Wed 17 May 2006
Keeper Ryan lays down the Law
NEWCRAIGHALL Victoria Amateur FC underlined their attitude to helping others by granting use of their excellent facilities for the East & Midlothian Schools FA Under-16 league playoff - and what a brilliant game it was between Newbattle High and Musselburgh Grammar School.
The huge, well-grassed and well-groomed pitch is perfect for playing football and it was the better passing of the Newbattle High side that enabled them to go on and claim the title with a stunning 2-1 triumph.
There were many good players in these two top-class school squads but none of them equalled the performance of Newbattle goalkeeper, Ryan Law.
It is not the first time I have been at a game and seen the Hutchison Vale Boys' Club goalie perform miracles and he did so again here to thwart Musselburgh time and time again in an outstanding performance.
Big Kris Renton must have wondered what he did to upset Law, as the Newbattle goalie came out on top in his own duel with the Musselburgh Grammar striker, who is bound for Norwich City in the summer.
While Ryan Law was outstanding, Darren Flynn produced two stunning first-half goals.
Flynn, who plays in the successful Musselburgh Windsor under-16 outfit in the Eastern Region Youth FA, opened the scoring when he outwitted opposing keeper, Ewan Skinner, nipping in to beat the goalie to a great left-wing cross from Mark Moncrieff - another fellow player with the Windsor team - and guide the ball with the inside of his foot into the empty goal.
That early goal was followed by Flynn's second in the 20th minute of a game so well controlled by referee David Manson. It came from a great lob over the keeper into the net.
Musselburgh's tactic of sending long passes out to Renton on the left resulted in attack after attack on Law's goal, but the Newbattle hero saved twice from point-blank range.
There was no lack of action in this game, however, and Newbattle looked a very good side, too, with a much more controlled and accurate passing game.
Craig Jack saw another wonderful strike scrape over the Musselburgh bar but Renton got the goal he deserved when he showed great control in the box to crack the ball into the Newbattle net.
It was 2-1 at the break and, although the second half did not produce any more goals, it was non-stop action.
Law continued to defy Musselburgh and the Newbattle defence also performed heroics. Believe me, they had to as the fit young players in the Musselburgh side did everything to get back on level terms.
At the other end, on a rare Newbattle attack, Flynn set off on a wonderful run at the Musselburgh goal, but his finishing shot was blocked and eventually cleared.
Mr Manson's final whistle was followed by a mass Newbattle celebration but, to the credit of all the players taking part, it was handshakes all round to give a sporting end to a great season in the East & Midlothian Schools' FA.
Newbattle teacher, John Frame, said: "Please pass on our thanks to the Newcraighall people. I hope we can use this facility again next year for some of our big games. Naturally, we were delighted for our boys in winning the league crown. We have played well all season and have a very young side - six of them are under-15."
"To be honest, when we started the season we would happily have settled for a top-half finish. But they gelled and had a great team-spirit. I thought it would be tight as we drew the league game earlier and the cup tie which Musselburgh won was very tight as well. In some ways they had an advantage going into the league decider as they had won that match and then showed real character to win their last three league games, all tough ones, to force us into the play-off."
"I thought we played some great football in the first half, with the first goal being worthy of winning any game, and had we gone in at 2-0 then the second-half might have been a bit easier."
"Kris Renton's goal lifted Musselburgh and they put us through the mill for parts of the second half but we defended well and Ryan Law was magnificent in goal."
Newbattle: Ryan Law, Glen Marshall, Graeme Aitken, Gavin McInnes, Dale Syme, James Watson, Craig Jack, Gordon Ramsay, Mark Moncrieff, Darren Flynn, James Guy, Colin McConnell, Owen Lean, Sean Gillies, Kevin Moyers.
Musselburgh: Ewan Skinner, Lewis Mein, John Porteous, Scott Syme, David Boyle, Cameron Olton, Sean Patterson, Lawrie Cannon, Steven Yuill, Daniel Dobson, Chris Tervitt, Kris Renton, Blair Montgomery, Jonathan Kinnear, Brian Wells, James Conway, Paul Coutts.
Referee: David Manson.