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Thursday, 16 November 2017 21:33

Wasps and Loons play out exciting draw

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A fairly dreich night at the Indodrill Stadium saw Graham Liveston’s Alloa and Eddie Gray’s Forfar meet in a Development League East encounter. The artificial playing surface at Alloa helped the game as the drizzly rain could’ve caused a few problems if the surface had been grass. The Indodrill Stadium was pretty sparse for this Development League encounter, but the fans that were there helped create a decent atmosphere when cheering on their respective team.
 
The game was a feisty affair with both teams at it from minute one. Both teams wanted to win the game, having numerous shots in the 90 minutes, the game would’ve definitely seen more goals if not for two resolute defences. Forfar were the team who perhaps slightly edged it, one Jamie Gill effort hitting the bar, numerous towering Ryan Stirton headers and a few low drives from Jamie Penker.
 
Alloa’s dominance came in the middle of the park, Scott Sinclair and Sean Fagan had 2 very good games and can count themselves unlucky to have not contributed to more goals or assists. Forfar had many good performers, most notably number 7 Jamie Gill who was a constant threat all night. The defenders of both sides won pretty much every header in the air, Forfar defender Ryan Stirton being the standout in that regard.
 
The game started off with an incident straight away, in the 4th minute Forfar number 10 Jamie Penker felt he should’ve been given a penalty after a shove in the back from Alloa’s Scott Cameron, the referee waved it away after strong appeals from the Forfar players. That would come back to haunt Forfar immediately as 2 minuutes later Alloa went down the other end with number 10 Sean Fagan, he cut in from the left hand side and drilled a shot low and hard past Jason King at his near post. Alloa had the lion-share of the possession for the first 20 minutes, the midfield pair of Sinclair and Fagan at the heart of everything the Wasps did going forward.
 
Forfar would start to grab a foothold in the game half an hour in as a quick throw in from Joshua Chalmers fell at the feet of Jamie Penker, the striker hit a shot low and hard down low to the keepers left but Wasps keeper Andrew Wilson got down well to give Forfar a corner. From the resultant corner, delivered by Forfar’s Jamie Gill, Sam Clark would come up from the back to stroke home the equaliser in the 33rd minute after a stramash inside the box.
Thursday, 16 November 2017 11:29

Hibernian edge out Dundee to stay on top

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Hibernian produced an impressive performance to overcome an experienced Dundee side 2-1 at Oriam. Hibs started the game brightly and went in at half-time with a two goal advantage with strikes from Ben Stirling and Gregor Woods. Dundee pulled one back in the second half with Matthew Henvey but couldn’t find an equaliser.
 
Dundee fielded a strong starting line-up consisting of five first-team players, including former Hibernian star Scott Allan, but that didn’t stop the Development League leaders from taking an early advantage thanks to an incredible strike from Ben Stirling who fired in a shot from 25 yards into the top corner of the net, leaving Dee keeper Callum Ferrie no chance.
 
Dundee did not let their heads drop however and kept plugging away at the Hibernian defence and came close through efforts from Josh Mulligan, who sent a shot just wide, and from Dutch winger Randy Wolters, who sent a free-kick just over the bar.
 
Hibs always looked dangerous and nearly increased their lead just before the half-hour mark when Oli Shaw, who was one-on-one with Ferrie, hit his shot straight at the Dundee keeper allowing the Dark Blue defence to clear.
 
The Hibs youngsters weren’t to be denied however when, less than a minute later, Gregor Woods placed a deflected shot into the bottom corner of the net to double his sides advantage.
 
In response to this, Dundee piled the pressure onto the Hibs back-line. The Dee were not keen to go in at half-time two goals down and Wolters produced a good save from Marciej Dabrowski. The winger would then attempt to set up Matthew Henvey who dragged his shot wide as the referee blew his whistle for the interval.
A 35th minute goal from Kathleen McGovern was enough for the 17's Scottish Cup to be handed to Celtic. Glasgow City are above Celtic in the 17's Leanne Crighton league however the league table means nothing in a cup final with both teams going for it from the word go.
 
Based on statistics there was going to be nothing between the two teams and this very much proved to be the case. These teams met on a domestic basis back in August in a game which Glasgow City took the spoils winning 1-0 against Celtic.
 
The opening exchanges to the game were slow however chances were minimal from either team. Laura McCartney saw a free kick just flash over the bar for City. Lucy Sinclair had an effort just gone wide in the 10th minute for Celtic.
 
City started with an ambitious 3-4-3 formation & this was very much documented with a lot of attacking football however being exposed at the back with Celtic gaining a lot of free kicks after pushing forward. City also got their fair share of free kicks which lead to more chances. Celtic were also playing in an attacking manner playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation & an entertaining match was on the cards which is very fitting for a Scottish Cup final at Under 17s level.
 
Glasgow City were trying to break through the Celtic backline however never really threatened to break their way through the box instead trying long range efforts. A tame effort from McCartney was met by Kendall Welsh before a Carly Girasoli free kick went over. Hannah Scott also tried a long range effort which was dealt with by Welsh.
 
A Laura McCartney corner kick tested the Celtic backline & when the green & white hoops couldn’t get the ball away from their respective penalty area, Lucy Ronald tried a dipping effort which crashed onto the crossbar.
 
It was Celtic who gone ahead & they weathered the storm for a long period in terms of chances and posession however when they had a chance they took advantage of it. A great ball from Aisha Maughan found Kathleen McGovern in the 35th minute who guided the green & white hoops in front with a fine finish.
 
Celtic were playing an organised game and took advantage of depleted numbers in the City backline to go in front. Just 3 minutes later, McGovern went from goal scorer to distributor after she feeded in Maughan who produced a good save out of Sophie Allison in the Glasgow City goal.
 
As expected, there wasn’t much of a difference from both teams and both teams were producing a competitive Scottish Cup final. Both sides had two shots on goal at the interval & both sides had their fair share of shots off target as well. 
Hibs took home the Scottish Women’s Football Youth Cup as they defeated their traditional club rivals Hearts 1-0 at the Oriam Performance Centre in Edinburgh. Eilidh Adams’s second-half finish was enough to earn her side the trophy.
 
Hibs saw off Celtic and Hearts got the better of Rangers, both after extra time, in two thrilling semi-final matches. Whilst the decision to move the finals to Oriam was made before these teams had even played their quarter-final matches, it certainly paid off in terms of the crowd this match attracted. The stand was packed in what may well have been a record crowd for a Youth Cup match.
 
Whilst the green and maroon halves of Edinburgh are rivals historically, this game had a slightly different slant to it with many players close friends, playing for the same regional squads. However, the match kicked off and it was clear from the first whistle that this one would be extremely competitive.
 
After a cagey opening five minutes, Hibs carved out the first chance of the match when Anna Dickov slipped Tegan Bowie through with a neat pass. Bowie’s shot was comfortably saved and it proved to be Bowie’s last act of the game as she suffered an injury and was taken off, Phoebe Friend taking her place. The early blow necessitated a change of shape for Hibs with Friend going out right and McFadden switching to the left.
 
It didn’t seem to faze Hibs however as they began to exrt more control over the match. Through Amy Hay in particular. The centre mid was pulling the strings, always looking for the defence splitting pass and even coming close to a goal when her 25-yard volley landed on the roof of the net. Carys Grieve had the best chance of the opening half, when she was put one-on-one with Alicia Yates, but the Hearts keeper stood strong to deny her the goal.
 
Hibs didn’t have it all their own way however. Hay’s opposite number Emma Yorkston had Hearts’ first effort on target when she took advantage of some confusion in the Hibs box following a free kick, but her tame effort didn’t trouble Mia Smith. The keeper also saw little danger from Caitlyn Wilson’s curling shot which sailed harmlessly wide.
 
The first half ended all square and with no team able to claim dominance. 
Sunday, 12 November 2017 13:15

ANALYSIS: Well comeback sees off Glasgow Girls

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Going into the game, both sides lined up with a familiar 2-3-1 formation: Glasgow set up with Nicole Cunningham in net, protected by Sophie Bustard and Abbie Cusack at the back, with a midfield three of Olivia King, Jessica Cox and Millie-Jo Ward behind Elie McGoldrick. Their opponents opting to start Woods up front with Boyle, Kirkwood and Conner behind her. Ellie Dickson was in between the sticks for Motherwell, with Hannah Sedwell and Nikki Simmonette in front of her.

It took a mere 27 seconds for the deadlock to be broken with Olivia King skipping round the outside of the back two. The midfielder drifted inside before collectedly rolling the ball across goalkeeper Dickson.

The goal gave implications of a high scoring tie; although that wasnt necissarily the case in what proveed to be a close-fought first period. After the goal the following ten minutes were fairly scrappy but as time passed Motherwell edged their way into the game. They managed to force multiple corners without causing any real threat to Cunninghams goal. Well also struggled to break down the central defensive parternship of Sophie Bustard and Abbie Cusack, and so for the most part the they resorted to going round the outside in an atempt to find the equaliser.

Glasgow Girls held firm for the majority of the first period and found joy hitting Well on the counter attack. They almost caught their opponets out, who had pushed numbers forward, with a flowing counter attack. It was McGoldrick who took on the final effort but her strike from outside the penalty area fizzed off target. 

The equaliser did come, a minute before the interval, a neat one two between Boyle and Woods, the former beared down on goal and rifled the ball goalwards. It was hard to tell if the initial strike was on target or not but Boyle will certainly claim it as the ball went in despite Cunningham getting a hand to it, she could only parry into her own net. The goal was deserved on the balance of play as the sides went in level in a half where both sides created chances but the momentum with Motherwell.

The start of the second period saw chances at both ends as the tie began to open up. On 34 minutes Woods header sent Cunningham scrambling across her goal to claw the ball away, and then from the rebound the striker rifled her effort off the crossbar –a common theme in the second half. A minute later it was Glasgow who hit the crossbar – a shot spilled by Dickson fell to the feet of McGoldrick, but the striker could only watch her effort crash off the crossbar. This was a turning point in the match as Glasgow would begin to build some momentum – pinning Motherwell back for large periods of the half.

The inevitable happened on 42 minutes. The ball wasnt cleared by the Motherwell backline: McGoldricks effort was blocked but Ward was the fastest to react to the loose ball and guided the ball home from close range. The goal had been coming for a while, Ward and McGoldrick were both very impressive for Glasgow and linked up well together to cause the Motherwell defence a constant headache throughout.

Into the final 10 minutes and the game was in full flow. Motherwell found an equaliser through Boyle once again, who was outstanding on the day, as she showed good technique to lash the ball into the back of the net nine minutes from time. The goal really sunk Glasgow and it was Motherwell who had the momentum as they pushed for a winner. A few minutes later and it would come courtesy of Woods, who dropped the shoulder to evade her marker inside out. The striker then came out of a challenge and burried ball past the helpless Cunningham to complete a memorbale comeback.

Despite their best efforts Glasgow couldnt find a way back into it as the match came to a close. A thrilling cup final with drama until the final moments. It couldve gone either way between two evenly matched sides, but two goals from Amy Boyle were the difference between the two.

An incredible fighting performance from Motherwell saw them come back from behind twice to win the SWF Youth Cup. Two equalising goals from Amy Boyle clawed them back into the final, before a late strike from Jemma Woods sealed the cup five minutes from the end. Glasgow Girls couldn’t have dreamt for a better start when Olivia King opened the scoring with just 27 minutes on the clock. Glasgow regained the lead via a Millie-Jo Ward strike, but it wasn’t to be for them in the end as Well got their hands on the Youth Cup. 
 
The fans had barely taken their seats and the referee hardly blown his whistle by the time Glasgow opened the scoring inside the first 27 seconds. A clever run from Olivia King saw her shimmy in behind the defence, before side footing an unstoppable effort into the far corner. 
 
Motherwell reacted well to the early set-back, and came close to hitting back minutes later when Amy Boyle drove down the wing and tried to fashion a low ball into the path of Jenna Woods, but a combination of goalkeeper and defence allowed Glasgow to collect the ball. Dickson came close again in the seventh minute with a low free-kick, and with the aid of a deflection it whistled just beyond Nicole Cunningham’s post for a corner.
 
Hannah Sedwell tried to catch out Cunningham on 10 minutes with a high cross/shot which was tipped over for one of many corners for Motherwell, as Glasgow struggled to stem the flow of Well’ attacks. With 20minutes later King came close to doubling her lead as she gained a yard of space and hit a fierce drive, which bounced narrowly wide of the far post.
 
Motherwell deserved grabbed an equaliser in the 27th minute  as Amy Boyle exchanged passes with Woods and burst beyond the defence with a clever touch. Once in on goal, she rifled a shot into the near post, which despite the best efforts of Cunningham, found the back of the net. Glasgow were dealing with a torrid amount of pressure and It proved telling.
 
Well had a few set-pieces towards the end of the half to contend with and did well to clear them all away from trouble, as well as contending with a brief scare when a loose ball bounced in their box, which Ellie McGoldrick ultimately managed to find the target with despite not really troubling the goalkeeper.
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 09:58

Morton overcome Turriff to advance to next round

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Greenock Morton advanced to the next round of the Scottish Cup after a comfortable 3-0 win over Turriff United. Late goals from Nathan Durham and Ben Armour helped seal the win for the Greenock outfit.

Turriff United got the match underway, kicking off on a crisp Sunday afternoon at Cappielow.

Morton dominated possession in the opening 10 minutes and as a result created a couple of chances early on in the game.

The home side came within inches of opening the scoring after just four minutes following a corner. David Anderson hit the cross from the left, which flashed across goal but no player could get a touch. Any contact would have surely resulted in a goal.

Morton went even closer just a minute later. Left-winger Mitchell Duffy broke down the left and swung in an inviting cross to Jack Purdue. The attacker just got his head to the ball but didn’t make enough contact to trouble Turriff goalkeeper James Whyte.

The Greenock team kept pushing for the opener and spurned an excellent chance following another corner. A short corner from the right was played to Purdue, who turned a floated a cross in to the back post. Central midfielder Reece Lyon met the ball but headed narrowly over.

After 11 minutes, the home side got the goal their play deserved. Right-back Darren Hynes received the ball just outside the box on the right, and blasted a powerful strike at the near post with the outside of his right boot, giving Whyte no chance of stopping it.

Turriff United struggled to get a hold of the ball as Morton dominated possession. United centre-back Matthew Stewart stood out as one of his team’s best performers while for Morton, Duffy looked dangerous whenever he was in possession.

Duffy had a chance to put his team two up after he sprinted down the left wing, beating one defender in the process. He raced through on goal but was denied by the onrushing Whyte, who smothered the ball well.

Whyte was his team’s saviour again just moments later, denying Morton forward Ben Armour. Armour found himself 10 yards from goal and showed neat footwork to get his powerful shot away, but Whyte denied him with a superb stop.

The pressure was building against Turriff as they came close to conceding a second. A wonderful run from midfield from Purdue saw the forward break into the box, beating three men in the process. The striker fired at goal but was denied once again by Whyte.

A rare foray forward for Turriff almost resulted in an equaliser for the Highland outfit. Attacker Angus Grant broke down the right wing before cutting inside, beating his man and shooting from the edge of the box. Unfortunately for Turriff, Grant’s effort was tame and easily saved by Ton keeper Charlie Carracher.

Right-winger Anderson almost doubled his side’s lead with a free kick around the half-hour mark. The free kick was situated in an ideal position – around 25 yards from goal, slightly to the left – but Anderson saw his effort fly narrowly over the bar.

Towards the end of the first half, Turriff grew into the game and could have had an equaliser after an excellent cross from Ryan Stewart. The left-back hit a cross from deep that found Grant lurking at the back post, but the striker’s effort was weak and easily stopped by Carracher.

United’s confidence grew as the half progressed and the chances soon fell for the away side. Striker Michael Ironside did excellently to break down the right and fire a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal, but no-one was at hand to prod the ball home.

Ironside came close again right before the referee blew his whistle to signal half-time. A free kick around 30 yards from goal was played short to him; the forward beat one man before firing at the near post from a tight angle, but Carracher parried the ball behind for a corner.

The referee soon blew his whistle to signify half-time. Both sets of players trudged off the pitch, knowing that the game’s next goal could be decisive.

Monday, 06 November 2017 20:54

Honours even as Dees draw with Steelmen

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Jesse Curran’s second half goal salvaged a point for Dundee in their Development League clash with Motherwell. The Steelmen led after Ross MacLean fired past Scott Bain after half an hour, but Curran’s cool finish midway through the second half earned the young Dees a point. 
 
The visitors started the game on the front foot, but failed to trouble Scott Bain in the Dundee goal. Ross Turnbull fired over from 25 yards before James Scott shot into the side netting from a tight angle after being sent in behind the Dundee defence.

Scott passed up another opportunity when he failed to hit the target from 15 yards after the Dee were caught in possession. Matty Henvey had the dark blues first half chance when he let fly from 20 yards, but Well keeper Russell Griffiths was more than equal to his strike.

With half an hour gone, Motherwell broke the deadlock through Ross MacLean. The Motherwell man ran on to a clever flicked pass from Turnbull, and fired a powerful shot past Bain from 12 yards.

This kicked Dundee into life, and they would have been level if Henvey had connected with a superb cross from Cammy Mooney. John Smith’s first-time effort was turned on to the roof of the net after a dangerous ball from Jesse Curran.
Celtic progressed to the fourth round of the Scottish Youth Cup after a comfortable victory over Alloa Athletic at the Indodrill Stadium. Kerr McInory gave the visitors the lead before a double from Jack Aitchison before half time sent the holders on easy street. Calvin Miller completed a second half hat-trick with Stephen Welsh and Ewan Henderson netting late on to send Celtic through.
 
The hosts started brightly and Adam Martin brought the first save as his strike went straight down the throat of Ross Doohan in the Celtic goal. That woke Celtic up and they made Alloa pay a minute later. Michael Johnston drove down the right wing and whipped a ball into the penalty box. Alloa could only half clear and McInroy was on the edge of the box to strike the ball into the bottom right corner.
 
Celtic searched for a second but the hosts threatened on the counter-attack with Doohan easily saving from Mark Greene. Andy Wilson in the Alloa goal was also being called into action as he made a brilliant point blank stop to deny Johnston from doubling Celtics lead on thirteen minutes. Wilson was unable to do anything eight minutes later when Henderson’s cross was tapped home by Aitchison.
 
The visitors pressed for a third to try and wrap the game up before half time and just after the half hour mark, they got it. McInroy drove down the left wing and found Aitchison, who turned his marker and placed the ball under the goalkeeper.
 
Aitchison almost completed his hat-trick before the break but his shot clipped the outside of the post and trickled wide to the relief of Wilson in the Alloa Athletic goal.

Celtic’s Under 20s produced a stirring performance that came so close to beating Bayern Munich, but ultimately succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at Cappielow.

Jack Aitchison had seized on a loose ball inside the Munich penalty area to fire the young Celts 1-0 in front, but a terrific late double from wonder-kid Oliver Batista-Meier turned the game around for the Bavarians.

The Hoops produced a spirited performance in Munich despite a 6-2 defeat at the Bayern Campus, and they once again started brightly in this one.

They were eager to play out from the back early on, similarly to Celtic’s first-team, and they were confident in this approach. Young Calvin Miller saw a lot of the ball early on, and despite being under pressure from a high Bayern press, the hosts kept their composure in their defensive third.

Ewan Henderson was so impressive two weeks ago in Munich, and he bombed Celtic forward with purpose at times in Cappielow. He forced Ron Hofmann into his first save with a stinging effort from 20 yards out that was well held.

Miller then came close when he collected a Johnston cross at the back post, but his toe poke towards goal was deflected wide for a corner.

It took Bayern 25 minutes to have a meaningful effort at goal, and even then it was from a set-piece. A free-kick was crossed into the area for Felix Gotze to power a header on goal, but Ryan Mullen parried well before gathering.

Celtic’s best bet of a goal still looked from Mikey Johnston. The left-winger has been lauded for his performances in the UEFA Youth League, and had appeared twice for the senior side. He was giving Josip Stanisic a torrid time, but the final ball just wasn’t there.

Another who impressed in the first half was Regan Hendry. His driving runs cause Bayern’s back-line all sorts of problems, and drew a bunch of fouls down the right that led to set-piece chances.

Aitchison and Kerr McInroy both had efforts before the break, but neither troubled Hofmann as Bayern held on until the break.

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