superb result, considering Gala are in the division above.
 
Full Time: Gala Fairydean Rovers 1-4 Edinburgh City
 
 

 
Fixture: Spartans Reds v Redhall Star YFC U16's
Competition: Colin Greenhill Memorial Trophy
Venue: Spartans Academy
Date: Sunday 15th November 2015
 
Redhall Star advanced to the quarter finals of the Colin Greenhill Memorial Trophy with a hard fought 2-1 win over Spartans Reds at Ainslie Park. After a tight first half with the game goal less, Redhall took the lead in the second half throguh Tommy Hendry. Spartans levelled from the penaly spot, but Adam Shortiss grabbed the winner for Redhall 5 minutes from time.

Spartans Reds have been a bit of a bogey team for Redhall in recent times, and this was clearly visible in the opening exchanges as Redhall looked nervous as passes were misplaced and touches were heavy. The first effort in the match was a strike from distance from a Spartans player, but if flew well wide of the Redhall goal.

Redhall settled into the game and forced the Spartans keeper into a fine save from a fierce shot from Sam Donachie. From the resulting corner Adam Robertson rose highest but headed the ball over the bar. Soon after, Redhall were forced into an early change as Robertson suffered a recurrence of a back injury. Jack Anderson replaced the stricken Robertson with Cammy Grant dropping into the back line, and Anderson slotting into midfield.

Tommy Hendry was causing Spartans major problems down the right side with his pace and trickery, and almost broke the deadlock when he fired a fierce shot inches wide of the target, with the keeper well beaten. The visitors were limiting Spartans to shots from distance, which were causing Ryan Green no problems.
 
Half an hour into the game, Redhall almost took the lead. Sam Donachie took the ball past 3 Spartans players with ease on the edge of the penalty area, dinked a delightful ball into the path of Nathan Robertson, 8 yards out, but instead of hitting it first time he took a heavy touch allowing the Spartans keeper  to pounce on the loose ball. Redhall gaffer Jimmy MacCusker tearing his hair out. Well, if he actually had any to tear out he would of done so.

Approaching half time and Spartans almost snatched the lead. After a fine run from their forward, he managed to evade the challenges of Mitchell and Grant, but as he faced a 1-on-1 with keeper Green, he screwed his shot well wide of goal.

Half Time: Spartans Reds 0-0 Redhall Star YFC

Spartans got the second half underway, but it was Redhall with the first chance of the half, however Josh Slow-clayton couldn't get the ball past the Spartans centre half as the shot was blocked. Hendry and Slow-clayton then combined down the right with a final pass into the feet of Robertson, but his lay off to the edge of the box was cleared.

Changes were made by Redhall with Lewis Blues replacing Robbie Campbell and Adam Shortiss replacing Robertson. Shortiss took up the wide left position with Donachie leading the line on his own. The deadlock was almost broken shortly after as Shortiss picked up the ball in midfield and drove at the Spartans defence. He cut inside on his stronger right foot and unleashed a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards had the keeper scrambling to deflect the ball wide for a corner, which then came to nothing.

Redhall's keeper Ryan Green was called into action with a fine stop after the Spartans forward burst clear from Ewan Mitchell and Grant. The shot was well blocked and then cleared by Mitchell. A Good chance for the home side to break the deadlock, but well saved by Green.
 
From the next attack, Redhall eventually took the lead. Slow-clayton and Hendry combined again on the right with Hendry bursting forward past two challenges as he hit the byline. Everybody thought the ball was about to roll out of play, but somehow he managed to keep the ball in play, and his superb cutback towards goal took a deflection off of the Spartans defender as the ball nestled in the corner of the net, and Redhall had a deserved lead.

Another change by Redhall had Grant Doyle replacing Grant with Hannah moving into the centre of the defence. Redhall were looking for a second goal as Shortiss and Hendry were causing havoc for the Spartans full backs. Another run from Hendry had him driving a ball across the box. Shortiss arrived at the back post but somehow managed to put the ball wide of the target.

The home side were under the cosh and another run from the superb Tommy Hendry ended with a dangerous ball into the area. Like a repeat of the earlier chance it was Shortiss at the back post but again he completely fluffed the shot, and effectively cleared the ball to safety. 2 chances in as many minutes could of killed the game.

With Redhall only being 1 goal ahead, Spartans were always still in the tie and Redhall received a reminder of this when the Spartans forward burst clear of the visiting defence, latching onto a long ball. However, the strikers heavy touch allowed Green to rush from his goal to clear.
 
Spartans were then awarded a chance to level the game as Hannah was penalised for a challenge in the area, with the referee pointing to the spot. It looked a very harsh decision as no Spartans player claimed for it and from my position I thought the referee had awarded a goal kick. Complaints from Redhall were brushed aside by the official who had words with Hannah. The Spartans number 7 player hit the penalty to Green's left and despite the keeper getting a hand to the spot kick the ball hit the back of the net to tie the score at 1-1.

Spartans got a lift from the leveller and poured forward for the winner. A succession of corners were dealt with by Green, Donachie and Mitchell as Redhall survived the Spartans pressure. Both teams were going for it as extra time loomed.

As we entered the closing stages Redhall took the lead. Slow-clayton had won a corner which was headed well clear by the Spartans defender. Grant instantly controlled the ball and fed Hendry. Another run and burst into the box ended with Hendry firing towards goal. The Spartans keeper did well to save Hendry's fierce shot, but the alert Shortiss was on hand at the back post, and it was third time lucky for him at the back post as he slotted the ball calmly into the back of the net to send Redhall Star into the quarter finals of the Colin Greenhill Memorial Trophy.
 
Lorenzo Parente replaced Slow-clayton with Donachie heading into the back line to shore things up. Spartans attempted to get the ball forward but the Redhall defence held firm.

Full Time: Spartans Reds 1-2 Redhall Star YFC

Not a great performance from Redhall, but the boys dug in and showed plenty of spirit in securing the win. Hendry was in superb form with Hannah outstanding at the back for Redhall. Credit to both sides for a decent cup tie played under the lights at Spartans Academy.
 
Man of the match: Tommy Hendry
 
 

 
Fixture: Newtongrange Star YDA v Longniddry Villa Blues
Competition: South East Region YFL U13's Division 4
Venue: Dalkeith
Date: Sunday 8th November 2015
 
Longniddry Villa Blues travelled to Dalkeith to play Newtongrange Star, a team similar to us who have picked up a few wins so far this campaign and sit mid-table, with ambitions to push higher up the league.
 
The conditions for this game right up until kick off where cold but crisp and dry, having looked at recent results I felt we had a very good chance of coming away with all 3 points from this game if the Villa boys could show the same aggression and determination as last week. Being narrowly edged out in a 9 goal thriller by St Bernard’s should give them great confidence in terms of the performance they put on.
 
Despite all best efforts once again I had to rely in Hamish to take on the role of goalkeeper, A late injury to midfielder Martin left me with only 11 men, and with one player running late I had no room for manoeuvre with team selection. I decided to shuffle the selection a little, arranging my forward players to try and test players in a few different positions, pulling Ross in from left wing to play centre pushing jack up from attacking mid to play as striker. Ben from striker to try and used his blistering pace to exploit the space on the wings – would it back fire? Only time would tell.
 
As the players gathered just before the 11am kick off, everyone lined up around the centre circle and a minuets silence was observed impeccably as this generation of youth showed respect for the many who had fallen and remember the sacrifices made.
 
The game kicked off with my plain and simple words ringing in their ears. “Get the ball down and play, don’t be scared to make a pass”. As always my fears of not having the luxury of a substitute or even a recognised goalkeeper were in the back of my mind.
 
The cold was biting and the wind picking up a little but both sides tried to play some football as Villa began to push forward. On more than one occasion we just could not get the rub of the green as a few though balls and probing passes were just being cut out, but only just!
 
Jack in his new position as striker was causing the Newtongrange defence some major trouble as his pestering style of play was forcing the home side to run in circles trying to catch him. One shot from just outside the box was on target at least, and was safely gathered by their keeper, but the signs were promising.
 
The break through finally came midway through the half as Jack collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area. His first touch to keep the ball in the air was superb, and from just inside the box he smashed an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net . A huge cheer came from the away support including mainly myself as a combination of excitement, joy, and relief poured over me. What a finish Jack!
 
A few more half chances popped up, but again for some reason the Villa boys were lacking that determination to chase a loose ball, which lead to potential chances not being taken up.
 
Then with utter disbelief, I watch as a scramble in the box lead to the ball breaking to one my Villa boys. I was just about in celebration mode as the ball trundled along the 6 yard line, and with nobody to beat, 2-0 was on the cards. Contact was made with the ball, but it looped over the crossbar! What? Really? No way! Somehow the ball managed to miss the target completely. "It was my weaker right foot Brian". Oh well, I will let you off then.
 
Half Time: Newtongrange Star 0-1 Longniddry Villa Blues
 
As the second half began, a few positional changes were needed, and Villa started brightly in the first couple of minutes, but within 5 minutes of the restart the wind had really picked up. What followed however cannot be blamed on the wind as the Villa players lost not only their lead but also their ability to tackle. As with the St Bernard’s game, a lack of willingness to put the foot on the ball or at least put in an honest tackle seen Newtongrange almost walk through the midfield to equaliser, and poor Hamish was left almost as exposed as everyone on the side lines as the striker could not believe his luck. A good finish nonetheless, taking nothing away from the striker. 1-1 now.
 
It was deja-vu all over again and with the wind acting like a 12 man, it was becoming more and more difficult to clear our lines at the back, and Hamish was struggling to clear the penalty area with goal kicks. By this point I was getting grey hair and frost bite, and Newtongrange were now growing in confidence, using the wind to their advantage and pushing for a winner.
 
The resilience of Villa soon faltered, and Newtongrange took the lead. A scuffed clearance fell to the feet of their striker, and a sweet volley flew past helpless little Hamish and into the top corner.
 
Everyone could feel the confidence seep out the players as the high winds dropped so did any and all belief from the villa players. An injury to the right back Gregor forced him off with Murray, a late half time arrival, popping on for the last 10mins or so but it was not to be.
 
As the cold seeped into the bones of everyone there was a small part of me was glad to hear the final whistle , although the team talk at the end was as cold and biting as the wind. Being on the wrong end of the result is never easy to take but the manner and the drop of performance in the second have was disappointing.Having said that, I cannot take anything away from our gracious hosts they never stopped battling right up to the final whistle and deserved all 3 points. A harsh lesson for our Villa boys.
 
Full Time: Newtongrange Star 2-1 Longniddry Villa Blues
 
 

 
Fixture: Redhall Star YFC v Duns Juniors U16
Competition: South East Region YFL U16's Division 2
Venue: Redhall Park
Date: Sunday 8th November 2015
 
Redhall Star conceded a last minute penalty as they were held 1-1 by Duns Juniors at Redhall Park. The match was played in farcical conditions with heavy rain and strong winds which surprisingly lead to a goalless first half where Redhall defended well playing against the conditions. The home side took the lead from an unusual source as keeper Ryan Green launched a kick from hand. Wind assisted, the ball took one bounce and over the Duns keeper and into the net. Redhall created and missed so many chances and failed to put any away to secure the points. In the final minute Duns broke after an error from Hannah. Green sprinted from goal but the Duns forward got to the ball first and down he went. Penalty, which was hammered down the middle of the goal to level the scores.

Duns Juniors got the game underway, with the advantage of playing with the wind and rain in their favour, and were soon on the front foot as they pinned Redhall back. A couple of early shots on goal were saved well by Redhall keeper Ryan Green. Duns continued to push forward but Redhall had Adam Robertson and Ewan Mitchell defending well in the centre of the defence.

Redhall created a chance as Josh Slow-clayton played in Sam Donachie. The big burst past the defender but dragged his shot just inches wide of the upright. Calum Henderson then created a chance for Slow-clayton but his shot at goal was well saved by the Duns keeper for a corner which then came to nothing. The rain continued to pour as Duns attacked but the shots were wide of the target.

A rare Redhall attack in the first half almost had them in front. A corner was met by Antony Little, but his header crashed off the bar and was cleared to safety. Duns had a few more chances in an attempt to get in front, but Green saved comfortably as the shots posed little threat but in these conditions they had to be watched carefully. As we approached half time Duns almost went in front but Redhall's backline defended well to eventually clear the danger after the ball bobbled around the penalty spot.

Half time: Redhall Star YFC 0-0 Duns Juniors

After a half of constant defending in these awful conditions, Redhall were keen to take the advantage of playing with the wind and rain in their favour now as they restarted the game. Donachie and Slow-clayton fired shots towards the Duns goal but both were wide of the target. From a free kick, Slow-clayton this time warmed the fingers of the Duns keeper as he turned his shot over the bar. Good save. From the resulting corner, which was fired in by Henderson, Donachie almost got on the end of it, but the big man just couldn't get his header on target.

Duns were now under the cosh as Redhall continued to attack. A neat through ball had Adam Shortiss in on goal but his shot was blocked by the keepers legs. Little, down the right side, produced two fantastic crosses into the area but on both occasions Redhall failed to put the ball into the net. From a corner Adam Robertson poked a shot wide and Slow-clayton had another shot wide. Surely it was only a matter of time before Redhall broke the deadlock.

With 20 minutes to go, the goal eventually did come for Redhall, and it was from an unusual source. A very rare Duns attack ended with Green gathering the ball. Green then launched the ball from hand, high into the air and heading towards the Duns goal. One bounce, over the Duns keeper, flew into the back of the net off the soaking wet surface. Wow, the keeper has scored! A jubilant Redhall team mobbed Green in celebrating the rare occurrence of a keeper scoring from his own area - all of 90 yards!

Redhall went for the kill now as they wanted another goal to finish this game. Little had a shot blocked and his follow up was then superbly cleared off the line to keep Duns in the game. Substitute Tommy Hendry then possibly should have scored at the far post after another fine Little cross, but he turned inside which allowed the Duns defender to block his shot. Hendry then had another attempt which just flew past the post. What was it going to take for Redhall to kill this game?

The home side received a warning on a couple of minutes from time that this game wasn't over as Duns won a free kick on the edge of the Redhall area. The free kick looked destined for the top corner, but thumped the underside of the crossbar and was cleared to safety. On the counter attack, Redhall poured forward in search of it. Nathan Robertson forced the keeper into a double save, Slow-clayton's shot then blocked, Hendry's shot blocked and then Little knocked the ball over the bar when it appeared easier to score. Everything but the second goal.

As we reached the final minute Redhall were made to pay for the missed chances as Marc Hannah lost the ball in midfield. A ball in behind the Redhall defence created a chase for the ball with the Duns forward getting there just before Green, who has sprinted from his line, and down went the player. Referee Bain blew for a penalty. Duns player hammered the penalty high into the net to level the scores at 1-1 and to grab a point for the borders team.

Redhall quickly restarted the game and chased the winner but no clear cut chances were created as the final whistle was blown.

Full Time: Redhall Star YFC 1-1 Duns Juniors

Can't help but feel this was two points dropped, for the second time this season against Duns. Believe if Redhall had got two goals in front the game would have been over but credit to both sides in very testing conditions. Keeper Green very nearly the goalscoring hero but ends up feeling the villain by conceding the penalty. Next up for Redhall Star is a cup game, away to Spartans Reds.
 
 
 
 
Thursday, 05 November 2015 10:54

Goalkeeping crisis at Longniddry Villa? What crisis?

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A few weeks ago, Longniddry Villa Blue under 13's had to endure losing their Goalkeeper as he moved on to pastures new, leaving the team without a man between the sticks for their match against Lauriston Thistle. As head coach, Brian Hope broke the news to his team, he couldn't of hoped for a better reaction.
 
"I'll play in goals", said little Hamish. "I'll play a half aswell Brian" said Martin. It was a shock for Brian but also such relief that 2 of his players were willing to sacrifice themselves to help the team by pulling on the gloves. It was at that moment he knew that this team had team spirit that was very special. However, a little worry crossed his mind that the Villa boys would struggle without a recognised Goalkeeper.
 
What on earth was Brian worried for? A first half clean sheet for Hamish was all he could of asked for. 0-0 at half time, as Martin switched the blue and black stripes for the bright yellow as Hamish vacated the gloves. Villa took the lead, but were pegged back soon after. Martin made an outstanding save, but the Lauriston striker scored to equalise. Martin was put to the test in the second half but he more than held his own with some superb saves.  3 more goals from the Villa  boys, and some excellent defending gave them a win and Brian was delighted with his whole team that day.
 
With the October school holidays forcing 2 weekends without any football, St Bernards BC Mid Blues were next to visit Longniddry, and still without a keeper, Brian had to ask again for someone to step up. Hamish's hand shot up as he dived for the gloves and jersey and was first out onto the pitch.
 
Unbeaten and scoring barrel loads of goals, St Bernards would prove to be a touch test for the Villa boys. After taking all 3 points already in a clash between the sides earlier in the season, Villa were looking for revenge on their visitors, but this time in the cup. Extra time was needed to separate the teams, and makeshift keeper Hamish was playing more like a seasoned pro! Making all kinds of saves and distributing the ball expertly.
 
"In agony with a finger injury and feeling dejected with losing 5 goals, he still played on, and what a diamond he is little Hamish. I couldn't be more proud of him". When anybody asks Brian Hope about his Goalkeeping crisis, I'm pretty sure his responses will be, "Crisis? What crisis?"
 
Despite losing out 5 goals to 4, Brian told me he had never been involved in a defeat that brought about so many positives. "Never have I been so proud of my boys. The football they played was brilliant, all of them took responsibility and got stuck in. We lost 6-1 to St Bernards earlier in the season, and now we have taken them to extra time in the cup. It shows how far we've come. Every single player in that team deserve unbelievable credit for getting stuck in, working extremely hard and having that 'never say die' attitude for the entire game! That's exactly what I wanted from them, and without a shadow of a doubt I got that."
 
Read the match reports from Longniddry Villa Blues' matches against Lauriston Thistle and St Bernards BC Mid Blues