Fixture: KSC Thistle v Largs Colts U14's
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA
Venue: Kilwinning Sports Centre
Date: Saturday 9th April 2016
After last weeks' League Cup triumph over Ayr Boswell, Largs Colts returned to league duty and were up against KSC Thistle. The starting eleven was unchanged as Irwin stood between the sticks. Infront of him was a back four of Barbour, Loudon, Robson and Weir. In midfield was R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart, with Smith and Brown again leading the line. The squad was completed by subtitues J.Coupar, MacNeil, Blair and Leishman.
The visitors started brightly and were ahead less than a minute into the game. A corner from Bainbridge was played to R.Coupar, and the captain struck towards goal. It was blocked, but the ball fell to Smith inside the 6 yard box and the big striker finished well to give Largs Colts the lead.
Largs were much the better side in the opening exchanges, having chances through R.Coupar and then McTaggart who both shot wide of the post. They were also very solid at the back with Robson and Weir handling the Thistle strikers very well. That said, with twelve minutes played Largs were given a scare when the Thistle forward crashed a superb strike off the bar with Irwin beaten.
It wasn't long though until the hosts were level. The Largs defenders were slow to react to the loose ball and the Thistle striker was given time and space to slot the ball home for the equaliser.
Smith was presented with a golden chance to restore Largs' lead. R.Coupar played through a delightful ball to put Smith one-on-one with the keeper, but he dragged his shot just wide of the upright.
A moment of confusion as Thistle almost took the lead. The ball was played up to their striker, who was in an offside position, and with the Largs defenders claiming offside, a Thistle midfielder broke through from an onside position and he forced Irwin to pull off a magnificent save to keep the scores level.
27 minutes into the game and the bar saved Thistle from going behind. Robson rose highest in the box and bulleted his header towards goal, but it crashed off the upright and was cleared.
As the first half was drawing to a close, poor McTaggart had taken a sore one in the testimonials, and had to be replaced by MacNeil. No treatment for that unfortunately young man!
Half Time: KSC Thistle 1-1 Largs Colts
If Largs Colts want to win the league needed to step up the effort, keep the shape and pass it simple in the second half, and that is exactly what they did. Cormack, who worked hard but maybe wasn’t getting the breaks on the day, was replaced by the returning McTaggart at half time.
Inside the first minute and Colts won another corner. Again it was Robson with the header just wide of the target. He could of had a hat-trick! At the other end Irwin misjudged a free kick and it went out for a KSC Thistle corner. The ball in was not cleared first time by Colts though Loudon was able to get a second chance and cleared well.
Largs were piling on the pressure, and the goal was coming. Everyone could see it! With 46 minutes on the clock, the visitors took the lead. Some great work by Brown to bustle through some challenges, allowing himself to run through on goal before cutting the ball back to strike partner Smith only for the latter to strike home from 12 yards out. 2-1 Largs.
Then, the hearts were in the mouths. Seemingly in control of proceedings, Bainbridge looked to roll the ball back to his keeper. The pass wasn't firm enough and the Thistle striker was onto the loose ball in a flash, bared down on goal, but he couldn't beat the brick wall in Irwin. Fantastic stop from the big keeper, and a defining moment in the match.
I said it was a defining moment, as in almost the same move, little over a minute later, Largs gave themselves some breathing space. A strong goal-ward run from Smith forced the Thistle keeper into a good save, but Brown followed up onto the loose ball and he slotted the ball into the empty net. 3-1 now.
Inside the last 8 minutes and R.Coupar danced his way past three players before he was brought down 25 yards from goal. MacNeil, who had been excellent in holding the ball and linking play since coming on, looked to place the ball rather than going for power. The Thistle keeper did well to reach the ball though Brown was on hand to tap home to make it 4-1 Colts.
The game was well and truly wrapped up as Colts made it 5-1. Brown found Blair who played the ball into the path of R.Coupar twelve yards from goal and captain fantastic controlled the ball expertly before curling a sweet left footed strike into the corner.
Full Time: KSC Thistle 1-5 Largs Colts
Despite the bright start Colts were pegged back and had to really step up the effort and accuracy in the second half. Thankfully the boys did just that with some excellent passing football in the second period and four more goals to make the game safe. On the day best for Colts were Loudon at the back, R.Coupar in the midfield and MacNeil who although he only came on after 25 minutes did superbly well to hold the ball and to link play. The big midfielder has a challenge to get fully match fit though the skills and control were superb on the day he fully deserved to be named Man of the Match.
Colts move to within two points of league leaders AC Irvine with the teams due to meet in the last game of the season. Colts have 11 games to play in the league before then and start with a very tough trip back to Kilwinning to play KSC Barca next weekend. That said the confidence is there as the Largs boys have now racked up eleven wins in a row since the turn of the year.
Largs Colts: Irwin (GK), Barbour, Loudon, Weir, Robson R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown Substitutes: MacNeil, Leishman, J.Coupar, Blair.