Our U19 team were crowned winners of the 10-team tournament at Linlithgow on Saturday thanks to a 3-0 win over Stenhousemuir AFC in the final.
The tournament started well for the young Binos as they swept aside Alloa 3-0, including a goal from Bradley Coyne, who was using the tournament as an opportunity to get some further valuable game time as he steps up his return to competitive action.
The youngsters, featuring a number of trialists, then suffered a setback by losing their next match to hosts Linlithgow Thistle by 2-0. They rallied in their next match by gaining a good draw with top Glasgow amateur side, Drumchapel AFC.
The main objective in playing in the Linlithgow Tournament is to introduce our younger players to the rigours of adult football, and with players as young as 15 in the side it was always likely to be a steep learning curve.
It wasn’t long before the players started to show signs of getting to grips with the fineries of men’s football, when they clinically saw off Edinburgh side, Sandy’s AFC, before winning their final group game against a Sporting Futures USA XI to take the runners-up spot in Group A.
Momentum is a key to winning football tournaments and Stirling went into their semi-final with Carronshore AFC in terrific form. The winners of Group B were also coming into the match in confident mood, having a 100% record in their group.
It was the Carronshore men who would take the lead against the run of play but the Stirling players refused to buckle and maintained their excellent possession style of football.
As the game wore on, the superior fitness and passing ability of the Stirling team began to wear down the Carronshore defence. It was no surprise when Steven Forbes curled a terrific free kick into the top corner to level the match. Forbes wasn’t finished there and scored one of the goals of the tournament five minutes from time to send the Binos through to the final.
The final saw Stirling up against defending champions, Stenhousemuir AFC. Albion got out of the blocks quickly and Player of the Tournament, Chris Paton, opened the scoring with a fine drive from the edge of the box. A header from Derek Murray doubled our advantage and Forbes converted a penalty to seal the trophy on an excellent weekend for Dave Binnie & Graeme Donald’s boys.
Squad: Denholm, Robertson, Hamilton, Cross, Davidson, Boyle, Grant, Al-Sayed, Forbes, Cooper, Moffat, Paton, Coyne, Johnston, Cochrane, Murray, Thompson.