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The 2017 WOSYFL Presidents Cup Final was won by Valspar FC by 2 goals to 1 over Ayr Boswell in a pulsating game at Dam Park. The two sides are currently neck and neck in the league with Boswell currently clear of Valspar by two points. They had only met once this season before the final, with Valspar getting the better of Boswell on that occasion, winning 4-2.

Valspar started the game kicking left to right, at 12 O' Clock in a sunny Ayr. Boswell started off the game well, pressing Valspar high up the park.

Despite this, Valspar had the first chance in the fifth minute, when a flick on from Ross Clark nearly made it through to his strike partner Joe White, only for the on rushing Daniel Gray to gather it first.

Valspar continued to create chances and finally took one with Clark, controlling the ball in the box, then turning nicely and blasting the ball across Gray into the left hand corner.

The striker, who had been a stand out in the first 12 minutes, was mauled by his team mates in celebration of his fantastic finish.

Following Clark’s strike Valspar continued to attack the Boswell goal and doubled their lead in the 33rd minute, with Clark once again involved.

The number 7 yet again finding space in the right hand side of the box to play a pin point pass across to the on rushing Lucas Elliot.

Elliot’s shot was heading wide but was blasted into the net by the clearing defender, giving Valspar a two goal cushion before the break.  

Saturday, 06 May 2017 19:52

Coylton triumph in cup final thriller

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A pulsating end-to-end first half thriller settled the U13’s West of Scotland YFL Presidents Cup final, as Coylton FC ran out deserved winners against their league rivals Caledonian 2004s.

An action packed game with early goals, mazy runs and and some defensive mix ups made for an interesting spectacle for the fans, as the boys put on a show in the morning sun on an immaculate pitch at Dam Park.

Caledonian took the game to table toppers Coylton and their early pressure paid dividends after only two minutes. Anthony Brown went on a fantastic run, beating his man on the right wing before cutting the ball back to Caley’s number four, Josh Robinson, who dually dispatched the ball under the keeper to set the tone for the match.

The Coylton boys looked stunned by the rollercoaster start that Caledonian had made, however they soon grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

A similar run on the right hand side from tricky winger Cameron McMillan created space just inside the box for Robbie Meiklem to get a shot away, but Ewan Henderson in the Caley goal couldn’t hold the ball which meant that Dylan Conkie had an empty net to level the tie. 

Less than a minute later though, a sublime lob from Coylton striker Meiklem turned the final on its head. The number 14 won the ball on the right hand side midway inside Caley’s half. He then drove with the ball into the box and produced a piece of magic as he chipped the keeper at the angle to give Coylton a 2-1 lead.

A quick-fire double salvo from the team in orange meant that they were in the ascendency after a whirlwind start to the Presidents Cup final 2017.

The leaders, who are unbeaten in the West of Scotland league, then sat back as Caley tried to get themselves back into the game. Both teams were trying to get the ball on the deck and pass and move their way to goal, but both sets of defences managed to cut out any promising moves.

However, Coylton did eventually make their way into the Caley half and were awarded a penalty after defender Struan Knox hacked down Meiklem, after the striker managed to get to the ball fractionally faster than the big defender. Number nine Jack Marks stepped up and hammered Coylton further into the lead on 22 minutes.

Coylton’s attacking players Dylan Conkie, Robbie Meiklem and Cameron McMillan continued to press the Caledonian defence as they looked to extend their team’s lead.

Nevertheless, out of nowhere Caley pulled a goal back to score the fifth goal of the game. Knox floated a free kick into the box which evaded Coylton’s defenders and goalkeeper leaving Innes Gallacher with a tap in.  

Just as Caledonian looked to be back into the match, some slack defending let in Meiklem to restore Coylton’s two goal cushion three minutes later. A long ball was launched forward which didn’t look like causing any problems, but some confusion between Max Ferguson and Henderson in goal meant that Meiklem got to the ball first and he neatly finished beyond the keeper.

Shortly after Coylton’s fourth goa,l the referee brought the first half to close in what had been an excellent 35 minutes of football from both sides with excitement aplenty. The previous meeting between the teams was a 0-0 stalemate back in March, so the boys had obviously brought their shooting boots.

Monday, 20 February 2017 16:49

Six of the best Largs Colts through to cup semis

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Colts are through to face league rivals AC Irvine in what is sure to be a CAYFA League Cup cracker in a few weeks, after making short work of KSC Thistle at Inverclyde Sports Centre. On paper this looked to be a close contest, with KSC enjoying a decent league campaign of their own and a close match between the two sides earlier in the season. But this proved to be a very different affair. Four goals in the opening 20 minutes all but settled the contest, but KSC dug in and where many other sides might have collapsed they clawed a late consolation goal back.

Largs began the more switched on side, playing their familiar high tempo passing game and pressing up the pitch. They were looking quicker to every ball with KSC struggling to clear their lines, and it paid off just 5 minutes in. Adam Brown latched onto a ball into the box, with his left foot shot too powerful for Scott Struthers to keep out of the net.

KSC tried to push out in response but were caught out by the classic sucker punch 7 minutes later as a quick ball over the top found Brown clean through only to be brought down in the box by Brandon Leckie. The Colts forward duly stepped up to fire home his and his side’s second.

There was to be no let up as Largs continued to boss proceedings, closing down in midfield and pegging their opponents back. Number three arrived on 18 minutes as Dylan Smith and Louis Bainbridge combined well on the edge of the box for the latter to place a low finish into Struthers’ right hand corner.

Two minutes later and Largs had scored from their fourth goal attempt, as Glenn McTaggart got onto the ball on the edge of the box. He nodded perfectly through for Smith to finish powerfully from a tight angle.

KSC had a shell shocked look about them but to their credit they regrouped and limited further damage. Largs had punished every opening created with a goal and they would have to make the most of every chance. The visitors carved out their first opportunity on 24 minutes, after good work down the left flank by Thomas Miller. His cross fell to Travis Blakely but he could only blaze over from point blank range.

It really was about damage limitation for the visitors now and they restricted Largs for the remainder of the half, with Colts content to play within themselves without carving out further opportunities.

Boswell got one over on their league rivals to clinch the Wallace Gemmell Trophy at Dam Park, and remain on course for a full set of honours in the West of Scotland YFL this season. It was a dominant performance in the end against last year's Scottish Cup champions, and the Ayr side just had too much for them, in the final third, to make this a convincing final score.

These two have been head-to-head at the top of the league for much of the season, and so it was to be a very even first half with opportunities to fall at both ends. Boswell proved the more clinical though to go in at the break a goal in front.

Left back Joseph Wilson got them off to a flier, in the 14th minute, with a driving run and shot, which deflected in for the opener. In a congested midfield, Wilson’s wide play was to provide a key to unlocking the Crosshouse defence for the rest of the game, as he turned in another impressive display for his team.

Crosshouse tried to hit back instantly to falling behind, and in fact had most of the efforts at goal for the remainder of a tight first half. Joshua Edwards’ turn and shot inside the area was well parried by David Miller, with Kiaran Connolly also getting forward from midfield to test the Ayr stopper with shots on target.

But there was just no way through, and Ayr always looked dangerous from the quick break, with Gavin Todd a constant menace running at defenders. He almost extended Boswell’s lead, on 22 minutes, but his header from the corner was cleared off the line by Connolly. Another fine run and shot by the Boswell attacker was then well parried by Jamie Wilson, on 38 minutes, to keep the arrears at a solitary goal.

Crosshouse enjoyed a good spell in the closing stages of the half, with Connor Smith testing Miller. Cameron Malcolm also fired just over the bar as they tried to turn up the heat on the Ayr defence. It was, though, a half where they couldn’t capitalise on possession and goal opportunities, and this would come back to haunt them in the second half.

It took extra time to finally decide the destiny of the Wallace Gemmell trophy at Dam Park. After their comeback heroics in the semi-final Bellfield almost faced one of their own as a dogged Dalrymple side chased them down at Dam Park. Three goals in extra time eventually brought the Royals side their second trophy of the season, with a treble now a realistic prospect.

Dalrymple had mounted a brave comeback to level the tie in regulation. Goalkeeper Joseph Kerr had proved a rock at the back in a first half dominated by Bellfield, to just about help his side weather the storm and go in just two goals down.

Royals had also lost danger man Jamie Fowler to injury in the first half, which was to blunt their attack as they reorganised. It all gave Dalrymple just the sniff of a heroic recovery. One goal back and who knows?

But Bellfield looked to be well on course for more silverware in the first half, establishing an early two goal lead and playing at a tempo Dalrymple struggled to match. Taylor McIntyre and Fowler were the twin threat with quick balls in behind to catch out the Dalrymple back line.

The opener arrived in the 14th minute, after a period of sustained Bellfield pressure. Rhys Osborne’s corner swung in from the right and Lewis Baird nipped in at the far post to nod past Kerr.

Just a minute later and Royals had extended their lead. A fine ball through beat the Dalrymple defensive line with David Sawyers clean through to beat Kerr from close range.

Two such quick goals would have knocked the stuffing out of most teams, but Dalrymple collected themselves and pushed out to create a few chances of their own in response, with David McMenemy a constant danger down the right with his pace. After good play by the winger Iain Stevenson might have done better with a free header inside the box.

And goalkeeper Kerr kept their hopes just alive as Fowler went on a dazzling run on 30 minutes, beating three defenders, but a good rush out from his line blocked the shot. Shortly later Bellfield suffered a blow as Fowler pulled up with a ligament strain and had to be substituted just before the break.

The third of the day’s finals at Dam Park offered up late drama as nine man Whitletts Victoria lifted the William Nesbitt cup all thanks to an extraordinary last five minute turn around. This was a devastating defeat for a Glenburn side who looked in control of the game going into its latter stages. Instead a never say die Whitletts team spirit was to make all the difference to the game’s eventual outcome.

It’s an understatement to say that this was a lively encounter throughout. The game began as such, with neither midfield giving an inch. Victoria were to have the better of the opening exchanges, with Aiden Porter testing Lewis McMurdo’s close range skills on eight minutes. The Glenburn stopper proved more than equal to the task with two strong gloves on the point blank header.

Neither side was carving out gilt edged openings, but with the danger of a stalemate looming, Whitletts took the lead from a fine flowing move in the 19th minute. It came from a powerful run down the left, from Kris Kerr, showing real strength to stay on his feet and provide the perfect cross for Porter’s run into the box. The midfielder capped a fine assist with an equally assured finish.

The weather was closing in as Glenburn dug for a response, getting forward in the damp conditions. Callum Haymarch provided the impetus with some driving runs to commit defenders, and his lay off to Fraser Smith almost provided an opportunity on 26 minutes, but the striker’s shot was blocked.

There was no question as to what this meant to both sides, in a committed midfield contest. It was to be a challenging day for the man in the middle with every decision a source of contention. It remained an even half of few clear cut chances until, just before half time, Glenburn levelled the tie from the spot.

Haymarch’s run into the box was tracked by Kerr but the Whitletts midfielder’s challenge gave the referee the easiest of decisions. Jordan Barr stepped up to fire home to send Glenburn in at half time with a more positive outlook.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016 09:34

Ayr Boswell lift President's Cup

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Saturday brought another West of Scotland YFL blockbuster to Dam Park, with three trophies up for grabs, and each decided by the odd solitary goal. First up, and with the best of day’s conditions, was the local derby between Ayr Boswell and Valspar in the President’s Cup final. Boswell boast an unblemished record this season but were to be pushed all the way by a well organised Valspar side without a goalkeeper in their ranks.

For long spells Boswell certainly showed why they are the unbeaten league leaders, with tidy possession football providing the platform behind the strikers up front. Gavin Todd was to weigh in with an impressive second half hat trick but it was Valspar who struck first blood to frustrate their town rivals for the opening period.

They had gone ahead after just four minutes, when alert opportunism allowed Ross Clark to close down David Miller's clearance, to round the keeper and stun the league leaders. It set the stage for a high tempo first half, with Boswell jolted into action in response.

After their slow start Boswell began to get their passing game going and carve out some openings of their own. Euan Muir’s shot was deflected wide on 10 minutes, with Daniel Wilson having another shot cleared off the line, as they sought to pin Valspar back in their own half. It was a strong response to going behind, but with all their possession football they were unable to capitalise.

Valspar weathered the storm, with Boswell mainly restricted to shots from long range. Joseph White’s shot fizzed just over on the half hour, with Stephen McLelland similarly unable to test rookie keeper with a shot from the edge of the box just after.

The stand in proved equal to Ayr’s best opportunity of the half, as Wilson went on a driving run through the heart of the Valspar defence, but the keeper stood up well to close down the shot and clear the danger.

With a narrow lead to protect Valspar began to push out and were pressing better in midfield, with Brendan Lynch and Lucas Eliot closing down Boswell’s playmaker McLelland. Without creating any further opportunities of their own they hung on for a half time lead to give their opponents much food for thought at the interval.

We almost had the comeback to end them all in this President’s Cup Final at Dam Park. Eventually Kilwinning Rangers had just enough to hold off a resurgent second half Glenafton display. Having looked dead and buried at half time, they will be wondering what might have been had this game been 10 minutes longer.

The end would have been impossible to predict after a first half where Kilwinning all but etched their name on the trophy. Cruising and with a four goal lead at the break, the width of a post was all that separated these sides at the end, as Glenafton fired wide with the very last kick of the ball.

It’s the third leg of a potential clean sweep of the honours for the Young Buffs and Rangers began with the look of champions, knocking the ball around confidently and pinning their opponents back. They could have been ahead as early as the fifth minute, with a free kick from the six-yard box after a Glenafton passback.

The opener had a sense of inevitability about it, and it came after a period of sustained Kilwinning pressure. Christopher Wilson found himself some space on the edge of the box and fired a low shot past Matthew McClung for a deserved lead on eight minutes.

Rangers were first to every ball, closing down in midfield as Glenafton struggled for answers. Goal number two arrived on 14 minutes, and in bizarre circumstances. Patrick Hamill’ s low corner kick delivery was mishit into the area, and with the defence slow to react, trundled past McClung and into the net. Not what the midfielder had intended, but they all count.

Glenafton were struggling to clear their lines, as the Buffs continued to surge forward. Kristopher Mason set up goal number 3 for Wilson on 21 minutes, as he got down the right hand side of the box to lay on a perfect ball for the midfielder to extend the Rangers lead.

And the pick of the goals arrived five minutes later from the set piece as the lead was extended to four goals within the half hour. Ryan Beveridge’s postage stamp shot raced high past a helpless McClung for number four.

Punch drunk from four goals it looked all about damage limitation from now on for Glenafton, with pride still at stake. Equally Rangers may have taken their foot off the gas with the trophy seemingly in the bag, and the arrears at half time remained a mere four goals.

What a fightback this was from Bellfield. It is the oldest cliché in the book, but this was the game of two halves to end them all.  KSC will still be wondering how they managed to let this one slip having established a three goal lead at the break.

Instead their opponents somehow clawed themselves back into it. The annual fixture madness may have been a factor in their sluggish start, but on the back of last week’s cup victory, Bellfield have a taste for more silverware. With a second half hat-trick from Cameron Bott and David Sawyers’s last gasp header they booked their place in the final in dramatic style.

Barca looked shell shocked at the end, and will rue missed opportunities in a first half they completely dominated. This game should probably have been beyond even Bellfield’s recovery powers by half time.

It was a bright opening half hour for the hosts, with Daniel Sweeney’s goal brace and Alexander Dean’s header putting them seemingly in cruise control. Right from the off KSC had a stranglehold of midfield, camped in the Bellfield half, with Dean and Lennon Goldthorpe passing up early opportunities.

It only took 8 minutes for the pressure to finally give, as Sweeney rocketed a fine strike, from the D, into Nathan Joyce’s top right corner. A deserved lead, but what followed would come back to haunt KSC in the second half.

A succession of chances fell their way. Andy Martin fired wide, in the 11th minute, after being clean through on goal, with Dean having his shot cleared off the Bellfield line four minutes later. With the visitors unable to clear their lines, and push up, Sweeney then cracked the bar in the 18th. It was all one-way traffic.

Bellfield’s only ray of hope was in getting Jamie Fowler and Bott involved in the game up field, but they remained under the cosh as KSC kept up the possession football through Sweeney, Dean and Goldthorpe.

The lead should have been doubled on 25 minutes, as Goldthorpe slipped a perfect ball through for Dean clean through on goal, but he could not test Joyce. However, the striker then made amends two minutes later to score number two, as he leapt highest at the far post to nod home Sweeney’s corner.

It looked like Bellfield were finally caving in to the pressure a minute later as KSC struck again to seemingly put one foot in the final. Another quick break down the right found Goldthorpe in the box in space. Joyce could only parry a gift out to eight who made no mistake from a couple of yards.

Barca were in full control but should have been out of sight right on half time, with Dean clean through again, but this time Joyce stood up well to block his shot.

 
With a gluttony of goals in the first of the day’s finals at Dam Park, these two league rivals went head-to-head for the William Taylor Cup, and more scoring was on the menu. Kilwinning and Glenburn fixtures have not lacked for goals and entertainment this season, with the young Buffs edging the last league encounter 4-3. This winner takes all tie delivered up more of the same, with the league leaders eventually coming away with the silverware.
 
For a while it looked like being a more convincing win as Kilwinning looked to have built an unassailable lead in the first half, but a spirited Glenburn fightback made this a contest into the closing stages. Daniel Ross's late penalty eventually settled any jitters as the Buffs closed out the first leg of a potential treble.
 
Clinical finishing was to prove the difference in such an even contest. Glenburn were to see a lot of the ball, particularly in the first half, without making the most of opportunities that fell their way.
 
Either side of Kilwinning’s opener Glenburn should indeed have been on the scoresheet, with ian Rankin shooting over on 14 minutes, and Jordan Barr firing straight at George Scott on 19 minutes. In between Rangers gave them a lesson in finishing as they took the lead on 26 minutes.
 
Graeme Condon was to be a powerful threat all day up front for Kilwinning, and Patrick Hamill found the free kick delivery for the striker into the box, to rise unmarked at the back post to nod the ball in off the woodwork. It all seemed to knock the wind out of Glenburn as the Buffs went on to double their advantage four minutes later.  And it was a fine individual effort as Steven Campbell dashed into space down the right side of the box, and his angled shot flashed across goal into Lewis McMurdo’s opposite corner for number 2.
 
Kilwinning were now happy to settle on their lead, inviting Glenburn to break them down and use Condon’s presence up front on the counter. Glenburn continued to see a lot of the ball in midfield, but Fraser Smith and Alexander Bell could not craft anything to hurt the Buffs back line. Instead it was the league leaders who looked to have put the tin lid on it before half time with goal number 3.
 
Again the danger game down the Glenburn left as Jordan Burt stole a yard on his marker to drill a low cross across the box for Condon to tap home his second of the game. 42 minutes gone and Kilwinning seemed in complete control of this tie. It was a half time scoreline which didn't reflect the run of play, but was instead a lesson in how to take your chances.
 
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