South West Region (93)
Crosshouse defeated Ayr Boswell 3-0 to lift the BFM Cup at the 2000s age group. A goal in first half stoppage time from Ryan Jennings had Crosshouse leading at the break. Then, Robbie Laidlaw converted a penalty ten minutes into the second half. With virtually the last kick of the match Cole Archibald sealed the scoreline when he slotted home from six yards to make it 3-0.
Crosshouse were in control for the full of the first half, and they registered their first clear cut chance inside six minutes. Reece Millar burst through a wave of players, however when the goal opened up for him he hit his shot straight at David Hill in the Boswell goal. A great overlapping run by wide right man Jennings lead to a superb cross by the afore mentioned player but Laidlaw's resulting header was too close to the keeper.
Whilst this game was always going to be close, Crosshouse just looked more dangerous than their opponents. A counter-attacking style resulted in them often cutting up their opponents defence, and from set pieces they were superior offensively and defensively.
In saying that, Callum Peters had a great chance to put Crosshouse ahead - his free header from a corner, though, went straight over the crossbar.
And Boswell had thought they'd taken the lead just before the half-hour mark when Ryan Whyte turned home Jordan Bell's flick on - the linesman had his flag up early and the celebrations were short lived.
Crosshouse did however take the lead in the last minute of regulation time. Jordan Mason's whipped free kick found its way to Jennings and he duly converted with a lovely side-footed finish.
Boswell did try to rally with a Jack Taylor driven free kick from in deep added time, however Crosshouse goalkeeper Jamie Wilson tipped it wide. That was the first time the goalkeeper had really touched the ball.
Sunday, 13 April 2014 16:49 Written by Kyle Brown
Down at Kilwinning Sports Club in wet and miserable conditions, Crosshouse and KSC Town contested a battle for the first trophy of their respective U-16s season - the Central Ayrshire YFA League Cup. Courtesy of a David McSorely hat trick, Crosshouse ran out 3-1 winners in a tightly fought contest. Exactly three minutes prior and three minutes following half time, McSorely had headed home twice. Caleb Reid set up a grand stand finish when he pulled one back from inside the penalty area. However, as KSC were pushing for a late equaliser, McSorely blasted home his third and sealed the win deep into stoppage time.
Crosshouse registered the shot on goal eight minutes in. A superb touch down by full-back Danny Ross allowed him to find the head of David McSorely with a looping cross - the big striker got a powerful header away but KSC keeper Craig Livingstone reacted well to divert it from danger.
The opening period was an even affair, and it was clear that not much separates these sides in terms of class - aside from a few long range shots from either side, which never troubled either keeper, the game was a midfield battle.
That almost changed on the twenty-five minute mark: pouncing onto a long ball KSC's Jack Ewing had dinked the ball over Robbie Wilson and had the full KSC support celebrating, only for the ball to cruelly bounce back off of the crossbar and out for a goal kick. A lucky escape for Crosshouse, but they went close just a few minutes later: another long ball found its way to Kyle Gilroy who raced in on goal, but one on one his shot was a daisy cutter that went wide. This time KSC were the team with a lucky escape. On the half hour mark McSorely had the ball in the net, only for the linesmen to intervene by flagging him offside. The game was, truly, warmed up now (unlike the weather!)
Still Crosshouse pressed, they had been stirred into action since their foray with the crossbar, and went close again. Captain Ryan Beveridge - returning after a six month injury absence - had put in some excellent set pieces, and McSorely just wasn't tall enough to flick a wonderful free kick into the back of the net, and Alex Bell could not stretch enough to divert it home at the back post.
A goal was coming for the Red and Whites, and it was no surprise that they did only three minutes before half time. Paul Millar headed the ball upwards from a corner, and that man McSorely rose highest to head the ball into the bottom corner.
KSC attempted the rally and went close. Ewing first had a shot which Wilson dove and held on to. That was more of a camera save, however later on, when Mark Curragh went through on goal Wilson put his body body on line to lunge and punch the ball away from harm's way. Brave, excellent goalkeeping from Wilson and that ensure that it stayed 1-0 going into half-time.
The game was even for the most part of the first half. Either team could have been leading at this point and they both knew what was coming in the following forty minutes. Crosshouse's Connor Brennan was the stand out of the first half, the left back had played the perfect game as far. That would have to continue if Crosshouse were to be victorious. KSC made tactical changes to send more bodies forward in an attempt to come from behind. There was an interesting forty minutes ahead indeed.
Sunday, 23 March 2014 21:17 Written by Kyle Brown
In the 1998s Supplementary Shield final, Tass Thistle came from 2-0 down via extra time to defeat Galston YFC to clinch a spot in the final. Goals either side of the break came from Ross Duncan and Cameron Ross and they looked to have sent Galston through: but a late Scott Jennings brace took the game into overtime. Despite good chances coming again to Galston, it was Tass captain Joseph Gallagher who headed in a frantic winner right at the death, just as penalties were looming...
The game could not have started any better for the home side. Following some early pressure they won a corner. The ball was floated in high and for no clear reason outfielder Christopher O'Hagan punched the ball away. A clear penalty and the referee opted to send the player off, to which neither himself or his team mates had any real complaints about.
John Frame stepped up to take the spot kick, but Tass Goalkeeper Lauchlin Stringer saved the ball, and cleared the ball way to prevent Galston scoring the rebound.
That was all inside the opening five minutes - less than ten minutes later Galston did indeed take the lead. Using their man advantage well, they sustained a lot of pressure on their counterparts. Tass made a clearance but the ball only came as far as Ross Duncan. He drove his way forward and audaciously chipped the keeper from the penalty D to open the scoring in magnificent fashion.
For the rest of the half Galston had complete control - they had numerous shots on goal as they looked the extend their lead and book their place in the cup final. However, perhaps their best one following the goal came straight after their opener: a neat ball from Craig Black was flicked on by Frame to the path of Jason Phillips. One on one with Stringer, the forward done all he could have but the Tass goalkeeper made a magnificent save to get the ball out for a corner. From that corner, the ball broke to Kyle Gilmour; his shot through a crowd of bodies couldn't beat Stringer either, this time the keeper held the ball.
In almost identical fashion five minutes later, Stringer again held a Gilmour shot from a corner. This time the Galston captain had volleyed the ball - perhaps an even better save from Stringer then.
Black then had a go from distance, but he failed to make Stringer work when his shot fizzed narrowly over.
Galston then had a few more chances from distance in a quick fire flurry of activity; both Gilmour and Cameron Ross stung the keepers palms from similar distances, before Frame forced the keeper into a smart low stop down to his left from a free kick. That was before another good chance was presented to Phillips, but again Stringer prevented him from an angle.
One minute before half time and ten man Tass finally worked Jordan Boyd in the Galston goal. Scott Jennings came sliding into the box, and his lob almost caught out the keeper, however he backtracked well and held the ball easily.
Irvine Thistle clashed with Troon Thistle in the David McNaught U-15s Cup. They played in Group 1, and this was the first game in this cup. Irvine won by seven goals to two. Goals for Irvine came from David Cherry (2), Adam Fullen (2), Sam Auld , David Beattie and Dylan Brown. Troon replied through Jackson Stevenston and Angus Clark.
The teams had met earlier on in the season, and it was Troon who prevailed back then. Irvine must have felt they had a point to prove to their Ayrshire rivals. They started in an attacking fashion and they registered the first shot on target: following a corner inside three minutes Michael Feary attempted a speculative overhead kick that went over the Troon crossbar.
However, Troon went as close as you can get to scoring without the ball actually crossing the goal line as possible; after a corner of their own Shawn Reid bulleted a header downwards, fortunately for Irvine their goalkeeper Cameron Easton tipped the ball onto the post and it was cleared off the line just as strikers were queueing up to slot home the rebound.
Up the other end the above mentioned Fullen drilled put in an excellent cross that presented strike partner Cherry with a scoring opportunity that just went over the bar. Fullen then twisted and turned his way to the byline before drilling another inch perfect cross across goal but there were no takers.
Fullen was soon turning into a thorn in the Troon side, and he wasn't to be stopped. He opened the scoring on the fourteen minute mark when he turned inside his man marker and passed the ball beyond the exposed Troon goalkeeper for 1-0.
It was to be two for Irvine and two for Fullen only six minutes later. From a free kick, the ball was knocked down in front of him and he thundered a superb finish into the roof of the net. 2-0.
Aaron Zakaszewski made a superb challenge to prevent 3-0 on the twenty-five minute mark: Irvine's David Beattie raced in on goal but Zakaszewski made a great last ditch challenge to stop a certain goal.
As a result, Troon were able to quickly regain composure and apply pressure of their own. Ryan Cole played a defence splitting pass onto the on rushing Stevenston who took a great touch to control, and an even better one to blast low and hard into the bottom corner to pull one back for his side.
A few minutes went past with not much goal-mouth action happening. However on the thirty minute mark Beattie was sent crashing to the turf in the penalty area for a stonewall penalty kick. Irvine captain Auld stepped up to confidently dispatch and regain his side's two goal advantage.
That concluded the noteworthy action in the first half.
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 08:27 Written by Ryan Rowe
Caledonian Thistle fought back from 1-0 down to beat Kilmarnock rivals Bonnyton Thistle in the Under 14s BFM Cup on Saturday.
The Prestwick side battled past a dominant Bonnyton side for most of the game with a dogged display filled with hunger, desire and ten minutes of ruthlessness.
Jack Reid put Bonnyton ahead from the spot before Travis Smith equalised for Caley with a penalty of their own.
Kieron Milligan sneaked in behind to snatch the winner minutes later and fifth-placed Caley held on against third-placed Thistle for the cup win despite a Bonnyton barrage in the closing stages.
The match kicked off on a glorious sunny morning with both teams coming out firing to match the weather. Bonnyton were the first to test the opposing goalkeeper when winger Stewart Masterton latched onto a through ball on the left hand side from Jack Reid. The midfielder’s first touch was superb and it took him across the defender and inside the box but James Edgar smothered the shot.
On 14 minutes the away side created their second chance after pressing their opponents high up the pitch. Cammy Neilson picked up a loose ball on the left wing 10 yards from the by-line and drove into the box only to be tripped as he shaped to shoot. The referee blew to the spot.
This meant that with Bonnyton’s second chance of the game they had a penalty and the chance to go 1-0 up. Captain Jack Reid stepped and dispatched coolly into the bottom left hand corner of the box for his second goal in two games.
Caledonian continually looked dangerous on the break though with their direct style as Travis Smith and David Banks formed a formidable brawn and brain duo at the back. Kieron Milligan’s pace up front was also proving testing for the Bonnyton back four and this combination would later bear fruit.
Meanwhile, Bonnyton continued to push on to try and gain a two-goal advantage and Reid’s cross-come-shot from the edge of the area was almost nipped in at the back post by Jamie Quigley but the right winger could not connect and the ball rolled out for a goal kick. Quigley in particular was playing well out wide right with his dribbling skills.
Caley’s home defence continually intercepted a lot of through balls in the final third, with the back line’s defensive coaching clearly paying off; Edgar was having a superb game between the sticks also, snuffing out every shot that came his way.
Caley had two chances just before the end of the first period either side of a Blair Kennedy shot for Bonnyton going wide from 14 yards as Milligan squeezed in between two Bonnyton defenders inside the penalty area to the left of the six yard box before volleying a shot at Michael Murray who saved down low to his right and then a shot from an angle at long range hit the side netting.
Kilmarnock 17s welcomed Glasgow City down to Greenwood Academy in Dreghorn for a pre-season friendly. The air was a cool and the sun was out (finally!) All in all it was a great day for football. The game turned out to be a four goal thriller. Brogan Hay thundered Glasgow City into the lead at the break. However, an equally stunning brace from Nicole Telford seemed to have given Killie bragging rights - that was until Katie Rice converted a Hay free kick with less than ten minutes to play.
Both teams initially struggled to get into the groove in terms of creating clear cut chances in the opening passage of play. Both Kilmarnock and Glasgow City's defence led by example in staying well marshalled and allowing little room for the opponent's time on the ball.
However, City's Brogan Hay broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion on the seventeen minute mark. Finding the ball out wide left, she cut inside at pace and sold a couple of defenders with a neat triple step-over which resulted in her blasting the ball into the roof of the net from twenty five yards.
A stand-out in the final of the National Trophy in November, Hay began to stamp her authority on this game too, using a wide passing range and neat skill set to become a real thorn in the Kilmarnock side. A neat interchange with Katie Rice led to Hay being one on one with Killie goalkeeper Darlene Mitchell: however the goalkeeper rushed out of her box and executed a superb slide tackle and cleared the danger.
Then Hay's cross field pass allowed Eva Lockheart to round the goalkeeper, but the ball just rolled too far and she couldn't quite stab it home.
Finally, a Hay free kick stung Mitchell's palms and she smothered just as strikers were queueing up to slot in a potential rebound.
Killie were still in it though, and still were creating chances of their own: with five minutes of the first half left Shawnie Harper had a go from twenty yards, but City 'keeper Erin Clackers was well placed to make the save comfortably.
On the stroke of half time, Kristiana Hamilton rose to meet a cross, but her header wasn't quite powerful enough to beat Clackers who held easily. That concluded the end of the first half.
Hibs 17s travelled down to Galston in Ayrshire to play Kilmarnock 17s in an anticipated pre-season friendly. The travelling side surely must have high ambitions for the upcoming season, as the 17s last year went all the way to the final of the Scottish Cup. (Where I had the pleasure of reporting on their Final.) Whilst perhaps you could argue that the squad has lost a number of players due to age restrictions now, they have promoted many a player from the U-15s side that won the Scottish Cup last year.
As for Kilmarnock, they had no 17s side last year, so this is a totally new squad. Since joining up with the men's professional team, the Ladies side have been able to bring in many players of good ability, and in various positions too. The teams opted to play three thirds of thirty minutes, and the first third was very even. Kilmarnock had a match day squad of 18, and Hibs only travelled with 12. It was experimental second and third periods, and Hibs were decisive in taking advantage of Kilmarnock after they made many a change - the home side's lack of knowledge of one another obvious. Whilst Hibs bettered the Ayrshire side by number of goals scored, there were two winning sides out there though, as both sides experimented as much as they could, and will now have a better picture of tactics for the competitive season.
A lot of things have changed since I last watched Hibs play back in mid-November - not least the venue and weather. If there was sunshine on Leith when the green-and-whites departed this morning, they sure did not find any in my hometown of Galston by the time they arrived. In fact, the weather was by far the worst I have ever reported in; windy, wet and bitingly cold. Makes quite a change from the indoor facility at Toryglen. Thankfully, I had also exchanged my formal suit attire for a pair of rather tight Reebok waterproofs!
It seemed we were all set to go, and still the game never went ahead, due to a lack of referee. However, Kilmarnock Club Secretary Kenny Campbell stood into referee after a twenty minute delay of panic: finally, we were all set to go.
Having witnessed the majority of the Hibs team play before, it was not surprising for me that they were a team applying early high pressure. In fact, they almost scored inside three minutes. Sophie Kay's in swinging free kick ricocheted into the path of Megan Kerr eight yards out; her effort seemed goal bound but it deflected and looped over the crossbar for a corner.
Kilmarnock launched a few counter attacks in the opening spell, but the Hibees defence stood firm. Shout out to Erin Burns; the Hibs full-back deflected the ball out for a throw in- and straight off of my phone, sending it into the turf. With the screen already cracked, it has gotten even worse! Maybe its time for a new one now!
Anyway, it was indeed Hibs who opened the scoring. Another Kay set piece found its way into the path of Livi Murphy who swept the ball home.
However, Kilmarnock equalised straight away. Kristiana Hamilton - who had made her first team debut at 14, making her one of the most experience players left at this age group - raced through on goal. Using her pace she found time to compose herself before slotting home - not the easiest task when facing YFS Team Of The Year Goalkeeper Kirsty Jefferies.
The lively Caitlin Russell was beginning to become a real thorn for the Kilmarnock side to deal with. She dribbled her way to the byline and fired across goal, begging for it to be turned in, however Kilmarnock’s Kaitlin Hamilton was alert to block the danger on the goal line, and then clear to safety.
I'm told Kilmarnock skipper Caitlin Howie was once nicknamed 'The Terminator' for her tough tackling style. She lived up to this title though, saving her team with two superb tackles in 50/50s with Mhairi Smith: had the Hibees striker been allowed to run through on goal after nearly benefitting from a loose ball it surely would have been 2-1.
Kilmarnock were beginning to ride a storm, and they had Erin McManus to thank for keeping the score level, after she tipped Russell's pile driver onto her left hand post.
They didn't heed the warnings however, and Mhairi Smith created space for herself before blasting beyond and across the stranded McManus for 2-1.
That brought about the end of the first third. It was extremely tight throughout, but Hibs' high pressure had been rewarded with a 2-1 lead.
Hibs were pretty much forced to play with the hand they were dealt with, and kept their style similar for the second third. However, Kilmarnock made numerous changes, to experiment for the upcoming season.
Laughs soon filled the pitch side, as the Kilmarnock coach claimed their coach had only fielded ten players after the restart. They sent out another player, only to find out that they had originally had all eleven players on the field! Only in Kilmarnock would one struggle to count to eleven! (As the Hibs coaches reminded them so!)
Hibs came straight out their corner and fighting fiercely. Dee Moffat found Smith, who cut in and fired wide from twenty-five yards.
Seconds later, a Burns free kick deflected off of the face of a luckless defender, and the ball bounced into the path of Rebecca Smith who half volleyed just wide.
It was indeed 3-1 seven minutes into the second half. Russell picked the ball up forty yards from goal, and drove through wave after wave of defenders with flair, and slotted inch-perfectly beyond Darlene Mitchell who was now in the Kilmarnock goal.
Mitchell made a great one v one stop from Kay, after the silky midfielder had jinked her way into the box. Great challenge, but it left the forward needing a bit of treatment. Rather harshly, the Kilmarnock players on the bench started to chant about subbing the referee rather than the player, again everyone having a great laugh! Luckily, Kay was able to continue. Luckily, the stand in referee also decided to continue, taking the flak with a smile on his face!
Kay played a part on her side's fourth goal. She slipped the ball into Russell, who powered her way into the box and blasted a ball in off the crossbar for 4-1. A run and finish that my hero Yaya Toure would be proud of!
It was soon 5-1, with Russell completing a magnificent quick-fire hat trick. Ever dangerous from set pieces, Burns picked out the head of Russell who nodded the ball into the bottom corner with an expert header.
Again Burns' crossing ability was causing Kilmarnock problems: within a minute she supplied two superb crosses that both narrowly evaded Rebecca Smith.
The relentless Russell grabbed herself another after picking up the ball out on the left, and drove through the heart the home side's defence and slotted home for 6-1.
That concluded the end of the second third. The Kilmarnock coach himself claimed he was taking the blame for the scoreline that had quickly went from ideal to “not what they were hoping for.” However, this was a case of trial and error and an experience I'm sure everyone will feel was necessary as they prepare for the oncoming season. So, rather than going back to a tried and tested method, the Blue-and-White's went more ambitious and experimented further.
As for Hibs, they could only pat themselves on the back. A tremendous showing in that second third that proves they will once again be a force to be reckoned with in the National Competition this year, and they certainly have a chance of retaining their league and cup double should they keep this level of performance up.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 18:34 Written by Kyle Brown
Kilmarnock Academy clashed with South West Region Rivals Douglas Ewart High School in a thrilling Scottish Schools FA Shield Third Round match. Fine goals, a red card, handbags and more, it was a pleasure that I had stayed to spectate the game.
The game was being held at the Grange Academy in Kilmarnock as the Kilmanock Academy have no 3G AstroTurf of their own. The game certainly could not have went ahead had the game been forced to be played on grass - sensibly the venue was switched so as not to risk it for the visitors travelling North from Dumfries.
The visitors started the better side. Robert Hughan had a half chance on the hour mark, but his steered volley was always on the rise. The same player was then almost gifted a goal when he was presented the ball thirty yards out with the opposing keeper Craig Spiers out of his goal. Hughan's effort however just didn't have the legs to squirm past Spiers and he gathered comfortably.
The Kilmarnock Academy made them pay. Spiers through the ball out to Ross Black, and after a neat interchange, the former Ayr United central midfielder sent a superb through ball for Matthew Cree to sprint onto at pace. The winger made no problem of dispatching the ball beyond Douglas Ewart keeper Euan Drysdale for 1-0, against the run of play it must be said.
For the next ten or so minutes, the game became a total midfield battle. However, on the twenty-five minute mark the home side, playing in a light maroon rather than the usual red and black which clashed with the visitors, should have been 2-0 up. It was great work from Fraser Smith (reverted back to his old central midfield position) and he put the ball on a tee for Tony Murphy to tap in, but incredibly he screwed his effort over.
The good link up play did give the Kilmarnock Academy a huge boost though, and they did start putting intense pressure on the opposing defence. Smith tried his luck from distance, his dip-and-spin shot was moving set from Drysdale but he made a smart stop nonetheless.
From there, Corey Ross almost thought he had gotten a goal. In a rare venture forward from the left back position he had made his own, he squeezed the ball beyond a crowded penalty area and the ball was trickling towards the back of the net. However, in just the nick of time Ryan Jackson slid the ball away off of the line.
The home side were not to be denied though. After a ricochet around the area following a long ball , the ball dropped nicely for Black who dispatched the ball home for 2-0 with less than four minutes left of the first half.
The Kilmanock Academy were on total control at this point, and they should not have started conceding chances with so little time left on the clock. However, that is precisely what happened. A wild air kick from my mate Darryl Biggley allowed Conal McDonald a run in on goal, but the captain put his effort high and wide when he should have at the very least made the keeper work. However, Douglas Ewart did not have to be asked twice to dispatch a second gift wrapped chance. A free kick was given to the away side on the edge of the box. Hughan curled the ball onto the cross bar with a magnificent effort. With the defence completely static, Martin Jolly headed home from the rebound to make it 2-1 on the stroke of half time.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 18:09 Written by Kyle Brown
Loudoun and Cumnock served up a storm of a match that was thrilling throughout. With twists at every turn, it was a pleasure that I was able to cover it.
The game was eleven minutes old when the first piece of real goal mouth action occurred - with it, Loudoun opened the scoring. A superb defence splitting pass from line striker Krissy Graham found the on rushing winger Christopher Barrie in acres of space - his shot was coolly slid past the goalkeeper for 1-0. In fairness, this was against the run of play - the away side had started the better side and Kerr Samson had screwed a few half chance strikes wide: on another day, the Southside wide man could have buried them.
Matthew Balls then had a chance to further extend the home sides lead. The excellent Graham headed down to tee up a volley - but Balls fired well over from the edge of the box with the goal gaping.
He was left to rue that miss as from the resulting goal kick, Cumnock countered and found themselves level. It was Darren McGill who found himself unmarked at the back post after ghosting into the box, and he blasted into the roof of the net to leave John Hamilton with no chance. 1-1.
From there, this begun wave after wave after wave of Cumnock attacks. Over the course of the next seven minutes, they must have felt that God himself was diverting the ball away from the Loudoun goalmouth. Specifically, Stuart Reid must have thought that God was against him. Firstly, he sliced a cut back from eight yards well wide. Then, he was twice denied magnificently by Hamilton from one on one scenarios - the latter when the striker had the whole goal gaping such was the quality of his initial run down the middle.
Reid was another that was left to a glaring miss. The earlier culprit Mattie Balls made amends when he fired Loudoun 2-1 ahead. Again, it was Graham whose pass played on an on rushing attacker, and Balls did not need to be asked twice to finish this time round, giving James Hart no chance with a sweeping first time pass into the goal.
However, Reid was soon to be making amends of his own. Loudoun felt that the striker had fouled their player on the edge of the Loudoun D. Much to Mr Lenox's despair, the seniors stopped to moan at the referee. Taking full advantage, Reid played the whistle (like you should) and advanced into the box. There, he was fouled clumsily and Cumnock were awarded a penalty. A stonewall penalty in my eyes, and it was not a foul in the build up either, and in any case, this was a cruel lesson that you have got to play the whistle. Reid picked himself off of the dirt and blasted a perfect penalty high and dead centre whilst Hamilton went left. 2-2.
Of course, in this game there was to be no shortage of exceptional. After the Cumnock penalty , there was three minutes left to half time. One could be forgiven if they understood that that could have concluded the first half action.
Of how wrong you would have been. On the forty minute mark, Cumnock felt they should have won a foul, but instead they ended up fouling that thorn Graham who tumbled into the area for a Loudoun penalty. To paraphrase a certain Arsenal manager, I genuinely couldn't see it(ie the initial would be foul.) To be fair, Steven Lindsay (Loudoun Midfielder) said that Cumnock should have had a foul. What I can say for definite, is that it was a stonewall penalty once Graham was tripped.
Like he did against the Grange, Captain for the day Elliot Kenny stepped up and passed the penalty coolly into the bottom corner to make it 3-2, and with it, concluding the first half action - for real this time!
November 23rd 2013 was the day that Billy White from YFS Photography and I ventured to Prestwick Academy for a Clash of the Titans encounter between Glenburn Minor's Welfare and Prestwick Youth Football Club at 13s level. Both sides had perhaps stuttered last week which brought an end to their totally blistering start to the season. However, this match was in many people's eyes still going a long way to decide who will be crowned the West Of Scotland Youth Football League Champions at the 2001 age group for 2013-2014.
There was perhaps a sense of worry when the match was subject to an 8:30am pitch inspection. Ironically, the pitch was in excellent condition, if a bit hard. The sun was soon out though, and the park returned to its usual condition. If only the Grange where I go to school had a playable grass park like this one!!
Anyway, the match was all set for a 10:30am start on the dot. Both sides were up for this match, evidently, but there were both erring on the side of caution. It would be all to easy to gift the match to the opposition, such was the quality of both these sides. Both form and class demonstrated how clinical both sides were.
And that, brings me to the start of the game. The first effort came the way of Glenburn - Alistair Dickson striking from distance -that old cliché: "test the goalie early on and see if he's any good or no." However, goalkeeper Jack Peacock was under it with ease, and held it nonchalantly to ensure no attacker was there to pounce on a potential rebound.
Five minute later Derern Boyle picked out team mate Kerr Carlyle. The striker race down on goal, making use of his sheer raw pace, and his curling effort had the goalkeeper beat, but Ryan Conroy cleared the ball off of the line superbly with a sublime header.
The early Glenburn pressure payed off. Fourteen minutes into the match Robbie Swift races onto a long ball, and dinked the ball cutely over the goalkeeper for 1-0.
Prestwick had Peacock to thank for preventing his side going two down less than three minutes after the first goal went in - he smartly denied Carlyle's angled strike.
And like that, Prestwick made them pay. They equalised with the dirt meaningful attack - a great solo goal from Josh Alexander who powered his way into the box. His angled drive then squeezed on at the far post and it was 1-1 after twenty minutes.
It was almost 2-1 to Prestwick but Ross Murdoch in the Glenburn Minor's Welfare goal reacted superbly to get down to Paul O'Neill's point blank snap strike.
Dickson was the next player close to scoring in a real end to end first half. He rose superbly to meet a corner after twenty seven minutes. There were cheers booming right down the Glenburn touch line, and despite it being an excellent header, Josh McCarthy nodded it clear for the second great goal line clearance by the Prestwick defence. It was then Peacock who denied Glenburn a fraction of a minute later. Liam Alexander reacted first to shanked strike by one of his team mates, but he could not get the better of the opposing goalkeeper who put his body on the line to make a good block. That concludes the first half action.
Sunday, 17 November 2013 22:09 Written by Kyle Brown
Reporting from a school charity game obviously has a slightly different style to it. The magnificent Grange Academy slaughtered their tedious teachers by putting five past them before giving them a wee bit of consolation by allowing them to have three goals so it looked a close contest... Goals from Michael Stewart, an own goal, Andrew Barlow and an Adam Wales brace ensured that, for the first time ever, the Seniors beat the staff in the Children In Need charity game.
The game was played in full competitiveness though, those teachers were determined not to lose! Even Mr Boyd refereeing could just not bear to see his peers face that kind of mockery, as he awarded every single decision he could in the staff's favour.
It did not make the blind bit of difference though as Wales broke the deadlock five minutes in. The teachers were soon level though, ex-pro Mr Adams teeing up Mr Allan to score; had it not been for heroics of Allan Tipping in goals the game could have slipped away from the seniors.
Much to the joy of everyone who donated money to watch, Bellfield 97s club mates Wales and Stewart fired in a goal each within a minute to put the seniors 3-1 ahead. Stewart also cracked the crossbar with a ferocious drive that would have killed the game dead.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 23:11 Written by Kyle Brown
On the walk from Grange Academy to St Joseph's Academy's AstroTurf, through the gusting winds, tormenting rain and not to mention icy snotters that formed oh so regularly, I asked myself, do I just not go to the Senior school League match between Kilmarnock Academy Girls and Auchinleck Academy Girls? Of course not, and it proved to be a wide decision thanks to the late drama I witnessed: Lauren Johnstone cancelled out Kirsten Robinson's early strike to snatch a late point for the Kilmarnock Academy.
If there was ever any doubts about attending the game(there really wasn't, above I was merely setting the scene) they soon vanished as Auchinleck took the lead with the first meaningful attack inside the eight minute mark. The ball came to Robinson via a deflection, from which she touched the ball inside and tucked beyond Hannah McLean in the Kilmarnock goal.
After speaking briefly to Mr Kidd of Auchinleck, he felt that his side were strong underdogs coming into this match. It was easy as to understand why, with his squad being a young one that didn't seem to know one another all that well. Evidence of this was demonstrated when fifteen minutes into the game, the teacher told the superb Paige Frame to take a quick throw in to "Kirsten" and she replied "What one is Kirsten?" That proved how little the squad knew one another, and particularly when said player has broken the deadlock with a goal and you still can identify her, you could wonder if this could lead to frailties. Not a chance, the team gelled as if they had been together for years, and with Rangers central defender Frame at the heart of their play, superbly marshalling the backline whilst also getting forward to support the midfield. The attacking side of her game helped her see two chances go amok just over ten minutes after Robinson's goal. Firstly, she connected with a Stevieleigh Paterson corner with a header, but McLean was perfectly positioned to catch the ball cleanly. Then Frame attempted a blast from thirty yards after nimble footwork, this attempt going a few yards wide.
That was two-thirds of the way through the first half, and it was the team from the very far corner of East Ayrshire that had had all the play so far. The Kilmarnock Academy in red and black hadn't really started yet. However, they almost pulled a goal back on the twenty-two minute mark with their first shot on goal.
Some fine individual play from Chloe Smith - playing alone up top today as strike partner and twin sister Kyra was absent - won the ball and drove to the byline; from there, she cut back to Kristiana Hamilton who shot weekly at goalkeeper Danni Walker. It wasn't to be the best of days in front of goal for the Kilmarnock Ladies senior player( who made her debut for the senior side at an astonishing age of fourteen and a half years old, a Women's Premier League record) and her anguished screams often rung around the New Farm AstroTurf.
Kilmarnock then had McLean - their captain, and one point a Scotland Internationalist at her age group - to thank to stop the score line going 2 and 3-0. Firstly, she was fast and brave enough to charge full steam out of her goals into a fifty -fifty with oncoming striker Paterson,(who has also got club experience with Ayr, I am informed) the ball ricocheted off of the outfielder and just wide for a corner, it was so close to being a goal! Moments later again she demonstrated exactly who was I'm charge of that eighteen yard box, coming right out to about seventeen yards out to smother the ball away from the feet of both Robinson and Jaimie-Lee Christie, whilst also taking out her own defender Rachel Caddis at the meantime. Yeahp, no doubt about how was in charge of that goalmouth...
With only two minutes of the half remaining, Hamilton went close on two occasions to levelling the game. Firstly, she put past the junction of the goal from a very tight angle; then she fired wide from thirty yards on the stroke of the half time whistle.
Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00 Written by Robert McCarry
Fireworks were scheduled for both on and off the park this Guy Fawkes Night as classy French development side Edusport took on a Dumbarton outfit that still harboured promotion ambitions in this midweek friendly at Toryglen
A number of formers Hibs stars would be lighting up the touchlines as well tonight with three of their ex-players amongst the coaching staff for both teams. Guillaume Beuzelin had been very pleased with his fellow francophones transition to Scottish having beaten youth sides from Motherwell and Airdrie 9-0 and 5-2 respectively in their opening encounters whilst in charge of the Sons were Ian Murray and Colin Nish who saw this fixture as the perfect chance to run the rule over a number of trialists who were hoping to break into a side lingering just outside the Championships play off places.
Wet and wild though it was both sides were clearly looking to make an impression and the crowd in attendance were sure to be treated to a November to remember as we got under way, Dumbarton looking solid and efficient at the back and in midfield making the majority of the running but the younger French side were clearly a talented bunch and it was they who would have the best of the early chances.
Left back Yoann Bechairia was lively down the wing and proved too much for his marker in the early going as he fed the ball in to Clement Payerne but his eventual shot was wild and wide although Loic Leroy was far more accurate moments later when making half a yard of space for himself swivelled and shooting hard towards the top corner where only a fine two handed save by Stephen Grindlay in the Dumbarton goal kept the sides level.
The deadlock would be broken by Payerne soon after though as he was sent clean through on goal via a scintillating pass from the back cutting out the entire defence to leave him one on one with Grindlay, patiently waiting him out before calmly tucking the ball under him for the opening goal on the quarter hour.
Dumbarton looked to hit back rapidly and broke down the left with Kevin Smith cutting the ball back for Nicky Phinn to deliver his side’s first strike on goal but it failed to trouble Anthony Bal between the posts and the chance to equalise was missed.
Edusport were now beginning to show the kind of form that had seen them score 14 goals in their opening two matches and efforts by Amir Derradji, Jordan Orain and Maxence Rochoy would come close to doubling their sides advantage but it would be Bechairia who fulfilled his early promise after outpacing his opposite number yet again and enjoyed some superb interplay with Leroy who took two touches before setting his team-mate free in the box where his shot was tipped on to the post by Grindlay but inevitably span over the line to make it 2-0 inside half an hour.
The final action of the half would be created by Payerne who this time turned provider and skilfully stepped away from the challenges of Dumbarton’s defender’s before sliding the ball across the six yard box where Anthony Blain couldn’t help but score his side's third as we headed into the break.
Not for the first time in the last few weeks, I happened to find myself outside in the freezing rain and gusting winds to watch a youth football school match earlier today. As ever though, the match I saw was sheer entertainment at its best, as St Joseph's Academy Seniors drew 1-1 with The James Hamilton Academy. The schools are rivals, both being situated in the New Farm Loch area of Kilmarnock, and everyone knows one another; this only added to the must-see occasion. A stunning goal from Michael Grant looked to have given St Joseph's the three points, but a somewhat bizarre goal from last week's MOTM Chris Fletcher stole a late point for the James Hamilton.
The match was a James Hamilton home game, but as they don't have their own AstroTurf park, the match was actually held in St Joseph's own backyard. This did not really give them the lift they wanted though as play was scrappy for the first fifteen minutes. However, it was the 'away' side that created the first chance - from a corner Declan Lavan found himself lots of space to get his header away after a superb leap, but he could not hit the target from close range.
It was on the half hour mark the match really burst into life though. After some superb play from Kyle Mason(beating two men, winning a fifty-fifty and spraying a superb cross-field pass) Martin Findlay managed to get a shot away, but he just missed the target. That seemed to revitalise the 'home' side and they pegged back St Joseph's and made some good chances.
Alistair McCloud was at the heart of these chances. He first attempted a half volley from the edge of the D, and fired about a yard wide of the far post with goalkeeper Jordan Platt well beat. Then, a hopeful long ball from centre half Stevie Dixon was controlled elegantly by McCloud, before he fired a dipping shot from fifteen yards. However, this could not beat Platt - the goalkeeper made a tremendous one handed stop, watching the ball all the way and then being alert enough to gather the loose ball. Whatsmore, the St Joseph's captain had had little to do prior to that save in these horrific conditions, so perhaps that was an ideal way to show his class, and why he was selected YFS South West Region Team Of The Year as goalkeeper last season.
McCloud must have thought he'd scored moments later when he was through on goal, his blast had beaten McCloud but somehow the versatile (today a centre back) and pacey defender Liam Wilson made a superb and outrageous block to deny a certain goal. From the corner, Findlay's thumping header was parried upwards by Platt into the air, and the ball dropped tensely, but where would it land? It bounced off of the bar, not once but twice and then into the grateful clutches of the goalkeeper.
That almost brought about the end to the first half, but the away side almost snatched a lead from a corner of their own. Almost identically to Lavan's chance earlier, Joao Luis flicked the ball over the crossbar from close range - had it been on target it would have been a certain goal.