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  • SPFL Development League - End of season review

  • GoFitba continues the journey in Inverurie

  • Early Sport Specialisation in Youth Footballers: Why it is Hurting Long-Term Development

  • Portlethen move a step closer to a new 3G pitch

  • CLUB SPOTLIGHT : The Futures Bright, The Futures Orange at Syngenta Juveniles

James Gillespie's HS Seniors
Newbattle HS Seniors
Competition: LSFA Division 1
Venue: Double Hedges
Date:  06/04/11
Author: Robbie Forsyth
When James Gillespie's and Newbattle HS fell victim to a pitch booking error in early March, the match was switched to the final day of the season. Players and supporters tentatively suggested that it may turn out to be a winner takes all title decider, and four wins a piece later it turned out to be exactly that. Newbattle could count on the draw, Gillespie's needed all three points.
The Edinburgh school's home pitch of Double Hedges was the host venue as a fair crowd from both schools turned up to cheer on their class-mates at their season climax. The pitch showed no deterioration based on the overnight rain, but conditions were absurdly windy, far from ideal for any football to be played.
Newbattle attacked with the wind in the first half and made the advantage count within two minutes. A high looping free kick was miscued by the striker, but Steven Wright was on hand to guide a wind assisted shot into the bottom corner.
Gillespie's were clutching to fleeting spells of possession, as the visitors enjoyed the ball and the territory, but the home side put the ball to good use twice in the space of a minute through the outlet of Dughlas Winning. First he forced keeper Thomas Cordery into a good reflex save. And when faced chasing the keeper for an angled pass seconds later, the Gillespie's striker got to the ball first but couldn't square the ball to the onrushing midfield support.
The remainder of the half followed a similar pattern of Newbattle pressure. Gilzean was causing havoc with his deliveries into the penalty box, but Gillespie's were clinging on by the skin of their teeth. Isaac Ansell-Forsyth was called into action twice, saving a dipping long range effort and a low strike to his left hand post. 
Despite further shaky moments for the home side, the score remained the same at the interval.
Half Time: James Gillespie's HS Seniors 0-1 Newbattle HS Seniors
Minutes into the second half and the Gillespie's title dream was in tatters. Hurd and Noble were left exposed at the back, and Ryan Somerville lashed a powerful shot into the bottom right hand corner, leaving the keeper with little chance.
The saving grace for the home side was time was still on their side. But Newbattle held firm and defended against eleven men and the elements with conviction. Gillespie's route back into the game was timely and caught everyone by surprise. Dughlas Winning chased down what looked to be a lost cause and managed to scoop the ball from between defender and goalkeeper. The big striker looked to be losing his balance but managed to stay up long enough to stick out a foot and divert the ball into the net. Game on.
The goal galvanised Gillespie's who looked much more of a threat. Stuart Martin and Callum Donnelly started to stamp their authority on the game, as the claret and blue side went forward with wave after wave of attack,
Zac Shapero forced an excellent save from Cordery with the left back's driven shot bottom corner bound. Newbattle went inches away from scoring a spectacular own goal, but it was when rather than if the home side would find level terms.
Substitute Gavin Gillon entered the fray and the central midfielder made an immediate impact. Cutting inside and hitting a shot goalward, which caught Cordery unsighted and diverted off his leg and into the back of the net. Fifteen minutes to go and everything was to play for.
Then a moment of madness from Jed White gave the home side another lift. With the ball harmlessly running through to his goalkeeper, the substitute cynically took Winning out of the game, leaving referee John Thomson no choice but to brandish a red card. 
From the resultant free kick Cordery was at full stretch to expertly save another goal-bound shot from Shapero. The rebound was fired agonisingly wide, as Gillespie's continued to knock on the door. 
Lamont had an excellent chance to nudge his side in front, as did Martin, but the goal did come. Winning delicately chipped a cross to the far post where Donnelly headed home from barely a yard.
Ecstatic scenes amongst the home players and support, which would soon turn to agony. With stoppage time underway Steven Wright nipped in front of the home defence and blasted the ball low into the net. It was the visiting troops turn to go wild.
All in all, it's tough to argue with a draw. Both sides put a mammoth effort into the game and have been streets ahead of all comers in the league this season. A cruel way for Gillespie's to sign off, with chances to put the game to bed fresh in the memory. 
The James Gillespie's coaching team of Shankland and Newell have provided an excellent football experience for nine of the departing players, who have been there since day one. Next year the crop of 5th years will be required to step up to the plate. However, with Newbattle's team brimming with youth, you wouldn't bet against them being the team to beat in 2011/12.
Full Time: James Gillespie's HS Seniors 3-3 Newbattle HS Seniors

James Gillespie's HS Seniors
Newbattle HS Seniors
Isaac Ansell-Forsyth
Adam Hill
Zac Shapero
Graham Hurd
Scott Noble
Joe Lamont
Stuart Martin
Callum Donnelly
Jack Mathieson
Duncan MacIntyre
Dughlas Winning
Eddie Cogliano
Gavin Gillon
Alex Conway
Tommy Pia
Robbie Wilson
Thomas Cordery
Alan Hay
TJ Dixon 
Duncan Wilson
Chris Kirkwood
Liam Fellenger 
Craig Bonnar
Alistair Elliot 
Steven Wright
Ryan Somerville
Callum Gilzean
Chris Barnes
Jed White
Corrie Galloway
Blair Monteith
Kyle Hill
YFS Man of the Match: Zac Shapero
YFS Man of the Match: Callum Gilzean
Referee: John Thomson