Forth Valley Schools FA travelled to Ayr with both age group teams on Thursday 9th November and returned from the Toon of Honest Men and Bonnie Lasses with one win and one defeat in the group stage games in the SSFA National Trophy.
The U15 side lost a goal in the last minute to a strong Ayrshire side in a game played at Ayr Academy. Ayrshire as result secured a second win with their 3-2 victory and, although the winning goal came very late in the game, it was a deserved result for the home team.
Ayrshire took an early two-goal lead, both scored by Steven Warnock, in the blustery conditions and Forth Valley keeper Evan Taylor (Larbert HS) kept his side in the game with a number of great saves. This allowed the visitors to pull back a goal before halftime with a great strike from Matthew Meechan (Dunblane HS). His fellow school player Mitchell Starrs then scored a second half equaliser to bring the game level. Taylor in goal continued his heroics to keep the game all square until the final minute when Ayrshire’s relentless pressure paid off and brought about the winner scored by Ryan Walker.
Forth Valley must now almost certainly have to beat their next opponents, West Lothian SFA, to secure a qualification spot from the group. This game is scheduled for Wednesday 22nd November at Forthbank Stadium astroturf in Stirling with a 2.00pm kick-off.
On the same day a few miles away at Dam Park the two Senior representative teams met in their qualifying group game. Forth Valley secured their second win with a comfortable 4-0 scoreline.
With a strong wind at their back the visitors dominated territory and possession right from the start. With some great play they created a number of chances but the crossbar, post and a number of saves kept the scoreline blank.
Eventually after 30 minutes Forth Valley went ahead with a penalty-kick goal. An Ayrshire defender, in marking his opponent tightly, moved his hand towards the ball and the referee pointed to the spot. Aidan Kemp (Wallace HS) confidently converted the kick to put the visitors ahead, 0-1. Before halftime Laurie Devine (Graeme HS) dribbled into the box and showing great persistence eventually made space for himself to fire home from 15 yards, 0-2.
With the wind behind them Ayrshire stuck to their task and brought a succession of saves from substitute keeper Fraser Currid (Wallace HS). Currid had replaced the error-free Jack Wills (McLaren HS) in goal at halftime and he produced a number of good saves and one terrific triple block to keep Forth Valley ahead.
Always in control Forth Valley made sure of their win after 75 minutes when a good dribble and clever assist pass from Laurie Devine allowed schoolmate Jack Hodge to shoot home from eight yards, 0-3.
James Maxwell (Larbert HS) who had a very strong game in midfield eventually got the reward of a goal when he scored in the bottom corner with five minutes to play, 0-4.
Ayrshire SFA never gave up in the game but found themselves second best to a Forth Valley team that has won both games. Forth Valley’s final section game against West Lothian SFA is on Thursday 23rd November at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir with a 2.00pm kick-off.