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It came down to the pot luck of a penalty shootout to split two evenly matched sides, as Arniston Rangers emerged as victors in a thrilling cup tie at Birkenside Park over divisional rivals Redhall Star who had battled back from two goals down.
 
It wasn’t quite a game of two halves, although Arniston Rangers led 2-0 at the interval. Redhall came out in the second half having switched to a back three and moments after the change, the game began to swing in their favour.
 
The visitors deservedly pegged it back to two each and despite an extremely open final 15 minutes, neither side could find the winner with penalties looming large.
 
The first ten minutes gave an indication of how the game was going to go, back and forth with neither team able to grab a hold of the tie, without a great deal of chances being created.
 
However, it was the home who struck first, a corner sent into the box that wasn’t dealt with on the bounce. The ball sat up nicely for Ross Durnion who lashed the ball into the top corner from close range. 
 
Redhall pushed forwards in search of a swift reply, with Ryan Munro and Robbie Haines both coming close in the opening 15 minutes.
 
The visitors continued to created chances, a neat exchange between Aayan Khalid Sharif and Sam Higgins sent the latter in behind the back three, but the angle was tight and led to a comfortable save for Logan Black.
 
Another chance fell the way of the visitors after 24 minutes when Munro picked off a kick out by Black. The winger watched in agony as his clipped effort bounced across the face of goal with the goalkeeper well beaten.
 
Haines then forced Black into a reflex save high to the keeper’s right. From the resulting corner Arniston Rangers would spring a sweeping counter attack, which was drilled into the far corner by Durnion once again. Jamie Jones, who’d had limited action until this point, found himself picking the ball out of the net for a second time as the half time whistle went, 2-0 at the break.
Four goals in a frantic five minute period in the middle of the second half was enough for Hutchison Vale to edge out Musselburgh Windsor at Pinkie Saint Peter’s primary school.
 
The first half was a close fought encounter but as Taylor Steven put the away side in front on 51 minutes, the pattern of the game changed and Hutchison Vale made sure to impose their dominance of the later stages with a further three goals.
 
The visitors definitely started the brighter of the sides, Bruno Davidson dragged an effort wide inside the opening minute. It was a sign of more to come.
 
Hutchie were pushing for the opener, Steven, Davidson and Ciaran Heeps all coming close in the early stages of the match.
 
Windsor got forward well and counter attacks became more frequent as the half went on, Tyler Pryde creating the best of the opportunities as he got to the byline but as he tried to square the ball across the face it was cut out and a superb challenge from Rhyad Jelly put the ball behind for a corner a minute later. The corner was taken short by Daniel Combe to Fergus Williams, who lashed an effort from a tight angle on the right wing off the foot of the post. Windsor’s best chance of the opening period.
 
A free kick on the halfway line from Williams was inches from connecting with the boot of skipper Jacob Shyngle and moments later Hutchie were on the counter with Keir Brown beating his man and putting a low cross into the feet of Heeps but his low effort was blocked by Liam Henderson.
 
Windsor turned up the pressure at the end of the first half, Combe whipping a cross into the middle which was palmed away by goalkeeper Logan Robertson who was then clattered into by Finn Thomson and a free kick was awarded to the away side.
 
The final action of the first half came when Thomson sweetly struck a free kick from 25 yards that forced Robertson to tip the ball behind for a corner at full stretch as the sides went in locked together at the break.
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 21:41

Four goals as Hutchie and Cavalry Park share points

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A thrilling contest, which either side will have felt they could have won, ended in Hutcheson and Cavalry Park both coming away with a point.
Hutchison Vale got off to the perfect start, with Daniel Beveridge finding some space on the left wing, before crossing in for Brandon Hunter to smash home from around 15 yards out. His finish found the top left corner, not giving the goalkeeper a chance.
 
The early goal had an almost electric effect on Cavalry Park, who came alive. They had several set piece opportunities, including a free kick and two corners in very quick succession.
 
None of these came to anything, all being cleared, but Cavalry Park kept at it.
 
The ball was played forward, and out towards the left, in much the same manner as Hutchison’s earlier goal, where Owen Ranton hared after it, trying desperately to stop the ball from going out of play. He just flicked it back in time, but the ball fell to Hutchison defender.
 
Undeterred, Ranton tackled him, winning the ball, and suddenly finding himself with nothing between him and the goalkeeper but 30 yards of 3G turf. This he rapidly set about closing down, before unselfishly attempting to pass across towards Charles McKinnon.
 
A Hutchison defender managed to get a foot on it, but succeeded only in pushing the ball past keeper William Miller, and straight into the path of Ranton, who gratefully tucked home from a tight angle into the empty net.
 
Some might call it a little lucky, but he certainly had earned it. 1-1. Cavalry Park’s good spell carried on, and McKinnon could have put them ahead when he stole possession from Jamie Crawford, but the ball bounced unkindly for him, and Miller was able to gather.
 
Through this period, Hutcheson had been giving away free kicks away repeatedly, and Cavalry Park were about make them pay for it. From one of these, around about 25 yards from goal, Ranton had the goal in his sights. He ran up, striking the ball right-footed, around the wall, and straight into the diving Miller’s top left corner. It was a great strike, and served to illustrate just how quickly football games can turn.
 
A few minutes ago, Cavalry Park had been left reeling by the early goal, but had turned things around and they now led, with Ranton helping himself to a fantastic brace in the process.
 
Not long after, Ranton almost got his hat trick, again escaping down the left, this time electing to shoot. The prodded effort from close range was goal bound, but Miller intervened and batted it away.
 
However, the game swung once more, with Hutchison coming right back into it. Hunter headed over from another cross, James Gordon saw a slightly speculative right-foot effort from the right hand corner of the penalty area just beat the far post.
 
With the shots on goal piling up, there was bound to be at least one rewarded. And, just past the half hour mark, Beveridge slotted home with a well-hit right footed
shot to the goalkeeper’s right. The match was level once more, and, on balance, it was probably fair to both sides.
 
No longer in front, Cavalry Park were determined to restore their advantage. Ranton had another chance for his hat trick a short while later, but Miller denied him again with another crucial save. Conan Murle had a free kick shot from some distance turned behind for a corner by Miller.
 
Hutchison came within inches of taking the lead again when a cross from Gordon made its way through to Beveridge, who hit the crossbar with his powerful strike. Two minutes later, the referee put an end to a enthralling half, in which both teams had had periods of dominance, with both sides providing a high-quality, very gripping contest.

Templehall Rovers hold on to a vital victory, that send them level on points with top of the league, after seeing their captain dismissed against a resilient East Fife side. 

Coming into the match Templehall had mixed results, however they were unbeaten in their last three matches and were unbeaten in their last two home games.  On the other hand East Fife were looking to make it three away wins from three as they travelled to Kirkcaldy.

Templehall Rovers started off the better of the two sides with some impressive passing moves falling apart in the final third.  However the Kirkcaldy side finally made the breakthrough after Louix Cumming pounced on a loose ball from a corner whipped in by team mate Scott Graves in the 18th minute. 

Graves would have scored himself later in the first half if it wasn’t for a vital block from East Fife defender Robbie Lumsden.  Moments later Graves was denied again, this time his attempted dink finish was tipped behind for a corner by East Fife goalkeeper Tyler Wilson. 

Going into the half time break it was certain that Templehall Rovers would be the happier of the two sides.  The instructions from the Templehall Rovers coach must have been to put away more chances and continue to creatively pass through the midfield.  For East Fife on the other hand they had to put more of a threat on the Templehall Rovers defence after only creating very few chances.

 

Euan Bryce netted four times in the Kenny McLean cup which was enough for Cramond to see off Edinburgh United in a hard fought tie at Royal High.
 
It was a grim day with the weather ever changing - showers and high winds made it difficult for both sides.
 
The first ten minutes were fairly even although Cramond created the better of the chances, with Leon Cook having two early chances, the first of which agonisingly rolled across the face of goal.
 
After 13 minutes, the hosts took the lead through Euan Bryce. The ball fell to the forward inside the box following a long free kick, who still had a lot to do as he guided the ball in on the half volley.
 
Cramond doubled their lead with 22 minutes gone, the ball coming in from the left hand side and a brilliant dummy from Bryce gave him space in the box and once again he found the bottom right corner with a cool finish.
 
A clash of heads between United's Luke Ramage and Eesa Iqbal saw both players go to ground but luckily both were fine, although Ramage did have to leave the park briefly.
 
It was only a matter of minutes until the hat-trick came. A low finish from Bryce from a tight angle, this time on the right hand side of the penalty area, put the hosts three up inside 25 minutes.
 
Coming towards the end of the half, United began to build some pressure, Sonny Flexen worked an opening with John Young well on the right but Cramond keeper Euan Knight was left untested as Flexen's effort was always going wide.
 
Knight would be tested right on the stroke of half time, when Flexen's whipped cross was too far away from the keeper, who couldn't get enough on the ball to clear it from safety, and sat up nicely for Eesa Iqbal who slotted the ball away well to cut the deficit with the last kick of the first period.

A flurry goals in either half without return helped a clinical Edinburgh City side progress with ease into the 4th round of the South East Region cup. Hat-tricks from James Clare and Luke Rathie were accompanied by goals from McNamara, Elliot, Gilmour and Turnbull to finish off the rout.

The outcome of the match seemed difficult to predict, with City experiencing a mixed start to their league campaign with 3 wins being matched with 2 losses, whereas Thistle tasted victory in both of their fixtures so far.

Despite the even predictions in the build-up to the cup tie, the gulf in class was evident very early from kick-off. Cai McNamara was first to get his name on the scoresheet for City with just a minute on the clock. His determination to break beyond the defence set the tone early on as he raced through and slotted the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

Bathgate barely had any time to register what had unfolded before the ball was in the back of the net again, this time through one of their own players, but at the wrong end. Elliot raced down the wing – a sight that would become familiar – and crossed a ball into the path of Clare who attempted to get a flick, but the final touch appeared to come via a defender. 

City – who could only name one substitute due to a shortage of numbers – showed their ruthlessness again as the notched up another two goals before the tenth minute. Clare took the ball in the centre and drove beyond the defence with scorching pace, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting in, with his second goal an exact carbon copy of his first, with the same outcome.

McNamara, one of many attacking forces for the Edinburgh side, looked capable of scoring whenever he burst forward, and added a second goal to his tally on 15 minutes. On this occasion, it was a simple tap in from just yards out as Elliot’s searching cross into the area left him with an easy finish.

Clare turned provider when put through on goal, lifting a ball over the head of the onrushing goalkeeper and leaving Elliot with a header from 3 yards out which he duly converted. Composed strikes inside the penalty area from the towering Rathie, and his diminutive midfield partner Danny Turnbull took City into the break with an impressive-lead. 

When Lewis McClure, Broxburn born and bred, steps foot onto the campus of Delta State University as a student for the first time, he’ll be over 4,000 miles from home. He’ll go from living beside the banks of the Union Canal to residing with driving distance of the Mississippi River. He’ll walk on sidewalks instead of pavements, to the store instead of the shop, to buy twizzlers instead of strawberry laces and enjoy Mississippi Mud Pie over Sticky Toffee Pudding (Okay, you can definitely find Mississippi Mud Pie in the UK. Anyway...)
 
All of these changes exemplify the America McClure imagines is “ten times bigger than anything over here”, and the challenges he says he’s ready for. The former Broxburn Academy pupil will go to Delta State in Cleveland, Mississppi on a soccer scholarship courtesy of Future Pro USA. He’ll meet up with fellow Scot Andrew Robertson, the head coach of the Delta State Statesmen, as he splits his time between studying a business degree, playing football and watching the institution’s other teams. McClure says he’s looking forward to taking in the basketball team’s games in particular, having had a taste for it during a campus visit earlier this year.
 
McClure first realised he wanted to experience life across the pond just before the onset of his teenage years. “I think I first had the idea of going to America when I was about 12 years old, but it was just a dream,” he said.
 
“It wasn’t until recent, this last year, that I saw the opportunity through YFS and with Future Pro for the scholarship and it took off from there, and now my dream is realised.”
 
A composed central midfielder who can also play centre back, McClure puts an extreme focus on training hard and doing the “extra bit”, a trait that has helped him throughout his football life so far. The first club he played for was Broxburn Athletic, before spells with Tynecastle, Broxburn once more, and Bathgate Thistle, who merged with Fauldhouse. “I’ve been quite lucky to play with so many successful teams,” he says, and points to a Blackpool Cup win with Tynecastle and an undefeated season that led to a treble while with his last club. McClure singles out former coach Steven Sharpe for his help in assisting where he finds himself now. Sharpe worked extensively with McClure during his recovery from a pelvic injury that kept him out for almost eight months. It was here the importance on training hard intensified, with McClure’s recovery entailing early training sessions and extra hours in the gym. On Sharpe, McClure says: “He’s probably been the biggest help in football, and without doubt the biggest character. What he did when I was injured helped me a lot, and now he’s like more of a friend than a coach.” Sharpe’s dealing with Chron’s and Colitis and the associated charities led to McClure running the Edinburgh Marathon for that same charity, raising a massive £1600 in the process.
 
McClure’s return from injury and his marathon highlight a determined and ambitious individual, two qualities one needs to make a decision like going to the US. Especially when such a decision involves leaving behind your family and girlfriend for eight months at a time. “It’s tough,” begins McClure. “Me and my girlfriend for example, we’ve been together for just over two years. It’s going to be hard but she’s been really good, she’s very proud and she’s happy for me. She realises this is just something I have to do.
 
“It’s a dream come true for me and I’m going to be living that dream, but we’ll make it work.”
 
If you are interested in a Scholarship in the USA, Click Here to sign up for an Assessment Day.
 

Portobello CFA’s double meant they were crowned champions of the South East Regional Cup after beating Tynecastle FC at New Countess Park. Despite having their chances, Tynecastle were unable to stick the ball past star player Thomas McLean as Russell Bowers and Josh Sharkey netted one a piece to win the cup.

Portobello started the game well with various chances coming in quick succession, arguably one of their best came in the 15th minute.

Russell Bowers pass to Tadgh Flanagan-Woodhead inside the area on the right allowed the player to get a shot away. However, the effort was saved at the near post by keeper, Kyle Wilson.

They had another good chance moments later, this time from a free kick in the 18th minute.

Portobello’s Dean Coyle stepped up at the edge of the left side of the box with his shot going towards the left-hand side of the net. However, Tynecastle keeper, Wilson made himself known once more as he dived to save the effort.

Tynecastle then began to grow into the game in the last 15 minutes of the half with a ranged effort coming in the 29th minute.

Charlie Green decided to challenge the keeper with a shot from 15 yards out but the ball arrived straight at the keeper.

Despite Tynecastle looking like they were getting a grip of the game, they conceded their first of the match in the 37th minute. Portobello’s Flanagan-Woodhead and Bowers linked up once more with the former sending the player through on the right side of the area.

Bowers then sunk the ball into the bottom left hand corner giving his side the advantage going in for half time. 

A late treble of goals from Edinburgh City Blacks saw the side win the South East Regional Cup against Hutchison Vale FC, despite trailing behind for half an hour. Ben Wardlaw opened the scoring for Hutchie but within 11 minutes near the end of the fixture, Ewen Gillespie netted twice with James Farrell also on the score sheet for City. Hutchie player, Matthew McCormack also netted into the seventh minute of injury time.

Chances were few and far between in the first half but Hutchison Vale’s effort in the 17th minute almost broke the deadlock. Aiden Walsh long distance effort from the right side struck the top corner of the near post but the effort did not deflect in but instead go out of play.

Inspired by this effort, Edinburgh City tried one of their own in the 27th minute. Keiran Millar controlled the ball in the centre of the field before firing the ball with his left foot from 20 yards towards goal. However, the ball flew wide to the left of the goal.

Hutchison Vale broke the deadlock soon after when Ben Wardlaw netted in the 33rd minute. Good link up play between Josh Ferguson and Laurence Linklater allowed Ferguson to unleash a strike from the right side, forcing the City keeper to make a save. However, Wardlaw got onto the end of the rebound and sent the effort home to put his side up at half time. 

The first clear-cut opportunity resulted in the first goal when Fauldhouse opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Ben Magee’s trike deflected into the path of Guy Sim who had already timed a run into the box. He outraced the Tynie defender to the ball and slotted beyond the goalkeeper from yards out. 

Tynecastle had a chance to score in the 21st minute when Callum Bremner played a short-free kick into the path of Owen Winnik who was waiting just inside the box, but he couldn’t direct it onto target and he side footed the ball well over the bar.

Fauldhouse’s advantage was nearly doubled in the 25th minute when a free-kick was cushioned into his path, his powerful half-volley looked destined for the back of the net but a Tynie defender just managed to get a touch and deflect the ball out for a corner.

It was a very back-and-forth cup final and Tynecastle were next to try their luck in the 32nd minute when Gary Tickle floated a ball into the path of Nicky Weir, but his first-time volley on the edge of the box lacked placement and flew wide of the goal.

Dan Purves then tried to curl an effort into the bottom corner from just outside the box on 34 minutes, but Matthew Craig was quick to get down low and save the shot at his near post.

Tynecastle had a flurry of opportunities to level the scores minutes before half-time. The first came when Purves floated a lovely pall into the unmarked Winnik, who opted not to take a touch and volleyed a first-time effort. Unfortunately for him though, his strike sailed over the crossbar.

Barely a minute later Bremner took the ball down brilliantly on the edge of the box, swivelled and hit a strike which flew narrowly wide of the near post.

Matty Brown then tried his luck after a good run saw him reach the edge of the box, his strike had power but like the one before him, wasn’t quite precise enough to hit the target. 

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