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Monday, 14 August 2017 20:23

DDYFA U16s Leagues Preview

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The 2016/17 saw Dryburgh Athletic complete a top-flight treble, while St Murdochs lifted the second-tier league and cup. Ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, YFS looks at the some of the teams that will be in the hunt for silverware, and those plying their trade in their new divisions.
 
Maryfield League
The Reigning Champions – Dryburgh Athletic
 
Last season was a dream year for Dryburgh as they completed the domestic treble, losing just one league game in the process. In 2017/18, they will be hoping for more of the same, and they have a squad more than capable of defending their titles.
 
With three new teams joining the league this year, they are going to need to win more matches to win the league than in previous seasons. This combined with their lofty ambitions for the East Region and Scottish Cup and the quality of their title rivals means they will have very little margin for error over the coming campaign.
A Point to Prove – Fairmuir
 
Fairmuir had a near flawless campaign in 2016/17, losing just two league games all season. The problem was that both these games were against Dryburgh, and ultimately cost them the league title. If they can keep their key men fit for the whole season, and take points off Dryburgh, then they will have a real chance of dethroning the current champions.
 
Heirs to the Throne? – Jeanfield Blacks
 
One of the new additions to the Maryfield League this season are Jeanfield Blacks. Having completed a league and cup double of their own in 2016/17, they will be looking to carry on their form from last season, in which they lost just one game, into this season. Of all the new additions to the league, they look the most likely to challenge Dryburgh and Fairmuir at the top of the table.
On the Up – St Murdochs and St Andrews Colts
 
Both St Murdochs and St Andrews Colts secured promotion to this season’s top flight last year. St Murdochs completed a league and cup double in 2016/17, and will hope to carry their momentum into the new season. Last season showed in one off cup games they can match top-flight teams, but doing it over 22 league games is a different challenge all together.
 
St Andrews Colts lost just two league games last year, and were the second top scorers in the P Gibson League. They will need to keep up their goal scoring exploits if they are to survive in the top flight.
 
Not Here to Make Up the Numbers – Blairgowrie and Scone Thistle
 
Blairgowrie and Scone Thistle have also made the move from the PKYFA to the DDYFA this season, and both will hope to have an impact on the upcoming league season. Neither of these sides were challenging for the league title last season, and it is likely that both will finish midtable this year. However, both could have a big say on where the league title ends up come next May.
The Dark Horses – Broughty United
 
A slow start to the 2016/17 season saw Broughty United spend most of the season near the foot of the league table. Despite this, they still managed to reach the Jean Pierre Babin Cup final, and a purple patch at the end of the season saw them beat the drop. If they can keep their momentum going at the start of the new season, there’s no reason they can’t finish in the top half of the table and mount a challenge in the cup competitions.
 
 
W Mills League
Dropping Down and Stepping Up – Riverside CSC
 
The 2016/17 was a mixed bag for Riverside. Despite suffering relegation, they reached the final of the Tommy Clark Trophy, an experience that will stand them in good stead ahead of the 2017/18 campaign. They will be targeting a quick return to the top flight and have a squad well equipped to do that, and they might even reach another cup final along the way.
 
Title Contenders? - Lincraig
 
For long parts of the 2016/17 season, it looked like Lincraig were going to join St Murdochs in winning promotion, but ultimately it wasn’t to be. If they can keep their squad together and find a little more consistency, then this could be their year.
 
Following in the Footsteps? – St Murdochs Colts
 
Despite an eighth-place finish last season, St Murdochs second team will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of their counterparts and challenge for promotion this season. Whether they can match the achievements of their counterparts this year is yet to be seen, but we might have two St Murdochs sides in the topflight in the coming years.
 
The Dark Horses – Carnoustie Panmure
 
The J Bolton Cup semi-finalists finished fourth in the league last season, and will fancy themselves to push on and challenge for one of the promotion places.
 
Monday, 14 August 2017 20:33

DDYFA U17s Leagues Preview

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The 2016/17 season saw East Craigie Swifts complete a top-flight treble. In the second tier, Riverside CSC lifted the league title, and Carnoustie Panmure won the Chuck McGowan Cup. Ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, YFS looks at some of the teams that will be in the hunt for silverware, and those plying their trade in a different division.
 
Dave Pullar League
 
Only eight teams will contest this seasons Dave Pullar league, making it the smallest league in the DDYFA. With a distinct chance of the league campaign being concluded by late January/early February, don’t be surprised to see a League Cup introduced to extend the season through to May.
The Reigning Champions – East Craigie Swifts
 
In 2016/17, East Craigie Swifts were dominant. They went through the entire season unbeaten and reached the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup. This season, it’s difficult to see them letting their high standards slip domestically and in the national competitions, they will be aiming to reach the latter rounds.
 
With only 14 league fixtures to play over the coming season, they should be well equipped to challenge on all five fronts, without having to worry about fixture congestion in the closing weeks of the season.
 
A Point to Prove – Fairmuir and Ferry Athletic
 
Fairmuir and Ferry Athletic finished joint second last season, but both trailed East Craigie Swifts by 19 points.
 
Fairmuir will be hoping to push on after what was a disappointing season by their standards. Despite reaching the John Clark Motors Cup final, they were unable to field a team, and in the league, struggled to lay a glove on East Craigie. While overturning a 19-point gap will take some effort, they should be able to reduce the deficit and reaching another cup final.
 
As for Ferry, they will also look to push East Craigie further this season, and will get the chance to face the reigning champions on the opening day. They will be looking to push on and reach the latter rounds of the cup competitions, something that they should be aiming to do this season.
 
The New Boys – Dundee Rangers
 
Dundee Rangers were the runners up in last season’s W Mills League, but with champions Riverside CSC not taking part in the Dave Pullar league, Rangers are the only newly promoted side in 2017/18. They will be hoping to stay clear of the relegation places, but will need to be at their very best this season to beat the drop.
 
The Dark Horses – Celtic Boys
 
Celtic Boys finished fourth in the league last season, but will be aiming to finish in the top three this time round. They will be hoping to improve on their cup performances this season, and are a side that the top teams will certainly be tested by this season.
 
 
Bodycare Complimentary League
 
Dropping Down and Stepping Up – St Andrews Colts
 
St Andrews Colts will be hoping to bounce back to the top division at the first time of asking this season. With only two wins to their name in 2016/17, they’ll be hoping for a new lease of life in the coming campaign.
Title Contenders? – Brechin City
 
Brechin narrowly missed out on promotion last season and were beaten by Carnoustie in the final of the Chuck McGowan Cup. With only one team coming down from the top flight, they have a golden opportunity to push on and up into the promotion places. Their cup final experience will aid them in their push for promotion this season.
The Dark Horses – Carnoustie Panmure
 
Last season’s Chuck McGowan Cup winners finished sixth in the W Mills League, and will be hoping to kick on and finish higher in the league. If they can transfer their cup form to the league, then they will have a real chance of getting promoted to the top flight.
 
Monday, 14 August 2017 20:16

DDYFA U15s G Taylor League Preview

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The 2016/17 season saw Pitfour complete the top-flight treble, while Dundee West completed a treble of their own by lifting the second-tier cup and league title, as well as the Wellgate cup. Ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, YFS looks at some of the clubs that will be in the hunt for silverware over the next ten months.
 
G Taylor League
 
The Reigning Champions – Pitfour FC
 
Pitfour lost just one of their 12 league games in 2016/17 as they pipped Arbroath to the league title. They, along with all the other teams in the league, are going from the smallest league, to the largest. With 15 teams making up the G Taylor league, Pitfour will play 28 league games, over double the amount they played to secure last year’s title.
 
Despite an increased number of fixtures, they are still the team to beat in the G Taylor League. However, if they reach the latter rounds of the national competitions, then they will have to deal with fixture congestion come the back end of the season. Although, there are worse problems to have.
 
The Best of the Rest – Dundee West
 
Dundee West secured promotion by winning last season’s Watson McInally League title, and it just so happens that the other seven clubs from last year’s second division have joined them in this season’s top flight. This could prove to be a blessing for them, as they know that these are seven clubs that they can beat.
 
Last year’s cup competitions showed that they can beat the likes of Fairmuir and Pitfour in one off games, but besting them over 28 league games is a different test. While they should be aiming to go and challenge for the league title, a top four finish would represent a very good season for them. As for the cups, any side that considers themselves favourites for the silverware will want to avoid Dundee West, who know how to handle big game pressure.
A Point to Prove – Arbroath Lads
 
Arbroath narrowly missed out on the league title and J Duffy Cup at the hands of Pitfour last season. Having lifted silverware in their first season at 11-a-side, they will be looking to reclaim at least one of the titles Pitfour currently hold. As the only side to beat Pitfour in the league last season, they look well equipped to go and challenge at the top of the league and in the domestic cups over the coming campaign.
A Trophy at Last? – Fairmuir
 
Fairmuir have ran both Pitfour and Arbroath close in the league and cups over the previous two seasons, but are yet to lift silverware. They will be hoping to finally break their duck this year and lift the illusive silver.
 
The Dark Horses – Monifieth
 
The side that finished runners up to Dundee West in 2016/17, Monifieth are not to be taken lightly in the coming season. Finishing with one of the best defensive records in the Watson McInally league, they will be aiming to finish in the top half of the table. Not an easy feat by any means, but one that they should be aiming for.
Monday, 14 August 2017 20:08

DDYFA U14s Leagues Preview

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The 2016/17 season saw Forfar Boys lift four top flight trophies, while Dundee West won the lower league title and cup. Ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 campaign, YFS looks at some of the teams that will be in the hunt for silverware, and those plying their trade in the top flight for the first time.
 
D S Rennie League
The Reigning Champions – Forfar Boys
 
Coming off the back of a historical quadruple winning season, there is a sense that the only way is down for Forfar Boys. While winning four trophies may be a bridge too far this season, they will certainly be at the top end of the league table and are more than capable of defending their domestic cups. The fact is that these boys have already created history, and anything they do in the coming seasons will only add to their status.
A Point to Prove – Celtic Boys and Fairmuir
 
Celtic Boys and Fairmuir finished second and third last season, and both will be looking to knock Forfar off their perch this year.
 
Celtic reached the semi-finals of both local cup competitions last year, and despite coming up short on both occasions, the big game experience will benefit for the upcoming campaign. If they can learn from their experiences last season, then there is no reason they can’t go and lift silverware this year.
 
As for Fairmuir, they were the top team this age group had to offer at seven-a-side, but couldn’t transfer their dominance to the 11-a-side pitch. While a third-place finish is nothing to be scoffed at, they have the players in their squad to go and mount a title challenge and reach the latter rounds of the cup competitions. Whether they can fulfil their potential is yet to be seen.
The New Boys – Dundee West, ACSC and Brechin
 
Dundee West, ACSC and Brechin made up the top three in last season’s second tier, and they will all experience top flight football for the first time.
 
Of all the three promoted clubs, Dundee West look most likely to thrive in the top league. Having completed a league and cup double, it’s clear they know how to win games and will fancy themselves to beat most teams in the D S Rennie League. While the league title may be a step to far this season, they will believe they have a real chance of lifting one of the cups this year.
 
ACSC were runners up to Dundee West and had a fine season in 2016/17. They certainly have the players to compete in the top league, and will cause problems for all the sides they face this season.
As for Brechin, last season saw them finish third in the league and reach the final of the Brown Cup. They had one of the best defensive records in the J Clenaghan League last year, and will need to continue that form if they are to beat the drop this season.
 
The Dark Horses – Kirrie Thistle
 
Kirrie finished fourth in the league last year, but were 11 points behind Fairmuir in third when the season ended. They caused problems for every team they faced last year and will certainly play a role in deciding where the league title resides come the seasons end.
 
 
Watson McInally League
Dropping Down and Stepping Up – Dryburgh Athletic and St Andrews Colts
 
Both Dryburgh and St Andrews Colts were relegated to the Watson McInally League this season after finishing bottom and second bottom last season.
 
Dryburgh won just once in the league last season, and generally had a miserable time in the top flight. However, the drop down may prove to be a blessing for them, as they come up against a lower quality of opponent. If they can pick up the winning habit, then a quickfire return to the top flight may be on the cards.
 
St Andrews Colts can count themselves quite unfortunate to have been relegated. The Ross Ballantine Cup finalists were relegated on goal difference, finishing with a goal difference two worse than eighth place Ferry Athletic. Despite this, they have some talented players at their disposal, and will certainly be in contention for the league title and the Mac Brown Cup.
 
 
The Title Contenders – Riverside CSC
 
Riverside finished in fourth place last year, and look capable of mounting another title challenge this year. If they can turn a few of their five defeats from last season into wins, then there’s a good chance that this will be their year.
 
 
The New Boys – St Murdochs
 
The newest team in the 2004 age group is St Murdochs. They are very much an unknown quantity, but of course they will be aiming to finish as high in the league as possible. Based on the form of older St Murdochs teams, they will certainly pose a threat in this league.
 
 
The Dark Horses – Maryfield
 
Maryfield started the 2016/17 season brightly, and looked like mounting a promotion push in the opening weeks of the season. In the end, they finished the season mid table, but if they can keep a little more consistency this season, they should finish higher in the league this time around.

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.

 

Sunday, 02 July 2017 17:15

Super Season: Dryburgh Athletic 2002s

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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

 

 

 
Friday, 30 June 2017 17:28

Super Season: Pitfour 2003s

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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

 

 
Monday, 19 June 2017 16:38

DDYFA U17s+U19s 2016/17 Team of the Season

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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.

 

Substitutes

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.

 

 

 

 
Monday, 19 June 2017 15:09

DDYFA U15s+U16s 2016/17 Team of the Season

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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.

 

Substitutes

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.

 

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