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Deveronside v Islavale

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Aberdeen U18 v Hamilton Academical U18

7pm 27 January 2023 Scottish FA Youth Cup, Quarter Final Aberdeen U18 2 Hamilton Academical U18 5 (att 108) Four days after a humiliating exit from the senior Scottish Cup Aberdeen were knocked out of the Youth Cup in another surprising defeat. Losing at home to Hamilton doesn't come close to a loss at junior team Darvel of course, but Aberdeen had made a bright start yet somehow turned an early 2-0 lead into a crushing 2-5 defeat. Hamilton halved the arrears shortly before half time, and that gave them a platform for a second period in which their clinical finishing proved the difference. The home side's confidence drained as the visitors scored twice to go in front. An Aberdeen red card swung the tie even more in Hamilton's favour. A fourth goal followed and the fifth, in stoppage time, completed the rout. Hamilton had a player sent off following their final goal, but only seconds remained. The venue was Aberdeen's newish training ground, Cormack Park, on the western

St Johnstone U18 v Dundee United U18

2pm 27 January 2023 Scottish FA Youth Cup, Quarter Final St Johnstone U18 2 Dundee United U18 1 (att 150) In England, youth cup games are usually played at the clubs' main stadiums and often attract large crowds. No so in Scotland where St Johnstone's quarter final was surprisingly scheduled for a Friday afternoon on a 3G training pitch. Still, it gave me an additional ground to visit on my way to another of the quarter finals, being played in the evening at Aberdeen's training ground. Technically the tie was at McDiarmid Park, just not in the main stadium. The artificial pitch is adjacent to the first team ground, and is floodlit, fully enclosed and has a pair of dugouts on the far side. I'd expected that spectators would have to watch from outside the fence  but, in another change from the norm at English top level youth games, the sizeable crowd was allowed pitchside. The game was a slow burner. St Johnstone were the better side, but looked to be facing defeat until

Shepherd’s Bush v Kensington Dragons

3pm 21 January 2023 Middlesex County League, Premier Division Shepherd’s Bush 3 Kensington Dragons 2 (att 25) Yet again the winter weather meant artificial pitches  were the best bet to see a game. I was in west London for the weekend so the 3G surface at Rectory Park in Northolt was an easy choice. It’s the headquarters of the Middlesex Football Association and has provided a home venue to more than one club since it opened. Current tenants are Shepherd’s Bush who play on ‘pitch one’, the better-equipped of two adjacent pitches. A spectator area runs the full length of one side, and a pair of seated stands make it above average for the type of venue. Apparently Shepherd’s Bush have applied for promotion based on a groundshare elsewhere, but Rectory Park can’t be far off the standard required for a higher level. Promotion hopes will depend on what happens on the pitch as well as off it, and the home side earned three points to keep their chances very much alive. Their 25th minute opene

North Walkden v Moston Brook

2pm 14 January 2023 Lancashire and Cheshire Amateur League, Premier Division North Walkden 0 Moston Brook 5 (att 25) In the few years since I last went to a North Walkden game  they've switched from the Wigan League to the Lancashire and Cheshire Amateur League and moved to a new home ground. On a day when I couldn't travel far, and the weather made grass pitches a lottery, the club's base at The Lowry Academy was an easy option to see a game. The artificial pitch was one attraction, the other was a fixture which pitted second place North Walkden against third place Moston Brook. By the final whistle the visitors had gone top and the hosts dropped to fourth. Moston Brook were fast out of the blocks. They went ahead after three minutes and made it 2-0 60 seconds later, before most of the crowd - most likely watching the Manchester derby on TV - had even arrived. The home side got themselves into the game but never really threatened a comeback. A third goal just before half t

Leicester Atletico v Tower United

4.30pm 8 January 2023 Somali British Champions League, Group B Leicester Atletico 6 Tower United 2 (att 38) I'd been keeping an eye out for a suitable Leicester Atletico home game in this competition. They play their regular football in the Leicestershire Senior League, which I'm keen to complete, and it's within easy range for a Sunday afternoon. Somali British Champions League fixtures tend to get announced to the wider world at short notice, if at all, and I only became aware of this one thanks to a tweet by the home side on Friday night. It was a more low key event than when I saw Atletico get thrashed by Manchester Powerhouse , in front of a large and boisterous crowd, in November. It was also a far better outcome for the hosts. They scored first but Tower United, from London, were soon level. At that stage it looked like being a tight contest, and it was close to half time before Atletico went back in front. A third home goal came five minutes into the second period,

Eglinton v Harmony Row

3pm 7 January 2023 West of Scotland League, Division Four Eglinton 3 Harmony Row 4 (att 40) Eglinton and Harmony Row combined to bring my personal goals tally for the day to a remarkable 27, after yet another enjoyable game. There should have been more goals, as Eglinton wasted enough chances to have come out on top. They were ahead early on and looked good value for the lead, only to concede a soft equaliser shortly before half time. The first half seemed a little scrappy, not helped by a cold wind blowing across the pitch and the setting sun making viewing difficult. But the game really came to life after the break. Eglinton looked more likely to go back in front, but failed to take their chances and it was Harmony Row who scored again, against the run of play. The visitors' superior finishing helped as they held onto their advantage as the teams traded goals during an entertaining 45 minutes. It's a little over a year since I was last at Kilwinning Sports Club, watching Kilw