The West of Scotland Development League (WoSFDL) will kick off its inaugural season on Friday 15 September.
It was announced in July that the U20 Development Leagues would undergo a revamp ahead of 2023/24. The seven conferences, which fell under the Scottish Lowlands Development League have now been split into their respective league organisations.
The previously known Conferences E, F and G have merged into Conferences A, B, C and D under the new WoSFDL setup, which consists of 12, 14, 13 and 13 clubs respectively. All four conference winners will then compete to determine the WoSFDL Champion.
The campaign is already underway after the completion of the Player Data League Cup Group Stages and with 16 teams having progressed to the knockout phases, let’s delve into which club to watch out for in each division…
One to Watch: Blantyre Victoria
In an all-conference group, it would be interesting to see which team could offer an early indication of how they would fare against their own league opponents. Blantyre Victoria convincingly won the group with a 100% unbeaten record over Thorniewood, Bellshill and East Kilbride Thistle.
The Vics enjoyed a goal difference of +35, with only four conceded. This included consecutive 8-1 victories, as well as 5-1, 6-1, 5-0 and 7-0 scorelines. In addition, with a goal tally of 39, this highlights a team boasting a watertight defence and a plethora of attacking options at their disposal, thus indicating that the South Lanarkshire side are in a favourable position ahead of the league opener.
Cambuslang Rangers and Wishaw are two other Conference A clubs that are yet to suffer defeat and have also recorded a high total of goals, which could make for tantalising fixtures.
Conference A: Bellshill Athletic, Blantyre Victoria, Cambuslang Rangers, East Kilbride Thistle, Lanark United, Larkhall Thistle, Lochar Thistle, Newmains United, Shotts Bon Accord, Thorniewood United, Threave Rovers, Wishaw.
One to Watch: Easterhouse FA
Easterhouse Football Academy are relatively new to the lower echelons of Scottish football as they were only founded in 2020. In a group which consisted of established clubs, such as Cambuslang Rangers and fellow Conference side Vale of Clyde, an advance to the last 16 as one of the best runners-up can be viewed as an achievement.
Despite, back-to-back defeats at the hands of Cambuslang, one of which was a 2-0 loss on penalties after a 2-2 draw, a 7-1 and 2-1 win over the Tin Pail as well as 4-1 and 3-1 victories against Finnart, those results arguably set the Glasgow club in decent stead and that they are a force to be reckoned with.
In a Conference which also includes St Cadoc’s, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy and Benburb, many may not expect Easterhouse to set the heather alight, but they certainly have the potential to make their presence felt.
Conference B: Ashfield, Benburb, Easterhouse FA, Finnart, Gartcairn, Giffnock SC, Kilsyth Athletic, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy, Pollock, Rossvale, St Cadoc’s, St Roch’s, Vale of Clyde, West Park United.
One to Watch: Clydebank
As the only Conference C club to obtain a 100% record in the group stage of the competition, Clydebank are in the process of building strong foundations heading in the new campaign.
The Bankies secured 9-1, 7-1 and 3-2 victories alongside a 5-4 penalty shootout to top their section with only five goals conceded. However, with two narrow results, namely the penalty win against Vale of Leven (after a 1-1 draw) and 3-2 scoreline over Dumbarton, it has the making of being a league of small margins.
But the signs of being able to grind points from that calibre of matches is what could set apart the West Dunbartonshire club from their rivals this season.
Conference C: Clydebank, Dumbarton, Glasgow University, Greenock Juniors, Johnstone Burgh, Knightswood, Maryhill, Renfrew, St Anthony’s, St Peter’s, Thorn Athletic, Vale of Leven, Yoker Athletic.
One to Watch: Troon
In a division which includes the likes of Darvel and Auchinleck Talbot, it is the initial promising performances from Troon that could make them the ‘surprise package’ in Conference D.
Another club to get off the mark with no defeats, the Seasiders recorded high-scoring results, including 7-0 and 8-0 victories. In addition, the fact that only two goals were conceded over four matches indicates a stubborn defence, which could be difficult for many teams to break down.
When you are in a league which includes ‘big hitters’, a reluctance to be exposed in defence certainly wouldn’t do you any harm and could be the difference to the Ayrshire club’s final league position come next March.
Conference D: Ardrossan Winter Rovers, Arthurlie, Auchinleck Talbot, Bonnyton Thistle, Cumnock Juniors, Dalry Thistle, Darvel, Girvan, Irvine Meadow XI, Kilwinning Rangers, Maybole Juniors, Neilston, Troon.
For more information on clubs, conferences, fixtures and results, visit the league website.
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