Our U20 side play their final Development League East game before the winter break on Tuesday December 19 against Raith Rovers.
The match will be played at the Michael Woods Sports Centre in Glenrothes, with a 7.30pm kick-off.
Stirling Albion’s U20 side were beaten 2-0 by Berwick Rangers in the SPFL Development League East on the Forthbank Astro on Monday evening.
Report by Andrew MacDonald
Andy Todd made two changes to the starting line-up who defeated Forfar last week, as the boys lined up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation. The visitors travelled to Forthbank looking to improve on their latest result – a 5-0 trouncing at the hands of Livingston.
Both teams started the match cautiously, as they tried to work openings through passing play. The young Binos didn’t create much in the opening 20 minutes, captain Ryan Lockie coming closest with a free kick won by Alberto Vezza 25 yards out which the keeper did well to tip over. The Wee Gers were much the same, coming closest with a shot that Lockie did well to block.
Berwick broke the deadlock with 25 minutes gone following a corner – the ball was swung in for an unopposed Kieran Jack to simply nod into the goal from four yards out. An extremely poor goal for our U20 side to concede.
Stirling looked to hit back three minutes later, as left-back Luke Martin drove inside, holding off his opponents. The defender reached the edge of the Berwick box, but his pass was over-hit to the dismay of his team-mates. This was one of the young Binos’ most promising openings in the first half. The boys closed out the half with a couple more half chances, as Callum MacDonald’s shot was saved before Kyle Banner headed a Lockie free kick over the bar.
Grant Rose punished Stirling for their lack of creativity in the 40th minute. The attacker pounced on a poor clearance, dribbled past a defender and stroked the ball into the right-hand side of Ronan Fallens’ net. Another avoidable goal conceded.
The opening period of the second half saw Stirling continue to spurn the half chances they had. Vezza skipped a few challenges before setting up MacDonald at the edge of the box. The midfielder cut the ball on to his right foot, only for his goal-bound shot to be blocked.
Top scorer Reg McLaren skewed the ball wide from the edge of the box, after initially controlling it and working space expertly. Marc Innes then had the best chance of the game for Stirling. A MacDonald corner was flicked on to Innes at the back post, where the midfielder took the ball down and saw his dipped effort shave the top of the bar.
McLaren nearly pulled one back in the 75th minute, as he headed Lockie’s ball into the box over the bar. The Black & Gold nearly made it 3-0 with a minute to play, as they worked the ball into the box from the left, only to see the shot blocked by substitute Brooklyn Mair
Overall this was a poor game of football, which wasn’t pretty on the eye. The boys look to bounce back in their last league game of 2017 away to league leaders Raith Rovers next week.
1 R Fallens
2 K Banner (B Mair 70’)
3 L Martin
4 R Lockie
5 G Stanger
6 M Innes (D Cumming 78’)
7 D Young (J Watson 78’)
8 T Evans
9 R McLaren
10 C MacDonald
11 A Vezza
Our U20 side thrashed Forfar Athletic 6-2 at Station Park in the Development League East on Tuesday night.
Top scorer Reg McLaren scored twice, with Alberto Vezza, Callum MacDonald, Dillon Young and Taylor Evans also on target for Andy Todd’s team.
Report by Andrew MacDonald
The boys travelled to Station Park with a depleted squad, with Kyle Banner, Declyn Cumming and Justin Watson unavailable. The young Binos lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Andy Todd making three changes to the team defeated by Alloa in their last competitive outing. The hosts came into the fixture with more confidence, a 2-2 draw with the same Alloa side their latest result.
The game was very even to start with, as both sides had half chances to open the scoring during the first 20 minutes. The Forfar left-back Josh Chambers managed to wriggle through our defence and shoot with his weaker right foot. Ronan Fallens was on hand to deny the defender, as he got down low to save the effort. Shortly after, Callum MacDonald dispossessed a Forfar defender in the box, only for a last-ditch tackle to deny him a goalscoring opportunity.
Stirling took the lead after 25 minutes. Captain Ryan Lockie turned creator for the fourth time this season as his curling corner was met by the unmarked Alberto Vezza. The winger headed the ball into the ground for it to perfectly bounce into the top of the net.
Not much of note happened for the 10-minute period before the Loons equalised. Some neat passing in the final third led to forward Jamie Gill turning neatly on the edge of the box and firing the ball past Fallens at his near post.
Albion took the lead again four minutes later. Fallens caught a shot from a Loons corner and proceeded to start a quick counter attack. He punted the ball up to Vezza, who did excellently to get the slightest of headed flicks despite being challenged by two taller markers. The ball fell in front of Reg McLaren, who had no problem dispatching the ball into the corner of the net from 15 yards.
Brimming with confidence, Stirling nearly repeated the already successful Vezza-McLaren combination, as the winger picked out the striker with a precise 30-yard pass with 44 minutes played. McLaren held off his challengers well, but the keeper beat away the left-footed effort.
Stirling were forced into a change just before half time, as the injured Ross Cameron was replaced by Dillon Young. This prompted Andy Todd into a tactical change, with MacDonald moving into the attacking midfield position and Young playing an unfamiliar right midfield role. However, the latter made an instant impact, as he used his physical presence to create an opening three minutes into the second half, seeing his lobbed effort go narrowly wide.
Stirling extended their lead in the 63rd-minute, as Taylor Evans continued his domination of the midfield by winning the ball and spraying a pass wide to Young. The makeshift winger caught the ball just before it went out and crossed it perfectly to McLaren, who opened up his body expertly to guide the ball into the net for his 11th goal of the season. A beautiful goal from pass to cross to finish.
The young Binos were on fire, McLaren especially, as two minutes later he turned provider. The striker ran on to Fallens’ goal kick before cutting the ball back to MacDonald on the edge of the six-yard box. The midfielder made no mistake, as he hammered the ball into the corner. The Loons had capitulated within the space of two minutes.
It only got better for the young Binos, who were in imperious form. MacDonald received the ball in the centre circle on 73 minutes and sent his marker the wrong way with an audacious turn. He dribbled a few yards forward and picked out Young with an eye-of-the-needle pass, who beat the offside trap perfectly and slotted the ball into the corner. Another excellent Stirling goal! Things got worse for Forfar shortly after this goal, as one of their forwards was sent off for dissent.
The only thing missing for Stirling was a McLaren hat-trick. The striker nearly notched one, as a neat exchange from Brooklyn Mair and MacDonald culminated in McLaren’s effort from 12 yards deflecting over the bar.
Forfar managed to get a goal back with five minutes remaining, forward Jamie Penker scoring from an acute angle. Evans then made it 6-2 with the last kick of the game. He yet again won the ball in the middle of the field and skipped two challenges before lashing the ball past the Loons keeper.
An outstanding team performance from our U20 team, who romped to victory. There were many eye-catching performances, with Reg McLaren bagging a brace for the third game in a row.
1. R. Fallens
2. B. Mair
3. L. Martin
4. R. Lockie
5. G. Stanger
6. M. Innes
7. C. MacDonald
8. T. Evans
9. R. McLaren
10. R. Cameron (Young 41’)
11. A. Vezza
Andrew MacDonald reports on how our U20 players fared on loan at Junior clubs across Scotland this weekend.
U20 captain Ryan Lockie completed 90 minutes as his Camelon side defeated league challengers Penicuik Athletic 1-0 at home. The left-back put in an impressive defensive display and was one of the main reasons why Camelon kept a clean sheet. The Mariners remain mid-table in the East Region Superleague.
Brooklyn Mair played the full game for his Oakley United side in a 3-2 victory against Edinburgh United in the capital. Mair – who played right-back – was consistently winning the ball and using it efficiently. The win over high-flying Edinburgh enabled Oakley to move up two places to ninth in the East Region South Division.
Alberto Vezza came up against two of his U20 team-mates in the shape of Luke Martin and Justin Watson as Carluke Rovers defeated Newmains United 7-0 in the Central District Second Division.
Vezza played the final half hour and managed to influence proceedings like he’s been doing in development matches by laying on an assist. Martin and Watson were both good on the ball despite the scoreline as the pair completed 90 minutes. Carluke rise to fifth in the league, whereas Newmains remain rooted to the bottom.
Thorniewood United’s Declyn Cumming played right midfield as he completed 90 minutes in his side’s 3-1 loss at Glasgow Perthshire. Cumming was an influential presence in attack and defence. Midfielder Marc Innes played the final 30 minutes of the game. The loss sees fellow strugglers Glasgow Perthshire create a five-point gap over Thorniewood at the bottom of the Central District First Division.
Elsewhere, Reg McLaren watched on as his Luncarty side were defeated 3-2 by Kinnoull. The loss sees Luncarty slip to fourth in the East Region North Division after being in a prominent position in the table. Dillon Young was unavailable for Wishaw’s 2-0 win over Yorker Athletic while Callum MacDonald has been recalled from his loan spell with Camelon.
Stirling Albion has received an apology from the Scottish FA following the press release this week on the status of their ‘Project Brave’ plans for youth development.
Seven clubs, including Stirling Albion, and all current Club Academy Scotland (CAS) members, were omitted from the details of how the new system will look from January 2018. There was no mention of the proposal for an Advanced Youth Programme for these clubs to allow them to continue the good work being done.
When Head of Youth (Admin) Stewart Taylor wrote on Thursday to express his disappointment he received a phone call apology from Campbell Money – the CAS Performance Academy Officer.
Airdrieonians, Alloa Athletic, Elgin City, Livingston, Montrose and Queen of the South, along with Stirling Albion, were not in a position to embark on a programme at the new Elite, Progressive Performance or Performance levels proposed. The cost and criteria for inclusion will be substantial and outwith realistic consideration.
However, having indicated their intention to continue with a development programme, all expected to be included in details of the alternative Advanced Youth Programme. The fact this development received no mention is a major disappointment to these clubs, who all certainly intend to continue with their youth academies.
A hastily-arranged meeting for all seven clubs will take place on Thursday to go over, with the SFA, the implications of the Advanced Youth Programme but our young players and their parents should be aware that Stirling Albion FC intends to try to continue the good work being done by players, parents, youth coaches and first-team staff.
Our club has been involved since the youth development initiative began in 1997 and, although it has often been a financial struggle, our programme has produced over 50 players who have played in our first team. We don’t intend to throw in the towel on giving our youngsters a chance to make it to first-team level.
SAFC Head of Youth (admin)
Stirling Albion’s U20 side return to SPFL Development League East action on Monday evening when they face Cowdenbeath on the Forthbank Astro, kick-off 8.00pm.
Andy Todd’s team ran out 6-2 winners when the sides met at New Central Park, home of Kelty Hearts, at the beginning of October.
Our U20 team were beaten 3-2 by Alloa Athletic in the SPFL Development League on Monday night. Reg McLaren got both our goals at the Indodrill Stadium.
Report by Andrew MacDonald
Andy Todd’s side lined up in a 3-4-2-1 formation for the second time this season. Forward Ross Cameron returned to the line-up and U17 goalkeeper Callum Law started. Alloa lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, a narrow loss to Raith Rovers being their latest result.
It was a sensational start to the match by Stirling, who scored after less than two minutes. It was all the work of striker Reg McLaren, who dispossessed the Alloa keeper after a poor touch and passed the ball into the net from just inside the box. A fantastic start for our U20 team! The boys didn’t do much in the way of extending their lead, as the hosts responded well by putting crosses into the box and trying to work openings.
The Wasps’ persistence was rewarded in the 17th minute, as the ball found its way to the Alloa left midfielder, who skipped past three challenges before driving into the box and finishing into the bottom left corner.
Alloa were continuing to cause problems on the flanks, as their wingers were regularly outpacing their makers and dribbling into positions of danger, or delivering whipped crosses into the box. Stirling did construct one nice passing move in the first half, but this resulted in McLaren striking the ball over the crossbar.
It was a bad start to the second half for the boys, as the hosts mirrored the timing of our first-half goal by scoring with two minutes gone. The Wasps’ right midfielder beat three players before cutting in and rifling the ball into the far top corner of Law’s goal.
It was a good response from the boys however, who drew level in the 51st minute. Alberto Vezza won a free kick 30 yards from goal, which captain Ryan Lockie duly curled into the box. McLaren rose highest and guided a perfect header into the corner. Unstoppable for the keeper! George Stanger nearly put Stirling ahead but his low shot was saved.
The game was fairly open, with both sides creating half chances, but it was Alloa who went 3-2 up as some poor defensive positioning from Stirling resulted in a simple ball over the top putting the Alloa striker through on goal. Law did well to initially save the striker’s shot, but an on-running midfielder slotted home the rebound.
The Alloa wingers were yet again causing problems, as they continued to whip crosses into the box and shoot from distance. If it wasn’t for the impressive debutant Law – who made a couple of point-blank saves and beat dangerous crosses away – the young Binos would have been trailing by more than one goal.
Callum MacDonald came closest to finding an equaliser, his driving run from the right-hand side ending with his left-footed shot going just over the bar. The wing-back also had a top-corner bound free kick palmed over by the keeper.
The young Binos thought they had equalised in the 84th minute when Kyle Banner headed a cross into the net but the referee gave the Wasps a free kick for infringement.
Despite an impressive double from top scorer McLaren it was another development derby defeat for the young Binos, who have no game next week.
Stirling Albion line-up
1 Callum Law
2 Callum MacDonald
3 Ryan Lockie
4 Kyle Banner
5 Dillon Young (Luke Martin 86)
6 George Stanger
7 Marc Innes
8 Taylor Evans (Declyn Cumming 79)
9 Reg McLaren
10 Ross Cameron
11 Alberto Vezza (Justin Watson 79)
Sub (not used): Brooklyn Mair
Our U20 side are back in action on Monday night when we make the short journey to play Alloa at the Indodrill Stadium, kick-off 7.45pm.
Andy Todd’s side were in good goalscoring form last week, beating Cumbernauld Colts 4-2 in the Youth Cup third round on Monday and drawing 4-4 away to Livingston in the Development League East on Wednesday.
Andrew MacDonald looks at how our on-loan U20 players fared at the weekend…
Brooklyn Mair continued his recovery from injury as he played 90 minutes for his Oakley United side, who came from two goals down to draw with Harthill Royal 2-2. Luncarty’s Reg McLaren played the final 20 minutes as the East Region North Division leaders drew 0-0 away to East Craigie.
Defender Dillon Young completed a bizarre 45 minutes for his Wishaw side as they went down 4-3 away to Rossvale. The game saw three late goals and the Wishaw goalkeeper bagging a brace of penalties! Despite the loss, Wishaw are still mounting a title challenge in the Central District First Division.
It was disappointment for Justin Watson and Newmains United, being convincingly beaten by Lanark United away from home. Luke Martin was unavailable for this match. Newmains have some work to do in the league, sitting 12th in the Central District Second Division. The loss sets up a vital game against fellow strugglers Dunipace next Saturday.
Elsewhere, Alberto Vezza watched his Carluke Rovers lose 3-1 to St Anthony’s at home, while Ryan Lockie and Callum MacDonald’s Camelon, as well as Declyn Cumming and Marc Innes’ Thorniewood United games were called off due to adverse weather.