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Sunday, 29 September 2013 16:54

Ayrshire schools defeat Grange in eight goal thriller

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Grange Academy
Ayrshire Schools FA
Senior Friendly
Grange Academy
27 September 2013
Author: Kyle Brown
Eight goals, three penalties and the return of a YFS reporter to the playing field ensured that the school friendly between Grange Academy and the Ayrshire School's district won't be a friendly either team will forget in a hurry. The District won by five goals to three, but it was a tight affair throughout. 
Of course, said YFS reporter was yours truly. I did not even know I was playing, merely just reporting, but alas, the man in charge Charlie Adams gave me a spot on the bench. Out I went, stripped, with only astro trainers and borrowed shin pads, not to mention my extreme lack of fitness since hanging up my boots! Oh how my teammates would be filled up with confidence! 
The game started and Grange went 1-0 up without the District touching the ball! Blaine Swift received the ball from Aaron Clancy and proceeded to run through four men and blast home from outside the area, giving goalkeeper Craig Spiers no chance.
Grange were almost two up less than three minutes later! Scott Cowie picked out wide man Adam Wales who passed past the post when he should have scored. Soon after, the Grange were in again. That man Blaine Swift dribbled through on goal and played a slack pass that eventually went went well wide of its receiver; he should have just pulled the trigger and he would likely have scored. Seconds thereafter, Kyle Shankland - Grange's left back but today switching allegiance - charged forward and Rory Jamieson defended it well, but his back pass was slack, and his goalkeeper Shaun Newman had to be alert to clear. However, the big Goalie was hurt in the process and never recovered, going off at half time. 
Grange still looked more likely to score though, and Jamie McNair must have thought he'd bagged a goal when his deflected strike hit the side netting, which did deceive some spectators!
However, the game was very open. Both teams had spells of excellent passing, and then had scrappy play as well. A piece of the latter had Grant Forbes - another Grange player on the District's side - having an excellent strike blocked by Jamieson, and Craig McKenzie blocked the follow up.
Five minutes later, the Grange were 2-0 up. Cowie drove into the box, and was pulled down by Grant Forbes. Clearly, he wanted to help his school out too! Swift stepped up, and was coolness personified with a low pass straight down the middle whilst sending Spiers wide left.
Moments after, Blair McKie - the third and final Grange player on the District - fired wide from a cutback. It looked like it was going to be 2-1, but in the end, it was a poor shot that went well wide. McNair then almost made it 3-1. He ran through two defenders, sent Spiers to the ground and then fired wide. A glaring miss from the winger, but his footwork was to be admired in the build up. It was 2-1 thought moments after. Forbes made amends for himself and after a driving run and shot, and the District number 14 turned the ball in. 
As the teams were only playing 35 minutes a half, that brought about half time. It was an entertaining game so far, with the better side leading. It should have been more, as the District had looked shaky, and got their goal against the run of play in the first half as a whole.
Half Time: Grange Academy 2-0 Ayrshire Schools District
Three injuries to the Grange resulted in Sean 'Pablo' Partner and Cammy Elliot and coming on for Craig McKenzie and Aaron Clancy, whilst Craig Spiers played in goals for the Grange in the second half. The Kilmarnock trialist and current Southside number 1 was excellent in the second half, so he'll have done his chances of nailing down the District place no harm.
He made his first save after thirty seconds, saving from Andrew Sibbald in a one on one scenario; although Sibbald was foiled here, the half time substitute changed the game himself, scoring a brace and setting up the fourth goal in the second half, as well as being an all round menace to the Grange defence with his clever runs and pace. The Grange then had the ball in the net moments after. However, in true Martin Atkinson fashion, referee Thomas Alldridge blowing his whistle for a foul on Mikey Stewart too early , even though the striker ran on and lobbed the District keeper superbly.
Probably fresh in the referee's mind, he awarded the Grange their second penalty of the afternoon. Adventurous left back Kieran McMaster ran forward, and his cross struck the outstretched arm of the District defender from close range. It was a penalty in my eyes, despite District protests. Swift, on a hat trick, decided not to take two penalties in one afternoon. He left the responsibility with McNair, and the striker's venomous strike gave the keeper no chance. 3-1 to the Grange. 
The District then went up the park and won a penalty of their own, the ball striking Jamieson on the hand. However, unlike the Grange penalty, his hand was at his body and their was nothing he could do about it, so I disagree with that call. With the utmost confidence, Sibbald stepped up and dispatched a well taken penalty, Spiers guessing the correct way but given no chance. 3-2.
The remaining twenty-five minutes saw the game swing significantly. The District went to a 4-3-3 and totally bosses the game. The Grange seem to tire, and looked lost in midfield. Iain Samson, deputising for the awol Mr Adams, changed their formation to a 4-5-1 but it did nothing to help the wave of District attacks, and Stewart was often isolated alone up top, chasing down lost causes whilst the rest of his team were pinned back deep in their own half. 
Straight after the penalty, Spiers made two great one on one stops. The first was from Jonathon Pirrie, who looked certain to score, and the next from the Sibbald.
On the 55 minute mark, the District got the equaliser their play deserved. Sibbald expertly taking down a cross before calmly sending Spiers onto the turf and chipping it in, mirroring Amalfitano's goal at Old Trafford for West Brom. It appeared though in the build up, Shaun Laverry had handballed it though, and the Grange on the receiving end of two bad handball decisions. 
Right back Laverry hit the post soon after, the adventurous right back storming forward and his cracking effort beat Spiers, but not the frame of the goal. 
However, the District were leading with ten minutes to go. A long ball forward from Shankland suddenly had the Grange defence outnumbered by 3:5 and Sibbald's cut back found Jonathon Pirrie who had a tap in. 
The District's fifth and final goal came from some criminal defending, from myself included. The ball was needlessly cleared for a throw in, and their was not one but two flick ons not dealt with before the ball came to sibbald, whom I was man marking. He turned well, and somehow snaked a weak cut back to the penalty spot, where number 8 was not tracked and he had all the time in the world to easily slot home. Questions will be asked about the defending of that goal in general, I myself disappointed - even after a slight slip it seems I had done the hard bit and won the goal kick, only for sibbald to just get his left boot to the ball. However, not to worry, this was only a friendly and the Grange had performed well against the best in Ayrshire, with pro youth and three Grange stalwarts in their artillery. 
The Grange had one final flurry forward in the dying embers of the game. A neat interchange between myself, Swift and McKenzie resulted in the latter finding th tireless run of McMaster, his would be cross taken away from the head of Stewart by the goalie and as Partner went to follow up the rebound play was pulled back, as - correctly - McMaster had ever just run the ball out of play. And that concluded the action of this thrilling friendly.
Full Time: Grange Academy 3-5 Ayrshire Schools District
A game of two halves, . It was a close affair for the most part, and the Grange must be wondering how they had not won the game by half time. On the other hand, the District had most of the play in the second half, and deserved the win in the end. 
What's next for both teams?
Well, I think the Grange will have a good chance of a cup title this year. They will be boosted by the return of McKie, Shankland and Forbes, who helped the District massively today. Moreover, their was no shortage of pro youth in the District's team, so a valiant performance indeed. 
The District will also have a good chance at glory this year. They will have to improve on this performance, but as this was the first time they played together (with some boys evidently not knowing others names) this was a great performance. Once this team gel, they will be a formidable opponent to the other Regional School District teams. 
Man of the Match: Craig Spiers. The Southside and Kilmarnock keeper was excellent for both teams today. The Kilmarnock Academy pupil also must be applauded for filling in for the injured Shaun Newman and playing for a different school team.
Grange Player of the Match: Blaine Swift. The midfielder was excellent in the first half, and whilst the Grange faded completely in the second, he still showed some good touches. It was a magnificent first goal he scored, and I am left scratching my head as to why he didn't take the penalty to complete his hat trick.
Last modified on Sunday, 29 September 2013 19:21
Kyle Brown

Kyle Brown | YFS South East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

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