East Region (203)
Benarty Astros 2002’s recently won their league – Fife Football Development League Division 1 - for the first time. We were fortunate enough to talk to Club Secretary, Kerry Duff, to find out about why they had such a superb season.
Kerry and the rest of the team were thrilled about their brilliant year. She said this about their season in general: “It has been a long hard season battling against some excellent sides. Thankfully the boys managed to keep their nerve to grab the title that their efforts all season had richly deserved.” In a league as competitive as Benarty Astros’, that might have been the deciding factor that saw them lift the trophy.
The best moment of Kerry’s season was winning 3-0 over local rivals Lochgelly Albert Colts in the East Region Cup Final to win their first trophy. She believed that this gave Benarty Astros the determination to go on and win the league: “Winning the first silverware available gave the boys the confidence and the belief.” Confidence and belief are crucial elements to winning a league title, and Benarty Astros had these in abundance.
The biggest challenge this season was a close encounter against a strong Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts side in the league play-off match. Despite a solid performance from Inverkeithing, Benarty Astros managed to progress after a penalty shootout, which Kerry called “a real test of the boys’ ability and character which they passed with flying colours.”
Kerry praised the boys' "team spirit and willingness to work hard for each other every week.” This was key to Benarty Astros successful season, along with their mentality and performance. Kerry thinks that they can keep up their high standard of football, which would result in “improving the players as individuals and as a team which will hopefully lead to continued success on the pitch.” If Benarty Astros manage to sustain their level of effort, commitment and attitude then they are heading in the right direction for more positive seasons.
Kerry also thanked the parents, carers, supporters and sponsors of the Benarty Astros youngsters: “We would like to thank them for the tremendous level of support shown to the club. Without these guys contribution our success this season would have been impossible.” This just goes to show how important these unseen helpers are, and how they are the driving force behind the club.
Congratulations to Benarty Astros on their successful season and good luck for the upcoming seasons.
Kennoway United under 14’s were this year’s surprise winners of the Fife Football Development League Division 1, playing in their first competitive season. We had the opportunity to talk to head coach Peter McQuade to find out about his team’s remarkable season.
Winning the league is a fantastic achievement, especially at the first time trying, and that’s why it’s one of Peter’s favourite moments of the season. He says his other favourite moment was “the development of the players.” Player development is very important to a successful season as confidence and technical skills improve, which leads to better performances and more matches won. Peter also commented that “We feel ecstatic to be honest, it's been a fantastic achievement to win the league in our first competitive season and just a reward for all the hard work and dedication shown not only by the players but from everyone connected with the club.”
Peter put his team’s unforeseen brilliance down to his players: “The team spirit and desire of the entire squad not only to win the league but also to be the first Kennoway team to win it. They never gave up which was shown by the amount of late important goals against the other league challengers and showed the desire that all the squad had.” Passion, desire and challenging work were evidently key factors in Kennoway United winning the league at the first time of asking.
However, there were challenges to overcome for Peter’s young team: “After suffering our first league defeat and a heavy defeat in the regional cup, the following week we played DFC Wanderers away in the league, with only 13 fit players we managed to come away with a 2-1 victory which turned out to be pivotal in our season.” Kennoway United also had to win their final game of the season to be crowned champions, displaying their mental strength in a competitive league.
Kennoway United have high hopes for next season, and the groundwork is being laid by Peter, who wants to “continue to improve the players and coaches, and to drive everyone to better last season’s achievements. He also commented that it would be fantastic if along the way players are offered the opportunity to play at a higher level.” If they can achieve their targets, and judging by this seasons performance, Kennoway United are well on their way to another league title.
Congratulations to Kennoway United on their league win and good luck for next season.
The G Taylor League saw one of the closest runs title races in Dundee as Dryburgh Athletic clinched the league title on the final day of the season. They also lifted the Tommy Clark Trophy and the Jean Pierre Babin Cup as they completed a domestic treble. We caught up with captain Aidan Nelson and top goal scorer Ewan Stewart to find out about their super season.
Dryburgh’s success this season highlights a powershift in the 2002 age group. Two years ago, Fairmuir completed the treble, at Dryburgh’s expense. Nelson was part of that squad, and he explains how he and his teammates managed to turn the tables on their nearest rivals.
“We work hard for each other. We all can’t play well at the same time and it is all our job to work even harder when we see a teammate struggling. It is my responsibility as a captain to push all the players to work as hard as they can and my responsibility to work hard every game to set an example for the whole squad.
“On top of that we have some very talented players defensively and offensively. In goal, we have, in my opinion, the best keeper in the league in Aaron Cosgrove. We also have Aaron Flynn in defence who has had a fantastic season for what seems like every year since we came up to 11-a-side.
“In midfield, we have fantastic depth with Marcus Gray who is a rock in the middle of the park, Ross Mcnaughton who always seemed to score when it mattered most and Dylan Smeaton who created chance after chance down the left-hand side.
“But our main strength is our squad. Whoever comes in works as hard as they can for the team. No player in our team could do it by themselves and we know that.”
13 of Dryburgh’s treble winning squad were part of the side that lost out to Fairmuir two years ago. Striker Ewan Stewart was one of the players they brought in at the beginning of the 2015/16 season, and he has flourished into one of the most dangerous forwards in the league over the past two years.
His 48 goals were instrumental in Dryburgh’s success, and there was one goal that sticks out in his mind as the best of the bunch.
“My first in the game against Fairmuir back in March. It was nine minutes in and it was enough to settle the nerves. We knew the title was on then.”
Dryburgh ended the season three points ahead of second place Fairmuir, and in the end, it was their two wins over the Graham Street side that clinched the title.
The sides met in the quarter final of the Tommy Clark Trophy just before Christmas, and it was this game, that was decided by a penalty shootout, that was Nelson’s highlight of the season.
“The strength and determination shown by the team to grind out a 2-2 draw even though we were not at our best really showed why we achieved so much this year.
“Again, we came from behind in the penalty shootout, but thanks to our brilliant goalkeeper we managed to bring it to 3-3, which meant if we scored our penalty we’d be winners. Ross Mcnaughton took our final penalty and as if under no pressure calmly rolled it into the corner for us to grab the win. It was a great moment which showed the strength of our team.”
Striker Stewart explained what has given Dryburgh the edge in the big matches this season.
“Our fitness levels and desire to win gave us the edge. We wanted it more.”
As for the captain, he made it clear why Dryburgh have had the edge over Fairmuir.
“We’re better than them.”
Dryburgh’s only domestic defeat came against Logie Harp, and Nelson felt that the games against the side that finished fourth in the league were some of the toughest of the season.
“We suffered our first defeat in about 18 months against them, although we had had a serious lack of preparation before this match, they were the better team on the day.
“The next time we played them was in the cup and we managed a 1-0 win. However, the score didn’t really represent just how well we played to beat them. We had to be at our very best to beat this team and thankfully we were.”
As for Stewart, he thought that Tynecastle were their most testing opponents of the season.
“They were a big physical side that could also play football.”
While Stewart and Nelson have grabbed the headlines for their performances this season, the captain picked out fullback Kalin Jones as his unsung hero of the season.
“Kalin shows up every week and does the job he is asked to do. He constantly puts in a shift and sometimes doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.
“In the first cup final, he was one of our best players and was always calm on the ball when others were panicking. Whoever plays in front of Kalin, he seems to form a good partnership with and always seem to play well with them.”
As for Stewart, he was full of praise for midfielder Jamie Gelly.
“Jamie is a very consistent performer who has chipped in with vital goals at vital times. He plays in the same school team as well and to win four cups and a league in one season is a real achievement. He’s had a great season.”
Despite Dryburgh completing a domestic clean sweep, the 2002 age group is one of the most competitive in Dundee, and captain Nelson knows that he and his teammates will be taking nothing for granted in the coming seasons.
“It became clear at the end of the season that quite a few teams were making huge improvements so I think next year the league will be very open and a lot more challenging than the past two years.
“As a team, I think the only way we could do better is to improve on our Scottish Cup run from last year where we reached the Last 16. If we make a few good signings I think going further in the Scottish Cup is a reasonable goal that we could achieve.
“It’s up to us to continue improving, continue winning and hopefully carry our success into next season.”
48-goal Stewart is also well aware of the tests waiting for Dryburgh next season.
“Fairmuir will be strong again I’m sure, but there are teams strengthening over the summer so I expect maybe one or two other teams to be up there challenging also.
“As a team winning the treble again would be a real achievement. Personally, I hope to have more game time so I can get more goals and be top goal scorer again at Dryburgh.”
With the season finally done and dusted, Nelson had this message for his teammates and coaches.
“Although this season we had incredible success in all competitions, it is still clear that improvements have to be made individually and as a team for us to really challenge for the Scottish Cup. Which this season has showed should now be our main goal.”
While Stewart added: “See you all at pre-season!”
There isn’t much for me to say about this Dryburgh team that hasn’t already been said. Having seen them in their biggest matches this season, there is a confidence amongst their players that no other team they have faced seem to have.
In their two cup finals, they weren’t at their best, but there was an inevitability that they would eventually get the win. It has been their ability to grind out wins without being at the best that has seen them lift three trophies this season.
While Fairmuir ran them close for the league title, Dryburgh always had the upper hand when the two went head to head. While there isn’t much between both sets of players, Dryburgh have a stronger unit, and in Aidan Nelson, Ross Mcnaughton and Ewan Stewart, have three players more than capable of producing a moment of magic to win any match. Add into that, the strength in depth in their squad is unmatched by any other team in the league.
Next season, they will be the favourites to win the league and domestic cups, a title that they deserve, but one that will bring about a fair amount of pressure. As their players have said, with the other teams strengthening, the title race may well be a close-run thing, and this season has shown that every team in the 2002 age group can cause an upset in the cup competitions. If any side manages to finish above Dryburgh, then they will likely be the champions.
In the Scottish Cup, they were comfortably beaten by Tynecastle. That is the standard they have to reach and surpass to succeed at the top level. If they can bring in a couple of quality additions, that might just be a possibility.
In the East Region Cup, there are plenty of strong teams, and Dryburgh are one of them. If they get a favourable draw, there is no reason they can’t go and reach the latter rounds of, and maybe even win, that competition.
Dryburgh Athletic 2002s Treble Winners: Aaron Cosgrove, Ryan McKay, Ross Mcnaughton, Marcus Gray, Ewan Stewart, Ben Wilson, Sol Heary, Daryl Tosh, Keillor Lowe, Cory Finnigan, Jamie Gelly, Aidan Nelson (c), Kalin Jones, Arron Flynn, Brandon Mcginnis, Dylan Smeaton
In what was one of the closest run title showdowns in any of the DDYFA leagues, Pitfour 2003s emerged victorious at the top of the D S Rennie League table. As well as their league title triumph, they also lifted the Dundee West Anniversary Cup and the J Duffy Cup. We caught up with manager David Allan to find about their super season.
In the 2015/16 season, Pitfour narrowly missed out on the league title, but picked up silverware in the form of the Diamond Jubilee Cup and at the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign, Allan’s side were looking to build on the previous year’s success.
“After coming so close to winning the league last season, we were determined to try and go one better and win the league this season, which we did by winning our last league game against Fairmuir. Doing well in the cups is always nice and winning two cup finals as well was a lovely bonus.
“The players knew that if they played to their potential as a team then they would be successful this season. It was very hard to maintain but they have an excellent attitude and this carried them through.”
The race for the title went down to the wire, with Pitfour, Arbroath and Fairmuir all in with a shout of being crowned champions going in to the closing weeks of the season. In the end, Pitfour finished two points clear of second place Arbroath, and six points clear of Fairmuir in third.
And Allan knew that the matches against their two nearest rivals would be crucial in deciding the destination of the league title come the end of the season.
“There is very little between all three teams with each of us knowing that whoever took the most points in these games would probably win the league. We lost 3-0 to Arbroath at home then drew 2-2 with them in Arbroath.
“We managed to beat Fairmuir 4-0 home and away. We gained seven points out of the possible 12 in games against each other. Arbroath gained five out of 12 and Fairmuir gained four out of 12.”
It was their 4-0 victory at home to Fairmuir that finally sealed the league title, and this match also featured Allan’s moment of the season.
“Our striker Alistar Alcorn scored a screamer in our must win final league game against Fairmuir. This put us 2-0 up with less than 15 minutes to go and I managed to relax slightly knowing that the league was coming our way.”
Alcorn was a key component of Pitfour’s title winning side, as he found the net 39 times over the course of the season. And he felt that second place Arbroath provided his side the toughest test.
“We had lots of hard games against them. The first won we lost 3-0, the next one won 5-3 then drew 2-2 and won 2-0 in the final.”
Alcorn and his strike partner Jordan Turnbull contributed over 70 of the 150 goals Pitfour scored this season, and there are two of his 39 strikes that stick out in Alcorn’s mind.
“Either the one against DUSC, which was a solo goal, or the one against Ferry in the cup final.”
While Pitfour were prolific in front of goal, it was their immense defensive record that saw them over the line in the big matches. With just 44 goals conceded in all competitions and five clean sheets in 12 league matches, Pitfour are proof that good strikers will win matches, but good defenders win championships.
One of the players that marshalled the defence was captain Andrew Allan. He felt that his sides success came from: “A combination of determination and a must win attitude going into every game along with our team’s ability of playing great football.”
It was one of the captain’s defensive colleagues, Rory Cromwell, that was his unsung hero of the season.
“He never asks for attention and doesn’t score often but he is an attackers worst nightmare. It’s as though he’s everywhere on the pitch no matter where you look.”
As for top scorer Alcorn, he picked an unorthodox unsung hero.
“Our coach David. He’s a great help and encourages the boys to play their best and if it wasn’t for him there would be no team.”
Despite winning the treble, Pitfour were denied the chance to add the Wellgate Cup to their trophy cabinet by fellow treble winners Dundee West. And it was their matches against Dundee West that captain Allan felt were the toughest of the season.
“Our toughest opponents this season were Dundee West, who we played twice in the Wellgate Cup, and lost in both games in very tough matches that could have gone either way. We were unfortunate to miss out on a win on either game.”
David Allan also felt that Dundee West were a good test for his side.
“Both games were very close against Dundee West and could have gone either way. They have some excellent individual players in their side, but play well as a team.”
With the 2016/17 season done and dusted, top scorer Alcorn is setting his sights on surpassing this seasons success.
“I want to win the four domestic trophies, the East Region Cup and do well in the Scottish Cup.”
Pitfour’s captain is equally ambitious.
“We want to win the league again, retain our trophies and hopefully have a long run in the Scottish and East Region Cups.”
While both players are clearly not short on confidence, their manager knows that matching their ambition will be easier said than done.
“A longer run in the Scottish Cup would be great to do, but is not a priority. We lost to Rossvale from Glasgow 3-2 in the third round of the Scottish Cup. This was our most disappointing result of the season as we felt we were the better team but lost out to two own goals and a debatable penalty.
“Like any cup competition, you want to go as far as you can. The East Region Cup has some very good Fife teams playing in it, so to get to the final will be tough.”
Captain Allan had this to say to his teammates on the back of Pitfour’s incredible campaign.
“Thanks to the coaches for their commitment and dedication. If it wasn’t for them this wouldn’t be possible and thanks to my teammates and their parents for turning up to every game and trying their hardest to get the results and hopefully we can have another great season."
Top goal scorer Alcorn added: “Keep up the hard work and David, try to turn up for training on time.”
While the manager had this to say to his players and their parents.
“Thanks to all 16 of my players for putting in such a fantastic effort in winning the treble. Their skill and determination to achieve the treble was tremendous and they have made my job easy this season in knowing that every team I sent out or every change I made in a game would be supported by all the players in the squad.
“They are a great bunch of boys who all get on very well together, especially so when considering the team is made up of boys from Scone, Perth, St Madoes, Errol, Inchture and Longforgan. A special mention must also go to the parents and friends of the boys who have supported them tremendously over the last two seasons.”
The 2003 age group is one of the most competitive around, which really highlights how impressive Pitfour’s achievement is. Both Arbroath and Fairmuir have talented squads that have scored goals for fun this season, but Pitfour’s defence have given them the edge in the matches against their title rivals.
In goal, Archie Kelly-Barton is one of, if not the best, goalkeeper in the league. And while he isn’t the busiest of goalkeepers, he always seems to pull off the important saves when required. In front of him, Andrew Allan and Rory Harrower have struck up a partnership that even the best of strikers have struggled to breach.
Up front, Alistar Alcorn and Jordan Turnbull have struck up a formidable partnership that has caused every defence issues this season, while the skilful Ben Clos offers a different attacking dimension from the right of midfield.
Next season, Pitfour will more than likely be involved in a four-way race with Arbroath, Fairmuir and Dundee West for the league title and domestic cups. While they will be seen as the ones to beat by every team in the 2003 league, they have the strength in depth and the character to go and win more silverware in the coming seasons.
As for the East Region Cup and Scottish Cup, any side that fancies themselves to go and win these competitions will want to avoid Pitfour, who should be backing themselves to go and challenge for at least the East Region Cup.
Pitfour 2003 Treble Winning Squad: Archie Kelly-Barton, Rory Harrower, Dylan Wright, Ben Clos, Kairn Brand, Charlie Edward, Ross Cameron, Andrew Allan (c), Ethan Thom, Oliver Farquharson, Matthew Glen, Jordan Turnbull, Jamie McRae, Alistar Alcorn, Jacob Edwards, Rory Cromwell
The U17s league saw Fairmuir pip Ferry Athletic to the treble, as they beat Ferry to the league title by three points and defeated them in both cup finals. In the U19s league, Forfar West End and Ferry Yellows shared the league title, with Forfar winning the Peter MacAvoy to complete a league and cup double, but Ferry Yellows won the treble, as they ended the season by winning the East Region Cup. We look at some of the top performers from the past year in the U17s+U19s Team of the Season.
Goalkeeper – Rory McInally – Fairmuir U17s
McInally conceded just 22 goals in the league and was outstanding in both of Fairmuir’s cup finals, saving two penalties in the shootout in the Henry Dolan Cup final, and then producing a number of crucial saves and winning the Man of the Match award in the Ellwood Cup final.
Centre Back – Cammy Cruickshanks – Fairmuir U17s
Suspension saw Cruickshanks move into the centre of Fairmuir’s defence early in the season, and the well-rounded defender has gone from strength to strength in his new role as his side completed the treble.
Centre Back – Ben English – Pitfour U17s
The Pitfour captain had a fine season as they finished third in the league, and was rewarded with a dual contract with Forfar Albion Juniors where he picked up joint Player of the Year.
Centre Back – Lewis Finnie – Ferry Yellows U19s
The Ferry Yellows captain is one of the most dependable players in the league. His partnership with Harry Dow at the heart of Ferry’s defence is one of the key reasons for their success this season.
Right Midfield – Rory Faulkner – Ferry Yellows U19s
The pacey and direct Faulkner has been key to Ferry Yellow’s success this season. He scored with his first touch to bring them level in the East Region Cup final, and has caused problems for every defence he’s faced this year.
Centre Midfield – Moray Robertson – Coupar Angus U19s
An impressive season from the 16-year-old saw him sweep Coupar Angus’s club awards, as he picked up the Player of the Year, Players Player of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year, as Coupar Angus secured third place in the league.
Centre Midfield – Blair McCord – Ferry Athletic U17s
The energetic McCord bagged 26 goals from midfield as Ferry reached three cup finals. A tricky dribbler and composed passer, McCord looks well equipped to make the step up to U19s next season.
Left Midfield – Chris McNeil – Ferry Athletic U17s
Deployed as both a left midfielder and a left back, McNeil’s energy and drive were key to Ferry reaching three cup finals. He found the net 13 times this season as Ferry finished runners up to Fairmuir.
Striker – Thomas Law – Carnoustie Panmure U17s
Law was fourth place Carnoustie’s top scorer this season, scoring 37 times.
Striker – Kieren Crighton – Forfar West End U19s
The powerful forward produced a last gasp equaliser in Forfar’s cup final against Ferry that they went to win on penalties. Strong in the air and a clinical finisher, Crighton was instrumental to his sides league and cup success.
Striker – Ryan McLaren – Fairmuir U17s
McLaren scored 40 goals as he fired Fairmuir to a domestic treble. An intelligent player and lethal finisher, he will be key if they are to continue their success next season.
Goalkeeper – Michael Smith – Forfar West End
Smith conceded just 18 goals in 14 league games as Forfar shared the league title with Ferry. His cup final performance against Ferry was also instrumental in securing the double.
Defender – Lewis Fyffe – DUSC
The versatile midfielder spent the second half of the season playing in defence, but made the position his own as DUSC finished the season in fifth place.
Midfielder – Callum Todd – Coupar Angus U19s
Despite being a defensive midfielder, Todd was Coupar Angus’s top scorer with 12 goals. A solid return that helped his side to a third place finish.
Midfielder – Ross Bell – Fairmuir U17s
Bell was an ever-present in Fairmuir’s treble winning season, chipping in with over 10 goals from the right-hand side of midfield.
Striker – Josh McCleary – Pitfour U17s
McCleary bagged 32 goals as Pitfour secured third place in the Dave Pullar League.
Striker – Adam Brown – Ferry Yellows U19s
Brown was crucial to Ferry’s success, with an injury time header clinching them the East Region Cup and completing the treble. There aren’t many strikers as intelligent or as lethal as the Ferry man.
The 2016/17 season saw Dryburgh Athletic U15s lift all three of the top-flight trophies, while St Murdochs U15s completed a league and cup double in the second tier as they secured promotion to the top flight.
In the U16 league, East Craigie Swifts remained unbeaten as they won the treble, and in the second tier, Riverside secured the league title and Carnoustie Panmure lifted the Chuck McGowan Cup. We look at some of the top performers from the past year in the U15s+U16s Team of the Season
Goalkeeper – Cammy Hendry – Fairmuir U15s
The politest goalkeeper in football conceded just 17 goals in 16 league matches for second place Fairmuir, the fewest conceded by any team in the league. A fine shot stopper, if Hendry can perform at a similar level next season, expect to see Fairmuir challenging for silverware again.
Right Back – Max Flucker – East Craigie Swifts U16s
The versatile Flucker was part of an East Craigie defence that kept 10 clean sheets in 30 matches. Going forward, he found the net five times in what was a fine season.
Centre Back – Rhys Beattie – East Craigie Swifts U16s
Beattie was an instrumental figure in East Craigie’s treble winning season. Strong in the tackle and powerful in the air, Beattie was part of a title winning defence that kept 10 clean sheets this season.
Centre Back – Kane Hynes – Fairmuir U15s
In a season that saw the Fairmuir defence hit with injuries, Hynes stepped in and established himself as the lynchpin of the Fairmuir backline, and picked up the club's Player of the Year award in the process.
Left Back – Daniel Ogilvie – Ferry Athletic U15s
A solid defender, and effective going forward, Ogilvie has flourished into one of the finest full backs in the league over the past season, and looks set to be even better in the coming years.
Centre Defensive Midfield – Aidan Nelson – Dryburgh Athletic U15s
Dryburgh Athletic’s answer to Scott Brown, Nelson is one of the most complete players in the league. The Dryburgh captain seems to cover every blade of grass in most matches without ever breaking a sweat. A strong tackler, composed passer and vocal leader, he is the key cog in a very efficient Dryburgh machine.
Centre Midfield – Finlay Baird – East Craigie Swifts U16s
Baird is one of the most technically astute players in the U16 league. The midfielder rarely gives the ball away and is a joy to watch. He picked up 13 goals as East Craigie won the treble.
Centre Midfield – Ross Mcnaughton – Dryburgh Athletic U15s
Midfield maestro Mcnaughton compliments the industrious Nelson in Dryburgh’s midfield. Dangerous with his right and left foot, the midfielder has contributed several goals from midfield, including a last minute free kick against Inverkeithing in the Scottish Cup.
Striker – Ewan Stewart – Dryburgh Athletic U15s
Stewart found the net 48 times as Dryburgh competed a clean sweep of the domestic trophies on offer to them this season. Fast, two footed and a threat on the air, Stewart clearly relishes big matches, as he found the net in both of their cup finals and in all three of their meetings with title rivals Fairmuir.
Striker – Keir Gardiner – East Craigie Swifts U16s
Gardiner scored 35 times in 27 matches as East Craigie went through the entire league season unbeaten. Possibly the most clinical finisher in Dundee, Gardiner's blistering pace and goal scoring prowess have caused problems for defenders in Dundee, and further afield.
Striker – Simon Sharpe – Broughty United U15s
With 13 goals to his name, Sharpe’s final goal haul might not be the highest in the league, but the importance of his goals can’t be understated. A real handful for defenders, Sharpe’s hat trick against Celtic Boys sent Broughty into their first ever cup final, and a purple patch in the final few games of the campaign ensured Broughty are playing top flight football next season.
Centre Back – Ahmed Drammeh – Fairmuir U16s
The defender had a fine season as Fairmuir secured second place in the Maryfield League.
Centre Midfield – Connor Donnan – Celtic Boys U15s
The midfielder scored 20 goals as Celtic followed up their promotion in 2015/16 with a fifth place finish this year.
Centre Midfield – Robbie Johnson – Broughty United U15s
The tenacious midfielder was key to Broughty retaining their place in the top flight and reaching their first ever cup final. An intelligent footballer with a never say die attitude that sums up his team’s spirit.
Centre Forward – Brogan Rourke – Carnoustie Panmure U16s
The dynamic midfielder was Carnoustie’s top scorer, and inspired them to cup final glory in what was an impressive season.
Striker – Lewis Knight – St Murdochs U15s
The big striker fired St Murdochs into the top flight and bagged a brace in their 2-1 cup final win over Monifieth. He’ll need to keep up his goal scoring exploits if Saints are to survive in the top league next year.
The 2016/17 season saw both Pitfour and Dundee West complete trebles, as Pitfour did a clean sweep of the top-flight trophies, and Dundee West claimed the second-tier’s titles and the inaugural Wellgate Cup. We look at some of the top performers from the past year in the U14s Team of the Season.
Goalkeeper – Archie Kelly-Barton – Pitfour FC
Pitfour’s number one kept five clean sheets in 12 league games as his side completed the treble.
Right Back – Callum Rae – Dundee West
Dundee West’s flying full back was a key component of their treble winning squad. The captain led his defence to 12 clean sheets, and chipped in with two goals as Dundee West stormed their way to the Watson McInally League title and two cups.
Centre Back – Kai Guild – Fairmuir
Numerous managers have described Guild as the best defender at the U14 age group, and it’s a title he’s well worthy of. What he lacks in height, he makes up for with his excellent positional sense and reading of the game. With 12 goals to his name, he’s a threat at both ends of the pitch.
Centre Back – Andrew Allan – Pitfour FC
The Pitfour captain struck up a formidable partnership with Rory Harrower at the heart of Pitfour’s defence. With just 44 goals conceded over the course of the season, it’s clear that their immense defensive record was crucial to their success this season.
Left Back – Logan Piggott – Dundee West
Dundee West’s “Mr Versatile” made the left back position his own this season, finding the net five times and picking up 10 assists, as well as contributing to 12 clean sheets.
Centre Midfield – Lewis Denny – Broughty Panthers
The Broughty Panthers man made the move from free scoring forward in 2015/16 to defensive midfielder in 2016/17. Despite this, he still managed to bag 10 goals in what was a difficult season for Broughty Panthers.
Centre Midfield – Josh Paterson – Arbroath Lads
Arbroath’s captain put in several impressive performances as they finished second in the DS Rennie League, including a Man of the Match winning performance in their cup final defeat to Pitfour.
Centre Midfield – Jamie McCann – Dundee West
The midfielder has been called the best player in either of the U14 leagues by several managers and it’s a title that only a few of his peers could complain about him having. The midfielder’s surging runs and clinical finishing saw him terrorise defences in the league and cup competitions as he scored 15 goals and assisted over 20.
Striker – Cavan McLaren – Dundee West
One of the players that benefitted most from playing alongside McCann, McLaren found the net 40 times, and created 15 goals for his team mates. A powerful forward comfortable playing through the middle or on the wings, he will be relishing the chance to take on the top-flight defences next season.
Striker – Graeme Stewart – Fairmuir
Stewart found the net 37 times as Fairmuir finished third in the DS Rennie League. A similar output next season may well see his side lifting silverware.
Striker – Alistar Alcorn – Pitfour FC
The Pitfour man picked up 39 goals in his sides treble winning season, finding the net in the Dundee West Cup final against Ferry, and in their title decider against Fairmuir. With a low centre of gravity, Alcorn’s quick feet and composure in front of goal make him a handful for any defence.
Defender – Nathan Stewart – Fairmuir
Stewart put in a number of impressive performances alongside Kai Guild in the heart of the Fairmuir defence as they conceded just 19 goals in 12 league matches.
Midfielder – Kai Meldrum – Ferry Athletic
The Ferry skipper is an imposing figure in the middle of the park, and when he’s on-song, there are few better players in the DS Rennie League. He helped his team to two cup finals and bagged a last-minute winner against local rivals Douglas in what was a fine season.
Striker – Ryan Carr – Broughty Panthers
The pacey forward scored the majority of Broughty Panthers goals this season as he found the net 18 times and picked up numerous assists.
Striker – Nairn Beaton – Arbroath Lads
The big striker was a key figure for Arbroath as they finished second to Pitfour and reached a cup final this season.
Striker – Jordan Turnbull – Pitfour FC
Alistar Alcorn’s partner in crime Turnbull found the net 31 times as they formed the most formidable strike pairing in the top flight. His deadlock breaking goal in the J Duffy Cup final ensured that they completed the treble.
The 2016/17 season saw Forfar Boys win an historic quadruple, and Dundee West complete a league and cup double in the second tier. We look at some of the top performers from the past year in the U13s Team of the Season.
Goalkeeper – Kyle Shand – Forfar Boys
The Forfar keeper hasn’t been the busiest stopper in the league this season, but when called upon there is a calmness about him that suggests he’s in control. With 13 clean sheets to his name, clearly Forfar’s success isn’t just down to their prolific forwards.
Centre Back – Hal Webster – ACSC
Despite suffering a nasty injury midway through the season, Webster developed into one of the most complete defenders in the J Clenaghan as ACSC finished runners up to Dundee West. Webster contributed to four clean sheets, and bagged four goals, including a 30 yarder against Douglas on his return to injury.
Centre Back – Sean Munro – Forfar Boys
Possibly the shortest centre beck in the league, Munro is also one of the best. A strong tackler and clever footballer, the Forfar defender looks set to go from strength to strength in the coming seasons.
Centre Back – Aidan McKelvie – Kirrie Thistle
McKelvie’s impressive form this season has seen him get his shot at a pro-youth set up, and he certainly has all the attributes to succeed at that level.
Right Midfield – Rui Gordon – ACSC
Gordon found the net 15 times and set up 18 goals as ACSC finished second in the J Clenaghan League. Having formed a formidable partnership with right back Callum Falconer, he will be hoping to carry his form into next season.
Centre Midfield – Liam Baillie – Forfar Boys
Baillie was a key part of Forfar’s quadruple winning side. An intelligent passer of the ball that offers a goal threat from midfield, he ended the season with an overhead kick in the Ross Ballantine Cup final against St Andrews.
Centre Midfield – Jake Kettles – Kirrie Thistle
Kettles found the net 30 times as Kirrie secured a fourth-place finish in the Café Royale League. The skilful midfielder has been praised by many of the managers in the U13 leagues.
Left Midfield – Harrison Taylor – Ferry Athletic
The Ferry man is comfortable in numerous positions on the pitch, and is clearly an intelligent footballer. One to look out for in the coming seasons.
Centre Forward – Jay Lawson – Ferry Athletic
The diminutive attacker is one of the most technically astute players at the age group. A confident runner with the ball, and capable of unlocking the most resolute of defences, Lawson helped Ferry to a cup final in their first season at 11-a-side.
Striker – Dominik Naglik – Forfar Boys
Naglik scored 69 goals as Forfar won the quadruple. Pacey, two footed and an intelligent footballer, Naglik is very much the complete striker, and has caused issues for every defender that he’s faced this season.
Striker – Aidan Law – Dundee West
The powerful striker fired Dundee West to a league and cup double in his first season at 11-a-side. He will not be phased by the prospect of facing the top defenders next year.
Goalkeeper – Jordan Walker – Dundee West
Walker was a key figure in Dundee West’s double winning squad, conceding just 29 goals in 18 league games.
Midfielder – Luca Snee – Dundee West
The Dundee West captain had a fine season as he led his side to a league and cup double. The combative midfielder capped a fine season with a thumping strike in the final of the Brown Cup.
Striker – Owen Boath – Ferry Athletic
There aren’t many strikers as industrious as Boath. The Ferry man doesn’t know the meaning of “lost cause” and has formed a fruitful partnership with Jay Lawson that looks set to excel in the coming seasons.
Striker – Kyle Yule – ACSC
Yule had a fine season for ACSC as he scored 30 goals, averaging over two goals a game, after signing from neighbours Arbroath Lads.
Fairmuir 2000s had a dream season, as they completed a domestic treble, at the expense of Ferry Athletic. Fairmuir beat Ferry in both cup finals, and won the league title by three points. We caught up with manager Scott McMurchie to find out about their super season.
After a difficult 2015/16 season, McMurchie explains that at the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign, Fairmuir were just aiming to progress on the previous season’s achievements.
“Our aims this season were to build the squad as we struggled for numbers throughout the 15/16 season and equal or improve on our league finish, which was third in 15/16.
“We brought in five players from Monifieth Athletic and one from Montrose which gave us a strong squad and competition for places all over the park as many of the boys are versatile and are comfortable all over the park.”
Monifieth Athletic had been one of Fairmuir’s main title rivals over the previous seasons, but following their departure from the league, McMurchie moved quickly to snap up some of their top talent.
“We brought in defender Gary Ellis very early in the close season. As the 16/17 season drew closer we brought in Ryan Scobie, Ryan McLaren, Robbie Gallacher and Cavin Tosh all from Monifieth.
“Gary gave us a solid option at right back and this allowed us flexibility in other areas. Ryan Scobie has a wicked left foot and provided some fantastic goals and assists.
“Robbie Gallacher is a warrior and has a fantastic engine in the middle of the park.
“Cavin compliments Ryan McLaren well up top with his physical and direct approach.”
Tosh and McLaren are the classic “big man/little man” strike partnership, with the latter of the two bagging 40 goals over the season.
McLaren believes that his partnership with Tosh is responsible for his goal scoring exploits.
“I've known Cavin for a couple years now and been playing for around three years. It helps to know where he is, what runs he makes and vice versa.”
McMurchie was full of praise for his top goal scorer.
“Ryan links up brilliantly with his strike partners and runners from midfield. He’s had a great year, scoring 40 goals, and is an asset that would significantly change the dynamic of our team if we didn't have him.”
With 40 goals to his name, McLaren had a clear favourite when asked which was his best goal of the season.
“It had to be the overhead kick against Douglas. Even though it was very poor, I still have the rights to say I've scored one, it's surreal.”
Despite 2016/17 being the first season that most of the squad’s first season at Fairmuir, it was one of McMurchie’s “Fairmuir Originals”, Arran McFadyen, that scored the decisive goal against Ferry in the Ellwood Trophy final.
“Arran has been with the club from day one and has been a fantastic ambassador for the younger boys and girls at the club. He works incredibly hard in training and is a pleasure to work with.
“Loyalty is becoming a rare commodity in football and Arran’s loyalty was rewarded with such an important goal.
“It was an important goal for the team on the day and his hard work throughout the years paid off.
“To see Arran’s face and the photos after he scored the goal were the highlight of the season for me as he rarely scores from left back.
“We encourage him to get forward and he took this on board so it was fantastic to see him get the goal.”
The Ellwood Trophy final was the second time in as many weeks that Fairmuir lifted silverware at Ferry’s expense, but McMurchie was full of praise for the side than ran Fairmuir close throughout the campaign.
“Ferry are a strong side and have a couple of systems they can play so coming up against them is always a tough football and tactical test for us.
“Fergie and the two John’s have assembled a good squad and give them the tools to be a competent squad of players.
“They should be proud of their efforts this season and I’m sure they will be strong again next season if they hold on to their players.”
While McLaren was Fairmuir’s most dangerous player offensively, McMurchie believes that their success was also down to the efforts of goalkeeper Rory McInally and defender Cammy Cruickshanks.
“Rory conceded 22 goals in 22 league games and won MOTM in the Steven Ellwood Memorial Trophy final. He has regularly performed well in important games under pressure.
“Cammy moved in to centre half from full back to cover for a suspension and he made the position his own.
“He made the game look simple all season. He has been brilliant and made the transition so easily. Along with that, he is a fine young man.”
McLaren was also full of praise for defender Cruickshanks.
“Cammy’s a very quiet player but he’s an absolutely solid player that’s kept the back four together throughout the season.
It was the first of Fairmuir’s finals against Ferry that McLaren felt was the toughest match of the season.
“It was a very well fought final in which we didn't play to our full potential as a team and to win on penalties from two brilliant saves from Rory was great. It also gave us confidence to win another one only a few weeks later.”
Fairmuir lost just twice in the league, and scored 125 league goals as they wrapped up the title and despite Ferry being their closest challengers this season, McMurchie believes that Fairmuir’s match against Pitfour midway through the season was the biggest test of their character.
“We lost Ryan Scobie to a red card early in the first half and were 3-2 down at the break. We then lost a quick goal after half time and we were in a challenging situation.
“The boys worked incredibly hard to get the game level, especially as Pitfour changed their system to stop us as they knew we were coming at them to get back in the game. Thankfully we got the 5-4 win that day but Garry and Andy of Pitfour gave us a real scare.
“Looking back, that game was a defining moment in our season as we knew we could grind out results when our backs were against the wall.”
Despite their rampant success domestically, Fairmuir were beaten by Ferry in the semi-final of the East Region Cup, a competition that McMurchie hopes to see Fairmuir push on in next season.
“We have good relationships with Glenrothes Strollers and Lochgelly Albert Colts from Fife, who were this seasons winner’s, so we know the level we need to get to, to win that trophy which is tough to do. If we retain the bulk of our squad then we may be able to reach the latter stages.”
Next season, Fairmuir well step up to the U19s, a big step up, but one that McMurchie believes his players can make.
“We are not around to make up the numbers and will be looking to be challenging on all fronts.
“I would expect Ferry to be around again, moving to U19s and playing against older players will be a challenge but I have every faith in the boys to perform well again next season.
“I’ve not seen much of the current U19 league but we will be doing our homework over the summer to make sure our boys have all the tools to maintain the standards we have set this season.”
As for 40-goal McLaren, he knows that he and his teammates will embrace the challenges that U19s football will bring.
“Most of us are staying together which makes it better, but we do understand it's not going to be as easy as last season as it's a massive jump from U17s to U19s, although we will give it our best shot.”
With his first season at Fairmuir being so successful, McLaren had this to say to his teammates and coaches.
“I want to thank and congratulate Little G and Murch on the thrilling and enjoying moments of our season, also for giving up their time out of their day to come coach us, with a very big thanks to Gus for always being there and keeping the team’s mentality strong.
“Thanks to all the boys for all the hard work they have put in to ensure we had the best possible season we could hope for.”
While McMurchie was also full of praise for his treble winners.
“The boys have been incredible this year, if we maintain the standards from this season we can hopefully have another successful year. We have big plans in the pipeline for you and will support each player in any way we can.
“The supporters, parents and families have been wonderful to work with and made our jobs as a coaching team easy.
“We appreciate everything you do, from fundraising to car sharing and being there week in week out for the boys. You have raised fine young men and have every reason to be proud of their achievements. Well done to everyone involved with the team this year!”
Fairmuir’s success has come because of the simplicity of their play. Watching them, it is clear that the players understand their roles in the team, and enjoy playing together.
Next year, winning another treble may be a step to far for them, given that there are already established teams in the U19 league that will be eyeing the titles for themselves. However, this is a hardworking, talented group of players that nobody should be taking lightly.
Fairmuir BC 2000s Treble Winners: Rory McInally, Gary Ellis, Arran McFadyen, Ryan Scobie, Ryan Bannon, Kane Alison (c), Robbie Gallacher, Finlay Scott, Ryan McLaren, Cavin Tosh, Bryce Murray, Ross Bell, Cammy Cruickshanks, Jack Taylor