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Thursday, 21 July 2016 12:08

Glasgow City Cup getting ready to kick-off

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5th of August sees the season long-awaited return of the highly-anticipated Glasgow City Cup. Back for it’s 15th edition, the pre-season tournament has featured a host of teams from all over the country and abroad since its inception in 2000, including sides travelling from Canada, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Wales and England.

One of Scotland’s most prestigious youth football festival has taken place across a number of locations, varying in the past from Glasgow Green Football Complex to Toryglen Regional Football Complex. This year, the Glasgow City Cup will take place in Renfrewshire and Paisley, where it has been played since 2014.

With so many challenging teams and players coming from all across the globe, it’s the ultimate way for teams to begin their pre-season and get themselves ready for the new campaign. With three days of non-stop games, the Glasgow City Cup is filled with matches that would prepare any team for the season ahead.

Some of the more obscure teams taking part in this year’s edition include Mapola FC from Canada, Iowa SC and West Coast SC, both from the USA, Bangor Rangers from Northern Ireland, and Shetland FC. No doubt, it will give the players from over here a great chance to see how differently other nation’s sides play.

Not only does it feature eleven-a-side teams, but in the week beforehand, there is the Scottish Sun Soccer 7s, giving the new generation of Scottish footballers the chance to showcase their talent on a big stage. With a massive 132 teams already playing on each day and a total of 432 matches organised, it is sure to be a day filled with goals and action.

The Glasgow City cup kicks off on the 5th of August and finished on the 8th, while the Soccer Sevens takes place on the 30th and 31st of July. 

In a season where one of the longest-standing sporting curses was erased from memory and Hibernian won the Scottish Cup, St Peter’s FC under 17s could finally also claim their spot amongst Scotland’s elite. After so many near misses and promising runs, it was their turn to finally lift the Scottish Youth FA Cup for the 2015-2016 season.

The success didn’t stop at that cup win though, as they fought their way to the Paisley Johnstone and District league, topping the table with 104 points and averaging nearly four goals a game. Remarkably though, they only secured the league title on the final day of the season, with a goalless draw against local rivals and nearest challengers, Rutherglen, who they had faced a number of times over the course of the season.

Going into that last-day title decider, St Peter’s had run out winners in their two cup meetings earlier in the season, with the first league clash between the two also ending in a stalemate. Coach John Dalziel spoke exclusively to Youth Football Scotland to describe his side’s emotions as they prepared for such a big match; “We went into the game in confident mood, we have been in this position a number of times over the years with league deciders and cup finals so having that experience certainly helped.”

He added: “We also knew how Rutherglen would approach the game, the boys knew of Rutherglen’s strengths and how we could get at them in the final third.  Although we only needed a point to win the league, we set out to win the game and as the game went on we created a number of chances to do so, but in the end the draw was good enough to clinch the 4th consecutive league trophy.”

However, Dalziel describes the triumphant Scottish Cup campaign as his personal “highlight of the season”. Considering the previous disappointment his side had to endure; exiting the competition in the fifth round in the previous four years; it’s difficult to blame him.

Their success in the biggest cup of them all is perhaps even more special when you take into account the sides that they had to overcome to get there, knocking out some of the country’s best; such as Hutchison Vale and Fraserburgh Link-Up; along the way, as well as edging past a talented Airdrie side in the final on penalties.

It was then at the Excelsior Stadium where St Peter’s put their previous misfortunes behind them and finally got their hands on that elusive trophy. After 90 of normal time, and a gruelling period of extra time, penalties was the only way to determine the winner. A series of fantastic saves from goalkeeper Ryan Mclaren gave Thomas Cruden the chance from the spot, and he was never going to pass up such an opportunity, slotting the ball to the opposition keeper’s left.

As well as that, St Peter’s also had a regional cup win to celebrate and top off the perfect season with. After Thomas Cruden scored both of his side’s goals to take Hillwood to a 2-2 draw and penalties, it was the double act of Cruden and McLaren who once again turned the penalty shootout and cup final in their favour to complete a glorious treble.

Dalziel believes that it is the minor details that separates the winners and losers, and his side are well-experienced in being the former; “The boys have a winning mentality and have the experience of winning a number of trophies over the past 4 seasons, they never know when they are beat and that is a fantastic quality to have.”. he said.

“We have a fairly settled squad with the core of the side being together for a few years.  As well as talent, it is equally important that the boys have the personality and the work ethic to compliment what we already have in the squad”.

Ryan McLaren’s heroic efforts in goal and great contribution to the cup wins were acknowledged at the end of the campaign, being awarded the Player of the Year award. Team captain Niall Herron and defender Darren Robertson both had exceptional seasons in their own right, picking up the Player’s Player of the Year award and Parent’s Player of the Year award respectively.

Congratulations to St Peter’s FC Under 17s on a memorable treble. Regional Cup, Scottish Cup and PJ&DYFL League winners.

Fixture: Largs Colts v Valspar FC
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA U14's league
Venue: Largs
Date: 3/5/16
This top of the table clash kicked off in the sunshine on the astro, down in Largs, with both teams determined to take the three points. Largs went with two up front, showing their intent to put pressure on the Valspar defence. They started the livelier, creating the early chances, all of which where well defended by the resolute hard working Valspar back line and the safe handling of McKenzie Hill.
Valspar were now growing into the game and creating chances of their own. Ron Mooney made a good run into the box firing into the side netting, Lewis Glass delivered a lovely cross, which Ron Mooney met with a bullet header only for the Largs keeper to pull off an excellent reaction save.
This lifted the Valspar team and they gradually wrestled control of the game from Largs deservedly putting them under pressure. Another chance was created by the lively Lewis Glass, which their keeper tipped round for a corner. The resulting corner kick was swung in too close to the big Largs goalie.
In what was now a very evenly contested game of football, between two very good teams who were both fighting for every ball and defending for their lives, clear cut chances were at a premium. The Largs Number nine tried one from distance that the in-form McKenzie Hill had to dive to his right to save & gather well on the line.
A late first half free kick was awarded to Largs on the left hand edge of the Valspar box. The ball was whipped into the near post but McKenzie was again on hand to push it round for a corner. The corner was well defended and the first half ended 0-0 with absolutely nothing between the teams.
Half Time: Largs Colts 0-0 Valspar FC
It was Valspar that started the better in the second half as they created a couple of decent chances. Craig Findlay, who's determination and work rate was outstanding having just tracked a player back to the edge of the Valspar box, was then back up the other end shutting down a defender, winning back the ball, and playing in Lewis Glass, who couldn't quite get his shot away. Glass was then shut down by Largs, summing up the work rate and determination on display from both teams.
During this period Valspar were edging the game and had three different shots on goal all saved well by a very good Largs ‘keeper. All were put out for corners but unfortunately we just could not find the all-important first goal. Another quick break away by Connor Purvis found Murray Thompson in the box and his first time shot was again well saved.
Both midfields were working tirelessly battling to try and control the game. Chrissy Callander, in particular, was all over the park and had won three or four free kicks for his endeavours. Neither defence allowed the forwards any time, or space, on the ball and, at this stage, it was hard to see where a goal would come from.
Largs were awarded a free kick, about 25 yards out, but their big number nine put it over the bar. Afterwards a decent cross found a Largs player in the box who smashed his shot goalwards only for McKenzie Hill to pull off a wonder save, somehow pushing it up onto the bar and out for a corner.
Largs whipped a good ball in from the corner and their number nine managed to get his head on the ball, which agonisingly bounced down and under McKenzie making it 1-0 to Largs.
It was an excellent reaction to going behind by the Valspar team pushing forward to find the equalising goal. Connor Purvis made a great run down the wing and kept his composure to pick out Craig Findlay in the box, who stuck it away to make it 1-1
It was a great game of football, with every player on both sides giving everything to win each ball. The game ebbed and flowed with one team on top and then the other – boys’ football at its very best.
Valspar pushed forward again desperately looking for that winning goal. It so very nearly materialised when Connor found Lewis, who broke down the wing and picked out the on rushing Murray Thompson in the box. We all held our breath as his fierce volley narrowly went over the bar. It was great build up football and just so unlucky.
The next chance fell to Largs when the ball dropped to their number nine in the box. With the Valspar defence quickly closing him down he fired over the bar. It was very nervous and tense, certainly watching it on the sidelines, as both teams were still going for the win. It could honestly have gone either way.
As Valspar pushed forward for the final time the referee blew his whistle to end an excellent game of football. With the honours rightly even both sets of fans applauded all the boys off the park.
Full Time: Largs Colts 1-1 Valspar FC
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 20:20

Antonine make it eight wins in a row

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Fixture: St Convals YFC 1-4 Antonine FC
Competition: PJDYFL 1999 Division 2
Date: Saturday, 23rd April 2016
Antonine travelled to Renfrew to take on St Convals. On a tight park, where space was at a premium, they took the game to the home side straight from the off.
Scott Hutton and Owen Gallacher both fired over early on in the match. In the eighth minute Antonine thought they had the lead when a Dom Cairney shot hit the bar and looked to come down well over the line, but the ref played on.
30 seconds later a cross into the box fell to Gallacher and his shot creeped over the line to make it 1-0.
Ryan Gillies was called into action, soon after, making a smart save at his near post.
Later on Chris Donaghy was pulled down just outside the box but, as the ball fell to Cairney in a one-on-one with the ‘keeper, the referee blew up for a free kick, mistakenly not allowing the advantage. The free kick ultimately came to nothing.
Adam Boyle had a shot saved as Antonine pressed for the second goal. Cairney then came close again before the goal eventually arrived in the 22nd minute. Owen Gallacher headed home, from a Danny Hamilton free kick, to net his seventh of the season.
St Convals pulled a goal back with the winger cutting in and mis-hitting his shot, which wrong footed Gillies.
Soon afterwards Gallacher fired over from a Cairney cutback.
Two minutes before the break Donaghy and Cairney played in Adam Boyle and he slotted home his 2nd of the season.
Half Time: St Convals YFC 1-3 Antonine FC
At the start of the second half St Sonvals launched an aerial bombardment but Dean Miller and Brendan Kelly dealt superbly with everything that was thrown at them.
Cairney and Boyle both came close before, in the 70th minute, a Hamilton free kick was missed by the ‘keeper, under pressure from Lewis Smith, and Dom Cairney tapped it home to make it 4-1. That finish was his 6th of the campaign.
Donaghy headed just wide and Hamilton cleared a header off the line as Antonine comfortably saw out the game.
Antonine’s eighth victory in a row, in the league, keeps them in second place. It was a great performance, on a tight pitch, where they still managed to play some good football.
There are no league games for a couple of weeks now but the team will have some friendlies to keep themselves ticking over.
Full Time: St Convals 1-4 Antonine FC
Squad: Gillies, Maciver, Manley, Kelly, Miller, Hutton, Cairney, Donaghy, Boyle, Hamilton, Gallacher, Smith, Shaw, Maxwell
Man of Match: Dean Miller

Fixture: Giffnock SC Lazio v Antonine FC
Competition: PJDYFL Division 2
Date: Saturday, 9th April 2016
Antonine travelled to Giffnock, on the 9th April, for a crucial top of the table clash.
Antonine started the better after getting their passing and movement going right from the start.
Danny Hamilton was the first to try his luck at goal, forcing the Giffnock 'keeper into a save.
Giffnock's first opportunity came when an inswinging corner was headed off the line by Calum Maxwell.In the eighth minute an eight pass move saw Chris Donaghy play in Adam Boyle out wide on the right. He fired in a pinpoint cross that was duly headed home by Lewis Smith to open the scoring - a great team goal.
Antonine smelled blood as they soon dominated proceedings. Hamilton, Boyle and Donaghy all came close before Ryan Gillies was called into action with a save at his near post.
Scott Hutton had a shot saved, Donaghy hit the crossbar and Boyle saw the keeper save his later effort.
In the 22nd minute another great passing move saw Donaghy play in Smith, but his shot hit the post. From 12 yards out, however, Dom Cairney fired the rebound high into the net to notch his fifth goal of the season.
Hamilton and Donaghy came close again for Antonine before Lewis Smith, in the 32nd minute, fired a cross towards the back post, which sailed over the keeper and into the net. This took Smith's goal tally to 34 in the season and made it 3-0 to Antonine.
Giffnock pulled a goal back five minutes before the half time break when their striker fired home a cutback from the left wing.
Half Time: Giffnock SC Lazio 1-3 Antonine FC
Giffnock came out on the front foot in the second half and bombarded the Antonine defence with a number of aerial balls. However, the Antonine defence dealt with it comfortably with goalkeeper, Gillies, only really dealing with high crosses.
Antonine came back into it with Hutton, Donaghy and Mckendrick all coming close as they saw the game out to take a vital victory. That win moved the team back to the top of the table, on goal difference, but having played two games more.
It was an excellent first half performance and a very professional one in the second.
Full Time: Giffnock SC Lazio 1-3 Antonine FC
Squad: Gillies, Maciver, Maxwell, Kelly, Miller, Hutton, Cairney, Donaghy, Boyle, Smith, Hamilton, Gallacher, Wallace, Shaw, Mckendrick, James
Man of Match: Brendan Kelly
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 16:03

Watch: Cantera FC v Harmony Row U15

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Highlights from the SYFA West Region Cup tie at Sir Alex Ferguson Park, Braehead.

An in depth interview with the coaching staff at Finnart Boys Club,  about the exciting developments at the club on and off the field.

Fixture: Pirie Park v Antonine FC
Competition: Paisley, Johnstone & District U17s YFL 
Venue: Govan
Antonine travelled to Govan for a vital league game. They were decimated by illness and injuries for this game. Missing through illness were Goalkeeper Andy Carroll and strikers Lewis Smith and Fraser James. Out through injury were defenders Darren Wallace and Dean Miller, who took a spot on the bench, but such is the strength of the squad it was still a strong team sent out by the visitors.
Antonine started on the front foot with Scott Hutton's 25 yard effort just going over. Danny Hamilton and Joe Mckendrick also had shots saved by the home keeper.
Adam Boyle and Chris Donaghy both had shots blocked as Antonine searched for the opening goal. Trialist keeper Ryan Gillies only had a few crosses to deal with, which he managed comfortably.
On 35 minutes, a six-pass Antonine move finished with Boyle playing in Hamilton, who turned the defender and slotted the ball home to make opening the scoring. Boyle and Hamilton then came close as the half finished with no further scoring.
Half Time: Pirie Park 0-1 Antonine
Pirie Park then came out in the second half taking the game to Antonine, but the travelling defence stood tall. Antonine gradually came back into the game with Boyle firing just over.
There was a magic moment on the hour mark, with no doubt the goal of this season or any other. Danny Hamilton picked up the ball ten yards inside his own half, beat a player and, from five yards inside his own, looked up, saw the keeper off his line and fired a thunderbolt into the net with the keeper helpless. Hamilton's wonderstrike, his 19th goal of the season, put doubled his side's advantage.
Five minutes later, Hamilton again saw the keeper off his line and from the halfway line tried again, but this time the keeper got fingertips to it to put it over the bar.
Antonine pushed on to try and kill the game off with Donaghy and Boyle coming close. But they comfortably saw the game out.
This result puts Antonine top of the league on goal difference. The team has no games now for a couple of weeks, but will keep ticking over with some friendlies in meantime, before the title race comes down to the wire.
Antonine Squad: Gillies, MacIver, Maxwell, Quinn, Kelly, Hutton, Cairney, McKendrick, Boyle, Donaghy, Hamilton, Miller, Shaw, Manley, Gallacher.
Man of Match: Danny Hamilton
Sunday, 20 March 2016 17:50

Antonine blow Whiteacres away

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Fixture: Antonine FC v Whiteacres
Competition: Paisley, Johnstone & District YFL U17s
Venue: Mountblow
Date: 19/03/16
Antonine U17s welcomed Whiteacres to Mountblow on a gloomy day for a game in the Paisley, Johnstone & Distict YFL.
The home side started off very sloppily, constantly giving the ball away and not playing their usual sharp passing game.
Lewis Smith was first to come close, but hit just wide. On eight minutes, however, Scott Hutton and Joe McKendrick combined to release top scorer Smith and he slotted home to open the scoring.
Danny Hamilton and Smith both came close, before on 23 minutes an Owen Gallacher corner was turned into his own goal by an unfortunate visiting defender to make it 2-0.
It was a bit better from Antonine now and on the half hour mark Fraser James played a short corner to Hamilton and his excellent cross evaded everyone including the keeper to give him his 17th of the season and his side a commanding 3-0 lead.
Andy Carroll then pulled off a save from a rare Whiteacres attack, before two minutes before half-time a Brendan Kelly cross was bravely headed home by Lewis Smith to make it 4-0. The goal was his 32nd goal of season.
Half Time: Antonine FC 4-0 Whiteacres
The second half started the same as the first with most of the game played in the away team's half. James was thwarted twice by the keeper and Harry Shaw hit a post.
55 minutes in a Calum Maxwell corner was again headed home by a defender for a brace of own goals by the visitors.
James and Hamilton came close, before on 65 minutes Hamilton beat two defenders and his cross was tapped home by James to make it 6-0, James registering his 15th of the season.
James then had a goal disallowed for offside and Adam Boyle came close.
In the last minute Whiteacres got a consolation goal when their striker fired home from a right wing cross.
The result keeps Antonine in second place, just three points behind the leaders with five games to go. Up next for the title-chasers: Pirrie Park away.
Full Time: Antonine 6-1 Whiteacres
Antonine Squad: Carroll, James, Boyle, Quinn, Miller, Kelly, Hutton, McKendrick, Smith, Hamilton, Gallacher, Maxwell, Manley, Maciver, Donaghy, Shaw.
Man of Match: Dean Miller.

Fixture: Seafar Villa Blue v Lenzie YC
Competition: CKDYL U15s
Both teams were level on points at the top of the B league before this game, with the home side having played a game more.
Lenzie dominated most of the first half and efforts from Thomson, Kinnell, Murray and Inglis went close. A great move on the left between Douglas,and Dudman saw Tedeschi beat his marker and curl a great shot into the net for the opener.
The second half saw the home side push forward and the Lenzie defence of keeper McQuillan and defenders McMahon, Gordon and Craig cleared their lines time after time.
With 15 mins left to play, Kinnell's persistence in the box saw Murray slam the ball home for the vistor's second goal of the afternoon.
Five minutes later Elliot met a Kinnell cross to complete the scoring and put the result beyond all doubt.
A great all round squad effort from Lenzie, who would like to wish several former players good luck in both sides of the Harestanes versus Possil YM Scottish Cup quarter-final this coming Saturday.
Full Time: Seafar Villa 0-3 Lenzie YC