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Season 2016-17 review

Season 2016/17 – A review

We had joy (maybe some) and we watched in rain/snow/sun.  So Terry Jacks almost sang in 1973 and if he had, he would have summed up season 2016-17 for me.  (I’ve no idea where I am going with this either.)

Season 2016-17 started for us at Tynecastle, as Hearts faced Infonet Tallin in a Europa League Qualifying 1st Round, 1st leg tie.

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That first game of the season came on 30 June when everyone is supposed to be on a beach somewhere.  If you wonder why the debate about summer football seems to have dissipated recently, it’s because it is already happening!

The season saw us take in 119 and a half games and see exactly 400 goals.  The half came about when we had watched Whitehill Welfare v Abbey Vale in the South Challenge Cup, then raced to East Peffermill to see the second half of Edinburgh University against Wigtown and Bladenoch in the same competition.  (The solitary goal was scored in the first half.)

We watched 115 different teams and saw games in many competitions, including the Scottish Premiership, Championship League One and Two, the Lowland League, the East Superleague, West Super League Premier, East Premier League, East Region South League, East of Scotland League. We also attended various play-off matches in many of these competitions.

There were several visits to cup ties in many different competitions, including the Scottish Cup, Scottish Junior Cup, East of Scotland Cup, City Cup, King Cup, Lowland League Cup, East of Scotland Qualifying Cup, East of Scotland Shield, Fife & Lothians Cup, South Challenge Cup and King Cup.  Some of these were semi-finals or finals.

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In England, we saw games in the Premier League, Championship and Leagues One and Two, as well as the Northern League Division One.

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We also managed a couple of Europa League qualifiers (and of course pre-season games).

We properly engaged with women’s football in Scotland and attended games in the Scottish Women’s Premier Leagues 1&2 as well as the Scottish Cup and Champions League.

There were many highlights.  East Stirlingshire at Civil Service Strollers in August when the visitors won 8-3, a fantastic Women’s Scottish Cup tie between Hearts Ladies and Hutchison Vale Ladies which Hearts won 4-3 after extra time, the sight of Bayern Munich Ladies in full flow at Easter Road in the Champions League, Haddington Athletic winning on penalties against Shotts Bon Accord after a 3-3 draw in which Haddington were 3 down with 13 minutes left, Oxford United’s 3-2 win at Bury in December, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy’s 4-3 win at Penicuik in the Junior Cup 5th Round, Leith Athletic’s incredible 7-2 win over Tynecastle in the semi-final of the King Cup, Brechin’s play-off final win at Alloa Athletic in an incredible topsy-turvy game which was finally settled on penalties. Tranent’s double cup win, etc etc.

It hasn’t all been about the games though.  There have been several memorable incidents.  These included:

The Thorn Athletic players referring to each other as “big man” or “wee man”, apart from the goalkeeper, who was called “Liam” by them all.

The Spartans v Airdrie pre-season friendly where, with three minutes to half time, a woman behind me asked her companion “Are Spartans in blue?”

The Civil Service Strollers player giving a team mate a hard time for not marking anybody, before having it pointed out that the man he had been marking was in the process of going off after being substituted and his replacement hadn’t come on yet.

Members of the Easthouses Lily team sending texts to other team members saying that the manager had told them to turn up dressed smartly.  This led to them cheering every time a squad member turned up in a shirt and tie.  One player had to “go to Tesco” to get some trousers as he didn’t have any and only had £20 left until payday. 

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Bonnyrigg Rose manager Robbie Horn on the touchline hit by the ball in a very tender area, with players and fans of both teams expressing their concern by pissing themselves laughing.

The East Stirlingshire fans telling a linesman that an offside decision he made had been a guess.  He replied with “Every one is a guess”.

The club official running the line at Dunbar United being asked by his mate behind the barrier what a free kick had been given for, and him replying “Dunno.  I wasnae watching”.  The same person running the line later in the game with his flag in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

The tannoy announcer at Ainslie Park for the Leith Athletic v Cumbernauld Colts Scottish Cup game playing music through his phone over the loud speakers at half time, with the crowd suddenly treated to hearing his ringtone for a good 60 seconds as his phone received a call.

Pollok’s Tam Hanlon complaining to the linesman about being given offside.  The flag bearer responded with “You were well off.  You know it and I know it.”  He followed this up by putting his finger to his lips in a ‘shushing’ motion to the Pollok manager on the other side of the pitch who was telling him that was third one he had got wrong.

A Motherwell fan helpfully offered his glasses to the officials in a home game against Celtic.

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The parrot sitting on the bar at Linlithgow Rose and Hearts Ladies captain Megan Paterson being told off by her mum for swearing and being told she wouldn’t get any tea.

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It wasn’t all good of course.  Some of the games were so toe curlingly bad that writing them up seemed impossible.  There were several occasions where at least another half dozen layers of clothes were required.  There were also some disgraceful scenes when pies ran out.

Haddington Athletic had the best pies.  Edinburgh University had the best cakes.

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Some teams have a social media presence and are great at replying.  Others don’t seem to get that interaction is key.  Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare and Penicuik Athletic are two that bend over backwards to help.

Some clubs have started writing up the team names and numbers on a board inside the ground, such as Dunbar United, Whitehill Welfare and Kilwinning Rangers.  The biggest problem I have is trying to get team line-ups and it sometimes proves impossible.

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Programmes are good, although for some, it clearly just isn’t cost effective, but Musselburgh Athletic have the right idea, providing team sheets to all.  Edinburgh University include the programme with admission.

Season 2016-17 was the most games I’ve ever seen in a season.  It was hard going at times and keeping up with writing the games up soon afterwards often became undoable.  Having a job and a life gives little time to do them, particularly with the frequency I often go.

Thanks to all who have visited and welcome to anyone new coming across one of my write-ups.  I try to be objective in every game.  You might not agree with my take on things, but I call it as I see it.  I’m usually a neutral regardless of which end I am in.  It might be you that is biased.

Here’s to season 2017-18.

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Featured post

What’s it all about?

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You know that moment when in your team’s biggest game of the season, your lazy but occasionally talented star striker has an opportunity to make or break your entire season if he can just finish this chance?  I think everyone who watches football can relate to that.  (Maybe not the “talented” bit).  These pages will be reports on some of these games.  Who knows, it might be your team’s biggest game of the season.

This will be the home of my reports on the games I attend throughout the football seasons.  The vast majority will be in the Midlothian/Edinburgh area, but I am prone to going further afield than that. Particularly when it gets to the business end of the season.

Season 2015/6 saw me take in 106 matches, which included games in all top four divisions in Scotland, in the English Premier League, League One and League Two, Scottish Cup and League Cup, Play offs, Petrofac Cup, East Superleague, West Super League, Lowland League, Scottish Junior Cup, Scottish Women’s Premier League, Scottish Women’s Cup, East of Scotland Cup, Fife and Lothians Cup, East of Scotland League, East of Scotland League Cup, Anderson Cup, East Region South League, King Cup, Swan Cup and Friendlies and a Testimonial. So something for everyone.  Perhaps.

I will always attempt to call it as I see it, and will try to remain unbiased although this will be more challenging at some games more than others.

Although there can be no promises, I’ll be looking and listening out for the unusual and/or amusing.  Last season’s highlights included:

  • A delay of around 10 minutes at Fauldhouse United, when the match ball went out of the ground and there was no spare;
  • Kelty Hearts striker Callum Smith being frustrated with another ball which sailed over his head and remarking “That’s F*cking jobbies by the way”; and my personal favourite;
  • Hearts Ladies striker Ashley Carse responding to a family member on the touchline who had told her “You’ve got to put those away Ash” – “Right mum.  F*ck’s sake.”

Thanks for looking.

Featured post

Carnoustie Panmure v Penicuik Athletic

Saturday 16 September 2017, 14.30, Laing Park

The East Super League match between Carnoustie Panmure and Penicuik Athletic.

We were one day off it being a year to the day since we last saw Carnoustie Panmure.  On that occasion, they won 3-2 at Camelon in a league match.

It is, however, our first visit to Laing Park, which ‘the Gowfers’ have called home since 2004.  There is grass banking all round with the changing rooms on one side, along with a snack bar and a couple of containers, one of which houses a bar for hospitality purposes.

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With no cover, we had our fingers crossed that the rain would stay off.  It was raining earlier in the afternoon.

They are in their seventh season in a row in the Super League and finished 11th last season.  New signings for this term are winger Marc Walker from Arbroath Vics, central defenders Adam Harwood from Montrose and Derek Paterson from Kirriemuir Thistle, midfielder Jake Mair from Broughty Athletic and strikers Ryan Dignan from Dundee Violet and Pat Martin from Dundee North End.

Panmure began their campaign with a 2-1 loss at Bo’ness United, before losing 5-0 at home to Lochee United.  A 3-2 home win over Broxburn Athletic steadied the ship and then they won 2-0 at Forfar West End.  Wins at Newtongrange Star and at home to Camelon were followed by a 3-3 draw at Kennoway Star Hearts which saw them sitting in fifth place after their seven league games.

Adam Harwood was suspended after being sent off in the draw at Kennoway and captain Steven Cook was on holiday.  Long term injury victims Ryan Roche and Liam Scott were also missing.

We saw Penicuik when they won against Newtongrange in August, making it two wins from two after their opening day win over Linlithgow Rose.  They then won at Dundonald Bluebell and Bo’ness United before drawing at home to Sauchie.  A one-nil win at Hill of Beath Hawthorn set them up for a top of the table clash against Bonnyrigg Rose where they drew 2-2.  They went into the game with Panmure top of the table.

Penicuik were without Keith Lough who was injured against Bonnyrigg, the unavailable Sam Jones and Ross Montgomery and Andrew Forbes, who was possibly experiencing a different kind of strip, as he was on his stag do.  Penicuik only had three substitutes, with one a trialist, rumoured to be manager Johnny Harvey.

Both sides had makeshift right backs, with Penicuik playing a central defender there and Panmure playing a midfielder.

There were around 70 in the ground as the game kicked off.

With 5 minutes gone, Roberts chipped the ball through the Penicuik defence and Dignan beat the offside claims and he hammered the ball across goal from the by-line.  Allison managed to get an arm to block the cross and the defence cleared.

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Dignan played the ball wide to Urquhart in 8 minutes as Panmure came forward again.  His cross into the middle saw Martin go down in the box, but nothing was given.

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Penicuik broke in 11 minutes and Young passed down the right to Kateleza.  His cross was deflected and Mair headed behind.

McGeehan got a sore one in 13 minutes when Kateleza blocked his attempted clearance and he seemed to jar his ankle.  He went off for treatment and limped back on, but soon after had to succumb to his injury.  Buggins went to right back with Conway dropping back into defence.

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Some good build up play by Penicuik in 19 minutes ended with Kateleza crossing into the box, but Paterson headed behind.

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Martin created some space for himself on the edge of the Penicuik box in 26 minutes, but his shot drifted wide.

In 29 minutes, Kateleza nicked the ball away from Conway and charged towards the Panmure goal.  As Robbie came out to meet him, he tried to knock the ball into the path of Jack Hamilton, but there was a misunderstanding between the two Penicuik strikers and Robbie gratefully dived on the ball.

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Roberts may have been lucky to escape a booking in 30 minutes for a late tackle on Penicuik’s Barr, but the referee made do with having a word.

Kateleza showed some great skill in 32 minutes before laying the ball off to Jack Hamilton in the Panmure box.  His shot was close, but hit the side netting.

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More good football by the visitors in 34 minutes saw Ponton through on goal, but he was denied by Robbie who managed to turn the ball behind.

Barr and McCrory-Irving played a one-two in 35 minutes which saw the former through on the right side of the Panmure box, but Conway slid in to block the shot behind.

MacDonald brought down Panmure’s Roberts on the corner of the box in 38 minutes, but the free kick was fired over the bar.

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A fine cross by Kateleza in 40 minutes looked to be right on the head of Jack Hamilton, but Robbie got a finger to it to direct it over his head.  The ball was eventually played back to McCrory-Irving, but his effort was wide.

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Penicuik’s Gary Hamilton picked up the game’s first booking in 42 minutes for a foul.

With 44 minutes gone McCrory-Irving latched onto a headed clearance and curled a shot towards the Panmure goal, but Robbie was there again to tip the ball over the bar.

Just before the break McCrory-Irving found Kateleza and his shot at goal took a nick before going wide of the Panmure goal.

Still goalless at the break and Penicuik were getting more on top as the half progressed and really should have been in front.  Robbie wasn’t in the mood to concede and had made a number of good stops in the first 45 minutes.

With three minutes of the second half gone Hume made a good interception and burst out of the Penicuik defence.  He played a pass over the Panmure defence for Hamilton.  Robbie came out of his goal and managed to block and Kateleza was eased off the ball going for the rebound.

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There were winces all round after Panmure’s Martin was hit with the ball between the legs in 49 minutes.

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Ponton put the ball across the face of the Panmure goal in 51 minutes, but there were no takers.

A great cushioned header by Jack Hamilton found Kateleza in the Panmure box in 54 minutes, but he could only hit the side netting.

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Penicuik reorganised in 57 minutes after bringing Mendes on, with MacDonald going to right back and Young taking over from Gary Hamilton in central defence.

McCrory-Irving intercepted a Roberts pass in 60 minutes and passed into the path of Kateleza who was clean through on the Panmure goal, but the flag was up for offside.

Kateleza was the next Penicuik player booked in 61 minutes.

Panmure attacked in 63 minutes with Dignan finding Martin, but his cut back from the by-line was turned behind by Barr.

There was a bit of a melee in 65 minutes as Barr caught Panmure’s Martin on the touchline, with Simpson spoken to by the referee for mouthing off at some Penicuik fans in the crowd and was booked.

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Mendes was brought down on the edge of the Panmure box in 66 minutes by Conway, who was cautioned, but the resultant free kick hit the wall.

A great run by Barr from half way in 72 minutes saw him go past a number of Panmure players and Hamilton took over at the edge of the box, but his shot was too high.

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Kateleza took the ball into the Panmure box in 73 minutes and Conway’s tackle took the ball into the path of MacDonald whose cut back from the by-line picked out Barr at the front post.  His first time shot saw Robbie get a foot to it, but he couldn’t keep it out and Penicuik led.

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Hamilton ran onto a through ball in 76 minutes and outmuscled Paterson, but his shot was off target.

In 80 minutes Barr found Mendes and he played the ball in behind the home defence.  Kateleza and Hamilton chased the ball and the latter got there first and knocked the ball past the outrushing Robbie and into the net to make it 2-0.

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Penicuik came forward again in 82 minutes with Hamilton playing the ball to MacDonald on the right.  His cross was booted up in the air by Paterson and Hamilton tried a volley when the ball came down, but he was off balance and he couldn’t make good contact.

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Hamilton was through again in 87 minutes, but Robbie saved again.

As Penicuik continued to press Hamilton fed Ponton on the left of the box in 88 minutes.  He stepped inside a defender before shooting for goal and the ball came off the raised arm of Paterson.  Penalty and a booking for the defender.  Kateleza put the ball just out of reach of the diving Robbie to make it three.

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As Hume won the ball from Dignan in the Penicuik box in 89 minutes, the Panmure striker held onto him.  Hume looked like he was going to react as he went towards him, but he restrained himself before offering the ball to Dignan as he “hadn’t had a shot of it all through the game.”

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MacDonald was booked just before the whistle for kicking the ball against Panmure’s Roberts as he lay prone on the ground.

A convincing win in the end for Penicuik to remain at the top of the league although they did leave it late. Robbie had kept ‘the Gowfers’ in the game, but the pressure told eventually.  Not a good day for Panmure.

Robbie was best for Panmure and Conway performed well after going back into defence.  For Penicuik, Hume, Barr and Hamilton all played very well, with Barr’s energy and running a real stand out.

Special mention to the tap in the gents toilet in the ground.  I’ve not seen one like that before.

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Full Time: Carnoustie Panmure 0 Penicuik Athletic 3

Admission: £6

Carnoustie Panmure: 1 Jamie Robbie, 2 Luke McGeehan (Steel 18), 3 Jake Mair, 4 Ewan Buggins, 5 Derek Paterson, 6 John Roberts, 7 Marc Walker (Simpson 57), 8 Alan Conway, 9 Ryan Dignan, 10 Patrick Martin, 11 Robert Urquhart. Subs: 12 Bailey Steel, 14 Jamie McCabe, 15 Sam Simpson, 16 Liam Scott, GK Alan Cormack.

Penicuik Athletic: 1 Kyle Allison, 2 Darrel Young, 3 John Williams, 4 Craig Hume, 5 Gary Hamilton (Mendes 57), 6 John MacDonald, 7 Scott McCrory-Irving, 8 Lewis Barr, 9 Jack Hamilton, 10 Lumbert Kateleza, 11 Aaron Ponton. Subs: 12 Fernando Yaffa Mendes, Aaron Somerville, Trialist.

Referee: Chris Fordyce

Programme: £2

Hearts v Aberdeen

Saturday 9 September 2017, 15.00, Murrayfield Stadium

We last saw Hearts lose on penalties to Dunfermline Athletic at Tynecastle at the end of July, which resulted in them going out of the League Cup.  This proved to be the final match for manager Ian Cathro who was sacked a couple of days later, just before the start of the league season.

Players have departed too, with Bjorn Johnsen going to ADO Den Haag, and Conor Sammon and Liam Smith have gone out on loan.  It looked like Jamie Walker was also going to leave and sign for Rangers in the transfer window, but their refusal to meet Hearts’ valuation and seemingly wanting to pay in instalments means Walker is still in maroon.  Hearts signed keeper Jon McLaughlin, who came in from Burton Albion.

A lengthy process of appointing a new manager resulted in Jon Daly giving up his interim role in charge as existing Director of Football Craig Levein became manager on 28 August.  Needless to say, not everyone was happy, with several fans already blaming Levein for everything in his previous role.  Many still haven’t forgiven him for playing with nobody up front in the Czech Republic when he was Scotland manager.  They clearly have forgotten Levein’s previous spell at Hearts when he presided over a 7-1 win over Dunfermline, 5-1 against Hibs, and a 4-4 draw also against Hibs.  Not really evidence of a negative philosophy.

Further new faces have arrived since Levein was appointed, with midfielder Ross Callachan arriving from Raith Rovers and winger David Milinkovic joining on loan from Foggia in Italy.  Jordan McGhee left to sign for Falkirk.

Caretaker manager Daly had been in charge for the four league games Hearts had played, with defeats at Celtic and Motherwell, a win at Kilmarnock and a draw at Rangers. 

The building of the new main stand at Hearts’ home has meant every game so far has been away from home.  Delays meant that they faced Aberdeen at the home of Scottish rugby, Murrayfield, where they were scheduled to play their first three home games.  It was Levein’s first game in charge.

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It’s a first look of the season at Aberdeen.  It was just before the end of 2016 we saw them last, in a 1-0 win at Tynecastle.

Aberdeen will be looking to go one better in at least one competition this season after finishing runners-up to Celtic in the league and both cups last time around. 

A number of players have left the Dons over the summer, with the most high profile ones being Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes, the two most responsible for unlocking opponents defences.  Also going through the departure door were captain Ryan Jack, Jayden Stockley, Neil Alexander, Peter Pawlett, Ash Taylor, Cammy Smith, Aaron Lennox, Miles Storey and Lawrence Shankland.

With many of those leaving featuring regularly in the first team, there was a lot to do in the summer, but they look as if they might be even stronger this time.

Central defender Kári Árnason has returned to the club from Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus, central midfielder Greg Tansey has come in from Inverness Caley Thistle, Gary Mackay-Steven from Celtic and strikers Nicky Maynard from MK Dons and Stevie May from Preston North End. 

They have made some fantastic loan signings for the season with Ryan Christie signed up for another term on loan from Celtic, centre half Dominic Ball from Rotherham United, and forward Greg Stewart from Birmingham City.  Stewart did very well in Scotland previously with Dundee.

Some very good signings in that lot, but potentially the most important bit of business in the summer was manager Derek McInnes turning down the manager’s job at Sunderland to stay at Pittodrie. 

It certainly hasn’t taken long for the team to gel and after four games they sit top of the league, two points clear of Celtic, with a 100% record after playing Hamilton Accies, Ross County, Dundee and Partick Thistle.  They also beat Hamilton in the League Cup and a trip to Motherwell in the quarter finals awaits them.  They were disappointed to go out in the third qualifying round of the Europa League to Cypriots Apollon Limassol, but that may prove a blessing in their hunt for a domestic trophy.

There were 24,248 in the ground which included 7,000 Aberdeen fans. 

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Despite the bumper crowd the cavernous stadium was less than half full, making for an odd atmosphere.  I’ve seen football at Murrayfield before and while it is an impressive stadium, it wasn’t designed for football which is very apparent.  It was good to get a varied selection of catering and I went for a hog roast roll, although the prices were pretty steep for those used to football ground prices.

Both sides lined up with unusual formations.  Hearts went with three at the back and Randall and Grzelak as wing backs.  Djoum was in defensive midfield and Gonçalves was up front on his own.  Although Randall and Djoum were playing in unfamiliar positions in terms of their Hearts careers, Randall played there for Liverpool and Djoum plays there for Cameroon.  Callachan debuted in midfield.

 

Aberdeen went with Rooney and May starting together up front for the first time with Wright and Christie supporting from out wide.  Ball made his debut at the heart of the Dons defence.

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The visitors began knocking the ball around confidently and in the second minute, McLean cleverly chipped the ball forward into the box on the left side and as McLaughlin came out, May lifted the ball over his head and it looked like Rooney had the simple task of heading the ball into the empty net, but he was put off by Berra and couldn’t get a clean header away.  The Hearts defender was very fortunate, as he seemed to hold Rooney round the waist and could have had no complaints if a penalty had been awarded.

Some good footwork by Randall in 4 minutes saw him skip past an Aberdeen defender and he knocked the ball in front of Walker.  As he entered the Aberdeen box there was a coming together with Ball and both players went down and the Hearts fans screamed for a penalty, but it would have been very soft.

Callachan had a poor looking challenge on Christie in the fifth minute, but he had slipped just before he got there.  Aberdeen took a short free kick and Christie went past Djoum, but shot straight at McLaughlin from the edge of the box.

Callachan was in trouble again in 6 minutes, when he caught Wright in the face with a flying arm as he went to challenge him.

Aberdeen’s May went down very easily when challenged by Souttar in 11 minutes who was booked by the referee, pointing round the pitch to suggest that it was for persistent fouling.  Only it was Souttar’s first foul.  He must have got him mixed up with Callachan.

May stepped away from Djoum and moved into the Hearts box in 13 minutes, but he was halted by a fine tackle from Callachan.

Hearts broke forward on the right in 21 minutes and Gonçalves knocked the ball in front of Walker on the right of the Aberdeen box.   Ball leaned into him and they both went down again, but the fans appeals for a spot kick were waved away.

After a Hearts attack was broken up in 22 minutes, Christie sprinted forward from his own half and got away from Grzelak who looked as if he tried to hold him.  He got to the edge of the box on the right before he was tripped by Cowie.  The Hearts midfielder a bit fortunate to escape a yellow card.

Christie took the free kick himself and it was blocked as far as Ball who lashed wide under pressure from Grzelak.

Randall burst up the right for Hearts in 30 minutes and Walker nipped the ball away from Logan on the edge of the box before Logan brought him down.  Walker curled the free kick towards goal, but Lewis pushed his effort away.

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A minute later and Gonçalves latched on to a flick on and ran at the Aberdeen defence.  With Callachan to his right, he decided to go himself and got away from O’Connor before seeing his low shot to the corner magnificently turned around the post by Lewis.  Cowie’s corner was met by the head of Gonçalves and Lewis juggled the ball, but held on.

The game was fast and furious and Shinnie laid the ball into the path of Christie in 34 minutes on the left of the Hearts box, but he shot wide of the far post.

McLean had a shot at the Hearts goal from 25 yards in 37 minutes and it took a deflection and spun not too far wide of the post.

Randall was starting to make inroads on the right for Hearts and another run forward saw him pick out Walker on the edge of the box in 39 minutes.  He curled a smart effort for the top corner, but Lewis dived to tip the ball over the bar.  Another great save.

In 41 minutes, Gonçalves showed great skill to get away from two Aberdeen defenders and he ran all the way into the Hearts box where he should have played the ball into the path of the unmarked Callachan, but he took too long on the ball and was eventually tackled.

Wright received the ball on the left for Aberdeen a minute before the break and swung a deep cross to Logan, who cleverly chested the ball away from Cowie, but McLaughlin blocked his shot with his foot.

Goalless at the break and Aberdeen had bossed the opening 30 minutes before Hearts came roaring back into the game.  The Dons looked as though they should have had a penalty in the opening minutes, but Lewis had prevented them from going behind with two fine saves.

Hearts won a corner in 47 minutes and Cowie’s cross was headed on by Callachan and it came to Berra, who saw his volley headed off the line.

Berra crossed into the Aberdeen box from the left in 55 minutes and Gonçalves perfectly chested the ball into the path of Callachan who took a great first touch before hammering at goal, but Lewis was there again to make another fantastic save.

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A minute later and Souttar teed up Walker on the edge of the Dons box, but you’ve guessed it, Lewis saved the curling effort, pushing the ball behind.

McLean had a go at the Hearts goal in 61 minutes after being set up by Wright, but his shot from 22 yards was comfortable for McLaughlin.

Walker stole the ball for Hearts on the half way line in 63 minutes and passed inside to Gonçalves.  He ran at the defence and shot from the edge of the box.  This time a shot finally beat Lewis, but it smacked off the underside of the bar and the defence managed to clear.

With 68 minutes gone Wright attempted a one-two with Shinnie as he approached the Hearts box.  Grzelak got a foot in, but the ball went back to Wright whose low shot from the edge of the box was saved by McLaughlin.

Back up the other end a minute later and Walker created space for himself after exchanging passes with Callachan before seeing his shot come off the arm of O’Connor on the edge of the box and spinning wide of the goal.  Cowie’s corner was headed over by Lafferty.

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Hearts’ Walker was booked in 73 minutes for a foul on Shinnie.

A fine passing move by Hearts in 80 minutes ended with Callachan picking out Lafferty in the box, but rather than shooting first time, he took a touch, which allowed Logan to get back and send the ball behind.

Hearts continued to press but McLean won Aberdeen a free kick 22 yards from goal with two minutes left.  McLean took the kick, but his shot hit the wall.

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So no goals but a much improved performance from Hearts.  Aberdeen would be disappointed they didn’t hit the heights they have in recent times and despite starting well, they were under pressure for most of the second half.  Lewis prevented the home side from taking all three points.

Hughes was excellent at the back for Hearts and Callachan had a good debut in midfield.  Gonçalves caused problems running at the Aberdeen defence and was unlucky not to score, although a couple of times he should have passed to a team mate in a better position.

For Aberdeen, Wright started off very well on the left but faded, Ball was solid at the back on his first start and Christie showed some good ability.

A very decent nil-nil game of which there are few.

Full Time: Heart of Midlothian 0 Aberdeen 0

Admission: £15 (Price when bought through season ticket holder)

Hearts: 1 Jon McLaughlin, 4 John Souttar, 5 Aaron Hughes, 6 Christophe Berra, 16 Connor Randall, 15 Don Cowie, 20 Ross Callachan, 7 Jamie Walker (Milinkovic 77), 27 Rafal Grzelak, 10 Arnaud Sutchuin-Djoum, 77 Esmael Gonçalves (Lafferty 65). Subs: 3 Ashley Smith-Brown, 9 Kyle Lafferty, 11 David Milinkovic, 13 Jack Hamilton, 23 Cole Stockton, 36 Daniel Baur, 47 Harry Cochrane.

Aberdeen: 1 Joe Lewis, 2 Shay Logan, 5 Anthony O’Connor, 18 Dominic Ball (Reynolds 80), 4 Andrew Considine, 22 Ryan Christie, 3 Graeme Shinnie, 7 Kenny McLean, 15 Scott Wright (Mackay-Steven 70), 9 Adam Rooney (Maynard 70), 83 Stevie May. Subs: 6 Mark Reynolds, 8 Greg Stewart, 10 Nicky Maynard, 11 Gary Mackay-Steven, 14 Kári Árnason, 16 Greg Tansey, 20 Danny Rogers.

Referee: Craig Thomson

Programme: £3.50

Hibs Ladies v Celtic

Sunday 3 September 2017, 13.00, Ainslie Park

Action from the Women’s Scottish Cup Third Round between Hibs Ladies and Celtic.

We last saw Hibs Ladies when they faced up against Bayern Munich in the Champions League at Easter Road in October last year.

They have since made their regular ground Ainslie Park, at the Spartans Academy, moving from Broxburn Athletic’s Albyn Park.

Hibs had a pretty successful season last time around, finishing runners-up in the league and winning the Scottish Cup and Premier League Cup.   They’ve already lifted the first trophy of the 2017 season when they retained the Premier League Cup.

Hibs stood top of the Scottish Women’s Premier League after 11 games with ten wins and one defeat.  Champions Glasgow City had nine wins and two draws and were right behind the women from the Capital.

They had just returned from playing games in the Champions League Qualifying Group in Romania, where they were unfortunate not to go through after they were unbeaten in their three games.  Having already won 11-0 at SWPL2 side Motherwell in the previous round, they were favourites to progress again.

It was our first viewing of Celtic Ladies since their quarter final tie in the Scottish Cup against the same opponents last season.

Celtic had played 12 league games and had won and lost five, with two draws.  They sat fifth in the SWPL1 table, thirteen points behind Hibs.  They were the losing finalists in the Premier League Cup.

Last season, Celtic finished in third place in the league.

Celtic won 5-0 at SWPL2 side East Fife in the previous round.

There were around 90 in the ground at the start, but this was boosted as the game progressed by several of the players from different pitches coming to watch once their game had finished.

It was odd to see neither team in their first choice strips, with Hibs in all black and Celtic in a kind of headache green colour.

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Celtic started confidently and were knocking the ball about well in the opening minutes.  They forced a couple of corners which came to nothing.

With 5 minutes gone, Ewens crossed into the Hibs box from the right and Mulvey tried a volley, but it came off her ankle and ran through to Fife in the Hibs goal.

A cross into the Celtic box in 8 minutes eluded everyone in the middle and came to Murray on the left.  She lifted the ball into the box where Harrison’s powerful header saw Cunningham get fingertips to it, but the ball bounced down off the bar over the line.  Graham dived in to head into the net just to be sure.

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Despite Celtic’s promising start it was Hibs who took the early lead.

Ewens showed some good skill on the right for Celtic in 18 minutes, but her cross was too close to Fife.

Up the other end a minute later Robertson passed to Harrison on the left.  She put a great ball across goal which was just out of reach of two team mates in the middle.

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Harrison was pulled down on the edge of the Celtic box by Ross in 20 minutes.  Murray stepped up and fired the free kick into the corner of the net past the despairing dive of Cunningham to double Hibs’ lead.

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A Celtic corner taken by Rafferty in 26 minutes came to McCulloch at the back post and Fife did well to turn her shot over the bar.

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Hibs came forward quickly in 28 minutes with Brownlie playing a fine ball down the left to Smith.  Her cross into the middle was punched clear by Cunningham.

A great run by Gallacher in 32 minutes saw her go past three Celtic defenders before she was eventually tackled in the box.

Robertson floated in a free kick from the half way line in 35 minutes which Murray headed into the middle of the Celtic box.  A Celtic defender managed to head the ball behind.

Soon after, Harrison had a shot at the Celtic goal from the edge of the box, but there wasn’t sufficient power in it to trouble Cunningham.

Harrison picked out Small in the centre of the Celtic box in 40 minutes, but she was foiled by a good save by Cunningham, who turned the ball behind.  From the corner, Gallacher’s cross was met by Murray’s downward header, which looped over Cunningham for her second and Hibs’ third.

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Michie put a free kick into the Celtic area in 43 minutes and the ball was bouncing around before it came to Harrison who thumped a shot against the bar.

With a minute to go before the break, Robertson’s tackle on McCulloch on the half way line sent the ball towards the Celtic goal and Harrison was onto the ball in a flash.  She ran clear of the defence and slotted past Cunningham for her double and Hibs’ fourth of the afternoon.

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The hosts four up at the break and they had improved as the half wore on.  Celtic had some good periods of possession and a couple of decent chances, but Hibs were clinical.

Hibs replaced Michie at half time with Small moving to right back to allow Cornet to take her place in midfield.

With the second half three minutes old, Harrison took the ball down the left and her cross saw Robertson throw herself at the ball to send a header into the bottom corner to make it 5-0.

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Harrison received the ball on the edge of the Celtic box in 53 minutes, but was forced wide.  She managed to get the ball across the face of the goal, but there were no takers.

Celtic’s Ross picked up the game’s first booking in 54 minutes.

Not long after Hibs made a couple of further substitutions, Celtic did it en masse, with five subs coming on all at once.

There was a scramble in the Hibs box in 62 minutes, but Fife eventually smothered the ball.

Howat chased the ball to the Hibs by-line in 67 minutes and lobbed the ball into the middle.  It almost went in at the far post, but there was nobody there to supply the finishing touch.

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A pass back by Littlejohn in 70 minutes was a little short and Cunningham hit the ball against Tweedie, who had charged the ball down, but it went wide of goal.

Some decent build up play by Celtic in 72 minutes ended with Ewens shooting for goal, but a defender headed the ball behind.

Celtic were starting to put a bit of pressure on but it was Hibs who had the next opportunity.  Some intricate build up play in 76 minutes led to Tweedie squaring the ball to Harrison on the edge of the box, but her shot didn’t have the power to beat Cunningham.

Howat’s corner in 79 minutes was brought down well by Littlejohn in the Hibs box, but she shot wide of the target.

In 86 minutes Howat crossed from the right and the ball came off the face of the Hibs bar, before the defence got the ball away.

In injury time Ross had a strike at the Hibs goal from 22 yards, but Fife pushed the ball away.

A convincing win by Hibs who were always a threat and looked a very solid side.  Celtic started and ended the game well and were unlucky not to score at least one goal.  They really kicked on after their multiple substitutions, although Hibs knew the game was won by then.

Best for Hibs were Murray, Smith, Robertson and Harrison.  For Celtic Ross, Ewens and Hayley Cunningham stood out.

Hibs would go on to play Glasgow Girls in the quarter final.

Full Time:  Hibs Ladies 5 Celtic 0

Admission: £3

Hibernian: 1 Jenna Fife, 8 Cailin Michie (Cornet 46), 17 Joelle Murray, 24 Emma Brownlie, 11 Kirsty Smith (Leishman 57), 23 Rachel Small, 6 Lisa Robertson, 13 Lucy Graham (Notely 73), 15 Amy Gallacher, 18 Katey Turner (Tweedie 57), 21 Abi Harrison. Subs: 25 Hannah Reid, 4 Siobhan Hunter, 12 Rachel McLauchlan, 14 Shannon Leishman, 16 Ellis Notley, 19 Chelsea Cornet, 27 Lia Tweedie.

Celtic: 25 Megan Cunningham (Kiera Gibson 60), 6 Alex Middleton (Nina Fitzsimmons 60), 15 Kelly Clark, 4 Cheryl McCulloch, 7 Jamie-Lee Napier, 19 Georgie Rafferty (Rachel Connor 60), 5 Natalie Ross, 11 Sarah Ewens, 22 Ruesha Littlejohn, 17 Hayley Cunningham (Kirsty Howat 60), 13 Suzanne Mulvey (Heather Richards 60). Subs: 18 Keira Gibson, 14 Kirsty Howat, 23 Heather Richards, 20 Nina Fitzsimmons, 29 Rachel Connor.

Referee: Iain Snedden

Programme: None.

Pumpherston Juniors v Edinburgh United

Saturday 2 September 2017, 14.30, Recreation Park

Pumpherston Juniors against Edinburgh United in the DJ Laing East of Scotland Cup.

It’s a first visit to Recreation Park in Pumpherston, a small dormitory village in West Lothian, near Livingston.  It’s one of the biggest pitches in Scottish football and has a large newly recovered terracing down one side of the pitch.  A strange looking building houses the dressing rooms on the other side and there is a structure behind one goal which houses the refreshments area and bar.  It has everything you’d want from a junior ground and is a good place to watch football.

A Pumpherston football team was originally formed in 1896 although the first junior team were likely Pumpherston Rob Roy, who were around at the beginning of the 1900s.

Pumpherston Rangers emerged to join the Linlithgowshire Junior League for the 1911-12 season.  They had great success, winning seven trophies before the First World War intervened.  Although they quickly won another cup when football returned, they decided to turn amateur in 1928.

Pumpherston Juniors began in the Edinburgh & District League for season 1954-55.  Against all the odds, they reached the Scottish Junior Cup Final in 1958 where they lost out to Shotts Bon Accord.

They continued to challenge for honours and had a number of hard luck stories before a precarious financial position led to them folding in the middle of season 1976-77.

The club was re-formed and joined Division 2 of the East Region in 1990–91.  League reconstruction saw them go into the First Division in 2002, but they were relegated straight away.  A second place finish in 2004 saw them back in the First again, but they were relegated again in 2006, which saw them drop into the new South League.  A runners-up spot in 2012-13 saw them promoted, but they fell back again the following season.

They just missed out on promotion to the East Premier Division last season with a third placed finish.  Manager Craig Martin will be hoping his team can go one better this season.

Pumpherston have made a lot of signings for the new season.  From Tynecastle Under 20s they’ve enlisted defenders Ross Kneebone and Adam Forrest, midfielder Greg Sneddon and winger Ciaron Small.  Midfielders Jack Beaumont and Darren Carroll have signed from Linlithgow Rose and Crossgates Primrose respectively, Laurie Devine – a forward- has come in from Livingston along with forward Kyle Sampson and midfielder Jack Ogilvie signed on loan from the same club.  They’ve also procured forward Joe Brady from Stoneyburn, defender Colin Pace from Broxburn Afc, defender Marcus Millar from Broxburn Athletic and forward Liam Magee from Broxburn u19s.  Finally, goalkeeper Connor Muir has joined from Edinburgh Amateurs.

In the league this season, they lost 2-1 on the opening day at home to West Calder United, but won their next three – 5-0 at home to Livingston United, 2-1 at Harthill Royal and incredibly, 11-1 at Kirkcaldy YM.

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Edinburgh United were formed in 1985 and are also currently in the SJFA East Region South Division.  They play their home games in the Colinton area of the city at Paties Road Recreation Ground.

For the majority of their existence they have been the only Junior side in Edinburgh, although Craigroyston joined them in 2016.

United won the East Region Division 2 title in their first season and went on to win three cups in the ‘80s.  They won the South Division title in 2013-14, but were relegated back to it in 2015-16.  Last season saw them finish seventh in the 14 team league.

They have got off to a great start ihe league this season with four wins out of four.  They’ve won 3-0 at Oakley, 3-1 at Easthouses Lily, 6-0 at home to Kirkcaldy YM and 3-1 at home to Stoneyburn.

Manager John O’Hara has his first full season in charge after taking over in mber 2016 from former Hearts striker Calum Elliot.  For the season ahead United have signed defender Jim Young and keeper Jamie Newman from Newtongrange Star, midfielders Eddie Mearns from Lothian Hutchison Vale, and Sean Conaghan from Hawick Royal Albert, left back Daniel McAleavey from Peebles Rovers, and strikers Daniel Garvey from from Leith U21’s and Paul Murray.

So the teams sitting in third and first faced off in the East of Scotland Cup.  I was impressed to see that Pumpherston had produced a programme for the day.

There were around 75 at the game.

In the opening minute, a long ball forward saw McRitchie run between two United defenders, but his attempted lob from 20 yards went over the bar.

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Hastings went up for a header in 2 minutes and went over the top of a United player, landed badly and seemed to be out cold.  He came to about a minute later and I was surprised that he stayed on the pitch after being unconscious.

McAleavey swung a ball into the Pumpherston box in 6 minutes from the left and Shaw considered coming for it, but it went all the way to the back post where Hendry nodded into the net to give the visitors the lead.

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With 12 minutes gone, Millar passed the ball to the feet of Nicholson in the United box.  He played it back to Carroll whose shot was destined for the bottom corner until Newman dived full length to turn it around the post.  Beaumont’s corner saw Millar get a touch, but Newman smothered.

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Pumpherston’s Forrest was shown a yellow card in 14 minutes for dissent.

Carroll crossed from the right in 15 minutes and picked out Sampson free in the United box, but he headed over the bar.

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Auriemma intercepted a Pumpherston pass in 21 minutes and played the ball wide for Hendry.  He cut inside and tried to curl the ball over Shaw, but it was off target.

Some lovely football by United in 22 minutes led to McKinley putting Hendry through on goal.  Shaw came out of his goal and blocked at his feet, but the ball spun to Conaghan who went down under the challenge of Derek Shaw.  Penalty.

Conaghan stepped up and saw his shot to the bottom corner pushed away by Shaw, diving to his right.

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From the corner, Hastings seemed to have two hands on the back of a United player to ease him off the ball, but the referee wasn’t interested in a second penalty.

A loose header by United’s Johnston in 25 minutes saw McRitchie through on the right hand side of the box.  He hammered wide of the far post, much to the annoyance of his team mates who let him know that he had to score those kind of chances.

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United came forward again in 26 minutes and Hendry passed to McKinley on the right.  He cut inside away from Millar but shot over the bar.

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A clever ball into the Pumpherston box by Hendry in 27 minutes sent McKinley through again, but Shaw was out quickly to get the ball away.

A long ball forward by Hastings in 28 minutes picked out McRitchie in the United box and he took a touch first time which took him past Newman and he and Richardson chased the ball into the box with the striker going down and the referee awarding a penalty.  Richardson was booked.

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McRitchie took the kick himself and Newman went the right way, but couldn’t stop it.  1-1.

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The referee had words with the home bench in 30 minutes about something which had been said.

Auriemma picked out Hendry on the right of the Pumpherston box in 33 minutes, but he shot wide.

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There were winces all round in 35 minutes as United’s Johnston was caught by the ball in a particularly tender area.

A Pumpherston free kick in 36 minutes was put into the box by Beaumont and Hastings went up for the header, but put it straight at Newman.

McRitchie broke down the right for Pumpherston in 37 minutes and looked for Sampson in the middle, but it was just too far in front of him.

A misplaced header by United’s McAleavey in 38 minutes presented the ball to McRitchie, but his attempted curler from the corner of the box was well wide.

Johnstone was yellow carded in 39 minutes.  He hadn’t made contact, but it was the second time he had dived in and narrowly missed an opponent.

In 40 minutes, a Hendry flick on sent McKinley running into the Pumpherston box.  He was tackled, but the ball came to Conaghan who saw his shot blocked by the keeper.

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With two minutes to the break Nicholson sent a pass through the legs of a United player to Derek Shaw on the right.  He was in acres of space and had time to pick out a cross and he floated it to the far post where McRitchie rose to head home.

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Two-one to the home side at the interval and that had looked unlikely for much of the first half.  United started better and when they were awarded their penalty it looked like they would have a comfortable afternoon.  Pumpherston came more into the game as the half developed, but it was still a surprise they were not behind, never mind in front.

A fine run by United’s Auriemma in the opening minute of the second half saw him feed the ball to McKinley on the right hand side of the box, but the referee called play back for a foul on Auriemma when advantage would have suited them better.

Hendrie swung over a United corner in 49 minutes and Richardson got his head to it, but it was wide of the goal.

Nicholson was stopped in his tracks by a Richardson challenge in 53 minutes, giving Pumpherston a free kick about 22 yards out.  Carroll took it and put it right in the top corner for the home side’s third of the afternoon.  It was a fine strike, but seemed to go in at the side the wall was supposed to be covering.

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In 56 minutes McKinley’s cross into the Pumpherston box came all the way to Auriemma on the other side.  He lifted the ball into the area and Hendry tried an overhead kick which Shaw was forced to push behind.  The corner came to the head of Richardson, but Shaw blocked again.

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Pumpherston broke forward in 60 minutes with a long ball out of defence and Sampson was fouled by McKinley as he went down the left.  The United player was booked.  Although the referee had been well behind play, it looked the right decision.

Shaw had a lucky escape in the Pumpherston goal in 64 minutes when he took too long with the ball at his feet and was closed down.  He managed to kick it against a United player for a goal kick.

Pumpherston’s Carroll was shown the yellow card in 67 minutes for a foul on Grieve.

Sampson burst into the United box on the left in 71 minutes, but his cutback was cleared by Richardson.

A long throw-in by Carroll into the United box in 72 minutes saw keeper Newman shouting for the ball, but Richardson ignored the shouts of his goalie and headed the ball away to the edge of the box.   It went straight to the head of McRitchie who sent a clever looping header over both and into the net to put the hosts three in front.

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United’s Johnston and Pumpherston’s McRitchie had a bit of a push at each other in 75 minutes.  The referee made do with a warning for both.

Hendry almost picked out Subasic in the middle of the Pumpherston box in 77 minutes, but the ball ended up running through to Shaw.

With two minutes to go Carroll strode forward and had a go at the United goal from 30 yards, but it drifted wide.

In injury time Carroll played the ball wide to number 15 who crossed into the United box for Derek Shaw, but he headed over the bar.

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A convincing win in the end for Pumpherston who improved considerably in the second half.  United would have regretted not making the most of their first half dominance.

I felt a bit sorry for the referee, who was operating without linesmen.  Players and fans of both sides shouted for offside at pretty much every forward pass and he got a lot of abuse for some of the decisions he made.  It certainly wouldn’t be easy to tell in most cases.

Hastings had a fine game at the back for Pumpherston and was very competitive, although he probably should have gone off after his second minute head knock.  Beaumont had some nice touches and took nearly every dead ball situation for the hosts. McRitchie deserves a mention for his hat-trick.

For Edinburgh, McKinley showed some good control and has very quick feet, Hendry was very prominent and Auriemma looked like he could cause problems.

I don’t have the numbers of the Pumpherston subs, but the ones who did come on were Magee, McLaren and Sneddon.

An entertaining game.

Full Time: Pumpherston Juniors 4 Edinburgh United 1

Admission: £5

Pumpherston Juniors: 1 Connor Shaw, 2 Derek Shaw, 3 Marcus Millar, 4 Neil Hastings, 5 Adam Forrest, 6 Darren Carroll, 7 Barry Nicholson (15 66), 8 Jack Beaumont, 9 Ally McRitchie, 10 Kyle Sampson (17 77), 11 Nik Rendall (16 83). Subs: Haydn Crane, Colin Pace, Liam Magee, Jack McLaren, Greg Sneddon.

Edinburgh United: 1 Jamie Newman, 16 Elliot Grieve (Murray 73), 8 Daryl Johnston, 19 Dale Richardson, 3 Daniel McAleavey, 7 Taylor Hendry, 12 Chris Hendrie, 6 Shaun Conlon, 15 Daniel McKinley (Subasic 61), 11 Gabri Auriemma (Watson 86), 10 Sean Conaghan.  Subs: 2 Ano Subasic, 14 Paul Murray, 18 Euan Watson, 20 Walker.

Referee: Kevin Lindsay

Programme: £1.50.

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale v Hearts Ladies

Sunday 27 August 2017, 13.00, Peffermill 3G

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale versus Hearts Ladies in the Scottish Women’s Premier League 2.

Vale went into the game in sixth spot in the SWPL2, two off the bottom.  Since returning from the mid-season break, they have lost 3-1 at league leaders Forfar Farmington and drew 1-1 at home to bottom side East Fife.

They finished in fourth spot last season, but the league seems to get tougher every year and there are a number of good sides in SWPL2 this time around.

We last saw Vale in the same fixture in May, when they triumphed by a goal to nil.

Hearts are hanging onto fourth spot despite a poor run of results.  Defeats to top of the league Forfar and second placed Motherwell were followed by a break from the league in their last game, but that was in the cup against SWPL1 perennial champions Glasgow City, so it certainly hadn’t got any easier and despite a gallant showing, it was another defeat.

The games between the teams are always tight, close affairs and we weren’t expecting anything different from usual.

Around 60 went along to watch the Edinburgh derby.

Vale had the first shot at goal, after 3 minutes, when Sturrock’s shot from 22 yards was held by Watson.

Brown crossed from the right in 6 minutes and the ball came to Forker on the edge of the Hearts box, but her shot at goal was too high.

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A good ball into the path of Brown by McLeod in 15 minutes sent her running into the Hearts box, but Watson was out quickly to claim.

In 17 minutes, Sturrock played a forward pass for Hume and she ran to the edge of the Hearts box before expertly lobbing the outrushing Watson to give the hosts the lead.

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Vale continued to make the running and Sturrock passed to Murray in 27 minutes who struck for goal from 25 yards, but it drifted wide.

McLeod played the ball to Craig on the left in 38 minutes as Vale came forward again.  She played it inside to Hume in the box, but Moultray managed to get a foot to her shot to turn it behind.

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Hearts created their first real chance in 40 minutes when Smith found Carse on the left.  Her ball into the box was dummied by Hutchison and Kidd’s shot for goal was blocked by the foot of Lessells.

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A commanding first half performance by Vale.  They didn’t create too many clear cut chances but had all the pressure and were well on top.  Hearts were struggling to create anything, with Carse too often isolated up front.  With Kidd and Dodds playing on the wings, they were too far away from Carse to support her and she often was the only outlet and was forced to run with the ball.  Although this is her forte with her good close control, she was invariably crowded out.

It wasn’t a surprise that Hearts changed to two up front at the break.

A fine run forward by McLeod in 47 minutes saw her strike for goal from the edge of the Hearts box, but it was too close to Watson.

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Hearts were more in the game as the second half developed, but neither side was able to create as both sides fought for possession.

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A Kidd cross into the Vale box in 71 minutes was missed by Lessells, but Forker was able to get the ball clear.

McLeod took the ball along the edge of the Hearts box in 73 minutes and squared it to Forker, but her low shot was wide of the target.

A minute later and Brown got to the Hearts by-line and cut the ball back for Hume, but her shot was blocked.

Vale’s Murray was booked in 77 minutes.

In 81 minutes Aitchison found Carse on the left and she put the ball across the face of the Vale goal but there were no takers and the ball was cleared.

With a minute left, Stewart chased the ball forward and tried a clever lob which went narrowly over, although it did get a nick on the way.

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As Hearts tried to put the pressure on to grab an equaliser Carse had a shot at goal in injury time, but Lessells saved comfortably.

A good win for Vale who couldn’t replicate their first half dominance in the second period, but held on for the win.  The second half was much more even, but they did enough in the first 45 minutes to merit the three points.

Hearts did improve, partly due to the manager’s changes, but couldn’t get on top as they pressed for a leveller.

With defences on top it was hard to pick out others, but Sturrock showed some real quality for Vale with Shepherd and Hume also impressing.  Hutchison, Carse and Smith were best for Hearts.

Full Time: Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale 1 Hearts Ladies 0

Admission: £3

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale: 1 Charlene Lessells, 2 Nicole Clark, 6 Fiona Boslem, 4 Jude Shepherd, 5 Hannah Craig, 14 Lucy Brown, 10 Nichola Sturrock, 11 Leanne Forker, 7 Anna Murray (Haines 82), 8 Anna Hume, 9 Beth McLeod. Subs: 15 Florence Haines, 16 Abbie Orme, 20 .

Hearts Ladies: 1 Ashley Watson, 5 Georgia Hunter (Aitchison 69), 6 Megan Paterson, 4 Louise Moultray, 2 Louise Kerr, 16 Danni Pagliarulo, 7 Jenny Smith, 17 Stacey Hutchison (Anderson 75), 12 Jennifer Dodds (Stevens 46), 10 Ashley Carse, 9 Kara Kidd (Stewart 86).  Subs: 8 Michelle Stewart, 11 Brogan Anderson, 15 Kazya Stevens, 18 Holly Aitchison.

Referee: Emma Hingant

Programme: Free with admission.

Preston Athletic v Peebles Rovers

Saturday 26 August 2017, 15.00, Pennypit Park

Preston Athletic against Peebles Rovers in the East of Scotland League.

We last saw Preston Athletic in March when they lost 2-0 at home to Cumbernauld Colts.  It was a difficult time for “the Panners” and they lost their Lowland League status at the end of last season after finishing in bottom spot.

They parted company with manager Craig Nisbet in April and replaced him with co-managers Jack Lynch and Paul Riley.  Preston were already certain to finish bottom when the two arrived.

They are still reshaping the squad and two trialists started the match with a further one on the bench.  They originally had another trialist listed as number 8, but he was replaced by Woodcock before the start.

Preston began their league season with a 2-0 defeat at Leith Athletic, before bouncing back with a 3-2 win at home to Tweedmouth Rangers.

It was May 2016 when we last saw Peebles Rovers. Founded in 1893, Peebles were actually members of the Scottish Football League between 1923 and 1926 and have competed in the Scottish Cup on many occasions.  Their first Scottish Cup tie was against Celtic in 1907, but their best result in the competition was in 1923, when they held Hibs to a 0-0 draw at Easter Road.  Their last appearance was in season 1965-66 when they went out in a replay to Dumbarton.

They moved from their original home at Victoria Park to Whitestone Park in 1937, where they still play home games to this day.  Those facilities would put paid to their Scottish Cup appearances, as they became only Associate members of the Scottish Football Association due to the inadequacy of them.  This meant that they were no longer eligible to compete in the Qualifying Cup and Scottish Cup.

Rovers joined the junior grade of Scottish football in 1966–67 and had little success.  They rejoined the seniors and the East of Scotland League in 1980-81.  League reorganisation at the end of that decade placed them in the second of two divisions, named the East of Scotland First Division.

Since that time, they have won promotion on several occasions, but their stays in the East of Scotland Premier Divisionwere short.  Peebles became a yo-yo club for many years, but season 2012-13 saw them struggling at the bottom of the second tier of the East of Scotland leagues.  A new manager, John O’Hara arrived and two years later led the team to a league and cup double.  O’Hara’s success was spotted by Newtongrange Star who snapped him up in 2016.

Former player Ger Rossi took over and he is seeking to get as many locals into the team as possible.

Peebles are preparing for another season in the East of Scotland League, which is now back to one division again.  Although they have won the title six times, the last East of Scotland win was in 1946.  Last season saw them finish eighth in the twelve-team league.

Rovers started the league campaign with a 3-1 win at Ormiston.  This was their second game.

Despite multiple tweets to Peebles Rovers, I have been unable to get confirmation of their team numbers, so apologies if any are inaccurate.

McMath had the game’s first shot in 3 minutes, from the edge of the Preston box, but it was a comfortable save for Inglis.

Gregor Lamb was next to have a go, his effort from 25 yards going narrowly wide of the Preston goal.

Preston struggled to clear a Peebles corner in 9 minutes and the ball eventually came to Gregor Lamb, but he shot over.

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A poor pass back by Rovers’ Fleming in 10 minutes forced McGinley to concede a corner.  Cochrane took the kick and found Jardine, but he didn’t make good contact and McGinley gathered.

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Preston’s trialist number 5 received a yellow card in 11 minutes for a late tackle.

Cochrane made a good run in 13 minutes which got him to the Rovers by-line and his ball across goal picked out Young.  He struck for goal first time, but McGinley made a good reaction save.

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A long ball forward by Preston in 16 minutes came to Cochrane on the right.  Jardine was free in the middle, but the cross was deflected.  Jardine got possession and went down in the box as he was challenged.  There were penalty appeals but nothing was given.

Rovers had a couple of long range efforts with Rossi’s effort going out for a throw in and then Gregor Lamb having a go, but his shot was also wide.

Preston’s number 5 trialist miskicked on half way in 21 minutes and as he tried to recover he booted McMath in the face.  It wasn’t deliberate, but it certainly looked a sore one.

An Innes corner in 25 minutes went right across the Rovers 6-yard box, but nobody got a touch.

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Woodcock hit a powerful shot at the Rovers goal from 25 yards in 26 minutes, and McGinley had to parry before catching.

In 31 minutes, Zavaroni played the ball through to McMath in the Preston box.  Inglis blocked his effort and the rebound came to Lindsay who saw his effort cleared off the line before Inglis dived on the ball.

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Ross Lamb had a strike at the Preston goal from distance in 33 minutes, but it was too high.

A lovely ball from Rossi found McMath through on goal in 34 minutes, but Preston keeper Inglis blocked again.  Preston’s trialist number 5, who was chasing McMath as he ran into the box, was forced to limp off in 35 minutes after appearing to pull a hamstring.

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Ross Lamb put a dangerous ball across the face of the Preston goal in 38 minutes, but McGinley managed to get a touch to push it away from danger.

Smith became the first Rovers player yellow carded in 40 minutes for pulling back Young.

A Peebles free kick in 42 minutes was put into the box by Ross Lamb and found Lindsay, but his side footed effort had no power.

Young latched onto a pass from McFarlane in 44 minutes and hit a half volley at the Rovers goal, but Inglis dived to pushed the ball away.

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Just before the break Innes passed through the Rovers defence and sprung the offside trap.  Woodcock ran in from the right before squaring the ball for Stevenson who tapped into the net for the opening goal.

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Rovers would have been disappointed not to have led at the break and yet they went in a goal behind.  They had passed up several clear cut chances in a half which they had the better of.

In the second minute of the second half, Cochrane took a Preston corner which went over the head of McGinley and Liddle got his head to the ball, but it went over the bar.

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Woodcock took a Preston free kick from the right in 58 minutes and McFarlane rose to head powerfully into the net from close range to double the lead.

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Lindsay was booked for a late tackle on a Preston player in 61 minutes.

A Preston free kick in 62 minutes Woodcock’s cross come to Jardine, but his shot hit a defender and spun wide.

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McMath ran into the Preston box in 63 minutes, but Woodcock got back to block the ball behind.

Jardine received a throw in inside the Rovers box in 67 minutes, but his shot was deflected over.

A great turn on the edge of the Rovers box by Young in 68 minutes got him away from a defender, but McGinley blocked his shot as the flag went up for offside.

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Preston’s Jardine was forced to come off in 71 minutes after injury.

Zavaroni passed to Mackay on the right in 74 minutes and his cross was tipped over the bar by Inglis in the home goal.

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Preston came forward in 76 minutes and Binnie played the ball into the path of Young who shot first time, but McGinley got down to turn the ball behind.

McMath was through on the Preston goal after a pass by Ross Lamb in 77 minutes, but Woodcock got back to get a tackle in.

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Rovers’ Ross Lamb was booked in 81 minutes for kicking out at a Preston player.  Fleming joined him in the book in 85 minutes, before Preston’s Stevenson was also carded a minute later.

With two minutes left, Rovers were through on goal, but Stevenson managed to head McMath’s shot off the line.

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A frustrating afternoon for Peebles who really should have taken something from the game, which they seemed to be in control of for spells.  Preston took their chances when they needed to and would have been delighted with the result.

Inglis had a great game in goals for the hosts and Woodcock gave a fine performance in midfield, with Cochrane causing problems on the wing.  For Rovers, Mackay performed well at right back and Rossi showed some good passing.

Full Time: Preston Athletic 2 Peebles Rovers 0

Admission: £5

Preston Athletic: 1 Sinclair Inglis, 2 Michael McFarlane, 3 Craig Innes, 4 David Liddle, 5 Trialist (Stevenson 35), 6 Shaun Conway (D Pennycuick 79), 7 Jay Cochrane, 8 Macauley Woodcock, 9 Jason Young, 10 Jack Jardine (Binnie 71), 11 Trialist.  Subs: 12 Greg Binnie, 13 Craig Pennycuick, 15 Dale Pennycuick, 16 Trialist, 17 Gavin Stevenson, 18 Gilchrist.

Peebles Rovers: 1 Ben McGinley, 2 Jamie Mackay, 4 Ben Brown, 82 Colin Smith, 32 Raymond Fleming, 8 Gregor Lamb (Renwick 57), 12 Ross Lamb, 9 David Lindsay (Schulz-Keith 64), 11 Lee Zavaroni, 20 Ger Rossi, 10 Alan McMath, Subs: 23 Robbie Renwick, 7 Saul Schulz-Keith.

Referee: Craig Ferguson

Programme: £1.50.

Edinburgh University v Civil Service Strollers

Wednesday 23 August 2017, 19.30, East Peffermill

The Lowland League clash between Edinburgh University and Civil Service Strollers.

We saw Edinburgh Uni on the first day of August when they lost 1-0 at Vale of Leithen and despite that being just over three weeks ago, their team has six different starters for the game against Strollers.  Finn Daniels-Yeoman, who is always prominent in midfield, would be a big loss.

Since their game in Innerleithen, they have lost 4-1 at BSC Glasgow, 5-0 against Strollers themselves in the Qualifying Cup, before picking up their first win, 2-1 at home to Whitehill Welfare.  With 3 points from their opening four league games, they would have been looking to add points to the board as quickly as possible.

The last time we saw Strollers they were holding title winning East Kilbride to a draw in March, and delaying them being crowned champions.  They finished last season in twelfth spot, 21 points and four places off the bottom.

Left back Kyle Fee and striker James Hainey have joined Strollers from Leith Athletic along with midfielder Ross Nisbet, defender Jack Verth and forward Kyle Boggie from Craigroyston. Midfielder Andy Mair has also joined from Spartans.

Jordan Finnie, Scott Ritchie, Michael Lee, Mark Torrance and Joe Dingwall have all departed in the close season

Strollers began their league campaign with a 2-0 win at Gretna 2008, before losing 2-1 at home to Spartans in the North Edinburgh derby.  They then went down 4-2 at home to University of Stirling and then had that 5-0 win in the cup.  A 2-2 draw at East Stirlingshire means they are a point better off than Edinburgh Uni after their four league games.

I’m pleased to report that the legendary Edinburgh Uni cake maker was on duty.

There were around 70 in attendance, including Selkirk management team Ian Fergus and David Bingham.

A terrible pass back by Uni’s Verkaik in the fourth minute saw Churchill through on goal, but as he delayed, Sutherland got across to block his shot.

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A mistake by Strollers’ Ballantyne in 6 minutes gave possession to Evans and he sprinted towards the box.  He was held up by a defender and Ballantyne recovered to win the ball back.

Clapperton struck for goal from 20 yards in 8 minutes and Uni keeper Tait tipped the ball over the bar.  The resultant corner was played to the edge of the box where a mishit shot fell to the feet of Verth who poked the ball into the net, but the flag was up.

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A nice one-two between Strollers’ Mair and Churchill in 12 minutes saw the former get to the by-line on the left.  Murray blocked his cross behind.  From the corner, Downie’s delivery found the head of Verth, but he put it over the bar.

In 14 minutes, the ball came to Stewart on the Uni by-line, who looked offside, but he pulled the ball back to Cunningham on the edge of the box and his drive at goal was saved by the foot of Tait.

A Uni long throw in 16 minutes was flicked to the back post and came to the feet of Murray.  He had acres of space but lashed over the bar.

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Verkaik was forced to go off in 17 minutes.  The Uni player suffering from concussion.

Strollers’ Churchill got past Sutherland on the left in 20 minutes and played the ball across goal for Stewart, but under challenge, he was unable to make contact.

A cross into the Uni box in 22 minutes was partly cleared by Ritchie and Clapperton fired back towards goal, but it was off target.

Uni sent a ball into the Strollers box in 31 minutes from the right.  Boyle took possession in the box and may have been caught by Burnside, but the ball went behind and the referee gave a corner.  McNicholas took it and picked out Ritchie who was free in the box, but headed well over.

In 34 minutes, Stewart passed to Downie on the right.  He struck a terrific shot for goal from 25 yards and Tait got his fingertips to it, although it may have been going just wide anyway.

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With four minutes to the break, Evans passed the ball through to Boyle in the Strollers box and he took a touch before shooting, but Burnside managed to push the ball away.

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Stalemate at half time in a game that was short on quality, with Strollers looking the slightly more likely.

With 49 minutes gone Mair tried a chip from 22 yards which wasn’t too far over the Uni bar.

Uni’s Ritchie and Strollers Ballantyne clashed heads in 58 minutes, but both were ok to continue.

Ballantyne played a good crossfield ball to Mair in 63 minutes as Strollers came forward.  He passed to Downie in the box, but his first time effort was sliced wide.

Strollers’ Verth was booked in 68 minutes for bringing down Evans.  A shout, which seemed to come from the area of the Strollers’ bench stated that “number 10, you’re a shitebag.”  Gair floated the free kick into the box and Burnside was unable to hold it, but the ball went behind for a fruitless corner.

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Verth struck a low shot at the Uni goal from around 25 yards in 71 minutes which didn’t seem too far wide.

Froude was next to have a shot at the Uni goal, this time from the edge of the box, but Tait pushed the ball away.

A small cheer went up in 75 minutes as the linesman got the ball in the stomach which made him double over.

In 76 minutes, Verth was shown his second yellow card for a challenge on Evans.  It looked as if he may have got at least some of the ball from where I was, but off he went.

Murray managed to get the ball back from the by-line in 80 minutes to McNicholas whose shot was deflected wide of the Strollers goal.

It was noticeable that the referee was enthusiastically blowing his whistle for everything, throw-ins, offsides etc.  He was perhaps trying to make things more dramatic, or just making sure the crowd was still awake

Good closing down by Froude in 83 minutes saw him get a foot on Uni keeper Tait’s attempted clearance and he chased the ball and played it to Mair, but his shot was well wide.

McNicholas ran at the Strollers defence in 86 minutes and made some space at the edge of the box, but got no power in his shot and it was an easy save for Tait.

Uni’s Ritchie was booked in 88 minutes for persistent fouling.

In injury time Downie found Stewart in the Uni box, but his low drive was blocked by Tait.

No goals at the final whistle in a game which never really got going.  Both sides put in a lot of effort but misplaced passes were the order of the day.  Strollers seemed to improve after they went down to ten men in the second half and almost snatched it, but neither side really deserved to win.

Strollers defence looked solid with Laird performing particularly well.  Mair showed some good touches going forward.  For Uni, McNicholas showed some good control and Ritchie was competitive in midfield.

A game unlikely to live long in the memory.

Full Time: Edinburgh University 0 Civil Service Strollers 0

Admission: £6

Edinburgh University: 1 Mark Tait, 2 Luke Murray, 3 Max Condie, 4 Max Verkaik (Flett 17), 5 Paul Sutherland, 6 Mark Gair, 7 Greg Swann, 8 Ewan Ritchie, 9 Joe Boyle, 10 Nathan Evans, 11 Stuart McNicholas.  Subs: 12 Hamish Flett, 14 David Maskrey(T), 15 Cameron Moir, 16 Jack Guthrie.

Civil Service Strollers: 1 Stuart Burnside, 2 Ian Ballantyne, 3 Kyle Fee, 4 Robbie Laird, 5 Jack Verth, 6 Matthew Cunningham, 7 David Stewart, 8 Scott Clapperton (Froude 64), 9 David Churchill (Mitchell 76), 10 Jack Downie, 11 Andrew Mair. Subs: 12 Jonathan Watson, 14 Kris Mitchell(T), 15 Stephen Froude, 16 Liam Dillon(T), 17 Dean Carse, 18 Ross Nisbet.

Referee: Scott Millar

Programme: Free with admission.

Hearts Ladies v Glasgow City

Sunday 20 August 2017, 14.00, Kings Park

Action from the Scottish Women’s Cup Third Round between Hearts Ladies and Glasgow City.

We last saw Hearts Ladies in their home game against Motherwell earlier in the month when they went down by two goals to one.  After losing to league leaders Forfar Farmington the following week, their chances of sealing the single promotion spot to the Women’s Premier League 1 are looking very slim.

In what was already going to be a very difficult cup tie for Hearts manager Andy Enwood, Hearts were missing several first team players and 6 young players stepped up from the Development Squad to the squad.  Jenny Smith, the 15 year old who had made her debut against Motherwell and performed admirably, was cup tied.  Michelle Stewart, who had been out for a lengthy period through injury, was surprisingly in the starting 11.

Hearts went with one up front and had a number playing out of position as they started with their most experienced players.

Hearts beat Division 1 North side Tayside Ladies 11-0 in the previous round.

It was a first view for a while of Glasgow City.

Formed in 1998, City were founder members of the Scottish Women’s Premier League when the Premier Division broke away from the Scottish Women’s Football League for season 2002-03.  They finished runners-up in the second season before winning the title in 2005.  They were runners-up again the next two years before retaining the title in 2008.  They have won the league every season since, with last season being their tenth in a row.

They’ve won the domestic treble in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and went undefeated in the league for over 6 years until a defeat in 2014.  The have actually won the Scottish Women’s Cup 8 times and the Premier League Cup 6 times.  And they are regular competitors in the Champions League, having been as far as the quarter final.

In their ten league games to date this season, they have won nine and drawn one.

It’s fair to say that Glasgow City have been the best women’s team in Scotland for some time

City are currently managed by ex-Aberdeen and Scotland striker Scott Booth, who has been in charge since 2015.

City arrived at Kings Park with a team full of internationals, with new signings Joanne Paton (from Hamilton Accies) and Republic of Ireland International Katie McCabe (on loan from Arsenal).

Glasgow City won 5-0 at fellow SWPL1 side Spartans in the previous round.

There were around 120 in attendance.

For the second game in two days, a midfielder from the home side got the ball in the face in the opening minute, with Hutchison feeling the brunt of the pain this time.

With two minutes gone, Murray found Grant in the Hearts box, but Watson saved well with her feet.

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A fine ball by Paton picked out Grant on the left for City in 3 minutes.  She cut inside and fired narrowly wide of the far post.

A long ball from half way picked out Grant inside the Hearts box and she went round Watson before squaring it to Lauder.  Her shot was blocked by Miller and came back to Paton, whose effort was blocked by Paterson before Kidd cleared behind.  Ross took the corner and found the head of Grant who nodded in for the opening goal.

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After putting their bodies on the line to block the preceding shots, Hearts would have been disappointed to concede such a simple goal.  Despite it being Glasgow’s first game back after the mid-season break, they certainly didn’t look rusty.

In 13 minutes, McCabe passed to Grant on the edge of the Hearts box, but under pressure from Moultray, she shot wide.

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A good turn in the Hearts box by Murray, after she had received the ball from Lauder gave her a chance, but pressure from Moultray saw her shoot off target.

While it was good to see Stewart back for Hearts after such a long time out, she only lasted 21 minutes before she was replaced.

McCabe came forward for City in 26 minutes after receiving the ball from Paton and skipped past the challenges of Miller and Paterson, but shot over the bar.

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City certainly had some novel ways to line up when taking a corner.  A lot of work had clearly gone in on the training ground.

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The ball was chipped forward by Love for Murray in 29 minutes and she lifted the ball over Watson in the Hearts goal into the net, but the flag was up for offside.

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Lauder burst into the Hearts half in 35 minutes, but her cross was deflected and Watson was out quickly to smother.

City won a hotly disputed free kick on the edge of the box in 37 minutes and Ross stepped up to curl a fantastic effort into the net to double the visitors’ lead.

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In 43 minutes, a good move by City ended with Ross going down the right and beating a couple of challenges before cutting the ball back for Paton who swept the ball into the corner to make it three.

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Grant got a foot on an attempted pass back by Paterson in 44 minutes, but the ball ran through to Watson in the Hearts goal.

In injury time, a great ball in from McCabe from the right found Kerr who smashed a shot off the bar before the Hearts defence got the ball away.

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A commanding first half by City who controlled the game throughout.  Hearts defended resolutely and would have been disappointed at conceding two goals in the last few minutes of the half.

City won a corner in 49 minutes, when the referee overruled the assistant, much to the annoyance of the Hearts players.  Murray got her head to the delivery, but it was off target.

Crichton and Ross exchanged passes in 57 minutes before the former passed to Murray in the box.  She quickly stepped away from Paterson and got a shot away which came off the underside of the bar before bouncing out.  Play went on for a few seconds before the assistant signalled that the ball had crossed the line.  It didn’t look in from where I was and the Hearts players again were not happy, but the assistant had the best view.  Four for City.

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Two minutes later Ross chipped into the Hearts box where Paton controlled and laid the ball off to Lauder, who shot low into the net for number five.

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McCabe played the ball to the feet of Boyce in 64 minutes and Paterson did well to get a challenge in to push her wide and Watson saved the shot.

It was interesting to see Hearts’ diminutive striker Carse coming back to defend corners to use her height in the box.

Brogan Hay latched onto a McCabe header in 80 minutes and drove at the Hearts defence, going past Moultray and Paterson before slotting past Hamilton to make it 6-0 to City.

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Boyce shot at the Hearts goal from the corner of the box in 82 minutes, but it was a couple of feet over.

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A plane flew over the ground with 5 minutes left and it was a relief to see that there was no “Enwood must go” banner flying from it.

Hearts were still trying hard and Moultray threw herself to block a shot on the edge of the box in the last minute.  The rebound saw another shot which saw central defensive partner Paterson also dive in front of the ball to stop.  Impressive commitment, particularly so late in the game.

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In injury time McCabe went on a run on the left, waltzing past defenders as she made her way into the Hearts box before she was upended by Paterson for a City penalty.

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Ross fired the ball high into the net to make it seven.

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The Hearts players looked disappointed as they trudged off at the final whistle but they could be proud of the fight they showed against real quality players.  They battled to the end and didn’t let their heads go down despite being under incessant pressure.

It was a pleasure to see City in action and they are a fantastic side.  It’s easy to see why they have been so successful over the years.

Moultray, Paterson and Kidd put in excellent performances in the Hearts defence – we’ve attended a lot of Hearts Ladies games over the past couple of seasons, and it’s up there as one of the best displays we have seen from the central pair.  It’s hard to pick out the best players for City as they were all superb, but Grant and Ross hardly put a foot wrong and McCabe looks like some signing.

Full Time: Hearts Ladies 0 Glasgow City 7

Admission: £3

Hearts Ladies: 1 Ashley Watson (Hamilton 75), 14 Lynsay Miller, 4 Louise Moultray, 6 Megan Paterson, 9 Kara Kidd (Cunningham 87), 16 Danni Pagliarulo, 17 Stacey Hutchison, 5 Kasia Stevens (Simmons 83), 8 Michelle Smith (Shankie 21), 10 Ashley Carse, 12 Jennifer Dodds (Delworth 62).  Subs: 21 Tegayn Hamilton, 2 Claire Delworth, 7 Chloe Shankie, 15 Samantha Cunningham, 18 Jayden Simmons.

Glasgow City: 29 Lee Alexander, 23 Megan Foley, 16 Leanne Ross, 6 Jo Love, 4 Hayley Lauder (McMurchie 46), 19 Joanne Paton (Boyce 60), 18 Sam Kerr, 8 Leanne Crichton, 24 Katie McCabe, 7 Abbi Grant (B Hay 46), 10 Noelle Murray (K Hay 74).  Subs: 25 Erin Clachers, 2 Lauren McMurchie, 12 Carla Boyce, 20 Brogan Hay, 21 Kodie Hay.

Referee: Fiona Morton

Programme: None.

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Selkirk v BSC Glasgow

Saturday 19 August 2017, 15.00, Yarrow Park

Selkirk against BSC Glasgow in the Lowland League.

A first sight of Selkirk since pre-season 2016-17.  Manager Ian Fergus appointed David Bingham as his assistant as last season ended after he left Whitehill Welfare.

With Selkirk finishing second bottom last season, they will be looking to finish much higher up this year and have made a number of signings which should help towards achieving that.  Left back Reece Donaldson has signed from Linlithgow Rose, midfielders Sean McKirdy from Hamilton Accies, Lewis Turkington on loan from Dalkeith Thistle, Sean Muhsin from Linlithgow Rose and David Banjo from Kelty Hearts.  Goalkeeper Grant Goodfellow has come in from from Berwick Rangers, defender Daniel Greig from Dalkeith Thistle, forwards Kris Mitchell from Hawick Royal Albert, Daryl Healy and Ciaren Chalmers from Whitehill Welfare.

Daniel Terry and Garry Kenneth have left.

Selkirk opened their campaign with a 5-1 win against Whitehill Welfare before winning 10-0 at Hawick Royal Albert.  They then lost 1-0 at Cumbernauld Colts, but have to be happy with the start they have had.

Selkirk were missing last season’s player of the year Phil Addison who had a heavy cold and Daniel Greig was also missing through illness.

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We last saw BSC Glasgow in the Lowland League Cup Final in May.

BSC (or Broomhill Sports Club Glasgow to give them their full name) ended their last Lowland League campaign in seventh place and manager Stephen Smith, who arrived at the club in April, has also considerably changed his squad.  Goalkeepers Ryan Marshall has signed from Stirling University and the unattached Chris McCluskey, right backs Lloyd Kinnaird from Shettleston and John Tennent from Largs, left back Jamie Mills from Stirling Albion, defenders Josh McArthur from Beith, Ciaran Donnelly from Kilbirnie Ladeside and Ross McMillan from Stirling Albion, midfielders Robbie McNab from Linlithgow Rose, Lewis Kinnaird from Shettleston, Corey Pearson from Blantyre Vics and Ryan McStay from Pollok, former Kilmarnock winger Stevie Murray from amateur football, and forwards Jack Smith from Stenhousemuir and Martin Grehan from Kilbirnie Ladeside.

Aidan Ferris, Rico Corrieri, Jamie Cunningham, Mark Toner and Tom Woods have all departed the club.

The sweeping changes seem to be doing ok, as they’ve won 3-0 at East Stirlingshire, drew 1-1 at champions East Kilbride, beaten Edinburgh University 4-1 and won 2-1 at Spartans.  With three of the four games against the pre-season title favourites, things are looking good for BSC.

There were around 110 in attendance.

It was a sunny day but with a very strong wind which Selkirk had the advantage of in the first half.

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It wasn’t the greatest start for McKirdy, the Selkirk midfielder getting the ball in the face in the opening minute.

Grehan had a shot at the Selkirk goal from the edge of the box in the second minute, but it was just wide of goal.

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In 5 minutes, BSC’s Redpath played the ball right to Murray.  He crossed to the front post where the ball with flicked over the bar by what looked to be the head of Duncan, but a corner was given, which came to nothing.

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A great through ball from Christie in 7 minutes sent Healy running into the BSC box.  Marshall raced from his goal and got there first and hit the ball against Healy with the ball running behind for a goal kick.

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A Selkirk corner in 9 minutes was mishit by Christie but came to Miller in the box, but his shot was comfortable for Marshall.

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BSC won a free kick 22 yards from goal in 11 minutes.  Murray saw his effort tipped over the bar by Amos.  From Murray’s corner, Redpath headed at goal but Amos got both hands to it to push the ball away.

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In 14 minutes Donaldson put a ball into the BSC box which found Healy, but the tight angle meant he could only find the side netting with his shot.

Murray played the ball back to Kinnaird in 18 minutes and he whipped a cross into the Selkirk area where Smith met the ball at the front post and glanced a header into the far corner to give BSC the lead.

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Selkirk looked for a quick response and a ball in from the right a minute later was flicked on by Healy and came to Christie six yards from goal. He smashed a volley straight at Marshall who made a good reaction save to parry the ball before the defence cleared.

Donaldson played the ball down the left to Healy in 26 minutes.  He did well to go past Kinnaird and he smashed the ball across goal.  McMillan stuck a leg out to block the ball, it hit his leg and dropped perfectly for Marshall to claim.

A BSC corner was cleared to half way in 32 minutes and Healy did well to hold off three defenders as his team mates got up to support him.  The ball was worked to Muhsin in the box, but Marshall blocked with his legs.

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Selkirk’s Miller was booked in 42 minutes for a bad tackle on Murray.

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In first half injury time Healy was clean through on the BSC goal, but he was halted by the offside flag.

A fairly even first half with BSC just getting their noses in front.

Selkirk brought on Hopkinson at the interval with the sub going into the centre of midfield and McKirdy moving to the right.

A Selkirk throw-in after 47 minutes was flicked on and the ball fell to Chalmers who smashed the ball into the net from close range for the equaliser.

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The home side were having a good spell and were pressing forward in the next few minutes with their tails up.

The teams were exchanging shots from outside the box, but neither keeper was overly troubled.

In 61 minutes, a member of the Selkirk contingent shouted to the linesman that BSC’s Murray wasn’t wearing any shinpads and the assistant referee flagged immediately and pointed it out to the referee.  He booked Murray and made him go off the pitch to get some.

Both sides were giving 100%, but there was little in the way of chances.

Duncan crossed from the right in 79 minutes and found Smith free at the back post. He sent a looping header over Amos in the Selkirk goal and into the net to put BSC back in front.

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With 5 minutes left Banjo strode forward for Selkirk from half way and struck for goal from 20 yards, but Marshall managed to save with his foot.

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BSC’s Smith was booked in 88 minutes for kicking the ball away.

McMillan was the next BSC player in the book for a foul in the final minute and Miller lined up the free kick 20 yards out, but sent it over the bar.

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There was some pushing and shoving between the players and coaches of both sides on the pitch after the final whistle.

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Another tricky tie overcome by BSC who look well set for the season.  Selkirk could certainly have claimed the deserved a point in a game that could have gone either way.

Healy held the ball up well for Selkirk and Miller marshalled the defence well.  For BSC McMillan had a fine game at the back and Duncan impressed in midfield.

Full Time: Selkirk 1 BSC Glasgow 2

Admission: £6

Selkirk: 1 Gregor Amos, 2 Ryan Sclater (Koroma 82), 4 Andrew Fleming, 5 Ricky Miller, 3 Reece Donaldson, 8 Sean Muhsin (Turkington 74), 14 David Banjo, 17 Sean McKirdy, 7 Murray Christie (Hopkinson 46), 9 Daryl Healy, 10 Ciaren Chalmers.  Subs: 11 Jordan Hopkinson, 12 Lewis Turkington, 15 Ross King, 16 Gary Nicholson, 18 Unpha Koroma, 20 Grant Goodfellow.

BSC Glasgow: 1 Ryan Marshall, 2 Lloyd Kinnaird (McStay 67), 4 Josh McArthur, 6 Ross McMillan, 3 Jamie Mills (Traynor 77), 11 Stephen Murray (Jones 67), 8 Robbie Duncan, 19 Robbie McNab, 7 Gary Redpath, 9 Jack Smith, 10 Martin Grehan.  Subs: 12 Ryan McStay, 14 Lewis Kinnaird, 15 Robert Jones, 16 John Tennent, 17 Corey Pearson, 18 Ged Traynor, 20 Stephen Barr.

Referee: Colin Whyte

Programme: £1.50

Follow me on Twitter @Blowyfootball

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