BUCS Reports

Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 12a


27th March 2019

UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH FIFTH 1   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY THIRD  1 (after extra time); HWU won 3 – 1 on penalties

Venue:  Saints Sport, University of St Andrews


Two previous meetings of these sides during the season had finished level and this Final was also a tight game, with two closely-matched sides probing for weaknesses that were hard to find.

In a goal-less first half, Watt had a claim for a penalty when Finn As-Chainey appeared to be sandwiched between two Edinburgh defenders as he tried to get his shot away, but the referee showed no interest.  Sean Campbell, who had played with his usual inventiveness in attacking situations, made a vital intervention in defence just before the break, knocking the ball away from an Edinburgh forward as he got ready to pull the trigger.

Watt, playing down the slight slope in the second half, with a more favourable breeze, began positively, with As-Chainey playing the ball through for Campbell to fire into the net, but the referee had blown his whistle for a foul on As-Chainey before the shot and play was called back for a free-kick which proved fruitless.

Nine minutes later, Edinburgh opened the scoring.  A throw-in from the right bounced through the Watt defence, with a challenging forward and defender cancelling each other out, and Edinburgh’s number 12 stooped to send a close-range header into the corner of goal.

A minute later, the Watt had a free kick inside the Edinburgh penalty box when the goalkeeper lifted a ball passed back to him, but the position was too close to goal and at too great an angle for the Watt to make it count.  

Kostka Real de Asua de Azua saved low to his right from the Edinburgh number 11 on a quick break, but soon Heriot-Watt was back on the attack, a good ball by Callum Carson enabling Mark Larmour to feed Ronan Dowds, who won a corner on the right.  When the kick came across, the referee awarded a penalty for an Edinburgh defender leaning on a Watt player to prevent him jumping.  Jack Philp made a fine job of the kick, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and finding the corner of the net.

Watt continued to show most in attack, but Edinburgh defended well.  A good cross by Bradley Newlove, following a corner on the right, enabled Ben Voy to get in a header, but he couldn’t get quite enough purchase and the ball went past the post.

The last attack was by Edinburgh and Watt hearts were in mouths as number 11 dragged the ball through two challenges and sent in a shot from the edge of the area, but the ball curved away from the post and past for a goal kick.

A minute later, the ninety minutes were up and we went into extra time.  Ali Naysmith came on in place of Campbell and showed good skills in the next half-hour.  Dowds sent Euan Scott away to send in a near-post centre for the run of Mark Larmour, but the Edinburgh goalkeeper was there to thwart the effort.

Larmour almost gained a scoring chance shortly after, chasing a through ball and getting there just ahead of the goalkeeper.  His touch took him wide, however, and he was only able to get the ball across looking for Naysmith coming in at the far side, but the angle was too tight for a successful shot.

Just at the end of the first period of extra time, Real de Asua de Azua came to the rescue of his side, reaching back to tip over a lob sent in following a throw-in on the left.  From the resultant corner, the Edinburgh number 9 came storming in at the back post, pushed Craig Smith over and sent in a header which the Watt goalkeeper saved superbly.  A follow-up effort was then headed off the line as we wondered why the obvious foul on Smith had not been penalised.

In the second half of extra time, Naysmith’s superb crossfield pass found Philp, whose low shot from twenty metres was held by the Edinburgh ’keeper.  A good exchange between Carson and Larmour ended with a shot by Carson which curled away from the far post.

Half-way through the second period, the Watt came as close to a winner as it is possible to come.  Following a free kick on the left, the ball was played out to the edge of the area.  Smith timed it perfectly, advancing to strike the ball with tremendous force.  It struck the underside of the bar with such velocity that when it bounced down, no-one was able to tell for sure whether or not it had crossed the line.  The ball spun back away from goal, into play, and didn’t fall kindly for any of the Watt players eager to head it into goal.

Another excellent pass by Newlove gave Larmour a chance to round the full-back, but the defender recovered well to get a foot in and concede a corner.  Philp did well on the left, but his cross fell a little behind Dowds and his attempt at an overhead kick lobbed through to the goalkeeper.

No scoring in extra time, then, and it went to a penalty decider.  First up was the Edinburgh captain, number 10, whose shot went past the post to Kostka’s right.  Ronan Dowds came up and fired his kick into the corner of the net to give the Watt the advantage.  The Edinburgh 11 then drove his shot against the post to Kostka’s right.  Craig Smith took an exemplary penalty, nervelessly firing his kick high into the corner of goal to put the Watt two to the good.  The Edinburgh 8 then struck his kick feebly, perhaps kicking the ground, and Kostka gleefully blocked it.  This left Ali Naysmith with the opportunity to finish it at 3 – 0, but the goalkeeper read his kick and dived low to his right to save.  The Edinburgh 4 then took perhaps the best of the kicks, driving the ball ferociously into the top corner, but it was of no account as Mark Larmour sent the Edinburgh goalkeeper the wrong way and found the corner of the net to give the Watt a 3 – 1 win with one kick in hand.


Heriot-Watt University Third:

Real de Asua de Azua, Carson, Newlove, Voy, Hannigan, Campbell (Naysmith 92), McClelland (Scott 53), Smith, Philp, Larmour, As-Chainey (Dowds 70).    Subs. not used:  Dighton, Wright.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 12

BUCS Scottish Conference Division 1A

13th March 2019



It seems to be the way things are going for the Watt right now – the team gives its all but two late goals turn victory to defeat.  

It would have taken a hard-hearted spectator not to have some sympathy for the Watt in this game.  Having taken the lead through a marvellous piece of opportunism in the first minute, the visitors held the lead against their illustrious opponents for fully seventy-eight minutes.  Having conceded an equaliser with eleven minutes of normal time left, the Watt was beaten by a stoppage-time winner.

The Watt kicked off on the show pitch at Peffermill on a breezy day, shooting from right to left, looking from the Alan Chainey Stand, and within a minute had taken a sensational lead.  Seeing Edinburgh goalkeeper Callum Davison off his line, Dan Potter sent a half-volley over his head from close to the half-way line, judging it perfectly to have the ball drop into the vacant goal.

This was the start the Watt wanted and the players worked tirelessly to protect the lead and if possible to build on it.  Chris Lane intervened to send a well-weighted pass through for Potter, as he made a run across the home defence, but under pressure he couldn’t keep the ball down and it passed just over the bar.

Edinburgh threatened with a first-time shot from Aidan Kemp, but Callum Reid was in good position to block the ball out.  Reid was in action again a minute later, moving to his left to catch a shot from Lewis Hendry.  A searching pass by Lewis Duffy almost put Lane through on goal, but Davison was out just in time to nip the ball away.  

Reid saved twice in quick succession from Kemp as Edinburgh ramped up the pressure, and from the second of these, Max Verkaik missed a good opportunity on the rebound.  

Just before half-time, a good cross by Ross Watters gave Hendry a heading opportunity at the far post, but his contact was poor and the ball went well past.

Watt started the second half on the front foot, Lane feeding Potter on the left.  The centre was too far ahead for Lane to reach, but Justin Hogg ran in at the far side to try a shot from what was really an impossible angle.

More inventive play sent Potter away again, this time down the right.  He clipped the ball back into the middle, but when Davison pushed the ball out into an inviting area, Lane was beaten to the ball by Verkaik.  

Harry Barclay supported the attack down the left, sending in a cross which enabled Hogg to win a corner, but it didn’t bring a shooting chance.  Then Ali Shrive won the ball in midfield and sent a fine pass through towards Lane, but Davison read the situation well and got there in time to win the ball.  

Finally, with eleven minutes to play, Edinburgh’s most potent attacker, Hendry, showed a touch of skill to create the equaliser, dragging the ball back and turning to drive it low into the corner of the net to Reid’s left.  It was a sickener for a Watt side which had put so much into the game and it took some time to recover.  Reid had to dive to his right to save a shot through a crowded penalty area to prevent another goal for the home side.

Eventually Watt did threaten again, but when the ball was played to Lane on the right he was inexplicably flagged for offside when, looking across the pitch, his marker’s body was clearly visible beyond him from the time the pass was played.  Lane went on to put the ball in the net, but of course without the resistance he would have had but for the whistle. 

Next time, Lane brought the ball forward himself, going down the right and cutting it back, but Mark Larmour and Jack Philp seemed unsure as to which was better placed and the hesitation resulted in the chance of a shot being lost.

Incredibly, Lane was then the victim of another bizarre offside decision.  It was debatable whether or not he had come back from beyond his marker on this occason, but the Assistant seemed to simply fail to see the defender in the centre of the pitch who was several metres further back.  From the free kick awarded, the ball went to the Edinburgh right, from where a low cross was knocked home at the far post by home danger man Hendry to put Edinburgh ahead for the first time, a lead held until the end of the match.

University of Edinburgh First:

Davison, McNicholas, Watters, Verkaik, Condie, Waters (Taylor 24), Sinclair, Ritchie, Hendry, Baird, Kemp.  Sub. not used:  McGuire.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Hogg, Hannigan (Munro 86), Spence, Uphill, Barclay, Duffy, Shrive, Potter (Larmour 80), Lane, Gamble (Philp 70).    All subs. used.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 11a

BUCS Scottish Conference 5B

27th February 2019



A substantially-weakened Watt side took on championship-chasing Edinburgh University Fifth at the John Brydson Arena.

The Watt side took some time to settle in to the game and it was Edinburgh which grabbed the only goal of the first half, Calum Jones muscling his way through after eighteen minutes to drive the ball in from ten metres.  

Gradually, Heriot-Watt began to build some moves to threaten the visitors’ goal.  Craig Smith’s pass sent Euan Scott away on the right to cross towards Ronan Dowds, but the striker had to lean back for the header and the ball went on to the roof of the net.

Dowds came close again when Elliot Logan got the better of his marker to send in a dangerous cross.  Dowds threw himself forward to get his head to the ball, but his effort was blocked in front of the goal line.

After the restart, Watt came close to conceding a second goal when Michael Wright dived full-length to his left to get his hand to a shot from Simon Hall.  

Just on the hour, Dowds got to the ball just ahead of goalkeeper Hugh Parsons-Russell, but seemed to be tugged by a defender as he steered the ball towards goal, resulting in a loss of force which enabled a defender to collect the ball.

Ten minutes later, however, the Watt was level when a deep cross from the left was met by Ali Naysmith with a very positive header into the net.  Watt then took the lead when a left-wing corner was played low to the near post and Sebastian Ferman got the touch to take the ball into the far corner of goal.

The result should have been sealed a couple of minutes later when a superb run on the left by Finn As-Chainey took him past the Edinburgh defence and in along the by-line.  His low centre took out the goalkeeper and found Scott unmarked, but although the striker steered the ball towards the corner of the net, he didn’t get enough power into the shot and Parsons-Russell was able to make ground across his line and dive to turn the ball round the post.

As time ebbed away, it looked as if the Watt side would finish comfortably enough to take the points, but in the last minute of regular time, disaster struck from a clear blue sky.  A ball on the Edinburgh right was hooked inside from close to the side line and Smith tried to head it back to Wright, not realising that the Watt ’keeper had come towards the play.  The ball ran past him and Jones gleefully tapped it in to give the visitors a share of the spoils.

Heriot-Watt University Third:

Wright, Carson, Dighton (Newlove 59), Kinross, Ferman, Smith, Abdelwahib, Logan (Naysmith 62), Dowds, Scott (Cummings 78), As-Chainey.    All subs. used.

University of Edinburgh Fifth:

Parsons-Russell, McKay, MacDonald, Carpenter, Stedman (Grin 40), Herridge (Kaposi 69), Jamieson, Davis-White, Hall (Wyatt 78), Weiss (Booth 59), Jones.   All subs. used.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 11

BUCS Scottish Conference – Division 1A

27th February 2019



Glasgow came to Riccarton seeking the win that would clinch the Division 1A championship and after a tense ninety minutes their players were able to celebrate due to the narrowest of victories over a Watt side which gave its all but once again couldn’t turn its good outfield play into goals.

The goal which clinched it for Glasgow came as early as the tenth minute, when Lewis Gourlay took the ball down the left.  Adam Uphill went to challenge, but was unfortunate enough to have his foot roll over the top of the ball and Gourlay delivered a cutback into the six-yard box.  The first effort was blocked, but when the ball came back to Leon Hay, eight metres from goal, he fired home to spark enthusiastic celebrations amongst the visiting players.

There were few further chances in a first half in which the teams largely cancelled out each other, although John Wight sent a drive across the face of goal twelve minutes from the interval.

After half-time, the Watt asked more questions of the Glasgow defence, showing good passing and movement, and although the Glasgow defence is a strong one, the Heriot-Watt forwards did manage to create some chances.  Dan Potter was the first to threaten, bursting through between two defenders, but he ran out of space and the ball crossed the by-line.  

Callum Reid kept the Watt in the game with a string of interventions as Glasgow pressed forward in search of a second goal.  Hay cut through midfield and fired in a powerful shot which Reid touched over; then, when the corner came in short, the Watt ’keeper was very alert to get to the point of danger and block the ball away for another corner.  When this kick came in, it looked as if it might be about perfect for the head of centre back Conor Morgan, but Reid arched his back and stretched to reach the ball and pull it down into his grasp.

Watt went back on to the attack and Justin Hogg combined with Potter to fire in a drive which was blocked behind.  The corner was taken short to Hogg and when Glasgow goalkeeper Andrew Smith leaned over a crowd of players to get a none-too-strong punch on the ball, it fell to Ali Shrive, whose low shot was just kept out by a defender a yard from the goal-line.

Glasgow substitute Sean Wilson forced Reid to turn the ball round the post with a strong shot from distance, but soon the Watt was testing the visiting defence again.  Scott Munro cut inside and sent a fine pass through to Sean Campbell, who executed a smooth turn on the edge of the penalty area and sent in a curling shot with the inside of the right foot which had Watt supporters up acclaiming a goal before they realised the ball had gone just the wrong side of the post and it was the side netting that had been struck.

A quick thrust on the right gave Glasgow another chance, but Wilson’s header went across goal and well wide.  Ethan Stevens brought fresh legs to the Watt attack and was soon posing problems for the right flank of the visitors’ defence.  

As we went into the last fifteen minutes, Watt gained another corner on the left.  When the ball fell into the crowd on the edge of the six-yard box, Colin Granger hooked it against another Glasgow defender and it almost went in for an own-goal, but instead just passed the post to give the Watt another corner kick.

Time gradually ebbed away as Watt continued to beat on the Glasgow door and the defenders resisted with fierce determination.  Stevens did really well to trap the ball on his chest and get past his marker, despite being fouled.  When he couldn’t get past the next man, the referee brought play back and awarded a free kick just outside the area.  Campbell drove the kick past the two-man wall and it was on a line to curl inside the far post until a defender got a leg to the ball to send it behind yet again.

The three minutes of stoppage time must have seemed long ones to the men from the west, but eventually the final whistle sparked wild celebrations.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Spence, Munro (Hannigan 86), Barclay, Uphill, Shrive, Campbell, Gamble, Potter, Philp (Larmour 65), Hogg (Stevens 68).    All subs. used.

University of Glasgow First:

A Smith, Thomson, R Smith (Hume 86), Moffat, Morgan, Granger, Hay, Sergides, Dibble (Last 75), Wight, Gourlay (Wilson 59).  Sub. not used:  Baxter.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 10a

BUCS Scottish Conference Men’s Plate:  Semi-final

20th February 2019



The Watt Thirds cruised into the Conference Plate Final with a comfortable victory at Ainslie Park.  The Napier side showed plenty of determination, but the visitors had all the aces and although the home side scored first, the ultimate result was never really in doubt.

There was a troublesome breeze blowing across Ainslie Park as the Watt kicked off, shooting towards the pavilion.  Napier showed early on that they were ready to make life difficult for their visitors and by the third minute of the game, the referee was already speaking to a player in red for a second blatant foul on a Watt man.  

Despite the strength of the breeze, which was making judgment of passes tricky, the Watt side was building some smart moves and Ronan Dowds sent in a sighter at the end of a left-wing thrust.  Napier responded with a move on the left which produced a low centre which was flicked just over the bar at the near post by Jim Fraser.  

With Craig Smith pulling the strings in midfield and linking well with Sean Campbell and Jack Philp, and with Callum Carson and Ethan Stevens showing great willingness to provide forward momentum in wide  positions to support Niall McClelland and Finn As-Chainey, the Watt was looking menacing.   Two minutes later, a similar move to the previous left-wing attack gave another chance to Dowds.  This time the striker sent his shot past Lew Brown in the home goal, but the ball rebounded from the post to the goalkeeper’s left.  Stevens, full of skill and strong running, then got down the wing again, but his tempting low centre eluded the Watt men in the penalty box.  

With fifteen minutes on the clock, a free kick was awarded to Napier on the left and when the ball was played into the middle, Fraser threw himself forward to send a powerful header into the net and open the scoring.  

This was an unexpected reverse, but the Watt stuck to the game plan and the scores were level again six minutes later.  A diagonal pass by McClelland looked as if it would run to Brown as he advanced, but the wind held up the ball and Dowds got his foot to it and sent it just past the post off the arm of the ’keeper.  The corner kick was headed away from the edge of the six-yard box, but recovered by the Watt before it left the penalty box.  When it was played forward again, the Napier defence hesitated; Dowds did not, getting his boot to the ball to direct it firmly into goal.

The Watt was beginning to assume full control now and McClelland’s mazy run almost created a scoring chance.  Stevens then broke through on the left again; he had to take evasive action to avoid a flying challenge and when he was unable to keep the ball in play, the referee brought play back for a free kick, but Philp’s effort faded past the far post.

Another good pass gave As-Chainey a chance to run at the Napier defence, but when he got into the box, he was halted by a good tackle by Fraser Smith.  As-Chainey was not to be thwarted, however; four minutes later, Dowds’ low cross was played on by Campbell and As-Chainey coolly stroked the ball past Brown into the far corner of the net to put the Watt ahead.

The score remained unchanged for the remainder of the first half and for the early part of the second, although the pressure on the home defence was shown by cautions for two players as a result of bad fouls.

There was a chance for Napier ten minutes after the restart when Fraser went into the left side of the box, but from good position, he unaccountably sent the ball across the penalty area and out for a throw-in.  Napier would live to regret passing up the opportunity, as three minutes later came the goal which took the match well beyond their reach.  Stevens was again the creator, doing superb work on the left and finding Smith inside.  Smith turned and picked out Campbell, whose first-time shot found the corner of the net.

It was now merely a question of “how many?” as the Watt tore holes in the tiring Napier defence.  A fourth goal arrived after sixty-five minutes when As-Chainey cut inside and was chopped down just outside the box.  Campbell made light of the four-man wall, curling a delightful shot past the wall and just inside the far post.

Brown prevented a fifth two minutes later when Watt went down the right, Dowds cushioning a pass into the path of Mark Larmour, whose pace was the last thing the Napier defence wanted to see at this stage of the game.  Larmour squared the ball to Stevens, but Brown covered the ground to get an arm to the shot and deflect it behind.

Napier substitute Ryan Calvray might have reduced the arrears when he ran into a gap which opened up in the Watt defence, but sent his shot just wide of Kostka Real de Azua de Asua’s right-hand post.  As before, Watt’s response to surviving a Napier chance was to add to the lead and this happened five minutes later, when a corner from the right was met by a tremendous leap by Larmour to head the ball back across goal and find McClelland, who sent a firm, low shot into the far corner of goal.

A fine ball by Campbell gave Ali Naysmith the opportunity to advance on Brown, but Naysmith, who hadn’t been on the pitch long, shot straight at the goalkeeper.  A minute later, he did much better, moving inside and anticipating a lay-off to send in a good shot which Brown did well to turn over the bar.

Calvray had another shooting chance, coming on to a ball rebounding from the Watt defence and firing in a shot from the edge of the area.  He got plenty of power but didn’t quite get the effort on target, finding only the side netting.  Watt’s response was the usual one – to add another goal.  A ball over the top found Larmour running through with a suspicion of offside, but Larmour didn’t hang about and when he sent  the ball inside to Euan Scott, his sure finish made it six for the Watt.

Larmour had another chance after this, changing gear to leave his marker in a state of irrelevance.  With two men over, perhaps Larmour should have done better than to shoot against Brown, but if you can’t try to get on to the score sheet when you’re five ahead with two minutes left, when can you?

Scott’s shot into the side netting was the last attempt on goal and soon the Watt was celebrating its passage into the Final.

This was a totally convincing performance by the young Watt side, with every one of the fifteen players used making a contribution to a win which was as clear-cut as the score suggests.

Edinburgh Napier University:

Brown, Stewart, Faser (Speirs 67), Smith, Laird (Wilson 81), Dalgarno (Saddique 72), Stephen (Ranamonth 57), Russell, Monk, Chisholm, Rae (Calvray 61).  All subs. used.

Heriot-Watt University Third:

Real de Azua de Asua, Carson, Stevens, Voy (Larmour 61), Uphill, Smith, Campbell, Dowds (Scott 66), Philp (Dighton 72), McClelland, As-Chainey (Naysmith 66).    All subs. used.

Referee:  Mr J Darling


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 10

BUCS Men’s Trophy:  Third Round

6th February 2019



The Watt side battled hard to try to reach the Quarter-finals of this national BUCS competition, but it was always a tough job against a strong and slick Edinburgh side which deserved its narrow victory on the small Peffermill East 2 pitch.

It is fair to say that Edinburgh could have scored more than once during the game, but the Watt defended well and also had a few near things of its own.  The early stages, however, belonged mainly to the home side and it was no great surprise when Edinburgh took the lead midway through the first half.  The Watt defence worked hard to try to cover all the spare men, but calm and accurate passing allowed Edinburgh to find Santeri Kuivalainen unmarked inside the penalty area and he shot home off the inside of the right-hand post.

The Watt was still working hard to contain the smooth operation of the Edinburgh midfield and on the half-hour, Lewis Hendry sent a volley just over.  There was another close call a few minutes later when Kuivalainen, under pressure, slid in to send the ball past off the post.

For the first few minutes after half-time, the Watt came under further heavy pressure, Callum Reid touching the ball over the bar from Hendry’s scoop shot, then turning the ball over the bar again from a shot by Robbie Sinclair, resulting in a corner which was headed firmly down towards goal at the far post and kicked off the line by Jack Spence.  

Suddenly, however, the Watt started to lift the pressure with a coupld of really good counterattacks.  A clever lay-off by Ethan Stevans sent Justin Hogg away to link with Chris Lane and when the ball returned to the left, Hogg combined with Adam Uphill to send the ball into the box where Lane’s volley just missed the far post.

A minute or so later, another quick raid resulted in a free kick for a foul on Alasdair Shrive.  Lane struck the kick to the side of the four-man wall, getting a wick off the last man which took the ball further towards the corner of Callum Davison’s goal, but having seen the ball late, the goalie dived to make a superb save, turning the ball round the post at the last moment.

The corner kick came in a little behind the group in the goalmouth and Niko Giovanovits had to stretch backwards to get in his header, resulting in it passing the post.

Soon Edinburgh was on the attack again and when the ball squirted out to the right wing, full-back Stuart McNicholas ran in to slam it against the post from a tight angle.  Hendry threatened again, but having come at great pace past a couple of challenges, his side-foot shot was no trouble at all to Reid.

Watt’s last real chance of the game came from a move on the left which provided Lane with the chance to step forward and send in a drive from twenty metres.  Lane may have had just too much time in which to garner his strength for a fierce drive, but at the level of power which he applied, it would have taken a lot of concentration to get over the ball enough to keep it under bar-height and it was no surprise when the shot passed a foot over the top.

Uphill did well to get in the way of a volley at the far post with a few minutes left to play and the Watt was able to keep the margin of defeat to a single goal.


University of Edinburgh First:

Davison, McNicholas, Watters, Watters, Verkaik, Condie, Waters, Ritchie, Sinclair, Hendry, Baird (Yusuf 70), Kuivalainen.  Subs. not used:  Swan, Kemp.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Spence, Munro (Scott 81), Barclay, Giovanovits, Shrive, Uphill, Stevens (Afedzie-Hayford 64), Hogg, Lane, Potter (Duffy 72).    Subs. not used:  Gamble, Smith, Hannigan, Wright.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 9

BUCS Scottish Conference  Men’s Division 1A

28th November 2018



It was a familiar if unwelcome story for Heriot-Watt this season:  a close match which could have gone either way but was edged by the opposition. 

It hadn’t started too well for the Watt.  Stuart McNicholas had already threatened from a wide position on the right before he collected another raking crossfield pass, carried the ball inside Andy Hannigan and sent a shot with the outside of his right foot curving inside the post to the right of Callum Reid.

Having sustained this blow, Watt steadily improved as the half went on and had the greater part of the attacking play.  Good passes by Hannigan and Harry Barclay set up possession for Justin Hogg and Josh Arrrowsmith in forward positions, but corner kicks were the Watt’s greatest reward until eventually Jack Spence flighted a well-judged chip over the head of Callum Davison to equalise.

Wind had been forecast and by the time the second half got underway, it was substantially stronger.  Chris Lane tried to give the Watt the lead with a difficult effort, taking a cross from Hannigan on the half-volley to clip the ball across Davison, but just missing the junction of post and bar.

On the hour, the visitors went ahead again.  Once more, McNicholas was involved, picking up the ball in a wide area and driving it strongly across the Watt goalmouth.  At the far post, Abdul Yusuf made sure he got his foot in the way and diverted the ball into the far corner.

The Watt continued to battle away, but seldom caused serious anxiety for the Edinburgh defence in the last half-hour.  The visitors claimed for a penalty kick when Yusuf went over the arms of Reid, but the referee ruled that the goalkeeper had not initiated the contact.  

Watt brought on Mark Afedzie-Hayford to replace Barclay, who had sustained a knock in the first half, but the Edinburgh defence held firm and another opportunity drifted away from Riccarton.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Spence, Hannigan, Barclay, (Afedzie-Hayford 76), Michelon, Giovanovits, Arrowsmith (Duffy 60), Uphill, Lane, Smith, Hogg (Shrive 65).    Sub. not used:  Gamble.

University of Edinburgh First:

Davison, McNicholas, Watters, McGuire, McLean, Waters, Maurice, Sinclair (Manahan 70), Yusuf (Hendry 78), Baird, Kuivalainen.  Sub. not used:  Kemp.

Referee:  Mr Michael Scott.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 8

BUCS Men’s Trophy – Second Round

21st November 2018



Heriot-Watt scored a morale-boosting win against a team from Midlands 1A Division and will now face local rivals University of Edinburgh First for a place in the Quarter-finals of the Trophy. 

The Watt, with an experimental line-up, started brightly, gaining an early free kick with which Chris Lane tested visiting goalkeeper David Levey.  Lane went close again a few minutes later when Harry Barclay’s fine pass picked him out and he got in a shot from just outside the penalty area, but saw the ball slide past the post.

A quick counter-attack from Nottingham forced Callum Reid to take rapid and decisive action, coming well out of his penalty box to block the ball, then pursue it to clear the danger.  Reid had to repeat the action to head clear a couple of minutes later as the visitors began to exploit diagonal passes.

Dan Potter slipped a pass through for Lane to go clear of the Nottingham defence, but Levey was off his line quickly and blocked the ball behind.  Potter was again in the action a few minutes later, crossing from the left, but Josh Arrowsmith got the wrong connection on his close-range header and the ball slipped past.

Potter took a bad blow in the ribs around the half-hour mark and had to be replaced, Gregor Macdonald coming on for his first outing of the season.  Macdonald was soon involved, putting Arrowsmith through on the right, but his shot was rather wild.

The last move of the first half came close to giving the visitors the lead, a defence-splitting pass putting Dinos Kalognomas through on goal, but again Reid came to the rescue, sprinting from his goal to spread his frame and block the shot away with his leg.

Kalognomas threatened again on the restart, his shot being deflected for a corner kick, but the Watt defence stood firm and cleared the danger.  As Nottingham continued to press forward, Marcus Bamidele showed good skills, but a combination of Jack Spence and Gio Michelon prevented him getting the ball into the goalmouth.

Free kicks within striking distance for each side came to nothing, with Lane’s shot catching the top of the defensive wall and Reid diving to save from Josh Ward.  A sustained attack by Nottingham then had the Watt defence working hard, but Lane’s excellent block kept the goal intact.  Reid again protected his goal with a brave dive at the feet of the speeding Callum McLarty, but after that the balance of the game changed again and Watt began to look the more dangerous.  

Justin Hogg did some fine work, running back to gather the ball, take it round McLarty and send a lovely pass forward to Lane, but for once the midfielder’s touch deserted him.  Less than a minute later, however, Lane made full amends, gathering a ball played in from the left and sending a twenty-metre shot just inside the post to the right of the diving Levey.  

Watt almost sealed the game with a second goal minutes later, but Macdonald’s header from Lane’s corner was deflected for another corner, but the Watt was well in control now and good set-up work by Hogg enabled Ali Shrive to find Craig Smith, whose drive from distance only just cleared the bar.

Reid saved again from Ward, but it was one of his simpler tasks of the day and there was a sense that the Watt had done enough.  There was another near thing when Shrive’s pass gave Hogg possession on the right, but with Lane waiting for a tap-in, Hogg’s low centre was gathered by Levey.  Macdonald then played the ball in for Shrive at the near post, but he was blocked by a defender.  It didn’t matter, though, as seconds later the final whistle sounded.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Spence, Hannigan, Barclay, Michelon, Smith, Arrowsmith (Shrive 74), Uphill, Lane, Potter (Macdonald 30), As-Chainey (Hogg 59).    Subs. not used:  Giovanovits, Gamble, Real de Asua.

University of Nottingham Second:

Levey, Ward, Beardman, Marley, Wick, Hearn, Black (Han 75), Bamidele (Moss 60), McLarty, Kalognomas.  Sub. not used:  Laxton.

Referee:  Mr David Donnelly-Kay.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 7

Queen’s Park Shield

14th November 2018



Once again, Watt’s lack of penetration in the final third cost them dearly as a well-organised West of Scotland side removed the Riccarton team from this season’s Queen’s Park Shield.

There was a warning for the Watt in ten minutes when three of the visitors’ forwards had the opportunity to score in quick succession.  Anton Michael’s shot was blocked, then the ball came to Oscar Sibille and finally squirted across goal to Jay Cameron, whose close-range effort was nullified by a superb block by Harry Barclay.

Watt had a lot of the ball throughout the first half, but with West of Scotland showing good defensive structure, the home players found it hard to create chances in front of goal.  Ali Shrive’s ball down the right to Chris Lane produced a low cross which came through to Dan Potter, whose first-time shot had plenty of power but lacked direction.  

Another good ball by Lane gave Justin Hogg a chance to attack on the left, but a fine sliding challenge by Rhys McCluskey took the ball behind and when the corner was delivered to the far post area, two Watt players went for it and the ball leaked past.

There was a bolt from the blue mid-way through the first half when Luke Murray took it into his head to try a shot from all of thirty-five metres – perhaps nearer forty – and struck it to perfection, the ball striking the inside of the post and shooting across behind Callum Reid to the opposite corner of the net.  You can’t get it further away from the goalkeeper than that and keep it on target.  

Watt continued to dominate possession, but seldom came within striking distance of the visitors’ goal.  Lewis Duffy made a run into the penalty box, controlled a through ball on his chest, and tried a shot on the turn.  That was blocked, as was his effort with the rebound, and that was about as close as Heriot-Watt came to testing James McIlwham in the West goal up to half-time.

Craig Smith replaced Lewis Duffy before the restart, but there was little change to the pattern of the game and efforts on goal at either end were few and far between.  West of Scotland showed a little more enterprise in the second half and a shot on the turn by Adam McCrossan found Reid in the right place to field the ball, but the Watt defence was just as sound as that of their visitors.  

Signs of desperation began to creep in to the Watt play quite early and when Jack Spence found Lane with a wonderful long-range pass, he cut inside and blazed his shot high and wide.  It looked as if set pieces might be the Watt’s best hope, despite the height of the West back line, and when a free kick was diverted to the edge of the area, Shrive struck a solid shot, but it didn’t get far towards goal before being blocked.  It was emblematic of the game as a whole.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Spence, Hannigan, Barclay, Michelon, McKenna (Uphill 63), Duffy (Smith 45), Hogg, Lane, Shrive, Potter.    Subs. not used:  Macher, Munro.

University of the West of Scotland First:

McIlwham, Mackie, McCluskey, Hoffman, Lengrand, Wiedemann, Murray, Sibille (Black 45), Michael, Cameron, McCrossan.  Sub. not used:  Gilbert.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 6

BUCS Scottish Conference Men’s Division 1A 

7th November 2018



In windy conditions and persistent rain on the synthetic of the new Balmoral Stadium, the Watt had a miserable afternoon.

Despite the herculean efforts of Harry Barclay and the penetrating running of Chris Lane, this was a Heriot-Watt side which, unusually, lacked balance.  It didn’t help that Niko Giovanovits again had to succumb to his foot injury and leave the field during the first half, but the home side always looked more dangerous coming forward and it was no great surprise when they took the lead.  

A fine strike it was, too, left-back Bruce Dryburgh coming on to a clearance at the point of the penalty area and driving the ball in a perfect arc over the outstretched arms of Callum Reid into the top far corner of the net.  No arguing with that.

Ali Shrive tried to get the Watt back on terms, moving left on to a pass and reaching the penalty area, but when he drove the ball in from a tight angle and goalkeeper Fraser McNaught blocked it out, there was no colleague ready to pounce on the rebound.  Giovanovits had a go when the corner kick fell amongst the feet and it then reached Shrive, whose firm shot was blocked close to the goal line.

Towards half-time, Lewis Duffy took the ball from Shrive and tried a shot, but McNaught saved low to his right and soon Reid was in action again, turning the ball round the post and blocking with his foot from an effort following the subsequent corner kick.

Mark Afedzie-Hayford joined the attack for the second half as the Watt resumed with the wind behind them, but it was the home side which gradually became more dominant and Lachie Macleod added a second goal from close range.

Barclay’s fantastic pass sent Lane clear on a run into the left side of the penalty box, but he decided to draw the goalkeeper rather than shoot and when he played the ball across the face of the goal, he found no team-mate in a position to finish off.

Finally, a third goal from Stuart Alexander ended the Watt’s hopes.

The Robert Gordon University First:

McNaught, Mitchel, Dryburgh, Moffat, Ritchie (Macleod 50), McCall, Alexander, Ross, Buglass, Simpson (Baillie 70), Renwick (Stark 15).   Sub. not used: White, Steven.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Spence, Munro, Barclay, Giovanovits (Ward 25 (Gamble 75]), Macher (Afedzie-Hayford 45), Hogg, Duffy, Shrive, Lane, Stevens.    Sub. not used:  Smith.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 5

BUCS Scottish Conference Division 1A 

31th October 2018



As the score suggests, defences dominated in this game at the John Brydson Arena.

Chris Lane was playing in a forward position for the Watt and almost had a chance when Giovanni Michelon’s fine through ball picked him out, but excellent defending by Andrew MacNally prevented him getting in a shot.  A good exchange between Scott Munro and Ali Shrive might have produced an opportunity, but the final ball was too far ahead for Shrive to get on to it.

Harry Barclay’s well-judged free kick gave the visitors’ defence problems, but Michelon just failed to reach the ball and Lewis Duffy was unable to prevent it running through for a goal kick.  Good interventions by Michelon and Niko Giovanovits prevented chances for Robert Gordon developing into attempts on goal.

Duffy battled well on the right and got the ball inside to Shrive, but his quickly-taken effort on goal found the side netting.  Duffy then had the ball in the net, lobbing the goalkeeper from a tight angle, but an offside flag halted Watt celebrations.

Giovanovits dived to head behind for a corner early in the second half and the Watt goal was further threatened when a free kick was fired in low and eluded the visiting forwards as the home defence was slow to move.

Soon the Watt was back on the attack and Duffy’s good run on the right enabled him to connect with Giovanovits, with a corner kick resulting.  

Jason Ritchie was penalised for holding Shrive and Lane took the kick from twenty-five metres.  Initially, the shot seemed much too high, but it dipped sharply and landed on top of the net.

Duffy was a lively presence in the Watt attack and tried a shot from twenty metres, but the ball passed just over the bar.  He then linked with Shrive, but the alert visiting defence quickly closed down the space. 

Mark Afedzie-Hayford had replaced Dan Potter and when a free kick was delivered into the penalty box, he got his head to it.  The direction was good, but the effort lacked power and Brice Meunier saved comfortably.  

Duffy was the next to make a run into the penalty box and when he fell under challenge, there were some claims for a penalty, but they lacked any real conviction.  

When Justin Hogg was brought down half-way inside the Robert Gordon half, Harry Barclay sent in a free kick which dropped among the feet in the penalty box, but no Watt player was in hand to benefit and the visitors’ defence got the ball away.  Afedzie-Hayford then made the ball available for Lane, but he was unable to get past the last man.

RGU broke upfield and Tom Baillie had a chance to steal the points, but Callum Reid stood strong and blocked the shot, Barclay completing the clearance when the ball was played back into the box.  Watt charged to the other end and Duffy’s shot was tipped over the bar by Meunier.  

There was another penalty claim when Duffy’s header was blocked in the penalty box, but it was not a hand that had stopped the ball, but the head of Michelon, who pursued the ball and won a corner.  

Lane showed the best footwork of the afternoon, dancing in from the left past a number of challenges, but he turned and shot just past.  

Shrive had a final chance, going through on Afedzie-Hayford’s pass, but his shot passed across the goal and past the left-hand post.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Spence, Munro, Barclay, Giovanovits, Michelon, Duffy, Macher (Hogg 61), Shrive , Lane, Potter (Afedzie-Hayford 72).    Subs. not used:  Ward, Gamble, Hannigan.

The Robert Gordon University First:

Meunier, Mitchel, Dryburgh, Moffat, Ritchie, MacNally, Alexander, Ross, Renwick, Simpson (Bishop 75), Lynch (Baillie 58).  Sub. not used:  Steven.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 4

BUCS Scottish Conference Men’s Division 1A 

24th October 2018


Played on a very windy day on Glasgow’s Garscube synthetic no. 2 pitch, which has a significant slope, this was not the most inspiring match we’ve seen this season.  In the taxing conditions, there was little in the way of constructive football from either side and few opportunities on goal during the ninety minutes.  The only goal which did occur was as the result of a defensive error.

The Watt kicked off the first half, playing west, uphill into the wind, which was at times fierce.  They kept the passing short, but found it hard to penetrate a tight home defence in which Conor Morgan was dominant.  Glasgow played for the most part on the break, with the maintenance of a defensive shell paramount and Heriot-Watt too often tried to penetrate it at its strongest point rather than getting the ball wide and trying to get round it.

With Niko Giovanovits and Gio Michelon in defence, there was some welcome height to match the tall home players at set pieces and Giovanovits was alert to get back quickly to head a corner over his own bar as John Wight threatened.

The solitary goal came half-way through the first half.  Callum Reid had grasped the ball and was anxious to get the Watt moving forward, but perhaps put Harry Barclay under too much pressure with his early throw-out.  Barclay’s attempted pass was intercepted by Wight, who calmly took the ball to the by-line and cut it back for Robbie Stirling to fire it crisply past Reid.

Chris Lane tried to make a rapid response, working his way through a crowd of players, but in trying to get in a quick effort from the edge of the box, he snatched his shot and it went wide of Sean Mann’s right-hand post.

For all the Watt’s diligent probing, Glasgow’s occasional thrusts were equally likely to produce a result.  Stirling’s shot from distance cleared the bar, but there was a nasty moment for the visitors’ defence when the ball went loose in the penalty box with a lot of Glasgow players around, before Barclay stepped in and the danger was cleared.

Watt started the second half brightly, attacking at pace and winning a corner, but soon the Glasgow defensive carapace was back in position and trying to work chances was a tough proposition.  Lane cut in from the left and came close with a shot on the turn, but attempts on goal were few and hard to create.

A corner from the left gave the Watt an opportunity and when the ball came to the far post, Michelon ran in to meet it, but he was well covered by a defender and when the ball went over the bar, the referee indicated a goal kick.

The Watt kept plugging away, but as the home side continued to defend in depth there was no sense of an imminent breakthrough.  Both Michelon and Giovanovits did their best to give their side forward momentum with surging forward runs from the centre of the pitch and after one such run, Giovanovits sent a good pass out to Lane, who played the ball inside to Lewis Duffy, just outside the penalty area.  Duffy turned quickly and fired in a shot, but it passed just wide of the goalkeeper’s right-hand post.

Scott Granger was cautioned for a bad foul on Duffy, but not before advantage had been played, allowing Lane to drive forward and send in a shot from around twenty-two metres, but once again the ball slipped past the post.

University of Glasgow First:

Mann, Diven, Thomson, S Granger, Morgan, Gourlay, Hay (Baxter 85), C Granger, Stirling, Wight (Dibble 70), Smith (Farrel 76).   Sub. not used: Small.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Hogg, Barclay, Michelon, Giovanovits, Ward, Lane, Gamble (Hannigan 63), Afedzie-Hayford (Duffy 71), Shrive (Macher 34), Potter.    All subs. used.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 3

BUCS Scottish Conference Men’s Division 1A 

17th October 2018


There were times in this match when it looked as if the Watt could avenge the defeat at Riccarton a fortnight before, but a point apiece was probably about right as the outcome on this occasion.

Early play was cagey, with both sides making defence a priority, but half-way through the first half, Abertay’s dangerous midfielder Fraser Anderson strode forward to send in a powerful grounder which Callum Reid got down smartly to keep out.

The Watt had a good spell after this, with Josh Arrowsmith’s cross finding Chris Lane at the far post, but in trying to turn to get the right angle for his header, Lane lost his timing.  A good run and pass by Alasdair Shrive put Arrowsmith in possession again, but this time Mark Afedzie-Hayford was unable to direct his header on goal.

A bad injury to the ankle of Arrowsmith caused him to leave the action before half-time, with Lewis Duffy coming on to replace him.

Just before the interval, Abertay goalkeeper Cameron McPherson came to try to claim Harry Barclay’s free kick, but failed to hold the ball and it fell amongst the feet.  Afedzie-Hayford got a boot to it, but the ball passed inches over the bar.

The home side started the second half with a bang, Fraser Wilson going down the left wing and sending over a tempting cross which Stephen Kerr rose to head into the top corner of the net.

The lead was short-lived, however, as six minutes later, Watt equalised.  Superb footwork by Shrive retained possession in a tight area near the left corner-flag and he was able to play the ball back to Aaron Gamble, who sent it curling over the head of McPherson and in off the far post.  Was it a cross or a shot?  Apparently, Gamble later claimed it as an effort on goal, but to many onlookers it didn’t look like it.  Anyway, it was most welcome to the Watt followers.

Seven minutes later came an incident which may have determined the outcome of the game.  Gamble took possession in the penalty area and moved to his left to try to elude a defender, who then tripped him in the most blatant and obvious manner.  Gamble measured his length on the ground and we waited for the whistle which was surely inevitable.  And we waited.  And waited.  Eventually the referee’s decision was a goal kick.  Asked about it later, he suggested that Gamble had run into the defender, which was plainly ridiculous as he was tripped after passing him.  Anyway, the penalty was not awarded and the game went on.

After this, Abertay had slightly the better of play overall in the second half, so despite the denial of a clear penalty, the Watt was reasonably happy with the draw.  Efforts by Michael McDonach, Ryan Cruickshanks and Daniel Hourston kept Reid on his toes, whilst a save from Wilson was a class apart, the Watt goalkeeper throwing himself to his right to get his arms to a full-blooded drive from no great distance.  

For the Watt, Michael Ward did well, reaching the ball at full stretch and playing it to Shrive, then running on to take the return and send in a well-struck shot which shaved McPherson’s right-hand post.  


University of Abertay Dundee First:

McPherson, Henderson, Cruickshanks, Duncan (Graham 85), Cameron, Walls, McDonach (Alvarez 65), Anderson, Kerr, Allan (Hourston 55), Wilson.   Subs. not used:  Donnelly, McCabe.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Arrowsmith (Duffy 36), Munro, Michelon, Spence, Barclay, Lane, Ward, Afedzie-Hayford (As-Chainey 79), Shrive, Gamble (Hannigan 85).    Sub. not used:  Real de Asua.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 2

BUCS Scottish Conference Men’s Division 1A 

10th October 2018


After the Watt’s opening day defeat, this was a sparkling performance against a side which will surely be amongst the best in Division 1A, getting the points total moving and inspiring hope for the programme ahead.

Playing on the pitch in the John Brydson Arena, the Watt side looked much more at home than it had on the indoor pitch the previous week and dictated play during the first half, with a 2 – 0 lead at the interval scarcely reflecting the home superiority.

Banji Koya had given a start to Dan Potter on the left wing, with Justin Hogg on the other flank and Ali Shrive leading the attack, supported by Chris Lane, Michael Ward and Chris Macher in midfield.  Hogg was in particularly good form, posing a constant threat to the Stirling defence with quick feet and inventive play, while full-backs Jack Spence and Scott Munro gave excellent support to the wide men and frequently joined in attacks.  Niko Giovanovits and Harry Barclay ensured the centre of the home defence was formidable and if anything did get through, Callum Reid handled it positively and confidently.

Watt showed positive intent from the first whistle, with an early attack on the right initiated by an excellent pass from Giovanovits to Ward.  The cross was early and low, but Shrive was well covered as he tried to turn the ball in at the near post.  Watt continued on the front foot and the only surprise was that it took so long for a goal to arrive.  When it did, it was a fine one, with Shrive drawing defenders towards him, then slipping a well-timed pass to meet Lane’s perceptive run in the inside-left channel.  As James Donaldson advanced, Lane shaped to play the ball across him, then hooked it past his right hand into the near corner of the goal.

The Watt defence came under a bit of pressure ten minutes from half-time when Dongyoon Lee managed to persuade the referee that his sudden collapse to the ground had been caused by the presence of Munro.  The free kick was caught by Reid above the head of the tall Ross McKay, but when the striker made contact with him, Reid dropped the ball and had to recover it on the ground as McKay tried vigorously to get his boot to it.

Two minutes later, Heriot-Watt was two goals ahead.  Again, it was Lane who found the net, and again it came from a run into the inside-left channel.  This time, however, Stirling had defensive cover and the first shot was blocked, but Lane calmly adjusted to find the space he needed and drove the ball firmly into the corner of the net to Donaldson’s right.

Watt was firmly back in control and Harry Barclay’s superb pass picked out Hogg on the right to set up another dangerous situation.  Hogg went past full-back Arron Gunn, but was immediately brought down.  Lane’s free kick from close to the corner flag was cleared at the near post.

Stirling centre-back Murray Rose, who had earlier been warned, scythed down Lane as he turned and was cautioned.  Lane’s free kick found the head of Giovanovits, who tried to glance his header in at Donaldson’s right post, but didn’t get enough contact.  He might have been better to go for the power header to the other corner, which may have been what he was thinking as he ran back up the field, visibly upset with himself.

The Stirling players may have had a severe word or two at the interval, as they came out for the second half with new determination.  There was a nasty moment for the Watt soon after the restart when Reid did well to save with his foot from a shot following a dangerous cross from the right, but the same route was followed three minutes later with telling effect, McKay rising to meet another right-wing cross and sending a downward header into the net.

Watt did not allow this setback to disrupt things and a lovely piece of play on the right came close to setting up a goalscoring chance.  Hogg exchanged passes with Shrive and when the return was played to him, executed a superb dummy to go past Lee and reach the by-line.  Unfortunately, the two Watt players attacking the box had gone a shade too early and were both well marked.  When Hogg looked at his options, he saw a crowd scene within the six-yard box and tried a chip, but there was no attacker in position to benefit.

Lee was immediately withdrawn and replaced by Michael McAnespie, with Lewis Duffy making his entrance for the Watt a few minutes later in place of Ward.  The next change brought a debut in the Watt First Team for Mark Afedzie-Hayward, who in his twenty-minute cameo showed plenty to interest Head Coach Banji Koya.  As well as linking well with colleagues through headed knock-ons, he was inventive and comfortable on the ball.  Duffy also provided a new thrust to the Watt’s forward activity, using both guile and strength to good effect.

Stirling’s substitute, McAnespie, was imposing himself on proceedings and his probing cross to the far post almost brought an equaliser when it was headed past Reid and it took an acrobatic clearance by Barclay to prevent the ball crossing the line.  Diagonal crosses were working well for the visitors and they put as many as possible into the box.

With fifteen minutes left to play, Afedzie-Hayward created a chance which could have taken the heat off for the Watt.  Stepping into the left side of the Stirling penalty area, he slipped the ball in front of Shrive and we were confident of seeing it transferred to the net, but after taking a good first touch to make a yard of space, Shrive seemed to kick the ground as he shot and scuffed the ball into the arms of the grateful Donaldson.

The drive shown by Duffy was creating problems for the visitors’ defence and McAnespie became the latest to be cautioned when he hauled him back, but Watt could make nothing of the free kick.  Keir Whitefield received the next booking for a foul on Lane as he neared the penalty box, but Lane’s attempt on goal passed inches over the junction of bar and post to Donaldson’s right.

Finally, with five minutes left to play, the Watt scored the clinching goal.  Hogg capped a fine performance by setting it up, bringing the ball in from the left and chipping it into the middle whereupon  Shrive went past the static McAnespie to flick home from close range.  Perhaps the replacement full-back, who had played well in the attacking aspects of his role, was embarrassed at failing to cover the run of the scorer, but his abuse of the Assistant Referee gained him a second caution and first use of the showers.

Three minutes later, Duffy had a great chance to play in Lane, but either didn’t see the run or didn’t get a call and tried a much more difficult pass instead, but there was even more pain in store for Lane a minute later when he turned his ankle and had to leave the pitch in considerable discomfort, giving the Watt camp concerns for his future fitness.

Stirling, to their credit, kept going right to the end.  A minute into stoppage time, a cross from the left rebounded into play from the top of the Heriot-Watt bar and had to be headed behind, leading to a succession of corner kicks, but there was no further scoring and the Watt gathered the three points needed to put them back on a decent footing in Division 1A.  

There was much in this performance to encourage and excite the Watt support and the Head Coach.  The Stirling side will not provide easy points for any team in the Division and to get a win against such opposition at this stage is very satisfying. There is real strength in depth in this squad, with the bench full of talented players, not all of whom were able to be used in this game, with more quality players set to return to the squad in due course.   Next Wednesday, the Watt heads to Dundee to try to even the score with University of Abertay Dundee Firsts after last week’s frustrating defeat; and if that can be done – and on this evidence, why not? – there’s no telling how far this squad can go.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Spence, Munro, Barclay, Giovanovits, Macher, Hogg, Lane, Shrive (Gamble 85), Ward (Duffy 60), Potter (Afedzie-Hayford 69).    Subs. not used:  Hannigan, Doherty, Wright.

University of Stirling Second:

Donaldson, Lee (McAnespie 57), Gunn, Corrin, Ros, Whitefield, Hodges, Collins (Baird 77), McKay, Shiels, Maclean.   Subs. not used:  Monro, Lamond, Heath.


Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 1

BUCS Scottish Conference Men’s Division 1A 

3rd October 2018


It was a disappointing return to Division 1A for the Watt, who dominated possession during this match without creating much in the way of clear-cut chances and lost out to the best strike of the game from Abertay’s Fraser Wilson.

The pitch in the John Brydson Arena was scheduled to host both this game and the Thirds’ match against Queen Margaret University First, so one of them had to be changed to the indoor pitch.  Unfortunately, it was the Firsts’ game which was moved – unfortunately, because for some reason Watt teams never seem to play to full capability on the indoor and this game was no exception.

Watt started briskly and after ten minutes created the first genuine chance.  Sean Campbell, looking lively on the right, tricked Ryan Cruickshanks and sped past him towards the by-line to send a low pass inside to Chris Lane, but from just outside the six-yard box the midfielder-turned-striker mistimed his effort.

Half-way through the first half, a good run on the right by Lane enabled him to send in a cross, but for some reason, the man in space at whose feet the ball arrived was central defender Niko Giovanovits and he made a defender’s job of trying to finish.

Watt had been in little danger in the first half-hour, but poor passing out of defence gifted the ball to Abertay striker Stephen Kerr.  Fortunately for the home side, his effort was equally ineffectual, passing well wide of the near post.

Five minutes from half-time, a foul on Aaron Gamble gave the Watt a free kick in a dangerous position, but the result was a complicated passing movement.  Eventually the ball came to Giovanovits, popping up on the left wing this time.  His cross was a good one, but it passed amongst the bodies unmolested.

The last action of the first half featured a superb shot by Jack Spence.  The right-back made space for himself and fired in a crisp drive which struck the underside of the bar with goalkeeper Cameron McPherson rooted to the spot – but instead of bouncing into goal, it came back on the pitch side of the line.

Giovanovits was up with the attack again at the beginning of the second half, firing over the bar after an exchange of passes with Lane, but just after the hour, one of Abertay’s rare attacks brought a goal.  A poor clearance fell to Wilson, who struck a firm shot from twenty metres into the corner of the net to the left of Callum Reid as he dived.  Another decent opportunity fell to the visitors not long afterwards, but Ryan Duncan drove the ball over the bar.  

As time ebbed away, Watt changed personnel and system in an increasingly desperate quest for a breakthrough, but although there was plenty of pressure in the closing stages, there wasn’t much penetration.  Abertay was still a threat on the break and it took a fine challenge by Andy Hannigan to prevent Liam Donnelly testing Reid.

A foul on Giovanovits gave Watt a late chance for a strike on goal, but when Lane’s free kick was turned away by McPherson for a corner, the visitors had secured the points.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Spence, Munro, Barclay, Giovanovits, Macher, Campbell (Doherty 68), Gamble, Lane, Ward (Shrive 57), Gogg (Hannigan 80).    All subs. used.

University of Abertay Dundee First:

McPherson, Henderson (Alvarez 73), Cruickshanks, Graham, Wilson, McDonach, Anderson, Kerr (Sweeney 84), Allan (Donnelly 84), Hourston, Duncan.   Sub. not used:  Betting.

Referee:  Mr. David Donnelly-Kay


SEASON 2018 – 2019


Season 2017 – 2018:    Match 15

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

28th March 2018


After last week’s Conference Cup victory against the same opponents, the Watt came crashing back to earth with a humbling defeat in the Oriam Indoor Arena.

There was little doubt from the first which team was the hungrier and Napier went into a two-goal lead inside eleven minutes of the start.  The first came after just five minutes’ play.  Callum Reid had taken a knock a minute earlier and that may account for the fact that he sought to palm down ENU7’s rather gentle shot and catch it on the bounce.  He got his angles wrong, though, and left ENU18 with a simple tap-in.  

Six minutes later, Napier attacked on the left and Calvin Muttitt, a lively presence throughout, cut into the box, held off Niko Giovanovits and flicked the ball over Callum Reid’s arm and inside the left-hand post.

It took the Watt only five minutes to get a goal back.  The ball was moved out to Anton Dowds on the left and he cut into the box and drove the ball low and hard past ENU1 in the Napier goal.  We breathed a small sigh of relief and reflected that there was plenty of time for more goals.  We were right, but not in the way we anticipated.

There wasn’t another goal for nearly forty minutes and during that time, Watt was clearly the better side, but wasted every chance or half-chance it created.  Matthew Law’s cross struck the crossbar just after the half-hour and a minute later, the ball was bundled off the Napier line following a corner with some Watt players claiming a hand had been used.  Another minute later, Dowds collected a pass from Giovanovits and tried to poke the ball past ENU1 as he advanced, but the goalkeeper blocked with a leg.  

As in the Final a week earlier, the Napier defenders were doing a lot of grabbing of arms and getting away with it, and Dowds in particular was often hampered by such attentions.  The next Watt attack was a case in point.  Reece Craig set Law away on the right and his low cross was turned behind for a corner.   When the kick was played in, the ball was half-cleared and as Dowds tried to bring it back towards the danger area, he was half-turned by a pull on his arm, but as the Watt still had the ball, the move was allowed to continue, the ball going to the left, where Scott Munro was pulled back in his turn.

Five minutes later, there was a similar incident, Dowds being blatantly pulled in the middle of the Napier half, but the ball ran on to the left, from where Justin Hogg shot from a tight angle.  ENU1 blocked the ball behind.

At half-time, we were confident that the Watt, though still trailing by a goal, would go on to win.  They looked to have turned the game round after the shock of the two early goals and started the second half well on top, but still wasting chances.  Dowds stormed on to the ball on the right, but with Hogg waiting unmarked to his left for a tap-in, he drove the ball straight at the goalkeeper as if expecting that sheer power would be enough.

Suddenly, after all the Watt’s dominance, it all went completely off the rails.  Napier broke away on the left and with Reid off his line for no apparent reason, the striker sent a lob over his head into the far corner of goal to re-establish Napier’s two-goal lead.  This unexpected reverse seemed to completely unnerve the Watt side and it seemed to go rapidly to pieces.  Two minutes later, it was 4 – 1 as ENU9 had a simple finish from an unmarked position; six minutes after that, it became an embarrassing 5 – 1 when a cross from the left found ENU18 amongst a crowd of defenders, but not marked, and simply allowed the ball to run off his foot inside the far post.  Three minutes after that, it was an excruciating 6 – 1 as Reid spilled  a shot from outside the area and ENU16 was on hand to clip the ball into the net. 

From a situation in which it looked likely to recover a one-goal deficit, the Watt had conceded four more in the space of eleven minutes.  There was still almost half an hour left to play and we wondered just how bad it was going to get, but at this point, with Cameron Burt on to replace Hogg and a reshuffle in defence, the Watt got a grip again at the back.

Dowds put Chris Lane through for a shot, but on his left foot, he struck the ball straight at ENU1, and Dowds’ shot after Lane moved Craig’s pass on to him struck the bar and went over, but even with an opportunity from inside the six-yard box Dowds could not force the ball past ENU1 and although there were no more alarms at the back, in truth we’d given up hoping the Watt would score again by the time the match ebbed to a close.

Heriot-Watt University First:

Reid, Spence, Munro (R Dowds 86), Diamantopoulos, Giovanovits, Lane (Yearn 89), Macdonald (Ward 74), Macher, A Dowds (Barclay 81), Breen, Hogg (Law 57).    All subs. used.

Edinburgh Napier University First:

no team lines available


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 14

BUCS Men’s Scottish Conference Cup: Final

21st March 2018


Watt retained the Conference Cup at St Andrews with a convincing performance, although the margin of victory did not really reflect the balance of play. Like Aberdeen Second the previous season, the Edinburgh Napier side came to the Final full of determination and gave all their energy to the game, which was admirable, although at times some of the Napier players did allow their commitment to get the better of them.

It was testimony to Napier’s desire that they gave full effort right to the end of the game, because it appeared to be over as a contest in the first twenty minutes. By that time the Watt was three goals to the good and coasting; and before half-time, should have been further ahead, with Justin Hogg, Adam Breen and Anton Dowds all failing to strike shots hard enough when through on Napier goalkeeper Ross Jack, although the ’keeper deserves credit for some good saves. There were other chances, too, with Chris Lane’s shot into the side net after running through on Dowds’ pass the closest of them.

The first goal came after only nine minutes of play. From a corner on the Watt right, the ball was headed by Napier midfielder Sam Jones just inside his goalkeeper’s left-hand post. Jack grabbed the ball before it reached the net, but the Assistant Referee was in good position to rule that the ball had crossed the line. Eight minutes later, it was two for the Watt, when Gregor Macdonald’s first-time pass down the wing sent Dowds clear of the defence to slide the ball past Jack into the far corner; and two minutes after that, it seemed a question of how many goals the Watt would run up as Callum Reid’s kick downfield just eluded Dowds, but Michael Ward saw his chance and ran in behind to take the ball round Jack and send it across the box for Hogg to finish from close in.

Apart from a wild volley by Jamie Henderson from a cross by Calum O’Neil, Napier found it difficult to create clear-cut chances in the first half, but just three minutes after the restart, they grabbed a lifeline when a low centre from the right made its way through the Watt defence and right-back Steven Clark was there to fire the ball past Reid. The goal gave Napier fresh belief and for the next half-hour, they gave the Watt an uncomfortable time of it, although three minutes after Napier’s goal, Watt should have had a penalty when Dowds, having headed the ball into the box and followed it to the by-line, had his arm grabbed by a defender as he tried to play the ball across. Dowds is such a strong player that he stayed on his feet and got the ball across anyway, but it was clearly a foul and should have been penalised.

Clark could have had his second of the day half-way through the second half when a corner kick reached him, unmarked some seven metres from goal, but he headed the ball back the way it had come and well past the post. Reid then made a good save from a shot by Matthew Blaikie before Watt settled the business with another two goals in quick succession.

The goal which made it 4 – 1 came from a corner on the Watt left which was wrongly awarded, as it had come off a Watt player last before crossing the line. When this sort of thing happens, you just know it’s going to produce a goal and Nico Giovanovits left no doubt about that, running in to meet the near post cross and sending the firmest of headers downwards into goal, giving Jack no chance at all.

Four minutes later, a passing move in midfield ended with a through ball for the well-timed run of Mark Wilkie, who ran on to finish coolly. Napier central defender Lewis Grant, booked earlier for a crude foul on Dowds, was then sent off, presumably for showing dissent about the goal, although if he was claiming Wilkie was offside, he was certainly wrong. Although Wilkie was yards clear of the defence when he ran on to the ball, that is because he was running in as the last defender was running out. The defender, trying to play offside, got his timing wrong and Wilkie got his right and was comfortably onside at the time of the pass. Your correspondent can testify to this, as he was right in line with the action at the time the ball was played.

That was more or less that, apart from a flying elbow from Dachi Khutsishvili, missed by the referee, which left Harry Barclay’s face covered in blood. Henderson had a chance to grab a consolation goal in the last minute but pulled his shot wide. Amongst a welter of late substitutions, Watt retained the Conference Cup with something to spare in the end.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence, Munro (Barclay 87), Diamantopoulos, Giovanovits, Macher (Law 87), Macdonald (Campbell 61), Lane, A Dowds, Ward (Breen 37), Hogg (Wilkie 67). Subs. not used: Burt, R Dowds.

Edinburgh Napier University First:
Jack, Clark, D Jones (Gibb 55), Maguire (Blaikie 60), Grant, Terry (Henderson 45), Muttitt, S Jones, O’Donnell (Kelly 62), O’Neil, Khutsishvili. Sub. not used: Burgoyne.


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 13

BUCS Men’s Scottish Conference Cup: Semi-final

21st February 2018


The Watt Men’s Firsts reached the final of this season’s Conference Cup with a victory over St Andrews First that was a lot narrower than perhaps it should have been.

The visitors, grimly determined to reach a Final which will be played on their home turf, used counter-attacking tactics for most of the game, sitting deep in defence and using the pace of their wide players to try to catch out the Watt rearguard. Michael Cameron, a strong, aggressive player, was a particular threat in Saints’ forward thrusts.

The course of the game might have been very different had Watt been able to grab an early goal and they came close in the tenth minute, Adam Breen coming in from the left and flighting a cross into the box. Michael Ward had a good heading opportunity, but although his effort was on target, it was too close to the grasp of Alec Cadzow in the visitors’ goal.

As usual, Max Bolotov was a danger to the Watt defence and half-way through the first half his near-post header from a corner kick just cleared the crossbar. Back came the Watt and Anton Dowds surged down the right to send over a cross, but it was too close to the goal-line and too high for an attacking player to reach it.

Ion Diamantopoulos got his head to Chris Lane’s free kick shortly after this, but he didn’t get enough on the ball to direct it towards goal and it leaked away to the far side. Dowds then played in Lane for a shot, but a defender got in a block. The Watt recovered the ball and gained a free kick which Lane played in to the box; Niko Giovanovits got in a shot, but once more it was blocked by the massed ranks of St Andrews defenders.

Saints’ robust defending to protect their penalty box gave the Watt a series of free kicks, but these were poorly used in general and half-time was reached without either side coming all that close to a goal.

Three minutes after the restart, however, that situation changed. A trip by Findlay Tough on Dowds as he cut inside across the line of the penalty area gave Heriot-Watt a free kick on the edge of the ‘D’. Dowds’ strike was too strong for Cadzow to catch and Diamantopoulos was quickly in to steer the rebound towards goal. A retreating defender managed to block the ball on the line, but Chris Macher was on hand to drive it into goal.

For the ten minutes following this, it looked likely that Watt would add to their lead. St Andrews opened up a bit to search for an equaliser, leaving more space in which the home attackers could operate, but the nearest to a second goal was when yet another free kick was headed on by Macher and Dowds sent in a shot which was blocked in front of Cadzow.

Macher was involved in the next piece of action too; with his eyes on the ball as it passed him, he tried to make contact with it as it bounced and came close to the head of Tough, who had ducked towards the ball. Macher’s boot was certainly high and a free kick was in order, although he was perhaps a little unfortunate to be cautioned, as he was following the ball and didn’t see Tough approach from the other side. The referee judged the high boot to be reckless, however, and that seemed a fair judgment. Wild calls from the visitors for him to be sent off were consistent with the character of many of their vocal contributions during the game.

The free kick awarded was of greater immediate significance, as when it was played into the penalty box, Bolotov got his head to the ball to send it looping over the head of Callum Reid into the far corner of goal for an equaliser.

This might have been discouraging for the Watt, but five minutes later they were back in front with a goal which was by some distance the best of the game. A good move forward brought Adam Breen possession and he played a precise pass to Dowds, in his ideal position at the left corner of the penalty box. There seemed an inevitability about what followed – we’ve seen Dowds do the same so often before – as he gathered the ball, cut in along the line of the area and sent a firm, accurate shot beyond the grasp of Cadzow into the far corner of goal.

There was still half an hour left to play, so there was plenty of time for things to change again, but the structure of the game did not greatly alter. Having played so defensively for so long, the St Andrews side was unwilling or unable to alter that style, although there was slightly more space for the Heriot-Watt front players. For some reason, though, the skilful Breen, Lane and Dowds did not seem quite able to link in their usual effective way and chances were not plentiful.

Gregor Macdonald and Sean Campbell were added to the Watt’s attacking resources, but although they both made their contributions, threats to Cadzow’s goal were few. Superb trickery on the left by Breen enabled him to find Lane, who set the ball back for a shot by Ward, but it missed the goal to the ’keeper’s left. Giovanovits, up for a corner, sent a delicate chip over a defender and Dowds ran in to get his head to the ball close to goal, but he sent it over the bar. Too often, however, attempts to play the ball in from wide areas failed to pick out attacking players and the inaccuracy of crosses, high and low, will no doubt be a feature noted by Head Coach Banji Koya.

It would have been in the minds of many Watt players that the same visitors had snatched a late equaliser to make it 2 – 2 in the recent Queen’s Park Shield game and had gone on to win the penalty decider, so although the Saints attacks were sporadic, there was a certain anxiety when they occurred. Substitute Greg Cox was showing plenty of endeavour and there were claims for a penalty as he came across the Watt area and there was an audible connection of some sort, although the player continued his run unaffected and won a corner kick.

The clinching goal sought by the Watt looked possible with ten minutes to go when Dowds again powered into the penalty box from the left. He was tackled, but was able to send a pass to Lane, in space to his left. Lane got in a good strike, but the angle gave Cadzow a chance and he got his positioning right to dive to his left and save.

Macdonald created another chance, cutting in from the left and delivering a fine cross for Campbell, on his own at the far post. Campbell was clearly aware of the need to keep the ball below the bar, but he concentrated so much on that aspect that he forgot the need for power and direction and headed tamely into Cadzow’s arms.

Time was ebbing away without much sign of another goal for either side, but things got more difficult for Watt with six minutes left with that most unusual of events, the dismissal of a player. Macher was that player, receiving a second caution for a barge on a St Andrews man preventing a move building through midfield.

After this, the Watt’s main concentration was on preventing further scoring and this objective was achieved without further alarms.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence, Munro, Diamantopoulos, Giovanovits, Lane, Hogg (Macdonald 63), Ward, A Dowds, Macher, Breen (Campbell 70). Subs. not used: Potter, Law, Burt.

University of St Andrews First:
Cadzow, Pilley, Wells (Cox 71), Bonisteel, Meaney (Herfort 71), Holden, Cameron, Tough, Bolotov, Murray, Balmford. Sub. not used: McIlveen.


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 12

BUCS Men’s Scottish Conference Cup: Quarter-final

19th February 2018


In their defence of the Scottish Conference Cup, Heriot-Watt Men’s Firsts duly progressed to the Semi-final of this year’s competition with this win over University of Edinburgh Fourth.

The Watt side for this tie was somewhat experimental, with several regular starters kept on the bench and starting places given to a number of players who have had few opportunities to wear a First Team shirt this season, but the result was seldom in doubt, despite the visitors impressing with their determination to play a passing game and frequently stringing together good combinations.

Whether by design or necessity, though, the Edinburgh side spent much of this game in deep defence. The Watt encouraged this, particularly in the first half, by a lack of width and mass meetings at the edge of the visitors’ box were a common sight as the Watt midfielders tried to pick their way through a crowd so dense there was hardly room to stand.

Edinburgh attacks were infrequent, but of course when they occurred, they gave the Watt rare opportunities for quick counter-attacks. Such an eventuality brought the first goal in the fifteenth minute. Andrew Imray made a good tackle to win the ball and moved the ball on to Sean Campbell. His pass enabled Chris Lane to round the advancing goalkeeper, Nick Seta, and slide the ball into the net from a narrow angle.

Angus Pinkney had a chance for the visitors from a free kick played in from the left, but although he got his head to the ball, he was unable to generate enough power to trouble Callum Reid.

An excellent pass by Michael Ward picked out the run of Matthew Law on the right wing, but although Law had the pace to get round his marker, his control let him down and Seta, who was having a good game, was able to smother the ball.

The second goal was not long delayed, however, as Lane sent the ball in from the right for Adam Breen to finish with a right-foot shot across the goalkeeper to the bottom corner of the net.

Another chance for the Edinburgh side came from a corner on the left, with Nikita Rog left frustrated that he had been unable to get a header on target from the edge of the six-yard box.

Watt came close again when Seta was only able to parry a strong drive by Lane. The ball was worked in to Ward, who fell to his knees in a challenge, but quickly recovered his feet to scoop the ball past Seta, but against the post.

Another pass by Lane put Campbell through, but the angle was tight and again Seta was equal to the task, diving to divert the shot away for a throw-in.

Ross Fraser, playing on the left wing, was inclined to cut inside on to his right foot and when he did this five minutes from the interval, he played a good ball through for Breen. Michael Lynch was quickly into the tackle to win the ball, but Breen recovered to regain possession and send a left-foot shot just over the bar.

Lane then showed his class with a swift intervention and lay-off, but when he ran on for the return ball, it had gone the other way. A corner was gained, from which Imray headed the ball down, but straight at Seta.

Two minutes from the break, there was a shock for the Watt. A diagonal pass took out the whole home defence and allowed right-back Tom Stansbury, who had pushed forward, the chance to go through on Reid. His shot was well directed towards the space to Reid’s right hand, but was hit rather softly. This seemed to catch Reid by surprise and before he could adjust, the ball had bounced over his arm and into the corner of the net.

Chris Macher replaced Lane at half-time and Watt began looking for more goals to make the position secure. A fine long pass by Ion Diamantopoulos put Campbell in good position. Campbell moved the ball on to Fraser, but his cutback failed to find a team-mate.

Paul McLaughlin had a difficult shooting chance on the Edinburgh left and pulled his shot wide, before Macher released Campbell to find Fraser again, but he shot weakly into the arms of Seta.

Ten minutes into the second half, the Watt fashioned a goal of some distinction. Campbell gained possession in a central area and released the ball perfectly to find the run of Breen, who ran through on Seta. The goalkeeper was out quickly and Breen evidently didn’t like the angle he had been left, so he turned and found that he now had a retreating defender for company, but remained cool and manoeuvred a position from which he could get a clear view of the goal before stroking the ball home.

Gregor Macdonald had replaced Law just before the goal and he was soon in the action, picking out Campbell for a shot on the turn which was saved low to his right by Seta.

Further changes to the Watt line-up brought Fraser to the right, where he looked more comfortable, and only alert goalkeeping by Seta denied him an opportunity when Imray played a well-judged pass inside the full-back.

Anton Dowds replaced Ward for the last phase of the game and presented an entirely new set of problems for the Edinburgh defence, showing immediately that he knew that there was space to be exploited in wide areas. Most of his runs were to the left, from where he drove into the box with pace and control. Macdonald came close to giving Dowds the chance of a goal with a good run on the right and a tempting cross from the line which Dowds stretched to reach but was just unable to do so.

Fraser then played a good ball in for Dowds, whose cross was played behind by Stansbury, not without some alarm on the part of Seta at how close to the post the ball had passed.

The goal which finished things off came just three minutes from time. Justin Hogg was the architect, breaking clear to find Dowds on the left and this time Dowds made it all seem easy as he slid the ball across goal to take out the Edinburgh defence and leave Fraser with the job of finishing into an empty goal.

Fraser came close to a late double when he did superbly well to get his head to a cross at the far post, only to see his effort matched by an equally fine save by Seta, who got a hand to the ball to prevent further damage to the Edinburgh cause.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Craig, Potter, Diamantopoulos (Burt 71), Imray, Lane (Macher 45), Law (Macdonald 54), Ward (Dowds 77), Breen (Hogg 64), Campbell, Fraser. Sub. not used: Spence.

University of Edinburgh Fourth:
Seta, Stanbury, Lynch, Emerson, Astridge, Rog, Gater, McLaughlin, Macadam (Thompson 67), Lannon, Pinkney. Sub. not used: Amaranth.

Season 2017 – 2018: Match 11

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

14th February 2018


Heriot-Watt Firsts secured the Division 2A championship of the BUCS Men’s Scottish Conference on the Oriam indoor pitch with a well-merited victory over a Stirling side which battled right to the end of the game.

After an edgy few minutes at the start of the game, Watt settled the nerves of the occasion with an opening goal after five minutes. Gregor Macdonald fired the ball across low and hard and Justin Hogg came in to tap it into goal from close to the line.

This start invigorated the Watt and three minutes later they took a firm grip on the game with a second goal. Chris Lane went into the left side of the area and when goalkeeper James Donaldson failed to secure the ball with his dive, Lane went down over his arm. There was some question of which player had initiated the contact, but Anton Dowds drove home the resultant penalty kick to make the Stirling side’s task look seriously difficult.

A third goal on twenty minutes confirmed the impression that this would be the Watt’s day. As with the first goal, the danger came from the right, Dowds surging on to a pass to outflank the defence and reach the by-line. Stirling defenders were flooding back into the box, but Chris Macher cleverly pulled off into a small pocket of space and when Dowds found him with a cut-back, he worked enough room to clip a subtle shot across Donaldson into the corner of goal.

It was all Watt now and when a clearance reached Macdonald, he stepped inside and sent in good left-foot cross which Dowds almost reached, but when the ball came to Hogg, he was adjudged off-side.

Euan Baird looked a threat for the visitors and he almost broke through on the left, but diligent defending by Nico Giovanovits and Ion Diamantopoulos saw off the danger. Soon, Watt was back on the attack and Stirling had a let-off when a free kick from the right came off the head of a defender and hit the post. Donaldson had a nasty moment just after this when he came to the left side of his area and gave the ball away, but there were enough defenders in position to prevent a goal.

Hogg combined with Macdonald to send in a shot from the edge of the area, but Donaldson was in good position to save, moving to his right; however a minute later he should have been beaten when Dowds held off Pat Muirhead and bore down on goal. Instead of steering the ball into the space between Donaldson and his post, Dowds elected to try to go round the goalkeeper and Donaldson judged his dive perfectly to take the ball off the toes of the striker.

A fourth goal was only another couple of minutes away, though. Dowds secured the ball in the middle of the pitch and sent it out to Macdonald, breaking on the right. Macdonald’s cross found Lane running in close to the near post to head past the exposed Donaldson.

Five minutes before half-time, Hogg squeezed between two Stirling players, somehow emerged with the ball and set off on a trademark slalom run. As he got close to the penalty box, Murray Rose took him out of the play with a challenge which was late and very high. The referee took some time to decide on the colour of the card, but Rose was allowed to stay on the pitch and when Adam Breen touched the free kick to the side for Macdonald to shoot, he struck the ball solidly but just too high.

Early in the second half, a fine ball by Breen sent Dowds away on the left, but after cutting into the box on a diagonal and reaching the by-line, he ignored the players awaiting a cutback and tried to shoot from an impossible angle, the ball going square across goal and out for a throw-in on the far side.

Stirling’s endeavour was rewarded with a goal just after the hour mark, when a low centre from the right was met with a diving header by substitute Lewis Donnachie to send the ball into the corner of the net.

Two minutes later, Watt came close to adding to their tally when Stirling took a quick free kick and hit the referee. The ball rebounded to Watt possession and a quick thrust forward gave a chance to Dowds, who went past the last man but sent in a weak shot which was blocked by the foot of Donaldson. Watt continued the attack and Dowds had another chance; this time he struck the ball much harder, but it was straight at the goalkeeper, who parried and then grasped the ball.

A good spell of passing around the Stirling area ended with a smart back-heel by Dowds which put Jack Spence in possession, but when he found he couldn’t create a shooting chance, Spence returned the ball to Dowds to play it first-time into the path of Macdonald, who had made a run into the box. Collecting the ball beyond the defensive line, Macdonald may have wondered if he was onside, but there was no whistle and he turned and fired a shot against the post.

Lane had the next chance, running on to a very perceptive pass from Breen, but again the shot was delayed too long and Donaldson filled the space to block.

Michael Ward came on to replace Macdonald and with ten minutes left to play, he was instrumental in creating a fine fifth goal to seal the Watt’s victory. An excellent move on the right, involving numerous players, delivered the ball to Ward and he sent a pass through to Dowds, who slipped his marker, turned and drove the ball with power and accuracy past the right hand of Donaldson.

The Watt knew that with two home games left to play, their destiny was in their own hands, but this was a satisfying performance which fully justified the championship success confirmed by this result. Compact and organised in defence, imaginative in midfield and dangerous in attack, the Watt side has overcome all opponents in Division 2A this season and can now look forward to competing at the highest level of the Scottish Conference next season.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence, Munro (R Dowds 86), Diamantopoulos, Giovanovits, Lane (Yearn 89), Macdonald (Ward 74), Macher, A Dowds (Barclay 81), Breen, Hogg (Law 57). All subs. used.

University of Stirling Third:
Donaldson, Matty Brown, Lee (McKay 62), Murray Donnachie 31), Muirhead, Lamond (Moreland 66), Matthew Brown, Bell, Baird, Rose, Underhill. Sub. not used: Warriner.


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 10

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

31st January 2018


This was a crucial victory in the Watt’s drive to gain promotion to BUCS Scottish Conference Division 1A. Aberdeen is currently last in Division 2A, but its defeats have all been narrow ones and on its own little Hillhead pitch it is a side it is not easy to subdue.

Watt had to withstand a spirited start from the home side, Andrew Davidson scooping over from the edge of the six-yard box after a left-wing move. Aberdeen continued to press and it was some time before the Watt managed to settle the game into a rhythm that was better suited to their style. A tremendous run by Justin Hogg out of defence after receiving the ball from Callum Reid following an Aberdeen corner helped to change the focus. Hogg stormed upfield, found Adam Breen on the right and continued his run to gather the return pass and knock the ball into the box past the defensive line. Goalkeeper Alasdair Maclean was out quickly to block the ball behind and prevent Hogg getting it into the middle of the penalty area.

Scott Munro read the situation intelligently to make a run off the wing and connect with a pass from Anton Dowds, but as he approached the penalty area he was brought down for a free kick from which the Watt failed to profit.

Three minutes later, however, Heriot-Watt did go ahead with an excellent goal. An incisive passing movement gave Breen possession and when he played the ball on to Chris Lane, Lane drove into the box. As he turned to look for Dowds, his legs were taken from under him and it would surely have been a penalty had not Lane managed to complete the pass, whereupon Dowds ran on to the ball and thundered it into the corner of the net from fifteen metres.

Aberdeen responded with vigour and Jack Spence just managed to get a dangerous cross over his own bar. Davidson had another chance after the ball was worked inside from the right, but his shot slipped past the post. Then the home side worked the ball inside from the left and David Akpara’s shot was saved by Reid.

Michael Ward’s superb cross gave Dowds a chance to increase the Watt’s lead, but having got between the two central defenders to take his header, Dowds directed the ball wide of the post.

Just before the interval, there was a scare for the Watt as a free kick from the right was headed towards goal from inside the six-yard box, but somehow the ball was blocked and eventually worked out of the penalty area, from where a wild shot finished the move.

Eight minutes after the break, the Watt increased its lead with another fine goal. A good passing move involving Hogg and Breen ended with the ball being played into the box to meet Dowds’ run to the right. Dowds accelerated away from his marker, giving him the space to turn and drill a shot past the right hand of Maclean and inside the post.

Having taken what looked like a decisive lead, Heriot-Watt suddenly seemed to be possessed by demons. Niko Giovanovits started the rot with a reckless challenge on Declan Adamson near the touchline, for which he was rightly cautioned. A minute later, Dowds, for no apparent reason, whipped the feet from Davidson to earn another caution. The free kick was ten metres inside the Watt half and when it was played deep into the penalty area, Jack Harkness back-pedalled to send an excellent header over the hands of Reid and into the far corner of the goal. The two-goal lead had lasted just two minutes and the Watt had made a rod for their own backs for the last thirty-five minutes.

To be fair, the Watt came desperately close to restoring the two-goal gap just a minute later, Dowds taking over after Hogg was tackled and sending a shot off the post. An injury to Munro then forced the Watt into a change, Harry Barclay coming on as a replacement.

The tricky Adamson got in a good cross from the right and when it was headed back across goal, Davidson sent in a header which Reid dived to his right to push away. A minute later, Reid received a kick in the ribs from Joseph Walker after gathering the ball, but the referee failed to notice.

As the game entered its final phase, it was hearts-in-the-mouth stuff at times in the Watt defence. The ball wandered into the area from the Aberdeen right; Davidson’s touch was slight, but the ball was heading towards the goal and Reid seemed completely off balance until at last he hauled himself round to grab the ball. A free kick from the right was well headed away by Dowds and Reid dealt easily with a long-range effort from Hamish Levein.

With four minutes left to play, Ryan Grant sent in a cross from the Aberdeen right and Davidson thought he’d got the right header this time, only for Reid to twist backwards and somehow claw the ball round the post. It was a match-winning save.

Levein was sent off two minutes from the end for swearing at the referee, but after Reid’s heroics, Heriot-Watt held out without further alarm.

University of Aberdeen First:
Maclean, Levein, Grant, Walker, Harkness, Shanks (Lieder 58), Akpara (Clark 65), Williams, Toufique, Davidson, Adamson. Subs. not used: Stewart, Ogwuru, Unsworth.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence, Munro (Barclay 59), Diamantopoulos, Giavanovits, Macher, Ward, Lane, Dowds, Breen (Yearn 88), Hogg (Law 69). All subs. used.


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 9

Queen’s Park Shield

24th January 2018

(St Andrews won 9 – 8 on penalties)

This Queen’s Park Shield ‘Last 16’ match was played on the indoor pitch at Oriam and followed the usual pattern for games between these two sides during the current season: closely contested, with little between the sides.

Watt started well and in five minutes a good pass by Niko Giovanovits gave Matthew Law the chance to send a cross into the visitors’ box. Eventually, the ball worked its way to Adam Breen, but from close range, he shot across the face of the goal.

Heriot-Watt came close to scoring again after half an hour’s play. A short corner led to a good cross by Chris Lane, finding Michael Ward on his own at the back post, but by the time Ward had brought the ball down and fired in a shot, a defender had rushed in to block.

A few minutes later, the visitors took the lead. A quick break sent Michael Cameron away down the left wing and his hard, low centre was finessed into the far corner by Luke Bain.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as six minutes later, Watt equalised. As St Andrews struggled to clear the ball, Chris Macher headed it forward for Chris Lane to find Matthew Law, whose hard, low centre was converted from a tight angle at the far post by Anton Dowds.

Six minutes after half-time, Watt came close to another goal when a fine move took Dowds down the left to play the ball inside to Lane. Lane veered into a central position and crashed in a shot which struck the crossbar, rose high in the air and drifted over the bar.

Alex Dodgshon’s hooked shot for the visitors went well over and soon the Watt was again on the offensive, but when Dowds set up Breen, his shot went past the post. A good interception and run by Macher produced a chance for Lane, but a poor first touch finished the move.

Bain’s corner gave Saints’ Matthew Holden a chance inside the box, but he scooped the ball high and wide. Matthew Law then played the ball inside for Lane, but he leaned back on the shot and sent the ball over the junction of post and bar.

In another chance for St Andrews, Cameron’s shot following a corner passed across the Watt goalmouth and out on the far side. Ward set up the Watt’s next opportunity with a superb ball from the left-back position, finding Dowds inside the penalty area, but on his left foot Dowds could only play the ball across goal and there was no colleague on hand to profit.

A good move involving Scott Munro and Justin Hogg fed Dowds, whose smart turn enabled him to find Lane, but his shot was mishit and Macher’s follow-up effort was also blocked. The visitors broke quickly, but the counterattack was snuffed out by a fine tackle by Ion Diamantopoulos, who was having a splendid game in the Watt defence.

Dowds had another shooting chance, but smashed the ball into the side netting, before a cross from the St Andrews left was headed against the top of the bar by Max Bolotov.

With around twenty minutes left to play, the Watt went ahead for the first time. Jack Spence’s pass found Law on the right and he fizzed the ball in just under the bar. Cadzow touched it over for a corner and when the kick was played back in again after being partially cleared, Giovanovits met the ball with a fine header to score.

Dowds and Lane had further shots without troubling Cadzow, but as the game went into its closing stages, the Watt looked to be in charge and should probably have added a clinching goal after clearing a St Andrews corner. Dowds played in Hogg to go through on Cadzow, but Hogg’s attempt to prod the ball past the goalkeeper wasn’t strong enough and Cadzow was able to block the ball and dive on it.

This was crucial, as with four minutes left, a good passing move from right to left gave a chance to Bolotov and he struck a first-time shot across Callum Reid to the left corner of the goal.

Watt still had a great chance to win, when Dowds drove at the defence. The ball went spinning on to Hogg, then to Macher, but neither could get his shot away and the opportunity was lost. Then, with two minutes to play, a foul saw Dodgshon cautioned and from the free-kick, thirty-five metres from goal, Lane’s well-struck shot rebounded from the post to the goalkeeper’s right.

That was the last of the significant action and, in accordance with Queen’s Park Shield rules, the match went straight to a penalty shoot-out to decide the outcome. It was a very strange shoot-out: the five volunteers from each side made a poor fist of it, only two scoring on each side, to take it to a sudden-death decider – which then went on for six more kicks each as the quality suddenly improved as we got to the players who were not in the first five.

In the first five kicks, Macher had scored, but both Lane and Giovanovits had their kicks saved and Law’s effort hit the post, leaving it to Dowds to prolong the contest by sinking the Watt’s fifth kick.

Then, George Apel scored for the visitors; Harry Barclay’s textbook shot equalised. Fabian Hesse put St Andrews back in pole position, but Hogg’s fine kick squared it again. Bolotov scored easily, but Munro made a good job of his reply. Cadzow rammed the ball past fellow goalkeeper Callum Reid, but Diamantopoulos drove in his kick to restore parity. Finally, after Andrew Meaney fired his kick high and hard into the net, Cadzow saved Ward’s kick, diving to his left.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence (Barclay 84), Munro, Diamantopoulos, Giavanovits, Macher, Law, Ward, A Dowds, Lane, Breen (Hogg 62). Subs. not used: R Dowds, Wilkie.

University of St Andrews First:
Cadzow, Hesse, Mawson, Bonisteel, Meaney, Holden, Murray, Dodgshon, Bolotov, Bain (Davitt 74), Cameron (Apel 82). Subs. not used: Cox, Lewis, McInally.


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 8

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

29th November 2017


This was as odd a game as we’re likely to see this season and it had a suitably bizarre conclusion.

On the small grass pitch at the top of Airthrey Campus, on a clear, cold day with the low winter sun shining strongly across the pitch, there was a surreal atmosphere to this match right from the start. Neither side seemed able to string together decent passing moves on the tight, uneven surface and it took fifteen minutes to produce a serious attempt on goal. That occurred when Chris Lane sent a free kick along the ground to Anton Dowds, on the right side of the penalty area. Dowds turned, but it took him some time to shake off the attentions of his marker and although he generated power on his shot, it rose over the junction at the near post.

Stirling responded with a low shot from twenty metres by Edward Hodges which was heading just past the post, but Callum Reid, diving to his left, couldn’t be sure of that and pushed the ball away for a corner kick.

It may just have been the conditions, but Stirling goalkeeper James Donaldson looked unsure of himself and when Dowds sent in a rather weak shot, he pushed the ball out straight to Justin Hogg, who was well offside, which was just as well, as he shot over the bar from close range.

A throw-in from the Stirling left bounced and meandered through the Watt defence until it reached Matthew Brown, who tried a shot, but it was an easy catch for Reid. Aubin Balastrier then had an effort at the other end, but he didn’t catch it well either. The ball was played out to Dowds on the left and he drove it across the face of goal and past.

Lane’s left-wing corner was headed firmly by Balastrier, but he turned his head too sharply and the ball passed across goal and out. Stirling’s Pat Muirhead got his head to a free kick around the edge of the penalty box, but the ball rose high before dipping on to the roof of the net.

The second half was little more constructive than the first, with few well-designed moves from either side and neither goalkeeper seriously troubled in the early stages. Substitutions were made and when Matthew Law came on to play wide on the right for the Watt, he made a telling contribution.

With just over twenty minutes remaining, Law gathered the ball on the right and sent in a deep cross. The ball curled towards goal, struck the inside of the far post, rebounded against goalkeeper Donaldson, who was moving across his line, and finished in the corner of the net. It seems likely that the ball would have carried over the goal-line in any case, so we’ll charitably credit Law with the goal rather than the luckless Donaldson.

In a curious reflection of the previous week’s match at Riccarton, things began to become dangerous for the Watt players as the game entered its final minutes. Firstly, Lane headed the ball past the last defender as he went down the right wing, but was prevented from pursuing it by a boot to the head. As Lane hadn’t ducked at all, this was at best careless. Lane was unable to continue and was replaced by Scott Munro.

Then, a few minutes later, deep into added time, came the peculiar ending to the game. As Watt attacked on the right, spectators’ attention was drawn to an incident at the other end of the pitch and we turned to see Jens Willassen lying on the ground. The referee and players involved in the action at the business end saw nothing of this and play continued, with Law cutting in along the by-line, tricking his marker and as Donaldson expected a cross or cutback, driving the ball to the near post area, where it took a faint wick off the post and shot across the gap between goalkeeper and post, finishing in the far corner.

After signalling the goal, the referee became aware of the disturbance in the other half and as players began to play out roles in a rather muted confrontation scene, he prudently brought the game to an immediate conclusion.

It turned out that Willassen, who is himself perpetually on a short fuse, had become involved in a dispute with the sizeable Ross Mackay over something concerned with a throw-in which had long since been taken. When Willassen made a comment that Mackay resented, the big man had responded by kicking the Watt man on the leg. No-one seemed to have seen the incident, which enabled Mackay to widen his eyes and deny everything. Willassen wasn’t badly injured, so the players just made their way back to the changing rooms.

University of Stirling Third:
Donaldson, Warriner, Brown, Muirhead, Turnbull, Higgins (Heraghty 61), Lamond (Lee 69), Mackay, Bell, Underhill, Hodges. Subs. not used: Rose, Murphy, Armstrong.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Woolven (Law 66), Willassen, Diamantopoulos, Giovanovits, Macher, Hogg, Lane (Munro 84), A Dowds, Balastrier (R Dowds 78), Macdonald. All subs. used.


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 7

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

22nd November 2017


This top-of-the-table clash in Division 2A was eagerly anticipated and produced a lot of good football in the first hour, but unfortunately when the visitors fell behind for the second time, their discipline, which had always been fragile, fractured across a wide area and in the end the Watt was glad to escape with three points and no serious injuries.

Watt began the game confidently with a move on the right which ended with Gregor Macdonald crossing for Anton Dowds to head on to Mark Wilkie, but after a turn to create a shooting opportunity, Wilkie’s effort was weak and Alec Cadzow gathered easily.

The opening goal was not long delayed, however, and arrived in the eighth minute. Dowds executed a neat step-over on the left and played in a firm, low cross. Conditions were damp, which wouldn’t have helped Cadzow, but when he let the ball slip through his grasp, Wilkie was waiting at the far post to help the ball into goal.

Watt should have doubled their advantage two minutes later, but after excellent work by Chris Lane to put Dowds through on Cadzow, the striker blasted the ball straight at the goalkeeper. Lane picked up the rebound and seemed to be clipped in the penalty box, but when he stayed on his feet, no decision was forthcoming and ultimately the chance was lost.

Perhaps from the team-lines we should have considered their central defensive pair as a metaphor for the attitude of the team from Fife and those players were the first to be cautioned by the referee – Andrew Meaney when he cut down Wilkie after a sparkling run took him too close for comfort to the St Andrews penalty box, then Findlay Tough for persistent fouling after he brought down Lane.

Heriot-Watt was unable to benefit further from its ascendancy during the first half, however, and although Cadzow was obliged to touch over a left-foot drive from Macdonald, it was the visiting side which grabbed an equaliser against the run of play four minutes from half-time. When a corner kick from the left came in to the box, Tough was standing behind a group of his team-mates and was able to head the ball downwards towards goal. It seemed to go through a dense knot of defenders in front of Callum Reid before finding the corner of the goal, but find the corner it did and the game was all square again.

After half-time, the tenor of the game gradually altered. Watt had an early chance when Wilkie cut inside from the left. He was tackled and the ball sprung towards Dowds, but the striker took too long to get his shot away and a corner was all he could achieve.

As the minutes ticked by, Watt’s grip on the game loosened and when a visiting player rallied his colleagues by shouting that their opponents were tiring, the remark seemed to have some justice. Banji Koya responded by replacing Macdonald with Justin Hogg and St Andrews also introduced fresh players in Johan Venema and Max Balmford.

It was one of the starters who made the next telling contribution, however, when Lane brought the ball through the midfield with skill and control, exchanged passes with Dowds and chipped the ball forward for Wilkie to stab it past the advancing Cadzow into the corner of goal.

St Andrews had certainly been building back into the game before this setback and the loss of the goal would have been a disappointment to their players, but the team’s response to the match slipping away from them was completely unexpected. There had been a few suggestions about offside for Wilkie’s goal, but the claims were half-hearted and certainly unjustified and most of the visitors seemed to recognise that, so it was hard to understand the feeling of being “hard done by” which seemed to permeate the St Andrews side. The most logical explanation seemed to be that the team had approached the match in such a determined frame of mind that the players were simply unable to accept that they could lose fairly and that therefore it must be someone else’s fault. Whatever caused caused this mood to take hold, it produced a change of attitude amongst the players, some of whom, unfortunately, simply turned nasty. Some brutal fouls followed and there was a lot of baiting of the Watt players in an attempt to get them to react.

Chief amongst the agitators was left-back Daniel Pilley, who cynically raked Dowds’ Achilles tendon as a throw-in was awaited, then tried to further enrage the injured party by mocking laughter and sneering comments at Dowds’ protest. Pilley thereafter took to enigmatically muttering “Disgraceful!” at regular intervals, whilst continuing to try, through sly pushes and nudges, to provoke responses from Watt players.

Meanwhile, there were further cautions for fouls, with a dangerous challenge on Lane deserving of a more severe sanction. The general view amongst the Watt support was that few referees would have allowed St Andrews to finish the game with a full complement of players.

In the event, the Watt sealed the victory with a third goal when St Andrews got into a pickle trying to play the ball out from the back. Dowds intervened, made space for a shot, and fired the ball past the right hand of Cadzow into the corner of the goal. A few minutes later, the referee relieved our anxieties for the wellbeing of the players by bringing the game to an end.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence, Willassen, Diamantopoulos, Woolven, Giovanovits, Macdonald (Hogg 57), Macher (Craig 89), Dowds, Wilkie (Balastrier 81), Lane. Subs. not used: Barclay, Munro, Yearn.

University of St Andrews First:
Cadzow, McLennan (Venema 59), Pilley, Tough, Meaney (Herfort 80), Holden, Bonisteel (Bolton 76), Dodgshon, Quinn, Murray (Balmford 65), Cameron. Sub. not used: Bain.


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 6

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

15th November 2017


In the first BUCS game of the season, Heriot-Watt Firsts had played out a draw at Riccarton against a determined side from the University of the West of Scotland, but in this return game, the Watt lads scored their most comfortable win of the season.

The match was played on a small synthetic pitch at Hamilton Palace Sports Grounds and for the first half-hour, the Watt dominated play with good passing and movement in midfield, but couldn’t get it right in the final third of the pitch. Anton Dowds, the Watt’s main source of goals, looked scarcely awake and saw little of the ball during this period. The closest to a goal had come when Justin Hogg cut in from the left and sent in a firm drive which was blocked close to goal. Gregor Macdonald had several attempts at forcing the ball over the goal line, but goalkeeper Scott Johnson spread his sizeable frame well and blocked every effort, eventually succeeding on falling on the ball.

With less than ten minutes to half-time and the game still goalless, Dowds came alive, battling for the ball on the edge of the area and sending in a rasping shot which came off the inside of the post and shot across goal behind the diving Johnson, ending up somewhere near the corner flag.

Three minutes later, Dowds proved that he was now fully functioning. Chris Macher made good ground through the middle of the pitch and laid the ball towards Macdonald on the edge of the box. The pass was a little short and Macdonald had to hurry, but he picked a good first-time pass to Dowds, who took aim and fired the ball unerringly into the postage-stamp corner of the goal.

Straight from the kick-off, West of Scotland had an opportunity when a dangerous cross from the right put Jack Spence in a quandary. He was able to play the ball to the edge of the box and from there Robbie Collins tried a first-time effort, but sent the ball a long way wide.

Having started the scoring at last, Watt kept up the habit. Three minutes after the first goal, a bout of head tennis in the home box ended with the ball falling to Mark Wilkie and he calmly steered it past Johnson for a second goal.

Early in the second half, Macdonald’s accurate cross picked out the run of Chris Lane, but Johnson quickly advanced and Lane was only able to play the ball against him and gain a corner. Then, Macdonald’s tackle made the ball available for Wilkie to drive forward, but his shot from the edge of the area lacked the power to beat Johnson.

Ten minutes into the second half, a clearance from the home defence was volleyed back where it had come from by Nikola Giovanovits. The ball was gathered by Dowds, whose shot diverted off the leg of Luke Pye and just inside the post to Johnson’s right, putting the visitors three ahead.

As in the first half, one goal was rapidly followed by another and two minutes later, an amazing sequence of short passes around the edge of the box ended with Dowds firing the ball into the corner of the net with such force that Johnson had scarcely moved when the ball passed him.

UWS’s best player, Zimbabwean midfielder Mbanje Munyaradzi, had been popping up all over the pitch trying to create something for the home side and he sent in a fine effort from twenty metres which Watt goalkeeper Callum Reid saved spectacularly, leaping to his right to clutch the ball just under the bar.

The quota of substitutions normal in BUCS games was proceeding and Watt introduced Aubin Balastrier in place of Spence, who was limping heavily. Hogg moved to right-back. Jens Willassen sent a powerful header forward and Lane turned and shot first-time from distance, but Johnson was in good position to make the catch. Two minutes later, however, Watt scored a fifth. Wilkie came into the box from the right and played the ball into the danger area, where Balastrier got a touch to take the ball past Johnson into goal.

There were plenty more chances in the last twenty minutes of play. Lane went through on a pass from Dowds but didn’t get his shot away in time and Johnson blocked with his legs. A superb turn by Balastrier enabled him to find Yearn and he passed on to Macdonald, who executed an overhead chip and turned to shoot just over. Wilkie’s lay-off sent Yearn through one on one with Johnson, but he too was too late in getting his shot away and struck the goalkeeper with his shot. Yearn played in Lane on the right, but somehow he got right under the ball and fired it over the fence behind the goal. Finally, Yearn’s pass put Wilkie in to slice the ball well past.

None of this mattered much; the game had been well won by this time and the Watt was delighted to keep a clean sheet for once and to carry off three more precious points in the battle for Division 2A.

University of the West of Scotland First:
Johnson, Merry, Anderson, Pye, Gibson, Murray (Jouneau 72), Collins (Donaghey 63), Mackie, Spencer, Hutcheon (Elder 52), Munyaradzi. Subs. not used: Kelly, Black.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence (Balastrier 63), Willassen (Barclay 77), Woolven, Giovanovits, Lane, Hogg, Macher, Dowds (Yearn 69), Wilkie, Macdonald. Sub. not used: Diamantopoulos.

Referee: Mr I. Oliphant.


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 5

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

8th November 2017


Heriot-Watt grabbed another vital win on what the players hope will be a promotion trail, but Napier made it tough at Ainslie Park and the Watt lads had to battle all the way to secure the points.

There was a hair-raising moment in the third minute of the game when a Napier forward managed to get a touch on the ball to take it past the advancing Callum Reid. The ball was on a line which would have taken it past the post, but was travelling so slowly that a player coming in from the right was favourite to reach it close to the post. Watt midfielder Chris Macher was alert to the danger, however, and arrived at just the right time to make an outstanding block and send the ball behind.

Soon the Watt was mounting attacks of its own and in the early stages of the game, the home defence looked there for the taking. Chris Lane and Anton Dowds worked their way through, but the shot by Dowds was blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Ross Jack.

With eight minutes played, the Watt took good advantage of the Napier defensive frailty to take the lead. From a throw-in on the right, the ball was moved inside to Dowds and he sent the ball across the area to where Adam Breen stood in space. By the time the ball reached him, a defender had come to face Breen, but the midfielder tricked him and sent a left-foot shot past Jack and inside the far post.

A minute later, it should have been two, but Dowds, put through on the left side of the box, was too casual and delayed his shot too long, enabling Jack to block.

Another chance five minutes later came from Dowds’ run on the left. Mark Wilkie was in good position in the middle, but Dowds played the ball across the goalmouth and Wilkie was unable to reach it.

The best chance of all since the goal arrived half-way through the half. Wilkie got in the way of a clearance and the ball rebounded perfectly for Gregor Macdonald on the right wing. Macdonald sent in a low cross to the edge of the six-yard box, but Dowds, rushing in, somehow achieved maximum elevation and skied the ball high over the bar.

With twenty-five minutes played came the incident for which this game will be best remembered. A through ball reached Dowds, who took on Hungarian central defender Bender Takacs and went past him on his right side, using strength and control, to slot the ball past Jack into the net. It looked a perfectly good goal and it is unclear even now why the referee, looking from around the half-way line, chose to penalise Dowds, but it gradually dawned on those watching that Takacs had fallen as he tried to prevent the Watt man going past him and hadn’t moved since. Eventually, Takacs was raised and helped on unsteady legs a few paces over the goal-line, but it was apparent he had sustained a bad head knock and the game was delayed for almost an hour as an ambulance was called for and arrived to take away the unfortunate defender, who had struck his head on the synthetic surface, which is considerably harder than it looks.

By the time the match was ready to restart, Napier had not only brought on two substitutes but had reorganised and for the rest of the match was much more difficult to play through. With Lewis Grant at the back and Aaron Maguire in midfield, Napier was much better balanced and the improved shape didn’t take long to produce results. An unnecessary foul gave Napier the chance to play the ball into the Watt box and when left-back Calum O’Neil flighted the ball deep into the danger zone, it fell among the feet and a scramble ensued. Watt blocked a number of efforts at close range before the ball ran back to Maguire around the penalty spot. With room for a proper shot, he drilled the ball straight and hard into the net.

Calvin Muttitt drove the ball across goal from the left and it was played straight back across the goalmouth. Chris Lane made a determined run out of defence and got over the half-way line before being tripped. There are surely few grades of football in which such a trip would not have brought a caution, but the referee contented himself with awarding the free kick.

Watt came close when Dowds drove to the by-line again and swept the ball across goal, but a defender got to it just ahead of Macdonald. The referee proved that he did have cards in his pocket by issuing one to Napier defender Euan Terry for a foul on Lane, but half-time arrived without further scoring.

Napier made yet another substitution at half-time, introducing Alex Parkin to the midfield.

Breen gave Dowds a through ball to chase in early second-half action, but Jack came quickly from his line to clear out of play. Napier striker Jack Burgoyne was cautioned for what looked a very innocuous foul before Watt came close again. Wilkie had to wait a long time for a diagonal ball to reach him as he stood fifteen metres from goal, but when it arrived, he trapped it on his chest and as it dropped, he turned and drove in a smart shot which grazed Jack’s right-hand post.

Wilkie’s next involvement was less positive, as he received a caution for manhandling an opponent, but Watt was gradually re-establishing control and Lane slipped in Dowds for a shot which passed over the bar.

With twenty minutes left to play, Watt scored what proved to be the winning goal. Lane won the ball well in midfield and sent Dowds away down the left. Under severe pressure, he managed to get to the by-line and play the ball across low and hard. Wilkie was making a determined run towards the goal and when the ball came across, he threw himself forward and bundled the ball over the line. It was an object lesson in getting something in the way of a ball close to the goal line.

Watt controlled the game well as the minutes ebbed away, but still contrived to miss chances to make the game more comfortable. Justin Hogg made a good dash down the right and sent a cutback to the feet of Dowds inside the penalty area. The striker’s first touch was not what he would have wished, but he still managed to get a powerful strike on the ball, only to see it whack the bar and continue over.

With two minutes to go, we saw Dowds show his quality to its best effect. Moving on to a ball in the middle of the park, he looked a little weary, but as soon as he had it under control, he pressed the boost button and surged forward, leaving his marker behind and dashing down the left with the ball on elastic. When defenders closed in, he chose the perfect moment to cut inside and when he reached the middle of the pitch, he swivelled and fired in a low shot of such power that Jack was glad to get something in the way and block it out. Fortunately for Napier, it fell closer to defenders than the Watt players who were closing in.

It wasn’t all over, though, as the referee played four minutes of stoppage time. A rash challenge by Hogg conceded a free kick on the Napier left and once more the ball dropped among the feet, but this time the Watt defenders hacked it away. O’Neil got on to the ball and drove it in from twenty-five metres, but just past the post. Then Nikola Giovanovits was rather harshly penalised in a similar position on the Napier right, but when O’Neil whipped the ball in to the box, it was met by a good clearing header.

Watt gained a free kick for a foul on Lane, but squandered possession and Napier came forward one more time. When they won a corner kick on the left, Jack was called forward to join the attack, but it all ended in anti-climax as the inswinging corner, accelerated what was by this time a stiff breeze, passed over the crossbar and the referee blew the full-time whistle.

Edinburgh Napier University First:
Jack, Clark (Sutherland 84), O’Neil, Terry, Takacs (Grant 25), Gibb, Muttitt, Jones, Burgoyne (Price 67), Kelly (Maguire 25), Henderson (Parkin 45). All subs. used.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence, Willassen, Woolven, Diamantopoulos, Macher, Breen (Hogg 71), Lane, Dowds, Wilkie (Balastrier 86), Macdonald (Giovanovits 82). Subs. not used: Munro, Barclay, Yearn.


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 4

Men’s BUCS Scottish Conference Cup

1st November 2017


Watt’s First Team eased into the next round of the Conference Cup with a win over its own Second Team in a match which showed why both sides are riding high in their respective divisions of the BUCS Scottish Conference.

The Firsts pushed on in the early part of the game and a ball played in firmly from the right gave Gregor Macdonald a sight of goal, but his shot was much too high. A minute later, however, the first goal did arrive when Adam Breen’s well-judged pass enabled Dowds to knock the ball past the last defender and slide it to the left of Jack Findlay into the corner of goal.

An injury to Scott Munro introduced Harry Barclay at an early stage in the game, but the Firsts continued to press forward, Findlay making a good save when Dowds played in Mark Wilkie for a shot.

Dowds missed a chance to increase the lead when a stray defensive pass gave him an opportunity, but he got his angles wrong and the ball went past the post to Findlay’s left.

A good run by Justin Hogg took him past most of the Firsts’ defence before he was stopped and this began a period of good pressure by the Seconds. Ross Fraser was doing well on the left and when he cut inside to look for a shooting opportunity, his arm was pulled, resulting in a free kick which Jake Lloyd drove narrowly past the post.

Andreas Ppalis then set up Ronan Dowds, who turned smoothly on the edge of the area, but was thwarted by Callum Reid, who was quickly off his line to smother the ball.

When the Firsts lifted the siege, a second goal was the result. Jack Spence combined with Dowds on the right and when the ball came inside, Macdonald arrived at the near post for a neat finish.

Chris Lane gave Anton Dowds another shooting opportunity when he forced in from the right to find the striker, but Dowds had to take the shot first-time and shot across the face of goal.

The first half ended with the Seconds on the attack after Ewan McDuff intercepted and pushed forward to provide Ppalis with the chance for an imaginative chip, but the ball carried just over the bar.

The Firsts started the second half positively, with Lane combining with Dowds in a good move on the right. Dowds had an opportunity in the penalty area a couple of minutes later, but a comprehensive tackle by Michael Ward halted the move.

A number of substitutions were made as the game progressed and the game was disrupted a little, but Barclay gave the Firsts another shooting chance, hooking the ball back from the by-line to find Breen, but Findlay was down smartly to save low to his left.

The Seconds’ nearest thing of the match came with twenty minutes left to play. A free kick thirty metres from goal gave another opportunity to Lloyd and this time he sent a strong shot off the underside of the bar, to bounce in front of the line and back into play.

After this narrow escape, the Firsts went up to the other end and sealed the win with a third goal. Macdonald cut the ball back from the by-line and Dowds somehow managed to shoot against Findlay from inside the six-yard box, but when the corner thus produced was delivered to the near post area, Dowds made up for his miss by rising to score with a header.

Spence continued to be a lively presence on the Firsts’ right side and he skipped past several tackles to find Macdonald on the edge of the box. Macdonald went past his marker and sent in a shot which Findlay dived to turn round his left-hand post.

Overall, few would have quibbled about the result. The Firsts restricted their opponents to a handful of chances during the game and in the main finished their own opportunities clinically. Lloyd was unfortunate not to score with his well-struck free kick, but that was the only time when the Firsts’ goal was under serious threat.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence, Munro (Barclay 15), Woolven, Diamantopoulos, Macher, Lane, Wilkie (Craig 55), Dowds (Balastrier 72), Breen, Macdonald (Yearn 74). Sub not used: Wilson.

Heriot-Watt University Second:
Findlay, McDuff, Fraser (Dawirs 65), Atwell (Law 45), Cuthbertson, Ward, Ppalis, Lloyd, Dowds, Hogg, Vrignaud (Macvinish 75). Sub. not used: Duffy.

Referee: Mr Norman Brown


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 3

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

18th October 2017


This was a highly satisfactory win for the Watt side, with a major contribution being made by players new to the side this season.

Aberdeen looked lively in the early stages and came close from a corner in the twelfth minute. Parimal Patel got his head to a corner at the near post, but just missed the target.

Watt soon began to show attacking endeavour, with Jack Spence’s raking cross-field pass well controlled by Anton Dowds, who exchanged passes with Chris Lane before sending in a near-post cross which was played just over his own bar by a defender.

Dan Potter’s superbly-weighted pass inside the full-back gave Dowds a chance to outpace the Aberdeen defence, but when he reached the ball, he wasn’t ready to use it straight away and there was no time for a second touch as he was instantly dispossessed. A minute later, Lane drove the ball across goal from the right looking for Dowds, but the visitors’ goalkeeper Alasdair Maclean got a touch to take the ball away from the striker.

As Watt maintained the pressure, Jens Willassen sent in a teasing cross from the left, but Gregor Macdonald, coming in at pace, couldn’t get his connection right and the ball went tamely past.

Adam Woolven was the next to pick out Dowds on the left. Dowds went down the wing, drawing three defenders towards him, before delivering the ball across the area, but Macdonald wasn’t quite far enough on to reach it.

A clever turn by Spence enabled him to play the ball down the right touchline to Lane, who moved it inside to find Adam Breen in good position, but although Breen managed to create space for a shot, he didn’t catch the ball as he would have wanted and it went past the post to Maclean’s left.

The first half ended with a close thing at the other end as Ryan Grant sent a dangerous low cross into the goalmouth from close to the right corner flag, but Callum Reid dived on the ball and kept the Watt goal secure.

Dowds, suffering from a calf injury, was unable to start the second half and was replaced by Aubin Balastrier, bringing to a remarkable six the number of new students in the Watt line-up. Balastrier’s willingness to run into wide areas soon created problems for the Aberdeen defence and for the second time in the game a defender came close to playing the ball into his own net, slicing Balastrier’s cutback just over the bar.

Thirteen minutes after half-time, Mark Wilkie came on to replace Potter and within three minutes the new recruit had opened the scoring. After all the Watt’s good build-up play, the goal came fortuitously. A low centre played into the visitors’ box from the left was diverted towards Wilkie, unmarked and close to goal. All he had to do was step forward and smash the ball into the net and he did all of that.

With his pacy running and good close control, David Akpara had been a big threat on the Aberdeen right during the first half, but he had faded out of the game since half-time and was replaced by Adam Crawford as Aberdeen sought a way back, but the Watt remained in control, Nikola Giovanivits’ excellent pass down the left giving Willassen the opportunity to play the ball into the box again. It was diverted out to Lane, who was brought down close to the penalty area, but Breen’s powerful free kick was headed away by the last man in the defensive wall.

The Watt defence was dominating in the air and in quick succession Woolven sent two punts out of the Aberdeen defence back in the direction they had come. James Yearn brought fresh legs to the Watt attack, replacing Macdonald, and when Charlie Unsworth was cautioned for pulling back Wilkie, Woolven sent the free kick low to the edge of the box for the same Watt player. Wilkie’s attempt at a flick didn’t come off, but the ball ran past him into the area and Maclean had to be sharply off his line to dive on the ball a fraction before the arrival of Balastrier.

Two minutes later, the Watt’s quest for another goal was rewarded. Lane came short for a throw-in and played the ball towards the corner flag for Yearn to chase. It was a difficult position from which to get in a cross, but Yearn got in a good one to the near post. It looked like Maclean’s ball, however, but that was until Balastrier zoomed across the goalkeeper and got his head to it as Maclean reached out. The ball dropped from the ’keeper’s gloves and Balastrier promptly fired it through the narrow gap between Maclean and the post and into the net.

Aberdeen attacked from the restart and left-winger Declan Adamson cut inside to send in a shot, but the powerful drive cleared the bar, the fence and the road behind, disappearing down between the buildings on the other side, never to be seen again.

Two quick breaks following Aberdeen set pieces gave Watt the chance to add to its lead. Harry Barclay, who had replaced Breen a few minutes earlier, headed clear from a corner and Lane sent Balastrier scampering away on the right to play the ball inside to Wilkie. Driving in towards goal, Wilkie was hauled down by a defender close to the penalty area in the centre of the pitch. A red card was expected, but the referee gave himself plenty of time to think and in the end cautioned two Aberdeen players. Lane got the free kick on target, but it lacked the power to give any concern to Maclean.

The second break, a few minutes later, also featured Balastrier, who this time went tearing down the left before sending the ball across the box to connect with the inrushing Yearn. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he had to stretch forward to take the shot and couldn’t get over the ball, but Yearn contrived to shoot over the bar from no more than eight metres.

Wilkie was the next to pass up a good chance when the Aberdeen defence gifted him the ball close to the box. Wilkie took a couple of steps forward and sliced his shot high and wide.

There were no further goals, but the Watt was well satisfied with three points and a clean sheet, keeping the promotion drive well on target – and with the remarkable statistic that of the sixteen players used during the game, eight were new recruits to the Riccarton cause. Spence and Giavanovits were particularly impressive on the day: Spence for his calmness in possession, good passing and secure defending and Giavanovits for his no-nonsense central defensive play which kept the Watt goal protected with a succession of good tackles without conceding a single free kick. Credit must also go to Balastrier; replacing the Watt’s usual line-leader, Dowds, he tormented the visitors’ defence with his energetic running and good positional sense and also showed great opportunism to score the second goal of the game.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence, Willassen, Giavanovits, Woolven, Lane, Macdonald (Yearn 71), Macher (Diamantopoulos 87), Dowds (Balastrier 45), Breen (Barclay 78), Potter (Wilkie 58). Sub not used: Munro.

University of Aberdeen First:
Maclean, Levein (Stuart 75), Unsworth (Ellison 75), Walker, McLaren, Shanks, Akpara (Crawford 64), Lieder, Patel, Grant, Adamson. Sub. not used: Toufique.


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 2

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

4th October 2017


There was a sense of déjà vu about the trip to St Andrews. Last year, we’d drawn our first match at home, then played St Andrews First in the first away fixture. And we’d lost 2 – 1 when Anton Dowds’ last-gasp goal had been disallowed by the referee.

Last time, we’d gone in two-nil down at half-time after the home side had made the slope and the wind tell in their favour – and yes, this year it was just the same. The first goal arrived before we’d settled properly into our seats, Isaac Bonisteel getting behind the Watt defence to square the ball across goal for Ryan Quinn to tuck it away – all very straightforward, all very concerning for the Watt.

The visitors continued to look vulnerable in defence and could easily have conceded again before quarter of an hour had been played. Jack Spence’s rash challenge gave St Andrews a chance to play the ball into the penalty area and when it fell amongst the feet, it seemed likely that someone would poke it into goal, but in the end Quinn clipped it lamely past the post.

Three minutes later, Ian Murray used the elements to advantage, sidestepping Spence at the edge of the area to send a shot downwind off the top of the bar.

Watt’s attacks in the early period had lacked both width and enough players in the box on any occasion when a ball had come across, with Fraser Wilson cutting a lonely figure up front; but at last, with twenty-five minutes played, something approaching a chance was created. Jens Willassen had done as well as any Watt player in the early stages and his ball in from the left was dragged by Dowds from behind him into a shooting position, but his effort passed across goal and out of play.

A good run through midfield by Chris Macher gave heart to the Watt. Having started out across the pitch, Macher straightened up, went past two opponents and found Willassen, whose cross was turned behind for a corner. The corner kick was well worked and Jake Lloyd sent in a fine cross which was headed into the net by Adam Woolven only to have the referee blow for offside. That seemed a surprising decision, but to be fair to the referee, he had taken up an excellent position from which to make such a judgment.

Seven minutes later, St Andrews scored again, with the Watt defending again at fault. It was certainly a dangerous situation when the ball was cut back from the line, but a defender had every chance to clear and instead touched the ball straight to Alex Dodgshon, who delightedly slammed it into goal from around seven or eight metres.

Head Coach Banji Koya, who had almost missed the game through illness, immediately made changes, withdrawing Lloyd and Wilson and bringing on James Yearn and Adam Breen. It was a bold move, as Yearn was making his debut in First Team football, but his pace and power on the right wing were valuable as the match progressed.

Watt might have had a penalty just before half-time when Dowds’ arm was being pulled as he tried to fashion a shooting chance coming in from the left wing. Hampered as he was, his left-foot shot was weak and Alec Cadzow saved low to his right.

From the start of the second half, the Watt surged down the hill with renewed purpose and after eight minutes reduced the deficit, with the goal owing much to the good work of another debutant player, Nikola Giovanovits. Harry Barclay’s corner had been played back across goal by Woolven and back to Barclay, whose attempted cutback was played out for a throw-in. Giovanovits received the ball from the throw-in close to the by-line, but with great control used the small amount of space to turn and send in a perfect cross which Dowds rose to meet with a scoring header.

It was all Watt now and when Dowds was brought down as he surged into the box from the right, a free kick was awarded right on the edge of the area. When the kick was flighted in, Dowds got his head to it, but the connection was not what he wanted and the ball cleared the bar.

More substitutions were made, Aubin Balastrier and Scott Munro replacing Willassen and Barclay as the Watt continued to pound the home goal. Breen’s corner kick was played back out to him and when he swung the ball back into the box, Dowds headed it on the bounce towards the corner of goal, but Cadzow threw himself to his left to turn it round the post.

The equaliser was not long delayed, however. A minute later, Breen pounced on a defensive error to drive forward into the box and although his square pass failed to reach Balastrier, a defender diverted it towards Dowds, who drove it past Cadzow’s left hand into the corner of the goal.

St Andrews had to come out now and try to regain their lead and when they brought the ball down the left, they gained a free kick close to the Watt penalty box. When the ball was played across slightly behind the line of players awaiting it, St Andrews’ Russian striker, Max Bolotov, who had been a danger all day, executed a hitch-kick which was in the sensational category, leaning back and connecting perfectly on the volley to send the ball rocketing past the astonished Callum Reid high into the Watt net.

Having toiled back from a two-goal deficit, the Watt might have felt the game was up at this point and failed to respond, but this group of players is better than that and within a minute the scores were level again as the Watt scored a fine goal of their own. Spence, who had settled in to a good game on the Watt right, sent a superb diagonal ball through the home defence to sit up perfectly for Dowds as he ran in from the left. Dowds gleefully smashed it past Cadzow to level the scores once again.

With Andrew Imray on in place of Macher and Giovanovits pushed forward into midfield, the Watt chased hard for a winner and it came in stoppage time when a fantastic cross-field ball by Dowds used the pace of Yearn, who reached the by-line and sent a low cross into the goalmouth. Breen arrived fractionally ahead of a defender and goalkeeper Cadzow and when his first effort was blocked, he seemed to get another touch as he fell and the ball rolled over the line into goal. Not the prettiest of finishes, but a well-constructed goal and one which the Watt’s stirring second-half performance justified. The strong determination and hard work of the players had rescued a victory from a losing situation and the challenge for promotion goes on.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Spence, Willassen (Munro 69), Giavanovits, Woolven, Lane, Lloyd (Yearn 37), Macher (Imray 78), Wilson (Breen 37), Dowds, Barclay (Balastrier 66). All subs. used.

University of St Andrews First:
Cadzow, Pilley, Herfort (Meaney 73), Venema (Carroll 54), Tough, Holden, Bonisteel, Dodgshon, Bolotov, Murray (Balmford 82), Quinn. Subs. not used: Bain, McCallion.

Referee: Mr. A. Watt


Season 2017 – 2018: Match 1

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

27th September 2017


The Watt had started its last BUCS league programme with a home draw against a team which was relegated at the end of the season and was determined to start the new season with a win against newly-promoted West of Scotland First, but perhaps there was a touch of desperation in its anxiety to get off to a good start in the new campaign and in the end a draw was as good as the home side could manage after almost totally dominating this match.

The West side showed plenty of resolve itself and the Watt had to watch out for the quick breaks which they mounted from time to time. Such a forward sally after ten minutes gained a corner which Luke Pye met firmly, but his header was too high.

Anton Dowds was ranging across the pitch in search of space in which to create an attack and a fine pass from Adam Woolven found him on the left, but Dowds’ cross to the near post area was well covered by the visitors’ defence and Fraser Wilson was unable to divert it towards goal. Four minutes later, Woolven again picked out Dowds and he played an imaginative lofted pass, again looking for Wilson, but the big striker seemed to lose the flight of the ball and in the end had to lunge into his shot, which went across goal and past the post.

Dowds foraged on the left side again, this time in combination with Adam Breen, but the best the Watt could create was a corner kick. Breen and Chris Lane worked together on the corner and Lane’s cross picked out Wilson, but although he met the ball close to goal, Wilson’s header was directed so steeply down that it bounced up into the hands of goalkeeper Scott Johnson rather than into the net.

A good ball by Andrew Imray gave Wilson another opportunity, but a good challenge by Pye halted the move. Woolven’s long passing was becoming a feature of the first half and a superb ball from the tall defender fell into the stride of Wilson, but before the striker could get a shot away, Robert Griffiths played the ball out for a throw-in.

Watt then worked the ball through the middle of the West defence and Dowds touched in on to Mark Wilkie, but although he was able to play the ball past the advancing Johnson, the effort had neither the power nor the direction to reach the goal.

Breen’s excellent run through midfield left two defenders in his wake, but Dowds did not seem prepared for his pass and could only gain another corner.

West had not ventured over the half-way line for some time, but seven minutes from the end of the first half a surge forward gained a corner-kick. From the corner, the ball was played to the far side of the box, where a scramble developed, with Woolven and Callum Reid both getting in good blocks, but eventually the ball went spinning across the goalmouth and when Scott Munro, with his arm stretched out for balance, brought it down with the ball striking somewhere around his shoulder, the referee decided there was enough arm involved to award a penalty. Lewis McTaggart drove the ball hard and low into goal to give West a most unlikely lead.

Watt had a couple more chances before half-time: Dowds, at the far post, had a good chance in the air, but his header struck a defender; then Imray’s good ball down the right put two Watt players in behind the visitors’ defence. Cameron Atwell fired in a shot, but the goalkeeper diverted the ball behind.

For the first fifteen minutes of the second half, play had a similar pattern to that which we’d seen in the first half, but a little less forceful. Banji Koya brought on Chris Macher in an attempt to bring new purpose to the Watt midfield and on the hour he created an equaliser, albeit with a strong element of good fortune. Macher picked up the ball in midfield, made a bit of space and tried a shot. He mishit it, but the ball spun off a defender’s foot to the unmarked Dowds and he smacked it into the corner of the goal.

There was still half an hour to find a winner and Harry Barclay came into the action, with Dowds going up front. A good cross from the new arrival broke off Griffiths to Dowds, but the big man’s shot struck the same defender and went wide.

Although West’s attacks were infrequent, they created a lot of danger from the set pieces they gained. Barclay did well to get his head to one which would otherwise have reached a player in good position, then Imray headed a free kick into the air, enabling it to be cleared.

As is normal in these games, the last fifteen minutes disappeared in a welter of substitutions, with little constructive play, but shots by Dowds and by Aubin Balastrier came close before Macher headed Barclay’s corner past. A final chance from a free kick when Dowds was brought down thirty metres from goal was squandered when Lane fired the ball well over the bar.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Reid, Atwell (Spence 52), Munro, Woolven, Imray, Lane, Macdonald (Balastrier 78), Breen (Macher 57), Wilson (Barclay 61), Wilkie, Dowds. All subs. used.

University of the West of Scotland First:
Johnson, Merry, Anderson (Gibson 64), Pye, Griffiths, Hutcheon, Collins, Mackie, McTaggart (Schrader 75), Camus (Murray 68), Street (Black 80). All subs. used.

Referee: Mr. David Donnelly-Kay


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 15

Queen’s Park Shield Semi-Final

29th March 2017


The highly-ranked visitors started at a quick pace, with Paul McAfferty a particular danger, showing quick feet and trickery on the left wing. McAfferty had a shooting chance in the first minute when a ball from the right worked its way through to him, but he shot over the bar.

With thirteen minutes played, it was a cross from the left which put Stirling ahead. Following a corner kick, the ball was delivered to the far post, where George Leigh rose alone to head down into the net from close range.

Watt did not learn their lesson and found themselves two behind ten minutes later following a very similar goal. McAfferty turned Ross Fraser and flighted the ball across the goalmouth. This time it was Harvey Moyes who rose close to the far post, and although Jack Robinson got a hand to the ball this time, he was unable to prevent it ending up in the net.

Fraser’s pass down the right to picked out Anton Dowds and there were shouts for a penalty as he was challenged from behind, but a corner was the decision. The visitors were soon pressing forward again and Robinson got a hand to the ball to deflect it behind when it was driven fiercely towards goal from wide on the right.

Stirling might have added a third before half-time when a flowing move on the right ended with the ball being squared to Moyes just inside the penalty box, but with plenty of time to size up his shot, the big man steered it wide of the post.

The last action of the half was at the other end, as Mark Wilkie’s driven free kick reached Ollie Spence, but he had to lean back a little to take the header and the ball passed just over the bar.

Stirling had dominated the first half, but a different Watt made an immediate impression after half-time. A mistake in the visitors’ defence was exploited by Adam Breen to feed Dowds. The striker checked inside and out to create space for a shot, but goalkeeper Ryan Marshall was not deceived and got a leg to the ball as it headed towards goal.

Two minutes later, Dowds squeezed the ball through to Wilkie, but as he entered the box, he was hampered sufficiently by his marker to give Marshall time to run from his goal and block the shot.

Harry Barclay then initiated a good attack on the left, touching the ball round Andrew Gillen and finding Breen with his pass. Dowds sent the ball across goal, but too firmly for Wilkie to reach and eventually Spence sent the ball into the goalkeeper’s arms close to the goalpost.

Substitutions interrupted the play a good deal over the next fifteen minutes, with Jens Willassen, Andreas Ppalis and Harry Warner coming on for Watt and Michael Tuomy and Eric Gilbert for Stirling.

Ppalis it was who sent a wonderful cross-field ball into the stride of Fraser as he ran down the right. Fraser linked with Warner, but the pair got stuck in trying to find a way through a resolute Stirling back line and were eventually crowded out.

With ten minutes left, Stirling’s best move of the second half created another heading chance for Moyes, but his firm header in the middle of the goal was superbly saved by Robinson, who reacted instantly to get his left hand to the ball.

With the last minutes of the game ebbing away, Watt managed at last to pull a goal back. Warner drove at the Stirling defence with great persistence and when the ball came back to Dowds, he drove it first-time past the left hand of Marshall. There was only one goal required now to take the game to a penalty shoot-out, but with very little time left, that goal could not be found and the Watt’s Queen’s Park Shield ambitions were over for another season.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Jack Robinson, Ross Fraser, Harry Barclay (Jens Willassen 55), Adam Woolven, Andrew Imray, Finn Watt (Harry Warner 66), Mark Wilkie, Oliver Spence, Anton Dowds, Chris Lane, Adam Breen (Andreas Ppalis 64). Subs not used: Cameron Atwell, Tom Maher.

University of Stirling First:
Ryan Marshall, Angus Mailer (Michael Tuomy 69), Ross Kellock (Eric Gilbert 71), Ben Cuff, George Leigh, Harvey Moyes (Lewis Hunter 82), Andrew Gillen, Kyle Faulds, Rory McEwan, Paul McAfferty, Tomos Jones. Sub. not used: Michael McAnespie.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 14

Men’s Conference Cup Final

22nd March 2017

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY FIRST 2 ABERDEEN UNIVERSITY SECOND 2 (2 – 2 after extra time; Heriot-Watt won 4 – 3 on penalties)

Watt secured the BUCS Scottish Conference Cup after a penalty shoot-out, following a scrappy but absorbing Final against relentlessly determined opponents from Aberdeen.

It is seldom that a second team gets to a BUCS final and the side from the north was not in the mood to let the chance of a surprise trophy win go by without the expenditure of all their energy and effort. On a compact pitch at breezy St Andrews (when was it ever otherwise), Watt showed early that it was the side with more class and ability, but Aberdeen pressed at every opportunity to deny the Watt players time and space in which to make their passing ability tell.

After a couple of early half-chances for either side, Watt was forced into an early change when Ryan Higgins was on the end of a crunching challenge which left him unable to walk and probably ended his season. Harry Warner came on to replace him.

Just after the half-hour, Aberdeen took the lead when a cross to the far post was headed in by the red number 3. Watt was back on level terms within a minute, however, when Jens Willassen latched on to Chris Lane’s pass, skipped past a challenge and sent in a deep cross which went in to goal close to the far post.

Watt came desperately close to taking the lead when Ollie Spence’s fine right-wing run produced a cross which Adam Woolven rose to head back across goal, only for a defender on the goal-line to drive the ball against Warner and over the bar.

Early in the second half, Callum Smith had the ball past the goalkeeper from the left side of the box, but a defender was again on hand to kick clear. Another close call came when Anton Dowds was brought down and from the free kick, Lane played in Warner to send in a cross which Andy Imray steered towards goal, only for a defender to divert the ball over the bar.

Following Willassen’s cross, the ball was played back to Finn Watt on the edge of the area, but he got too much power into his shot and it rose over the bar. Smith had another good shot saved at full stretch by the goalkeeper before Ross Fraser’s lofted pass picked out Smith and he drove into the penalty area to send a firm drive into the far corner of the net and give the Watt the lead at last.

The game ebbed and flowed as a number of substitutions were made, but it looked to have stabilised and Watt was easing towards the cup when with just a minute left to play, an innocuous-looking ball in from the Aberdeen right bounced through the Watt defence, never seeming to be at the right height for anyone to clear it, and an Aberdeen player poked it past Jack Robinson to equalise.

Extra time was an endurance test, with several players showing signs of fatigue and cramp, but again most of the chances fell to Watt players. Woolven had a good opportunity with a header from a corner on the right, but failed to get over it and sent the ball over the bar. Dowds rose well to send in a header from Watt’s cross, but the goalkeeper dived to turn the ball round the post. Fraser played a wall pass with Lane, but instead of using his left foot on the return pass as he came in from the right, he tried a crabbed little stab with his right foot and sent the ball wide. A shot from twenty-five metres by Dowds was hit well enough, but not sufficiently accurately, and slipped past the post.

After all that, an Aberdeen substitute might have won the trophy for his side when the Watt defence was sucked towards the ball and it was knocked on to him in space on the left side of the area, but his shot was edgy and rose over the bar.

A good move on the Watt left involving Watt and Dowds gave Smith another chance, but as he cut inside, he delayed too long and his shot was blocked away.

The second period of extra time was relatively uneventful and the tie went to a penalty decider.

Aberdeen’s 11 took the first kick, striking the ball to Robinson’s right and although the goalkeeper had started out the other way, he was able to get a leg to the ball and block it from entering the net. Advantage to Watt.

Woolven scored with the first Watt penalty and Aberdeen’s 3 followed with a scoring drive. Spence was next up for Watt and only half-hit his shot. Watt hearts were in mouths as the goalkeeper, who had played well all day, dived the right way, but somehow he allowed the ball to squirm away from him and over the line.

Aberdeen’s 12 scored with a good penalty, then Lane took an even better one to put Watt 3 – 2 ahead. Aberdeen’s 9 levelled again, then Ppalis sent the ball to the goalkeeper’s right; again, the ’keeper got a touch to the ball, but there was enough power in the shot to carry it into the corner of the goal and Watt was in a winning position. Aberdeen’s 2 sent his shot to Robinson’s right and the goalie guessed correctly to dive and block the ball with his arms, giving Watt the victory with one kick spare.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Jack Robinson, Finn Watt, Jens Willassen, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Ryan Higgins (Harry Warner 18 [Ross Fraser 55]), Oliver Spence, Chris Lane, Anton Dowds, Adam Breen (Andreas Ppalis 65), Callum Smith (Tom Maher 105). Sub not used: Callum Reid.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 13

Queen’s Park Shield: Quarter-final

8th March 2017


Playing at the unusual venue of Pitch 2 at Riccarton, Heriot-Watt reached the Semi-finals of the Queen’s Park Shield in some comfort at the end of a game played in a strong westerly wind.

There were few chances of note in a first half dominated by the elements, although Anton Dowds got in a couple of efforts for the Watt and Andrew Shaffik twice shot just past for the visitors. Andrew Imray had two good blocks in quick succession as the home defence remained vigilant towards half-time.

Right from the start of the second half, Watt established a firm grip on the game and within five minutes of the restart had scored twice. Chris Lane’s pass gave Callum Smith possession on the edge of the area, but with Hamish Levein in front of him he still had plenty to do. With a quick movement to the left, however, Smith opened up a shooting angle and fired the ball accurately across Jack Maclennan into the corner of the net to open the scoring.

Another good switch of play by Lane three minutes later enabled Oliver Spence to set up Dowds for a shot from the edge of the area. Maclennan saved well, turning the ball round the post, but when Breen sent in an inviting corner kick, Dowds rose to head the ball calmly and carefully down into the corner of goal.

Aberdeen had a chance to grab a goal back five minutes later, when a major stramash in the home penalty area seemed sure to end in someone sending the ball into goal, but Jack Robinson saved well and his fellow defenders threw their bodies in the way of rebound attempts until the ball could be hacked clear of the danger area.

Dowds was in full cry now and posed danger to the visitors’ defence in every attack. His shot from twenty metres was well saved by Maclennan, who managed to grab the ball at the second attempt, but a few minutes later, he created another goal for the Watt, tricking Paul Spence and sending in a low cross to the near post. Adam Breen had anticipated this perfectly to move into position to give himself an easy finish and establish a three-goal cushion for his side.

When, with five minutes left to play, Sam Toufique profited from a defensive error to fire a shot off the underside of the Watt bar and back into play, it seemed to suggest that this would not be Aberdeen’s day and this was confirmed in stoppage time. With the wind gusting fiercely, a corner to the came in from the Watt right. Breen stretched to head the ball on and Finn Watt strode across from the left side of the area, measuring his relationship to the ball with every stride. He struck it on the turn with tremendous force, but also with control. Rather than going over the bar, as might have been expected, the ball soared unstoppably into the top of the goal to put the icing on the cake for the Watt and complete a victory which sets up a semi-final against the University of Stirling.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Jack Robinson, Tom Maher (Finn Watt 59), Jens Willassen, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Ryan Higgins (Max Allison 80), Adam Breen, Oliver Spence (Andreas Ppalis 72), Anton Dowds, Chris Lane, Callum Smith (Harry Warner 70). All subs. used.

Aberdeen University First:
Jack Maclennan, Hamish Levein, Paul Spence, John Pearson, Sam McLaren, Andrew Shaffik, Ryan Grant (Hamish Tubby 75), Joseph Walker (Ciaran Ellison 70), Sam Toufique, Andrew Davidson, Caleb Ogwuru (Parimal Patel 65). All subs. used.

Referee: Mr Michael Scott


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 12

BUCS Scottish Conference

Men’s Division 2A

1st March 2017


Watt’s hopes of winning BUCS Division 2A and the promotion which goes with it ended with this draw against a strong, physical Glasgow side in a match played on Pitch 3, a poor grass surface.

Anton Dowds gave the Watt a half-time lead with a header from a corner-kick taken by Andreas Ppalis, but quarter of an hour into the second half, Glasgow’s centre-half headed home a set piece to gain a crucial point for his side.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Jack Robinson, Max Allison, Jens Willassen, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Ryan Higgins, Adam Breen (Callum Smith 73), Sean Muhsin (Tom Maher 80), Anton Dowds, Chris Lane, Andreas Ppalis (Ross Fraser 60). Sub. not used: Finn Watt.BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 11

Men’s Scottish Conference Cup – Semi-final

22nd February 2017


Heriot-Watt reached the Conference Cup Final with a victory over surprise semi-finalists Glasgow Caledonian University First. Caley, who had eliminated Aberdeen University First in the previous round, proved to be big, strong and durable and showed considerable determination from the start of the game, coupled with occasional demonstrations of accurate passing. The Watt side was well-organised defensively, however, and the back four and central midfielders combined well to keep goalkeeper Jack Robinson protected.

Watt almost scored in the third minute of the game, when Andrew Imray’s incisive pass sent Anton Dowds into the right side of the penalty box, but Caley goalkeeper Harry Usher showed for the first of many times his willingness to leave his line and he crowded out Dowds, who could only gain a corner kick.

Another close thing came in the tenth minute, when Andreas Ppalis played in a free kick and Adam Woolven rose to meet it with a good header. The ball was almost perfectly directed – above the head of the player on the post but under the bar – but it rebounded from the inside of the post, struck a defender on the line and somehow stayed out.

Five minutes later, it again seemed as if the Watt must score when Ppalis rounded the right side of the Caley defence and played the ball across the face of goal. Adam Breen came in to meet the ball, but to his own incredulity, shot against Usher from no distance at all.

On the half-hour, the roles were reversed as Breen set up Ppalis with a beautifully flighted pass over the head of Nick Mortimer, but the wide man shot into the side netting.

Finally, Watt made the breakthrough after thirty-three minutes. Caledonian had been packing their defence ever tighter and it was difficult to see how Watt could pass the ball through, but Ryan Higgins tried it, flicking the ball forward and going for the return. Somehow, he managed to drag the ball through and as it ran across goal, Higgins followed it and managed to tuck it into the corner of goal from around two feet out – which, as he would no doubt concur, makes it a contender for his longest-range goal in Watt colours.

Usher was injured in trying to prevent the goal and for some time it appeared that he would have to be replaced, but after a couple of minutes he was back on his feet and he battled on.

Just before half-time came the saddest event of the day as Sean Campbell stretched for a ball at the far post and had to go off with a recurrence of his groin injury. He was out of action for months last time and was still easing himself back in before this happened. Sean had been patient and had not tried to push too hard to get back into football too soon, so this is a particularly hard blow for a good player and a fine young man. We hope the injury is not as bad as it initially seemed.

There was one more chance for the Watt before half-time, created by Adam Woolven, who made a splendid tackle and moved forward on to a return pass to send Dowds away down the left, but Usher showed that he had recovered from his injury by once again coming from his goal like a shot to block Dowds’ attempt to get the ball past him.

Six minutes into the second half, Finn Watt’s throw-in found Dowds on the by-line; he turned and sent a cross right on to the head of Breen, inside the six-yard box. A second goal, we all thought – but for the second time in the game Breen directed the ball straight at the goalkeeper and Usher kept it out.

Two minutes later, Max Allison did sterling work to send Dowds down the left, but when he cut the ball back to Breen, around the penalty spot, the midfielder made it a hat-trick of misses by allowing the ball to run off his foot.

The visitors, still only one goal in arrears, had a good spell for the next few minutes. It started with a run on the right by Mortimer, at the end of which he played the ball right across the face of goal. It only needed a touch to take it into the net, but there were no takers and it ran on for a throw-in on the far side. Caley was encouraged by this action, however, and threw greater numbers into attack.

Watt had a chance on the break when Dowds was sent on a diagonal run to the left. Ath Johanssen did really well to keep up with him and get in a tackle to send the ball out of play, but it was his last involvement, cramp causing him to be replaced by Ross Cowan. Usher again ran to the edge of his box to prevent Dowds finding Ppalis unmarked by throwing up an arm to block.

As GCU committed more to attack, spaces began to open up at the back and although Watt seemed unnecessarily narrow as they broke forward, the ball was stabbed through to enable Dowds to surge past Chris MacLennan and into the box. MacLennan tried to get in a tackle but made contact with Dowds to concede an obvious penalty. Dowds dusted himself down and tucked the ball away in the corner of the net without further ado.

Three minutes later, Watt at last made the game safe when Breen charged down an attempted clearance and executed a perfect chip over the advancing Usher to make it 3 – 0. It was a far more difficult chance than any of the three he’d previously missed, but Breen took it with casual skill.

We were half-way through the second half at this point and the visitors knew the writing was on the wall. Watt knew it too, and all sorts of players were popping up in attack to see if they could claim a goal. That was the problem – everyone was out to get a goal for himself and although Caley’s enthusiasm for defending was visibly reducing, Watt did not play as a team to score more goals.

Dowds was the next to miss a great opportunity when he ran in to meet Breen’s low, firm corner kick and shot straight into the magnetic arms of Usher from around the edge of the six yard box. Higgins tried to get the ball over the head of the goalkeeper from forty metres, but Usher retreated to catch. Chris Lane shot just past from around twenty metres. Imray came forward and stabbed the ball through to Callum Smith, but his effort was deflected behind. Harry Warner got away from Mortimer to run in unchallenged, but Usher read his intentions perfectly to save with his left hand. Finally, Lane sent a shot on the turn from fifteen metres just over.

There could have been more goals if the Watt had played more cohesively, but that would have been hard on a decent and sporting Caledonian side who gave much to this game. Watt Seconds will have to play GCU in the League away from home a week on Wednesday and any Second Team players watching this game will have learned respect for their opponents.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Jack Robinson, Finn Watt, Max Allison, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Chris Lane, Sean Campbell (Oliver Spence 43), Ryan Higgins (Cameron Atwell 75), Anton Dowds (Harry Warner 80), Adam Breen, Andreas Ppalis (Callum Smith 67). Sub. not used: Callum Reid.

Glasgow Caledonian University First:
Harry Usher, Nick Mortimer, Ali Garry, Chris MacLennan, Ath Johansson (Ross Cowan 57), Dylan Wright, Murray McCallum (Stephen Reid 59), Craig Forbes, Connor Gracie, Olyawa Ahmed (Kevin Strain 80), Gary Trussler. Sub not used: Jeffery Ayisi.

Referee: Mr Peter Peace (West Calder)


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 10

Men’s Division 2A

15th February 2017


Watt kept up their challenge in Division 2A with a comfortable win over University of Stirling Third.

The first goal came after eight minutes. A penetrating run by Anton Dowds took him in along the left by-line and although his cutback failed to find a Watt player, the ball ran loose and Adam Breen was quick to pounce and direct it into goal.

A good passing move almost brought a second goal four minutes later when Mark Wilkie linked with Dowds and Breen and the latter laid a pass in front of Wilkie in the area, but his shot was straight at James Donaldson in the Stirling goal. Another fine move three minutes later came from a break into the Stirling half by centre-back Andrew Imray, who found Sean Campbell on the right. Campbell played the ball on to Wilkie, whose pass sent Dowds into the penalty box, but Donaldson was out quickly and diverted the shot behind.

Stirling almost grabbed an equaliser just after this when Dowds set the ball back to Adam Woolven on half-way. As he turned, Woolven lost his footing and fell, enabling Matt Corfield to drive forward. Imray was unable to catch him before he reached the penalty area and as Jack Robinson advanced, the striker chipped the ball over his head, only to see it smack off the face of the bar and rebound into play.

This turned out to be the closest Stirling came to scoring and in twenty-five minutes Watt went two ahead. The goal was welcome, coming as it did after a spell of spirited play from the visitors, but again it was well created. After good movement in midfield, Campbell drove forward into space and shot from around twenty-five metres. It was a well-struck effort, but it looked as if Donaldson would reach it. There was too much power in the shot for the goalkeeper to prevent it entering the top corner of the goal, however, and Watt had a two-goal cushion.

Mark Wilkie had to go off after half an hour after sustaining an eye injury. This somewhat disrupted Watt’s balance and there were fewer flowing passing movements in consequence. Chris Lane was now the main creative influence in the Watt midfield and he came close to adding a third goal to the scoreline when he sent a fine pass out to Breen on the left and sped into the box to receive a return pass, but striking the ball with the inside of his right foot while moving at pace with his leg at full extension made the shot more difficult to control and the ball passed inches over the junction to Donaldson’s right.

Tom Maher’s excellent pass out to Dowds gave the striker a final chance before the interval, but again Donaldson was rapidly off his line to block the ball behind.

Stirling resumed with the tricky Justicia Bernardo on to replace Ryan McGregor and further substitutions soon followed, Ted Hodges and Klark Thomson replacing Corfield and Anthony McGuire. Jack Clubb managed to get on to a long corner and fired a volley into the side net, but there were few other goalmouth incidents in the early part of the half.

Robinson took a blow in the face whilst punching clear and it took a couple of minutes to get the big man back on his feet and functioning again, although still looking a bit groggy. A further rash of substitutions also broke up the rhythm of the game, with David Lammond replacing Keir Whitefield for the visitors and for Watt, Harry Warner, Max Allison and Cameron Attwell replacing Maher, Lane and Dowds. It was perhaps no surprise that the second half lacked the fluency of the first, but it is reasonable to give some time to players from the bench and take the chance to rest those who will soon be involved again.

Breen was now playing up front and when Imray’s accurate pass found him he took on two defenders and got into the box, despite attempts to impede him. Having done the hard work, however, he pulled his left-foot shot tamely past.

The game had one more moment of excitement left, however. Two minutes into stoppage time, Allison timed his run perfectly to come on to the ball in midfield and lofted it over the head of Ross Wilkinson to enable Warner to attack. The pacy wide man needed no second invitation, taking the ball on the bounce to head it past his marker and striking it in off the far post.

This was a satisfactory exercise for the Watt and keeps the team in contention in Division 2A. There was a fair amount of quality football, particularly in the first half, and the defence, with Imray and Woolven on top form, looked sound throughout.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Jack Robinson, Finn Watt, Jens Willassen, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Chris Lane (Max Allison 81), Sean Campbell (Callum Smith 62), Ryan Higgins, Anton Dowds (Cameron Atwell 83), Mark Wilkie (Tom Maher 30 [Harry Warner 75]), Adam Breen. All subs used.

Stirling University Third:
James Donaldson, Calum Murphy, Ross Wilkinson, Jack Clubb, Euan Robertson, Ryan McGregor (Justicia Bernardo 45), Michael Chan, Keir Whitefield (David Lammond 73), Matt Corfield (Ted Hodges 56), Anthony McGuire (Klark Thomson 58), Danny Whittam. All subs. used.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 9

Men’s Scottish Conference Cup – Quarter-final

8th February 2017


After falling behind to a fluke goal after four minutes, Watt gradually found a rhythm and by the end of this match had broken the resistance of their opponents and were scoring almost at will.

Michael Cameron scored the shock opener, flighting in a right-footed cross from the left touchline and watching as it curled perfectly over the head of Jack Robinson to land in the far corner of the goal.

It took the Watt almost quarter of an hour to equalise. The goal came when Anton Dowds outflanked the right side of the visitors’ defence and cut the ball back. Andreas Ppalis executed some skilful footwork to deceive two defenders and send a left-foot shot to the corner of the net.

A good run through the middle of the pitch by Adam Woolven started the move which produced Watt’s second goal. Chris Lane took over and sent the ball in from the right and when it reached Adam Breen, he struck a firm left-foot shot into goal.

By half-time, the Watt was starting to take full control and a third goal arrived just before the break. Andrew Imray timed his run well to meet a corner from the right and sent a header towards the bottom corner of the goal, but Blake Atherton was alert and managed to smuggle the ball past for another corner. This one was taken short to Chris Lane and when he returned the ball to Ppalis, his cross was glanced inside the far post by the head of Dowds.

Despite his goal at the end of the first half, Dowds had been relatively quiet in the game up to this point, but from the start of the second half, he imposed himself on proceedings to great effect. His surging runs in wide areas set up several chances and the St Andrews defence began to look rattled when he came into possession. When the fourth goal arrived, however, it was Ppalis who scored it, latching on to Breen’s astute pass to round the goalkeeper and slide the ball in from the tightest of angles.

Luke Bain came close to catching out Robinson with a deft chip which landed on the roof of the net, but soon Dowds was controlling things again, just failing to link with Callum Smith after reaching the by-line once more.

The opportunity for a fifth goal for the home side was created by Ross Fraser, who cut inside from the left past several opponents and laid a pass out to Max Allison on the right. Allison’s cross took a deflection as it came into the goalmouth and Smith read the flight to head home from close to the goal line.

By this time, the St Andrews side was losing heart and it was no surprise when a sixth Watt goal arrived. It was perhaps the best of the day. Breen’s sublime skills took his marker entirely out of the equation and he played a perfectly-weighted pass for the well-timed run of Sean Campbell, who gave a fine demonstration of how to slide the ball past an advancing goalkeeper.

More good work by Campbell set up the opportunity for a final goal two minutes from time, his intervention in midfield enabling him to play a fine pass to Dowds, who cut in from the left and played the ball firmly past Atherton. As the ball made its way across goal, a defender made a despairing lunge and knocked it into the roof of the net, but it did appear as if the ball was heading for the net anyway, so we’ll give it to Dowds.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Jack Robinson, Finn Watt (Callum Smith 45), Ross Fraser, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven (Harry Warner 76), Chris Lane, Tom Maher (Max Allison 59), Ryan Higgins (Cameron Atwell 65), Anton Dowds, Adam Breen, Andreas Ppalis (Sean Campbell 65). All subs used.

St Andrews University Second:
Blake Atherton, Jed Alberts, Ross Anderson (Cameron Brown 79), Greg Cox, Joshua Davis, Alexander Gillam (Kai Mackie 67), Michael Cameron, Mark McGuigan, Nicholas Lewis (Timothy Apel 62), Luke Bain, Bradley McCallion. Sub. not used: Alexander Randolph.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 8

Men’s Division 2A

18th January 2017


Watt travelled north with a thin squad for this BUCS league game and Head Coach Banji Koya was happy to return with the three points. A party of only thirteen players was missing a number of regulars and Cammy Atwell stepped in for a debut at right back. The lack of balance available to him meant that Mr Koya had to be imaginative in his selection and he brought Anton Dowds back into midfield with the versatile Max Allison leading the attack.

Despite the unfamiliar line-up, Watt started well on the Gannochy synthetic and opened the scoring after thirteen minutes’ play with a fine goal. Atwell did good work on the right and found Dowds with a pass inside. A clever turn by Dowds took his marker out of play and he sent the ball wide to Harry Warner, whose cross was perfect for the run of Callum Smith, who came in from the left to place a firm header into the net.

Two minutes later, the good work was undone. A ball down the Stirling left was so far out of play that the Watt players stopped, but when it curled back and landed just inside the sideline, the referee allowed play to continue and the home side took full advantage, Lewis McKenzie rounding Craig Saunders and sliding the ball home from a tight angle.

This setback, and the injustice of it, unsettled the Watt players and for a time knocked them out of their rhythm. Stirling sat deep, counting on the pace of their wingers on the break. Saunders saved above his head from a shot by Edward Hodges, but before half-time, Watt was back on the offensive and spent the last few minutes of the first half camped in the Stirling penalty area.

Good play by Smith and Allison put Dowds through to win the first corner, which Adam Woolven narrowly missed at the far post. As Watt continued to press, Woolven had another opportunity when a long throw from the left landed at his feet. He twisted and turned for some time, trying to find space for a shot, but eventually went down claiming an infringement, but it wasn’t clear-cut and the referee ignored the appeals. Eventually, Allison’s cute flick was seen early by James Donaldson, who made the catch.

In the second half, Watt gradually regained control of the match and came close to regaining the lead just before the hour when good foraging by Warner enabled him to find Dowds, whose first-time pass was driven firmly towards goal by Smith. Donaldson had only a split second to react, but managed to get a hand to the ball and divert it on to the crossbar for an excellent save. The rebound did not fall for a Watt player and Stirling scrambled the ball clear.

Allison’s well-timed intrusion on the left set up the next chance, but when he returned the ball to Smith, his shot on this occasion lacked the power to trouble Donaldson.

Finally, with twenty minutes left to play, Watt made the breakthrough. A soft free-kick award for a trip on Smith gave Dowds the chance to play the ball in from the left. The delivery was at head-height with pace and as Andrew Imray closed in for the header, a Stirling defender got his head to the ball first to divert it into the corner of the goal.

With a single-goal lead to protect, Watt understandably came under some pressure towards the end of the game, but the shape remained good and the side saw out the remaining time for a valuable victory.

Stirling University Third:
James Donaldson, Matthew Brown, Calum Murphy, Keir Whitefield, Ross Wilkinson (Ryan McGregor 55), Cameron Cobul (Michael Chan 61), Edward Hodges (David Lammond 71), Lewis McKenzie (Matt Corfield 71), Anthony McGuire, Danny Whittam, Justicia Bernardo. All subs. used.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Craig Saunders, Cameron Atwell, Tom Maher, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Chris Lane, Harry Warner, Ryan Higgins, Max Allison (Ross Fraser 73), Anton Dowds, Callum Smith (Adam Breen 80). All subs used.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 7

Men’s Division 2A

23rd November 2016


This absorbing game swung back and forth in true pendulum fashion, but although Watt rescued a point late in the match, the win which was required to close on St Andrews at the top of Division 2A was not forthcoming.

Watt’s determination was well in evidence in the early part of the game, with several promising attacks constructed. A good kick-out from Craig Saunders found Finn Watt on the right and he linked with Adam Breen, who moved the ball on to Anton Dowds, but his low cross was claimed by Alec Cadzow as Sean Muhsin went over the back of the goalkeeper.

The Heriot-Watt defenders were pinging some wonderful long passes into wide areas for wing-back Watt to chase. Adam Woolven’s cross-field ball was fired across goal by Watt, but deflected behind for a corner; then Andrew Imray’s superbly-weighted pass put Watt into a race with Cadzow, resulting in the goalkeeper sending the ball out over the sideline.

For all the home dominance in the early stages, it was St Andrews who took the lead after quarter of an hour. The ball was brought in along the by-line and when it was cut back across goal, the Watt defence was strangely hesitant, allowing Yu Okamura to slam the ball into goal from close range.

Six minutes later, the scores were level again. An excellent burst forward by Imray ended with a good pass to Dowds, who exchanged passes with Breen to move into the box at pace and slide the ball accurately past the left hand of Cadzow into the corner of the net for a fine goal.

Two minutes later, Watt had a wonderful chance to go in front. Dowds had missed an open goal from the edge of the box at Dundee last time out, but he topped that easily by missing when unchallenged from almost on the goal-line. Another quality pass by Imray had started the move, putting Robert Service into the area on a diagonal run. Cadzow blocked his shot, but when the ball came back to Service close to the post being defended by the goalkeeper, he played it past him to Dowds, all alone in the middle of the goal. Instead of tapping it into the net, however, Dowds contrived to play it back in the direction from which it had come and into the hands of the astonished Cadzow.

Whilst these misses must be recorded, it should be noted that Dowds is getting himself into shooting positions with great regularity and is still the top scorer in the BUCS side by some distance. However difficult to watch, we’ll tolerate his misses while he continues to contribute regular goals.

Breen came close with an overhead kick following a corner as the Watt kept up the pressure. Woolven sent another accurate long pass out to Watt on the right and his fierce centre came off the leg of a defender and ricocheted on to the bar, rebounding just too high for Muhsin at the far post.

Good work by Chris Lane enabled him to pick out Muhsin to set up another chance, but he was well marshalled and Dowds was unable to control his through ball. Finn Watt continued to offer a threat and Cadzow had to dive to his right to save his curling shot.

Woolven rescued his side when Lane’s passback fell short, denying Alex Carroll the chance to turn the ball into goal, before again releasing Watt down the right, but this time the cross was collected by Cadzow.

As in the first half, the Watt began after the interval on the front foot. Muhsin’s corner was headed over by Woolven under pressure, but a few minutes later the Watt went ahead, a passing movement of great intricacy setting up Muhsin to slide the ball under Cadzow.

A kick-out by Saunders was cleverly headed on down the left by Muhsin for Dowds to check back on to his right foot and send in a cross towards Breen, near the far post, but in one of those infringements which are seldom penalised, the lightweight Breen was eased gently forward by the shoulder of a defender and instead of the ball dropping right on to his head, he was unable to reach it.

A shot on the turn by Dowds from the edge of the area narrowly missed the target before the visitors restored parity halfway through the second half. Jens Willassen was obliged to turn Okamura’s cross behind and when the corner came in from the right, Saunders, attempting to catch the ball, was impeded by a St Andrews player. The ball came off the inside of the goalkeeper’s right arm and headed towards the far post. A Heriot-Watt player blocked it, but visiting centre-back Andrew Meaney was on hand to ram the ball into goal.

Muhsin’s shot on the turn just missed the goal frame on the far side as the teams struggled to regain the lead before the next bit of controversy with quarter of an hour left to play. Dowds leaped to meet Muhsin’s cross as Cadzow came out to reach for the ball. The two collided and Cadzow dropped the ball, but as Dowds swivelled and turned it into goal, the inevitable whistle sounded for a foul on the goalkeeper. Goalkeepers usually do get the decision in such circumstances, but it is hard to see what Dowds did wrong. He was surely entitled to jump for a cross and if that jump took him towards the goalkeeper as he came from his goal, so be it. He did not raise his arms or impede his opponent in any way and St Andrews’ players did not seem to expect the free kick to be awarded.

Things got worse for the Watt as the game went into its final ten minutes. A mistake in defence allowed substitute Ryan Quinn the opportunity to shoot from inside the penalty box and he drove the ball across Saunders into the far corner of the net.

Trailing again in a period in which play was constantly interrupted by substitutions, Watt was relieved to get a late equaliser. A corner from the right was played in to the near post area. Imray and Woolven had half-chances before the ball sprung to Tom Maher to knock home from close in.

Watt might even have got an unlikely winner in the last minute of stoppage time when Andreas Ppalis sent a free kick into the visitors’ area, but when Imray’s shot was blocked, the full-time whistle sounded.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Craig Saunders, Finn Watt, Jens Willassen (Ryan Higgins 91), Adam Woolven, Andrew Imray, Chris Lane, Adam Breen (Tom Maher 87), Robert Service (Andreas Ppalis 79), Anton Dowds, Sean Muhsin, Scott Munro (Max Allison 73). All subs used.

St Andrews University First:
Alec Cadzow, Ross McLennan, Leon Herfort, Joel Butcher, Andrew Meaney, Matthew Holden, Oeyen Verhagen (Ryan Quinn 89), Alex Dodgshon (Greg Egu 73), Max Bolotov (Ian Murray 85), Alex Carroll (Alessandro Purelini 79), Yu Okamura. Sub. not used: Daniel Pilley.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 6

Men’s Division 2A

16th November 2016


This was a rather surprising match in many ways, not the least of which was that after its biggest win in years, the team found itself on the wrong end of a tongue-lashing from a seriously irritated Head Coach. What had annoyed Banji Koya was that despite this much-needed victory and the encouraging result, the Watt had made countless mistakes during the game and had played with a poor shape and at times a poor attitude.

Indeed, it might all have turned out very differently had not Dundee shot themselves squarely in the foot after a first half-hour lacking in goals and in quality. Certainly, the home defence looked very fragile and Anton Dowds had already broken clear twice, only to squander both opportunities – the first time getting the ball stuck under his feet and digging it out too firmly, enabling goalkeeper Andrew Richardson to reach it before he could shoot; the second time missing an actual open goal after the home central defenders had taken out each other and Richardson, running from his penalty box, had missed the ball. Dowds was left with no-one between him and the goal, but instead of running the ball into the net, he shot from the edge of the area and dragged it wide.

Misses like these often cost a side dearly, but not on this occasion, although Dundee did have a chance when the ball was given away in midfield and the dangerous Pat Smith shot from the edge of the box. The Watt defenders had the last of the sun directly in their eyes and it must have been a problem for Jack Robinson, but he saved his side, diving to the left to touch the ball on to the post. What might have happened had that one gone in, we shall never know. A few minutes later, Smith drove in a shot from far out on the left which curled just over the bar, but soon the Watt was creating chances again. A lovely dummy put Robert Service through, but he was unable to shake off the attentions of a defender and had to contrive a shot which slipped past.

In the thirty-fifth minute came the incident which probably decided the game. Dowds cleverly headed into the path of Ppalis, who cut across his marker, Ahmed Aloulou, and entered the penalty box. Before Ppalis could get his shot away, Aloulou made an attempt at a tackle, missing the ball by some distance and bringing down Ppalis. There was no alternative for the referee but to award the penalty and send off the unfortunate defender.

Dowds drove the penalty kick almost straight and the ball may have come off the boot of Richardson before finding the net, but the Watt was ahead. Ten minutes later, Watt doubled its money just before the break, as Dowds went clear on the left and was always in control as he drew Richardson and slipped the ball past him into goal.

Dundee, two goals and a man down, began the second half vigorously, with Smith trying to take the game to the visitors, supported by Anthony Darlington, who is surely wasted at right-back. In the tenth minute of the half, however, it was all up for the Taysiders as Watt scored again. Adam Breen had come on to give Chris Lane a rest and a chance to recover from a first-half knock and was pushed over by Darlington near the left corner. When Ppalis’s free kick reached the edge of the six-yard box, the Dundee marking was so deficient that there was no challenge on Adam Woolven as he stooped to head the ball into the net.

As Dundee’s commitment to the cause ebbed away, there were more chances created and missed. Ppalis put Dowds through again, but in trying to place the ball past the goalkeeper, he also placed it past the post. The two other substitutes, Tom Maher and Max Allison, combined to create a shooting opportunity after Finn Watt’s inviting cross, but Richardson saved Allison’s shot. Breen sent a good cross to the back post, but in trying to position his header precisely, Maher took too much pace off the ball and a defender was able to head away. Jens Willassen, probably Watt’s best player on his First Team debut, played a good exchange with Dowds, but when he went into the box he stumbled and lost his chance – probably the only occasion in the match when his work was anything other than neat and well-controlled. Maher got the ball past Darlington but played it too far ahead of himself and ran into the advancing Richardson.

Finally, with three minutes left, Watt did score again, but only after Robinson had again distinguished himself with a superb save when David Ballingall broke through and shot from inside the area. Somehow, Robinson got a hand to the ball to take it round the post and when the corner came in, Willassen broke quickly and swept the ball out to Allison on the right. Allison cut into the area and fired a low drive across Richardson and in off the far post.

In the last action of the game a few minutes later, Dowds produced an uncannily accurate copy of Allison’s goal, cutting in from the right and finishing across the goalkeeper and off the inside of the post to complete the scoring.

Dundee University First:
Andrew Richardson, Scott Gray, Martyn McCabe, John Millar, Anthony Darlington, Jonathan Aitken, Ahmed Aloulou, Kiffy Scott, Pat Smith, David Ballingall. Subs.: Youssef Aloulou, Ian Boulmer-Myers, Jake Tulloch, Liam Forbes, Jonny Bennett.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Craig Saunders, Finn Watt, Scott Munro, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Chris Lane, Harry Warner (Max Allison 53), Robert Service, Anton Dowds, Adam Breen, Tom Maher (Harry Barclay 71). All subs used.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 5

Men’s Division 2A

9th November 2016


Let it be said at the outset that Glasgow deserved its victory. The home players were sharp from the start and pressed the Watt throughout the game whilst producing incisive, fast-moving passing football to pose problems for the visitors’ defence.

It would be impossible, however, to discuss this match without touching on the sheer incompetence of the officiating. Moaning about the referee is not our style and we try very hard to say nothing that isn’t positive, but this one just has to get a mention, as he was impossible to ignore.

Before the game, a Glasgow official gave it as his view that the match referee, who does most of Glasgow’s home games, that he was rather severe on Glasgow and that perhaps he was over-compensating because he did not want to be thought of as favouring the home side. If that is the normal situation, this was the game in which he chose to redress the balance for many such performances.

The referee seemed to think it was his duty to prevent the game flowing by stopping it at regular intervals and on many occasions the players had to look to him to see what his decision was, as no-one else had discerned an infringement. The answer was almost always the award of yet another free kick to Glasgow. Glasgow was the better side in this match, but football matches aren’t decided on the relative merits of the football played and had the Watt been given fair treatment by the official, it’s just possible that this match would have turned out differently.

Despite Glasgow starting the match in whirlwind style, it was the Watt which took the lead after five minutes’ play. Anton Dowds drove down the right and played the ball across goal. Harry Warner got a touch and the ball came back off Glasgow goalkeeper Ben Fulton. It ran behind Adam Breen, but as Breen turned, he managed to find a gap into which to direct his shot.

Glasgow surged back and during the next ten minutes there were two major stramashes in the Watt penalty area, during the second of which the ball was sent cannoning off the underside of the bar, but Watt somehow survived these emergencies. Dowds was at his most determined and was leading the line with pace and purpose, but when Chris Lane went on a great run through the middle and played in Dowds to his left, the striker took too long to get his shot away and a good tackle took the ball away for a corner.

No-one watching from the Watt line could identify the reason for a free kick awarded half-way inside the Watt half, but when the ball was played forward, Lesley Goettermann sent in a header which went off the outside of the post.

A couple of efforts on goal around the half-hour mark failed to increase Watt’s lead, Warner’s snap shot from the right finding the side netting, then Tom Maher’s hooked half-volley going over shoulder, bar and fence.

Jordan Diven came close for Glasgow, picking up a clearance to shoot just over from twenty metres, but the half finished in confusion when Dowds was sent away on the left only for the referee to blow for half-time a full two minutes early. This contrasted with the end of the second half, when he played seven minutes over the regulation time.

Andrew Imray made an excellent intervention to concede a corner as Diogene Sergides prepared to shoot, but Watt’s luck had been used up during the first half and shortly after this, a cross from the right was turned into goal by Eamon Nugent-Doyle. Straight from the kick-off, a determined attack from the Watt almost succeeded in restoring the lead, but when Service released Dowds to drive past Euan Small and sweep the ball across goal, it fell just behind Max Allison, who had replaced Warner a minute earlier. Allison gathered and turned, but in his anxiety to get a shot away, he struck too early and the ball slipped past the post.

Half-way through the second period, Glasgow grabbed the goal that turned out to be decisive. A throw-in from the right was sent into the box and a header contested by a player from each side was inconclusive. The ball continued across the box and David Walls saw his opportunity to hook a shot into the top corner to the left of Craig Saunders.

Walls might have added another with quarter of an hour left. Pacy winger Calum Windram came inside along the by-line and cut the ball back, but from no great distance, Walls shot past.

Another rapid attack by Glasgow ended with a drive which brought a good save from Saunders, diving to his right, and Imray completed the job with an acrobatic clearance before any of the onrushing home forwards could capitalise.

In the last few minutes, Watt piled on the pressure, keeping the Glasgow goal under siege for some time, but were unable to give Fulton any serious work. Imray did manage to get his head to a cross from the right, but he was in no position to control the header, which went well over.

One bright feature of the game was the cameo played by Harry Barclay. Harry is new to the University, the city and the Club this season, but he has taken it all in his stride and always looks composed on the ball, even in such a frantic game as this one. It is great to see a young player show such a fine temperament so early in his Watt career.

Glasgow University First:
Ben Fulton, Jordan Diven, Euan Small, Lesley Goettermann, Euan Woodley, Eamon Nugent-Doyle, Calum Windram, Diogene Sergides, Donald Thomson, Calum Davidson (Euan Roseweir 74), Jonathan Baxter (David Walls 59). Subs. not used: Jack McGrath, Paul Kerins, Michael Symington.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Craig Saunders, Finn Watt, Scott Munro, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Chris Lane, Harry Warner (Max Allison 53), Robert Service, Anton Dowds, Adam Breen, Tom Maher (Harry Barclay 71). All subs used.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 4

Men’s Scottish Conference Cup

2nd November 2016


Having broken its BUCS hoodoo the week before, Watt started this Conference Cup tie against fellow Division 2A side Stirling University Third in confident manner. As it turned out, the game featured four distinct phases.

The first didn’t last long. After the Watt had started brightly and done most of the early attacking, Stirling broke away down the right and took the lead, Ryan McGregor cutting in from the right and chipping the ball over Craig Saunders, who may have gone down a little too early.

That was as good as it got for Stirling and we were quickly into the second phase of the game, which was an immensely productive one for the Watt. Between the eleventh and thirty-sixth minutes, the home side scored five times and it could have been more. Anton Dowds was the main man for Watt, leading the line with pace and control and making the centre of the Stirling defence look pedestrian.

Dowds was involved in the equalising goal, laying the ball back for Adam Breen to play a first-time lofted ball over the Stirling defence for Tom Maher to chase. Jake Warriner dashed from his goal, but Breen’s pass checked on landing and Maher was able to get a toe to the ball to take it past the goalkeeper. It wasn’t in yet, but Maher was able to shield the ball and hold off a determined challenge from a defender to ease the ball into the net.

Two minutes later, Watt was ahead. Adam Woolven probably played the ball too far ahead of himself, but such things can work in the player’s favour and so it worked out here. Woolven accelerated and at pace was able to slip a tackle before sending a delightful pass into the stride of Dowds on the left. Dowds surged past Matthew Brown before sending an accurate shot across Warriner into the far corner of goal.

Just four minutes later, Watt scored again – and it was another excellent goal. From a free kick in midfield, the ball went via Woolven, Maher and Dowds before Breen was given a simple close-range finish.

Watt might have conceded the next goal as Anthony McGuire timed his run well to meet a cross from the right, finding space in the centre of the Watt defence, but with only Saunders to beat, he seemed to contact the ball with the sole of his boot. It ran behind him, away from goal, and the chance was lost.

Superb footwork by Dowds on the right left a Stirling defender bemused and enabled Dowds to send in a tempting cross, but Breen had to jump a little to get his left foot on the ball and he was unable to control it in front of goal.

Just after the half-hour, it was four for the Watt when Calum Murphy left a passback to Warriner woefully short and Dowds nipped in to push the ball past the goalkeeper. Five minutes later, Watt had a nap hand when Breen’s wonderful ball inside the full-back gave Maher the opportunity to take the ball past Warriner and roll it into the empty net.

The Watt’s rampant phase was interrupted by the half-time whistle and after the interval the game entered new territory, as the game became less vigorous. Watt was no longer looking like scoring with every attack and Stirling seemed content to let the game progress without getting any worse. Then the referee triggered the final phase of the game with one of those decisions about which we have so often railed on this site.

It came about after an almost incredible incident. Stirling scorer McGregor, from almost on the by-line on the right, played the ball over the head of Saunders as he stood at his near post. The ball struck the far post and came back, past the startled Saunders, to reach McGregor again. His second attempt to create something was stifled at the expense of a corner. The kick was ineffectually cleared and the ball remained in the box. As Stirling tried to make something happen, the ball flipped up and struck the arm of Robert Service. It was impossible for him to have got out of the way and equally impossible to believe that he had deliberately played the ball, but the referee decided a penalty was appropriate. We have a sneaking suspicion that he felt a bit sorry for Stirling, having lost five goals so quickly in the first half, but if so, he paid for his sympathy, as the game became bad-tempered in its final half-hour.

McGuire drove the ball high past Saunders, who got both hands to the ball but could not keep it out. Two minutes later, McGuire scored again, getting on to the end of a squared pass to knock the ball home from close range. The referee later claimed that Finn Watt had played the scorer onside, but watching from our position in the stand, we beg to differ.

Two quick goals gave the visitors enormous belief and the game became frantic and competitive as they poured forward in search of more goals. Justicia Bermarck, a tricky and competitive wide player, came into the fray and caused some anxiety for the Watt defence. Dowds might have calmed things down again if he had been able to convert Harry Warner’s pass down the right, but when Dowds brought the ball inside, his chip over Warriner lacked the necessary accuracy.

Watt weathered the storm without much difficulty and Dowds had another scoring chance when Warriner could only get one hand to Max Allison’s cross from the right and the ball fell behind Dowds, but when the Watt striker collected and turned to face the open goal, he contrived to drive the ball over the bar from eight metres.

That was the last incident of note in the game, as after that the Watt players seemed to be concentrating entirely on irritating the spectators. It was embarrassing to see a team which had scored five goals in twenty-five minutes and had shown the skills to torment their opponents trying to see out time by holding the ball in the corner when good opportunities to create scoring chances were available.

When a side has achieved a winning position by playing good football and by showing the capability to open up the opposition defence, it seems perverse for it to adopt a practice which creates frustration, often leading to fouls and injuries and which gives the opposition the chance, if they can win the ball, to launch a raid against which is difficult to defend. We hope never again to see a Watt side adopt this self-defeating and unnecessary policy in a match it should be winning easily by continuing to play the football which has put it in that position in the first place.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Craig Saunders, Finn Watt, Scott Munro, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Chris Lane, Harry Warner (Ryan Higgins 77), Robert Service, Anton Dowds, Adam Breen, Tom Maher (Max Allison 71). Sub. not used: Fraser Wilson.

Stirling University Third:
Jake Warriner, Matthew Brown, Calum Murphy, Jack Clubb, Euan Robertson, Ryan McGregor, David Lamond (Justicia Bermarck 65), Kerr Whitefield, Lewis McKenzie, Anthony McGuire, Edward Hodges (Danny Whitten 55). Subs. not used: Cammy Locke, Michael Chan, Klark Thompson.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 3

Men’s Division 2A

19th October 2016


The Watt’s long winless run in BUCS competition came to an end in this match – and in a way that suggests the corner may have been turned and we can expect more victories to follow.

Strangely, Watt led by two goals at half-time after a largely even first period, but in the second half which the home side dominated, no further goals were added.

The first forty-five minutes were largely a midfield battle during which Watt found it difficult to penetrate in wide positions. Adam Breen is not a natural winger and was tending to drift inside off his left-side beat, whilst Harry Warner was up against a quality full-back in Paul Spence and got very little change out of his opponent. Adam Woolven was in top form for the Watt and saved his side when he did superbly to block a shot from Sam Tofique and recover immediately to get to David Akpara and divert the ball behind before the winger could shoot.

Ten minutes before the break, Anton Dowds was quickly in on a defender who was trying to clear the ball and it sprang forward into the box. Robert Service was in the right place to collect it, round the advancing Jack Maclennan and stroke the ball into the net.

Six minutes later, the Watt added a second goal from the penalty spot. The Aberdeen central defenders were an uncompromising pair and were playing with a certain aggressive recklessness that boded ill for their chances of getting through the game without incident. When Service chased Warner’s through pass into the box, the best he could do was to get a touch which carried the ball through towards Maclennan, but Sam McLaren needlessly stepped across and bodychecked the Watt player so violently that Service admitted after the match that his neck was still sore from the impact he had taken on his jaw.

Dowds fired the penalty into the corner to the right of Maclennan to give the Watt a two-goal cushion.

Watt finished the half on the defensive, as Jordan Smith curled in a free kick from the right, but Head Coach Banji Koya had sent back Dowds to help defend the kick and this paid off when he got his head to the ball and Aberdeen was unable to convert the opportunity into anything tangible.

The second half consisted mainly of a succession of Watt raids and the creation of numerous chances, all of which were missed.

A well-judged pass by Andrew Imray found Finn Watt marauding down the right and he escaped the clutches of his marker to send the ball to the near post area, to where Warner had made a run, but from close range Warner’s touch was so slight that the ball slipped across goal and out on the far side. Dowds’ free kick to the far post was met by the head of Woolven, but the connection was not what he wanted and the ball came off Woolven’s shoulder and went past. Warner’s pass down the wing enabled Dowds to reach the by-line and send in a cross with which Adam Breen connected, but again the ball went across the face of goal and slipped past.

Craig Saunders had to be alert to prevent the visitors grabbing a goal back when Smith came in along the by-line and cut the ball back for Caleb Ogwura to shoot. Saunders dived low to his left to make a smart save. Smith created another dangerous moment a minute later, but Woolven was on hand to play the ball over the crossbar for a corner.

Service was becoming an increasingly influential figure and he set up the next Watt chance, driving through midfield to link with Dowds, who played the ball through for Breen, coming in at an angle, but his ball across goal was neither a shot nor a cross and passed between the goal and the incoming players. After another sweeping move, Dowds took the ball to the by-line and cut it back. Maclennan dived to push the ball out as far as Warner, who turned and tried to force it towards goal, but his effort struck Max Allison close to the goal line.

Watt survived a penalty appeal when Akpara seemed to be pushed as he closed in on the far side. Ogwura, who had been Aberdeen’s main threat in the first half, had been isolated by an adjustment to the Watt formation at half-time and was replaced by Craig Shanks.

Allison’s surprising acceleration caught out an Aberdeen defender and having won the ball, he advanced on goal. Breen was available to his left, but Allison was through on the goalkeeper and took the shot himself, curling it inches wide of the far post.

A powerful shot from the Aberdeen right flashed across the Watt goal, but soon Watt was back on the offensive, with Tom Maher getting into good position but shooting wildly. As the game ebbed to its close, the Aberdeen defence became ever more robust and there were cautions issued. Watt continued to press until the end but the finishing began to lack belief.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Craig Saunders, Finn Watt, Scott Munro, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Chris Lane, Harry Warner (Callum Smith 76), Ryan Higgins (Max Allison 61), Anton Dowds, Robert Service, Adam Breen (Tom Maher 84). All subs used.

Aberdeen University First:
Jack Maclennan, Hamish Levein, Paul Spence, Jack Harkness, Sam McLaren, Joseph Walker, David Akpara, Andrew Shafik (Justin McByran 84), Caleb Ogwura (Craig Shanks 73), Sam Tofique, Jordan Smith. Subs. not used: Hamish Tubby, Paul Kirke, Ciaran Ellison.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 2

Men’s Division 2A

5th October 2016


On a breezy day at the Fife seaside, St Andrews used their local knowledge to take an early grip on this game. Watt was playing up the slope with the sun in their eyes in the first half and the home side used the wind blowing across the park to grab two goals in the first quarter of an hour.

Watt attacked from the kick-off, but when the ball was won by St Andrews they attacked on the left. A diagonal ball over the heads of the Watt defenders found Alessandro Purelini, who cut into the box and used the wind to bring the ball inside the far post as he fired it past Jack Robinson into the far corner of the goal.

Watt tried to respond, with Scott Munro intercepting to find Anton Dowds on the left, but when he sent in a low centre, Callum Smith’s attempt at a shot was blocked.

St Andrews looked dangerous when they came forward and when they worked the ball in from the left again, it was Purelini once more who did the damage, securing the ball and turning quickly to send another curling shot past Robinson’s left hand.

Dowds was showing plenty of energetic endeavour in attack, but too often he had insufficient support. On the half-hour, however, Watt gained a corner kick on the right and Callum Smith, who had seen the effect of the wind, sent the ball curling towards goal, but home goalkeeper Alec Cadzow punched it off the line and Robert Service’s follow-up shot missed the target.

Playing with the elements in the second half, Watt began to push the home side back, but almost gave away another goal when an attempt to work the ball out of defence went wrong. Dowds had come short and sent an optimistic pass in the air towards Tom Maher at right-back. The ball dropped for St Andrews and only a good save by Robinson prevented a goal.

Dowds contributed more positively at the other end, sending in an accurate free kick which Cadzow dived to turn round the post. One corner was quickly followed by another and when this was taken, Cadzow allowed the ball to slip through his hands, precipitating a scramble amongst the crowd in the penalty area. Several Watt players came into possession, but there was no room to shoot and eventually Cadzow dived on the ball after Dowds tried to stab it beyond him.

As Watt maintained the pressure, they gained a succession of free kicks, but when one on the right broke down, St Andrews moved the ball quickly upfield. Max Allison got back at great pace to put pressure on Greg Egu’s shot and Robinson got his angles right to save.

With ten minutes left to play, Watt at last got the goal which put them back in with a chance. Chris Lane played the ball in from the right and Fraser Wilson hooked it past Cadzow into the far corner of the goal.

After the goal, Watt had a number of chances to secure a point from the game. Maher’s drive across the face of goal only needed a touch, but didn’t get one. Then, when Robinson launched a big kick down the left, Callum Gilchrist could only head the ball on into the path of Harry Warner, but when he squared the ball towards Wilson, he was unable to make contact.

Finally, with two minutes of stoppage time played, an excellent move on the Watt right ended with a cross by Allison. Dowds leaped high and sent a header off the underside of the bar and into goal, only to find that the referee had awarded a foul against him, alleging that he had leaned on the shoulder of his marker. Your correspondent is not impartial, but honestly had no idea what the free kick had been given for and had guessed at offside.

This produced a disappointing end to a disappointing day for the Watt. They hadn’t played well overall, but St Andrews were no better. There wasn’t much between the sides and overall a draw would have been a fair result, but there would have been no complaints about a narrow defeat apart from that late incident, which effectively meant that the referee had decided the outcome of the game. It is fair to say that throughout the game he had consistently awarded fouls for the most minor physical contact, so it was not altogether surprising to find him give a foul at any time, but there really seemed no reason to penalise Dowds, who seemed simply to have jumped higher than his opponent. His left arm had to be somewhere and the judgment seemed unfair.

Heriot-Watt University:
Robinson, Maher, Munro, Imray, Watt, Higgins, Smith, Lane, Dowds, Service, Breen.
Subs.: Warner, Wilson, Woolven, Allison.


BUCS Season 2016 – 2017: Match 1

Men’s Division 2A

28th September 2016


This match was the first full-scale indoor game ever played by a Heriot-Watt University side. The new ‘Oriam’ pitch gave the players the experience of playing in perfect conditions: a completely flat surface with no weather conditions to affect the trajectory of the ball.

Observed from the seating area, Watt played from right to left in the first half and looked as if they needed a bit of practice in playing together. Dundee settled more quickly and took the lead when their striker managed to get his head to an attempted crossfield pass from Andrew Imray to Adam Woolven. All he then had to do was to run in unchallenged and stroke the ball past Jack Robinson.

Watt equalised from a good right-wing move. Anton Dowds had failed with a couple of previous chances, but this time he made no mistake, controlling the ball and steering it into the corner of the net.

Dundee was still playing the more cohesive football, however, and when Watt took the lead it was somewhat against the run of play. Dowds played the ball across goal for Callum Smith to get in ahead of his marker and prod home from close range.

The lead did not endure until half-time. Dundee’s number 12 made a good run on the right and fired the ball across goal for number 9, who had given the Watt defence plenty to think about during the half, to steer it into the corner of the goal from close range.

After the four-goal first half, the second period was something of an anti-climax, with no further scoring.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Jack Robinson, Finn Watt, Scott Munro, Andrew Imray, Adam Woolven, Sean Muhsin, Max Allison, Chris Lane, Fraser Wilson, Anton Dowds, Callum Smith. Subs.: Harry Warner, Adam Breen, Ryan Higgins, Tom Maher.

BUCS Queen’s Park Shield: Quarter-Final

Albyn Park, Broxburn

2nd March 2016


A much-depleted Watt side took the field for this Queen’s Park Shield match at Broxburn, but got off to the perfect start with a fine goal in the first minute. Mark Hamill’s contribution was crucial; he won the ball with a good tackle, sped past a man in midfield and sent the ball forward to Bruce Hay. Hamill continued forward and after Hay’s touch he sent a first-time pass into the stride of Anton Dowds, who was moving towards the left. Dowds showed good strength and composure to hold off a challenge from the College centre-half and finish with an accurate low shot to the far corner of the goal.

Watt continued to look the more likely side and Dowds might have scored again five minutes later, but after sending a pass wide and getting into the box for the return, he delayed his shot slightly too long and the ball was deflected to the College goalkeeper.

Andreas Ppalis had a chance when Hay’s free kick picked him out not far from goal, but he was unable to generate enough power on his header to trouble the goalkeeper. Another chance was created when a good run by Sean Campbell took defenders away to enable Ppalis to send a disguised pass into the penalty box for the run of Adam Kerlin, but Kerlin had to stretch for the shot and sent the bal just past the post to the goalkeeper’s right.

After all this good play, Watt then conceded a goal when stand-in centre-half Ryan Higgins was penalised for a tug on a shirt and a penalty was awarded. Jack Robinson went the right way and made a good attempt to save the kick, but the College number 9 had sent the ball high to the corner of the goal and it eluded the ’keeper’s grasp.

Ten minutes later, things got worse for the Watt. Dowds appeared to be fouled near the touchline, but play was allowed to continue and the College 9 went on a run down the right wing. Several Watt players tackled him, but on each occasion, the tackle was inconclusive and the player in possession got the break of the ball to continue his run. Eventually he reached the penalty area and from a fairly tight position sent an accurate shot across Robinson to the far corner of the net.

Watt pressed for an equaliser and the College 6 headed a free kick just past his own post. From the subsequent corner, Campbell tricked his opponent and got in a cross, but Hay headed over the bar.

The situation got even worse for the Watt when Higgins lunged at a ball played across the goalmouth and sent it towards his own goal. Robinson had to move smartly to keep it out, but the next player to reach the ball was the College 8 and he hooked the ball towards goal. It struck the underside of the bar and fell over the line to put College 3 – 1 ahead.

It was Watt’s turn for a slice of luck and this came in the last minute of the half, when the College 11 tried to block a cross by Adam Kerlin. The ball spun over the head of the goalkeeper and dropped into the net to reduce the arrears to one.

After five goals in the first half, it was difficult to see the game going much further without more scoring, but the second half fell into a rut. For much of the time, the College side played defensively and wasted time where possible, but whilst it was clearly content to try to hold what it had, it was still capable of threatening on the break. Watt had a lot of the ball, but lacked the guile to penetrate the ranks of defenders.

There were some worthwhile efforts: Higgins won the ball with a good tackle, strode through the middle of the park and sent a fine pass to Dowds. Dowds seemed minded to go for goal himself, but such was the insistence of Hay that he passed instead, but the pass was overhit and Hay was obliged to shoot from too tight an angle and found only the side net.

Conor McKenna came on to replace Hamill and had a chance when a cross from the right found him in good position. He was able to gather the ball and turn, but his shot was palmed round the post by the College goalkeeper.

Dowds got behind the College defence but delayed his cutback too long and it failed to find a team-mate. Then Dowds played in Scott Munro with a good pass, but Munro’s low cross was turned behind by a defender.

In the last action of the game, Watt was caught on the break as it tried to push forward. The College 10 got ahead of Max Allison to slip the ball past Robinson as he advanced to make the final score 4 – 2.

Edinburgh College First:
No team lines received.

Heriot-Watt University:
Robinson, Kerlin, Hamill (McKenna 65), McIntosh, Higgins, Allison, Campbell, Munro, Ppalis, Hay, Dowds. All subs. used.


BUCS Men’s Division 1A
24th February 2016


The Watt side which took the field at Stepps was unrecognisable from the first meeting of these sides on the 14th of October. There were only thirteen players in the travelling party and of those, the only ones who had taken part in the earlier game were Jack Daniel, Ryan Higgins and Adam Kerlin. There were starts for Toby Macintosh, Andreas Ppalis, Connor McKenna, Bruce Hay and Scott Munro, none of whom featured in the First Team in the early part of the season and the first three of whom made their next appearances in the Amateur side in the LEAFA match on Saturday.

At the end of the ninety minutes, the Watt had completed two league seasons in BUCS without recording a win. Given the makeshift nature of the side, this was no surprise, but in fact the Watt lads played pretty well. There was seldom any likelihood of scoring a goal, but at no point did it look as if the team was going to be soundly beaten and the players filling First Team shirts they never expected to wear gave of their best and let no-one down.

Early exchanges favoured the home side without much in the way of goalmouth incident and it took almost twenty minutes for a meaningful attempt on goal to be made. Then, Mac Duncan, looking suspiciously as though he might have been offside, got his foot to a ball coming over his shoulder and steered it towards goal, but Craig Saunders was down exceptionally quickly to make a smart save, blocking the ball with his right hand.

Over the next ten minutes, the Watt eased a little more into the game and suggested they were capable of creating a chance or two. Callum Smith made a good run towards the left side of the penalty box and it took the full length of Scott Litster’s leg to get a toe to the ball and prod it away for a corner before he brought down Smith. The corner kick was bent in superbly from the left and it took a good header off the line to prevent it going directly into goal.

On the half-hour mark, however, the home side took the lead. Two Strathclyde players made a drive through the centre of the Watt defence and the ball was poked past Saunders. As the goalkeeper looked round, he saw it strike the post to his left and long before he could get back, Hive Wilson had stabbed it into goal.

From that point until half-time, Strathclyde was well in control and further chances arose. Blair Shearer headed over from good position, then Nathan Leicester volleyed past the post from the edge of the area. Just before half-time, a cross from the right reached Michel Smith, but from just inside the box his firm header was directed a long way wide of the left-hand post of Saunders.

Watt regrouped at the interval and started the second half well, Toby Macintosh’s cross going just over the head of Smith. Connor McKenna reached the ball but was unable to control it for a shot.

McKenna, who had done well in his comeback after a long injury lay-off, was tiring fast and was replaced by Ruaridh Macvinish. Shortly after this, Smith also came off, Adam Kerlin taking his place. Before the reshuffled Watt side had a chance to impose itself, it conceded again. A free kick from the left was swung to the far side of the box where Litster had plenty of room to volley home from close to goal.

Saunders did well to prevent a third goal soon after, anticipating well at a corner from the left and moving across his goal to block a shot from point-blank range, but as a flurry of home substitutions interrupted the flow of the game, the time ebbed away. Macvinish started and finished the last chance, finding Macintosh with a good pass, but when the cross came in and it was headed out to the edge of the area, Macvinish’s volley was just too high.

Strathclyde University:
Rennie, Gray (Philp 80), Aubrey, Jamieson, Litster (Macinnes 80), Watson, Duncan, Shearer (Murtagh 74), Leicester (Robertson 68), Smith, Wilson. Sub. not used: Ralston.

Heriot-Watt University:
Saunders, Allison, Macintosh, Hume, Daniel, Higgins, Ppalis, McKenna (Macvinish 59), Smith (Kerlin 64), Hay, Munro. All subs. used.


BUCS Men’s Division 1A
10th February 2016


At Gussie Park, the Dundee United Football Academy ground close to Tannadice used by Abertay University for its home games, the atmosphere was tense as the locals sought the win which would give them the BUCS Scottish Conference championship for the first time. Perhaps we may excuse the over-excited condition of the home bench in the early stages, but the conduct was more like one would expect to find in an amateur league than in university competition and the visiting party clearly resented the discourtesy.

Abertay, with the incentive of a championship before it, was sharper and quicker to the ball throughout the game, but the Watt players stuck doggedly to their game plan and defended stoutly.

A corner after nine minutes gave the home side its nearest thing yet, as Gregor Anderson headed past, but Watt responded with a good move on the right, Jamie Hume’s accurate pass being well controlled by Ryan Higgins and a corner won.

Soon, however, the home side was driving forward again and tall, powerful right-back Sean Melvin drove the ball fiercely towards the goal from close to the corner flag. In truth, it was a speculative effort with no obvious clear purpose, but a startled Jack Robinson, at his near post, pushed the ball high into the air over his own head. When it fell towards earth, Murray Macintosh was first to reach it and headed in to give Abertay the lead.

Watt alarmed the home side fifteen minutes later, a well-directed free kick by Bruce Hay reaching the centre of the penalty area. Scott Davies ran in and threw himself forward for a diving header, but his contact was not quite right and the ball rose just over the bar.

With just a goal of advantage, Abertay remained on edge and four minutes from half-time came the equaliser they were dreading. Martin Green’s through pass was perfectly judged for Hay’s run. Hay got to the ball a fraction of a second before the outrushing Anton Mordente and sent the ball high over the goalkeeper’s head to drop under the bar and square the scores.

With Abertay’s pressing incentive driving them on, Watt was seldom seen as an attacking force in the second half. Dillan Duddy’s tremendous volley was matched by a superb diviing save by Robinson and the Watt goalkeeper then saved with his legs two minutes later when Duddy’s free kick was deflected. Anderson’cleverly headed a corner back across goal for his fellow central defender Cameron Williamson, but Williamson headed past the post.

Time was wearing on and although the Watt had survived a few close things, there hadn’t been too many and the belief was growing that at least a draw could be achieved, with the chance of a breakaway winner. However, Abertay striker Lewis Baker was continuing to make searching runs and he eluded Hume to run into the box. His shot from a tightish angle was blocked by Robinson and when he fired in the rebound, Woolven was on the line to play the ball away for a corner kick.

Abertay substitute Greg Fairweather headed a corner over the bar from good position three minutes later, but the Watt was beginning to take the opportunity to probe forward when the chance arose and gained a free kick when Scott Munro was taken late. This, however, was the team’s undoing, as Abertay, quick on the break and with the speedy and strong Baker leading the charge forward, had the resources to make an attacking free kick dangerous to take. When the Watt’s free kick was cleared, Abertay stormed forward, Baker reached the penalty area and stabbed the ball under Robinson for the goal the home side had sought. Cue wild rejoicing.

Watt almost destroyed the party atmosphere two minutes later, when Service chased hard to win a corner on the left. When the kick came in to the near post area, Ollie Spence got his head to the ball, but with insufficient force to take it into goal and it flashed across the goalmouth and past the post.

There was just enough time for an ugly collision of heads between two Watt players. Service was able to resume after the blood was cleared away, but Davies required more extensive treatment and was unable to return to play.

Abertay University First:
Mordente, Melvin, Wilson, Williamson, Anderson, Middleton, Mackintosh (Macrae 93), McCabe (Fairweather 69), Ross, Duddy (Braid 76), Baker. Subs. not used: Bews, Geekie.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Robinson, Higgins, Daniel, Hume, Woolven, Service, Campbell (Smith 84), Hamill (Spence 82), Davies, Hay (Macvinish 88), Green (Munro 45). All subs. used.


BUCS Men’s Division 1A
3rd February 2016


The first half was an even contest in which Watt had the better of the play without looking very threatening, long-range efforts from Sean Campbell and first-team debutant Andreas Ppalis failing to stretch visiting goalkeeper Ryan Cooper. However, in the last minute of the half, Watt contrived to lose the goal which separated the teams at the end.

Adam Woolven unnecessarily conceded a corner, turning the ball behind rather than use his left foot to clear. He realised his error, but was made to pay for it when the corner was headed on at the near post and left-back Jack Blaikie headed home to give Napier the lead.

Early in the second half, a good shot on the turn by Callum Smith was well saved by Cooper and from the resultant corner, Jamie Hume got in a header with which the goalkeeper also dealt. Rob Service did well to collect a ball in midfield and send Bruce Hay away on the left, but Hay’s firm, low cross passed across the goal area without a Watt player being in a position to attack the ball.

Poor defensive work gave Sam Jones a shooting chance, but the ball was deflected behind. Then, after a pass down the left by Mark Hamill, Smith did really well to dispossess Euan Terry as he tried to shepherd the ball over the line. Smith cut inside and fired the ball in to the near-post area, where Cooper blocked with his foot. Watt recovered the ball, but when it came back to Smith, he somehow failed to get his shot away and the chance was lost.

A surging run on the right took Service towards the Napier goal and his pass found Anton Dowds in the penalty box, but Jean Dumartin got in a well-timed challenge to concede a corner kick from which Hume headed past.

Jack Robinson’s one-fisted punch on a dangerous cross cleared the ball from the vicinity of the Watt goal and Woolven’s fine pass sent Dowds away. Dowds exchanged passes with Higgins, who got past Dumartin and cut the ball back to Service, who was tackled in the act of shooting. Dowds picked up the loose ball and fired it towards goal from close range, but somehow it still stayed out, striking a player on the goal-line and rebounding into play.

When Napier broke clear again, a long ball downfield found Hume a little suprised by the pace of Jack O’Donnell and when the two players fell in a heap just outside the penalty area, there were calls from Napier partisans for Hume to be sent off, but those who were doing the shouting had clearly failed to notice Woolven, who had come across from the right and had taken the ball away just as the clashing players fell to ground.

Hume was again penalised close to the Watt penalty box two minutes later and when Cormac O’Brien played the ball into the goalmouth, Conor Scott headed just over the bar.

Watt stepped up the pursuit of an equaliser as the game drew towards a close. Sean Campbell found Dowds, whose shot was blocked, but when Service returned the ball to Campbell, his effort went into Oriam.

A free kick was played forward and Woolven, popping up on the left wing, sent across a dangerous low cross, but Scott Davies, not long on the field as a substitute, tried to control the ball instead of just diverting it towards goal and it ran out of play on the far side.

Another narrow defeat against a highly-placed team in Divison 1A – it’s the story of the Watt’s BUCS season.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Robinson, Allison, Hamill (Munro 70), Godsell, Woolven, Hume, Campbell, Service, Smith (Dowds 56), Hay (Davies 77), Ppalis (Higgins 56). All subs. used.

Edinburgh Napier University First:
Cooper, Terry, Blaikie, Gibb, Dumartin, Scott, Smart, Jones, Eadie (McCullach 82), O’Brien, Kelly (O’Donnell 60). Sub. not used: Murray.


Queen’s Park Shield
27th January 2016

Heriot-Watt won 4 – 3 on kicks from the penalty mark

A Watt side without regulars Jack Daniel, Cam Dunn and Connor Godsell struggled to overcome a spirited West of Scotland side in gloomy conditions at Toryglen Football Centre.

Watt was first to threaten, a corner from the left after ten minutes’ play being headed on at the near post by Rob Service for Bruce Hay, but the Watt striker sent his header straight at goalkeeper Jordon Roberts.

Danny Collins was a lively presence for UWS and his pace was troubling the Watt defence, particularly as the referee did not seem keen to make offside judgments. The UWS forwards cottoned on to this early in the game and made full use of it throughout, to the increasing frustration of the Watt defence.

Around the midway point of the first half, Scott Davies came closest so far to opening the scoring with a quick turn and strike from a narrow angle on the left. The direction was perfect and a goal would have been the outcome but for Roberts’ leap to divert the ball behind. Following the resultant corner, Ryan Higgins struck a firm shot from around twenty metres, but again Roberts was in good position to make the save.

The home side took the lead after twenty-six minutes through the industrious Danny Collins. Again there was a suspicion of offside when a rebound from the UWS half soared up the pitch and landed at the feet of the striker. He got in front of Jamie Hume, dragged the ball across the advancing Jack Robinson and tucked it away in the corner of the net.

Five minutes later, the scorer almost gave a reprise of his goal, but this time, although he again got past Hume, he was denied by Robinson, who came out quickly and spread himself at the edge of his area to gather the ball.

A good move on the Watt left created the next chance, with a good pass by Higgins picking out Davies, whose first-time cross would have been met by the head of Hay, had not Neil Stevenson managed to touch the ball with the top of his head and divert it over the Watt man.

Seven minutes before half-time, the Watt defence got in a dreadful tangle. Robinson tried to pass the ball out to a defender, but whoever he was trying to reach wasn’t on the same wavelength and the ball ran to UWS striker Ross Anderson, who played it into the box for Robbie Collins to attack. Adam Woolven got there first, but sliced the ball behind.

The next chance of note was created by Harry Warner, who executed some dazzling footwork in the left corner to leave a couple of defenders behind, then worked inside along the by-line. As so often happened during the game, however, the Watt player failed to find a colleague with his pass and a corner was the best that could be obtained.

As half-time approached, Higgins made a driving run towards the right side of the penalty box. He eluded a couple of tackles, but as he got within a foot of the line, Andy Stokes made certain that he went no further. The free kick by Mark Hamill curled round the wall, but went tamely into the arms of Roberts.

Watt started the second half in much livelier fashion, but when no breakthrough had been made as time wore on, a change was made, Martin Green replacing Warner. Very soon after this came a minute’s play which turned out to be decisive. Danny Collins, who was straying further and further offside as he continued to get away with it, ran on to a long pass. Robinson came out to the edge of his area and Collins chipped the ball over him. Robinson seemed to think the game had been stopped and made no attempt to chase the slow-moving ball, but it slipped just past the post and a goal-kick was the result. From the kick, Martin Green came into possession and made a strong run forward. When he was fouled as he approached the area, Hay took the free kick and curled it just inside the post to the right of Roberts.

Back on level terms, the Watt replaced Davies with Callum Smith and the substitute had an early chance, being put through on the goalkeeper by a pass from Higgins, but he shot much too straight and Roberts made the save.

Higgins was again in action a minute later, doing well to gather a clearance on the right wing and play the ball inside for Hume to nudge it past the outrushing Roberts, but Hume then ran out of space and the ball went past.

Tom Maher came on to replace Spence and the Watt, who had been playing with Woolven, Service and Hume as a back three, went to four at the back, full-backs Hamill and Max Allison dropping back, with Service joining Maher, Higgins and Green in midfield behind Smith and Hay. It was UWS which came nearest to a winning goal, however, when a cross from the left gave Robinson concern. It seemed to come off the bar, although the goalkeeper may have got a punch on the ball. As it came out of the penalty box, Green tried to turn an incoming player, but caught him on the ankle, with the result a free kick just outside the area. The kick was touched to the side, but the Watt players were alert to this and the attempted shot was charged down.

A final chance for the home side in the last seconds was smashed high and wide from a very acute angle by Anderson and we were into “kicks from the penalty mark” to decide the match.

Andy Murdoch went first for UWS and drove his kick straight down the middle to score. Ryan Higgins was the first Watt taker and blazed his kick high and wide. Chris Brown took a tidy penalty to put UWS two up, but Martin Green did likewise to make it 2 – 1. Ross Anderson sent Robinson the wrong way, but shot past the post and Bruce Hay’s authoritative kick squared it at 2 – 2. Luke Pye was next up for UWS and seemed to lack confidence. His weak kick was saved by Robinson diving to his left, but the referee offered him a reprieve by ruling that Robinson had moved off his line too soon. Pye’s second effort was struck almost straight but no harder and Robinson kept it out too. Mark Hamill gave Watt the lead for the first time with a lofted shot to the corner before Simon Cain kept UWS in it with a firm low shot. The tenth penalty was taken by Adam Woolven, who sent Roberts to the wrong side and found the corner of the net to give the Watt victory.

University of the West of Scotland First:
Roberts, Cain, Stokes, Pye, Stevenson, Murdoch, D Collins, Brown, Anderson, Murray, R Collins. Sub. not used: Corr.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Robinson, Allison, Hamill, Service, Woolven, Hume, Warner (Green 54), Spence (Maher 73), Davies (Smith 60), Hay, Higgins. All subs. used.


BUCS Men’s Division 1A
20th January 2016


Head Coach Ian Little has sprung some surprises in his team selections this season, but there has surely been none so startling as this one. For a match which surely had to be won if there were to be any prospect of retaining BUCS top-division status, the team which took the field could have been predicted by no-one. Certainly, Edinburgh Head Coach Dorian Ogunro must have been scratching his head in trying to identify some of his opponents – only three of those who started the reverse fixture in September were in the starting line-up for this game.

One was Rob Service, who has played little football this season, and all of it in BUCS matches, as he tries to recover from his knee injury. Using Rob in central defence rather than in a more demanding midfield role seemed a great idea when it was used previously, but on this occasion the midfielder playing in defence looked ahead to see two centre-backs playing as the central midfield pairing. Jamie Hume and Finn Watt have done sterling work in defence, but combining them in the middle of the park in this way and keeping Ryan Higgins on the bench was an act of some faith. Apart from the ever-reliable Adam Woolven as partner to Service in defence, Cam Dunn was the only player from the previous game against Edinburgh to start this match, and he was moved from left midfield to left-back.

Further forward, there were more surprises, with Martin Green and Bruce Hay, neither of whom has seen much first-team action recently, preferred to Harry Warner and Anton Dowds, with Connor Godsell also kept on the bench.

Despite the substantial changes of personnel, there was much about the pattern of the game to remind one of the previous encounter between these sides. Watt started brightly and pushed forward with Jamie Forsyth and Cam Dunn probing on the flanks and Scott Davies busy in the centre; but, as in the previous game, Edinburgh got stronger as the first half wore on and with less than ten minutes to the interval, took a decisive grip on the game with two goals in a minute. The first was down to a short passback to Jack Robinson and the alertness of the Edinburgh striker, number 18. Robinson attempted to kick the ball clear, but only succeeded in kicking it off the forward and watched in dismay as the rebound crept inside the post. The second goal was much more decisive, the Edinburgh number 7 coming in to meet a cross from the left with a firm header.

Davies tried to get the Watt back into the match with a typically determined run into the right side of the box, shrugging aside a defender, but his low cross eluded team-mates in the centre. Dunn brought the ball back inside and flicked it into a dangerous area, but once again no Watt player could reach it.

Finn Watt, continuing his recovery from a bad injury to his left knee, suffered another injury to the same area from a late challenge by the contentious Edinburgh number 8 just before half-time and was replaced by Anton Dowds.

Watt came close to falling further behind in the first minute of the second half when a shot from the edge of the area struck Robinson’s left-hand post and Woolven stepped in to clear, but eight minutes after the restart the visitors did add another to their tally. The Edinburgh number 18 went on a mazy run from midfield and although Allison tackled him on the edge of the box, he got the break of the ball to continue into the area and fire a left-foot shot past Robinson.

Before the restart, Warner came on to replace Hay, who had made little impact. Soon, a great piece of work by Dunn sent Warner away on the left to send in a fine cross, but there was no Watt player attacking the far post area.

With Godsell and Higgins providing fresh legs, Watt pressed forward and grabbed a goal back with a fine move. An excellent take, turn and pass by Dowds gave Warner the chance to stride into the right side of the penalty area, from where he sent a crisp low shot to the far corner of the goal.

This challenge seemed to rouse Edinburgh and a good move put number 10 in for a shot which Robinson turned over the bar. This was to no avail, however, as the corner from the right came off the thigh of Higgins and sat up nicely for the Edinburgh number 7, who drove it in to restore the visitors’ three-goal advantage.

Five minutes later, Watt brought it back to two again, Hume executing a well-judged over-the-shoulder header to meet a free kick from the right and wrong-foot the Edinburgh goalkeeper. After this, it was all Watt, but the domination came too late and the frantic attacking failed to produce any further goals. Davies’ clever cushion-header gave Warner a shooting chance which the goalkeeper turned behind; then Allison drove forward and laid the ball wide for Green to send in a cross which was cleared as far as Dowds, but his shot was blocked in a crowded area and Higgins despatched the rebound into Oriam. Higgins was fouled near to the area, but this time the free kick by Dowds found Oriam. Davies’ close-range header from Godsell’s quality cross was turned over the bar by the goalkeeper, who also got hands to Hume’s volley when Dowds headed down Green’s cross, before completing his work for the day by saving Warner’s shot from twenty metres.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Robinson, Allison, Dunn (Godsell 62), Service, Woolven, Hume, Forsyth (Higgins 62), Watt (Dowds 44), Davies, Hay (Warner 53), Green. All subs. used.

Edinburgh University First: no team lines received.


BUCS Men’s Division 3A
2nd December 2015


If they ever need reminding of how frustrating a game football can be, Watt people who watched this match will think of it and remember the feeling. Caley started the match well and took an early lead, but after the Watt scored a well-deserved equaliser early in the second half, it seemed that the home side was by far the more likely winner. Having dominated the second half, however, Watt was caught out by a sucker punch late in the game.

The home side started sluggishly and fell behind after fourteen minutes when the defence made a poor job of trying to clear a corner and GCU’s number 6 found the corner of the net through a forest of legs. Two minutes later it could have been worse when Adam Kerlin’s rash challenge on the edge of the area resulted in a penalty to the visitors, but Elliot Redmile saved superbly from the GCU number 7’s kick, throwing himself to his right to turn the ball round the post.

Watt still didn’t get into their stride for some time after this, but eventually the team began to click. Adam Breen’s wonderful dummy gave Neil Robb the chance to burst through on the left, but his square ball was a little too firm and forced Elliot Sutherland wide, so that when he shot he could only find the side net.

Before half-time, Max Allison replaced Olly Spence, who had been unable to shake off a knee injury.

The second half belonged almost entirely to the Watt. Breen was brought down on the edge of the area soon after the restart and Sutherland’s free kick was turned round the post by the GCU goalkeeper. When Sutherland’s long corner was turned back to Andres Santa, the midfielder timed his shot well but his direction was out and the ball passed harmlessly past the far post.

Watt then forced a series of corners, culminating in Cam Dunn’s ball across goal being turned away for a corner on the right. When the corner came in, Breen made good ground across the box to send a low header into goal for the equaliser.

Scott Davies, Thomas Maher and Sean Campbell all came into the fray as Watt sought a winning goal. Campbell’s shot after an exchange of passes with Maher just missed the target, then the same player bored into the penalty box and fired in a shot which was deflected for a corner on the left. Campbell took the corner himself and curled the ball in at the far post, obliging a defender to head off the line for a corner on the right. Toby McIntosh’s corner to the near post struck a defender and the goalkeeper was able to dive on the ball.

A few minutes later, McIntosh got up well at the back post but sent his header just wide. The visiting goalkeeper had a stroke of luck when he escaped punishment after punching the ball away from outside his area, but was a bit less fortunate when he rushed from his goal to kick the ball away and his foot was stood upon. This caused the ‘keeper to hirple about briefly, but caused no lasting discomfort, so it was amazing to see him at the end of the match offering to fight the player he held responsible for his slight injury. If he cannot accept the knocks which happen in a contact sport without such a reaction, perhaps this player should consider taking up another game.

As the match entered its final minutes, GCU began to get forward a little more. Redmile saved well when the visitors’ number 9 sent in a good shot at the end of a smart move and then with three minutes left on the clock, disaster struck the Watt side. Breen got in a good block on the edge of the box, but the ball spun loose and as various players tried to get a touch, the GCU number 7 steered it past the advancing Redmile into the goal.

Watt did their best to grab another equaliser in the remaining moments, but it was predictably frantic. Allison made a great run off the right wing into the box, but waited too long to cut the ball back and there were plenty of defenders around to intercept. Caledonian’s number 8 was cautioned for taking out Allison on a run down the right and from the free kick, a corner was gained. Sean Campbell accepted the ball short and crossed to the far post, but although several Watt players, including McIntosh and Robb, launched themselves towards the ball, none made contact and it went out for a goal kick. In the last action of the game, Davies was brought down by the GCU number 2 on the left side. Kerlin’s free kick was a good one, but Robb had to lean back slightly to take the header and it grazed the bar as it went over.

Heriot-Watt University:
Redmile, Kerlin, McIntosh, Spence (Allison 42), Imray, MacDonald, Sutherland (Maher 63), Robb, Breen, Santa (Davies 56), Dunn (Campbell 63).


BUCS Men’s Trophy – First Round
25th November 2015


This looked on paper like a tough draw for Watt, against the team in third place in the top division of the Northern Conference, and that impression was not misleading. Watt tried hard against a slick-moving MMU side and there wasn’t much between the teams, but in the end it could not be denied that the visitors deserved their victory, although a goal with the last kick of the game perhaps gave a misleading look to the final score.

Watt lined up with Jack Robinson in goal, Connor Godsell and Jack Daniel at full back; Jamie Hume was fit again after his long injury lay-off and partnered Adam Woolven in central defence; Ryan Higgins and Anton Dowds played in central midfield with Elliot Sutherland and Cam Dunn in the wide positions; and Bruce Hay was up front along with Scott Davies.

After a closely-contested half-hour of play which made good watching, the visitors went ahead in thirty-four minutes. The goal had a touch of good fortune about it, with the shot from the MMU number 6 taking a deflection and looping over the head of Robinson into goal.

Before half-time, Watt was back on level terms. The ball was worked in from the right and Dunn slipped it through to Hay, who placed a precise shot past the goalkeeper from quite a tight angle.

The second half belonged mostly to the ‘ManMet’ team, who went ahead five minutes after the restart when their number 9, a striker of some quality, accepted a pass to find the corner of the goal. In sixty-five minutes the same player made it three for the visitors, converting a dangerous low centre from the right back.

A flood of substitutions followed, disrupting the flow of play, and this may have been the reason for so much stoppage time being played. This brought an unfortunate ending to the game for the Watt. Woolven was adjudged by the referee to have fouled a player in a position that prevented a goalscoring opportunity and was sent off. The MMU number 9 took the penalty and struck the ball to the left of the diving Robinson. The ball struck the inside of the post, shot across the goal, hit the other post and finished in the arms of the surprised but grateful goalkeeper. Watt came close after a quick break upfield when substitute Fraser Wilson accepted a pass from Mark Hamill to drive into the box and slide a shot across the goalkeeper but just past the post, but there was a further sting in the tail as MMU substitute number 12 tapped the ball into goal when the number 9 cut the ball back from the line in the fifth minute of stoppage time. The ball had no sooner reached the net than the referee blew for full time.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Robinson, Godsell (Kerlin 72), Daniel, Woolven, Hume, Higgins, Sutherland (Warner 72), Dowds (Wilson 83), Davies (Green 65), Hay, Dunn (Hamill 65). All subs. used.


BUCS Women’s Division 3A
11th November 2015


Remarkably, in view of the scoreline, the comment from Watt Coach Banji Koya after this match was that the Queen Margaret side wasn’t by any means as bad as the score makes it appear. The Watt side, however, was ruthless and very efficient at converting its chances.

In training, Watt had been working at getting the ball into wide positions and attacking the box to meet crosses – and no fewer than fifteen goals came from that route.

Rebecca McArthur filled her boots with a double-figures personal haul. How many times in a career can anyone claim to have done that? Rachael Connor chipped in with another five goals, Emily Reynolds bagged three and there were two each for Marz Roberts and Suzanne Macdonald.

When the BUCS table is finally updated to show this result, the Watt team will be up to third, three points behind Edinburgh Napier First with a game in hand.


BUCS Men’s Division 1A
11th November 2015


This game, played on the Gannochy synthetic in rain which varied from heavy to very heavy, was a big disappointment for the improving Watt side, which deserved better than a two-goal defeat.

The side which started for the Watt was a real makeshift effort. Both Rob Service and Adam Woolven, the central-defensive pairing which had served the Watt so well against Abertay in the previous match, were unfit for this fixture, the previously ever-present Woolven having sustained an injury in training. Jack Daniel was moved into the centre with Ryan Higgins alongside him. With Liam Walker and Elliot Sutherland also missing from the side, there was a start in attack for Bruce Hay, scorer of the Watt’s goal in the Abertay game and Portuguese midfielder Rodrigo Almeida, who provided a bright cameo in a late substitute appearance in that match, gained his first starting berth.

There was no scoring in the first half, although Daniel Fitzpatrick had a great chance for Stirling when the ball bounced through to him from a throw-in on the left. Fitzpatrick took a step back to make quite sure of his aim, then sent a shot across goal past the post to the right of Craig Saunders.

Almeida showed lots of skill and endeavour and his good ball control set up a chance for Hay, but his shot, although accurate, lacked the power to beat Tim Hughes.

Just before the interval, Watt had a real scare when Martin Green accepted a short pass-out from Saunders and passed the ball straight to Stirling striker Rory MacEwan on the edge of the penalty area. MacEwan tried to curl the ball round Saunders, but the Watt goalkeeper presents a formidable barrier and he was able to block the ball away and let a defender clear it.

Three minutes into the second half came a game-changing incident which left the Watt seething over its injustice. Fitzpatrick cut in from the right and sent in a shot which Saunders, diving low to his right, saved superbly. The ball, however, shot up against the arm of Higgins, who was standing in very close proximity. Higgins had no time to move and his arm was across his chest – and after striking him, the ball was nudged into goal by a Stirling player anyway – but none of those facts counted.

The referee was an old friend from East of Scotland football, John Weir, but he responded in a most unfriendly fashion. It is uncertain whether the referee had already decided to penalise the Watt player or whether he reacted to the interference of the Assistant Referee, who raised his flag, but although the ball had gone into goal, the decision was a penalty and a dismissal for the distraught Higgins, who was sent off for standing still in the wrong place.

We have often commented on this site about the unfairness of the current application of the rules about handling and the deleterious effect it is having on the game. This was the most glaring example of our experience to date. We have never seen a player sent off for taking less action or for less of an attempt to influence play. Players cannot be expected to make their arms disappear and sending them off for happening to have arms is destructive to the spirit of the game.

None of this was of concern to Malcolm Burgess as he struck the penalty kick high into goal to put Stirling ahead.

Five minutes later, with the Watt still groggy and trying to adjust to having lost another central defender, Burgess increased the home lead, accepting a pass from the left and drilling a shot past Saunders from the edge of the area.

Having suffered these severe setbacks, the Watt players gritted their teeth and fought their way back into the match. Mark Hamill started it off with a good run into the box and a shot which Hughes, diving low to his left, managed to get enough of a hand on to send the ball off the post and behind. The corner was met by Anton Dowds with a firm header into the net.

Five minutes later, the ten men brought the scores level. Hay was fighting a losing battle with two Stirling defenders, but managed to hold up the ball for long enough for Almeida to arrive. Almeida nipped the ball away and as defender and goalkeeper hesitated, Almeida got a foot in to lift the ball over Hughes and then followed in to make sure it entered the goal.

Watt was in full cry now and when Cam Dunn’s good run on the left ended in a low cross, a Stirling defender, in trying to block it, fell over in the penalty box and the ball struck his upper arm. It was quite correct that he was not penalised, however, as he clearly did not play the ball intentionally.

Stirling pressed back strongly and Fitzpatrick went down the right, carrying the ball momentarily over the sideline, but being allowed by the Assistant to continue his run and win a corner. From this kick, the ball was delivered beyond the far post and contested by Connor Godsell and Harry Ball-Lindsay. The players cancelled each other out and the ball fell between them. Godsell lost sight of it, enabling Ball-Lindsay to strike a fierce drive towards goal from just a few metres out and to hold his head in disbelief as he saw Saunders react instantly to turn the ball round the post.

Watt never did manage to get the ball back over the half-way line, however, and eventually another corner delivered into a similar area was headed in by Liam Allison to put the home side ahead again. Once again, the Assistant’s mistake was decisive – though this time it was a lack of action.

Goals in this match came in braces and having scored once, Stirling was bound to score again. Five minutes later, the Watt defence gave the ball away and Burgess came into possession on the edge of the area. His finish was masterly, body movement deceiving Saunders before he stroked the ball into the corner of the goal.

There were further chances close to the end of the match and Saunders further distinguished himself with a double save before Watt substitute Scott Munro had a clear opportunity on the left side of the area, but failed to shoot first time and was tackled before he could get his shot away.

Stirling University Second:
Hughes, Greig, McAnespie, Mooney, Ball-Lindsay, Monro, Fitzpatrick, Hunter, MacEwan, Burgess (Shiells 82), Allison (Collins 78). Subs. not used: McCaughie, Halley, Keane.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Saunders, Godsell, Hamill, Higgins, Daniel, Dowds, Davies (Kerlin 55), Green (Allison 86), Hay (Spence 74), Almeida (Duffy 86), Dunn (Munro 78). All subs. used.

Referee: Mr John Weir (Denny)


BUCS Men’s Division 1A
28th October 2015


It’s a funny old game, Saint. Having performed miserably last week to make it four defeats in a row in Division 1A, the Watt put on a spirited performance against the unbeaten table-toppers and came within half a minute of securing the victory.

At the start of this game, we had the unexpected sight of Rob Service lining up at centre-back alongside Adam Woolven. This turned out to be a very smart move, giving the still-recuperating Service a break from the constant hard graft of a midfield berth, providing for Woolven a skilful and dependable partner, releasing Jack Daniel to play left-back and allowing Cam Dunn to move forward. From the start, the Watt looked the sharper side, with Dunn causing anxiety with darting runs on the left and Elliot Sutherland, restored to the side on the right wing, always liable to do the unexpected.

Dunn created a chance after twelve minutes with a fine run which carried him inside to thread a pass through for Anton Dowds and when he was tackled, Scott Davies gathered to give Sutherland a clear run through on goalkeeper Cameron McPherson. Sutherland, however, shot straight at McPherson and the goalkeeper gathered easily.

Two minutes later, the Watt got a huge break, courtesy of the Abertay defenders. Dowds had tried to tiptoe through the middle of the visitors’ defence and when he was tackled, the ball ran through towards goal. Abertay left-back Frankie Lannen steered the ball back towards McPherson only to find that the ‘keeper had come up behind him. The ball trickled gently into the corner of the net to give the Watt the lead.

Six minutes later, Abertay got an equaliser that also had an element of good fortune about it. After a sustained attack on the left, the ball was worked inside and laid back for midfielder Stewart MacRae to strike. There was a crowd of players in the penalty box and the ball struck one of them and deflected out of the reach of Jack Robinson into the corner of the net.

Abertay had started the game lethargically, but this goal seemed to give the side a big lift and suddenly the visitors started to show some of the form that had given them so much success in previous matches. MacRae was a dynamic force in the middle of the park and Lewis Baker a threat in attack. David Geekie, a skilful midfielder, went on a mazy run six minutes from half-time, taking him all the way to the Watt penalty area before a tackle set the ball back for Pillan Duddy to strike. His curling effort came off the outside of the post on its way past.

The weather was never pleasant at any time during the day, but for the second half it was especially dismal, with heavy rain a feature throughout.
Both sides found it harder to create clear-cut chances in the early part of the half, but around the hour mark Duddy knocked the ball down for Baker in a central area. The ball bounced high, however, and the striker was unable to generate much power in his shot. Shortly after this, a superb pass by Dunn and a well-timed run by Davies gave the Watt striker a run in on goal, but he had a fair amount of ground to cover and with McPherson advancing quickly and Davies running full tilt, it was a hard one to judge. At the critical moment, Davies lost his footing and was unable to get his shot away.

Davies had another chance a few minutes later, going down the right to connect with a through pass. Although Mark Hamill was in good position to his left, Davies fancied his chances with the shot, but he missed the target by a foot or so.

MacRae then came in from the right and drove in two shots, both of which were blocked, and when the ball came back to Duddy, Robinson had to be smartly out to block the ball behind.

With seven minutes left on the clock, the Watt retook the lead with a goal of high quality. Hamill’s pass down the left was precisely weighted to connect with Davies’s run and enable him to play the ball into the middle first time. The cross was perfect, passing between defender and goalkeeper to enable Bruce Hay, who had only been on the pitch as a substitute for three minutes, to steer a volley with the inside of his right foot into the corner to the left of McPherson. Beautiful!

Four minutes later, as Abertay pressed forward in quest of an equaliser and the game became very loose, Watt had a glorious chance to wrap up the win. Davies and Hay broke upfield with only a single Abertay defender for company, but when Davies slipped the ball through to Hay, his attempt to curl the ball past the goalkeeper’s left hand was woefully underhit and McPherson was able to get a hand to the ball. As the ball ran free, Davies managed to get his foot on it, but under heavy pressure was unable to direct it towards goal.

It was a crucial missed opportunity, as two minutes later, Service halted an Abertay attack with a foul thirty metres from goal and Baker thundered the free-kick in off the underside of the bar. Half a minute later came the final whistle.

This was a much better performance than any the Watt has previously given in BUCS competition this season, but the side must learn how to maintain a lead. Twice the Watt lads went ahead in this game and twice they were pegged back six minutes later. If this habit can be cured, there is some prospect of an improvement in the league position.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Robinson, Godsell, Daniel, Woolven, Service, Higgins, Sutherland (Hamill 65), Green, Davies, Dowds (Almeida 16), Dunn (Hay 80). Subs. not used: Imray, Munro.

Abertay Dundee University First:
McPherson, Williamson (Melvin 61), Lannen, Picher, Anderson, MacRae, MacKintosh, Geekie, Baker, Duddy, Wilson (Grant 61). Sub. not used: Otto.


BUCS Men’s Division 1A
21st October 2015


After losing an early goal and fighting back to equalise before half-time, Heriot-Watt slumpted to another defeat with a limp second-half performance. By the end, the result could have been much worse had not Jack Robinson in the Watt goal turned in a fine display.

The Watt lost an early goal when Cam Dunn was adjudged to have fouled Matt Fraser on the Napier right and the free kick was powerfully headed into goal by Jack Blakey.

Watt seemed to have equalised when a good pass by Anton Dowds was hooked past Ryan Cooper by Cammy Stevenson. Fabian Sta did supremely well to get back quickly and hook the ball away from the goalmouth, but the ball did appear to be fully over the line and it came as a surprise when the assistant referee kept his flag down and no goal was awarded.

Five minutes later, Watt did produce an equaliser. Stevenson’s corner from the left was headed away at the near post and Dunn advanced quickly to strike a firm, low shot which took a deflection on its way through the crowd in the penalty box, but continued on its way into goal.

A cute dragback by Pat Kelly gave the Napier winger the chance for a shot from the edge of the area, but from a standing position he drove the ball a yard over the bar.

Jack Daniel got in a good block to stop a further attack by the home side and Watt broke quickly, with Mark Hamill cutting in from the left and sending the ball curling on a trajectory which would have taken it just inside the far post, had not Cooper dived to touch it round the post.

Watt had a huge let-off when Zander Murray wriggled his way into the box and sent in a low shot. Robinson was quickly out to block with his legs, but the rebound went straight to Chris Eadie. With the goal gaping, the Napier striker took the ball on the volley and missed the target.

Robinson saved again before half-time when Fraser profited from Murray’s set-up work to shoot from the edge of the area, but the Watt goalkeeper was quickly down to his right to save.

Dunn then made a great run out of defence, going all the way to the penalty box and getting his shot away, but when it was blocked behind, the half-time whistle sounded before the corner could be taken.

The second half started unpromisingly for the visitors when Robinson was called into action in the first minute, diving to turn Eadie’s shot round the post. Napier had brought on two substitutes at half-time, Jamie Smart replacing Fraser and Christopher Price replacing Rees Dalby.

The latter move enabled Michael Gibb to be pushed forward and this had a profound effect on the game. Gibb’s pacy, searching runs were a big feature of the second half. He showed his danger with a run to the by-line and a dangerous cutback which eluded the strikers but was picked up on the right, eventually leading to a pass inside by Smart which was nudged towards goal by Murray and dribbled just past.

Four minutes later, Gibb reprised his earlier run, leaving Connor Godsell in his wake. This time, however, he cut inside and sent a right-foot shot curling high into the top corner of the net, giving Robinson no chance.

Murray had been a danger to the Watt defence throughout and he made a threatening break on the right, taking a pass on the half-volley, but driving his shot across goal and past. Rob Service was most unfairly dealt with, receiving a caution for the second of two excellent challenges which were both wrongly penalised and shortly after he and Martin Green were replaced by Jamie Forsyth and Sean Campbell.

Watt looked short of ideas and energy and Dowds provided an example of this when he was caught dallying on the ball and Napier poured forward in numbers, Robinson rescuing his side again with a fine save when Murray turned on to his left side and sent in a rasping shot. Gibb got to the by-line again and cut the ball back for Sam Jones, but he shot wildly.

Adam Kerlin replaced Hamill and was soon involved in the action, hooking the ball into the box to match Stevenson’s run, but it was a hard one to convert and the shot went into the ground, enabling Cooper to save easily.

Eventually, with five minutes remaining, Napier sealed the win with a third goal. This one was characteristic of Watt’s day, as a pass struck the referee and fell to a Napier player. The home side had plenty of men forward and the ball was worked through for Murray to tap in.

Another comment on Watt’s afternoon came in stoppage time when Godsell, who had never stopped trying to make a contribution to the attacking effort, cut inside, exchanged passes with Forsyth and sent a left-foot shot off the inside of the post with Cooper rooted to the spot. The ball then shot across goal and was turned behind out of harm’s way.

Edinburgh Napier University First:
Cooper, Sta, Gibb, Dumartin, Blakey, Dalby (Price 45), M Fraser (Smart 45), Jones, Eadie, Murray, Kelly (J Fraser 83). Sub. not used: Terry.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Robinson, Godsell, Dunn, Woolven, Daniel, Higgins, Hamill (Kerlin 78), Service (Forsyth 70), Stevenson, Green (Campbell 70), Dowds. All subs. used.

Referee: Mr Gary Mackenzie


BUCS Men’s Division 1A
14th October 2015


Watt confirmed in this match that BUCS 1A football is going to be a struggle this season. Strathclyde was the tighter side throughout and after being three goals down at half-time, Watt might have taken a heavier beating. There may be some consolation in having stopped the rot and improved the score in the second half, but Strathclyde seemed content at that stage to hold what they had and always appeared to have something in reserve.

In the early stages of the game, there were hopeful signs, with a decent effort from Jamie Forsyth skimming the bar and Scott Davies getting in two shots in quick succession, Mark Hamill having supplied the link. Rob Service had the best chance of all when a free kick played low through the Strathclyde defence bounced up ahead of him, but he couldn’t get the necessary purchase on his shot and Adam Rennie was able to make the catch.

When this early surge passed, the visitors were able to make their greater cohesion tell and with twenty minutes on the clock Michael Smith opened the scoring with a curling right-foot shot after Blair Shearer and Nathan Leicester had combined on the left to secure the ball and play it inside.

A poor clearance might have given Watt the chance to level, Ryan Higgins sending a header through to Fraser Wilson, but he was quickly challenged and when the ball ran to Davies, his shot went across the goalmouth rather than towards goal. A superb ball by Adam Woolven then picked out Adam Kerlin on a run down the right, but the low cross was cut out by a defender.

Mac Duncan had a free run on goal from the left, but his attempted chip was easily picked out by Jack Robinson. Then, seven minutes from half-time, came another of those incidents we so often fulminate against. An attempted shot struck the arm of Jack Daniel and the result was the award of a penalty and a caution for the defender.

As we have so often said (just as often when the decision has been in our favour as when it’s been against us), the instructions nowadays given to referees about handling offences are stupid, illogical and radically unfair. A player who is making an honest attempt to play the ball is now penalised because in making his challenge he hasn’t considered the positions of his arms and brought them to a disposition the football authorities consider “natural”, which is approximately by his sides – the most unnatural position possible. If it happens twice, the player is sent off, despite having done nothing intentionally against the spirit of the game. With this in mind, a player will often now try to challenge in the box with his arms behind his back, which is a ludicrous precaution to have to take. This interpretation of the rules is doing much to ruin matches and is now causing forwards to aim for the limbs of opponents as hockey players do.

Anyway, the result of this referee applying the rule as he’s been taught is that Leicester fired in the penalty and the Watt’s hopes were fading fast.

A minute before half-time, bad went to worse as a ball across the face of the Watt goal was turned in by Duncan to make the half-time score 3 – 0 to the visitors.

With Cammy Stevenson on for Wilson, Watt surged forward. A foul on Stevenson gave the Watt a free kick in a promising position, but the adrenalin was coursing through Stevenson’s body and he struck the free kick into Oriam.

The forward momentum didn’t last long and amidst a welter of substitutions the game became fragmented. Strathclyde threatened occasionally, with Hamill stepping in to thwart Duncan in one raid and Leicester heading a Kris Gray cross past in another.

With less than twenty minutes left to play, Watt got the encouragement of a goal. Higgins made a run into the left side of the penalty area and a clumsy challenge from Martin Kollveit brought him down as he neared the goal. Not that we like to harp on about such things, but it is interesting to note that although Daniel was automatically cautioned for something over which he had no control, Kollveit was not sanctioned for bringing down a player about eight metres from goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. Dunn’s penalty kick was saved by Rennie, diving to his left, but the rebound was tucked away into the other corner by Dunn.

There was no real threat of a Watt revival and the nearest thing to another goal came just a couple of minutes from the end. Stevenson came into possession on the edge of the box and eluded two defenders to get to the by-line and turn the ball across for Davies, but although near to goal, Davies was so closely marked that he was unable to get in an effective shot.

There is still a lack of cohesion to the Watt’s play and it may be asking too much of Rob Service and Jamie Forsyth to expect them to dominate in midfield whilst still making their ways back from serious injuries. Anton Dowds seemed like a good man to have in reserve, but when he made his entrance with almost a third of the game still to play, he didn’t seem to get sufficiently involved and played much too deep to make a significant contribution to the effort of getting the Watt back into the game. Ryan Higgins was his usual busy self, but needs others with similar commitment and energy alongside him.

Cam Dunn was by far the most potent attacking force for the Watt in this game, but all the attacking players seemed to get isolated, making it easy for the Strathclyde defence to pick them off.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Robinson, Kerlin (Godsell 86), Dunn, Woolven, Daniel, Higgins, Davies, Service (Dowds 66), Wilson (Stevenson 45), Forsyth (Green 75), Hamill. All subs. used.

Strathclyde University First:
Rennie, Gray, McInnes (Aubrey 80), Kollveit, Jamieson, Watson, Shearer, Smith, Leicester (Robertson 85), Hansson (Cogan 60), Duncan (Morrison 68). Sub. not used: Comrie.

BUCS Men’s Division 1A
7th October 2015


Playing on Pitch 1 in weather which ranged from light drizzle to steady downpour, Watt gave an indifferent performance, but might well have taken something out of this game.

After a downbeat start to the match, Watt had a couple of half-chances. Anton Dowds used the run of Jamie Forsyth as a decoy and put Mark Hamill in on the left with a reverse pass, but Stirling goalkeeper Tim Hughes was out quickly to narrow the angle and make the save. Hamill had another shooting opportunity a minute or two later from Fraser Wilson’s chest layoff, but this time he fired high and wide.

With eighteen minutes played, Stirling took the lead. A low ball in from the right skidded past the players in the middle and reached the unmarked David Collins, who drove the ball under the diving Craig Saunders.

A poor clearance by the Watt goalkeeper almost cost a second goal seven minutes later. Saunders rushed off his line to try to remedy the situation, enabling Collins to head over his hands, but Adam Woolven had spotted the danger and covered behind to sweep the ball away for a corner.

Stirling’s tall, strong midfielder David McCaughie was an influential force and his shot through a crowded box was turned behind by the diving Saunders. This came at the start of a period of fragility for the Watt. Woolven’s vigilance was required to deal with a dangerous cross from the left, then Liam Allison brushed past the right side of the home defence to cut the ball back to McCaughie, but the big man’s shot was unexpectedly weak and Saunders was able to grasp the ball as he came back across his line. Shortly after this, McCaughie had another effort from twenty metres, but although he struck the ball more firmly this time, his shot was sliced and missed the target.

Seven minutes into the second half, Watt’s best move of the match by far produced a fine equaliser. Good sharp passing on the left enabled Hamill to send a perceptive curling pass across the Stirling defence. Forsyth couldn’t quite make up the ground to strike the ball first time, which meant that he had to take the shot from a tighter angle than was ideal; nevertheless, he drilled an accurate shot across Hughes into the far corner of the net.

Watt came desperately close to effecting a complete turnround in the game with another goal a minute later. Hamill caught a defender napping and cleverly played the ball into a position from which he could shoot with his next touch. As Hughes advanced, Hamill sent a well-judged chip over his head, but the goalkeeper did supremely well, reacting instantly to stretch back and get just enough glove on the ball to carry it over the bar. It was a sensational save and one which in all likelihood made the difference between defeat and victory for his side.

Just four minutes after this, Stirling regained the lead. The ball broke to Allison on the left and his low drive carried too much force for Saunders to hold it. The ball spilled invitingly in front of Lewis Hunter, who only had to tap it into the vacant goal.

There weren’t many goalmouth incidents in the last half-hour of the game, although Ryan Higgins came perilously close to scoring at the wrong end when he tried to direct a header back to Saunders and headed just past the post instead.

Adam Kerlin replaced Forsyth and for the last ten minutes of the game we had a first glimpse of Jacob Duffy. The youngster looked lively too and with five minutes left to play, Watt should have had a penalty when a good header on by Wilson was anticipated by Duffy, who touched the ball past a Stirling defender and was then taken out of the play. For some reason unknown, the referee did not consider this a foul and Stirling held on to take the points.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Saunders, Higgins, Dunn, Woolven, Daniel, Service, Hamill, Green, Wilson, Dowds (Duffy 79), Forsyth (Kerlin 70). All subs. used.

Stirling University Second:
Hughes, Greig (McFadyen 83), Mooney (McAnespie 28), Monro, Lynch, Ball-Lindsay, Hunter, McCaughie, Collins, Halley (Underhill 59), Allison (Corrin 90).



BUCS Men’s Division 1A
30th September 2015


Watt could consider themselves a little unfortunate to find themselves behind after a first half in which they had created several good chances but just failed to score, then lost a goal in stoppage time at the end of the half. By the end of the game, however, there was no doubt about the better side and Edinburgh deservedly took the points.

The first chance of note came in the tenth minute, when Ryan Higgins took advantage of a mistake in the centre of the home defence, but his pass to Cam Dunn was too far ahead of him and Dunn was obliged to stab the ball past the advancing Calum Davidson, but in doing so played the ball over the by-line.

Edinburgh had a threatening attack in the following minute. Calum Murray, whose pace and power were a menace to the Watt defence throughout, got past Adam Woolven. Jack Daniel blocked his shot and Peter Mair fired the rebound over the bar.

A few minutes later, a free kick played in by Cammy Stevenson was flicked on by Anton Dowds, but Dunn’s stabbed shot lacked belief and dribbled past the post.

Jack Duffy headed a cross from the right just past as Edinburgh responded. Fraser Wilson then sent in a good right-footer from twenty-five metres, but a subtle pull on his arm just before he took the shot disrupted his aim and the ball went just past.

Wilson had a better chance shortly after this as he caught Jamie Jackson dawdling on the ball and robbed him on the edge of the penalty area. With just the goalkeeper to beat, Wilson took the ball on too far and struck Davidson with his shot. He got the ball back on the rebound, but by this time he was too tight to the by-line and in trying to turn the ball into goal, struck the outside of the post.

The shooting power of the tall, strong Mair was a threat for ‘Burgh and he fired in another effort from Jack Daniel’s poor clearance, but the angle was tight and his shot went over the bar. Murray’s searching cross created a difficulty for the Watt defence; Daniel got his head to the ball but couldn’t get much purchase and when it returned to playing height, Duffy hooked it over the bar.

A low cross from the right asked a question of the Watt defence but Woolven, running towards his own goal, coolly cleared the danger with a backheel to Rob Service. Watt progressed upfield and Service combined with Dowds to attack the centre of the home defence and when Dowds confused Jackson with a stepover too many for the liking of the defender, he felled the Watt man to concede a free kick, but Stevenson shot wide.

Towards the end of the half, Edinburgh attacked on the left. Higgins went to challenge but was unlucky with a ricochet which allowed Duffy to continue into the area where he was clumsily brought to earth by Adam Kerlin. Scott McCrorie-Irving fired the penalty firmly towards the corner of goal to the left of Craig Saunders, but the Watt goalkeeper dived to save superbly, getting a strong hand to the ball and pushing it away towards the corner flag.

McCrorie-Irving sought to compensate for his failure from the spot and when he tricked his way past Woolven, was brought down on the edge of the box, some fifteen metres from the corner flag on the Edinburgh right. Woolven made amends, however, with a good clearance when the free kick was played in.

There was plenty still to happen in a first half which included three minutes of stoppage time. Watt had their closest thing yet after an excellent move; Dowds inventively flicked the ball through for Stevenson on the right side of the box. Stevenson, with his back to goal, still had plenty to do, but he did it well, turning sharply to lose his marker and driving a superb shot across Davidson. Unfortunately for the Watt, the ball thumped off the underside of the bar and fell for the defenders.

In the last action of the first half, a free kick was conceded on the Edinburgh left. Ross Paterson played it in over the Watt defensive wall and as players ran across the line of the ball without anyone seeming to get a touch, the ball dipped sharply and went under Saunders into goal.

Nine minutes into the second period, Watt came desperately close to an equaliser. Stevenson set the ball back for Higgins on the edge of the area and his low shot slipped inches past the post as Davidson stood rooted to the spot in the middle of the goal.

That was the Watt’s last real chance to get back into the game. A free kick which hammered off the underside of the Watt bar and bounced down not far from the goal-line was a warning. Paterson then struck a first-time shot just over the bar. Then, half-way through the second period, the home side scored a second goal.

An Edinburgh attack on the left seemed to have fizzled out, but the Watt defenders gave the ball back and when it was played low into the centre, David Oswald found himself in isolation to tap in from close range.

Watt gave some game time to Callum Smith and Bruce Hay, but there were no further attempts of note on either goal.

Edinburgh University First:
Davidson, Thomson, Murray, Irvine, Jackson, Maelger (Verkaik 70), McCrorie-Irving, Mair, Duffy, Oswald, Paterson. Subs. not used: McIntosh, Aitken, Evans, Mortimer.

Heriot-Watt University First:
Saunders, Kerlin, Hamill, Daniel, Woolven, Higgins, Stevenson (Hay 70), Service (Green 62), Wilson, Dowds (Smith 70), Dunn. Sub. not used: Forsyth.