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It was a spirited contest at Muirkirk, of which the great man would have surely approved. A local select side from the Glenbuck area revived the name of the famous Cherrypickers one more time as they played out a 1-1 draw with counterparts from Merseyside. This was a testimonial to raise funds for the Glenbuck Academy and the Shankly Family Foundation, but what followed was a fiercely competitive encounter, both sides desperate to win as soon as they crossed that white line. As Bill Shankly often preached, winning is everything.

Honours even at the end, it was probably fitting that both sides shook hands and shared the Bill Shankly Memorial trophy after a testy encounter. But the day was about much more than a game of football, the culmination of a week's events and long planning. The two groups from each end of the country came together to share their common link, and are hoping to use it for the benefit of local football going forward.

A charity cycle tour had made its way from Merseyside overnight, and the day's events began fittingly with a short ceremony at Glenbuck's Shankly memorial, as a piper played in the visitors to 'Amazing Grace'. The group then heard from Bill Shankly's niece, Barbara Alexander, for a personal insight into the man and what drove him from this small Ayrshire mining background to his future success. The organisers of the Memorial Bike Ride, Shaun Moran and Tony Bonner, also spoke about the cycle ride and continuing the Shankly legacy in Liverpool.

The Glenbuck Football Academy is now hoping this annual fixture between the two sides plays a part in reviving local football in the Ayrshire/ Lanarkshire area, with plans afoot to build a museum at Glenbuck. With 2000 visitors a year coming from Merseyside, plus local interest, the hope is to use this to stimulate grassroots football in the local community. Glenbuck Academy's Robert Gillan believes the Academy would be a fitting tribute to Glenbuck's rich footballing heritage going forward, and should be at the heart of any future developments.

"Glenbuck has a special and unique history, and we know that some of this can rub off on the young footballers of today. They are learning all the time about the talent that came here from the past, and that is an inspiration. They are also learning to play as a team, which is as important in life as in football", he says.

"To benefit from the funds raised this weekend means so much and the money will have a tremendous impact on the youngsters at the academy." Gillan says.

Fixture: Caledonian United FC v Valspar FC
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA U14s
Date: 21/04/2016
 
The game started evenly with the ball being fought for enthusiastically by both sides. But nothing of note occured until the tenth minute when Lewis Glass fed the ball through to Murray Thomson, whose shot was saved by the Caley keeper.
 
Caley pushed forward and after 13 minutes created a good chance with some decent play up the right. Valspar responded and were unlucky a couple of minutes later after Lewis Glass fired just wide after 15 minutes.
 
Caley countered in 18 minutes, again up the right hand side, but the final shot was easily picked up by MacKenzie Hill in the Valspar goal. Caley also had a couple of opportunities with free kicks, but both were struck high and handsome.
 
Lewis Glass continued to cause Caley problems on the left hand side when his fierce 27th minute shot struck the bar. His next cross ball was just missed by Chrissy Callander, who also had another chance a few minutes later from a cross by Tyler Robertson, but he struck straight at the Caley keeper. A scrappy first half ended goaless.
 
Half Time: Caledonian United 0 Valspar 0
 
The first half started as it ended, with Lewis Glass causing Caley problems down the left hand side. His first opportunity to score in 40 minutes was well defended by Caley's man between the sticks. Valspar continued to push forward and, five minutes later, Richie Simpson slid a nice through ball for Connor Purvis to strike a nice ball into the middle, but well picked up by the Calley keeper.
 
Calley were dangerous going forward and had a great chance in the 50th minute, bringing out a great save from the Valspar keeper to keep the scores level. A minute later some skilful play by Tyler Robertson looked certain to end in a goal, but the hosts' keeper took him out and Valspar were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty.
 
Valspar’s continued pressure finally paid off, however, when Lewis Glass was put through by Connor Purvis. After holding off the defender, Glass kept his composure to pass the ball past the keeper and into the corner of the net to opening the scoring for the visitors.
 
A strategic substitution in 60 minutes then paid off for the Valspar coaches and saw them double their lead, when Ron Mooney's first action on the field of play resulted in a goal for Valspar after some fantastic work by Lewis Glass to get the ball to him.
 
Another inspired substitution by Valspar brought on Craig Findlay, who flicked the ball over not one, not two, but three Caley players before slamming the ball home to put Valspar three up with 75 minutes on the clock.
 
Caley never stopped working and had a couple of good chances denied by the Valspar defence in the closing stages, but failed to change the scoreline. Much like Saturday’s game against Prestwick, Valspar had to be content with winning ugly by their standards and taking the three points gratefully.
 
Full Time: Caledonian United 0 Valspar 3
 
 

Glenbuck and Liverpool will forever be linked with one man, and they unite this week with the aim of reviving grassroots football in the Ayrshire community of his birth. The village of Glenbuck now lies derelict and overgrown, but the Glenbuck Football Academy now hopes to tap into the legend of Bill Shankly to nurture the footballing talent of the future.

It is something which the Anfield legend would surely have proudly approved of, as the Shankly Family Foundation joins hands with the Scottish Mine Restoration Trust to promote the grassroots game in both of the communities where the Shankly name is still idolised.

This week a charity bike ride leaves from Glenbuck for Merseyside, on the 20th anniversary of a charity walk made by a Liverpool fan in the opposite direction. After a ceremony at the Anfield Gates, attended by former Liverpool greats and family, the ride will make the return trip to coincide with a match between two select XIs from Liverpool and Ayrshire.

Former Clyde player and coach Robert Gillan runs the Glenbuck Football Academy at nearby Douglas, where the match will be played. He has strived over the years to maintain awareness of the spirit of Glenbuck, and to instil some of this in the next generation.

Sunday’s event sees Shankly’s old village team, the Glenbuck Cherry Pickers return to action for the first time in over 80 years. Gillan hopes they can become a name once again in Ayrshire grassroots football, even to restore and play on the side’s original Burnside Park pitch, where so many great footballers learned their trade.

Glenbuck was once a small, thriving industrial village, but had a unique trait for churning out talented footballers. There was Shankly himself, but also over 50 professional footballers down the years, including nine full Scotland internationals. For a village which barely ever registered much more than 1000 people it was an astonishing and unique ratio of talent to population.

“There’s been nowhere else in the world with that talent pool”, Gillan says, “Glenbuck was just a wee village. You’d need a quarter of a million people in London for 40 years to recreate that average. We had a conveyer belt for players here. There was something we were doing right.”

What they were doing comes straight from the mines where so many future footballers once worked. Gillan points to the one ethos which gave Shankly his entire world view, and which is central to his vision for the Glenbuck Academy.

“Shankly believed that you win and lose as a team, that the collective will to succeed is stronger than individuals. You never give up.  It’s what drove his great sides, and it’s what created great players from Glenbuck.

“Those are great ideas to get over to the young people of today, whether they carry on to be successful footballers or not.”, he says.

“There’s so many avenues you can go down now in football. If you don’t make it as a footballer you can still go into coaching, scouting or physio. Young people can learn about diet and fitness. We want the kids to learn about football, but also become better people.”

Glenbuck still receives an annual swathe of pilgrims from Merseyside, with a plaque to Shankly there unveiled by Ron Yeats paid for by Liverpool supporters. Plans are now proposed for a visitors’ centre close by, along with a range of community developments. Gillan hopes his football academy can take centre stage in the project.

 “It’s an exciting time, but we are aware of the funding challenges. We hope to do something worthy of Glenbuck’s memory and this weekend will be a great way to continue that.”, Gillan says.

 “To benefit from the funds raised means so much and the money will have a tremendous impact on the youngsters at the academy.”

 
Fixture: KSC Barca v Largs Colts U14's
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA
Venue: Kilwinning Sports Centre
Date: Saturday 16th April 2016
 
For the third weekend in a row Colts made the trip to Kilwinning, this time to face a strong KSC Barca side who were still potential contenders for the league title. Colts had some difficult decisions to make in terms of line up, given recent performances, but they stood by the side that started the last few weeks. Irwin had the gloves behind the central defensive pair of Weir and Robson. The full backs were 
 
Barbour and Loudon, right and left respectively. The midfield four had R. Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart. Up front, again, were Smith and Brown after they both netted doubles last week. The squad was completed by subs J. Coupar, MacNeil,
Blair, Leishman and Florence. 
 
The KSC pitch was sloped and bumpy and something Colts would need to get used to over the coming weeks as they play a number of away games. The early play was open with the first attempt on goal from R. Coupar, who shot just wide of the target. 
 
In the tenth minute Smith made a good run to receive the ball inside the box but he was well covered by the ‘keeper who claimed the ball, and Smith, at the same time. Five minutes later Cormack found space inside the area but could only put the ball just over the bar. Colts had a scare in the 18th when Barbour’s pass back was short but the pace of Weir came to Colts rescue. 
 
Colts were piling on the pressure at this stage with Smith and Brown both coming close before Robson was clearly pulled back by the ‘keeper when he looked certain to score only for the referee to wave away the claims. Smith then played in Brown, for an effort on goal, before a great move down the left, involving 
 
Bainbridge, Smith and Brown, found the head of Cormack. However, his headed attempt flew inches past the post. 
 
Barca were only in the game occasionally but demonstrated that they are a very capable side. Colts had to react well, in the 25th minute, before breaking back up the field for Brown to tuck the ball into the net after R. Coupar had forced an error in the Barca defence. Barbour was getting forward well, down the right flank, and successfully created an opening for Cormack to shoot, but his attempt went just wide. 
 
Barca pushed once again, as the first half drew to a close, before another quick Colts break, down the left, saw Brown neatly play the ball for Bainbridge to run onto and slot home the game’s second.
 
Half Time: KSC Barca 0-2 Largs Colts
 
Barca started the second half very well and were the better side for the first 10 minutes. The home side won a couple of corners though Colts dealt well with the aerial threat. In the middle of the park R. Coupar was controlling the play well for Colts with plenty of options available left and right. 
 
In the 45th minute Brown had a chance, which he couldn’t take. However, just a minute later a square ball found Brown 10 yards from goal and, with the keeper advancing on the Colts striker, Brown deftly chipped the ball over the keeper and into the net to make it 3-0. 
 
McTaggart, playing in an advanced position, then found himself defending superbly well to clear a dangerous looking Barca move. 
 
Colts were back in control and a neat move from Bainbridge, Smith, and then to Brown opened up another opportunity. However, once again the shot was wide of the target. 
 
Bainbridge was more influential in the second period and, following a good run, he fired a shot wide of the mark. The Barca keeper then pulled off a great stop to deny Brown his hat-trick. Goalkeeper, Irwin, had little to do but he claimed well from a Barca corner when he was called into action. 
 
In the 65th minute another Barca corner did find the head of a tall defender though, thankfully for Colts, the ball cleared the bar. 
 
With two minutes left, Smith and Bainbridge combined well before Smith struck only for the keeper to, again, save well. Colts created further chances but weren’t able to increase the margin before the final whistle sounded.
 
Full Time: KSC Barca 0-3 Largs Colts
 
All things considered this was another excellent performance and result. KSC Barca are a strong, physical side and they were determined to make it hard for Largs. Colts though have the ability to stand up to the physical side and at the same time move the ball quickly and it was this that was the difference between the sides. R. Coupar had another very strong game in the middle and was ably supported by McTaggart, 
 
Bainbridge and Cormack. At the back all four defenders played very well with Barbour and Loudon offering well in attack. Robson and Weir also ably supported Irwin in keeping another excellent clean sheet. The front pair of Smith and Brown started playing a little too far wide but, when they moved into a more advanced central role, created well. It was a close call for man of the match but the clinical Brown, with two goals and an assist, took the honours.
 
Colts have now won their last twelve games in a row and remain two points behind league leaders AC Irvine. The Largs boys now have a number of midweek games to play, as well as Saturdays, with the first being a trip to face a tough Ayr Boswell side on Tuesday 19th April, followed by another away day at Coylton on Saturday.
 
You can follow the boys’ progress on twitter (www.twitter.com/largscolts2002) @LargsColts2002 or on the website at www.clubwebsite.co.uk/largscolts2002
 
Largs Colts:  Irwin (GK), Barbour, Loudon, Weir, Robson R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown  Subs:  MacNeil, Leishman, J.Coupar, Blair, Florence.
 
 
Thursday, 14 April 2016 12:58

Largs Colts make it 11 wins from 11 in 2016

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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.
 
 
Friday, 25 March 2016 18:14

Watch: Bellfield Royals v Glenburn MW U13s

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Video highlights from the West of Scotland YFL Cup tie. 
 
Thursday, 17 March 2016 15:50

Semi Final time for Largs Colts

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Fixture: Largs Colts v Galston YFC U14
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA - League Cup Quarter Final
Venue: Barrfields, Largs
Date: Saturday 12th March 2016
 
Largs Colts welcomed good friends Galston to Barrfields in this League Cup Quarter Final encounter. Since the sides last played, when Galston won in the league, the visitors have only lost once to the title challengers AC Irvine whilst Colts have won seven on the bounce, including six in the league. Colts had virtually a full squad to select from and started with a very strong eleven with Irwin in goal. The back four were Barbour, Loudon, Robson and Weir with the midfield covered by R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart. The front two who have been banging in the goals were Smith and Brown. On the Colts bench were Leishman, J.Coupar, Wilson and Florence.
 
The visitors started the brighter of the two teams and pushed the Colts team back in the early stages. With the game only two minutes old, Galston had a decent half chance which was well marshalled by Barbour. Colts then started to settle and Smith had an effort on goal which went wide of the target.
 
Soon after, Brown peeled away down the right and R.Coupar played a perfect ball in behind. Brown, who has been clinical this season, looked to pass the ball into the net but it flew agonisingly wide of the left upright. It was end to end football even this early in the match, and both sides playing excellent football.
 
Irwin was called into action only four minutes into the game and he produced a fine save following a strong run by the pacey Galston winger, Wamuziri. Galston were using his pace to great effect, terrorising the Colts defenders, and first Robson cleared before another through ball was played and despite it looking offside Irwin was again on hand to deny Galston.
 
Colts were the side to open the scoring and the breakthrough was made thanks a neat passing move with one-twos between Bainbridge and Smith, and it was when Smith found Brown who calmly slotted the ball home in trademark style.
 
Colts were on the front foot again as Smith then had an effort on goal from a free kick that thundered against the crossbar and out of play. Colts were very much in control at this stage, and  Bainbridge and McTaggart had shots from outside the area, although the keeper was not troubled.
 
Galston were always a danger on the break though, and the Colts defence was holding firm. Galston almost gifted Colts a second goal when the keeper miss-kicked a backpass, but Smith couldn't reach the loose ball. Cormack then had a great run from deep all the way to the edge of the box and as he was about to pull the trigger the Galston defender stopped him in his tracks with a good challenge.
 
Colts were having joy down the left with Bainbridge and Loudon working well, ably supported the hard working midfield and strikers. Smith did well on the half hour mark to win the ball and whip in a delightful cross, but somehow Galston cleared.
 
Bainbridge was next to test Galston with a good bursting run that created the chance for a shot which went just over the bar. Just before the break the impressive Wamuziri was played through and it took a perfectly timed challenge from Weir to stop the danger.
 
Half Time: Largs Colts 1-0 Galston
 
Into the second half and Colts started the brighter of the two sides. Only 90 seconds into the second half and Brown raced down on goal only to be challenged superbly by the Galston defender to put the ball behind for a corner.
 
The visitors were still creating chances and caused Largs a couple of problems from corners, but the were well defended in the end from the home side. The best chance for Galston to get back on level terms came seven minutes into the second half as the striker was baring down on goal. Claims for offside were waved away by the referee, and the striker looked destined to equalise, but Irwin pulled off an outstanding save to keep his side one goal in front. Excellent stop from the big man!
 
Yet again it was the woodwork to the rescue for Galston with Smith trying his luck. The ball sat up nicely for him and he struck a superb effort that crashed off the underside of the bar and was cleared to safety.
 
Bainbridge then had a great solo run and effort to win Colts a corner. As the ball was whipped into the box, it fell to Robson twelve yards out. The commanding centre back needed no second invitation to shoot and find the top left corner for a crucial second goal, to send the Colts boys into raptures.
 
It was the battle of the captains in central midfield as Galston's impressive Jai Ewing faced up against  Colts skipper R.Coupar. Two excellent footballers that controlled the game effortlessly, but with no shortage of grit and determination. On the hour mark, R.Coupar picked up the ball and with a bit of skill eased himself past a few players before unleashing a venomous shot towards goal, but his effort was just off target.
 
Colts continued to have the upper hand as the game wore on, and with only five minutes left to play, the game was made safe. Smith used his pace and strength to get through one on one with the keeper, and the big striker was calm in rounding the keeper before slotting home from a tight angle.
 
With seconds left to play, substitutes J.Coupar and Florence had a good passing move which then fell to J.Coupar for the shot which flew wide of the upright. The referee then brought a halt to proceedings and Largs Colts were into the semi final of the League Cup.
 
Cup holders Galston were eliminated by a very impressive Largs Colts side, on a day that everything went right for them. A man of the match couldn't be picked as the Largs Colts boys worked their socks off to get the victory they deserved. Every player gave 100% and they are more than worthwhile their semi final place. However, without the saves of Irwin in goals, the match could of panned out completely differently.
 
Both sides are a credit to Youth Football in Scotland, with the teams showing how football should be played and the attitude of everybody from both clubs, including coaches, parents etc was extremely positive.
 
Full Time: Largs Colts 3-0 Galston
 
Largs Colts:  Irwin (GK), Barbour, Loudon, Weir, Robson R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown  Subs: Leishman, J.Coupar, Wilson, Florence.
 
 

 
Fixture: Valspar v KSC Barca - U14
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA
Venue: KG5 Pitches
Date: Saturday 27th February 2016
 
Another glorious day in the Ayrshire sunshine, and on a crisp morning with near perfect pitches two very good teams went head to head, in a very strongly contested top of the table encounter. Valspar hosted KSC Barca at the KG5 pitches, looking to both mount a strong title challengers and put pressure on league leaders Largs Colts.

Valspar started the game really quickly, with Lewis Glass breaking into the box in the first few minutes, narrowly missing the early chance. After excellent build up play by Craig Findlay & Chrissy Callander, Lewis made no mistake with his 2nd chance, cooly finishing to open the scoring.

Valspar were playing some lovely football, passing the ball about as a team & defending as a unit, dominating the play and restricting KSC to the odd break. Richie Simpson, who was working his socks off in midfield, swung in a great ball from a corner & Harry Evans timed his run perfectly, heading home to make it 2-0 to Valspar.

Valspar at this stage looked to be in complete control of the game with KSC struggling to cope with their passing & pace up front. Lewis Glass then chased down a loose ball in the box, nipping in to make it 3-0.

Chris Callander who was having a great game played a lovely ball through for Lewis Glass, who beat the defence & calmly found the net for his hat trick. I have to say, at this stage the Valspar team were simply outstanding.

With Valspar now totally dominating the play, Ron Mooney made a run across the box with the ball at his feet, before firing home a great finish with his left foot into the bottom corner for the home side's fifth of the game.

Half Time: Valspar 5-0 KSC Barca

KSC were obviously fired up by their coaches for the start of the second half but it was Lewis Glass who had the first clear opportunity. He broke into the box at pace but the KSC keeper made a superb stop to prevent Glass from adding to his tally.

KSC who had stepped up their game won a free kick on the edge of box but it was tamely hit & easily saved by McKenzie Hill in the Valspar goal.
Mooney was next to try his luck with an effort on goal, but the KSC keeper pulled off another good stop to keep the score at 5-0.

KSC who had stepped up their game since the break deservedly got one back when the ball fell to their number 16 in the box and he slotted home to make it 5-1.

Valspar were then awarded a penalty when a KSC player handled inside the box & Chris Callander stepped up, unfortunately he slipped at the vital moment knocking the ball wide of the target.

Buoyed by this, KSC pushed forward determined to make it count in their favour. The Valspar midfield & defence stepped up to the task, with some tasty tackles and important interceptions to prevent KSC from getting back into the game. KSC did get another goal back thanks to an unfortunate error from Valspar. Harry Evans played a back pass to MacKenzie Hill that should have been cleared but unfortunately ended up in the back of the net to make it 5-2.

The Valspar back line where really impressive today, Layton Weaver, Joe Latona, Tony Nelson & Harry Evans, who worked tirelessly as a defensive unit.

Valspar had weathered the storm & took control of the game again, this time Connor Purvis cleverly played in the lethal Lewis Glass who fired in his fourth goal, taking the wind out of the KSC sails and making it 6-2.

The scoring was rounded off when Ron Mooney was expertly played in by Keir O'Neill, and he calmly evaded the onrushing goalkeeper to slot the ball into the back of the net to round off and excellent Valspar performance.
 
Full Time: Valspar 7-2 KSC Barca
 
 

 
Fixture: Largs Colts v Rosebank United - U14
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA
Venue: Barrfields
Date: Saturday 27th February 2016
 
Largs Colts continued the run of home games by welcoming Rosebank to the carpet surface of Barrfields on lovely sunny winter’s morning in Largs. Colts made one change to the line up from last weeks starting eleven with Irwin in goal, Loudon and Barbour as full backs with Weir and Robson the central pairing. The usual personnel took up the midfield and striking positions namely R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart, in midfield with Smith and Brown up top. Leishman, J.Coupar, Blair and Florence made up the squad of 15.
 
Rosebank had mixed results in the league though with comprehensive wins against top sides in KSC Barca and Valspar, Colts knew they would have to be on top form to get a result. Rosebank started brightly and had the Colts defence tested in the first two minutes. The first real chance came Largs way in the eighth minute when Brown created space for himself before spinning and shooting just wide of the target.
 
Seconds later and Colts did have the lead. The goal kick was controlled by R.Coupar who fed the ball into Smith. The big striker got past the visitors defence and although he could have struck for goal he laid a perfect ball across goal for Brown to tap home, superb setup play by Smith. 1-0 Colts.
 
Bainbridge was on the receiving end of a number of fouls and on 11 minutes, following another free kick, Weir put in a great ball into the box, but there were no takers from Colts. The Largs side have been on top form in recent weeks and the passing football at times was a real joy to watch. Smith then struck for goal on 18 minutes though it was just wide.
 
Just over 20 minutes into the match and Rosebank unfortunately lost a player to injury. Colts looked to take advantage of the visitors being temporarily down to 10 men and a well worked move seen R.Coupar play in Loudon on the left, and the left back was through on goal, however the keeper kept the score at 1-0 with a superb save.
On 29 minutes Colts had another clear cut chance when Smith setup Brown though he somehow missed the target. When Rosebank did put pressure on the Colts defence the back four and keeper Irwin were composed and commanding with Robson in particular standing out.
 
 On 32 minutes and again it was the Smith, Brown combination for Colts. Smith made a good run and layed the ball off for Brown through again the ball stayed out when it seemed easier to score. Brown is normally a clinical finisher and can be happy he is getting into the right positions with more goals to come. Smith then had to leave the field just before half time for treatment before the referee brought the first half to a close.
 
Half Time: Largs Colts 1-0 Rosebank
 
Colts were very much the dominant side in the first half though with only one goal in it, Colts knew a fast start in the second half was crucial to put the game to bed, and they did so in some style. Just two minutes in and this time it was Brown the provider for Smith who finished superbly for Colts second of the game.
 
A minute later and there was real controversy. A good ball played in the powerful Rosebank striker. Weir however is a match for anyone at the back for Largs and he slid in to take the ball cleanly before passing the ball to Cormack. With the ball a good couple of seconds away the Rosebank striker kicked out at Weir. Unfortunately the referee did not see the incident and Weir was lifted from the field and shortly afterwards on his way to hospital. This really affected the Colts players with the coaches on to keep everyone calm at what was a very poor act from the Rosebank striker.
 
 Back to the football and Leishman came on to replace Weir with Loudon switching to the heart of the defence. At this stage Bainbridge was getting more influential with strong runs down the left side. 49 minutes into the game and Smith put in a great ball for McTaggart who got his head to it but headed just wide of the upright.
Two minutes later and Colts made it three. This time it was a free kick and as the ball reached the back post Leishman was well advanced to score his third goal in as many games – a great return from the skillful and speedy full back. Colts were now dominating and it was Bainbridge with an excellent run down the left which was finished neatly into the bottom right corner for Colts fourth.
 
J.Coupar replaced Cormack and was involved in linking play with Bainbridge though the keeper saved well. Colts also brought on Blair and Florence for Barbour and Smith. With just over 5 minuts to play, Brown found J.Coupar inside the box, and he then struck for goal but for a good save from the keeper. Bainbridge was alert to the rebound but the keeper blocked once again.
 
McTaggart, who was carrying a knock, was then replaced by the returning Smith for the last five minutes. Colts finished the game strongly with a Smith free kick just over the bar before Florence played a lovely ball to Brown to finish to make it five for Colts.
 
The game, which had the flashpoint moment, had a few hard challenges being made. Blair can consider himself very unlucky to be booked when clipping the Rosebank winger shortly after coming on. Into injury time and Colts made it six when Bainbridge struck from the left and although the keeper got hands to it Florence was there to follow up and slot home.
 
Full Time: Largs Colts 6-0 Rosebank
 
The relatively good news is that Dylan Weir has only a badly bruised and swollen calf and has been told to rest for a four week period. Weir, a super fit athletics champion, is likely to defy doctor’s orders and hopefully be back within the month. The less said about the incident the better suffice to say there is no place for that in youth football.
 
On the football side Colts were dominant. All fifteen players took to the field again and all contributed fantastically well. On the day the coaches were unanimous that central defender Robson deserved the Man of the Match with a commanding display of aerial strength and some excellent passing out from the back.
 
Colts remain top of the Ayrshire league with this victory Colts have now managed five clean sheets in their six competitive games in 2016, scoring 29 in the same period – impressive stuff from the improving locals. The Largs boys have 14 games to play and at this stage it would appear to be between Colts, AC Irvine and Valspar for the title, though Barca, Galston and Boswell might have something to say about that. Next week Colts host Cumnock on Saturday 5th March at Barrfields with a 10:30 KO. All support would be most welcome.
 
Largs Colts:  Irwin (GK), Barbour Loudon, Weir, Robson R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown  Subs: Leishman, J.Coupar, Florence, Blair.
 
 

 
Fixture: Largs Colts v Stewarton Annick U14
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA
Venue: Barrfields
Date: Saturday 20th February 2016
 
Largs Colts welcomed Stewarton Annick to Barrfields on another cold, wet and windy Saturday morning. Stewarton were a side without a point in the league though they have had some very much improved results of late and Colts were taking nothing for granted. With the strong performance from last week, the home side made one change to the starting eleven with McTaggart returning for the injured MacNeil. Irwin took the gloves behind the back four of Leishman, Loudon, Weir and Barbour. The midfield was R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart with Smith and Brown the front two.
 
Stewarton won the toss and decided to switch to make use of the gale force wind swirling round Barrfields in the first half. Colts therefore had kick-off and how they made use of it. R.Coupar and Bainbridge kicked off and Smith, Brown and Cormack were involved before the ball found McTaggart 25 yards from goal. The skilful midfielder took a touch and struck with power in off the bar for a spectacular opener inside 17 seconds.
 
Stewarton are a strong and powerful side and the tested the Colts defence early in the game. They were forcing corners from the right which the Largs defence managed well. On six minutes Colts looked to double the lead when Bainbridge found Smith who struck for goal though the keeper saved well before Brown followed up though sent the ball just wide of the target.
 
The visitors were pressing Colts back yet again and forced more corners and had their fair share of the ball and territory. On ten minutes Brown went through on goal and shot just wide with Smith looking well placed to net. R.Coupar then threaded a ball through to Smith who looked sure to score before the referee called him marginally offside . Colts started to create more at this point and on 17 minutes it was Bainbridge the provider with a neat ball to Smith to make it 2-0 Colts.
 
Three minutes later and it was three to Colts. Again it was Bainbridge cutting in from the left and Cormack got himself into the danger area. The energetic Cormack had his back to goal just two yards out and neatly back-heeled the ball which the keeper could not stop as it rolled over the line.
 
The goals began to flood in for the Largs boys when again Bainbridge played a perfectly weighted ball through to Smith who finished with composure for his second of the game. R.Coupar then had a couple of balls through to Smith who struck with power on both occasions just wide of the target before Smith found Brown who played in Cormack for a neat finish and Colts fifth of the game.
 
 Just before the break Stewarton were awarded a free kick 25 yards out. The shot was struck well and heading for the corner though the positioning and handling of Irwin made it look like an easy for the impressive keeper.
 
Half Time: Largs Colts 4-0 Stewarton Annick
 
Colts made two changes at half time with Robson replacing Leishman and Blair on for Brown. An early second half chance fell to Largs when Smith was played in though his shot flew wide of the target. Colts then worked a training ground corner with the shot unfortunately just clearing the bar. (No details to be told as this will be used again!)
 
Colts did score on 43 minutes when Smith finished well to grab a well-deserved hard working hat-trick. He then made way for J.Coupar and McTaggart was replaced by Florence. On 48 minutes the visitors were unlucky not to score. A good break down the right side resulted in the pacey striker baring down on goal. Irwin managed to get part of his body in the path of the shot and although it still headed towards the goal. Just as it was about to cross the line, Barbour was in position to get back and clear the ball to preserve that clean sheet.
 
The goal of the game came with just under an hour played as Colts further extended their lead. Some quick one touch passing with host of players involved eventually found J.Coupar who played it first time into Blair. He then dummied his shot before slotting the ball home for a sublime team goal.
 
The same players combined again in another neat move with J.Coupar playing a perfectly weighted pass into Blair who raced through on goal, but this time he could only put the ball well wide of the target.
 
Stewarton unfortunatelylost their keeper to injury and had to put in an outfield player for the remainder of the game. With 15 minutes left R.Coupar took a break to be replaced by the returning Brown with Bainbridge moving into the deeper midfield role. Cormack, who was a real menace for the Stewarton defence, had a great strike well saved by the stand in keeper.
 
The diminutive midfielder was not to be denied his hat-trick however . A corner was met by the head of Robson, but smacked the bar and back into play. With the ball still in and around the penalty area, Cormack, with his back to goal went for the spectacular overhead effort and connected perfected for Colts eight of the game.
Colts did score again however when they were awarded a free kick following a foul on Brown 22 yards from goal. Bainbridge took the ball, just left of centre, and struck it perfectly into the top right corner of the goal to round off another excellent performance.
 
Florence was linking the play well as was J.Coupar with further chances created. First it was Blair who was played through and he struck with power and was unfortunate to see the ball come back off the bar and cleared. Brown was also close to scoring in the closing seconds before the referee brought the game to an end.
 
Full Time: Largs Colts 9-0 Stewarton Annick
 
Another excellent performance from the Largs team and along with the goals it was pleasing to see another clean sheet – the fourth in five competitive games in 2016. Cormack’s energy and strength in the challenge along with three goals was excellent. Smith was at his predatory best with three goals and other notable strikes just wide of the target. Florence and J.Coupar did well when they came on as did the entire squad with some excellent passing football. Man of the Match went to Bainbridge for the second week in a row for another commanding midfield performance which included a number of assists and a stunning free kick.
 
Colts now move top of the table and have a 100% record in 2016 competitive games. That said however,  a number of games against rivals are still in the pipeline. May will be a month of title deciding games against AC Irvine, Boswell, Galston, Valspar & KSC Barca. The title race is tighter than that of the Premier League!
 
Colts now face Rosebank, who finished second in the West league last season in what will be a very tough test for the locals. As always it is a 10:30 Kick Off, at Barrfields, and Colts would really appreciate the support.
 
Largs Colts:  Irwin (GK), Barbour, Loudon, Weir, Leishman, R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown  Subs: J.Coupar, Florence, Robson, Blair.