The 1sts kick off their 2018/19 season

The EUAFC 2018/19 season started as the 1st team began their Lowland League campaign as well as the Football Nation Qualifying Cup. After pre-season friendlies against Musselburgh Athletic, Turriff United and Danderhall Miners, the Uni were eager to hit the ground running. Here, we cover the team’s first 5 fixtures of the season against Gretna 2008, The Spartans, Civil Service Strollers, Edusport Academy and Stirling University.

Gretna 2008 0 – 3 EUAFC (SLFL) – 28/7/18

The 1sts kicked off their 2018/19 season in what was a windy afternoon at Raydale Park.

The Uni started the first half well, with an early chance from Conington saved by the Gretna keeper. At the ten minute mark, McNicholas opened the scoring. Swan received the ball in the centre of the park and switched the play as he caught McNicholas’ run from the left. Taking the ball into the box, McNicholas slotted the ball into the Gretna net with a composed finish to put the Uni in front.

Ten minutes later the Uni doubled their lead in a very similar fashion. Swan again found McNicholas on the left as he played a ball through for him to run onto. McNicholas pursued towards the goal and nutmegged the advancing goalkeeper to take the Uni to 2-0 at half-time.

The second half started with the 1sts having to adjust to the windy conditions they were playing against. While Gretna pressed for goal, the Uni ensured the win with a third goal. With play starting from the back and some good interplay down the Uni right hand side, Yusuf found himself in the box only to be fouled by the Gretna defender, resulting in the referee pointing for a penalty. Yusuf stepped up and made no mistake by firing the ball into the roof of the net.

Gretna pushed for a consolation goal but some solid defending from the Uni defence meant three points and a clean sheet for the 1st game of the Lowland League season.

Line Up – Callum Davison, Luke Murray, Ross McGuire, Stuart MacFarlane, Mark Gair (Harvey McIntosh), Finn Daniels-Yeomans (C), James Conington (Patrick Baird), Greg Swan, Stuart McNicholas, Abdul Yusuf, David Smith

Subs not used – Gavin MacIver

Goal Scorers: Stuart McNicholas (2x) Abdul Yusuf

EUAFC 1-1 The Spartans (SLFL) – 1/8/18

After a great start the previous Saturday, the 1sts were looking to build upon their performance at East Peffermill against last season’s Lowland League champions, The Spartans.

The first half saw chances come few and far between, with Swan having the best chance of the half with a sweet strike from the edge of the D only to be saved well by the Spartans goalkeeper. The Uni defence stayed strong throughout the half, with the back four making several key blocks to protect their goal.

The second half started with a bang, that bang being a screamer from Daniels-Yeomans. With the 1sts corner being cleared, Daniels-Yeomans stepped towards the ball and fired the ball on the half-volley. The Spartans goalkeeper could only watch as the ball rippled into the top corner of the net.

The lead didn’t last long however, with Spartans drawing level five minutes later. A looping cross towards the back post was challenged by Davison and the The Spartans striker. The resulting ball spilled out towards the penalty spot and the visitors reacted faster to poke home an equaliser.

Both sides looked for a winner and with only minutes remaining, Spartans thought they had got one. A low cross from the visitor’s right winger was met by their striker who shot first time towards the near post. Davison instinctively got low and parried the ball out for a Spartans corner.

After a few more nervous minutes, The Uni held on for a well-deserved draw against their Edinburgh counterparts.

Line Up – Callum Davison, Luke Murray, Ross McGuire, Stuart MacFarlane, Mark Gair (Max Condie), Finn Daniels-Yeomans (C), James Conington (Fraser Thomson), Greg Swan, Patrick Baird, Abdul Yusuf, David Smith

Subs not used – Mark Tait, Anthony Laing, Gavin MacIver

Goal Scorers: Finn Daniels-Yeomans

EUAFC 1-3 Civil Service Strollers (SLFL) – 4/8/18

With 4 points from the first two games, the 1sts were hoping to add to their points tally against Civil Service Strollers.

However, the Uni struggled in the first half and found themselves two goals down by half time. The first goal came from a good cross which met the head of the Strollers striker who placed the ball into the corner of the net. The second goal came from a penalty as the Strollers penalty taker scored from the spot kick to double their sides lead heading into the break.

The Uni made several changes at half time to try and turn the game back around. The team came close several times, with two efforts hitting the post. However, Yusuf gave the 1sts some hope as headed home from 6 yards as the ball was kept in from a looping cross to the back post. Desperately searching for an equaliser, the Uni sent players up the field in the last few minutes only for the Civil to counter and score their third and final goal of the game.

The result became the Uni’s first defeat of the season and a performance they would look to improve on in their next fixture.

Line Up – Callum Davison (Mark Tait), Luke Murray, Ross McGuire, Stuart MacFarlane, Mark Gair, Finn Daniels-Yeomans (C), James Conington (Santeri Kuivalainen), Greg Swan, Patrick Baird (Stuart McNicholas), Abdul Yusuf, David Smith

Subs not used – Harvey McIntosh, Fraser Thomson, Anthony Laing

Goal Scorers – Abdul Yusuf

Edusport Academy 2-2 EUAFC (SLFL) – 11/8/18

The 1sts travelled to Annan looking to bounce back from their defeat to Civil Service Strollers the previous weekend.

The home side had the best chances early on, with Tait having to be at is best to keep out the Edusport strikes at goal. However, The Uni broke the deadlock after 20 minutes. Yusuf played the ball to Kuivalainen who found himself with some space outside the box to strike low towards goal. A slight deflection from the Edusport defender deceived the goalkeeper and guided the ball into the bottom corner.

Edusport hit back as they took a quick short corner which was then whipped into the Uni box. The Uni failed to clear the ball as the home side took advantage and placed the ball into the bottom corner to make it one each going into half-time.

The second half began with Edusport taking the lead. A long throw into the box wasn’t cleared as the Edusport striker took control and curled the ball past Tait into corner of the net.

Their lead was short lived, as the Uni equalised through McNicholas. A ball into the box from Thomson was met with confusion between the Edusport defender and their goalkeeper. McNicholas pounced on the mistake as he got himself between the two and squeezed the ball into the net with a neat finish. That’s 3 goals in 3 games for ‘Stu’ in the Lowland League.

The Uni almost found a winner through Maclver in the final few minutes but the game finished 2-2 in the end with the boys putting in a great shift to take a point at the Galabank Stadium.

Line Up – Mark Tait (C), Luke Murray, Ross McGuire, Stuart MacFarlane, Max Condie, Greg Swan, Fraser Thomson ( Gavin MacIver), Patrick Baird, Stuart McNicholas, Santeri Kuivalainen (Mark Gair), Abdul Yusuf (Anthony Laing).

Subs not used – Callum Davison

Goal Scorers – Santeri Kuivalainen, Stuart McNicholas

Stirling University 4 – 1 EUAFC (Football Nation Qualifying Cup) – 18/8/2018

It was the battle of the Universities as the 1sts turned their attention towards Stirling University in the Football Nation Qualifying Cup.

The Uni didn’t have the best of starts as the home side took the lead early on, with the Stirling striker finishing well in the box as he ran onto a through ball. Not long after their first goal, Stirling scored a second with a well hit free kick from 25 yards out which sailed into the top corner.

The 1sts responded with a great free kick of their own. From roughly the same distance as the previous goal, Murray fired the ball into the corner of the net as he managed to get the ball up and over the wall to lower the deficit. However, Stirling restored their two goal lead before half-time as another through ball from outside the box found the home side’s striker again, as he finished hard and low past Davison.

The second half saw the Uni push for a comeback. Kuivalainen came close as he aimed for the top right hand corner with a driven shot which saw the Stirling keeper make a smart save. The Stirling keeper was at hand again shortly afterwards, as he saved Murray’s penalty to keep the home side’s lead intact. In the dying ends of the game, the home side secured their passage to the next round with another goal as a parry by Davison fell to the Stirling player to finish from 12 yards.

A clinical Stirling side meant that the 1sts were out of the cup, with the team eager to get back to winning ways against Gala Fairydean Rovers next Saturday.

Line Up – Callum Davison, Luke Murray (C), Ross McGuire, Stuart MacFarlane, Max Condie (Harvey McIntosh), Greg Swan, Fraser Thomson, Santeri Kuivalainen, Stuart McNicholas (Gavin MacIver), Abdul Yusuf (James Conington), Callum Dely

Subs not used – Louis Maurice

Goal Scorers – Luke Murray

The 1sts in action against Stirling University (Photo credit – Robbie McCreddin)