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South West Region (177)

 
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.
 
 
 
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 14:14

Valspar shine in the sun and take all 3 points

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Fixture: Valspar v Tass Thistle U14
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA
Venue: KG Five, Ayrshire
Date: Saturday 13th February 2016
 
An in-form Valspar took on Tass Thistle at the KG5 pitches in Ayrshire, that are in very good condition I may add, in a game between two very evenly matches sides.
 
The game kicked off in bright sunshine with Valspar quick out the starting blocks and really taking the game to Tass. Lewis Glass almost scored in the first minute of the match, and this early pressure really set the tone for the rest of the match. At least six good chances, and numerous corners from Valspar put Tass under constant pressure, but they survived.
 
It wasn't long though that Valspar got their well deserved opening goal. Murray Thomson ran in on goal, fired an effort low that beat the goalkeeper, but somehow the Tass defender got back to clear it off the line. With Thomson's head in his hands and everyone cursing their luck, Craig Findlay was alert to the rebound and fired home. A well deserved lead for the home side.
 
With wave after wave of attack from Valspar, it was surely only a matter of time before they doubled their lead. The opportunity was presented on a plate shortly after as the excellent Tyler Robertson dribbled down the left wing and danced into the box, only to be upended. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Craig Findlay stepped up and squeezed the ball just underneath the keeper's body to double his and Valspar's tally.

Layton Weaver, who was having a good game in a solid Valspar defence pulled up with a strain and had to be replaced. 

Valspar were still dominating play at this stage & creating plenty of chances, a great ball down the wing by Joe Latona found Lewis Glass who was very unlucky not to score. A slight blow for Valspar was that defender Layton Weaver has to be replaced after suffering a strain midway through the first half.

Despite not really troubling the Valspar defence so far, McKenzie hill in goal had to be on his toes to preven Tass from pulling a goal back. A breakaway gave their striker the opportunity to score but Hill produced a good save to beat the ball away.

No more than a minute later and Murray Thomson made it 3-0 to Valspar. He drove through the heart of the Tass midfield, spotted the keeper slightly off his line and looped the ball expertly over him into the back of the net.
 
Just before half time and Valspar were dealt another injury blow as Lewis Glass, who has been tormenting Tass all throughout the first half, picked up a knock and had to be replaced. 

Half Time: Valspar 3-0 Tass Thistle 

Chasing the game, Tass knew they would have to start the second half much better than they did the first. However, the second half game plan for the visitors was thrown completely out the window as Ron Mooney made it 4-0.
 
Harry Evans picked the ball up in midfield, and the maestro fed a delightful ball through to Mooney, who then ran through one on one with the keeper. Keeping his composure he slotted the ball home expertly.

To their credit, Tass refused to lie down and they pulled a goal back. Tass broke well after some more Valspar pressure, and the home side defenders will know they should have protected their goal slightly better, but the Tass striker finished well.
 
Almost immediately Tass could of had another goal, but for a magnificent block on the line preventing that.
 
Tass were piling on the pressure towards the end of the game, and from a corner they bulleted a header into the back of the net to make it 4-2. Too little too late?

With only minutes to go, Valspar were struggling to keep hold of the ball, but the defending was very good, and also if it weren't for the tackles and safe hands of McKenzie Hill in goal, Tass could of got themselves at least a draw in the closing stages.

With no time left at all, a free kick on the edge of the box, won by Weaver, was struck with venom but couldn't find the target as the referee brought the game to its conclusion.
 
Full Time: Valspar 4-2 Tass Thistle
 
 
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 12:25

5-star display from Largs Colts over KSC Thistle

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Fixture: Largs Colts v KSC Thistle - U14
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA
Venue: Barrfields, Largs
Date: Saturday 13th February 2016
 
After Cup duty last week against KSC Barca, Largs Colts were back in league action at home to the other KSC side in KSC Kilwinning Thistle. With McTaggart on holiday and Robson injured, Colts lined up with Irwin in goal, a back four of Loudon, Leishman, Weir and Barbour. A midfield four of R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and MacNeil, who was making his first start for some time. Up front Colts went with the trusted pairing of Smith and Brown. Beginning the match wrapped up warm on the bench were J. Coupar and Florence.
 
Colts decided to use the cold and strong breeze in the first period and were quickly on the offensive. With less than a minute played Colts had won a corner which was delivered by Bainbridge to Smith, who then found Brown inside the box and the shot went just wide of the post.
 
Colts kept up the pressure with a number of corners the closest of which hit the near post directly from Bainbridge. Smith then struck from distance and it just cleared the bar with the keeper beaten. 
 
No more than a minute later and Colts took the lead when a good cross from Smith found Leishman going in a the back post for a neat finish. KSC Thistle almost equalised when the tricky striker beat both Barbour and then Weir before striking just wide of the right hand upright. A bit of a let off for the home side.
 
On eighteen minutes, Colts doubled the lead when Bainbridge made a trademark powerful run into the box and struck his effort well. The keeper did well to parry his effort, but could only push the ball into the path of Brown, and the striker was on hand to tuck the ball away for Colts second of the game.
 
KSC Thistle were feeling the full effect of a Colts team playing at the top of their game, and it was that man Leishman again who made it three. The ball was half cleared by the KSC defence and Leishman struck from 25 yards into the corner of the net for his second and Colts third.
 
The last chance of the first half fell to Cormack, as he rattled the upright after a corner from Colts was cleared to the edge of the Thistle box.
 
Half Time: Largs Colts 3-0 KSC Thistle
 
Into the second half and J.Coupar braved the cold to take to the pitch in a straight swap for MacNeil. KSC Thistle had the advantage of the strong breeze and Colts setup with a high line to combat the risk.
 
In the early stages there were no clear cut opportunities for either side before Leishman, who was carrying a knock, was replaced by Florence with Colts moving to a back three.
 
Colts made the game safe with twenty minutes remaining. A very good passing move ended with Florence finding J.Coupar who laid the ball into the path of Smith and the striker finished superbly into the bottom right corner of the net.
 
Colts really turned on the style after this with some outstanding short passing football. One move had around 20 passes from wide well inside the Colts half all the way through before the final shot went just wide of the target. 
 
Colts were occasionally under pressure with Thistle playing well on the break, though Irwin and his defenders were well set on keeping that clean sheet. With little over five minutes remaining, J. Coupar, after some nifty footwork had set himself clear, fed Brown and the big striker finished in some style to wrap up a superb Largs Colts performance.
 
Full Time: Largs Colts 5-0 KSC Thistle
 
A really big step up in the performance level from Largs Colts from their outing last week against KSC Barca. An excellent display in penetration football and fantastic finishing from the boys. Also, only one goal conceded in four games in 2016 so far. Irwin and his defenders can be very proud of that.
 
Man of the match this week goes to Bainbridge. His all round display an absolute joy to watch. However, the whole team were excellent. The boys are still very much in the hunt for the league title, and with our next two games being at home we need to make these count. Get yourself down to support the boys.
 
Largs Colts:  Irwin (GK), Barbour, Loudon, Weir, Leishman, R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, MacNeil, Smith, Brown  Subs: J.Coupar, Florence.
 
 
 
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 00:00

Largs Colts and KSC Barca on way to Oslo

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Summary
- Largs Colts and KSC Barca will join Crosshouse in heading to Oslo
- They’ll be taking part in the Biggest International Youth Football Festival in the World
- Both clubs spoke to YFS at our Norway Cup talk in Glasgow
 
Largs Colts and KSC Barca are two teams that will be sending squads to Oslo for the prestigious annual Norway Cup in the summer. Held annually sine 1972, as many as 1,700 teams from across the globe descend on the Norwegian capital and compete against each other across all ages for both boys and girls.
 
North Ayrshire will be represented by two teams at this years tournament. Largs Colts re one of those teams. They will be sending a 2002s team to Norway this summer. Captain and centre-mid Robbie Coupar discussed how exciting the news was when it was announced that the team would be going to Norway. “As soon as I heard, I really wanted to go,” he said. “When it was confirmed, it was great news and we're really looking forward to it.
 
The Colts have a strong team ethic about them which Robbie explained that “it's not all about the winning. There's a lot of people and parents coming over. Everyone in the squad will be given a chance.”
 
KSC Barca of Kilwinning will be sending two squads to Oslo. A 2002 and a 2003 team are set to compete at the Norway Cup in the summer. We spoke with 2003's captain Daniel Sweeney about the amazing experience of going to Norway as well as discussing the team morale.
 
“We always start with our strongest eleven,” said centre-mid Sweeney, but added that “everybody gets a game which keeps the vibe strong.”
 
Defender and midfielder Adam is also looking forward to the tournament. “I'm quite excited to be going because there's quite a lot of games against teams from all over the world.”
 
Both Largs Colts and KSC Barca collectively make up three of the 16 teams that will be representing Scotland at this years tournament. The Norway Cup kicks off on the 31st July and will run until the 6th August.
 
Since its foundation in 1972, nearly 50,000 teams from around the world have taken part at the tournament, which takes place at the Ekebergsletta field in Norway.
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 00:00

Valspar FC Optimistic Over Life at 40

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Summary
- Valspar celebrate their 40th anniversary this year.
- Set up back in 1976 by former Liverpool scout, Jim Gourlay, Valspar was born.
- Mark Gillespie sat down with current Valspar chairman, Ken Nairn
 
When former Liverpool scout Jim Gourlay helped start a boys’ league team at Ayr’s Dam Park in 1976 he could never have dreamed that his club would go on to establish itself at the heart of the town’s grassroots football. And with a proud track record over the last four decades the club stands in good stead for many years to come.
 
With the Liver bird on the club crest, Valspar are proud to be forever linked with the Merseyside giants. The story of the club’s foundation is indeed testimony to a grass roots spirit at both ends of the footballing spectrum, and an example to clubs in this present day.
 
Back in 1976 when Gourlay was looking for a shirt sponsor for his new boys’ team he reached out to his former employers at Anfield, who put him in touch with their own club sponsor to provide the jerseys. The new born club duly shared the same name on their shirts: Valspar paints. And like a good gloss the name has stuck with the club down the years and become synonymous with grass roots football in Ayr and beyond.
 
With a strong community base and coaching network in place, the club has gone on to achieve football and coaching success at every level. Notable names to pass through the ranks in recent years include Rangers players Kirk Broadfoot and Davie McFarlane, and Paul Burns, recently of Queen of the South.
 
As the club celebrates its 40th anniversary Youth Football Scotland spoke to club chairman Ken Nairn about the club’s ethos and hopes for the future. Nairn steps down at the end of this season after 10 years at the helm, during which time the club has striven to overcome many hurdles and continue to offer a local gateway into youth football.
 
The chairman reflected on the club’s initial stratospheric rise with just two teams, to its continuing present day expansion at all age groups.
 
“For the first 15 years, Valspar were winning Scottish Cups and Ayrshire Cups. We were comparable with where the likes of Hutchison Vale and Tynecastle are at the moment. We went on to branch into all age groups and have been very successful in terms of coaches and players”, Nairn says.
 
As a former coach of Valspar 94s, Nairn enjoyed 3 league and 5 cup triumphs with his side, and so knows the fundamental value of good coaching and achieving results on the pitch.
 
After hanging up his coaching boots Nairn became club chairman, charged with overseeing the club’s continuing grass roots involvement across the ages. He places particular emphasis on good coaching from the earliest age possible, all the way through the system.
 
“When the club gets to this size it is all about continuity, and making sure that your most important age groups are your young age groups.”
 
 “We try and give them as much coaching as we can at that age, and bring them all through together. Our long term aim is to have at least two teams competing at every age level.”, Nairn says.
 
“A good coaching set up is more important even than good players. I believe that we have the right system in place. Every year we try and send 4 or 5 of our best guys forward to complete their badges, which in turn is a real long term benefit to the club.”
 
“With the team I have got in place I am very confident that we have a good structure ahead in the years to come, with the right people in place. In my final year I am determined to leave a strong Valspar behind.”
 
The main challenge Nairn cites in the years ahead is in maintaining the continuity of the sides his coaches develop. In recent years Valspar have been left to cope with the often devastating sudden loss of players to Pro Youth sides. Nairn thinks change to the Pro Youth system is essential for clubs and players alike.
 
“I would like to see more of a two way relationship in place, one which recognises what happens when clubs like Valspar lose so many players to local Pro Youth Academies. I have seen whole teams struggle from the impact of losing several key players at once”
 
“A lot of the players come back to us after a few years from Pro Youth, having lost game time and development. It can be very disruptive to players and clubs alike”
 
“But we are working to overcome these hurdles. In the years to come we will have the infrastructure in place whereby the impact of the Pro Youth Academies lessens. Change to Pro Youth though is essential for clubs like Valspar.”
 
Meanwhile the club can look ahead with some optimism, with clubs competing on all fronts, including this week’s Scottish Cup. Valspar will mark its 40th year at its end of season awards at Ayr Town Hall in June, and the Town Council will pay its own tribute to the club’s work at a civic reception.
 
Life begins, and Valspar will continue to play a big role in Ayr’s Youth football story for many years to come.
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 00:00

Crosshouse to face new challenge at Norway Cup

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Summary
- Crosshouse BC 2000’s are set to represent Scotland at this year’s Norway Cup
- They’ll be taking part in the Biggest International Youth Football Festival in the World
- Ryan Crombie spoke to coach, Mark Archibald
 
After months of planning and careful consideration Crosshouse BC 2000’s are about to embark on a footballing holiday across the North Sea to Norway. Famous for its mountain’s, icy glaciers, deep fjords and harsh weather, Norway doesn’t necessarily strike you as the destination for a trip to play football. However, its home to the biggest International Youth Football Festival in the world, The Norway Cup and Crosshouse BC are raring to go.
 
Firstly I asked the simple question, why Norway? The answer was a comprehensive one and one which many people in Scotland will be glad to hear. 
 
“We decided to do this trip in particular as there are so many other nations in this tournament. Also because of the vast majority of teams we feel the boys are at an age where they could benefit from seeing how other nations train and play. We are looking to observe this, take it on board and hopefully improve our own game because of it, which will help us to go on to bigger and better things in Scottish football.”
 
The trip is very much focused on the footballing side of things and will be an excellent gauge as to where the 2014/15 Scottish Cup champions are, compared to the rest of the youth football world. 
 
Mark Archibald reiterated this and emphasised it was very much important that the boys enjoyed themselves as well as focusing on the football at the same time. 
 
“The trip for us is all about the football and for the boys to enjoy themselves, on and off the pitch. The trip will definitely have more of a holiday feel to it for the boys but with the serious element of playing football. We haven’t really spoken about what we will be doing in our spare time, so the boys will have a big say in that, but we will make sure it’s fun for everyone. 
 
“As a club we are entering the tournament to do well as it lets us know where we are in terms of the rest of the football world.”
 
As you can imagine it’s all very well selecting a country to visit and tournament to enter into but managing to fund it is a different matter. Crosshouse BC have been rather active on this front and have organised several events to ease the costings of the holiday. 
 
“We have had a very successful race night so far and have organised some bag packing. Our main event was a speaker’s dinner which took a lot of effort. We are also looking to do some sort of sponsored event with the boys to keep them involved in the fundraising process.” 
 
As stated before the trip is not purely about having fun, it is going to act as a learning curve for the kids so that they can learn from their experience in Norway.
 
“I’m hoping the boys will look at teams from other nations and pick up some new skills which will benefit them and the team in the future. As for us coaches it’s all about checking if we are on the right track with our coaching methods compared to other nations.”
 
Crosshouse BC have not been abroad as a team before but do have experience in local tournaments albeit on a smaller scale. Alan Archibald says he is just going to approach the tournament as he would any other.
 
“We have always entered local tournaments throughout the years and have been quite successful by getting to the latter stages or finals. This is a whole different ball game for us though and it will be the first time we have been away together for any length of time and to a festival of this size. We will approach it all the same as the others and hope to advance as far as possible.”
Friday, 12 February 2016 16:34

Largs Colts edge out KSC Barca in league cup tie

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Fixture: KSC Barca v Largs Colts U14
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA League Cup
Venue: Kilwinning Sports Centre
Date: Saturday 6th February 2016
 
Largs Colts travelled down to Kilwinning to meet old rivals KSC Barca in the first round of the league cup. With many games off due to the horrendous weather, killing off pitches all over the place, the Colts side welcomed the fact the game was on astroturf, which suits the style of football played by the boys.
 
Colts started strongly and had the hosts under pressure early. On three minutes, a neat ball was played through to Brown and just as he was about to pull the trigger, he was taken down for a clear penalty. Unfortunately for the Barca defender the referee had no option but to show the red card and they were down to ten men. Bainbridge stepped up to take responsibility and struck it well to the keepers left, but the keeper pulled off a fantastic stop to keep the scores level.
 
Using the extra man to their advantage, Colts kept up the pressure and on seven minutes a free kick from 35 yards was struck by Smith and it just cleared the bar with the keeper helpless. A few minutes later Brown was played through though the keeper saved well. Was it going to be one of those days for Colts?
 
 Smith then received a ball from Brown and struck for goal, just wide of the target. Colts were dominating play, as you would expect with the extra man. Bainbridge then tried to chip the keeper but again it was well taken. R.Coupar struck from distance, again on target, and again saved well.  Smith and Blair then had efforts just wide of target. Just before half time keeper Irwin tried to take a quick goal kick and put it straight to the Barca player 20 yards from goal. Fortunately for Largs the striker couldn’t hit the target. A major let off.
 
Half Time: KSC Barca 0-0 Largs Colts
 
Largs were frustrated not to capitalise on the extra man and started the second period just as they had begun the first. A neat move down the right played in Blair who had his effort saved. Barca were getting more of the ball at this stage and they had an effort from a free kick which went wide of the target. 
 
Blair then went on a great run for Largs and tried to finish with the outside of his right foot when power may have been a better option. The midfield four in particular were working very hard to break up play and to set up chances. On 39 minutes a ball by R.Coupar found Brown who couldn’t get enough power on his header and it was saved.
 
After relentless pressure, the deadlock was finally broken when a good move resulted in Cormack striking for goal. When the keeper could only parry Brown was on hand to put the ball into the empty net. The goal was a huge relief for everyone as it looked like it was going to be one of those days for Colts.
 
Colts looked to get a decisive second and it was Bainbridge who created space and struck with power only for the ball to crash off the bar. The rebound fell to Cormack who struck and it came back for Blair with the ball just evading the speedy striker and the chance was gone. On 52 minutes Brown made way for J.Coupar with Smith moving up front.
 
Barca came back into the game at this point and were a threat with Weir clearing well and using his pace when required. Barca had a couple of corners and with just five minutes left and a goalmouth scramble looked like it would result in the equaliser but thankfully for Largs, they somehow managed to clear.
 
Barca kept up the pressure and Colts played on the counter attack. Although there were further chances Colts played out the remainder of the game for a hard earned, if nervous, win.   
 
Full Time: KSC Barca 0-1 Largs Colts
 
Despite nobody being at their best for Largs, everybody deserved credit for the victory over a stuffy KSC Barca side. This was a workmanlike performance from the Largs boys. The midfield worked tirelessly, and the defence are due great credit for the clean sheet against an opposition that haven't failed to score this season.
 
Man of the Match was a close call though is awarded to Cormack for tremendous effort in closing down the dangerous Barca winger and at the same time getting involved offensively including the crucial goal.
 
Colts now have three home league games to look forward to starting with the other KSC side in KSC Thistle. As the league moves to the half-way stage Colts remain in second place and will be looking to keep the strong record going. If you can make it along any of the next three Saturdays Colts play at Barrfields with a 10:30 Kick Off and would really appreciate the support.
 
Largs Colts:  Irwin (GK), Barbour Loudon, Weir, Leishman, R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, Smith, Brown, Blair.  Subs: J.Coupar, MacNeil, Florence.
 
 
Clark Drive Girls FC Under 15s are the latest club of many to sign up to the Norway Cup in Oslo this year and head coach Ashleigh Allison spoke to YFS about their decision to participate in the summer tournament. 
 
Q - What will you be doing during your trip and what made you decide that a trip would be good for the team?
 
A - “So we will be heading to the Norway Cup for a week in July and will be competing in the U15 Girls section, playing football against teams from all over the world.
 
"It is an exciting opportunity for the Club to represent Scotland and also for the girls to be noticed for their hard work throughout the season. There will be lots of media interest both from Scotland and internationally with games being shown live on TV and also player interviews throughout the tournament. The girls will be staying within the school facilities along with other participants so it’s a chance for them to socialise and meet new friends.  
 
"We are also given free transport throughout the city, so I’m sure we will be doing some exploring and shopping in our time there! There are also some leisure activities included such as swimming, mini golf and a disco for the girls to attend. It’s a great opportunity and experience for everyone involved and we hope to make some great memories this summer.”
 
Q - Why did you feel Norway was the correct destination for your team?
 
A - “Being offered the chance to play at the world’s largest junior football tournament was a great opportunity for the club. We have looked in to the setup of the Norway Cup and the way it is run. We have also had great feedback from previous participants over the years and are very impressed with the organisation and professionalism of the tournament. 
 
"This helped us in making the decision to compete this summer and we are really looking forward to being involved and showing Norway what Clark Drive Girls FC have to offer.” 
 
Q - What kind of events have you organised for fundraising to help pay for it?
 
A - “We have a fundraising committee at the club that have been working hard to come up with new ideas to raise funds for the trip. We have our first race night of the year coming up in March, a psychic night, and the girls will be doing some bag packing at local stores. 
 
"We are hoping that the club can pull together and get everyone on board to raise as much money as possible and help give the girls a great experience. We are also looking at local companies to help with any donations or for kit sponsors so we have reached out and will hopefully get a few on board to support the club.”
 
Q - Obviously it's an exciting prospect for the girls getting away to Norway. What are they looking forward to the most and of course what are you looking forward to the most? 
 
A - “I think the girls are all just really excited to travel together as a team and there is already a real buzz at training sessions with talk of Norway. We have a great bunch of girls who are always up for a laugh and hard working so it will be a fun adventure for us all. 
 
"From a coaching perspective, I am looking forward to seeing how our girls can compete against teams from different countries, and also meeting coaches and learning about how they run their clubs and different training methods they use.”  
 
Q - Are you hoping that the trip is going to act as a learning curve for the players and act as a team bonding session?
 
A - “Definitely! We had a great season last year with the girls finishing third in the league and this was the first year many of them had stepped up to eleven a-side. We have added a few new girls to the squad and also have girls stepping up from U13 level, it’s important for me a as coach that the girls are always learning and developing in their football. 
 
"I want to use this trip to help inspire the girls to work hard and show that they will get rewarded for all their efforts both in football and in life in general. I feel Norway will be a great opportunity for the girls to test themselves against teams from all over the world and I’m sure they will all love the chance to spend a week together exploring Norway, having fun and playing football.”
 
Q - Is it something you have looked at before or is this the first time the girls will have been away as a squad?
 
A - “We have looked in to the club competing in an overseas tournament over the last few years but due to funding and a few other reasons it wasn’t really foreseeable. This year though we feel we have a great fundraising committee and the club are in a good financial state where we can give the girls a trip abroad. Our U13 girls will be competing in the Toulouse Cup this year also and with the U15s going to Norway it’s a massive year for everyone at the club. 
 
"This will be the first time Clark Drive Girls FC have competed in an overseas tournament and we are really excited and honoured to beinvited to the Norway Cup. We are hoping that everyone enjoys the experience and that we can look to build on this in future years to come.”
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 17:13

Watch: Queen of the South v Greystone Rovers U15s

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Match highlights from the challenge match between Club Academy Scotland and Scottish Youth FA opposition, at Palmerston Park.