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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.
 
Saturday, 06 February 2016 20:47

Valspar triumph in 11-goal extra-time cup thriller

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Fixture: Rosebank v Valspar U14s
Competition: League Cup
Venue: Lugar
Date: 06/02/2016
 
Valspar are through to the next round of the West Region League Cup after defeating Rosebank in a pulsating, high-scoring winter cup classic which went all the way to extra time and finished 7-4 to the visitors.
 
This League Cup game kicked off on a cold, wet morning on a boggy park by the sides of the river Lugar. Valspar started on the front foot. The visitors dominated the early stages and were rightly rewarded with the first goal. The lively Lewis Glass made a great run into the box drawing the keeper across, before picking out Craig Findlay with a pin point cross, who then fired into an empty net.
 
Five minutes later, the same two players came up with a carbon copy of the first goal, with Lewis Glass again providing the cross for Craig Findlay to make it 2-0 to Valspar.
 
Valspar were in control of the game at this stage, when they conceded a very soft goal from a corner that really should have been cleared, that somehow managed to sneak in at the near post to make it 2-1.
 
This gave the Rosebank boys a lift and they began to find there way back into the game. It was becoming a very strongly contested battle in the middle of the park, which resulted in the loss of Murray Thomson and Aaron Brown to injuries.
 
Then a hopeful ball played in to the space behind our defence, allowed the pacy Rosebank number nine to just beat Mackenzie Hill to the ball to make it 2-2.
 
Half Time: Rosebank 2-2 Valspar
 
Rosebank started the second half in the ascendancy in what was now a pretty fiery, well-contested cup game on a very muddy park. A quick Valspar break slightly against the run of play put Lewis Glass through, who calmly tucked the ball away to give his side a 3-2 lead.
 
The game was now on a knife edge with both teams battling for control. Another tough tackle from Harry Evans resulted in an injury that meant he had to temporarily leave the pitch. With Harry off the park, Rosebank took advantage and scored from a scrappy free kick to make it 3-3.
 
With the game in the balance and both teams looking for the win Rosebank were awarded another free kick just outside the box, which they proceeded to smash into the top corner making it 4-3 to them with only five minutes left on the clock.
 
Murray Thompson was then brought back into the action and had an immediate impact, driving Valspar forward looking for the equaliser. Valspar were awarded a free kick outside the box for a foul on the impressive Chrissy Calander with minutes remaining. Murray Thomson stepped up to bend the ball towards goal and, despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to the ball, it nestled into the top corner to level the scores once again at 4-4.
 
Full Time: Rosebank 4-4 Valspar
 
The game then entered extra time with Valspar really stepping up the pressure, taking control and playing some lovely football. A very well-taken goal by Stuart Findlay deservedly made it 5-4 to Valspar.
 
Extra Time Half Time: Rosebank 4-5 Valspar
 
Valspar had the bit between their teeth and really dominated the final stages of extra time. Murray Thompson broke into the box one-on-one with the goalkeeper and calmly slotted the ball home to make it 6-4.
 
Ron Mooney then deservedly got in on the action, rounding off a very hard fought team win, scoring a cracking goal to make the final score 7-4 to Valspar, putting the visitors safely into the hat for the next round.
 
The game was a fantastic advert for Scottish grassroots football with both teams playing attacking football. 
 
Extra Time Full Time: Rosebank 4-7 Valspar
 
 
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 16:30

Largs Colts close the gap on league leaders

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Fixture: Largs Colts v Prestwick Community FC U14
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA
Venue: Barrfields, Largs
Date: Saturday 23rd January 2015
 
Largs Colts welcomed Prestwick Community to Barrfields as the local boys looked to keep the positive start to 2016 going. Colts started with the same eleven that kicked off against Boswell last week with Irwin in goals and a back four of Leishman, Loudon, Weir and Robson. The midfield four were R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart with the two top scorers Smith and Brown leading the line. On the bench were J.Coupar, Barbour, Blair and Florence.  That said, J.Coupar picked up a knock whilst warming up and could not take part.
 
Largs started brightly and inside a minute Brown fired in a stunning cross right across the face of the goal, but there were no takers. Maybe it was too early for them! Prestwick though also looked dangerous going forward with pace on both flanks and also through the middle.
 
The first clear chance of the match fell to the hosts after six minutes. Bainbridge spotted Brown in space on the right side of the penalty area, and although the ball was bouncing the striker struck well with power, but he couldn't guide it on target and the ball flew wide of the post.
 
Prestwick were using the pace well up front and it took timely challenges from Weir and Robson to prevent the visitors from getting efforts in on goal and testing Irwin. Ten minutes into the game and Bainbridge was played in on goal, but with his weaker left foot he couldn't connect with the ball the way he (and myself of course) would of liked to.
 
Brown was next to have an effort saved by the Prestwick keeper before R.Coupar was taken down twenty five yards from goal. This is normally the territory for McTaggart to fire the ball home, but this time Smith took the initiative and lined up for a strike at goal - and what a strike it was as well! Giving the keeper no chance, right into the postage stamp and mobbed by his team mates. All the early pressure had finally paid off for Colts.
 
Colts were still having to cope with some quick breaks from the visitors and on twenty one minutes, an excellent move resulted in a deserved equaliser for Prestwick with a cool finish to beat keeper Irwin.
 
Twenty four minutes played and Colts persistence paid off when they retook the lead. Smith found McTaggart who in turn found Brown for the strike at goal. The initial effort was saved but Brown was not to be denied and he followed up to slot home, 2-1 for Largs.
 
Colts should have made it three on twenty seven minutes when the ball bounced in the six yard area though somehow the ball didn’t find the net despite the presence of Brown. Loudon and Leishman, although having to contain the attacking midfielders from Prestwick, were doing well to support the attack regularly.
 
Half an hour into the match and the Prestwick keeper was in action again as Bainbridge found Loudon who struck for goal, but was well kept out by the stretching goalkeeper. Robson then had to leave the field with a sickness bug and was replaced by Barbour with Loudon switching to the central defence alongside Weir.
 
 Just before half time Prestwick created a great chance which looked to be heading to the left corner of the goal only for keeper Irwin to spring and get fingertips to touch it round the post. Irwin yet again proving vital to Colts and keeping their slender advantage in tact.
 
Half Time: Largs Colts 2-1 Prestwick Community FC
 
With only one goal in it, Colts knew they would have to work hard to get the three points against a very good Prestwick outfit. Largs started the second half very well with some quick passing and movement to create the openings. The visitors remained a threat on the break however and it took another stop from Irwin to keep the score at one for Prestwick.
 
On forty minutes, Colts got the cushion they were looking for when a corner from Bainbridge bounced in the area and Smith needed no second invitation to hammer the ball home from close range for his second and Colts third of the match.
 
Just one minute later and Brown collected on the edge of the area before creating space for himself and striking with power to make it four. Prestwick kept playing football and on 47 minutes the referee correctly adjudged a foul in the area for a penalty.  The tall and pacey Prestwick winger stepped up and struck with power only for Irwin to pull off another stunning save.
 
At the other end, McTaggart found Smith who laid the ball off to Brown. The strike then played the ball into the path of Bainbridge who struck with power at the near post though the keeper turned it round the post for a corner. Colts had further chances with efforts on target before R.Coupar broke well and played the ball through for Bainbridge who then accelerated past the defender before slotting the ball home for Colts fifth of the game.
 
Cormack, who again worked tirelessly, was then replaced by Blair and shortly after this Leishman was replaced by Florence in the last change for Colts. Largs got their sixth of the game in an action replay finish from Bainbridge down the left with the assist from Blair. Although Colts had scored four in the second half without reply it was far from a one way street. Indeed Prestwick were awarded a second penalty inside the last minute. This time it was the captain that took responsibility. However with almost an identical shot Irwin stood tall and again pulled off another stunning stop before the referee called the game to an end.
 
Full Time: Largs Colts 6-1 Prestwick Community FC
 
Colts consolidate their position in second place with this win and remain two points behind AC Irvine. Prestwick were very impressive and caused Colts lots of problems and in all honesty the scoreline flattered the Largs side. With some excellent positive coaching coming from the visitors and some quick incisive passing and pace throughout it would be no surprise to see Prestwick upset many above them and climb the league. Colts had a good number of chances to score and did take their fair share, which, after a relative drought, was good to see.  With regards to Man of the Match Colts were strong throughout though with a stunning stop before the break and two penalty saves in the second half the coaches vote went to keeper Irwin.
 
Colts are on their travels next week to face one of the contenders for the league title in Valspar. The Ayr side have twice defeated Colts, by wide margins, in friendlies though the Largs side are now stronger and look forward to the challenge. Valspar are another excellently run outfit with positive coaches and players, playing football with style. The game should be an excellent one to watch for the neutral.
 
Largs Colts:  Irwin, Robson, Loudon, Weir, Leishman, R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown.  Subs:. Barbour J.Coupar, Blair, Florence.
 
 

 
Fixture: Valspar v Caledonian Thistle
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA Under 14's
Venue: King George V Park
Date: Saturday 23rd January 2016
 
It was the first outing of 2016 for the Valspar boys, and they put on a great performance against Caledonian Thistle at King George V pitches on a very cold, but dry morning.
 
Both teams were determined to take control of the early stages, which lead to a very competitive start to the game, Valspar created more of the early chances but a bit of rustiness in front of goal, resulted in the game remaining goalless for the opening fifteen minutes.

The deadlock was broken shortly after though as Valspar took a deserved lead. Harry Evans won a free kick 25 yards from goal, and up stepped Murray Thompson to fire home the first goal around the wall and into the bottom corner. The home side then doubled their lead soon after as Lewis Glass terrorised the Caley Thistle defenders with his pace and he finished well.
 
Valspar then really started to take control of the game, scoring goals number three and four through Stuart Findlay and the impressive Lewis Glass who had doubled his tally.
 
Caley Thistle were limited to very few chances thanks to the strong defending from Valspar, and just before half time MacKenzie Hill pulled off a top save to preserve his clean sheet and keep Caley Thistle at bay.

Half Time: Valspar 4-0 Caledonian Thistle

The second half started in the same vain as the first with Valspar dominating play defending well as a team. Craig Findlay was introduced up front and he had an immediate impact scoring the fifth and sixth goals of the game for the home side. The relentless pressure from Valspar was proving too much for the Caley Thistle defence to handle.
 
Minutes later Valspar were at it again as Arron Brown made a run into the box and was in the right place at the right time to finish off a well worked move to make it 7-0 to the home side.

The game was over as a contest but to be fair to Caley Thistle the boys continued to battle and did not let the scoreline damage their spirit. In a burst forward they were unlucky not to get themselves on the scoresheet as a venomous strike battered the frame of the goal.
 
It was good to see Tyler Robertson back in action for Valspar after a long lay-off, and he was terrorising the Caley Thistle right back from the minute he was on the pitch. His comeback was complete as he cut inside from the left wing to slot the ball into the corner for goal number eight of the day.

Craig Findlay then finished off a very good team performance with an audacious chip over the goalie for a well deserved hat-trick and a great start to 2016 for Valspar with nine goals and a hard earned clean sheet.

Full Time: Valspar 9-0 Caledonian Thistle