Welcome to the Uphall Diamonds 16s page.
Now playing in the Lothianbuses.com
Mustafa, Matthew, Ross, Ben-w, Lewis
Calum, Ewan, Cammy, Jay, Ali,
Many thanks to Registers of Scotland for sponsoring the team as part of their Community Benefits Group
GAME DETAILS AND OTHER NEWS
Sunday 13th April
Fernieside Vs Uphall Diamonds
1pm for a 2pm kick off
Usual place !
SOME GENERAL POINTS FROM THE SYFA CODES OF CONDUCT
Understand and support the Laws of the game.
Never criticise the match supervisor / referee.
Emphasise good behaviour at all times.
Never use bad language.
Always be in control.
MIGHTY FINE BOOK STILL ON SALE - NOW ON KINDLE!
First editions are still available !
The adventures of a football supporter, from a nipper in Clydebank, to a grumpy old codger in East Calder.
Tales from the 70s onwards as he follows the fortunes of his chosen football club, the Rangers. With some some stories from the West Lothian Soccer Sevens and eleven-a-side game.
or e-mail for more details using the usual address : email@example.com
The book costs £9.99 and can be hand delivered post-free to anyone in the Livingston and surrounding area. Twenty percent of any procedes will be donated to the Scottish War Blinded Linburn Centre in Wilkieston.
|Friendly||Uphall Diamonds||2||Livi Hearts||4|
|League||Musselburgh 98s||4||Uphall Diamonds||1|
|League||Uphall Diamonds||4||Cramond Yellow||1|
|League||Uphall Diamonds||4||Leith Athletic White||1|
|Scottish Cup 1||Uphall Diamonds||5||Fernieside Colts||2|
|Friendly||Uphall Diamonds||2||Mid Calder||3|
|Regional Cup 1||Inverkeithing||6||phall Diamonds||0|
|League||Uphall Diamonds||5||Bonnyrigg Rose Red||0|
|Greenhill Mem.||Uphall Diamonds||1||Currie Star||3|
|Scottish Cup||Uphall Diamonds||1||Currie Star||4|
|Faichney Mem.||Fernieside Colts||3 (2)||Uphall Diamonds||3 (4)|
|League||Uphall Diamonds||3||North Berwick||3|
|League||Fernieside Colts||2||Uphall Diamonds||5|
|League||Edina Hibs||1||Uphall Diamonds||9|
|Friendly||Uphall Diamonds||4||Mid Calder||1|
|Faichney Mem.||Uphall Diamonds||0||Tynecastle||5|
|League cup||Uphall Diamonds||5||Penicuik||2|
|League cup||Musselburgh 98s||1||Uphall Diamonds||2|
|Friendly||Uphall Diamonds||2||Livi Star||3|
|League cup||Uphall Diamonds||1||Dunbar||2|
|League cup||Uphall Diamonds||1||Fernieside||1|
|League cup||Uphall Diamonds||5||Cramond||0|
|League cup||Penicuik||0||Uphall Diamonds||3|
|League cup||Uphall Diamonds||2||Musselburgh 98s||5|
|League cup||Cramond||0||Uphall Diamonds||2|
|League cup||Dunbar||4||Uphall Diamonds||3|
|League||North Berwick||3||Uphall Diamonds||4|
|League cup||Fernieside||0||Uphall Diamonds||0|
Goal Scorers / Clean sheets
|Ben - F||22|
|Brandon||+ 6 clean sheets||+ 3 penalty saves|
6th April League Cup
Fernieside 0, Uphall Diamonds 0.
A hard, bobbly and slippery park underfoot, a howling gale above, freezing cold to boot – nightmare conditions that meant little or no constructive football could be played. On days like this you wonder if it wouldn’t be better just to call the game off.
In a good first half, the Diamonds played well, creating a number of chances. Enough to take a convincing half time lead, sadly though; this was a day when the ball just wouldn’t go into the net.
· Ewan flicked at a corner, sending the ball over the keeper, but not past the defender on the line who headed clear.
· The Fernieside keeper did well to block a Ross free kick, Ben Forrest sending the rebound over the bar.
· An in-swinging corner rebounded off the post.
· A deep corner from Ross was headed against the crossbar by Jay.
· A Cammy shot from the edge of the box, beat everyone, but rattled off the bar.
· Another good in-swinging corner from Ross was flicked on by Matty, the keeper making a very good save.
· Add in another couple of shots that either slipped past the post, or sailed over the bar.
An excellent first half, but no goals to show for it. With the wind still howling, the second half was going to be tough.
Any hopes of the conditions improving were dashed when the wind increased from gale force 8 to gale force 9, and then to cap it all off, it started to rain!
The Diamonds defended stoutly, restricting their opponents to only two clear cut chances. Brandon making a tremendous save, diving low to his left to parry a goal-bound shot. Then a late free kick which curled wide of the post.
Uphall huffed and puffed and tried to get the ball up the park, but playing against the stormy wind was like playing against another couple of defenders. The farcical conditions were summed up by Calum’s late defensive clearance … The ball was blootered up the park, got caught in the wind, and then sailed backwards. The Diamonds #8 having to scramble back to head away his own clearance. On the plus side, with five minutes remaining, the sun came out!
Credit to both teams today for trying to play football … it certainly wasn’t easy!
6th April League
North Berwick 3, Uphall Diamonds 4.
Last week’s match report was full of doom, gloom and despondency … this week’s is quite the opposite. Today the Diamonds sparked, they played quite superbly as a team, from the number one all the way to the number seventeen, they all played their part in an excellent victory.
There were contrasting conditions today for football. The new 3g pitch in North Berwick was superb underfoot, but the now customary wind was howling down the pitch. Both sides pressed and probed in the early stages of the game, both trying to gain an upper hand in this vital game, and it was Uphall who struck first. Ewan turned away from a couple of defenders and played a good wide pass to Ben Forrest, he burst down the wing, into the penalty box and pulled the ball back to Cammy. He took aim, and placed a firm shot into the corner of the net, away from the outstretched arms of the diving keeper.
North Berwick responded, Brandon clutching a long dipping shot, Ben Watson making a good stopping tackle in the penalty box. As the half wore on, the Diamonds confidence grew, passes were made and chances created. Ben Forrest controlled a bouncing ball, turned and curled a shot just high and wide, Calum sending a first time volley just over. Another Diamonds goal looked likely, and it duly came. Cammy made a strong run, swinging a cross into the danger area, the ball was cleared but only to Ben Forrest, he headed goalwards, the ball taking a deflection off a defender, over the helpless goalie, and into the net. Only a heartless match reporter wouldn’t give the goal to Ben!
With six minutes remaining and two goals to the good, it looked like a superb first half from the visitors, defending the strong wind it couldn’t really have gone any better… then…
With three minutes of the half remaining a long ball into the Diamonds half wasn’t dealt with, carried by the wind it landed in the penalty box, the nippy and tricky North Berwick #7 lobbing it over Brandon and into the net. Then, a minute into stopping time, that same player, latched onto a loose ball in the Diamonds box and lashed it home. Suddenly the score stood at 2-2, harsh on Uphall who’d dominated the half for long periods.
The Diamonds were naturally disappointed, but not downcast. Now shooting with the wind confidence was high that they could regain the upper hand.
Still playing well, the Diamonds started the second half pushing hard for the games next vital goal. On nine minutes Ross swung a dangerous free kick deep into the North Berwick goalmouth; the heads went up, the ball was partially cleared, but fell perfectly for Ben Forrest who fired a first time shot low into the net - his second goal and the Diamonds third.
Another terrific Ross free kick nearly brought another goal; Cammy met the cross on the volley, possibly too well, with his shot slamming into the diving keeper. The ball squirmed free, the keeper winning the race to stop it rolling over the goal-line.
On twenty-two second half minutes the Diamonds scored again, quite possibly the most bizarre goal of the season. Attempting to clear from the edge of his own penalty box, a defender launched the ball skywards, spinning, it was caught by the wind and flew back towards his own goal, over the despairing arms of the backtracking keeper and into the net. The goal was greeted by silence from both sets of spectators, and all the players - no one could quite believe or understand what had just happened. Only the Referee was sure, and his shrill whistle indicated a goal.
Not surprisingly, North Berwick pressed forward in the final minutes, Mathew denying them a chance with a well-judged penalty box interception. With Sam superbly marshalling the Diamonds defence, it looked like a comfortable two goal victory, then, in the final minute, North Berwick nicked a goal back.
A nervous three minutes and forty-one seconds of stoppage time then followed, but the Diamonds comfortably held out … two new, but welcome old faces in Jack and Robbie helping the cause by taking the ball upfront, and running down those vital last few minutes.
With five games remaining, an exciting race for the championship is still on!
30th March League Cup
Dunbar 4, Uphall Diamonds 3.
A must win game today for both teams, the winners being hot favourites to qualify for the semi-finals of the League Cup. Realizing the importance of the game, Dunbar came out all guns blazing. The Diamonds, on the other hand, seemed to be playing at a pre-season friendly pace, showing little urgency or desire. Shooting with the benefit of a strong wind, the Diamonds should have been dominant, but instead, the ball spent the majority of the first twenty minutes in Dunbar possession and in the Diamonds half of the field.
It took twenty minutes for Uphall to wake up and start to play, but by that time they were a goal down.
On twenty-two minutes a corner was won, Sam flicked the ball towards the back post; leaving an unmarked Jay the easiest, a tap in brought the equalizer. A minute later the same player came desperately close to scoring again, a powerful header crashing off the crossbar.
On twenty-six minutes, the Diamonds took the lead. Calum looped a cross to the edge of the six-yard box, both Jay and the Dunbar keeper leapt for the ball, with neither gaining the advantage the ball fell to the back post, to be met by an alert Stephen, who headed into the net.
Much better from the Diamonds, and then the off button was switched again, allowing Dunbar to come back into the game. A good move, and an excellent defence splitting pass created a chance, an equalizer denied by a good Brandon save.
A 2-1 lead for the Diamond at half time, but it’s hard not to conclude that thirty of the forty minutes, with the advantage of a strong wind, had been wasted.
The second half started with a much more energetic Diamonds pressing, Ben Forrest unlucky not to score early with a header, the keeper making a good save. On top, the Diamonds looked set to increase their lead, a terrific pass found Jay in acres of space, a first time touch controlled the ball, he was set to run through on goal, and given his good form at the moment, a certainty to score, 3-1 looked likely … then the referee’s whistle sounded for offside. One doesn’t like to be too critical of Referees as they have a difficult job, but with Jay a yard outside the penalty box, and the last defender a yard inside, it was a poor decision. To rub salt into the offside wound, Dunbar went upfield, won a free kick and scored. Could have been 3-1, actually was 2-2!
Showing good character the Diamonds bounced back, won a corner, and took the lead again, Mathew bundling the ball home. Playing some decent football, the Diamonds were looking good for victory but were pegged back, caught by the classic breakaway, 3-3.
With five minutes remaining, Dunbar netted again to take a 4-3 lead, a scoreline that they held to the final whistle.
Well played by Dunbar today, who are now hot favourites to take the remaining semi-final slot. The Diamonds rather unlucky to lose, but questions really have to be asked as to why they only played for half the game.
If it's Dunbar, there has to be a train!
23rd March League Cup
Cramond 0, Uphall Diamonds 2.
This was another windy day for football, though thankfully not as windy as last week. The Diamonds travelling to Cramond for a vital League Cup tie, but at this stage of the season, all games are vital.
Both sides had a slow start to the game, struggling a little to come to terms with the blustery and bobbly conditions. The game’s first chance coming in the twelfth minute when a Cammy shot was parried away by the Cramond keeper. Jay then created another chance, charging down the wing, he took on, and beat a couple of defenders, before pulling a tempting cross into the heart of the Cramond penalty box, Lewis Coutts met the ball and blasted it goalwards, only to be thwarted by a fine blocking save.
The Diamonds were now playing well and created further chances, a header was powered over the bar, another Cammy shot pushed wide, Ben Forrest stopped by a brave keepers save at his feet. The Cramond keeper then had one final burst of activity when he flew to his right to claw away a powerful Sam free kick.
The second half started with the Diamonds in full attacking mode, early corners were won. The first scrambled away from the six-yard box, the ball grazing the post as it rolled wide. Another corner fell to Sam whose shot was desperately blocked, Cammy on the rebound fired wide. Another corner won with Jay heading just over the bar.
Cramond responded well to the pressure and came close to a goal, working the ball down the right a teasing cross was swung into the penalty box, the ball just eluding the in-running forward. A warning shot to the Diamonds that, if they were going to win this game, they really needed to score the opening goal … and score it they did!
Matthew played a pass to Lewis Coutts, he returned the ball to the Diamonds full back who first timed a tremendous cross deep into the danger area, the keeper, under pressure couldn’t clear, leaving Jay with the simplest of tap-ins.
Both sides pressed and probed for further chances with no real joy, it was looking like a 1-0 victory, ‘til the seventy-seventh final minute when Cramond lost a somewhat bizarre goal. A short goal kick was taken wide, and returned to a rather surprised goalie, under pressure he took a swipe at the ball, skewing it wide where it was met by the ever alert Jay. His low shot finding the net to make the last few minutes a bit more relaxed than they might have been.
A good win for the Diamonds who are now entering the business end of the season - the next few weeks are going to be very interesting.
16th March League Cup
Penicuik 1, Uphall Diamonds 1.
On a day more suited to kite flying, or wind surfing, the Diamonds travelled down to Penicuik for a league match.
With a gale howling down the length of the pitch, it was no surprise that the visitors dominated the first half, though for all their possession the Diamonds created few real, clear cut opportunities. A Ben Forrest shot flying wide, and a corner kick headed onto his own post by a defender were the best chances in the opening half hour.
In the final ten minutes, the Diamonds started to click, a good pass from Ewan found Jay in the penalty box, he cleverly turned, wrong footed his marker and made space for a shot, sadly the shot, caught by the wind, flew high and wide. Ben Forrest then chased a lost cause, winning a corner kick from nothing. A curling cross was swung in and converted by Jay, a scrappy goal but very welcome all the same.
As the half drew to a close some more chances were created, Ross blasted in a free kick that cleared the crossbar, flew onto the nearby rugby pitch, bounced and carried by the wind rolled ever further away, eventually resting in the bushes some miles away … it took over two minutes to retrieve the ball! On the half time whistle, the Diamonds came close, Jay made a good run, fired in a cross that just eluded the in-rushing Ben Forrest.
Half time and a 1-0 lead for Uphall, but would it be enough when they had to defend an increasingly strong wind.
Penicuik pretty much dominated the second half, without creating too many chances. An early pot shot at goal flew high and wide, and way past the rugby pitch. A cross was driven into the six-yard box, but with no Penicuik attacked present, it flew to safety, and into the far away bushes. An angled shot then saved by Brandon.
With the game entering its closing stages, it looked as though the Diamonds would hold out for a hard fought win, then disaster, a long shot somehow found its way into the Diamonds net. Brandon disappointed not to have saved it.
Knowing that a win was vital, the Diamonds pushed hard for a late winner, and came so close when a powerful Calum header flashed just over the corner of bar and post.
A 1-1 scoreline today, which was probably a fair result given the possession enjoyed by both sides, and the number of chances created. The real winner however was the wind, which made a mockery of what could have been a good game of football.
9th March League Cup
Uphall Diamonds 2, Musselburgh 5.
A League Cup tie today between the two teams at the top of Section A, with Dunbar also in the hunt; this was a vital game. The match started at 2pm, and it was clear from the very first whistle that Musselburgh were up for the battle, they came out playing at 100mph, contesting every tackle and winning every 50:50 ball. It came as no surprise therefore when the East Lothian side scored, a dangerous cross into the Diamonds penalty box wasn’t cleared and a Musselburgh forward slammed the loose ball home.
Shell-shocked, the Diamonds grimly held on, defending desperately against a Musselburgh side that were clearly intent on finishing the game as a contest as soon as possible. Gradually though, the home side regrouped, re-gained their composure, and started to play football. On twenty-three minutes the first chance was created, Jay volleying a corner just over the bar. Six minutes later the home side came even closer, Ben Forrest latched onto a long clearance from Brandon, ran through on goal and fired in a shot on the run … the ball flew over the keeper dipped, and smacked off the crossbar. Musselburgh also had chances, Brandon making a good near post save.
On the half hour Uphall got the breakthrough, Ross blasted in a free kick, the keeper doing well to turn the ball over the bar. Ross took the corner and swung in a tempting curling cross, the keeper pushed the ball away from under the bar, it looked to be falling away to safety, ‘til Jay became involved … with his back to goal he crashed an overhead kick into the roof of the net – an outstanding finish.
It was now Musselburgh on the rack, with the Diamonds powering forward – It was the team in black contesting every tackle and winning every 50:50 ball. Chances were created, the best when Calum swung a looping cross into the penalty box, Cammy met the ball with a powerful downward header, the keeper saved but couldn’t hold, Matthew running in met the rebound and blasted it over the bar.
The half time whistle sounded to rescue a Musselburgh team who were clinging onto the 1-1 scoreline.
The second half started with a mad fifteen minutes in which five goals were scored, sadly from a Diamonds perspective, four of them falling to Musselburgh.
With their ears clearly ringing from a stern team talk, the visitors returned to their 100mph pace and forced a string of early corners, and were possibly unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when a defenders hand looked to deflect a shot wide of target, the decision, or lack of decision was rendered academic though when the resultant corner was driven into the net. With their tails now up, Musselburgh scored again, with only six minutes of the half gone the score now stood at 1-3.
Uphall faced an uphill task … but they responded.
A free kick was driven into the penalty box, the ball breaking to Cammy who blasted a shot off the face of the crossbar, the ferocity of the shot took the ball out wide where it was met by Matthew, he returned it with interest, and it fell to a surprisingly unmarked Cammy, he made no mistake in slamming home. 3-2 and game on again.
The games killer moments came in the twelfth and fifteenth minutes of the second half.
12 mins, with the Diamonds pressing for an equalizer, they were hit by the classic counter attack … and to be fair, it was a superb break. The Musselburgh left back picked up the ball, pushed forward and curled an inch perfect pass up the touchline, their centre-forward latched onto the ball, raced into the penalty box and blasted a shot past the helpless Brandon and into the net.
Three minutes later move was repeated, this time down the right hand side. Musselburgh now had a three goal lead that they would not surrender.
There were no more goals in the game. Uphall changed personnel, swapped formation but just couldn’t get a foothold back in the game. Frustration then set in, allowing Musselburgh to comfortably see out the game.
A fine, determined and clinical display from a Musselburgh side who thoroughly deserved their victory. It now leaves Uphall with the prospect of having to win their remaining three away ties in the competition to qualify for the semi-finals … a task that is eminently achievable if they can return to the passing, moving and good football that we all know they are capable of.
2nd March League Cup
Penicuik 0, Uphall Diamonds 3.
A trip to Penicuik today for the Diamonds, once again on League Cup business.
Both teams had chances in the first five minutes, Jay did very well to lean back and somehow hook in a shot, the opening goal denied by a handily placed defender on the line. At the other end a Penicuik forward broke free and fired a shot wide, an escape for the Diamonds as he really should have done better with his finish.
The Diamonds then took control of the game and dominated possession, without really creating any clear cut chances … other than a shot on the from Jay, his swerving, dipping drive looked net bound, ‘til the diving keeper tipped it over the bar. Penicuik, under pressure, were still dangerous, and it took a last gasp six-yard box sliding tackle from Ben Watson to deny the home side a goal. The same player then heading away the resulting corner.
The game looked to be heading to a goalless half time, and then the Diamonds struck.
33 mins: Ali took possession from a throw in, and hooked a cross to the goalmouth, Jay, timing his run to perfection, nipped in to head the ball over the stretching keeper and into the empty net
37 mins: Ross curled in a wicked curling and dipping corner, Jay, at the top of his form today, out jumped everyone, and headed home.
40 mins: A penalty was awarded for a push in the box, the offence wasn’t terribly clear from the touchline, but some you get and some you don’t … Ross wasn’t too bothered either way and made his usual immaculate job from the spot.
Penicuik were entitled to be a little shell-shocked after that seven minute goal-fest from the Diamonds, but it didn’t show. After the break – they came out fighting, obviously determined to claw their way back into the game. A shot was driven wide and another over the bar … gradually though, the Diamonds took control again … and came incredibly close to a fourth goal… Steven fired in a powerful shot, saved by the keeper. The ball was swept wide, but returned into the danger area, hitting off the far post, a shot was driven in and cleared off the line, another shot fired in, saved by the diving keeper, the rebound then rattling off the home side’s cross bar.
Both sides had chances in the final quarter, but no more goals were scored – a statistic that came as a result of some fine goalkeeping at both ends of the park. The Penicuik keeper making a couple of good stops, a particularly good save coming from an Ali free kick.
At the other end, Brandon excelled himself; making the save of the day … a long shot was driven in, but took a late deflection. The Diamonds keeper managed to adjust his stride, dive backwards and somehow turn the dipping shot wide.
Another three league cup points in the bag, and a second clean sheet in a row, a good day’s business for Uphall. Well played today by Penicuik. They will of course be disappointed by the result, but could not be faulted for their overall play, their endeavour, or their fighting spirit.
23rd February League Cup
Uphall Diamonds 5, Cramond Yellow 0.
Cramond today at Albyn Park, a good decision to move to the 3g as Holmes Park, King George V and Craigswood were all unplayable after the heavy morning’s rain. Currently in a poor run of form and results, the Diamonds badly needed a confidence boosting win, and performance … and both were achieved today. The blues were well and truly blasted away.
Uphall attacked from the very start.
Ross had an early drive saved, Calum showing good control, turned and skewed a shot wide. Jason then had a long effort saved by the keeper.
The pressure continued.
Calum, Ben Forrest combined, a pass was slipped to the overlapping Ross, his shot saved by the increasingly busy Cramond keeper. Jason then pushed forward and blasted a shot goalwards, the Cramond keeper earning his wages with a truly wonderful save.
On the half hour, The Diamonds took the lead. Sam, who was having an outstanding game, won the ball in his own half, he powered forward, shrugging off a couple of challenges before playing a pass wide to Calum. Calum made for the bye-line and swung a delightful cross into the six yard box. Ben Forrest, cleverly adjusting his run to the swerve of the ball, headed powerfully home. A super goal!
The pressure continued.
Sam headed over from a corner, a Calum shot flashed across the face of goal. Then with three minutes of the half, the Diamonds scored their second. Jay was clattered just inside the penalty box, Ross, as expected, did his usual immaculate job of slotting home the spot kick.
Half time: Uphall 2, Cramond 0.
The next goal in this game was important, Cramond, if they could nick one back would be dangerous, if the Diamonds could score it, then they would have a cushion. Five minutes into the second period, Mathew pushed down the right hand side, playing a pass to Jason. In a move reminiscent to the one that brought the game’s first goal, Jason made for the bye-line and swung a cross ball into the six-yard box. This time the ball fell to Jay, and from a few yards he headed home.
Five minutes later the Diamonds scored again. Brandon launched a long clearance up the park. Calum controlled the ball and slipped it to Lewis Coutts, he quickly flicked it forward into the penalty box. Ben Forrest took the pass on his chest, turned goalwards and fired a volley into the net, past the helpless goalie. Some may consider it route-one, and that may be true, but it was a mighty fine goal for all that!
The scoring was completed with ten minutes remaining. Jason pushed forward, sending a ball into the Cramond penalty box; Lee chased the pass and hassled the defenders and goalie, the ball somehow finding its way into the net. Not clear who got the final touch, but as Lee turned away to celebrate, we have to assume it was his goal!!
Cramond their credit battled to the end, they won a few free kicks, but were unable to make anything of them … the day, basically, belonged to the Diamonds
16th February League Cup
Uphall Diamonds 1, Fernieside 1
Wind and constant rain … Holmes Park off ... King George V off.
The Diamonds were forced down the road to Craigswood Sports Centre where a pitch was available, but not exactly playable. Muddy goalmouths and corner areas weren’t going to stop the game though. Gary determinedly initiated some remedial work, and after an hour or so of hard labour, the park was deemed playable … but only just!
The conditions were poor for football, wet and slippy, cold, with the wind blowing and gusting. It was little wonder that the first fifteen minutes were uneventful. The game burst into life on the quarter hour when a Fernieside player swung a boot at a bouncing ball, it sailed goalwards and dipped just under the crossbar – not much you can do about that!
The visitors were a goal up.
The lead was nearly doubled a few minutes later. A fine cross was fired in low and hard. Cammy, defending for the Diamonds, wasn’t sure whether to stick or twist, and in an attempt to clear, rattled the ball against his own post - A lucky escape for the Diamonds who then upped their game. Pushing forward they created bundle of chances, on another day two or three goals would have resulted, today however, everything flew the wrong side of the post.
The Diamonds battled hard for the equalizer. Ross had a free kick saved, Ben Forrest shot over, Jay shot wide. The keeper then produced an astounding save turning a Jason thunderbolt round the post.
With fourteen minutes remaining, the leveller did arrive. A Jason free kick flew past the defensive wall, and somehow, in the gluepot of the goalmouth, the ball sneaked into the net. No more than the home side deserved.
The game closed with Uphall searching for the winner, the closest thing however came at the other end. A Fernieside player took a speculative pot shot at goal, the ball flew through the air, dipped at the last moment and cannoned off the top of the cross bar. Now that would have been cruel if it had gone in.
A game that the Diamonds probably deserved to win, but equally, you can’t grudge Fernieside their point. They played well, defended determinedly, and were always a threat when pushing forward.
9th February League Cup
Uphall Diamonds 1, Dunbar 2.
Another freezing cold and wet day for football, played today on the astro-turf of Albyn Park.
Defending against a strong wind, the Diamonds started well and the initial six or seven minutes were played almost exclusively in the Dunbar half. Possession counts for nothing however if chances aren’t created and taken, and it was the visitors that opened the scoring - the ball hitting the Diamonds net in the eighth minute.
In a relatively even first half, chances were created by both sides, the Diamonds coming so close in the final minute of the half. Jay looped a header goalwards, the equalizer looked inevitable … ‘til a backtracking defender headed away from just under the crossbar.
Half time arrived with Dunbar a goal ahead. The Diamonds were possibly a little unlucky to be behind, but now shooting with the strong wind, the game could be turned round.
That was the plan.
It was, however, Dunbar who ran the show in the second half, playing well they created chances but were unable to convert. The Diamonds, for some reason, just couldn’t get going.
An equalizer did look on the cards when Jason sent in a screaming shot, the ferocity of the shot matched by the tenacity of the goalie, who dived full length to turn the ball round the post.
The game looked to be fizzling out when the Diamonds struck from nowhere. Into injury time, a shot/cross from Jason eluded everyone and sneaked in at the far post. Having snatched a point from nowhere, the Diamonds became very adventurous, and in cavalier style, they mounted a last gasp charge for the winner. All very admirable, but sadly they forgot to lock the back door … Dunbar broke free, and after a number of stumbles, blocks and deflections, they found the net.
There was a big suspicion of a hand ball in the lead up to the goal, but in all honesty, the Diamonds should never have found themselves in the position of trying to defend a breakaway so deep into injury time. The final whistle sounded not long afterwards, prompting celebrations from a Dunbar side who deserved their dramatic victory … for the Diamonds, it was, quite simply, a bad day at the office.
7th February Friendly
Uphall Diamonds 2, Livi Star 3.
A Friday evening friendly tonight at a very cold, windy, and wet Simpsons Primary School in Bathgate, couple in a soggy and slippery park … it really wasn’t the time for silky football. So cold, it was, that frozen fingers meant only a few notes taken, and a match report as threadbare as the playing surface.
It was a game dominated by gifted goals. Livi Star presented Jay with the easiest goal he will ever score. The goalie and two of his defenders all collided, presenting Jay with an open goal tap-in. The Diamonds then reciprocated with interest, by giving away three crazy goals in ten minutes, two just before half time and one after. 3-1 down, the Diamonds attempted a fight back, and scored a good goal. Stephen won a midfield challenge and slipped the ball to Jason. He in turn played the perfect through ball to Ben Forrest. He ran through on goal, held his nerve, waited for the goalie to come off his line and then slotted it home.
A draw may have been salvaged late on when Lewis Mackie burst through on goal, he fired in a fierce drive, but was foiled by a good save from the keeper. It would be fair to say that this was the poorest performance from the Diamonds so far this season. The conditions didn’t help, that’s for sure, but they didn’t stop Livi Star from playing some decent football. Driven on by their always impressive #8, the Livingston team thoroughly deserved their win.
19th January League Cup
Musselburgh 1, Uphall Diamonds 2.
A visit to Musselburgh today for the Diamonds, on League Cup business, playing on the Astro turf of Pinkie Park. There are some who claim that football can’t be played successfully on Astro turf (yes Mr McCoist, I mean you!), but that is a nonsense as today’s match would prove. The Diamonds made a spirited start to the game, nearly scoring in the opening minute. A good pass from Cammy put Ben Forrest through on goal, his progress stopped by a brave diving save from the home keeper. The keeper again saving his side a few minutes later when he dashed off his line to foil Jay, who’d ran onto a quick thinking free kick from Calum.
Musselburgh had started slowly, but suddenly burst into life in the ninth minute when they won a penalty – and no doubt about the award – and no doubt either about the save… Brandon diving to parry the well struck kick away from goal, the rebound cleared away by a suitably grateful Diamonds defence. The resultant corner headed over the bar.
A few minutes later the Diamonds won their own corner. Ross swung in his usual tempting cross, the goalie, Sam and Jay are leapt to claim the ball, but none was successful … it fell perfectly for Ben Forrest and he did the rest.
It often happens in football, the side conceding strikes back immediately, and that came close to happening today, only a good save from Brandon stopped a Musselburgh equalizer. It was, however, the Diamonds now on top, and playing well. A good run from Jay set up Calum, his shot saved by the keeper. Another chance was created, more route-one though than silky-soccer. Brandon launched a clearance up the park; Ben Forrest took the ball on its first bounce and headed back to Jay. He advanced and from thirty yards volleyed a dipping shot goalwards … the keeper scrambling backwards somehow got a hand to the ball and tipped it over the bar.
Top of the Third Division, Musselburgh then battled back into the game, creating some changes, the best coming from a wide free kick. The ball was swung in, met by a Musselburgh player and bulleted goalwards. The equalizer was on its way… ‘til Brandon launched himself backwards, tipping the netbound header over the bar. An astounding save!
The game swung from one end to the other. The Diamonds came close, a fine crossfield pass from Jason released Cammy, but again the home keeper was quickly out to save. Musselburgh came even closer, a well worked move ended with the ball clipping the crossbar before flying over. The half ended with an Uphall lead of 1-0, but it had been a desperately close affair with Musselburgh possibly unlucky not to go in on level terms.
The second half started, as the first had ended, with both sides pushing for a goal. Nine minutes in the goal arrived. Musselburgh broke up a Diamonds attack and started to move upfield, Ross, however, was having none of that. He closed down the player on the ball, tacked and won a throw-in. Quickly taken, Jay made a speedy run down the left, driving a low and hard cross into the six-yard box. Ben Forrest made a good supporting run, but just failed to connect … Cammy following up at the back post was more successful. He met the ball perfectly and slammed a shot into the far corner of the net.
2-0 was a dream scoreline for Uphall, and they nearly went one better. Ross took a thirty yard free kick and slammed the ball off the underside of the crossbar, the rebound scrambled away…
With the Musselburgh goal-frame still shaking, the home side broke upfield, won a corner, and scored – it could have been 3-0 to the Diamonds and game over – it was now 2-1 and game most certainly on! Musselburgh pushed hard as the game slipped towards the eighty minute mark. Pushing the Diamonds back, they swung in corners that were defended well, the fired in freekicks that were repelled, but they couldn’t breach a sturdy and determined Diamonds back line. Indeed it was the visitors who created the best chance in those final minutes, Jay, normally deadly with his napper, glided a back post header just wide of target.
An excellent game of football today between two very good sides. If the return match at Holmes Park is as good as this one, it will be well worth watching.
12th January Friendly
Uphall Diamonds 1. Blackburn 2.
With the scheduled Peebles league game called off at the request of the Borders team, the Diamonds were left with a potentially blank afternoon, a park booked and a referee arranged – but no-one to play. A few phone calls were made however, and a short notice friendly arranged with Blackburn who’d also lost their game. The morning ice having pretty well wiped out all games in West Lothian.
With the temperature rising and the sun shining there looked to be little danger to the 2pm kick off, but as time progressed the park remained stubbornly hard, eventually thawing just in time for the game to progress, much to the relief of a team secretary who’d kept his car engine running for a quick getaway, just in case the referee said no to the game!
The game started with both teams trying to settle on the difficult pitch, bobbles and bumps making good football very difficult. Indeed it was a good fifteen minutes before a genuine goalscoring chance was created, Blackburn hitting the post. The Diamonds responded and came close, Ben Forrest closed down a passback pressurizing the keeper, Jay pounced and had his shot on goal smothered. A few minutes later another chance, Ben Forrest running onto a through ball was stopped by the alert Blackburn keeper on the edge of the penalty box.
On nineteen minutes, the Diamonds took the lead with a very good goal. Ben Forrest tussled with the visiting centre back, allowing the ball to fall to Jason, he powered down the right, outpacing the fullback he got to the goal line and swung a deep cross into the six-yard box. Its height and pace beat everyone, but not Jay who made a back post run, heading home into the now empty net. Half time brought a single goal lead for the Diamonds in a tight game with few clear cut goal-scoring opportunities.
The second half started with a couple of chances for both sides. Blackburn won a freekick at the edge of the penalty box, the defensive wall doing its job, preventing a shot on target.
The Diamonds responded by creating a good chance in the Blackburn box, the ball bobbled and bounced, with no-one able to supply the finishing touch. It would be a costly miss… Blackburn broke upfield and scored with a low shot into the corner of the net.
Spurred on by the equalizer, the visitors had a good spell of play and nearly scored again, with what would have been a bizarre goal. A cross ball was driven into the penalty box, Mathew stuck out a foot to clear, but only succeeded in sending the ball to the top corner of his own net. A costly own-goal was prevented by the alert Brandon stretching to save.
The game raged on, with a few meaty and somewhat exuberant tackles flying in, Calum and Jay both victim to a couple of challenges that, on another day, may just have seen a card or two dished out. With two minutes remaining Blackburn struck the decisive blow, a shot cannoned off the crossbar; one of their forwards reacted quickest and headed home. There was still time for a reply, and it came in the final minute. Jason broke down the right and fired a shot across the face of goal, it just needed a touch to convert it, but sadly no-one was there to make that vital connection.
A good workout for both sides, on a day probably more suited to ice skating than silky football.
22nd December Div 3 League Cup
Uphall Diamonds 5, Penicuik 2.
With Holmes Park unplayable it looked like no football, but not to be beaten, the game was reorganised, and took place at 4pm on the astro-turf of Albyn Park. The start of August to the end of December with no postponements – what were the odds on that happening!
Shooting against a stiff breeze, the Diamonds started well and created an early chance, a fine through ball from Ali released Jay, who looked set to score till he was closed down by the advancing keeper. The Diamonds # 10 was not to be denied though, and on nine minutes he scored the opener. A terrible mix up in the Penicuik defence gave Lee possession; he rolled the ball across the face of goal, giving Jay a simple, but very welcome tap in. With their tails up the home side pressed for more and came close, Matthew had a shot saved; Jay was thwarted once again by an advancing keeper, Lee shooting wide.
Jay, who was proving to be a real problem to Penicuik, came close one again, dispossessing a defender he broke away. Faced yet again by an advancing keeper he took the clever option and chipped the ball over the goalie, unlucky to see ball swing wide.
Having been gifted a ninth minute goal, the Diamonds then returned the compliment. In the spirit of Christmas they presented Penicuik with the equalizer. A twenty-fourth minute hopeful through ball really should have been dealt with, but disastrously wasn’t. The chasing forward was tumbled over in the penalty box and a spot kick rightly awarded. Penicuik’s # 6 made no mistake in scoring.
The leveller boosted Penicuik, and they had their best spell of the game. Shooting with the increasingly strong wide a long free kick flew just over the bar, another free kick knocked wide – Brandon then making a couple of saves. The half ended with a couple of Diamond chances. Another good pass from Ali released Jason who saw his chip saved. Ben Watson hit a shot wide, then Jay, right on the half time whistle, fired over the top.
The second half started with some rain, which developed into sleet, then into snow, almost breaking into a blizzard ... whose idea was it to rearrange the game!
The first opportunity fell to the visitors; their # 9 twisted and turned in the penalty box before firing in a shot, blocked, the ball eventually swept away. Still sitting at 1 – 1, the game turned in a glorious five minutes. Jason moved onto a bouncing ball, with his back to goal he turned, and in a swift movement scoped an unexpected shot into the corner of the net, it was the goal of the game – for a few minutes – then Ali picked up a pass, from fully thirty yards he unleashed an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net. The Diamonds were now 3 – 1 ahead.
As they had shown in the previous league game, Penicuik are doughty fighters and don’t give up easily – they tried to hit back, and must have thought they’d scored. With eleven minutes remaining, their big # 6, always a problem player, sent in a powerful header. It looked a goal all the way, ‘til Brandon stretched and acrobatically finger-tipped the ball over the bar.
With nine minutes left, the Diamonds put the game out of reach when Jason scored his second of the game. But again Penecuik showed their fighting spirit by snatching another goal back. The visiting forward looked yards offside when he planted the ball into the net, but as the referee later explained ... under the new, new updated rules ... a player can look off side but isn’t if its phase two, when he wasn’t interfering with play in phase one, and he wasn’t seeking to gain an advantage in the period between the first two phases ... or something like that (your old codger match-reporter can remember when football was a simple game). In the last seconds Calum scored the games final goal with a twenty-five yard drive, a goal he richly deserved having covered possibly every blade of plastic on the pitch.
Well done to both sides for putting on an entertaining game of football on a terrible terrible day weather wise. Everyone was glad to seek refuge in the warm of the pavilion post match – bar the supporters of both sides who’d enjoyed the game from the relative warmth and shelter of Albyn Park’s Grandstand!
15th December Jackie Faichney Memorial Cup
Uphall Diamonds 0, Tynecastle 5.
Toughest game of the season without doubt for the Diamonds today, taking on Tynecastle, who currently lead the Edinburgh First Division - it was a day for 100% commitment and effort. The last time Tynecastle came to Holmes Park they were four goals up in the first ten minutes, and cruised to an easy victory. There was to be no repeat this time, the Diamonds battled and scrapped for every ball, forcing their First Division opponents to play in top gear at all times. If Tynie were going to win, they’d have to work for it.
There were few clear cut chances in the first half, with the majority falling to Tynecastle, a low drive that flew wide, and a clever shot on the turn being their best two early chances. At the other end a free kick from Ross was comfortably dealt with by the keeper. The Diamonds full back then epitomised the Diamonds spirit, dashing virtually the full length of the park, he was in the right place to head away a dangerous cross ball from his own six-yard box – thwarting a lightning breakaway from the opposition.
The first half ended with Brandon as the busier keeper, and he made a couple of good saves, diving to push away a shot, then stretching out a leg to deal with another snap shot – dealing well with the resultant corner.
Goalless at half time, a score-line that was testament to the hard work and endeavour of the Diamonds. More of the same would be required in the second.
Sadly, it took only two minutes for the Diamonds defence to be breached – but it was no ordinary goal. Racing after a through ball, the Tynie #9 was shepherded wide; good defending by Sam, but in a flash the forward turned, swivelled, and in one movement curled a shot into the far corner of the net. Disappointing, yes, but sometimes you just have to applaud a moment of brilliance.
Two minutes later, Tynecastle scored again, a forward knocking in a rebound, then scoring a third on ten minutes. A real purple patch for the men in maroon – and an extreme test of character for the Diamonds, it would be only to easy to feel sorry for themselves and roll over and accept a heavy defeat.
But they didn’t.
Still scrapping and fighting for every ball, they forced Tynie to keep on playing – Ben Watson leading the way with a terrific, hard but fair tackle on a breaking away winger, then stretching to block a goal-bound shot.
Inevitably fatigue set in, and the Edinburgh lead leaders scored two quick goals in the 32nd and 33rd minutes. Again the Diamonds looked into the face of a heavy defeat, and again they steadied themselves and defended well, seeing out the game.
It was a tough old game today, well played by a Tynecastle side who showed why they are top of the First Division table. And well played by the Uphall team, who shouldn’t be too despondent with the 5-0 defeat. Showing character, determination and no little skill, they will do well in the remainder of the season.
13th December Friendly
Uphall Diamonds 4, Mid Calder 1.
Friday night football for the Diamonds, an evening kick off under the floodlights of Albyn Park, playing old West Lothian rivals Mid Calder. Both teams took a little while to settle into the game, getting used to the 3g surface ... the shortened warm up due to traffic problems in Livingston not helping matters + it was freezing cold!
The first real chance fell to the Diamonds, defending a Mid Calder corner they won possession, Calum took the ball wide and curled a delightful pass up the touchline, Ben Forrest reading his intentions collected, headed goalwards and turned, cutting the ball into the six-yard box. The recipient of the cut back was an unlikely one, Mathew, who’d made a supporting run; his shot was smothered by the keeper. From one end of the park to the other in a few seconds, it was a great move that deserved a goal... the opening goal was only delayed though, a minute after that chance, Jamie scored from a close range volley.
Finding their feet, the home side pressed for more a came close Jason shot narrowly wide. The Mid Calder keeper then thwarted the Diamonds twice – diving, he managed to push a fierce Calum shot wide, Lee following up slammed in a low shot, saved by the nippy keeper who was quickly back onto his feet.
The Diamonds were playing well, looked in control, and then lost a sloppy goal. Mid Calder first real attack produced a good passing move, it should have been stopped but wasn’t, their forward worked his way into the penalty box and scored with a fine controlled finish. A good goal for the visitors, but one that was easily avoidable. The game was level for about five minutes, and then Jason struck. Inside the penalty box there looked to be little immediate danger, the Diamonds man looked up, spotted the keeper off his line and lofted an outrageous chip over him, and into the net. Not a bad goal!
With the rain now falling, Mid Calder produced their best spell of the game. Playing some good football they created a couple of chances, a wind assisted long shot dipped just over the bar, another saved comfortably by Brandon. Just on the half time whistle they came close to an unlikely equaliser. The ball somehow found itself stationary about two feet off the goal-line, with the Mid Calder forwards seemingly reluctant to prod it home, and the Diamonds defence equally reluctant to clear, it sat there ... ‘til it was eventually swept away.
The second half started with the temperature dropping and the wind blowing harder, it was very cold now! Adding a new dimension to their game, the Diamonds were now showing the ability to break quickly from defence. Demonstrated when Stephen won a decisive tackle just outside his own penalty box, he got up and played a good pass to Ewan. He in turn fed the ball to Jason who went on one of his trademark runs, powering in, he did everything right bar score, his curled shot swinging wide
A few minutes later, the move was repeated. This time Jay won a crucial header, the ball dropped to Ewan who played a defence splitting ball long and wide to Jason, he cut into the penalty box and fired a low shot across the face of goal. Cleared, the ball dropped to a supporting Ali, who drove just over the bar.
With ten minutes remaining the Diamonds struck, Ewan won a tackle, passed to Ben Forrest who in turn fed Jason. Having missed from a similar position earlier, he wasn’t going to fail again, and he didn’t, curling a low shot past the keeper and into the net.
Mid Calder were still battling, and came close to nicking a goal back. In the penalty box, one of their forwards tried to chip Brandon. Having lost one goal the Diamonds keeper wasn’t about to lose another, muttering “no chance!” he stretched to claim the ball. From his clearance the Diamonds scored their final goal. A free kick was won at the corner of the penalty box. Ross stepped up and curled a shot over the two-man wall and into the far corner of the net.
A good run out tonight for both sides, even if it was freezing cold. The only downside for the Diamonds, in a good performance was an injury to Mustafa, who had to come off with a twisted ankle.
8th December 2013 League
Dunbar 1, Uphall Diamonds 2.
Today’s match was preceded by a minutes silence, in memory of the three youngsters from Dunbar who recently lost their lives in a tragic car accident. We are all passionate over our football, but its incidents like this that remind us, that at the end of the day, it’s is just a game, to be enjoyed. Some things are so much more important.
And so to the game…
It was a very chilly and extremely windy day, not easy conditions to play in. The Diamonds took advantage of the wind in the first half and scored in the ninth minute, an in-swinging corner was met by a bullet Jay header, the ball smacked off the underside of the crossbar, over the line, and back into play. Cammy, doing the right thing headed the rebound into the net, but the goal belonged to Jay. A timely goal, as Dunbar had shown just before that, that they could play – a fine passing move from them created a good scoring chance, Brandon saving.
With the powerful wind behind them, the Diamonds pressed, but too often their final pass over ran their team-mates, it was a difficult day to play good football. Jay and Jason combined, Jason’s flicked shot being saved. A long drive from Calum was also saved. The Dunbar keeper, who’d had a terrific game at Holmes Park was repeating his performance.
Possibly inspired by their keeper, the Dunbar side rallied and produced their best form of the day. A good flowing move produced a long curling shot that Brandon did well to touch round the post. A long shot then crashed off the Diamonds bar, the rebound knocked wide. Another chance created and fired wide.
The half ended with the Diamonds coming back into it, looking much stronger. Calum fired in a shot from a scrambled corner. It looked a scorer all the way, till the full back on the line crouched down to head away.
A single goal lead at half time looked to be very fragile, so a Diamonds second goal was most welcome. Welcome, but possibly the ugliest goal to be scored all season. Brandon blootered the ball upfield, it bounced once and entered the penalty box. Jason won the race between him and the keeper and headed into the net. It wasn’t pretty, but it counted. Route One had given Uphall a 2-0 lead!
The second half started with Ross on as a sub, and in a grimly determined mood. Charging from left-back he made his way into the Dunbar box and hammered in a low shot, well saved by the keeper. A minute later the same player drove a shot over the bar. Playing against the wind, as so often happens, was more conducive to good football and the Diamonds produced their best spell of the day. A third goal was nearly scored when Jason shot narrowly wide. Then even closer … Ben Forrest turned in the box, and fired in a shot, the keeper parried the ball and deflected it away. Jay met the rebound, and from a narrow angle lashed a shot across goal, narrowly missing the far post.
Dunbar were pushing hard to gain a foothold into the game, but, like their opponents in the first half, the wind was causing problems, passes were being over-hit, through balls flying away. The wind did however have its advantages. Inswinging corners and free kicks were a nightmare to defend. Dunbar hit the cross bar from one free kick, then scored from a corner.
With twenty minutes still to play it was game on, with Dunbar eager to equalize. It was time for the Diamonds to show what they were made of. Title contenders would roll their sleeves up, maintain their discipline and see the game out, and that’s just what the Diamonds did. Playing well they kept Dunbar at bay, defending well, tackling and closing down when necessary. It wasn’t pretty but it was effective. It was however, certainly from the sidelines, a nervous twenty minutes; particularly when a last gasp shot flew right across the face of Brandon’s goal.
A fine win today for Uphall against a good Dunbar side, who could easily have grabbed a share of the points. Drawn together in the same League Cup section, there will be another two games to come between the sides. If they are as good as the first two, then they will be well worth watching.
1st December 2013 League
Edina Hibs 1, Uphall Diamonds 9.
The Diamonds were on top form today, from the first whistle ‘til the last. Playing good football and creating a bundle of chances, some taken, a lot not! A fine start saw the Diamonds two goals ahead in the first ten minutes, Ben Forrest scoring a double, bundling a corner into the net at the far post, and then burying a header from virtually the same spot. Jay came close to making it three when a shot from wide crashed off the bar.
A driving run from Sam created another chance for Ben Forrest, the keeper making a good save at the striker’s feet, the goalie then making a fine diving save from a long range Jason shot.
Jason was not to be denied for much longer though – on twenty-two minutes he latched onto a Calum pass and drove into the net. Six minutes later he doubled his goals tally prodding home from close range. This chance set up by some good overlapping and trickery from Ross.
Just before the break, the score hit five. Mathew to Jason, Jason to Ben Forrest and the ball was on the net. Half time and a 5-0 lead for the visitors, a good scoreline and performance, one that needed to be taken into the second half.
The Diamonds had clearly been on top in the first half, but Edina Hibs had shown that they could play, and were now to demonstrate that they had a good team spirit. Rather than be dispirited and downcast about a grim scoreline, they rolled their sleeves up and took the game to their opponents. A good early move saw a shot cannon off the Diamonds crossbar, playing well they looked likely to pull a goal back … then they were undone by a superb piece of skill by Lewis Coutts. He pulled a high ball down, controlled it instantly, took a look up, spotted Ben Forrest making a forward run, and in one movement he chipped a pass onto the striker’s head. Ben had to simply direct the ball into the net. A minute later the Diamonds hit seven, Ali passed to Cammy who drove home.
A couple of goals in the final ten minutes rounded off a fine day for an on form Uphall team. Ben Forrest scoring the Diamond’s eighth and his own fifth - Jay completing the scoring with a tap in. In between these goals Edina scored as well, a fine snap shot from wide dipped and curled before hitting the far post and cannoning into the net … dashing Brandon’s hopes of a clean sheet. No chance here though for the Diamonds keeper.
A sparkling day for the Diamonds who were all playing in top gear. Credit to Edina who made it a good contest from start to finish.
24th November 2013 League
Uphall Diamonds 7, Penicuik White 3.
Another important game at Holmes Park today. The evening ice and the morning frost killed off the pub team game, but by 2pm the pitch was playable.
The Diamonds started well and pushed for an early goal, from the kick off a shot was driven in, a corner won and a Cammy shot saved. It was looking good, and then Penicuik struck, scoring in the third minute. Stung into a response, the Diamonds countered and battled back to equalize less than ninety seconds later. Mustafa did well at the back, remaining cool, calm and collected; he won the ball, controlled it and slipped it to Ewan. He in turn played a perfect pass to Jason who did the rest: 1-1.
Both sides were clearly up for the game, and both had chances, Jason shot wide - Penicuik at the other end blasting a shot past the post. The game was then held up for a few minutes with Ben Watson receiving treatment for a face knock, stoppage time that would become important later on. Ben had to go off to stem a flood of blood from his damaged nose, apologies for any on field action missed for the next ten minutes while treatment was being applied.
Penicuik were playing well, driven forward by their powerful and clearly influential #6, they pushed for a goal, and to be honest it was no great surprise when it came. On the half hour a shot was swept into the net, no more than the Midlothian team deserved. If the Diamonds were to get the points, they’d have to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in, the game wasn’t going to win itself … a point emphasised when Penicuik nearly scored again, a long drive whistling just past the post.
Injury time saw the scoreline still showing a 2-1 lead for the visitors … then the Diamonds struck.
Jason made a powerful run down the left, given a shooting chance; he unselfishly squared the ball to Jamie who drove into the net from about four yards. Two minutes into stoppage time and another Diamonds goal arrived. A twist and a turn from Ewan set up Jason who executed a fine finish.
3-2 for the Diamonds at half time, but it had been a smash and grab display from the home side. They would have to perform better in the second half. And as if on cue, the Diamonds struck in the first minute. Jamie picked the ball up midway inside the opposition half, he controlled it, turned and flicked a pass to Jason ... he ran through on goal, burying a shot under the advancing keeper.
Three goals in four minutes, either side of halt time, would have floored most sides, but Penicuik were undeterred and struck back, their goal-scorer finished clinically - but given the time and space allowed, he could have read the Sunday Post and had a bacon roll before putting the ball in the net! 4-3 and game on – and the goal rush wasn’t over – two minutes later Stephen played a pass through to Jason, and on current form he wasn’t going to miss ... he didn’t!
The game then calmed down a little with both teams pushing and pressing for a vital goal. One for Penicuik would see them challenging for an equalizer, one for the Diamonds would surely put the game out of sight for the visitors. Penicuik came close with a long drive; a close range shot was blocked, and eventually cleared - Ben Watson then making a fine penalty box tackle to prevent a goal scoring opportunity. At the other end, Lewis Coutts did well to turn past a defender and fire in a good left foot shott, saved by the keeper.
There were clearly more goals in this game, and fortunately for the team from West Lothian, they fell to them. With fifteen minutes remaining Jason struck, curling a surprise shot into the near post. With three minutes left, the same player completed a fine afternoon’s work, claiming a double hat-trick when he blasted a shot home from close range.
Hard work today for the Diamonds against a Penicuik team who belied their lowly position in the league table – Both sides played well in an exciting and entertaining game of football.
17th November 2013 League
Uphall Diamonds 4, Easthouses 2
Both sides made a sprightly start to this vitally important league game, with chances created at either ends of the park. Easthouses were unlucky to see a shot bounce off the post, Uphall responded by counter attacking, a deep cross was misjudged by the away keeper, the ball dropped favourably for Jay, and he just wasn’t going to miss. 1-0, and a super start for the Diamonds. Easthouses responded, and levelled the game four minutes later. A good finish from their forward, but, as ever … it was a good goal to score … a terrible goal to lose.
Both teams then battled and scrapped. No quarter given and none asked. With the teams cancelling each other out, scoring chances were at a premium. A header from Jay and a long free kick attempt from Easthouses were the only real attempts at goal. Indeed it was twenty-three minutes before the first corner was won. Ross swung in a tempting cross, it was cleared, but the return fell to Jason who turned quickly and lashed a shot goalwards, the ball zipped between the keeper and near post, flew across the face of goal, and skimmed the far post as it flew to safety … so near yet so far.
Jason’s goal was only delayed though. On thirty minutes he latched onto an excellent Cammy pass, through on goal he waited for the optimum moment and the executed a fine lob over the advancing keeper. Once again Easthouses tried to respond and they came close, an acrobatic hitch-kick was saved by Brandon, and a last gasp free kick fired over the bar.
Half time, and no hair-dryer team talk this week. Everyone was giving 100%, A good 2-1 lead had been established, but more of the same would be required in the second half.
The second half started with the home side starting exert some pressure, and for the first time really force Easthouses onto the back foot. Jason made a bursting run through the centre of the defence, shooting narrowly wide, Calum had a shot saved, Ewan came close with a long dipping shot that rolled down the wrong side of the net. Ben Forrest then came even closer. Mustafa played a quick throw-in to Ewan who turned and made for the bye-line, showing good determination he evaded a challenge before sweeping a cross into the six-yard box. Ben Forrest connected and smashed a shot onto the crossbar. The rebound eventually scrambled away.
With fifteen minutes remaining, the Diamonds won only the second corner kick of the game. The cross was cleared from the penalty box, then returned; Jason latched onto the ball and from thirty yards thundered a shot into the top corner of the net. A stunning goal that didn’t give the keeper a chance of saving.
The two goal lead didn’t last too long, Easthouses are clearly a team with great character and they battled back into the game. With thirteen minutes to go they reduced the deficit down to a single goal. Their impressive #9 picked up a loose ball, swivelled and from twenty-five yards curled a shot into the far corner of the net. Once again, the keeper, Brandon this time, had no chance to save.
Uphall Diamonds then showed their own character and resilience, it would have been easy to panic and fall back into their shell, trying to defend the narrow lead. Instead they took the game back to Easthouses and were rewarded with a fourth and decisive goal. Pushing forward, Jason had a shot saved; the rebound fell to Lee who directed the ball goalwards again, where it was met by Jason who slammed it into the net.
This was an excellent game off football between two very good teams, there weren’t too many clear cut goal scoring opportunities, but that didn’t diminish from the overall quality of the game, it was testament to the fine and determined defending on display.
10th November 2013 League
Fernieside Colts 2, Uphall Diamonds 5
Four games were called off in West Lothian on Sunday morning, but playing in Edinburgh the Diamonds had a 2pm kick off, and took to the field on a gloriously sunny afternoon. With the recent gale force winds posted missing, it was a perfect day for a game of football.
Fernieside were in a determined mood and started the game strongly. With only three minutes on the clock, they burst down left, a cross swung in and bundled into the net… a dream start for the home side. Fernieside pushed hard for a second goal, and winning every 50:50 ball they looked the more likely side to score, then, as often happens, they were stung by a counter attack. Jay picked the ball up in midfield; he looked up and threaded a pass through to Jason. Jason powered into the penalty box and lashed a low shot into the corner of the net. To be honest, it was an equalizer that a strangely subdued Diamonds scarcely deserved.
The equalizer should have been the catalyst for a Diamonds revival, but lethargy was still the order of the day, and it was Fernieside who pushed forward. Dominating in all areas they scored their second on twenty-five minutes, a good goal for them, but woefully poor defending from Uphall. Still Fernieside pushed forward, and came close when a long drive just cleared the crossbar. One team wanted to win this game, and it clearly wasn’t the team playing in black.
With five minutes of an incredibly disappointing first half left, the Diamonds started to wake up and managed to string a couple of passes together. In the final minute Lewis Coutts burst down the right, he cut the ball back to Ben Forrest who hit a first time shot against the junction of post and bar - frustration for the Diamonds striker who had missed a good chance a few minutes earlier. It was looking like one of these days.
Half time brought a very animated Gary into action, borrowing Alex Ferguson’s infamous hair dryer, he let the Diamonds know in no uncertain terms how unacceptable this performance was. It was a team talk that certainly hit home, a real game transformer … the second period would be an entirely different proposition.
From the kick off Calum, now playing in a more advanced role, drove into the Fernieside half. He played a fine pass forward to Ben Forrest who was thwarted by a brave diving save from the home goalie. With two second half minutes gone the Diamonds struck, Cammy played a defence splitting pass through the middle, Jason ran on, looked up, and casually lofted a shot over the advancing keeper. This was much more like it!
On five minutes, Ross burst down the left and swung a vicious curling low cross into the goalmouth, Jason sliding in came desperately close to connecting. A goal was only delayed, a minute later the same two players were involved again. Ross fired a free kick deep into the Fernieside penalty box, Jason making a perfectly judged run, met the ball and glided a header into the corner of the net, thus completing an excellent hat-trick.
The Diamonds were now 3-2 ahead, and unbelievably a minute later it was 4-2. Jay took a clever throw in, deceiving the Fernieside defence; getting the return pass from Ross, he curled a low cross into the six-yard box. The keeper dived to save, but was beaten to the ball by Ben Forrest who prodded home from close range. Three goals in seven minutes.
The Diamonds continued to play some fine football. Good to watch, but one has to wonder where this performance was hiding in the first half! On twenty minutes goal number five arrived. Jason powered forward, got to the edge of the penalty box and let fly. His low shot beat the keeper but clipped the post. The rebound fell to Jay who wasn’t hangin’ round; he controlled the rebound and gave the goalie no chance with a low shot. A richly deserved goal for Jay who’d had a hand in the four previous strikes.
Credit to Fernieside who pushed hard at the end looking for a goal, but the Diamonds now in control never looked like giving anything away. In fact they came close to a sixth, Mustafa swung in a terrific cross ball, Stephen met the cross and glanced a header agonisingly just past the post.
A strange game today, with a Jekyll and Hyde performance from Uphall, abjectly bad in the first half, pretty darned good in the second. More of the latter and less of the former please!
3rd November 2013 League
Uphall Diamonds 5, Dunbar 2.
The overnight rain and the pub team did their best to knacker Holmes Park, but at 2pm the pitch was playable, perhaps not a bowling green surface, but playable.
Both sides had early chances, Jason sent a drive over the bar, whilst at the other end, Brandon made a good save. The Diamonds then took control, playing with confidence passes were made, chances were created, and goals eventually came.
Jason flicked a pass to Ben Forrest; he showed good control, turned and slammed a shot just wide of the target. Jason did the same following a good combination between Mathew and Lewis Coutts. Ross then fired a ball across the face of the Dunbar goal, sadly no takers for the tempting chance. Playing probably their best football of the season, the Diamonds continued to press and probe.
Lewis Coutts set up Jason with a precision pass that dissected the entire Dunbar defence, the big Diamonds man ran through on goal blasting in a shot, sadly the ferocity of the shot was not matched by accuracy and it flew wide. The pressure continued, Ben Forrest came close latching onto a poor pass back, but the Dunbar keeper saved with a brave block. The keeper was in action again, somehow tipping a Jason pile diver over the bar. A busy man, the Dunbar keeper once again came to his team’s rescue, stretching to touch a Ross free kick onto the crossbar.
With eight minutes of the half remaining, the Diamonds finally took the lead that they richly deserved. Jason cut into the penalty box and from the left, slotted a shot under the advancing keeper, Ben Forrest was in place to finish the move off, knocking the ball home.
Dunbar, showing that they were still a danger broke free and came very close to nicking an equalizer, they broke away on the counter attack but were foiled by an alert Brandon who dived to smother the ball. The Diamonds then mounted their own counter attack, a move that ended with a fierce shot from Jason, and yet another wonder save from the away team’s keeper.
It looked like a single goal lead at half time, then, in injury time the Diamonds struck again. A corner was swung deep into the Dunbar penalty box, trying to clear a defender headed the ball back into the danger area, it looped high and dipped just under the crossbar, it looked for all the world like an unlucky own goal … till that goalie got involved again. He dived backwards to somehow claw the ball away, the rebound fell kindly to Ben Forrest who slammed in the Diamonds second.
The home side started the second half in devastating form, blitzing Dunbar with three goals in the first ten minutes.
3-0: Jay slipped a perfect pass through to Jason, he powered in on goal with only one outcome likely. He blasted an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net.
4-0: Jason thundered forward again, leaving a trail of defenders in his wake. From a narrow angle he cut the ball back across goal where an unlucky defender, pressurised by Ben Forrest, miscued a clearance into his own net.
5-0: Another driving run from Jason, another powerful shot, and despite a good attempt from the Dunbar keeper, another goal.
Down, but not out, Dunbar showed resilience by shrugging off the disappointment of the five goal deficit, and pushed forward, looking for a life line.
Brandon was now the busier goalkeeper. A long dipping shot was tipped over the bar, a shot from the resultant corner then pushed round the post. The danger from the second corner snuffed out by a confident catch. A few minutes later he was in action again, diving full length to turn a low shot round the post. The Diamonds keeper may have had a relaxing first half, but he was certainly earning his corn now!
Twenty minutes into the second half Dunbar scored, running from a suspiciously offside position a forward sprinted goalwards. Calum determinedly chased after him , and looked at one point to have stopped the attack with a firm penalty box tackle. The forward however did well to shrug off the challenge and slotted a shot home.
Both teams pushed for goals in the final quarter of the game. The Diamonds came close when Stephen dived between a couple of defenders to head a corner goalwards, the chance would have been a scorer most weeks, but not today. The Dunbar keeper making yet another fine save.
The visitors scored their second with five minutes remaining. A daft free kick was given away in a dangerous area. Brandon saved the initial shot, but was unable to prevent the rebound hitting the net.
This was a fine display of football from Uphall Diamonds, arguably their best performance of the season to date. Good passing, good teamwork, good goals … what’s not to like! Credit has to go to Dunbar who battled to the very end. They showed in the second half that they can play some good football, and will undoubtedly cause teams a lot of bother this season.
27th October 2013 League
Uphall Diamonds 3, North Berwick 3.
A real test for Uphall Diamonds today, playing top of the table North Berwick, fortunately the heavy overnight rain relented and the game went ahead on a rather damp and cut up park, the earlier amateur game not helping conditions.
Becoming a hit of a habit now, the Diamonds started very slowly, taking ten or fifteen minutes to find any kind of rhythm, and in that period they could easily have gone a goal down. A swift North Berwick break saw them sweep from one end of the park to the other, a shot crashing off the inside of the post, the ball eventually scrambled away.
Alarm bells sounding, the home side then started to play. A throw in was flicked on by Jason, the ball fell to Cammy at the edge of the box and he fired in a shot, saved comfortably by the keeper. Jason then tried his luck with a shot that cleared the crossbar. Another chance was created by some good hassling and harrying by Ben Forrest, closing down a defender he won an unexpected corner. The ball was swung in, cleared, but only to Calum, who rifled in a twenty yard drive, once again though, the shot cleared the crossbar. Another Jason flick on created a chance for Cammy, his low shot well stopped by the keeper.
Shooting with the strong wind, the Diamonds really needed to take something into the second half, and on twenty-three minutes a goal arrived. Jason pressurised the North Berwick defence into a mistake, with possession won he powered into the goal line and dinked in a tempting cross, Ben Forrest failed to connect, but Jay was lying in wait at the far post to slam a shot into the net.
The Diamonds continued to press all the way to half time, but were unable to add to their goal tally. A 1-0 lead at the break was good, but given the possession enjoyed, and chances created, it could have been so much better.
The second half started brightly for the Diamonds and they nearly scored from the kick off, Cammy broke free, and lashed in a show, saved by the busy keeper. Playing well, the Diamonds looked likely to increase their lead, but were stung by a North Berwick leveller. A routine bouncing ball wasn’t dealt with, it fell to a forward he didn’t hesitate to accept the gift. All the play, all the chances, and the score now stood at 1-1.
To be fair, the Diamonds immediately responded and came desperately close to regaining the lead. From the kick off, Jason powered forward and crashed in a shot; the ball smacked off the underside of the bar, down into the six-yard box and was eventually scrambled away. On fourteen second half minutes, the Diamonds did regain the lead. Breaking down the right, Lewis-Mc spotted the keeper off his line and attempted a chip over him. A fine goal was prevented by a fingertip stop by the keeper, unfortunately for him; the ball broke to Jason who just wasn’t going to miss. Two minutes later there was more joy for the home side. Lewis Coutts, just on as a substitute, made an instant impact. He burst down the right, looked up and curled the perfect cross to Jason. The big Diamonds #19 made no mistake in burying the chance.
Pushing forward, Jason had another shot saved, Lewis Coutts had a shot saved, Lee had a shot saved. Two goals up, playing well, everything was looking good … then … for some reason, the off button was switched, and for the third game in a row the Diamonds stopped playing with fifteen minutes to go. A needless free kick was given away, and swept into the net. 3-2 and it was game on.
Under pressure, and clinging onto their single goal lead, the Diamonds made it to forty minutes and 45 seconds when a crazy corner was given away. The corner kick was miscued but fell to a North Berwick player, surprised by the space and time allowed, he took aim and slammed a shot goalwards. Did it go straight in, or was it touched? I’m not sure. But what is undisputed is that the ball hit the Diamonds net. North Berwick had equalized with the last kick of the game. The very last kick as the final whistle blew as soon as the ball was re-centred.
Well played to North Berwick who battled and grafted to the very last seconds of the game. For the Diamonds however, it was a bitterly disappointing end to a match that promised so much … it’s hard not to conclude that two vital championship points have needlessly been chucked away.
Looking positively… for long spells the Diamonds played very well indeed, Jason making his comeback from suspension produced a man of the match performance, scoring two and setting up the other goal. The ball was moved about well. A barrel load of chances were created … BUT … this level of performance needs to be maintained for eighty minutes … NOT just sixty.
13th October 2013 League
Peebles 2, Uphall Diamonds 3.
Uphall Diamonds on tour today, travelling down to Peebles for a very important league fixture, victory a must for both teams. Football was, however, a secondary thought when both sides lined up pre-match for a minutes silence, for the Peebles goalie’s mum who sadly died earlier in the week. The young keeper bravely playing in today’s game.
The game started rather slowly – then the Diamonds started to play, and create chances. Ross fired a shot across the face of goal, Ali forcing the keeper into a good save, diving backwards to stop the looping, dipping shot. Jay came close as did Cammy. A goal looked to be coming, and it did – at the other end of the park. Peebles broke down the left and a shot driven across the face of goal, the danger looked to be over ‘til, inexplicably, possession was given away at the edge of the penalty box. A lurking Peebles player took advantage and rifled a shot into the far corner.
The Diamonds continued to play, and create chances. Ewan shot wide, then over the bar, Cammy swung a cross/shot that beat everyone, but just curled the wrong side of the post. The Diamonds then scored, or so we thoght, the referee chalking the goal off - not too sure why though!
The away side were finally rewarded for their pressure with a burst of goals in the final ten minutes of the half. Jay played a good pass into the penalty box; Jamie held the ball up and slipped it to Ben Forrest who slotted a shot into the net. With three minutes remaining Cammy gave his side the lead when he volleyed home, then, with seconds remaining, Jay intercepted a poorly judged pass back to score.
A 3 – 1 lead for the Diamonds at half time. A good score line, but a lead that should have possibly been bigger, given the overall pressure and chances created. When on top, it’s best to kill the game off!
The second half started with more Diamonds chances, Ben Forrest dashed through on goal and poked a shot past the advancing keeper, the ball unfortunately rolled the wrong side of the post. A long throw was controlled by Ali, the ball knocked back to Jay and driven fiercely across the face of goal.
Then, the Diamonds stopped playing. Perhaps jet lag was setting in after the long drive south, perhaps Peebles were just upping their game, but for whatever reason the play swung towards the away goal, and the chances started to fall to the team in red.
Brandon made a scrambling save, gathering the ball at the second attempt, then producing a fine diving save. A shot was driven just wide, then another. Corners were won, but well defended by a Diamonds side that were being pushed further and further back.
The team from Uphall did come close; on a rare attack they won a free kick. Ross fired in a long shot that dipped, bounced, and smacked off the bar, the rebound scrambled away... and play swung to the other end again. A long cross field pass was controlled by a wide Peebles player; he cut inside and crashed a shot off the underside of the crossbar, the ball eventually scrambled away.
The storm looked to be weathered; then, with three minutes remaining a penalty was given away ... and scored. 3 – 2 and game well and truly on again. The Diamonds hung on grimly, and looked to be safe when the game entered its second minute of stoppage time, then Peebles won a free kick on the edge of the penalty box. With everyone holding their breath, the free-kick was blasted goalwards, the ball crashing off the crossbar, and over.
A hard fought win for the Diamonds in a real game of two halves. The moral of the story being ... utilise all your possession and take your chances to avoid a nervous finish.
6th October 2013 Jackie Faichney Memorial Cup
Fernieside Colts 3, Uphall Diamonds 3.
Uphall Diamonds win 4-2 on penalties
Today’s game kicked off at 2pm in Gilmerton, sadly the Diamonds didn’t actually start playing ‘til about 2.15pm, and by that time they could easily have been three goals down.
In the third minute a shot crashed off the post, Mustafa sweeping the rebound away just before in was met by an onrushing forward. In the fourteenth minute a long shot smacked off the face of the crossbar. Sandwiched in between these two chances came the Fernieside goal, a forward broke through a worryingly static defence and looped a shot into the top corner of the net. A poor quarter of an hour ended with Ewan receiving a yellow card for having one too many words with the referee.
Fortunately the Diamonds woke up and started to play some football, miss-controlled balls were now sticking to feet, passes were now finding their target and chances were being created. Jamie really should have equalised when he was presented with a golden chance, but his shot was too tame and was easily gathered by the keeper. Ali swung a shot just wide, Lewis Coutts then having a shot saved. The Diamonds play deserved a goal and it duly arrived on the twenty-seventh minute. Calum headed a corner goalwards; the ball wasn’t cleared and fell to Ewan who stabbed it into the corner of the net. Now playing in top gear, the visitors came close again. Stephen burst into the corner of the penalty box, he fired in a powerful shot that the keeper did well to parry, the ball rebounded to Lewis Coutts and his drive flew just over. Ali then drove from midfield, gliding past a couple of defenders he created a shooting chance and curled a shot just over.
A topsy-turvy first half ended a goal apiece. The Diamonds had played some fine football, but the less said about that first quarter hour the better!
Stephen created the first real chance of the second half when he won the ball wide, and flashed a low and hard cross into the six-yard box, it only needed a touch from a defender or an attacker to turn it into the net, sadly it got neither and flew away to safety. Fernieside were also looking dangerous, and it took some brave defending from Ben Watson to prevent a goal, taking an accidental kick in the face for his troubles. The Diamonds came close again when a free kick from Ross clipped the top of the crossbar, the keeper beaten all ends up.
With ten minute remaining the Diamonds took the lead. Ewan slipped a pass through to Ben Forrest, some distance from goal, he shrugged off three defenders and set off, pushed wide he kept calm and slotted a shot away from the advancing keeper and into the corner of the net.
The home side pushed hard for an equaliser, winning a series of corners, all cleared though – the Diamonds looked to have survived the late pressure, then came the second minute of stoppage time. A long throw was launched into a penalty box that contained twenty players, into the six-yard box and then headed home. Wild celebrations from the Fernieside players followed, their joy understandable. One can only imagine the scenes if a chance a minute later had gone in. Brandon making a good near post save to deny the home team a dramatic winner.
With no further action, it was extra time...
The Diamonds started extra time strongly, Lee hit an early shot that looked an easy save ‘till it hit a divot and bounced wildly up, the keeper making a superb instinctive stop. He was beaten though a minute later when Lee thundered in a forty yard dive, the shot flew goalwards and dipped just under the crossbar. A quite breathtakingly spectacular strike! At the other end Brandon made a superb save diving full length to divert a goal bound shot.
The second period of extra time started with Fernieside on top, and their pressure brought an equaliser. Their player executing a fine back post volley ... a super finish, but one has to ask why he was totally unmarked and allowed all the time in the world to set up his shot! The game ended with the home side on top, and they came close to claiming a last gasp winner, the ball bouncing in the Diamonds six-yard box before being swept away to safety... and so it was penalties.
Ross as the regular penalty kicker stepped up for the opener, and scored. Fernieside took theirs, but the kick was hit too close to Brandon and he got down to smother it, giving his side the perfect start to the shootout... Fernieside 0, Diamonds 1.
Calum scored, and so did Fernieside... Fernieside 1, Diamonds 2.
Ali scored, and so did Fernieside... Fernieside 2, Diamonds 3.
Lewis Coutts scored, Fernieside had to score to stay in the game... their player shot down the middle, Brandon dived to his right, but stuck out a leg, the ball cannoned off his toe and rebounded clear... Fernieside 2, Diamonds 4.
Wild celebrations ensued with the Diamonds rushing to acclaim their big keeper. Having lost two penalty shootouts last season, their joy was not surprising.
Commiserations to Fernieside who contributed hugely to an exciting game of football. Losing on penalties, as we know only too well, is a heartbreaking experience.
29th September 2013 Scottish Cup
Uphall Diamonds 1, Currie Star 4
Part two of the Curie double header, a Scottish Cup second round tie on a lovely sunny day in Uphall … not many of them left this year I fear!
Both teams pressed and probed in the early minutes without creating any real opportunities. Having avoided the mishap of an early conceded goal this week, the Diamonds were playing well, stringing passes together and looking for long spell the likelier of the teams to score, and then, and then came the body blow. A long through ball wasn’t dealt with; a Currie forward latched onto the ball, ran through on goal and was all set to pull the trigger when he was halted by an outstanding tackle from Lewis. The rebound fell to another forward who powered in a shot, blocked magnificently by Brandon. The ball broke to another Currie player a few yards outside the penalty box and he rifled a low shot into the net - a confident and well taken goal from Currie, but desperately hard luck on the Diamonds who had defended so well.
A few nervous moments followed for the home side with Currie pressing for another. A header smacked off the crossbar, the rebound fired in and cleared off the line, that rebound then driven hard and low across goal, finally resting in the safety of the bushes beside the burn!
On the half hour, the Diamonds scored an equalise that no-one could grudge … a corner was swing into the goalmouth; flicked towards the back post the ball fell to Jay, who took it on the volley. The ball positively whizzed past a keeper who hadn’t a hope of saving it, the ball hitting the net before he could even move.
Honours even at half time… and everything to play for!
The second half started with Currie powering forward, their outstanding #9 causing all sorts of problems for the home team. A couple of long shots flew wide; Brandon made a good save, Ross making an outstanding block on another pile-driver. Gradually the Diamonds stared to fight back, and looked to have weathered the storm … then disaster. A corner was curled in and a powerful header bulleted into the net. Currie were looking the stronger side, but with only a single goal separating the sides, anything was still possible.
The Diamonds battled hard but were unable to craft that one chance that might, just might have forced extra time. In a cruel final four minutes Currie scored twice, to produce a 1-4 score-line that hardly tells the story of the game.
The Currie keeper makes a good save under pressure
22nd September 2013 Colin Greenhill Memorial Trophy
Uphall Diamonds 1, Currie Star 3
Part one on a Currie double header, today in the Colin Greenhill Memorial Trophy, and next week in the Scottish Cup. The Diamonds were looking for a good and steady start against their League 2 opponents, but sadly didn’t get it when a goal was needlessly conceded in the third minute. It was a lead for Currie that could have been doubled when a shot was turned wide … looked easier to score to be honest!
On twenty minutes the visitors took a 0-2 lead. A shot crashed off the Diamonds crossbar, the rebound wasn’t cleared and fell to a player lurking at the edge of the penalty box, he drove a low shot into the net. Currie pretty well dominated the remainder of the half, but just couldn’t find the net. A goal did come though – to the Diamonds! Ross launched a free kick deep into the Currie six-yard box, Jay watched the flight of the ball and with the keeper advancing, he flicked a glancing header into the roof of the net.
Half time brought a score-line of the Uphall 1 Currie 2, scant reward for all of the Currie pressure, but no-one on the home team were complaining about that.
The Diamonds came out battling in the second half and started to apply pressure, knowing that the next goal would be crucial in this game. Good early play from Louis set up a chance for Cammy, the keeper saving well. A few minutes later a corner was swung in, the ball bounced in the six-yard box, pinged about like a pinball and was eventually cleared. On nine minutes another corner produced another goal-line scramble, boots were swung, heads were launched at the ball, but it just wouldn’t go in.
The Diamonds were at last playing well, pushing Currie back … and then they were hit with the sucker punch. Currie broke upfield, a shot was fired goalwards, it struck the post and bounced out. With the Diamonds defence at sixes and sevens a forward appeared on the scene to slam the rebound home.
Currie pressed for another and were denied by a good Brandon stop. Diamonds’ heads did not go down however and a lifeline was denied by a couple of fantastic saves from the Currie keeper. He somehow managed to stop a header from Jay, pushing the ball wide with a fingertip save, then getting quickly back to his feet to turn Cammy’s shot wide for a corner.
A well-deserved win for Currie today, but the Diamonds had shown in spells that they could trouble their higher league opponents, making next week’s Scottish Cup tie an interesting prospect.
First half Diamonds pressure
15th September 2013 League
Uphall Diamonds 5, Bonnyrigg Rose Red 0
With overnight rain and a torrential downpour on the morning, this game looked to be in doubt, but Holmes Park once again came up trumps and the pitch was in excellent condition. The only downside was an almost gale force wind blowing down the park.
The Diamonds started well in this very important league game and could have scored three times in the first five minutes. Cammy one-on-one with the keeper shot wide, he then sliced another chance past the post. A corner Kick produced a scramble in the Bonnyrigg six-yard box, the ball clipping the post as it went wide. Then, surprisingly, the game went dead, the Diamonds seemed strangely lethargic.
It was a full fifteen minutes before the away side’s goal saw some action, Cammy swung over a terrific cross from the right; Jay came in on the far side to bullet a terrific header into the corner of the net ... the referee then spoiling the moment with a not so terrific offside whistle! A minute later the ball was in the net again, and this time it counted. Cammy stormed down the right and lashed a cross (shot?) into the six-yard-box, caught by the wind, it curled into the net. A tad fortunate, but they all count!
Once again the game descended into lethargy, indeed the most animated Diamond was Coach Gary on the touchline, he was going apoplectic at the lack of endeavour being shown on the pitch. A single goal lead would be a slender advantage to take into the second half with the strong wind still blowing down the pitch – a stern half time team talk was in the offing! Fortunately that was all avoided when the home team scored a second, with three minutes remaining, Ross curled a corner onto Jay’s head, and from about six inches, he headed home.
2–0 for the Diamonds at half time, but given that the game was played almost exclusively in the Bonnyrigg half, it should have been so much better.
The visitors started the second half strongly and, using the wind, had a few long pop shots at goal. Nothing to trouble Brandon in goal... then one of their players skelped the ball from about forty yards, it flew up, dipped and swerved and crashed off the post, rebounding clear. A Bonnyrigg goal at this point would have made the game very interesting. This scare seemed to gee up the Diamonds and at last they upped their game, playing some good football chances were created and goals were scored.
16 mins: Matty burst down the right, his cross was met by Lewis who took an age trying to somehow get the ball onto his right foot (your left foot is not just for standing on young man!), the ball broke to Stephen with his back to goal, he swivelled, kept the ball under control and lashed a shot into the roof of the net... a very good goal!
Another good passing move saw an overlapping Ross enter the penalty box; his low drive beat the keeper but was cleared off the line at the far post. Calum then smashed a thirty yard piledriver just past the post.
28 mins: Louis Coutts made his way down the left and cut towards the bye-line before slamming a low cross into the six-yard box. Aware of the danger behind him, a Bonnyrigg defender stuck out a leg and diverted the ball into the net. To be fair to the defender, the ball was heading to a cluster of forwards and a goal either way was inevitable.
40 mins: A late corner was won. Ross produced his usual excellent delivery which was met by Cammy and he powered a header into the net.
A good win, eventually, for the Diamonds today. Good effort from Bonnyrigg who only had eleven outfield players, making it a hard shift in difficult conditions.
Cammy turns away after heading # 5
8th September 2013 Regional Cup
Inverkeithing 6, Uphall Diamonds 0.
This was a tough game for the Diamonds, travelling to Queensferry to take on Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts, a team two divisions above in the Regional Cup.
Playing quality opposition, it was important to keep disciplined, minimise Inverkeithing’s chances and try when possible to mount effective counter attacks, and it started well for the Diamonds. With everyone pressing, tackling and working, the home side were limited to a few long range shots at goal. Settling into the game, it looked like a working game plan, and then disaster… a needless penalty was conceded, and scored… Inverkeithing had the goal that would settle their nerves.
Uphall stuck to their task however, and came close themselves when a Calum volleyed past the post from a corner. The game progressed and Inverkeithing pressed for the important second goal. It nearly came with five minutes remaining in the half, a cross was flighted into the penalty box, a forward (#14 I think) executed a perfect and most spectacular overhead kick, the ball flew goalwards and was about to drop into the net… when another forward appeared and prodded it home. Sadly for Inverkeithing that player was offside and the goal was disallowed. The goal was only delayed though, in the final seconds of the half a cross was knocked home.
A disappointing end to a half in which the Diamonds had performed well.
Boosted by the late second goal, the home side came out of the traps rapidly for the second half, scoring twice in the first five minutes. Both well taken long range shots, the moral of the story here being, don’t give quality players the time and space to line up a shot, because if you do, they will punish you.
The Diamonds battled hard, and despite losing another couple of goals, didn’t give up. Coming very close themselves to a deserved goal. Jay worked himself into a shooting position and curled a shot over the keeper towards the far post; unfortunately the ball struck the inside of the upright and bounced out.
3rd September 2013 Friendly
Uphall Diamonds 2, Mid Calder Colts 3.
Another midweek friendly for the Diamonds who welcomed two new players to their ranks, Jason and Lewis, who joined from the team up the road. Both players settled in well, helping the Diamonds to play some very good football. Jason came close in the early minutes when he lashed a shot across the face of the visitor’s goal. Pinning Mid Calder back, a goal looked likely, and in ten minutes it arrived – in a most unexpected manner. Full back Lewis-Mc found himself in possession some thirty yards from goal, closed down, he turned and lofted the ball over the keeper and high into the net ... sadly it was the Diamonds net! It was a most spectacular own-goal. Not good, but worse was to follow, as the Diamonds fell two goals down when routine free kick was allowed to sail into the six-yard box. Unmarked, a Mid Calder player guided the ball into the net.
The Diamonds pressed hard to get a foothold back into the game. Lewis-C crossed in for Stephen, he fired a shot past the diving keeper, but also just past the far post. A few minutes later a corner was cleared to Lee who fired in a fierce drive, the ball grazing the post as it flew wide. Then the goal game, Stephen fed Lewis-C who ran through on goal, expertly slotting a shot into the far corner of the net.
A half, almost totally dominated by the Diamonds ended with Mid Calder leading 2–1, a bizarre scoreline, as the visitors had only managed one meaningful attempt at goal. Football can be a strange game sometimes.
Uphall started the second half strongly ... Ali drove a shot just wide, Jason fired over and Ben had a shot saved. Nine minutes into the half, the Diamonds equaliser arrived, Calum won the ball in midfield, he slipped a pass to Jamie, who in turn fed Jason. The Diamonds new man, took a touch, moved sideways a little and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the net. With their tails up the home side came close to taking the lead, Ben ran through on goal, he lofted a shot over the keeper, but sadly over the bar as well.
The equaliser seemed to spur Mid Calder on and they had their best spell of the game, creating a number of chances. A shot was blocked on the line, the rebound saved by Brandon. Another shot was deflected wide. Slackness in the Diamonds defence then allowed a Mid Calder throw-in to be flicked into the penalty box, unchallenged a forward shot for goal, forcing Brandon into a very good save.
The Diamonds responded and started to create chances again. Jason passed to Cammy who drove just a little too wide and a little too high. Jason then came close to scoring when he powered past a couple of defenders and slashed a shot across the face of goal – Jay at the far post just failed to connect. Jay then came even closer – jinking past a couple of defenders he swung a cross/shot to the far side, the ball clattered off the inside of the post and was scrambled away.
With ten minutes to go, the Diamonds had a chance to launch a long ball into the Mid Calder box. Matthew running with the ball had been hauled down, the Diamonds free kick would be an opportunity to create the winner ... or so we thought ... the referee thought differently and unbelievably, awarded the free kick to the visitors, a staggeringly bad decision! Never look a gift horse in the mouth... Mid Calder launched a quite superb free kick into the middle of the Diamonds defence, and it was they who scored the winning goal.
Whilst it was disappointing to lose, the Diamonds should really take heart from the quality of football tonight. They played very well indeed. And look at it this way ... better to lose crazy and bad goals in a friendly, than in important league or cup games, use up the bad luck when it’s not really important.
Was still a sore one though.
Yappy Dug, the Diamonds latest canine supporter, looks on in amazement as the Referee awards THAT free kick to Mid Calder
1st September 2013 Scottish Cup First Round
Uphall Diamonds 5, Fernieside Colts 2.
Corporate Hospitality ... Uphall Diamonds style
Scottish Cup first round day, with the Diamonds entertaining fellow Edinburgh side Fernieside Colts to a rather blustery Holmes Park, and it wasn’t the best of starts for Uphall. In the second minute Fernieside swung a long free kick to the back post where an unchallenged header found the back of the net. Shooting against the strong wind, this was a great start for the visitors. The Diamonds had to hit back quickly, and they did, three minutes later Jay rose to bullet home a fine header. On the quarter hour Fernieside came close again, a low shot flashing just wide of the Diamonds goal. The ball was worked up the park from the goal kick and a corner won, initially cleared, Ross picked up the rebound and swung a cross onto Jay’s head, the Diamonds # 13 made no mistake with another powerful header.
Confidence boosted the home side pressed hard and came so close, Ali flicked a long throw onto the Fernieside crossbar, the rebound crashed off the underside of the bar, and that rebound driven narrowly over. Jamie had a shot fly just over the bar... then came the goal of the game. Calum picked up the ball just inside the Fernieside half; he powered forward, brushed off a few challenges and thundered a fifteen yard shot into the top corner of the net. That should have settled the Diamonds, but it was Fernieside who took the initiative, they fought back and scored with a low shot into the corner of the net, then came close again when their big and powerful #5 won a tackle and strode forward, his twenty-five yard drive thankfully rising over the bar.
A keenly contested first half ended with the Diamonds 3 – 2 ahead, but with a strong wing still blowing down Holmes Park, it would be an interesting second half.
The second half started with Fernieside shooting with the increasingly strong wind, and they were determined to use it. A long shot flew just over the Diamonds bar, another low shot slipped just past the post. Two Fernieside players then broke free, Matthew did well to slow their progress, Brandon coming out to block the shot. The rebound fell to another forward who scooped a shot goalwards, the ball bounced... and dropped just past the post. Under intense pressure the Diamonds had to respond, and they did... Jamie held up a clearance and threaded a pass through to Ben Forrest, catching the visitors on the break, he drove forward, rounded the keeper and slotted home. A goal the Diamonds desperately needed.
Fernieside continued to push forward, knowing that a goal would see them right back in the game, when the goal came though, it fell to the home side. Ewan did well in midfield, slipping a pass to Jay; he ran through and slipped a low shot under the keeper and into the net.
The wind made it difficult today, but both sides still managed to produce some good and exciting football. The Diamonds players still retaining some energy to dash to the refreshments tent on the final whistle! ...
27th August 2013 Friendly
Uphall Diamonds 9, Polbeth 2
With a free evening from Edinburgh league business, the Diamonds took on a friendly with local rivals Polbeth, both teams serving up an entertaining game at a sunny Holmes Park.
The home side struck first, Ross slotting home a penalty kick with his usual aplomb. Ewan, on his Diamonds return then doubling the lead with a fine left foot shot. Polbeth were quickly on the counter attack and won a penalty of their own, once again, expertly slammed home. Ben F retaliated for the Diamonds and bundled the ball over the line following a keepers save. Fifteen minutes gone and the score stood at Uphall 3, Polbeth 1.
The goal rush then dried up for a while, the closest either team came was when Tosh lofted a shot goalwards, the Polbeth keeper got a touch on it, and diverted the ball onto the post. Tosh’s goal was only delayed though, with a minute left in the first half he rose to head home a Ross corner.
Half time: Uphall 4, Polbeth 1.
Polbeth got the second half off to a real flyer when they scored directly from the kick off. A fine response, but unfortunately for them it just stung the Diamonds into action. Ben Forrest scoring a second half hat-trick, all three goals coming in a devastating six minute period. Cammy, continuing his fine start at the Diamonds, scored the game’s final two goals, a near post shot that deceived the keeper. Then a precision finish when one-on-one with the goalie, Ali setting up this one with some good individual skill and a slide-rule pass. (For the youngsters, ask your Mums and Dads what a slide-rule is!)
A good game this evening, with lots of credit going to Polbeth – it would be fair to say that they aren’t the most successful of football clubs results wise. But they play every week, come rain, hail or shine, and never give up, always trying to play football. Our best wishes go to them this season.
The Diamonds come so close in the second half.
25th August 2013 League
Uphall Diamonds 4, Leith Athletic White 1
Leith Athletic White were today’s visitors to Holmes Park, and having finished fourth last season, this would be a test for the Diamonds Edinburgh League aspirations. Both sides probed and pressed in the afternoon sun, but few chances were created – the best opportunity falling to the visitors when a header was cleared away from just under the Diamonds crossbar. The home side were playing some decent football, but were unable to craft any real chances, and it was Leith who once again came closest with a header that flashed across the face of goal, another shot was comfortably saved by Brandon. It was twenty-five minutes before the Leith goal was under any real threat, and the Diamonds really should have scored. With the ball bouncing in and around the six-yard box, a controlled shot would have seen a goal scored, unfortunately what we got was a series of miss-kicks and blocked shots, and the chance went a begging.
Then on thirty-three minutes came a goal totally out of the blue. Lewis picked up the ball deep in his half; he powered forward shrugging off challenge after challenge, cut into the penalty box and lashed a shot into the far corner of the net. Goal of the season? Well it will be a contender! Sadly the Diamonds lead didn’t last too long, in fact two minutes. A cross field pass wasn’t dealt with and an inrushing forward cracked home a volley from the corner of the penalty box.
A very close first half was reflected in the 1-1 scoreline.
Normally slow starters, the Diamonds came out of the traps like an express train in the second half, scoring twice in the first four minutes. Ali played a precision pass to Jay, and he made no mistake prodding the ball under the advancing keeper. Jamie held up a lofted pass and swept the ball to Cammy. He took the ball wide and swung in a good cross. Jay did the rest tucking the ball home for his second and the Diamonds third. Leith weren’t for giving up and they had a spell of sustained pressure, coming very close when a header crashed off the face of the Diamonds crossbar, Ross managing to clear the rebound away from an awaiting forward. On the break Uphall came so close, Lewis crossed, Jamie headed goalwards and the Leith keeper produced an outstanding save to keep his team in the game. A few minutes later, however, he was beaten. Jamie raced onto a through ball, he dinked the ball over the keeper who got a touch, slowing its progress, but the Diamonds striker won the race and slammed home under pressure for goal number four.
Once again Leith didn’t give up, and again came close to reducing the leeway. A header flew towards the far corner of the net. With the visiting support acclaiming a goal, and the Diamonds fans fearful of a comeback strike... Brandon flung himself to his left to claw away the net-bound header. Save of the season? Well it will be a contender!
The match ended in a 4 – 1 Diamonds win, a fine victory, but possibly closer than the scoreline would suggest. Come the end of the season Leith Athletic will be there or there abouts at the top of the league ... as will, hopefully, Uphall Diamonds!
Sporting post-match handshakes after a good game of football.
18th August 2013 League
Musselburgh Windsor 98s 4, Uphall Diamonds 1
First competitive game of the new season today, with the Diamonds making their debut in the Edinburgh league. Today’s opponents being Musselburgh Windsor.
The Diamonds nearly got off to the perfect start when a Tosh shot dipped just over the bar, only a minute on the clock. Musselburgh countered on the break, their forward doing well to outpace the Diamonds defence, his final cross ball eventually letting him down. At the other end the Diamonds came so close to opening the scoreline... Ben swept over a fine cross, Jack drifted in at the back post and prodded the ball goalwards, only to be thwarted by a fine keepers save.
On the half hour, the rain lashed down, and the Diamonds goal was breached. A long ball up the park really should have been dealt with, but three or four defenders all left the ball to wach other allowing it to bounce; the one Musselburgh player in attendance didn’t hesitate, and lashed a volley into the far corner of the net. A fine strike for sure, but sloppy defending.
An even first half ended with a 1-0 lead for the home side.
The second half started with Musselburgh in a clearly determined mood; in less than thirty seconds they hit a shot that clipped the near post. A minute later they were ahead, chasing a through pass the Musselburgh forward didn’t give up, with everyone expecting a goal kick, he cut the ball back into a colleague’s path, he in turn slammed a shot into the net. Another fine goal for the home side, and another sloppy one for the Diamonds to lose.
Uphall pressed forward looking for a foothold into the game and came close when Cammy slammed a shot just wide. The sixteenth second half minute saw the visitors pull a goal back, Cammy showed some good skills out wide, he turned, cut inside and curled a shot into the far corner of the net.
Musselburgh then really should have restored their two goal lead; correctly awarded a penalty, their forward hit the spot kick high, wide, and into the trees! This was a boost for the Diamonds and they should have capitalised on it. Sadly, any hopes of a fightback were dashed by two goals inside a minute by Musselburgh. On twenty five minutes they worked the ball down the right, good play saw a ball rolled across the face of the Diamonds goal, where it was tapped home by one of the unmarked players. A minute later the ball was in the Diamonds net again, and it was game over.
It was a strangely lack-luster performance today from the Diamonds, who looked a little subdued and anxious in their first Edinburgh game... a shame as we know that they can do so much better. Hopefully it was just first day nerves.
Well played though by Musselburgh who deserved their win, inspired by their big #6 who was determined to win every midfield clash and battle.
12th August 2013 Friendly
Uphall Diamonds 2, Livi Hearts 4
Friendly number two for the Diamonds, played at King George rather than Holmes Park. West Lothian Council, good on them, are re-turfing the goalmouths at our usual pitch.
Once again we had a scrappy start to a game, pre-season rustiness for both sides. Any chances were created by the visiting Livi Hearts team, one of which they scored from. The Diamonds first opportunity came on seventeen minutes, Tosh turned in the box and hit a shot on the turn, bringing out a good keepers save. Two minutes later Uphall were level, Ross’ free kick finding the top corner of the net. The same player then came close to an unlikely second goal when his corner kick clipped the near post.
Half time 1-1.
The second half started well for Livi Hearts, scoring in the second minute with a fine 25 yard drive, but, when you give good players the time and space for a shot, that’s what is going to happen... a lesson for the Diamonds hopefully. This goal seemed to unsettle the Uphall team and they fell out of the game, Livi Hearts playing well, created a few chances and then took a 3-1 lead with a well worked goal.
The Diamonds pulled a goal back with ten minutes remaining, Cammy’s corner headed into the net by Lee. It was game on and an equalizer nearly arrived, Calum and Cammy combined well, Cammy’s low and hard drive across goal just needed a touch, sadly it didn’t get one. Livi Hearts countered, won a corner and scored. Poor marking the Diamonds six-yard box giving the visiting player a golden chance he didn’t miss. Could have been 3-3 ... it was 2-4 ... that’s football for you.
The final chance of the game came in the final minute; another good corner from Cammy was met by Tosh, his header scrambled off the goal line.
A good workout for both sides ... next stop Musselburgh.
7th August 2013 Friendly
Uphall Diamonds 4, Pumperston 0
This was the first game of the season for the Diamonds, welcoming three new players to their squad. Stephen who was making a welcome return to the team, Jay from Murieston and Cammy who played in the Edinburgh league with Liberton. The match had a scrappy first twenty minutes with both sides finding their feet after the summer break, Uphall probably on top, but Pumpherston creating the odd chance.
Then the game burst into life... the visitors pushed forward and came close to scoring, denied by a fine Brandon save. The Diamonds countered and Ali pulled an equally good save out of the Pumphy keeper. Ross then saw a good shot saved. At the other end Brandon produced another good stop. 0-0 at half time and everything to play for. Uphall were fastest out the traps in the second half, scoring in the third minute. Ross picked up the clearance from his own corner. He looked ready to swing the ball in with his right foot, but thought better of that, turning, he put the ball onto his left and pinged the perfect cross onto Tosh's head. His bullet header gave the keeper no chance.
On the hour mark came the game's best goal. Calum won a tackle in the centre circle, still in his own half he powered forward shrugging of a number of challenges, into the Pumpherston penalty box, Calum saw the advancing keeper and slotted it through his legs and into the net. Two minutes later and the home side were three up. Jamie won the ball and slipped it to debutant Cammy, he looked up, saw Tosh unmarked and slipped the perfect pass to the Diamonds forward. Tosh did the rest.
With five minutes remaining the Diamonds cored their fourth, with great credit due to Mustafa. He chased a lost cause down the left, kept the ball in play, lost position but regained it, cut into the penalty box and slipped a pass to Jamie. With his back to goal there looked to be minimal danger, but Jamie changed that, he swiveled on a sixpence (that an old coin to you young chaps) turned and slammed a shot high into the net. A fine goal.
A good opening game win for Uphall who played well... as did Pumpherston who can consider themselves unfortunate to have lost by such a wide margin.