National Competitions (649)
It’s SWF Youth Cup semi-final time this weekend, and with six hugely exciting matches to come, YFS looks at what’s in store as we prepare to find out who’ll be booking their place in November’s finals at Oriam National Performance Centre in Edinburgh.
At U13’s level, we should be in for two cracking cup ties as Donside Girls take on Kilmarnock Whites and Musselburgh Windsor play Kilmarnock Blues. All four teams have scored bags of goals on their way to the semi-finals, so high scoring matches should be on the cards.
Donside Girls, who currently sit joint top of the North Kim Little League, followed up their 6-0 third round victory over Hearts Development with a 3-2 quarter-final win against Central Girls Legends earlier this month. They take on a Kilmarnock Whites side that has scored 40 goals in five games this competition – including hitting Letham for ten in the preliminary round back in March.
Musselburgh Windsor, who won 3-1 away at Celtic in the third round and beat Boroughmuir Thistle Purples 8-4 in the quarter-finals, will be up against a Kilmarnock Blues team with a perfect three wins from three in their league campaign, and who saw off Lanarkshire Hibernian 4-1 in the last round.
Old rivals Celtic and Rangers clash in the first of the U15’s semi-finals. Both teams have enjoyed strong runs to this stage of the competition; for Celtic, back-to-back 9-0 wins over Falkirk and Stonehaven in the second and third rounds was followed by a 3-0 quarter-final victory over Jeanfield Swifts. Rangers meanwhile put in dominant displays against Aberdeen and Hamilton in the first two rounds – winning 5-0 and 8-0 – before seeing off Central Girls in the third round and edging a tight quarter final with current Performance League leaders Glasgow City 2-1.
In the second semi-final Hibs face a Kilmarnock side that have gotten stronger as the tournament has progressed; they survived a penalty shoot-out with Boroughmuir Thistle Whites in the second round before beating Blackburn Utd 5-1 and Hibernian Development 5-2 en route to the semi-finals. For Hibs, it’s been steady going. They haven’t hit the heights of any of the other semi-finalists yet, but they’re still to concede a goal in the competition – 3-0 wins have carried them this far. It was Hibs who prevailed in the last meeting between the two sides – 3-2 at Grange Academy in the Performance League at the start of August – but with a place in the cup final on the line, who will be celebrating come Sunday evening?
The leaders of the East/North League meet the leaders of the Joelle Murray League in the second of the U17’s semi-finals as Dryburgh Athletic take on Murieston Utd. Both teams have been dominant in their league campaigns and have carried that into the Cup; Dryburgh have scored 22 goals in their three matches in the competition so far, including a 10-1 victory over Montrose and a 9-0 quarter-final triumph over Raith Rovers. For Muiriston, a 6-1 victory away at Westdyke and a 5-0 win over Bonnyrigg Rose saw them march into the semi-finals. With such free-scoring teams coming head-to-head, fans in attendance should be in for a treat.
Before that, Hibs take on Glasgow City in what should be another exciting semi-final. City have seen off both Celtic and Rangers – away from home, no less - on their way to a clash with Hibs, and will hope the competitive nature of their two matches so far will have them feeling sharp for what will be another tough game. For the Hibees, it’s a different story altogether; bizarrely, due to withdrawals they’ve actually reached the semi’s without playing a game. Will this count against them when it comes time to test themselves against an opponent as tough as Glasgow City? All we know for certain is that it will be an exciting weekend of SWF Cup action.
Saturday 29th September
Musselburgh Windsor vs Kilmarnock Blues (13G)
Donside Girls vs Kilmarnock Whites (13G)
Sunday 30th September
Rangers vs Celtic (15G)
Kilmarnock vs Hibernian (15G)
Glasgow City vs Hibernian (17G)
Murieston United vs Dryburgh Athletic (17G)
In part two of our look at the standings in the girls’ game, YFS looks at the who’s topping the table in the rest of the SWF Youth Leagues.
In the U19 National Performance League, only two points separate leaders Celtic – on 24 points - from second placed Hibs on 22 points. After nine games, they’ve opened up a healthy lead from third placed Glasgow City, and it’s looking like the meeting between the two at Ainslie Park at the end of the month could decide whether the title heads east or west.
It’s equally tight in the U15 National Performance League, where Glasgow City currently have a four-point lead over Hibs in second and Celtic in third, however the Hoops have four games in hand over their two title rivals. Having only failed to win one of their eight games this season (a 2-2 draw with Central Girls in August), Celtic will feel confident they can claw back the points over the next month or so.
There’s also plenty of drama across the various U17 divisions. In the East/North League, Dryburgh Athletic and Dunfermline Athletic are engaged in a tussle at the top: With twelve games played, Dryburgh lead Dunfermline by three points, with their 2-1 victory in the fixture between the two back in August currently the difference maker.
In the South-East Joelle Murray League, Murieston Utd have opened up a healthy gap to second place Broxburn Athletic Colts; their 37 points is twelve more than their closest challenger – although Broxburn have two games in hand.
At Under-15 level, Forfar Farmington Falcons have taken the East League by storm; they’ve won all 13 of their games so far and only Dryburgh – with 33 points after 14 games – and East Fife Girls – with 32 points after 14 – have managed to keep in touch.
It’s a similar story in the North League. Deveronvale Girls have won all 14 of their matches and are marching towards the title. Colony Park, on 29 points after 15 games, are their nearest challenger.
In the Christie Murray League, it’s too early to tell who the favourites are to lift the title in November, but Hamilton have started well; they top the table with 13 points from their opening five matches. Just behind them are Pollock Utd, who have a maximum nine points from three games so far.
The Lee Alexander League is not long underway either, with Giffnock currently top of the league with three wins from three.
Things are looking much clearer in the South-East Frankie Brown league: Lanarkshire Hibernian and Musselburgh Windsor are way out in front. Hibs top the league with 48 points after 18 games, but Musselburgh – who are three points behind – have a game in hand. They’re both well clear of Blackburn Utd in third, who have 25 points.
Finally, Blackburn Utd Development top the South-East Kirsty Smith League. With 34 points after 13 games, they’re comfortably clear of East Lothian Ravens in second, who have 38 points having played a game more. However, In third are Spartans who are currently ten points behind Blackburn, but with four games in hand, they’ll fancy their chances of making-up the difference.
With the girls’ football season already well underway, YFS is taking the opportunity to examine how things stand at the top of the tables across the country.
In this first of two parts, we take a closer look at the U13s leagues to find out who stands in poll position to clinch the title at the end of the year.
In the Becky Flaherty League, Colony Park have sown up the title with an emphatic fourteen wins from fourteen games so far. Their current goal difference of +91 emphasises their dominance over the other nine teams in the division.
Elsewhere up north, things are a lot tighter in the Kim Little League where Aberdeen 13s and Donside Girls lead the way with identical records after sixteen games (played 16, won 13, drawn 2, lost 1). With just a few games remaining this season, the meeting of the two sides on October 6 may prove to be a league decider.
In the South-East Kim Little League, things are almost as tight: Hibs sit a point clear of Bonnyrigg Rose and Hearts – but Bonnyrigg have a game in hand. It looks like we’re approaching a critical period of the season; starting September 28, three match days in row will see the top three face off against each other in their various combinations.
Meanwhile, the Fiona Brown League still has a long way to go, but Wishaw Wycombe Wanderers have set the early pace with a perfect four wins from four, narrowly ahead of Milton and Bedley CFC, who are both sitting on nine points.
There’s also a long way to go before things are decided in the Fife League. Lomond Colts currently sit top of the table with four wins and a draw from their opening five games, a point ahead of East Fife 13s and two ahead of Bayside Braves in third having played a game more than both. With the Colts and the Braves meeting this weekend, and East Fife travelling to the Colts on the final day of the season, there could be plenty of twists and turns before the race is over.
A league that could be coming to an end soon is Tayside League 1. Jeanfield Swift 13s sit three points ahead of Montrose Youth with just two matches remaining, meaning they could clinch the title this weekend if they beat Montrose Youth Vics and Montrose Youth can’t match their result against Blairgowrie & Rattray Girls.
In Tayside League 2 things are less straightforward. After five games DUSC 13’s sit on 12 points, two ahead of Jeanfield Swifts 12’s in second. Lurking just behind them is Scone Thistle, who have a maximum nine points after three games – including inflicting DUSC’s only defeat on the opening day of the season.
In the East Regional League, three teams currently have 100% records: Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts Yellows after four games, Forfar Farmington after three games and Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts Strollers after two games. There’s a long way to go, but it already looks like they will be the three battling it out for the title. With Forfar playing the Yellows tomorrow, it could be a big weekend in the title race.
Two teams have made a perfect start in the Erin Cuthbert League: EKFC have won their opening five, whilst Bonnyton Thistle Blacks have won their opening four. There’s still a lot of football to be played this season, but the meeting between the two sides on October 13 has all the makings of a massive game.
There’s a three-way tie at the top of the South-East Lizzie Arnot League. Hibs Development side, Murieston Utd and Blackburn Utd all have twelve points – but only Murieston have a perfect record. They’re the only team to beat Hibs so far this season, defeating them 4-3 at the start of the month in what may prove to be crucial result.
No team has managed to break away from the pack in the Jenny Beattie League: Giffnock and St Mirren Youth are both on ten points after five games, whilst Morton have the same points despite having played a game less. St Mirren play Giffnock tomorrow, giving one team the opportunity to put some distance between themselves and a close rival.
Hibernian 11’s have a slim advantage in the South-East Hayley Lauder League, a division where the top three are separated by just two points and only second place Broxburn Athletic Colts, with two wins and two draws, are undefeated.
Glasgow City Black have made a blistering start in the Chloe Arthur League; their four wins from four and +30 goal difference has them top of the table, but Dumbarton Utd – who’ve played a game more – and Thistle Weir are keeping pace. Both sit two points off the top having made impressive starts to the campaign.
In the SW/W/C League, Celtic 13’s and Kilmarnock Blues both have nine points from three matches. Joining them at the top of the pile is Gartcairn Blues, who also have nine points but have played two games more. There’s a long way to go but the meeting between Killie and Celtic on October 27 could have massive title implications.
Finally, Threave Rovers have some breathing space at the top of the Kirsty Howatt League. Their nineteen points from seven games has given them a four-point cushion to second place St Cuthbert Wanderers, who have fifteen points having played a game less.
However, in the last few seasons the competition has moved from strength to strength. Last season saw a record number of teams competiing, with fifteen involved from the season's outset. However that record number has been shattered by this season's expansion.
Kilmarnock Whites vs Queen of the South Whites
Musselburgh Windsor vs Boroughmuir Thistle Purples
Donside Girls vs Central Girls Legends
Kilmarnock Blues vs Lanarkshire Hibs
Plenty of eyes will be on the match between Musselburgh Windsor and Boroughmuir Thistle Purples. Windsor won the South East Region trophy with a win over Boroughmuir Thistle Whites earlier this month, so it is fair to say that the Purples will be looking to avenge their Whites teammates.
All ties will be played on the weekend of 8/9 September
Preview 1 | Preview 2 | Preview 3 | Match Report | Photo Gallery | Cup Lift
Preview 1 | Preview 2 | Preview 3 | Match Report | Photo Gallery | Cup Lift
Hibernian came from behind to defeat Aberdeen in the Scottish Youth Cup Final. Grant Murray’s men lifted the silverware after an excellent second half performance was enough to see them overcome the Dons.
Hibs began the game playing with a back five allowing their wing-backs Callum Donaldson and Sean Mackie to push very high, which seemed to work early on and it was Donaldson and Mackie who combined to produce the game’s first opportunity.
Five minutes in and Mackie broke up the left and whipped a cross into the box and from 10 yards out Donaldson’s half-volley flew wide of the post.
Aberdeen began by playing a counter-attacking style of play, designed to catch out the advanced Hibernian wing-backs and on the fifteen minute mark their tactics paid off. A long ball into the right channel got Connor McLennan into the box and he managed to beat three defenders, round the goalie and stab home from six yards to put the Dons in front.
After this early goal for the Dons, Grant Murray changed his side’s formation to try and combat Aberdeen’s counter-attacking style. He changed to a more conventional 4-4-2 and Aberdeen couldn’t cope.
With the wing-backs now transformed to full-backs, it allowed more space on the wings for the Hibernian forwards to drift into and just after the half-hour mark the Hibees were level.
Some good work in the middle of the park lead to Fraser Murray, who had hit the cross bar only moments before, being played in on the right wing. He drove forward and looked to pick out Ollie Shaw in the middle of the box, however Murray’s cross was diverted into his own goal by Joe MacPherson.
Hibs continued to press the Aberdeen defence, however they never created any clear cut chances and both sides went into the break on level terms.