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Highlights from the SWF Scottish Youth Cup semi final at Kilwinning Sports Club.
 
 
Wednesday, 28 October 2015 16:18

Watch: Fernieside FC v Leith Athletic Colts U15

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Watch highlights from the entertaining South East Region YFL D3 tie at Drum Park, Edinburgh.
 

 
Fixture: Redhall Star YFC v Spartans Blues U16's
Competition: South East Region YFL Division 2 U16's
Venue: Redhall Park
Date: Sunday 25th August 2015
 
Redhall Star U16's seen off Spartans Blues 9-5 in the league to put them up to joint 5th in the table and only three points behind the leaders. Redhall were always in control as they led 3-0, 6-1 and 8-2 but even though the home side were a threat going forward the defending as a team was sloppy with basic mistakes and poor tackling.

Spartans got the game underway and Redhall immediately forced the game with their high pressing of the ball. Adam Shortiss, Sam Donachie and Josh Slow-clayton all fired shots at goal for the home side in the early stages as Redhall looked for an early goal. From the next attack Redhall took the lead. Keeper Ryan Green launched a kick long, Shortiss chased, got a foot to the ball but the keeper blocked. Unfortunately for Spartans the ball rebounded off the defender chasing back and ended up in the net. 1-0.

Buoyed by the good, start Redhall doubled their lead as Robbie Campbell won the ball in midfield. A pass to Jack Anderson was then fed to Slow-clayton who took control and fizzed a shot towards goal. Blues keeper parried but following in was Donachie to knock the ball into the net. 2-0.

It was soon three for the home side as good pressing from Shortiss and Campbell won the ball back from Spartans. Slow-clayton played a delightful pass in behind the defence where Grant Doyle latched onto the pass and fired past the keeper. Fifteen minutes played and 3-0 to Redhall.

Spartans did managed to reduce the early defecit as they got a goal back from some poor play from Redhall. Anderson lost the ball in midfield which was then played out wide. Calum Henderson attempted to escort the ball over the goal line but the Spartans player nipped in and fired a ball into the box. Redhall were slow to react and the ball was dispatched past Green for 3-1.

Wake up call for Redhall as they stormed forward from the restart. The early shot from Donachie suprised the Spartans keeper, but was saved well. However, from the keepers clearance Anderson won the ball back, played a neat pass to Doyle who had burst in behind the defence and chipped the ball over the advancing keeper to make it 4-1.

Redhall continued to boss the game and they were a force going forward, threatening to score from each attack. Shortiss and Campbell had efforts saved before Slow-clayton's effort was blocked for a corner. Henderson fired in the corner and leaping like a salmon was Donachie to power a header into the net for 5-1. I certainly like a 5-1 scoreline!

The home side continued pushing forward and got a sixth from the penalty spot. Doyle, a menace on the wing, was clipped as he drove to the byline. Anderson stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way as the ball nestled in the opposite corner, 6-1.

The Blues got a goal back on half time as the Redhall midfield switched off from a throw in. Non existant marking in the Redhall box allowed the ball to be slipped into the path of the Spartans striekr, and he fired past Green from a tight angle. 6-2.

Half Time: Redhall Star 6-2 Spartans Blues

Despite leading 6-2 the home side received some strong words at the break due to the poor team defending which had allowed Spartans two goals.

The home side got the game underway and were soon on the attack. Doyle and Shortiss fired in a couple of delightful crosses but there were no takers. Spartans, with the wind at their backs and going downhill, reverted to the long game as the ball was pumped into the home area. Ewan Mitchell was calm and controlled as he marshalled the defence in clearing their lines.

Neat play down the Redhall left between Shortiss and Henderson led to goal number 7. Henderson swung in a cross which fell neatly at the feet of Donachie, and he then fired high into the roof of the net to complete his hat trick. 7-2.

Straight from the kick off we had another goal. A Spartans attack ended with a shot which Green gathered in comfortably. His goalkick was headed on by Slow-clayton into the path of Donachie who then controlled, turned the defender and fired past the keeper for 8-2, and his 4th goal of the game.

Redhall made a few changes to the side with Donachie and Cammy Grant being replaced by Nathan Robertson and Adam Robertson. Spartans won a free kick after a strong challenge from Adam Robertson. The shot fired in was well saved by Green, diving low to his left. More changes made as Doyle took a knock and was replaced by Antony Little, who was making his debut for Redhall.

Spartans kept pushing forward and were rewarded with a soft goal. More slackness in the Redhall midfield allowed a run and shot to be fired in which Green allowed to slip under his legs and into the net, 8-3. Spartans continued to push forward in the hope of more goals and fired a couple of shots towards the home goal but the came to nothing.

Redhall briefly lifted their game and scored again. This time Slow-clayton, with his 4th assist, played in Nathan Robertson, who waltzed past two defenders, and fired low past the keeper for his first goal of the season to make it 9-3. Straight from the restart it was 9-4 as a poor attempted tackle by Anderson ended with the Spartans midfielder firing in an unstoppable shot from 25 yards despite Green getting a hand to it. Fine strike by the lad. 9-4 and there were still 24 minutes to go. Might need more fingers and toes to keep count.

Anderson was replaced by Cameron Markham and Lewis Blues was replaced by Marc Hannah as Redhall looked to shore up the defence. The home side continued pushing forward as they looked for more goals. Little, Slow-clayton and Shortiss created half chances for Nathan Robertson but it was Spartans who scored again. A free kick from 30 yards was thumped towards goal. Green attempted to 'palm' the ball down but lost control and a Spartans forward was on hand to knock the ball over the line. I think that's 9-5 now.

There were chances for both teams to add to the scoring but for the final 15 minutes the goals dried up.

Full Time: Redhall Star 9-5 Spartans Blues

Going forward Redhall were a real threat and maybe having comfortable leads throughout the game they switched off to allow Spartans back into the game. Can't fault going forward but the defending throughout the game was poor from the whole team, not just the defenders. Sloppy and powderpuff tackles are not what is expected so lesson to be learned - do not switch off. Credit to Spartans Blues for continuing to push forward and create chances.

The win along with the other results puts Redhall up to joint 5th and only three points now split the top 6.
 
 

 
Fixture: Dunbar United Colts v Peebles U14's
Competition: South East Region YFL U14's Division 2
Venue: Hallhill, Dunbar
Date: 27th October 2015
 
Two teams possibly the furthest apart in terms of distance in Division 2, but on paper, it looked like two well-matched teams. Peebles made the long journey to Dunbar looking to build on a good start to the season, with the hosts optimistic of continuing their recent good run.
 
Dunbar kicked off and it was clear from the opening exchanges that chances would be at a premium with both defences looking well-organised. Dunbar looked to play the ball out of defence regularly, and such is the improvement in the control and distribution of goalkeeper Purves, he was often an option as Dunbar worked patiently from the back, waiting for an opening. Ford, Hall, Pickles and Hood in defence were composed and passing well.
 
Peebles were the first to trouble the statisticians with a long range effort that would count as a shot on target but did little to trouble the safe hands of the Dunbar No.1.
 
Slowly, Dunbar were asserting their presence in a good midfield battle with Knox, Smillie and Kielty winning the ball and pushing forward. Cooper was often engaged in tracking back and he was prominent in the early stages of the game. He did well in tracking the lively Peebles winger Khan, while also using his pace in an advanced role.
 
Cooper was presented with the best chance of the game when Renton picked up the ball in a forward area before sliding an exquisite pass through for the pacey winger. Cooper took a touch before going 1 v 1 with the keeper. The Peebles keeper Clark proved to be no mug and he was smartly out to make a great block. 
 
Dunbar’s passing unit were now beginning to enjoy a large chunk of the possession with Dixon dropping deep and linking with his midfield, always looking for that killer ball. Kielty tested his passing range to the extreme, delivering a fantastic cross-field switch pass to Renton who was unlucky to see his effort go wide of the target.  
 
A minute later and it was Smillie with the ball through. Renton collected on the left, swung in the cross but Dixon could only poke wide.
 
Would Dunbar rue these missed chances? Time would tell. It looked that way as against the run of play, Peebles opened the scoring. Peebles are a strong, physical unit who looked likely to present a problem from a set-piece. So it proved, although Dunbar will be disappointed at the manner in which it was conceded. From a corner, the ball was played long. The Peebles winger collected on the right, spotted 3 unmarked players lurking in the box and the ball was played across to them.  Khan was the first to react and he connected with the cross. For a second it looked like Purves had completed a phenomenal point blank save but there was sufficient power in the shot to see it squeeze over the line.
 
Dunbar continued their patient attacks, but chances for both teams were becoming more infrequent. With the half drawing to a close, Knox and Dixon linked, before the ball was sent in to Cooper who saw his volley again well-saved by the visiting keeper. From the resulting corner, a quickly taken set-piece seen Kielty link with Renton. Renton swung the ball in towards the danger area - Knox stood tall and powered an unstoppable header in off the underside of the crossbar to tie the scores. This was the midfielder’s 10th goal of the campaign.
 
Half Time: Dunbar Utd Colts 1-1 Peebles FC
 
The second half was similar to the first with the only difference being that Peebles looked the more dominant team in possession although creating little in the way of clear-cut chances. 
 
Dunbar introduced Twist, Kinghorn and Sutherland in an effort to force an opening. Twist battled hard and was linking well with Ford down the right but the Dunbar team found a strong, well-drilled unit in front of them with Duncan in the visiting defence having a great game.
 
As the half went on, both teams were restricted to long range chances. Dunbar still looked a threat, winning plenty of corners but the coaches were perhaps too slow in changing the formation as the midfield and attack struggled to link. 
 
Peebles finally regained the lead after some sustained pressure, and it came from a corner again. This time the ball was not cleared properly and it took a real quality volley from the edge of the box to break the stubborn Dunbar defence.  Smith took one look at the bouncing ball before striking a sweet volley into the far corner of the net.  The away support celebrated, knowing with chances few and far between, this looked like being the winning goal. 
 
Still Dunbar attacked and they seen one or two half-hearted penalty appeals turned down before Twist was presented with the best chance of the half.  A great cross in seen the midfielder dive goal-wards to the ball.  He misjudged the flight of the ball and the chance was gone.
 
This looks like a very competitive league and a draw may have been a fairer result but it was Peebles who would make the long journey home with 3 points bagged. 
 
Best for Dunbar was Ford who dealt with the most dangerous man on the park, Khan, very competently while also distributing superbly. 
 
Full Time: Dunbar Utd Colts 1-2 Peebles FC
 
A break from league action now for Dunbar Utd Colts as they enter the 3rd round of the Scottish Cup and a long away trip to Dumbarton Riverside FC. 
 
 

 
Fixture: Blackhall Athletic v Currie FC U15
Competition: South East Region YFL John McConnell Cup
Venue: Tall Oaks Football Ground
Date: Sunday 25th October 2015
 
Blackhall Athletic progressed to the next round of the John McConnell Memorial Cup with a deserved 5-1 victory over Currie F.C, aided by a particularly impressive first half performance.

Following an even start, it was Currie who were first to threaten either goal in the 8th minute with a shot from distance by Christopher Laidlaw forcing Blackhall keeper Ryan Rudland into a fine save.

This sparked Blackhall into immediate action, taking the lead a minute later following good play from Jamie Barry. Barry collected the ball wide on the left, flew past a couple of Currie players before squaring a low cross which was met a few yards out at the front post by Matthew Laing. Currie keeper Sukveer Sandher blocked the initial effort which then ricocheted off Laing and into the net.

If there was an element of fortune with the opener, there was no luck with Blackhall's second, when the lead was doubled in the 14th minute. Sam Crees collected a pass just outside the box to the left and from 20 yards unleashed a vicious strike across goal that skidded off the moist surface into the far corner of the goal.

The next serious threat on goal came in the 16th minute when Currie almost pulled a goal back. Some neat play in the middle of the park led to Artur Wreczycki being fed through on the left and as he moved into the penalty area he struck a fine left footed shot that cracked off the underside of the crossbar, before the ball was scrambled to safety by Blackhall.

Blackhall's reaction was to up their game and dominated the remainder of the first half. In the 24th minute the lead stretched to 3-0. From a corner on the right, Ramsey Hodgson found space in the six yard box near the back post, sending a strong downward header into the net.

No more than three minutes later and it was 4-0 when Laing notched his second goal of the game when a free kick fell to him, and he cooly slotted the ball into the back of the net.

Blackhall continued to impose themselves and in the 37th minute seemed set to go 5-0 up. Laing bore down on goal on the inside left, however as he was about shoot he was thwarted by Currie defender Daniel Shepherd with an outstanding sliding tackle.

Half Time: Blackhall Athletic 4-0 Currie FC

Following an early Blackhall chance in the second half, it was Currie that reduced the arrears with a goal in the 46th minute. A good move released Wreczycki down the left who beat one defender and from the byline he squared the ball and 2nd half substitute Lee Coleman found the roof of the net from 6 yards out. Good finish from Coleman to reduce the defecit for Currie.

Buoyed by the goal, Currie then had their best spell of the game, with a period of 10 - 15 minutes where they had greater possession and were fashioning a few half chances. In the 57th minute Currie were unlucky not to pull another goal back when a low cross-come-shot struck the base of left hand post. 

As the game continued Blackhall regained the upper hand, creating a number of further chances, with Currie keeper Sandher making a couple of fine saves and a few shots missing the target.

Not to be undone, in the latter stages Rudland made a couple of fine saves of his own in the 72nd minute from Wreczycki and the 75th minute from Oliver Leavy.

In the 76th minute Blackhall rounded off the scoring, with Laing completing his hat trick with a composed finished to the bottom corner from close range after being put through on the inside left.

There was still time for some late drama in the final minute when Blackhall were awarded a penalty when Barry was brought down close to goal, however Sandher capped a good performance standing his ground to save the spot kick that was hit high and straight.

Full Time: Blackhall Athletic 5-1 Currie FC
 
 

Fixture: Dalkeith Miners 2000 vs Edinburgh City 2000
Competition: Jackie Faichney Memorial Cup, 2nd Round
Date: 25/10/2015
 
Edinburgh City squeezed into the quarter-finals of the Jackie Faichney Memorial Cup thanks to a dramatic 4-3 victory over Division 2 side Dalkeith Miners after a thrilling second round contest saw a Dalkeith comeback beaten by the clock.
 
In a fairly even opening both sides created chances without threatening either goalkeeper.
 
It was the visitors that opened the scoring. Robbie Telfer’s corner was met by the head of Ryan Foggo whose header bulleted in to the top corner.
 
The lead was short lived with Dalkeith hitting back quickly. A ball over the top saw the Dalkeith striker beat the covering Henry Arthur in defence to the ball and neatly round goalkeeper Arron Webster, despite the big keeper’s best efforts, and finish calmly into the empty net.
 
City reacted well and were piling on the pressure on the home side. Ten minutes before the interval, Lewis Bonnar played a good pass into the feet of Patterson Marfo. The striker turned the Dalkeith defender and finished with a fine left foot shot into the bottom corner.
 
Marfo was proving a handful for Dalkeith and was involved again as he advanced forward before being fouled just outside the 18-yard box. Chrissy Bennett placed the ball and expertly curled the ball round the Dalkeith and passed the goalkeeper who was rooted to the spot. 
 
HT: Dalkeith Miners 1 Edinburgh City 3
 
Dalkeith rang the changes at half-time and started the second half brightly, shooting down the hill looking for a goal to get back in to the game. Dalkeith had chances, but could not find a way past the City back four and the inspired Webster behind them in the City goal.
 
Ryan Deans replaced the injured Aidan Lawson in midfield after the City captain got a knock to the face that required treatment.
 
City caught the hosts on the break with a well worked counter attack. Wallace Jennings played a brilliant first time pass in to the feet of Alistair Hogg who finished well just inside the area to give the visitors a three goal lead.
 
With 15 minutes to go City were soaking up all the pressure, but Dalkeith gave themselves a glimmer of hope when they scored with a header from a corner.
 
Five minutes later it was game on. The lively Dalkeith winger did well to square a ball into the box and a midfielder arriving late finished past the diving Webster.
 
It was an anxious ten minutes for City, but they defended resolutely and restricted Dalkeith to just one more chance which was well saved by Webster.
 
FT: Dalkeith Miners 3 Edinburgh City 4 
 
It was a truly cracking cup tie and it is City who progress to the quarter-finals where they will play Gala Fairydean Rovers.
 
Every City player played well today and contributed to an excellent team performance. City had six players in their squad who only joined them in the summer and had previously played no competitive club football.
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 13:19

The Development of Scottish Borders JFA

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Few have done as much, and worked as hard, in football as Fred Blackie.
 
He has coached youth football for 28 years, for both boys and girls, in local clubs and schools. He has also coached the Borders boys and girls development squads, given up his holidays to coach Scottish FA summer programmes and Borders Sports Academy squads and coached Gala Hotspur Border Amateur team.
 
Perhaps his most significant contribution was the formation of Gala Fairydean Rovers youths, creating a pathway from youth football to senior football.
 
His efforts don’t stop at coaching; he is secretary and youths co-ordinator at the Scottish Borders Junior FA. It is this position that allows him to comment on the development of the SBJFA.
 
He said: “Junior football is very strong, especially at the younger ages of 8-12, but there are a few problems trying to sustain teams at youth level.”
 
It can only be assumed he is referring to the usual problems – the cost of running teams and the offer of other activities to youngsters such as rugby. But Fred does see improvements.
 
“The trend is now changing in the Borders. With three Borders teams in the new Lowland League set up offering the players the opportunity to progress from kids football right through to the senior game we are retaining more young players. Hopefully one day we will have a Borders team playing in the Scottish leagues.”
 
There may also be changes in the pipeline which can help continue this progression. Blackie explained: “From next season we are proposing regionalising teams at the youth level. Players at junior would play with their local towns and villages, but once they move to youth level they would be directed to regional teams. This would guarantee six or seven sustainable teams at all age levels.”
 
Youth football does not happen without hard working volunteers. Fred was keen to point out that that there are others aside from himself: “There is obviously a lot of work behind the scenes. Our executive committee work really hard to ensure the Association runs smoothly. The Chairperson Chris Mowat, Treasurer Brian Smith and probably hardest working of all, Registrations Secretary Georgina Boggs, all deserve huge credit for the work they do.”
 
As well as committed individuals, Borders football has something else to be proud of. The Cameron Gunn festival is the showpiece event at the end of each season. Blackie proudly described it: “The Cameron Gunn festival is the culmination of our season and is a massive event. On the grass pitches at Netherdale (Galashiels) all of the junior teams from age six to 11 come together for a massive football festival. Over the fence on the 3G Arena all of the Youth Cup Finals take place starting with the 13's in the morning to the 17's at 3pm. It is a wonderful spectacle and is the largest single day football event in the country.
 
As long as there are people like Fred Blackie around, Borders football should remain in good shape.
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 13:16

Progress the key for Peebles U15's

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Aberdeen and Hearts were both lauded for their unbeaten starts in their domestic league. One team that have gone slightly under the radar though are Peebles U15’s.
 
They currently sit second in the South East Region Division Two, with five wins and a draw from six games – the draw coming against top of the table Hillfield Swifts. Peebles are three points behind with two games in hand.
 
Manager Alan Aiken was quick to praise his players’ attitude, which he says has been a huge factor in their fast start. “Our performances in the league have all been very positive" he said. "The players have played with enthusiasm, determination and high levels of effort which has led to a strong showing throughout each game, which has in turn led to a positive result for us.
 
“We feel that a real commitment to pre-season training meant that we were all ready to go from the first game. All players in the squad approached this with an attitude to improving on their skills and fitness. We also focused on making sure that this phase of training was done with the ball and at high intensity, making sure that we continue to develop and improve skills and game like fitness at the same time.”
 
After a good top half finish last season, which was progress from the year before, Aiken believes that a team full of locals can go one better again in this campaign. He said, “There is a feeling that we can and will do better in the league than last year. As both players and coaches it is vitally important that we continue to strive to improve and that our high levels of effort combined with the desire to learn and improve give us examples of the progress that we are making.”
 
Few, if any, would argue with the Peebles manager’s attitude that development is at the forefront in youth football. His team certainly seem to be reaping the benefits of that approach at the moment. 

 
Fixture: Musselburgh Windsor Blues v Edinburgh City U16s
Competition: South East Region YFL U16 Division 3
Venue: Pinkie Playing Fields
Date: Sunday 18th October 2015
 
City made it 8 wins out of 8 in the league as they picked up all 3 points against Musselburgh Windsor Blues in a convincing win at Pinkie.

City however didn't have it all their own way as the home side took the lead after 15 minutes. A free kick just inside the City half was launched in to the box. A scuffed clearance fell kindly for the Windsor player who finished well to keeper Dean Shearsby's right.
 
City responded well to going a goal behind. Antony Little, Lewis Bonnar and Alistair Hogg all tested the home goalkeeper, forcing him to make some really good saves. However, 10 minutes before the interval, City equalised. Full back Chris Bennett's cross-come-shot somehow evaded everybody and nestled nicely in the bottom corner.
 
City went 2-1 up after some good work from Kyle Rylance on the right created the opportunity for Antony Little. A superb first touch from Little gave him the shooting opportunity, and with his weaker left foot he finished decisively in the bottom corner. 

Half-time: Musselburgh Windsor Blues 1-2 Musselburgh Windsor Blues

The second half to be honest was one way traffic as City got a hold of the game.The league leaders were quick to extend their lead as Little grabbed his second of the game from a Robbie Telfer corner. Bulleting the ball into the back of the Windsor net.
 
City were then awarded a penalty moments later when Little was fouled in the box. Bennett stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to make the score 4-1 to City.
 
The influential Robbie Telfer had a hand in City's fifth goal too. He and Aidan Lawson combined well in midfield and Lawson continued his run in to the Musselburgh area. Telfer then found him with a brilliantly weighted pass, and captain Lawson finished on the half volley to make it 5-1. An excellent well worked goal.
 
The scoring was rounded off by Jamie Black when Wallace Jennings found Black in midfield. After beating one player, Black curled the ball expertly into the top right hand corner. Great strike to round off a very good day for City.

Another good team performance from the City boys, and Ryan Foggo managed another 20 minutes as he continued his return from injury.
 
Full Time: Musselburgh Windsor Blues 1-6 Edinburgh City
 
 

 
Fixture: Edinburgh City v North Merchiston Colts
Competition: South East Region YFL U16 Division 3
Venue: Forrester High School 3G
Date: Sunday 11th October 2015
 
Edinburgh City 16s maintained their 100% start to the league season with another impressive league performance, this time against North Merchiston Colts. 

City took the lead after just 10 minutes when Aidan Lawson finished superbly well first time from an Antony Little cross.
 
City survived an early scare just after taking the lead when the North Merchiston striker got in behind the back line. Keeper Dean Shearsby came racing off his line but the striker nipped the ball past him on the edge of the box and was taken out by Shearsby. An anxious wait from everyone to see what colour of card Referee Kieran Green would brandish. He didn't rush into a decision, and had a good look at it  before opting only for a yellow card for the keeper. Much to the relief of the players, coaches and parents. The free kick was taken by the big North Merchiston striker and it was well saved by Shearsby.
 
Jamie Black, Ali Hogg & Aidan Lawson all went close for City before they eventually did double their lead. Chris Bennett & Lewis Bonnar combined well for Jamie Black to strike a fierce shot that crashed off the upright. Black was first to react though to the rebound to finish well and put City 2-0 up.
 
City then allowed visitors back in to the game after they had created very little in the early exchanges. Bennett deflected a free kick in to his own net past the helpless Shearsby due to a lack in communication.
 
It wasn't long before Merchi managed to get level. A long ball over the top was then headed back by Loudon towards his own goal, but unfortunately looped over keeper Shearsby and in to the net.
 
Half Time: Edinburgh City 2-2 North Merchiston Colts.
 
It didn't take long for City to restore their lead shortly after the break when a free kick from Bennett was headed home by Deans. A superb header. 3-2 City.
 
Right from the restart City regained possession and Deans grabbed his second of the game with a great strike that nestled in the top corner.
 
Antony Little then made it 5-2 to City after the Merchi goalkeeper could only parry his shot into the side netting.
 
Trialist Patterson Marfo made it 6-2 when he rounded the goalkeeper and beat the covering defender on the line. A really calm and composed finished from the big striker.
 
Ryan Deans then capped off an impressive afternoon personally for him, and for City when he grabbed his hat-trick with a well placed shot from the edge of the penalty area.
 
Full Time: Edinburgh City 7-2 North Merchiston Colts