Monday night’s Development League East game against Berwick Rangers at Shielfield has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Andrew MacDonald takes a look at how our U20 players fared out on loan across Scotland at the weekend.
Camelon’s Ryan Lockie had another successful Saturday as his side defeated Jeanfield Swifts 4-1 in Perth. The U20 skipper capped a fine performance with another assist, taking his tally to six for Camelon; an extremely impressive feat for a left-back. Team-mate Ross Cameron played the last 20 minutes. The Mariners’ recent form has them eyeing a top-six finish in the East Region Superleague.
Midfielder Taylor Evans was finally able to make his debut for Shotts Bon Accord as they lost 3-2 at home to Neilston. Evans had a dream debut, scoring Shotts’ second goal as he coolly slotted the ball in the bottom right corner of the net in a one-on-one situation. Agonisingly for Shotts and Evans, Neilston nicked a win with the last kick of the ball to defeat the 10 men. Winger Justin Watson also made his debut, as he played the last 20 minutes. Shotts currently sit ninth in the Central District First Division.
There was also debuts for Ronan Fallens and Connor McMullan for Cumbernauld Colts, as they took on high-flying Spartans in the Lowland League. Despite a 5-0 defeat, the pair equipped themselves well. The Colts are seventh in the Lowland League. Fallens and McMullan won’t be available for our U20 side for the remainder of the season, as they are out on emergency loans.
Declyn Cumming’s Thorniewood United side were defeated 3-2 by Greenock at Robertson Park. He played 75 minutes at right midfield and was an asset for the Wood both in attack and defence. Midfielder Marc Innes was an unused substitute while left-back Luke Martin was unavailable. Thorniewood remain bottom of the Central District First Division but have games in hand over teams around them.
Elsewhere, Dillon Young watched on as his Wishaw team reached the quarter-finals of the Scottish Junior Cup; an outstanding achievement for the Beltane Park side. Brooklyn Mair was unavailable for selection as his Rosyth team lost 3-1 away to Craigroyston. Reg McLaren’s Luncarty weren’t in action this weekend.
Our U20 side defeated Forfar Athletic 1-0 on the Forthbank Astro on Monday evening.
Callum MacDonald’s first-half goal was the difference as Andy Todd’s team claimed all three points.
The side showed one change from their recent 5-3 victory over Cowdenbeath as Callum MacDonald replaced first teamer Liam Caddis in the attacking midfielder role. The visitors’ last result was a 1-1 draw with Alloa in mid-February.
The match started brightly as Ross Cameron had a string of early chances. Top scorer Reg McLaren held off his marker in the second minute, to feed Cameron at the edge of the box. He took a touch, but saw his effort go over the bar. He then had two half volley chances on his left foot, which were saved.
Forfar showed their first sign of attacking impetus in the 13th minutes as their winger and full-back made some tidy exchanges down the right, only for the latter’s dangerous cross to evade his team-mates.
Stirling continued to press forward. Holding midfielder Marc Innes had an impressive game, as he continuously won the ball and looked to set up his team-mates.
One such occasion came on 25 minutes, where he picked out the on-running Alberto Vezza, who had got in behind the Loons’ defence. Vezza clipped the ball over the keeper and appeared to have been taken down by a defender but the referee pointed for a goal kick.
Our U20 side took the lead on the half-hour mark. MacDonald ran on to a long ball and was flattened by the keeper, who he beat to the ball. The midfielder stood over the ball to take the free-kick which was right centre of the goal and 20 yards out. MacDonald expertly curled the ball into the top-right corner to make the score 1-0.
The second half should have started with a second goal for the young Binos. Kyle Banner won the ball near the halfway line and perfectly played McLaren through on goal. The striker hit the ball wide of the mark from the left side of the box. Taylor Evans tried his luck from 25 yards soon after, but the low effort was saved.
The visitors played much better in the second half. They were using the ball more efficiently and creating more openings. One such opening came on 76 minutes, as a Forfar midfielder won back the ball in the Stirling final third and played through his striker. He rounded Law, but the Binos’ custodian did enough to put him off, as his heavy touch allowed Luke Martin to cover across and prevent a goal. The move was well defended after initial sloppy play from our U20 side.
The Loons then had a golden chance to equalise with eight minutes remaining, as they nearly replicated MacDonald’s goal from the first half. A free-kick was awarded virtually in the same position, where their excellent left-footed effort cannoned off the inside of Law’s post and spun away from danger.
Andy Todd tightened the defence up in the closing moments as he executed the recent new ruling of using additional substitutes in an U20 game.
The boys next play Berwick away from home on Monday March 19.
1. C. Law
2. D. Cumming
3. L. Martin
4. R. Lockie
5. K. Banner
6. M. Innes (Trialist 86’)
7. C. MacDonald (Mair 86’)
8. T. Evans
9. R. McLaren
10. R. Cameron (Watson 74’)
11. A. Vezza (Young 76’)
Andrew MacDonald takes a look at how our U20 players fared out on loan at Junior clubs across Scotland at the weekend.
Camelon’s Ryan Lockie put in a fine showing as his side defeated Carnoustie Panmure 4-3 at home in the East Region Super League. The U20 captain performed admirably in his favoured left-back position, as he got forward effectively and chipped in with an assist. Lockie has now assisted an impressive five goals for the Mariners this season. Ross Cameron was an unused substitute for this one. Camelon remain eighth in their league.
Luke Martin played 90 minutes as his new Thorniewood United team defeated Port Glasgow 1-0 away from home. The full-back was a presence in attack and defence, as he moved forward with the ball energetically and was excellent in the tackle.
Marc Innes provided reassurance in midfield for the final 20 minutes as the game ended with only 18 men on the pitch! Declyn Cumming was unavailable for this this fixture. Despite registering their first league win of the season, the victory doesn’t move Thorniewood off the bottom of the Central Region First Division.
Brooklyn Mair completed the full 90 minutes as his Rosyth side went down 6-2 to West Calder at Recreation Park. Mair was at right-back and has shown his versatility in recent weeks, as he’s also played left-back and centre midfield for Rosyth and our U20 team. The loss means the Rec lose ground in their top-four ambitions in the East Region South Division.
Elsewhere, Dillon Young watched on as Wishaw defeated Forth Wanderers 1-0 in the last 16 of the Scottish Junior Cup. Taylor Evans and Justin Watson are yet to make their debuts for Shotts Bon Accord, but their new side defeated Rossvale 1-0 in their absence. Reg McLaren and his Luncarty team weren’t in action at the weekend.
Stirling Albion’s U20 side beat Cowdenbeath 5-3 at Central Park in the SPFL Development League East on Wednesday night.
The Blue Brazil led 2-0 at the break but the young Binos stormed back in the second half with goals from top scorer Reg McLaren (2), Kyle Banner, Liam Caddis and Alberto Vezza.
Report by Andrew MacDonald
The boys lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation, as Declyn Cumming, first-teamer Liam Caddis and U17 goalkeeper Callum Law came into the side who were narrowly defeated by Ross County in the Scottish FA Youth Cup last Sunday.
The young Binos started well, having a succession of chances in the opening 10 minutes. The first chance was volleyed just wide by Ross Cameron after neat set-up play from Luke Martin and Alberto Vezza. It was then the turn of Reg McLaren to strike wide, as he couldn’t direct Cumming’s through ball towards goal. The striker had a half chance a few moments later, as his effort from a corner was blocked.
Cowdenbeath threatened for the first time in the 16th minute, as lack of communication at the back resulted in the hosts having an open goal to aim at. Luckily for Stirling, the striker’s effort went wide. Two minutes later, Cameron again had the chance to open the scoring but couldn’t make the most of Caddis’s clever chipped through ball and sent his half volley wide.
The hosts opened the scoring in 19 minutes after some intelligent play. Their right winger was played into space down the line, where he cut on to his favoured left foot and picked out striker Ryan Connelly, who promptly turned and fired the ball into the bottom corner.
Cameron looked to find an equaliser in the 28th minute, as he skilfully dribbled past three players to find himself in a shooting position. His low effort was saved by the keeper and went out for a corner. Our U20 side nearly equalised again through Caddis, as he latched on to Ryan Lockie’s resulting corner from four yards out but again the host custodian managed to deny Stirling.
The boys again came to rue their missed chances as the Blue Brazil extended their lead. A misplaced pass in defence allowed Connelly to drive forward and score his second goal of the game after 39 minutes. Stirling went into the interval two goals down and an improved showing in the second half would be necessary to get anything out the game.
An improved showing is exactly what the spectators at Central Park witnessed, as the young Binos came flying out the traps in the second half. McLaren immediately pulled a goal back after he delicately lobbed the keeper from a Cummings through ball. The boys then equalised five minutes later, as Kyle Banner rose highest to nod home a Caddis corner.
There was further jubilation for Stirling when they went ahead after 57 minutes; Caddis was the scorer this time. Vezza applied pressure to the goalie, which prompted a string of defensive errors from the Blue Brazil. Caddis was on hand to stoke the ball into the net from 20 yards out and the goal capped a mature performance from the midfielder. An outstanding comeback from the young Binos, who completely turned the game around after 12 minutes of the second half!
The drama continued for the next 20 minutes, however. The Cowden left-back Cameron O’Donnell deservedly got a goal after his perseverance on 63 minutes. He managed to evade a few challenges and find space in the box, only for Law to make an impressive save low to his right. Banner then produced heroics to somehow block the follow up, but his efforts were in vain, as O’Donnell coolly slotted the ball into the net with his right foot.
The boys didn’t panic and Vezza restored the lead with a 30-yard lob moments later. The ball was punched out to the winger after a set-piece, where he showed the awareness to the lift it over everyone packed in the box and into the middle of the net. Beautiful technique from Vezza.
Stirling weren’t finished there though. With just over 10 minutes to play, Cameron went on a run down the left wing where he slipped past his marker and smashed an angled shot at the keeper. His effort was parried to the elusive McLaren to head into the bottom corner. This was the top scorer’s third brace of the season against Cowdenbeath and his goal tally now stands at 13.
A dominant second-half performance featuring a spectacular comeback won this game for the young Binos, whose scheduled game against Livingston next week has been postponed and rearranged for Wednesday March 28.
1. C. Law
2. D. Cumming
3. L. Martin (Young 71’)
4. R. Lockie
5. K. Banner
6. M. Innes
7. A. Vezza
8. L. Caddis (MacDonald 76’)
9. R. McLaren
10. R. Cameron
11. T. Evans (Mair 82’)
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