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Strong first half performance sees Cove United advance in Eddie Mannell Trophy

Cove United 4

Ellis 3, Blues 21, 25, 31

Northstar CFC 1

Fullerton 43
  • Sunday, 13 January 2019
  • Balmoral Stadium
  • Under 14´s
  • Eddie Mannell Trophy

Cove United U14s booked their place in the next round of the Eddie Mannell Trophy with a convincing 4-1 victory over Northstar Community FC at Balmoral Stadium on Sunday.

The hosts, of SPREE League B, got a good grasp on the early high winds: in truth, the testing conditions proving a challenge for both teams throughout. On 3 minutes, a precise pass from the centre of the pitch split the Northstar defence, leaving Cove’s Ben Ellis to turn and tuck the ball into the corner for the opening goal.

Five minutes later, Daniel Adams would have an opportunity to double United’s advantage as he was played through in the left channel of the box by Ellis, but dragged his right footed shot wide of the mark.

At the other end, Landis Pollard had begun the game brightly for the visitors. Still inside of the first 10 minutes, his speed and endeavour saw him clear of the opposition’s backline, but he overran the ball slightly and the shooting chance was gone.

In the period that followed, half-chances came and went for United’s Dylan Ingram and the lively Kai Shinnie. Meanwhile, Ashton Steel was acting as fulcrum in Northstar’s midfield, carrying the ball and moving it around the field with purpose. The Northfield side were threatening in wide areas, particularly the right, where interchange between the fullback and energetic winger Jack Stewart lead to a pair of nice swept crosses, but nobody could convert.

Midway through the half, Jake Blues took control for Cove. On 21, he untangled a knot of Northstar players to fire high into the roof of the net and double the home side’s lead.

Then four minutes later, the tall midfielder had a brace. Again gradual build up, this time on the left, and Blues took aim from the angle of the box. Here, he’d shown neat footwork to hold off obstruction, before curling his effort into the far post, beyond the reach of Daniel Cowe.

As the first half came to a close, the determination behind Northstar’s defensive display was laudable. Leighton Sharp and Owen Baxter teamed well together and worked hard in the match.

However, Cove would not be denied, and on 31, Jake Blues completed his hattrick. Good close-control once more with the ball at his feet, he found a pocket of space and drilled a low shot into the bottom left from 25 yards. It was unclear in the watching crowd whether this was the cleanest of contacts, but it found the mark for 4-0.

Just before the whistle, Jay McDonald lifted one final chance over the bar for the hosts.

Cove had the afternoon’s gale in their sails at the break.

  • Half Time:
  • Cove United
  • 4-0
  • Northstar CFC

Into the second half, and it was the visitors fighting back into the contest. Jack Stewart won an early freekick just inside Cove’s half, which yielded nothing, but did provide Northstar with the opportunity to move players forward and play with a higher press, as they set their stall out.

Then, eight minutes in on 43, they pulled a goal back. Brandon Fullerton pounced on a loose ball in midfield and crashed a great strike home from long-range.  

The retort from Cove was swift. A fast break after the restart, and Ben Ellis slid in Gregory Robertson. Terrific play, but Daniel Cowe’s save was equally wonderful in pulsating exchanges between the teams.

As a pattern of the half emerged, play was now end-to-end, and to their credit, C League Section One table-toppers Northstar were still knocking on the door. Leighton Sharp had a freekick deflected wide, and then the visitors forced a quick succession of corners. Despite not landing a second reply on the scoreboard, the delivery from set plays and wide was a noticeable positive for Northstar.

That style would present them with their best chance on 60 minutes. The attack was switched right to left across the box, and it returned with whip, narrowly missing striker Landis Pollard and the arriving Ryan Anderson by inches.

United’s best chances of the half came on the counter, as Jay McDonald, Ben Ellis and Kai Shinnie were all blocked out. The latter had a late corner of his own go close to dipping in.

What was clear on the day was both teams giving everything to advance. In the end, congratulations go to Cove United, who move on. Commiserations to Northstar CFC.

  • Full Time:
  • Cove United
  • 4-1
  • Northstar CFC

Lineups

Cove United
Northstar CFC
5. Jake Blues
6. Jay McDonald
7. Andrew McNeil
10. Lewis Johnston
12. Gregory Robertson
14. Lennon Hay
15. Daniel Adams
17. Ben Ellis
19. Dylan Ingram
20. Aidan Buckley
21. Grant McDonald
25. Kai Shinnie
27. Andrew McKay
29. Matthew Irvine
1. Daniel Cowe
2. Nathan Duncan
3. Leighton Sharp
4. Owen Baxter
5. Kieran Petrie
6. Alexander Fyvie
7. Jack Stewart
8. Ashton Steel
9. Brandon Fullerton
10. Keene Coleman
11. Landis Pollard
12. Euan Scott
14. Morgan Parker
15. Kai Milton
16. Ryan Anderson
17. Kurt Barron
Star Player
Cove United
Northstar CFC
Jake Blues – A dominant physical presence all over the pitch, and a great hat-trick which ultimately settled the match.
Jack Stewart – Stood out with good touches, positive forward running and a threat from wide areas.
Magic Moment
Cove United
Northstar CFC
Jake Blues’ second goal. A stunning strike into the corner; beautifully taken.
Brandon Fullerton’s brilliant goal was an inspired effort from distance and gave his team vigour.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.

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