Fixture: Largs Colts v Stewarton Annick
Competition: Under 13's William Tracey Challenge Cup
Largs Colts 2002’s welcomed Stewarton for the first game in the William Tracey Challenge Cup. Colts have drawn the runaway top two in the league in their section, alongside Stewarton, and with only the winners advancing the local boys were out to put three points on the board.
For the first time this season Colts were without Captain Robbie Coupar due to injury with Dylan Smith picking up the armband. Colts lined up in a now familiar 3-5-2 with Irwin in goal and a back three of Barbour, Weir and Smith. The central midfield three of MacNeil, Wilson and Smith were supported wide by J.Coupar and McTaggart. Leading the line were the highly effective Brown and Dalglish. On the bench Colts had Florence, Kavak and Duddy.
Colts started with the wind and were positive from the outset. Within a minute McTaggart tried to play in Dalglish though the keeper was quick off his line to collect. Weir then tried the same though the wind carried the ball through again to the Stewarton keeper.
Largs were camped in the top third of the pitch and a corner from McTaggart found the head of Wilson though was cleared. Colts were awarded a free kick about 30 yards out which is MacNeil territory. The powerful midfielder struck it well and the keeper couldn’t quite hold it, 1-0 to Largs.
Stewarton are a big strong side and pressed Largs defence though with Weir holding firm with his pace and strength to snuff out the counter.
On 8 minutes Wilson went through and was fouled inside the box though not spotted by the referee. At this time Colts had all the pressure and both McTaggart and Brown had efforts just wide of the upright.
Wilson also tried his luck though again failed to extend the lead. However on 14 minutes Largs doubled their lead. A free kick 35 yards from goal was delivered into the box to meet the head of Brown who directed a header from 12 yards into the left corner of the goal for a superb effort.
Just two minutes later Dalglish did well on the left and Brown had a simple task of putting the ball home from just under the bar.
Dalglish and Brown are forming a strong partnership up front and Colts can cause teams problems with their movement, strength and pace. J.Coupar then picked the ball up from deep and made an excellent run before being fouled inside the Stewarton half.
Stewarton were not out of the game and again the defensive line of Loudon, Weir and Barbour, ably supported by keeper Irwin kept the scoreline blank. It didn’t look that would happen on 29 minutes but for an excellent challenge by Weir inside the box to deny the Stewarton striker.
Largs started the second half positively and almost extended the lead within a minute. Efforts from Brown, Dalglish and MacNeil were blocked.
On 39 minutes Dalglish played in Brown who couldn’t quite get his shot away.
Stewarton were playing and competing more all over the pitch and Colts had to dig deep to keep the chances to a minimum. When the ball was played through both the keeper and defensive three coped very well with the conditions and opposition.
Dalglish and Brown were working well again creating further goal scoring opportunities for each other. In midfield Wilson, MacNeil and Smith were all working exceptionally hard and winning their share of possession for the team.
Florence replaced Loudon to get some game time and just a minute later Brown looked to be taken down round the neck, though the ref’s whistle seemed to have lost its pea! Largs made two further changes with Kavak and Duddy replacing J.Coupar and Brown.
Weir was then fouled and had to temporarily leave the field with a hip injury and although returning a minute later the coaching staff hope it is nothing major for one of Colts top players.
As the game headed to a close Smith was booked for a mistimed challenge resulting in a Stewarton free kick, which was cleared by Colts who made it two clean sheets in three games.
This was an top team performance with keeper Irwin excellent throughout. The back three of Loudon, Weir and Barbour are gelling well and given that Colts had only had three clean sheets this season with two in last three weeks it is working well. The central midfielder's had to work hard throughout and did so fantastically well through MacNeil, Smith and Wilson. Out wide both McTaggart and J.Coupar provided the required width and link play which was excellent at times and up front Dalglish and Brown combined to effect to create and score chances. All three subs of Florence, Kavak and Duddy contributed well for an excellent three points.
Man of the Match could have gone to half a dozen players though goes to Wilson for some excellent play in the centre to counter the strength of a good Stewarton side.
Colts move on to play league leaders TASS in the William Tracey Challenge Cup away next week and will be looking for a positive result to keep their chances alive of progressing. A word for the opposition who are a good footballing side and competed well, especially in the second half.
Full Time : Largs Colts 3-0 Stewarton Annick