The next match for our U20 side in the SPFL Development League East is against Cowdenbeath on Wednesday February 21.
The game will be played at Central Park, kick-off 7.30pm.
Our U20 side were beaten 4-3 by Ross County in the fourth round of the Scottish FA Youth Cup on the Forthbank Astro on Sunday afternoon.
The Staggies led 2-0 early in the second half but a stunning fightback saw Taylor Evans, Marc Innes and Justin Watson turn things round in the space of 12 minutes.
Goals after 72 and 75 minutes saw the Staggies through to a quarter-final against Aberdeen but this was a performance to be proud of from Andy Todd’s team.
Report by Andrew MacDonald
Andy Todd lined his side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation as Kyle Banner and Connor McMullan provided crucial first-team experience. The visitors were playing their first competitive fixture since the end of January, when they were defeated 2-1 by current Development League table-toppers Hibernian.
The young Binos started the better of the two sides as they exerted pressure on the visitors for the first 15 minutes. Ross Cameron was denied a penalty in the second minute as he appeared to be chopped down after beating his opponent. Top scorer Reg McLaren and midfielder Taylor Evans also had early efforts but their shots were wide.
The boys were playing well, as they took the game to the Staggies. Our opponents had their first meaningful effort after 18 minutes, as Stirling keeper Ronan Fallens parried the ball to the edge of the box for a Ross County player to smash over the crossbar.
County took the lead after half an hour through Sam Morrison as he slipped away from his marker from a corner to volley home. A very avoidable goal from an Albion perspective.
McLaren was trying to get his team back into contention. The striker had a fine game, his hold-up play was a joy to watch. One particularly impressive piece of play led to the striker driving infield and curling the ball into the path of advancing full-back Callum MacDonald. The defender’s cross wasn’t met by a team-mate, however.
Banner then blocked a goal-bound shot on the stroke of half-time as the Staggies went into the interval a goal to the good. Our U20s were disappointed to be trailing, considering the start they made to the game.
The second half was a thrilling affair. It started terribly for Stirling, as Ross County extended their lead in the 47th minute. Indecision with our goalkeeper and defence resulted in an easy finish for left winger Ross MacIver at the back post.
Minutes later, Evans gave the young Binos lifeline. The midfielder controlled the ball from a slack header and superbly swivelled in the box to fire a shot into the corner. An excellent effort from Evans, who had a very influential game.
Marc Innes then scored one of the most outrageous goals of the season for Stirling. The ball fell to him at the right hand side of the box – he expertly wrapped his foot round the ball and stroked a curled effort into the top left-hand corner. Outstanding technique from the central midfielder, as he opened his account for the season.
The young Binos then took the lead in the 63rd minute, as Justin Watson sent his team-mates into hysteria. McLaren picked up the ball in the centre circle, as he again did fantastically to hold up the ball. The striker played through substitute Justin Watson, who raced past his marker and slotted the ball past the on-rushing County goalie. A great finish by Watson, who wheeled away in celebration with all his team-mates.
The visitors were becoming frantic with their attempts to get back into the game but they managed to score an equaliser in the 71st minute. MacDonald made an excellent block to deny a certain goal but, following the corner, Tom Grivosti found the net. Another completely avoidable goal for the boys.
Devastatingly for Stirling, the Staggies went 4-3 ahead through Greg Morrison in the 75th minute following something of a stramash in the box. Again, Stirling should be disappointed with the way they conceded.
The young Binos pressed for a late leveller, but were unsuccessful in their attempts. Despite the loss, it was a very accomplished performance from our U20 side.
1. Ronan Fallens
2. Callum MacDonald (Declan Cumming 81)
3. Luke Martin
4. Ryan Lockie
5. Kyle Banner
6. Marc Innes (Dillon Young 81)
7. Alberto Vezza
8. Connor McMullan
9. Reg McLaren
10. Ross Cameron (Justin Watson 56)
11. Taylor Evans
Sub (not used): Brooklyn Mair
Stirling Albion’s U20 side are in action on Sunday, February 11, when they face Ross County in a twice-postponed Scottish FA Youth Cup fourth-round tie on the Forthbank Astro, kick-off 2.00pm.
Andy Todd’s team have knocked out Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale and Cumbernauld Colts to reach this stage and a quarter-final trip to Aberdeen would be the reward if they can pull off a cup upset.
Ross County are currently eighth in the 14-team SPFL Development League.
Stirling Albion’s U20 side drew 1-1 with Alloa Athletic in the SPFL Development League East on the Forthbank Astro on Monday evening.
Report by Andrew MacDonald
Our U20s played their first competitive fixture for over a month on Monday night after their mid-season break. Andy Todd lined the team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with first-team player Liam Caddis assisting the young Binos in central midfield.
The visitors nearly took an early lead, as some neat play down the right wing resulted in an accurate cross being flashed across the Stirling goalmouth which the left winger couldn’t make the most of.
Stirling created some chances of their own through Connor McMullan and Kyle Banner. The pair created three opportunities from set-pieces during the first half, the result being Banner narrowly heading wide each time.
The young Binos created a number of half chances before scoring, as Callum MacDonald advanced from full-back to fizz a dangerous ball across the box and Ross Cameron was causing problems down the left, as his trickery led to the opposition keeper being tested a number of times.
Stirling opened the scoring in the 28th minute through a moment of magic from Alberto Vezza. The winger beautifully controlled Taylor Evans’ cross-field pass – with a deft touch he nutmegged his marker before dribbling towards the edge of the box to gorgeously curl the ball into the top left corner of the net. Utter brilliance from Vezza, who wrapped his left foot round the ball expertly to leave the Alloa keeper with no chance. A goal worthy of opening the scoring in any game.
Unfortunately, the visitors managed to equalise shortly after as poor defending cost our U20 side on 34 minutes. Dylan Monaghan curled in a corner for defender Scott Cameron to simply tap home at the back post. Alloa nearly scored again minutes later, as a mix-up in defence resulted in the Wasps striking the crossbar.
The second half was a much more subdued affair. Stirling had a few half chances, as Vezza, Evans and Cameron all had unsuccessful efforts on goal. The visitors then came close in the 64th minute, as their right winger beat three Stirling players before being denied by Ronan Fallens in goal. The keeper got down low to save what would have been an excellent individual goal.
The young Binos then had further chances with 20 minutes to play, as Ryan Lockie and Cameron’s top-corner bound free-kicks were saved. Vezza was then played in by substitute Marc Innes on the right of the box. The winger did well to out muscle his marker before firing over the bar.
Our U20 side had three chances to win the game in the dying moments. Banner had a certain headed goal from a corner cleared off the line. The boys tried to scramble the ball over the line, but it was cleared again. Another corner was then swung in for Banner to meet, but the central defender was again denied, this time by the Alloa keeper.
The boys will be disappointed with the draw, considering the chances they had in the closing moments of the game. The young Binos return to action this Sunday, as they face Ross County in the Scottish Youth Cup on the Forthbank Astro, kick-off 2.00pm.
R McLaren (J Watson 76’)
T Evans (M Innes 71’)
Subs (not used): D Cumming, B Mair, D Young, Trialist
Andrew MacDonald reports on how our U20 players fared on loan at Junior clubs across Scotland at the weekend. Only four players had matches, as many fixtures fell victim to the weather.
Full-back Brooklyn Mair made his debut for Rosyth, as his new side came from behind to defeat Livingston United 5-1 in the East Region South Division. Mair played 85 minutes at right-back, where he tackled well and used the ball effectively. Rosyth currently sit in eighth place in their league.
U20 captain Ryan Lockie played 90 minutes as his Camelon side progressed to the third round of the East of Scotland Cup, defeating Downfield 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw. The left-back gave a typically solid defensive performance and contributed an assist as he curved a cross to the back post for Camelon’s second goal. Ross Cameron made his debut for Camelon off the bench, as he played the final 30 minutes. The forward was involved in the build-up play for the second goal.
Reg McLaren’s Luncarty also progressed to the third round of the East of Scotland Cup after winning 1-0 at home to Fauldhouse. The striker made a nuisance of himself for the final 15 minutes of the match after coming on as a sub.
Andrew MacDonald with the latest news from the U20 squad…
It was a hectic transfer deadline day for U20 coach Andy Todd, as he looked to secure development loan moves for a number of his playing squad.
Prior to deadline day, five players had already extended stays at their respective loan clubs. Captain Ryan Lockie extended his stay at Camelon, where he’s been a regular at left-back for the Carmuirs Park side. Defender Dillon Young remains with Wishaw, where he’s played 10 games so far this season.
U20 top scorer Reg McLaren extends his loan with Luncarty. The striker has notched four goals for the Bleachers thus far. Declyn Cumming and Marc Innes will continue their development loans with Thorniewood United in the Central Region First Division.
Andy Todd managed to finalise five more loan deals on transfer deadline day last Wednesday. Brooklyn Mair has a new club, as he switched Oakley United for Rosyth Juniors in the East Region South Division.
Luke Martin and Justin Watson were recalled from Newmains United, with Martin joining up with fellow U20 team-mates Cumming and Innes at Thorniewood United, whereas Watson moves to Shotts Bon Accord in the same division.
Taylor Evans has also moved to Shotts, where first-teamers Kyle Banner and Connor McMullan spent part of last season on loan. Finally, Ross Cameron has linked up with Lockie at Camelon, as the striker seeks regular weekend game time.
Goalkeeper Ronan Fallens, defender Callum MacDonald and winger Alberto Vezza remain with the Binos and are available for first-team selection if required.
U20 loan summary
Ross Cameron – Camelon
Declyn Cumming – Thorniewood United
Taylor Evans – Shotts Bon Accord
Marc Innes – Thorniewood United
Rylan Lockie – Camelon
Brooklyn Mair – Rosyth
Luke Martin – Thorniewood United
Reg McLaren – Luncarty
Justin Watson – Shotts Bon Accord
Dillon Young – Wishaw
Our U20 side return to SPFL Development League East action on Monday against Alloa Athletic, with an 8.00pm kick-off on the Forthbank Astro.
Meanwhile, the twice-postponed Scottish FA Youth Cup fourth-round tie at home to Ross County has been confirmed for Sunday February 11, with a 2.00pm kick-off on the Forthbank Astro.
The winners will be away to Aberdeen in the quarter-finals.
** GAME CALLED OFF**
Update: Monday 4.45pm. Tonight’s game has been postponed as the Ross County team bus is stranded in traffic on the A9, which has been closed due to a serious accident.
Stirling Albion’s U20 team take on Ross County in the fourth round of the Scottish FA Youth Cup on Monday, with a 7.45pm kick-off on the Forthbank Astro, after the game was frozen off last week.
Andy Todd’s side have beaten Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale (4-0) and Cumbernauld Colts (4-2) to reach this stage and a quarter-final tie away to Aberdeen is the prize on offer if they can cause a cup upset.
Ross County were SPFL Development League champions last season and are currently seventh out of 14 in the table. The Staggies thrashed Elgin City 10-0 in the Youth Cup first round then hammered Deveronvale 12-0 before beating Fraserburgh 2-0 in round three.
“In the light of disappointing recent developments, everyone at Stirling Albion FC, and particularly those in our own youth development department, would like to offer a message of support to players, parents and coaches at Forth Valley Football Academy.
“We are happy to help in any way we can.”
SAFC Head of Youth (Coaching)