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Thursday, 26 May 2016 13:48

TASS Thistle seal PJYFL Division 2 title

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Fixture: TASS Thistle 1999s v Antonine 1999s
Competition: PJYFL Division 2
Venue: Ardeer Rec Stevenston
Date: Saturday, 21st May 2016
 
With a hint of doubt whether this league decider would go ahead today, due to the previous days downpour, this was definitely a match the home side wanted done and dusted.
 
Honours had been shared between the two sides in their only ever two matches against each other, the first an Antonine 4-2 win in the league followed by a TASS 5-2 win in the Scottish cup.
 
Today's match would see the home side compete for the last three points of their domestic season and each one of those points counted as they were needed to overtake the season’s table toppers Stewarton Annick 99's.
 
With Stewarton eagerly awaiting this result it was down to TASS to have the final say on who took the season’s honours, and boy did they!
 
As expected there was to be a healthy and vocal home support for TASS and they certainly were not let down by the display put on by the lads.
 
Tass started the game fairly well, however it was the visitors who tested TASS number one Dylan Jackson in goal early on. As he had done for much of the season Jackson showed great reflexes to deny Antonine's number nine.
 
With maybe some nerves in the home sides ranks, they soon begun to impose themselves higher up the pitch as the match reached the halfway point of the first half. First up, was a well delivered ball in from the right, by new recruit Jack Frew, finding the head of Jared Sargent who glanced his header far enough away from the Antonine keeper giving him no chance. It was a well-worked set piece but the Antonine rearguard only had themselves to blame for not picking the runner up, giving him a free header. 1-0 TASS.
 
However, Antonine, despite the match meaning nothing in terms of league standings, were clearly not here to make up the numbers. Again they passed up two guilt-edged chances and they will curse themselves at failing to miss the open target.
 
As with any match, missed chances, more likely than not, go against you and that's what happened. TASS number nine, Ryan Strain, picked up the ball 20 yards from goal after a short pass back by Antonine's number six. Strain was onto it, in a flash, and unleashed a thunderbolt of a strike off the underside of the bar and into the net, making it 2-0. The sideline were lapping it up in the now glorious sunshine.
 
Half Time: TASS Thistle 1999s 2-0 Antonine 1999s
 
Antonine, to their credit, came out in the second half equally as strong as the first and again threatened the TASS goal. However, again it was Jackson who was the hero spreading himself well to somehow deny the Antonine forward again. No one knows which part of the anatomy stopped the ball but what a block! This proved vital as TASS looked to maintain their two goal cushion.
 
As the half wore on TASS captain Conner Cunningham, and his centre back pairing of Logan Craig, were immense. Three goals conceded, in their last 9 matches, tells it's own story about this formidable TASS rearguard.
 
TASS began to dominate and take complete control of this match with influential midfielder Dean Picking dictating play from the centre circle. Strain, and him, combined saw very little go past them.
 
It wasn't long before goal number three came, a consequence of another Antonine mix-up at the back allowing TASS forward Martin Galbraith in to round the keeper and fire into the net.
 
3-0 and surely the title was coming to Ayrshire, however talisman Strain wasn't finished as he coolly collected the ball 25 yards from goal and fired another thunderbolt past the descending Antonine number one.
 
4-0, and game safe, saw the opportunity of getting the whole of the bench on to take part in this memorable performance, and it was the TASS right back Jamie Taggart who got himself into position early on, firing a thunderbolt of his own, however the Antonine keeper did exceptionally well to finger tip it over the bar.
 
With few more chances of note the match ended 4-0, a result that see's the title race end with the trophy heading for North Ayrshire.
 
It's a great testament to this group of players who, up until August, hadn't played together as a side, first winning the Glasgow Cup in what would be their first competitive matches, then to top that off with the league title speaks volumes about the quality in the TASS ranks.
 
TASS have one more fixture to play on 4th June this season, in the CYP cup final, and everyone connected with this wee side from the three towns wishes them the very best of luck to the finale of a fantastic season.
 
Full Time: TASS Thistle 1999s 4-0 Antonine 1999s
 
 
Sunday, 22 May 2016 18:20

Valspar fight back from the dead to draw

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Fixture: Valspar v Largs Colts
Competition: Central Ayshire YFA U14s
Date: 21/05/2016
 
As a second versus third top of the league encounter, this match had expectations running high and both sides did not disappoint, serving up a dramatic, highly entertaining contest.
 
Largs had the better of the first half, but the game was end-to-end stuff with MacKenzie Hill bringing out tremendous saves in the first fifteen minutes. The Largs keeper was not left twiddling his thumbs either and was in action keeping Valspar at bay three times in the first 20 minutes.
 
Valspar came closest to scoring when Lewis Glass was through on goal and pushed his shot past the keeper in the 24th minute only to see it hit the post and trundle to safety. 
 
Largs pressure paid off in the 27th minute when the swirling wind assisted the flight of the ball from a corner into the Valspar net.
 
Buoyed by their first goal, Largs continued to push forward and found the back of the net once more in the 30th minute to double their advantage.
 
Two minutes from the half time whistle, a great save from MacKenzie Hill from a Largs free kick kept the score as you were.
 
Half Time: Valspar 0 Largs Colts 2
 
The second half started with both teams battling for possession, but no chances were being created until Murray Thomson saw his effort fly wide in the 50th minute.
 
Largs responded a couple of minutes later, but with MacKenzie Hill on top form their effort could not beat the Valspar keeper.
 
Valspar began to dominate the game, with Lewis Glass giving the Largs defence a torrid time. His top quality movement and run on goal in the 55th minute was just thwarted by the Largs keeper.
 
Two minutes later, however, Glass made the breakthrough for Valspar when he fired home a great through pass from Craig Findlay to halve his side's deficit.
 
Largs responded quickly and once again MacKenzie Hill was tested just one minute later. He passed the test with flying colours though, as he palmed the ball to safety, denying Largs a third, and potentially decisive, goal.
 
Valspar continued to pressurise Largs and great interplay between Ron Mooney and Craig Findlay forced a great save from the Largs keeper, only for Connor Purvis to pounce and bang in the equalizer.
 
At this point in the game the Largs defence looked tired and Valspar continued to press. A great opportunity fell to Findlay to put Valspar ahead in the 65th minute, but he missed, just failing to get enough on the cross ball from Glass. Findlay's effort squirted narrowly wide of the post.
 
This great game had a fitting end when Glass again managed to get in behind the Largs defence. This time he sent over the perfect cross for Findlay to nod into the net, only to see a superb one-handed save by the Largs keeper touch the ball over the bar and keep the scores level.
 
This was a tremendous game played in an honest and competitive manner by two excellent football teams, thoroughly enjoyed by players and fans alike. WIth only four games to go, it is still all to play for in the Central Ayrshire YFA U14s league!
 
Full Time: Valspar 2 Largs Colts 2
 
 
Sunday, 08 May 2016 18:52

Valspar hit Cumnock for six

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Fixture: Cumnock Juniors v Valspar FC
Competition: Central Ayshire YFA U14s
Venue: Broomfield Park
Date: 07/05/2016
 
So much for the predicted heatwave it certainly missed Cumnock this morning. As a cold, biting wind blew across the slopping Broomfield pitch, the match kicked off with shivering parents on the touch line.
 
The Valspar boys did not let the inclement weather bother them though. The visitors tore into Cumnock from the first whistle, almost scoring straight away. The ball was passed to Murray Thomson who ran the ball forward winning a second strong challenge he played in Craig Findlay, whose shot won a corner.
 
Nothing came from that corner, but as Valspar piled on the early pressure another corner was won and Chrissy Callander cleverly picked out Lewis Glass whose fierce first time shot rebounded out off the keeper. It was Harry Evans who reacted quickest to fire the ball home and open the scoring for Valspar with just three minutes on clock.
 
Valspar had the bit between their teeth and from the kick off pushed forward again. Cumnock simply could not cope and it was not long before the hosts were two goals behind. Connor Purvis played a lovely through-ball, splitting the defence. Craig touched it onto Lewis Glass, who ran into the box, kept his nerve and beat the keeper to find the left bottom corner after five minutes.
 
Valspar where totally dominating play and deservedly found the net again after seven minutes, when Chrissy Callander calmly found the bottom corner to make it 3-0.
 
Perhaps Valspar slightly took their foot off the gas, or were just finding it too easy at this stage, but the game got a bit sloppy with a few too many high or misplaced balls. Cumnock to their credit were still battling and won two corners back-to-back. Both were well defended by Stuart Findlay who headed an attempt from the first off the line and by Layton Weaver who cleared well from the second to preserve Valspar's clean sheet.
 
Valspar soon got back into their stride playing some good football again, creating chance after chance and winning a numerous corners, but the ball just would not go into the Cumnock net. The home side's goalkeeper made a few good saves and numerous efforts went just high or wide.
 
Half Time: Cumnock Juniors 0 Valspar 3
 
The Valspar coach's half time talk did the trick as his side piled on the pressure on once again from the first whistle of the second half. The visitors were now playing some lovely passing football. Craig Findlay was replaced by Ron Mooney who made an instant impact, playing a lovely ball to Lewis Glass who smashed the ball into the net for 4-0.
 
Kier O'Neil, who had very nearly scored in the first half and had a really good game, was replaced by Tyler Robertson.
 
Valspar continued to create great some chances, including one from Murray Thomson whose great shot seemed destined for the top corner until the Cumnock goalie produced a great save, somehow getting a hand to it to push Thomson's superb effort wide.
 
Ron Mooney had made a great impact as a second half sub and deservedly got on the score sheet. Running into the box, his shot hit the keeper but was too powerful and ended up in the bottom corner for 5-0. He very nearly scored again moments later with another good run into the box, but this time the keeper saved.
 
Stuart Findlay replaced Liam Storie and Harry Evans was replaced by substitute Tony Nelson.
 
It was very comfortable for Valspar at this stage as they knocked the ball about well. The reshuffled defence continued to do well, determined to keep a clean sheet.
 
After winning yet another corner, Valspar's coach had a quiet word with Tyler, who played a clever short corner with Chrissy. Tyler crossed a lovely ball that Layton almost got his head to before the ball fell to Connor Purvis who made no mistake, burying the ball in the back of the net for Valspar's sixth goal of the afternoon.
 
Layton Weaver, now playing at left back, brought the ball out of defence showing great confidence and ability to take the ball past two Cumnock players. He continued his run down the left wing, finding Murray Thomson with a good cross, whose header went narrowly wide into the side netting.
 
This was a very good Valspar team performance on a bumpy slopping pitch in strong winds. McKenzie Hill and his solid defence will be very happy to keep another clean sheet, as Cumnock is never an easy place to get a result. Valspar's commanding victory here keeps the pressure on the teams above them in the league title race.
 
Full Time: Cumnock Juniors 0 Valspar 6
 
 

It was a spirited contest at Muirkirk, of which the great man would have surely approved. A local select side from the Glenbuck area revived the name of the famous Cherrypickers one more time as they played out a 1-1 draw with counterparts from Merseyside. This was a testimonial to raise funds for the Glenbuck Academy and the Shankly Family Foundation, but what followed was a fiercely competitive encounter, both sides desperate to win as soon as they crossed that white line. As Bill Shankly often preached, winning is everything.

Honours even at the end, it was probably fitting that both sides shook hands and shared the Bill Shankly Memorial trophy after a testy encounter. But the day was about much more than a game of football, the culmination of a week's events and long planning. The two groups from each end of the country came together to share their common link, and are hoping to use it for the benefit of local football going forward.

A charity cycle tour had made its way from Merseyside overnight, and the day's events began fittingly with a short ceremony at Glenbuck's Shankly memorial, as a piper played in the visitors to 'Amazing Grace'. The group then heard from Bill Shankly's niece, Barbara Alexander, for a personal insight into the man and what drove him from this small Ayrshire mining background to his future success. The organisers of the Memorial Bike Ride, Shaun Moran and Tony Bonner, also spoke about the cycle ride and continuing the Shankly legacy in Liverpool.

The Glenbuck Football Academy is now hoping this annual fixture between the two sides plays a part in reviving local football in the Ayrshire/ Lanarkshire area, with plans afoot to build a museum at Glenbuck. With 2000 visitors a year coming from Merseyside, plus local interest, the hope is to use this to stimulate grassroots football in the local community. Glenbuck Academy's Robert Gillan believes the Academy would be a fitting tribute to Glenbuck's rich footballing heritage going forward, and should be at the heart of any future developments.

"Glenbuck has a special and unique history, and we know that some of this can rub off on the young footballers of today. They are learning all the time about the talent that came here from the past, and that is an inspiration. They are also learning to play as a team, which is as important in life as in football", he says.

"To benefit from the funds raised this weekend means so much and the money will have a tremendous impact on the youngsters at the academy." Gillan says.

Fixture: Caledonian United FC v Valspar FC
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA U14s
Date: 21/04/2016
 
The game started evenly with the ball being fought for enthusiastically by both sides. But nothing of note occured until the tenth minute when Lewis Glass fed the ball through to Murray Thomson, whose shot was saved by the Caley keeper.
 
Caley pushed forward and after 13 minutes created a good chance with some decent play up the right. Valspar responded and were unlucky a couple of minutes later after Lewis Glass fired just wide after 15 minutes.
 
Caley countered in 18 minutes, again up the right hand side, but the final shot was easily picked up by MacKenzie Hill in the Valspar goal. Caley also had a couple of opportunities with free kicks, but both were struck high and handsome.
 
Lewis Glass continued to cause Caley problems on the left hand side when his fierce 27th minute shot struck the bar. His next cross ball was just missed by Chrissy Callander, who also had another chance a few minutes later from a cross by Tyler Robertson, but he struck straight at the Caley keeper. A scrappy first half ended goaless.
 
Half Time: Caledonian United 0 Valspar 0
 
The first half started as it ended, with Lewis Glass causing Caley problems down the left hand side. His first opportunity to score in 40 minutes was well defended by Caley's man between the sticks. Valspar continued to push forward and, five minutes later, Richie Simpson slid a nice through ball for Connor Purvis to strike a nice ball into the middle, but well picked up by the Calley keeper.
 
Calley were dangerous going forward and had a great chance in the 50th minute, bringing out a great save from the Valspar keeper to keep the scores level. A minute later some skilful play by Tyler Robertson looked certain to end in a goal, but the hosts' keeper took him out and Valspar were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty.
 
Valspar’s continued pressure finally paid off, however, when Lewis Glass was put through by Connor Purvis. After holding off the defender, Glass kept his composure to pass the ball past the keeper and into the corner of the net to opening the scoring for the visitors.
 
A strategic substitution in 60 minutes then paid off for the Valspar coaches and saw them double their lead, when Ron Mooney's first action on the field of play resulted in a goal for Valspar after some fantastic work by Lewis Glass to get the ball to him.
 
Another inspired substitution by Valspar brought on Craig Findlay, who flicked the ball over not one, not two, but three Caley players before slamming the ball home to put Valspar three up with 75 minutes on the clock.
 
Caley never stopped working and had a couple of good chances denied by the Valspar defence in the closing stages, but failed to change the scoreline. Much like Saturday’s game against Prestwick, Valspar had to be content with winning ugly by their standards and taking the three points gratefully.
 
Full Time: Caledonian United 0 Valspar 3
 
 

Glenbuck and Liverpool will forever be linked with one man, and they unite this week with the aim of reviving grassroots football in the Ayrshire community of his birth. The village of Glenbuck now lies derelict and overgrown, but the Glenbuck Football Academy now hopes to tap into the legend of Bill Shankly to nurture the footballing talent of the future.

It is something which the Anfield legend would surely have proudly approved of, as the Shankly Family Foundation joins hands with the Scottish Mine Restoration Trust to promote the grassroots game in both of the communities where the Shankly name is still idolised.

This week a charity bike ride leaves from Glenbuck for Merseyside, on the 20th anniversary of a charity walk made by a Liverpool fan in the opposite direction. After a ceremony at the Anfield Gates, attended by former Liverpool greats and family, the ride will make the return trip to coincide with a match between two select XIs from Liverpool and Ayrshire.

Former Clyde player and coach Robert Gillan runs the Glenbuck Football Academy at nearby Douglas, where the match will be played. He has strived over the years to maintain awareness of the spirit of Glenbuck, and to instil some of this in the next generation.

Sunday’s event sees Shankly’s old village team, the Glenbuck Cherry Pickers return to action for the first time in over 80 years. Gillan hopes they can become a name once again in Ayrshire grassroots football, even to restore and play on the side’s original Burnside Park pitch, where so many great footballers learned their trade.

Glenbuck was once a small, thriving industrial village, but had a unique trait for churning out talented footballers. There was Shankly himself, but also over 50 professional footballers down the years, including nine full Scotland internationals. For a village which barely ever registered much more than 1000 people it was an astonishing and unique ratio of talent to population.

“There’s been nowhere else in the world with that talent pool”, Gillan says, “Glenbuck was just a wee village. You’d need a quarter of a million people in London for 40 years to recreate that average. We had a conveyer belt for players here. There was something we were doing right.”

What they were doing comes straight from the mines where so many future footballers once worked. Gillan points to the one ethos which gave Shankly his entire world view, and which is central to his vision for the Glenbuck Academy.

“Shankly believed that you win and lose as a team, that the collective will to succeed is stronger than individuals. You never give up.  It’s what drove his great sides, and it’s what created great players from Glenbuck.

“Those are great ideas to get over to the young people of today, whether they carry on to be successful footballers or not.”, he says.

“There’s so many avenues you can go down now in football. If you don’t make it as a footballer you can still go into coaching, scouting or physio. Young people can learn about diet and fitness. We want the kids to learn about football, but also become better people.”

Glenbuck still receives an annual swathe of pilgrims from Merseyside, with a plaque to Shankly there unveiled by Ron Yeats paid for by Liverpool supporters. Plans are now proposed for a visitors’ centre close by, along with a range of community developments. Gillan hopes his football academy can take centre stage in the project.

 “It’s an exciting time, but we are aware of the funding challenges. We hope to do something worthy of Glenbuck’s memory and this weekend will be a great way to continue that.”, Gillan says.

 “To benefit from the funds raised means so much and the money will have a tremendous impact on the youngsters at the academy.”

 
Fixture: KSC Barca v Largs Colts U14's
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA
Venue: Kilwinning Sports Centre
Date: Saturday 16th April 2016
 
For the third weekend in a row Colts made the trip to Kilwinning, this time to face a strong KSC Barca side who were still potential contenders for the league title. Colts had some difficult decisions to make in terms of line up, given recent performances, but they stood by the side that started the last few weeks. Irwin had the gloves behind the central defensive pair of Weir and Robson. The full backs were 
 
Barbour and Loudon, right and left respectively. The midfield four had R. Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart. Up front, again, were Smith and Brown after they both netted doubles last week. The squad was completed by subs J. Coupar, MacNeil,
Blair, Leishman and Florence. 
 
The KSC pitch was sloped and bumpy and something Colts would need to get used to over the coming weeks as they play a number of away games. The early play was open with the first attempt on goal from R. Coupar, who shot just wide of the target. 
 
In the tenth minute Smith made a good run to receive the ball inside the box but he was well covered by the ‘keeper who claimed the ball, and Smith, at the same time. Five minutes later Cormack found space inside the area but could only put the ball just over the bar. Colts had a scare in the 18th when Barbour’s pass back was short but the pace of Weir came to Colts rescue. 
 
Colts were piling on the pressure at this stage with Smith and Brown both coming close before Robson was clearly pulled back by the ‘keeper when he looked certain to score only for the referee to wave away the claims. Smith then played in Brown, for an effort on goal, before a great move down the left, involving 
 
Bainbridge, Smith and Brown, found the head of Cormack. However, his headed attempt flew inches past the post. 
 
Barca were only in the game occasionally but demonstrated that they are a very capable side. Colts had to react well, in the 25th minute, before breaking back up the field for Brown to tuck the ball into the net after R. Coupar had forced an error in the Barca defence. Barbour was getting forward well, down the right flank, and successfully created an opening for Cormack to shoot, but his attempt went just wide. 
 
Barca pushed once again, as the first half drew to a close, before another quick Colts break, down the left, saw Brown neatly play the ball for Bainbridge to run onto and slot home the game’s second.
 
Half Time: KSC Barca 0-2 Largs Colts
 
Barca started the second half very well and were the better side for the first 10 minutes. The home side won a couple of corners though Colts dealt well with the aerial threat. In the middle of the park R. Coupar was controlling the play well for Colts with plenty of options available left and right. 
 
In the 45th minute Brown had a chance, which he couldn’t take. However, just a minute later a square ball found Brown 10 yards from goal and, with the keeper advancing on the Colts striker, Brown deftly chipped the ball over the keeper and into the net to make it 3-0. 
 
McTaggart, playing in an advanced position, then found himself defending superbly well to clear a dangerous looking Barca move. 
 
Colts were back in control and a neat move from Bainbridge, Smith, and then to Brown opened up another opportunity. However, once again the shot was wide of the target. 
 
Bainbridge was more influential in the second period and, following a good run, he fired a shot wide of the mark. The Barca keeper then pulled off a great stop to deny Brown his hat-trick. Goalkeeper, Irwin, had little to do but he claimed well from a Barca corner when he was called into action. 
 
In the 65th minute another Barca corner did find the head of a tall defender though, thankfully for Colts, the ball cleared the bar. 
 
With two minutes left, Smith and Bainbridge combined well before Smith struck only for the keeper to, again, save well. Colts created further chances but weren’t able to increase the margin before the final whistle sounded.
 
Full Time: KSC Barca 0-3 Largs Colts
 
All things considered this was another excellent performance and result. KSC Barca are a strong, physical side and they were determined to make it hard for Largs. Colts though have the ability to stand up to the physical side and at the same time move the ball quickly and it was this that was the difference between the sides. R. Coupar had another very strong game in the middle and was ably supported by McTaggart, 
 
Bainbridge and Cormack. At the back all four defenders played very well with Barbour and Loudon offering well in attack. Robson and Weir also ably supported Irwin in keeping another excellent clean sheet. The front pair of Smith and Brown started playing a little too far wide but, when they moved into a more advanced central role, created well. It was a close call for man of the match but the clinical Brown, with two goals and an assist, took the honours.
 
Colts have now won their last twelve games in a row and remain two points behind league leaders AC Irvine. The Largs boys now have a number of midweek games to play, as well as Saturdays, with the first being a trip to face a tough Ayr Boswell side on Tuesday 19th April, followed by another away day at Coylton on Saturday.
 
You can follow the boys’ progress on twitter (www.twitter.com/largscolts2002) @LargsColts2002 or on the website at www.clubwebsite.co.uk/largscolts2002
 
Largs Colts:  Irwin (GK), Barbour, Loudon, Weir, Robson R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown  Subs:  MacNeil, Leishman, J.Coupar, Blair, Florence.
 
 
Thursday, 14 April 2016 12:58

Largs Colts make it 11 wins from 11 in 2016

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Fixture: KSC Thistle v Largs Colts U14's
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA
Venue: Kilwinning Sports Centre
Date: Saturday 9th April 2016
 
After last weeks' League Cup triumph over Ayr Boswell, Largs Colts returned to league duty and were up against KSC Thistle. The starting eleven was unchanged as Irwin stood between the sticks. Infront of him was a back four of Barbour, Loudon, Robson and Weir.  In midfield was R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart, with Smith and Brown again leading the line. The squad was completed by subtitues J.Coupar, MacNeil, Blair and Leishman.
 
The visitors started brightly and were ahead less than a minute into the game. A corner from Bainbridge was played to R.Coupar, and the captain struck towards goal. It was blocked, but the ball fell to Smith inside the 6 yard box and the big striker finished well to give Largs Colts the lead.
 
Largs were much the better side in the opening exchanges, having chances through R.Coupar and then McTaggart who both shot wide of the post. They were also very solid at the back with Robson and Weir handling the Thistle strikers very well. That said, with twelve minutes played Largs were given a scare when the Thistle forward crashed a superb strike off the bar with Irwin beaten.
 
It wasn't long though until the hosts were level. The Largs defenders were slow to react to the loose ball and the Thistle striker was given time and space to slot the ball home for the equaliser.
 
Smith was presented with a golden chance to restore Largs' lead. R.Coupar played through a delightful ball to put Smith one-on-one with the keeper, but he dragged his shot just wide of the upright.
 
A moment of confusion as Thistle almost took the lead. The ball was played up to their striker, who was in an offside position, and with the Largs defenders claiming offside, a Thistle midfielder broke through from an onside position and he forced Irwin to pull off a magnificent save to keep the scores level.
 
27 minutes into the game and the bar saved Thistle from going behind. Robson rose highest in the box and bulleted his header towards goal, but it crashed off the upright and was cleared.
 
As the first half was drawing to a close, poor McTaggart had taken a sore one in the testimonials, and had to be replaced by MacNeil. No treatment for that unfortunately young man!
 
Half Time: KSC Thistle 1-1 Largs Colts
 
If Largs Colts want to win the league needed to step up the effort, keep the shape and pass it simple in the second half, and that is exactly what they did. Cormack, who worked hard but maybe wasn’t getting the breaks on the day, was replaced by the returning McTaggart at half time.
 
Inside the first minute and Colts won another corner. Again it was Robson with the header just wide of the target. He could of had a hat-trick! At the other end Irwin misjudged a free kick and it went out for a KSC Thistle corner. The ball in was not cleared first time by Colts though Loudon was able to get a second chance and cleared well.
 
Largs were piling on the pressure, and the goal was coming. Everyone could see it! With 46 minutes on the clock, the visitors took the lead. Some great work by Brown to bustle through some challenges, allowing himself to run through on goal before cutting the ball back to strike partner Smith only for the latter to strike home from 12 yards out. 2-1 Largs.
 
Then, the hearts were in the mouths. Seemingly in control of proceedings, Bainbridge looked to roll the ball back to his keeper. The pass wasn't firm enough and the Thistle striker was onto the loose ball in a flash, bared down on goal, but he couldn't beat the brick wall in Irwin. Fantastic stop from the big keeper, and a defining moment in the match.
 
I said it was a defining moment, as in almost the same move, little over a minute later, Largs gave themselves some breathing space. A strong goal-ward run from Smith forced the Thistle keeper into a good save, but Brown followed up onto the loose ball and he slotted the ball into the empty net. 3-1 now.
 
Inside the last 8 minutes and R.Coupar danced his way past three players before he was brought down 25 yards from goal. MacNeil, who had been excellent in holding the ball and linking play since coming on, looked to place the ball rather than going for power. The Thistle keeper did well to reach the ball though Brown was on hand to tap home to make it 4-1 Colts.
 
The game was well and truly wrapped up as Colts made it 5-1. Brown found Blair who played the ball into the path of R.Coupar twelve yards from goal and captain fantastic controlled the ball expertly before curling a sweet left footed strike into the corner.
 
Full Time: KSC Thistle 1-5 Largs Colts
 
Despite the bright start Colts were pegged back and had to really step up the effort and accuracy in the second half. Thankfully the boys did just that with some excellent passing football in the second period and four more goals to make the game safe. On the day best for Colts were Loudon at the back, R.Coupar in the midfield and MacNeil who although he only came on after 25 minutes did superbly well to hold the ball and to link play. The big midfielder has a challenge to get fully match fit though the skills and control were superb on the day he fully deserved to be named Man of the Match.
 
Colts move to within two points of league leaders AC Irvine with the teams due to meet in the last game of the season. Colts have 11 games to play in the league before then and start with a very tough trip back to Kilwinning to play KSC Barca next weekend. That said the confidence is there as the Largs boys have now racked up eleven wins in a row since the turn of the year.
 
Largs Colts:  Irwin (GK), Barbour, Loudon, Weir, Robson R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown  Substitutes:  MacNeil, Leishman, J.Coupar, Blair.
 
 
Friday, 25 March 2016 18:14

Watch: Bellfield Royals v Glenburn MW U13s

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Video highlights from the West of Scotland YFL Cup tie. 
 
Thursday, 17 March 2016 15:50

Semi Final time for Largs Colts

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Fixture: Largs Colts v Galston YFC U14
Competition: Central Ayrshire YFA - League Cup Quarter Final
Venue: Barrfields, Largs
Date: Saturday 12th March 2016
 
Largs Colts welcomed good friends Galston to Barrfields in this League Cup Quarter Final encounter. Since the sides last played, when Galston won in the league, the visitors have only lost once to the title challengers AC Irvine whilst Colts have won seven on the bounce, including six in the league. Colts had virtually a full squad to select from and started with a very strong eleven with Irwin in goal. The back four were Barbour, Loudon, Robson and Weir with the midfield covered by R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart. The front two who have been banging in the goals were Smith and Brown. On the Colts bench were Leishman, J.Coupar, Wilson and Florence.
 
The visitors started the brighter of the two teams and pushed the Colts team back in the early stages. With the game only two minutes old, Galston had a decent half chance which was well marshalled by Barbour. Colts then started to settle and Smith had an effort on goal which went wide of the target.
 
Soon after, Brown peeled away down the right and R.Coupar played a perfect ball in behind. Brown, who has been clinical this season, looked to pass the ball into the net but it flew agonisingly wide of the left upright. It was end to end football even this early in the match, and both sides playing excellent football.
 
Irwin was called into action only four minutes into the game and he produced a fine save following a strong run by the pacey Galston winger, Wamuziri. Galston were using his pace to great effect, terrorising the Colts defenders, and first Robson cleared before another through ball was played and despite it looking offside Irwin was again on hand to deny Galston.
 
Colts were the side to open the scoring and the breakthrough was made thanks a neat passing move with one-twos between Bainbridge and Smith, and it was when Smith found Brown who calmly slotted the ball home in trademark style.
 
Colts were on the front foot again as Smith then had an effort on goal from a free kick that thundered against the crossbar and out of play. Colts were very much in control at this stage, and  Bainbridge and McTaggart had shots from outside the area, although the keeper was not troubled.
 
Galston were always a danger on the break though, and the Colts defence was holding firm. Galston almost gifted Colts a second goal when the keeper miss-kicked a backpass, but Smith couldn't reach the loose ball. Cormack then had a great run from deep all the way to the edge of the box and as he was about to pull the trigger the Galston defender stopped him in his tracks with a good challenge.
 
Colts were having joy down the left with Bainbridge and Loudon working well, ably supported the hard working midfield and strikers. Smith did well on the half hour mark to win the ball and whip in a delightful cross, but somehow Galston cleared.
 
Bainbridge was next to test Galston with a good bursting run that created the chance for a shot which went just over the bar. Just before the break the impressive Wamuziri was played through and it took a perfectly timed challenge from Weir to stop the danger.
 
Half Time: Largs Colts 1-0 Galston
 
Into the second half and Colts started the brighter of the two sides. Only 90 seconds into the second half and Brown raced down on goal only to be challenged superbly by the Galston defender to put the ball behind for a corner.
 
The visitors were still creating chances and caused Largs a couple of problems from corners, but the were well defended in the end from the home side. The best chance for Galston to get back on level terms came seven minutes into the second half as the striker was baring down on goal. Claims for offside were waved away by the referee, and the striker looked destined to equalise, but Irwin pulled off an outstanding save to keep his side one goal in front. Excellent stop from the big man!
 
Yet again it was the woodwork to the rescue for Galston with Smith trying his luck. The ball sat up nicely for him and he struck a superb effort that crashed off the underside of the bar and was cleared to safety.
 
Bainbridge then had a great solo run and effort to win Colts a corner. As the ball was whipped into the box, it fell to Robson twelve yards out. The commanding centre back needed no second invitation to shoot and find the top left corner for a crucial second goal, to send the Colts boys into raptures.
 
It was the battle of the captains in central midfield as Galston's impressive Jai Ewing faced up against  Colts skipper R.Coupar. Two excellent footballers that controlled the game effortlessly, but with no shortage of grit and determination. On the hour mark, R.Coupar picked up the ball and with a bit of skill eased himself past a few players before unleashing a venomous shot towards goal, but his effort was just off target.
 
Colts continued to have the upper hand as the game wore on, and with only five minutes left to play, the game was made safe. Smith used his pace and strength to get through one on one with the keeper, and the big striker was calm in rounding the keeper before slotting home from a tight angle.
 
With seconds left to play, substitutes J.Coupar and Florence had a good passing move which then fell to J.Coupar for the shot which flew wide of the upright. The referee then brought a halt to proceedings and Largs Colts were into the semi final of the League Cup.
 
Cup holders Galston were eliminated by a very impressive Largs Colts side, on a day that everything went right for them. A man of the match couldn't be picked as the Largs Colts boys worked their socks off to get the victory they deserved. Every player gave 100% and they are more than worthwhile their semi final place. However, without the saves of Irwin in goals, the match could of panned out completely differently.
 
Both sides are a credit to Youth Football in Scotland, with the teams showing how football should be played and the attitude of everybody from both clubs, including coaches, parents etc was extremely positive.
 
Full Time: Largs Colts 3-0 Galston
 
Largs Colts:  Irwin (GK), Barbour, Loudon, Weir, Robson R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown  Subs: Leishman, J.Coupar, Wilson, Florence.