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Newbattle wins Under 15 Championship

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Dalkeith Advertiser 17 June 2009

Scottish Schools FA South East Region Under 15 Championship

Newbattle 1-1 Lasswade (Newbattle won 9-8 on penalties)

The home of Arniston Rangers was a very appropriate venue for this, the final match of the Schools’ Football season which, for the first time, was contested between two Midlothian schools a remarkable achievement in itself as the tournament also contains all secondary schools from Edinburgh, Borders East and West Lothian.

On a superb playing surface it was Lasswade who had the first opportunity as Jamie Knox ran on to a lofted pass from Harry Tranent but was denied by Steven Fraser in the Newbattle goal. Lasswade had started well but as Newbattle settled, they began to dominate the midfield area and took the lead on 21 minutes with a goal worthy of winning any match. After an excellent move which started in their own penalty box, Newbattle captain Callum Gilzean , played a one-two with Liam Fellenger and smashed the return pass with a left foot volley from 16 yards into the far corner of the net giving Robert Dickson no chance. Newbattle’s Ryan Somerville then tested Dickson from distance as they tried to increase their lead. The game was now swinging from end to end and with eight minutes to go before half time Lasswade equalised from a set play. Nic Munro swung in a free-kick from the right which was headed on by Fraser Galloway and fell for Matthew Steele who turned the ball home from close range . Few in the big appreciative crowd would have argued with a level score-line at the interval.

It was Newbattle who created the first chance in the second half when Duncan Wilson’s through ball found Fellenger who managed to get through on goal only to be denied with a great save from Dickson who also reacted quickly and bravely to prevent Steven Hogg claiming the rebound. Lasswade were next to threaten when a vicious Galloway free-kick on the left evaded everyone when any touch would have given the Bonnyrigg side the lead. Newbattle had a great chance to regain the lead after 15 minutes when Hogg chased a Hill cross across the penalty box and was bundled to the ground by Munro .No argument about the award. Somerville powered the penalty towards the top corner but Dickson produced a remarkable fingertip save to deny the Newbattle top scorer. Lasswade dominated possession for the last quarter of the tie forcing several corners but just could not find a way of testing Fraser and the game ended perhaps rightly, all square. Lasswade could point to having had the territorial advantage for much of the game but Newbattle had had the better chances in a superb match.

The destination of the trophy was therefore down to a penalty decider and there was no shortage of drama for the crowd and players to endure during the regulation five penalties as the advantage swung one way then the other with both goalkeepers performing heroics, both saving three of the five spot kicks. Into sudden death and the remaining 12 players including both goalkeepers, amazingly all scored to make the score 8-8. Second time around and it was back to the two captains, Gilzean netted for Newbattle with Fraser becoming the hero for his side diving to save Munro’s effort.

Newbattle’s coach Joe Moore said, “ It was great for our boys to get a reward for a fantastic season. We didn’t reach the heights that we did in beating Currie in the semi-final but the effort and commitment of the players , many of whom were carrying knocks from a hard programme was first class. The game had everything you could asked for and despite being tight and very competitive was played in a superb spirit throughout which both teams can be justifiably proud of.”