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Sunday, 09 April 2017 18:26

TASS ready for Irish adventure

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Story courtesy of Dundalk Sport.
 
The children of TASS Thistle FC from North Ayrshire in Scotland will travel to Dundalk for a sporting visit over the Easter weekend.
 
First up for the Scots is a visit to the ‘Home of Football’ on Good Friday when Dundalk FC entertain Bray Wanderers in an SSE Airtricity League Premier Division fixture at Oriel Park.
 
On Easter Saturday, the astroturf pitch in Muirhevnamor will play host to a seven-a-side five-team blitz for kids born in 2008. TASS Thistle (Coerver® Partner Club) will compete against local clubs Muirhevnamor, Glenmuir (Celtic international Partner club) Quay Celtic and Rock Celtic (Coerver® Partner Club).
 
The trip, which is the first of what will hopefully become an annual festival of football between the clubs, has been organised by Mark Bellew, a native of Dundalk who is now living in Scotland.
 
Mark has strong links with the local football community in Dundalk. A son of Seamus Bellew, known to many in the town as ‘Mr Muirhevnamor’, he played with Muirhevnamor, Redeemer United, Shamrock Celtic and Bellurgan United before moving to Scotland in 2007.
 
Speaking to Dundalk Sport, Mark said he was looking forward to the trip home with his son Sonny, and his teammates and coaches from TASS 2008.
 
“It will be nice to start building a lasting legacy with my father’s name attached,” said Mark. “He loves the Dundalk Schoolboys League and Dundalk FC. It’s just a pity he’s not well enough to attend the event.”
 
“The aim of the tournament is to build friendship between the two countries and to cross religious divides that may still exist between the respective footballing communities,” he added.
 
“Each year, as the kids grow older, we hope their friendships grow too.”
 
Fixtures will be played throughout the day with TASS set to face Quay Celtic and Rock Celtic in the morning matches before meeting Muirhevnamor and Glenmuir in the afternoon.
 
 
The DAGYL (Dumfries and Galloway Youth League) has been taken by storm by Lochar Thistle 2002’s. They remain at the top of the table with an astonishing fifteen wins and 0 loss record. We caught up with the coach, Jordan Hammond, to find out the secrets to their success.
 
He feels like the reason for his team’s success is the motivation and determination to come back stronger than last season. “We finished runners up in the league and a cup tournament in the previous season and managed to win a different cup tournament. I think the boys are determined to deliver on all three fronts this year after narrowly missing out last season.” The team are hoping to make their mark on the league by dominating in cup tournaments and the league.
 
Although they haven’t lost yet it doesn’t mean they haven’t had their fair share of close calls. Jordan said “Our most intense game to date would have to be cup quarter finals against Annan. This was a close game which we won 4-3 but it was very back and forth and a hard-fought victory.” Annan Athletic are closely following Lochar in the league so this game was bound to be competitive.
 
An unbeaten record throughout the whole season would be an astonishing feat. However, Lochar remain confident and this is a goal they believe they can reach. “It has been a goal in which the coaches and the players set upon themselves at the start of the season to try and remain undefeated. I know if the boys are highly determined to do this and with hard work I feel we can get there” The coaches have obviously had a large impact on these players to keep them motivated. “I know all the other teams will be looking to knock us off so we’ll need to be at our best week in, week out.” Jordan realises that Lochar is the biggest competition in the DAGYL and other teams will be looking to hand them their first loss.
 
Teamwork is a huge factor in Lochar and Jordan has emphasised this by saying “No player has been better than another, I see football as a team sport and the boys have really bought into the system that we have put in place for them to play in” This system translates well from paper and training into the real game. “My favourite moment to date would be our away game to Galloway Thistle in which the boys played their best football to date. It was great to witness all the things we have been practicing being put to use in the game” This game against Galloway Thistle ended 9-2 to Lochar. The training and coaching for Lochar Thistle is being used to their full extent and this is show in their results.
 
Lochar are looking to reach the finals of both cup tournaments this season as well as the remaining league run. Jordan said “I am looking forward to our two semi-finals and hoping we can reach both finals for consecutive years but they will be very tough games. I am also looking forward to the league run as we are looking to clinch the title that eluded us the previous season”
 
The confidence shown here by coaches and players is a big reason why Lochar Thistle 2002 are at the top of their league and haven't been beaten yet. 
 



It takes a lot of qualities and characteristics to get through the entire league season without losing a single match; determination, consistency, team spirit and a never-say-die attitude, and those traits are something AC Irvine Under 14s have displayed in abundance throughout the 2015/16 season.

Seeing off their nearest challengers Vaspar FC by 11 points and Larg Colts by 14 points, Irvine stormed their way to the Central Ayrshire League title, scoring 161 goals along the way, with 25 of those strikes coming from main man Blair Craig.

However, halfway through the season and cruising, Irvine faced a huge dilemma. When Kilmarnock FC offered Craig the chance to go pro youth it was an opportunity he was never going to turn down. Losing their top scorer could have proved to be such a large bow in their title hopes. However, they had Jonny Irvine to step in and fill his boots.

Half a season and 30 goals later, Irvine finished as the team’s top scorer after missing the opening few matches of the season.

One characteristic which defines an unbeaten team is the willingness to fight to the end and refusal to accept defeat. This is perhaps the reason behind Irvine’s successes, with late goals coming against both Largs and Rosebank to keep the run going being particular highlights.

One moment in the season which defined this team of warriors was in late February, 2-0 down against Galston YFC, many teams would have given up and accepted that it wasn’t to be their day. Irvine are not one of those teams. They fought back, and hit Galston with four goals to run out 4-2 winners, preserving their unbeaten record from an unlikely position. This result highlighted the ability that Irvine possess, with other high points such as their convincing wins against Galston and Glenburn, displaying the ruthlessness and goals within the side. Ultimately, their tendency to find the back of the net with almost ease was the key component in their fantastic invincible season.

One of the main reasons that Irvine have been so successful is their results against fellow title challengers, picking up all 12 points available against Vaspar and Larg Colts, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Despite the points gap, manager Chris Carruthers told Youth Football Scotland that the title race was a lot tougher than people may have thought. He said: “The league was a lot closer than it looked in my opinion as our boys were starting to feel the pressure of clinging on to our unbeaten record. With that in mind, we knew our last two games were against Valspar, who finished 2nd and Largs Colts, who finished 3rd.”

He added: “I said earlier in the season that it looked like everyone in CAYFA league could take points off one another and it certainly proved to be the case.”

Congratulations to AC Irvine Under 14s, unbeaten Central Ayrshire league champions for 2015/16!

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.