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Swashbuckling Blackburn revel in south-east region league success

Blackburn United 2009s ended their season as South East Region Youth Football League Division 1 champions by six points after a near-perfect league campaign which saw the West Lothian side come out victorious in 21 of their 24 fixtures.

Blackburn were rampant in their race to secure the title as soon as they could, scoring a mouth-watering 88 goals. Their padlocked defence only leaked 12 efforts, with goalkeeper Charlie Reid recording 13 shutouts throughout the season.

Runners-up Lochend ran the eventual winners close, as the narrow winning margin would suggest. However, due to the rules of the competition, head-to-head results would be looked at first before goal difference, placing extra significance upon the results when these sides would meet each other in case their point tallies did not separate them.

Although this was in the end not relevant, Blackburn made it count when the two sides faced off, drawing 1-1 in their first encounter away from home, and then defeating them 2-1 in their second meeting on home soil.

 It was the latter of the two results just mentioned that Club Secretary Chris Boyle hailed as the moment when winning the league became a probable reality for the players. He said: “The home victory against Lochend in late March was probably the turning point, however, we still had some tough games against the likes of Musselburgh, who we drew and narrowly won against to seal the title, and Edinburgh United was another tough victory against a fantastic football side.”

Head Coach Trevor Longhurst was ever modest in his reflection, saying that this season’s success was, “all down to the boys”.

Two of the heroes have secured pro-youth contracts going into next season. Alexander Cooper and Dylan Ritchie have reaped the rewards from their terrific seasons and will play in Scottish Premiership side St. Johnstone’s academy in the 2024/25 campaign. Centre-half, Thomas Junik, also deserves credit for his performances over the course of the season, as the stalwart was a rock in front of the aforementioned Reid in the net, contributing to Blackburn’s 0.54 clean-sheet ratio.

The attackers were no slouches either, as Blackburn recorded an impressive 3.67 goals per game, ending the season with 21 wins, 2 draws, and 1 defeat, proving themselves as a formidable force that any side would have a hard time against, even more impressive when the setback of cup defeats are taken into account.

When asked about the next steps for Blackburn 2009s, Secretary Burke said they hope to “build on the success of being the first Blackburn team to win SERYFA and add a few new signings to not only replace the one’s going to pro-youth but improve the team to challenge for every trophy we compete in.” She added: “The past 2 winners of the Scottish Cup at this age group have come from SERYFA so why not us?”

Everyone at YFS congratulates Blackburn 2009’s on an amazing season, and wishes the best to the two youngsters off to St. Johnstone, and the rest of the squad and staff who look to build on this season’s success with even more next season.

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