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DDYFA U16s Leagues Review 2017/18

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The 2017/18 season produced two invincible sides, an East Region Cup finalist and plenty of drama in both leagues.

Here’s how the 2016/17 season went down:

The W Mills League kicked off with two of the sides that would go on to battle it out for the title facing off on the opening day of the season. Monifieth looked to have made the perfect start to the campaign when they raced into a 3-0 half time lead but couldn’t hold on as Dryburgh CC fought back to earn a 4-4 draw.

In the top flight, newly promoted St Murdochs travelled to Broughty United in early September. Doubles from Simon Sharpe and Rory Jagusinski secured Broughty a first win of the season.

Blairgowrie, Jeanfield Blacks and Scone Thistle had all joined the DDYFA set up from the Perth leagues, and made their mark early in the season as Scone and Jeanfield both took points of title chasing Fairmuir.

The early signs were that the W Mills League was going to be a four-horse race, with Monifieth, Lincraig, Dryburgh CC and Riverside all starting brightly. Monifieth beat Riverside 3-0 while Dryburgh and Lincraig drew 3-3 at the end of September.

Dryburgh Athletic had started strongly in the league but came unstuck at the hands of Glenrothes Strollers in the third round of the Scottish Cup.

Like Dryburgh, Fairmuir were also unbeaten, and they started October with a strong showing away to Logie Harp in less than ideal conditions. Jake Grady netted twice as Fairmuir leapfrogged Logie in the table.

Monifieth’s fine form in the W Mills League continued as they swept Lincraig aside with a 3-0 win, while Dryburgh CC beat Riverside 4-1.

Riverside’s 5-2 win over Lincraig ensured they remained in the hunt for the title.

Lennox Slater scored one of the goals of the season to earn Logie Harp a point against Broughty United. The big striker thundered in a late equaliser to secure Logie a 2-2 draw in early November.

Ferry Athletic had been making strides in the Scottish Cup but were knocked out by St Andrews BC in the Last 32. The visitors ran out winners by three goals to two.

A 1-0 win over Dryburgh CC ensured Monifieth kept up their unbeaten run in the W Mills League.

Dryburgh had been the dominate side in 2016/17, but they were knocked out of the John Clark Motors Cup by Jeanfield. Despite fighting back to earn a 3-3 draw, Jeanfield’s Sam Townsley produced the goods in the penalty shootout, meaning there would be no double treble for Dryburgh.

Jeanfield’s penalty success didn’t transfer into the new year, as they lost their semi-final shootout 9-8 to Broughty United. Ferry Athletic would be Broughty’s opponents in the final of the John Clark Motors Cup after they beat Fairmuir 3-2.

The final of the Chuck McGowan Cup would bring together Monifieth and Dryburgh CC once again. Monifieth beat Riverside 3-0 in their semi, while Dryburgh edged past Lincraig.

Monifieth were held by Lincraig before Dryburgh CC drew against a revitalised Dundee Thistle. Riverside took another step towards the title with a 5-0 win over Lincraig.

The first cup final of the season proved to be a classic, as an injury time goal from Ross McDowell won Monifieth the Chuck McGowan Cup at the expense of Dryburgh CC. The striker secured a 4-3 win for Monifieth.

Fairmuir hosted league leaders Dryburgh in a top of the table clash and picked up a 3-1 win over the reigning champions that allowed them to chip away at their lead. A 2-0 win over Ferry 48 hours later kept Fairmuir in contention for the title.

A 0-0 draw between Riverside and Monifieth meant the W Mills League title race would go the wire, while Lincraig beat Dryburgh CC 2-1 to knock them out of contention.

Ferry booked their second cup final appearance with a 3-2 win over Dryburgh in the semi-final of the Queen’s Jubilee Cup. Fairmuir would be their opponents after beating Logie Harp 1-0.

Fairmuir continued their marathon of matches against Jeanfield and picked up a 1-0 win as Dryburgh’s lead at the top of the table continued to decrease.

As well as fighting it out for the domestic title, Fairmuir and Dryburgh were both competing in the East Region Cup. Wins over Rothes Juniors and Pitreavie Pumas respectively earned them a place in the last four.

Ferry Athletic came out on top of their cup final derby against Broughty United. Ewan Stewart was the hero, netting the winner as Ferry ran out 2-1 winners.

Riverside’s 3-1 win over Lincraig and Monifieth’s 3-1 victory against Dundee Thistle ensured they shared the W Mills League title. It meant a league and cup double for Monifieth while Riverside were promoted back to the top flight at the first time of asking.

The outcome of the Maryfield League title would be decided by the final game of the season as Dryburgh hosted Fairmuir. Despite trailing 3-1 with 20 minutes to go, Fairmuir clinched the title with a thrilling 4-3 win.

The final weekend of the domestic season saw Fairmuir and Ferry face off as both tried to end the season as double winners. Fairmuir would take that title with a 5-1 win in the final of the Queen’s Jubilee Cup.

Dryburgh bounced back from their loss to Fairmuir by booking their spot in the final of the East Region Cup. They would take on Glenrothes Stroller who beat Fairmuir on penalties.

Strollers knocked Dryburgh out of the Scottish Cup and inflicted more misery on them as they triumphed 3-1 to lift the East Region Cup.

After a tough campaign in 2016/17, Riverside found their feet in the W Mills League and were well worth their status of joint champions. They will look to carry their momentum into next season.

Monifieth showed tremendous character to go through the campaign unbeaten and lift the Chuck McGowan Cup. They may feel that they had enough to win the league outright, but 2017/18 was still a tremendous season for them.

After a near perfect 2016/17 campaign, not much went Dryburgh’s way in 2017/18. Their early Scottish Cup exit looked to be a blessing in disguise as they opened up a big lead on Fairmuir, but their failure to take points from their rivals ultimately cost them the title.

Despite that, reaching the final of the East Region Cup is still a fine achievement, and they will fancy themselves to retake the titles from Fairmuir next season.

Ferry Athletic saved some of their best form for the cup competitions, reaching both the domestic finals. A cup win, a third-place finish and a stronger squad than they started the season with represent a good season for them.

Fairmuir’s invincible season is even more remarkable given that they played 10 of their 18 league games over the final six weeks of the season, on top of several cup fixtures. Their defensive record, 12 goals conceded in 18 games, was the foundation of their success throughout the campaign.

Andrew Creegan

Andrew Creegan | YFS East Region Multimedia Journalist
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