|x||2||Blair Bateman (u20)|
|x||3||Ryan Milne (u20)|
|x||4||Danny McAlistair (u20)|
|x||5||Mark Anthony Byrne (u20)|
|x||6||Ryan Flannigan (u20)|
|x||7||Michael McGaraghan (u20)|
|72||x||9||Josh Devine (u20)|
|x||10||Andy McNee (u20)|
|x||11||Cammy McKay (u20)|
|72||12||Conor McAteer (u20)|
The Colts development squad got 2016 underway with the visit of a good Edinburgh University side as a pre cursor for the first team clash the following day at Edinburgh. The teams had drawn 1-1 at Peffermill earlier in the season in a hard fought and competitive match that University men dominated in the first half, with the Colts coming back strongly in the second period to earn a share of the spoils.
The Colts sported some new faces in their squad with the signing of Andy McNee and Ryan Flannigan over the festive period. The changes in the squad also saw Robbie Sneddon and Ciaran Struthers move on and Adam Bierne move back to the u19 squad.
On the night, the squad had further changes with O'Hagan and Sheridan serving one match suspensions for going over the bookings threshold and Jordan Pirrie required for first team action after some fine performances. Connor McAtear was a welcome sight on the Colts bench as the striker returned from a broken wrist.
The game started brightly with both teams showing they wanted to take control of the game and pass the ball about. The Colts were pushing more at this stage and had a couple of half chances before creating an excellent opportunity when a good move saw Fergus break down the left and sweep in a low cross into the Edinburgh box to find Devine rushing in. Unfortunately the tall midfielder lost his composure and screwed the ball wide with the goal beckoning.
Colts continued to enjoy the majority of possession but with 20 minutes gone Edinburgh took the lead with a well fashioned goal. Colts defended a corner and cleared the ball to the half way line where it was picked up by Edinburgh. As the Cumbernauld youngsters pushed out, a sweet through ball caught captain Milne square and released the striker who powered down the right wing and on hitting the byeline, cut the ball back for his strike partner to fire home despite the best efforts of the Colts rearguard to get back. Arguably Edinburgh's first chance of the game but clinically despatched to punish the home team.
The Colts continued to push forward and create some chances, the best of which was a McGaraghan header that the Edinburgh keeper did well to acrobatically dive backwards and fingertip it onto the post for an outstanding save.
Half Time 0-1
The Colts came out in the second half and continued to push hard for an equaliser. Edinburgh, however, are a good passing team and knocked the ball about well on occasions to frustrate the local youngsters.
On 50 minutes, the breakthrough finally came and was just reward for the Cumbernauld side. Similar to Edinburgh's opener, a good pass released McNee on the right and he found his way in behind the defence to cut the ball back and across the goalmouth for Fergus, who drilled it high into the net giving the keeper little chance to repeat his earlier heroics.
Colts continued to push Edinburgh back and probe the visitors defence who were standing firm. In 60 minutes an enforced change saw McAllister, who was suffering flu like symptoms, being replaced by young Mitchell Taylor from the clubs U17 side. Taylor took up a position on the left of midfield with goalscorer Fergus moving to defence.
This move to defence didn't prevent Fergus from putting the Colts ahead. The youngsters had worked on set pieces over the festive break and their efforts were rewarded in 68 minutes. McKay took an inswinging corner on the left and a bit of orchestrated movement in the box saw Fergus free at the back post to nod home and put the youngsters in front.
Colts now had their tails up and looked hungry to add to their goal tally. Edinburgh were not intent in rolling over at this stage and it took a fantastic diving save from keeper Giles to stop them equalising. The big keeper had been relatively inactive for most of the game but was called into action as when an Edinburgh midfielder fired in a great shot from 20 yard. Giles dived high to his right and tipped the ball round the post.
Further changes saw McAtear and a trialist replace Devine and McNee and it didn't take McAtear long to announce his return from injury. Some trickery from McKay on the left same him waltz passed a couple of defenders and play a one two with Flannigan to open up some space in the penalty area. He then curled a low shot to the right of the goal which the keeper, at full stretch, could only parry. The ball landed at the feet of McAtear who steadied himself before blasting it into the net.
The youngsters had further chances and the trialist could have made it four when he got onto the end of a great move but unfortunately volleyed over with the goal at his mercy.
Final Score 3-1
2016 of and running with a good, competent, hard working result. It took the youngsters a bit of time to get rid of the rustiness but they stuck to their task and on the night, deservedly picked up all three points.
Some excellent individual performances and the chance to introduce a player from the younger age groups at the club.