All posts by John Stephens

I am a 21 year old journalism student with a varying range of interests. I cover any stories ranging from music to politics and general to sport. I like writing features and opinion articles as well so keep a look out for them.

Caldwell and Grant star as Hibs progress

Scottish FA Youth Cup – 3rd Round
Hibernian 2-1 Heart of Midlothian (AET)
Saturday 12th November 2011, Easter Road Stadium

7 points clear at the top of the under-19′s league table Hearts were the favourites to progress at the expense of local rivals Hibs. However failure to turn their dominance into goals proved to be their ultimate downfall as Ross Caldwell netted a brace to knock Hearts out of the cup.

Hearts started brightly from the kick-off and pushed upfield to win a corner after just 26 seconds and also before the five minute mark Jason Holt produced a dangerous cutback which flashed across the 6 yard box, however there was no player ready to pounce and send the ball into the back of the net.

The opening 20 minutes were however very even as both teams attempted to gain a foothold in a hotly contested Edinburgh derby. Hibernian’s Daniel Handling floated a cross into the box and the unmarked Phil Addison blazed over from inside the box with a volley he was unable to keep down. Ross Caldwell then played an incisive through ball for Daniel Handling and his angled drive had Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton beaten, yet it thumped against the bar in what was the closest to a goal in the game yet.

Paul Grant in the Hibs goal was in excellent form, and he needed to be as a firm header from Callum Paterson looked destined to make the net bulge. This was closely followed by a disallowed goal. Grant was unable to keep out a speculative overhead kick from Jamie Walker however the young Hearts number 11 seen his fantastic effort ruled out for offside.

The game remained open as Hearts continued to prove to the stronger of the two sides, Grant had to pull off another fine save after David Smith had danced through the Hibernian defence and had a near post effort blocked by the presence of the Hibs stopper.

When Hibs finally broke free of the relentless Hearts attacks they almost scored. An erratic clearance from Jack Hamilton fell to Daniel Handling whose effort ended up on the wrong side of the post.

The second half started off in an uneventful fashion. With both sides eager to grab the first goal passes were increasingly going astray. However Fraser Mullen collected a pass from David Smith and his effort from inside the box hit the back of the net. His goal was created with great technical ability, which was apparent in the first half as both sides played intricate passing football. However a slack piece of defending allowed Mullen to slip into the box and drill his effort home on 61 minutes.

Ross Caldwell raced in on goal soon after and rounded Hamilton, however the ball rolled into an awkward angle and with an open goal his effort hit the post which then rebounded back to Sam Stanton who saw his effort blocked en route to goal and cleared by the Hearts skipper Christopher Kane.

Hibs continued to burst forward and after efforts from Euan Smith, Jamie Doris and another from Caldwell the persistence paid off.

In the 86th minute a long ball from Jordon Foster was dealt with poorly by Kevin McHattie and Brad McKay and allowed the omnipresent Caldwell a clear chance on goal and his forceful drive ended up in the top left hand corner of the net.

With the game at 1-1 extra-time beckoned and with both sides having chances wasted it was Hearts who ultimately paid the price for failing to convert their efforts.

Billy King for Hearts showed good footwork and managed to have his drive blocked by the Hibs goalie. From the goal-kick the ball found Caldwell who managed to stave off the challenge from McKay and let fly with another unstoppable effort. Hamilton was beaten all ends up as the hugely influential Caldwell managed to net his second goal of the game.

Hearts should have equalised as Sam Nicholson found himself in the 6 yard box when a Jamie Walker cross arrived. With an empty goal in front of him the game should have been leveled. His effort cannoned back off the bar much to the relief of the Hibs team.

Nicholson had another chance, this time in the second half of extra-time, McHattie’s free-kick was delivered in and Nicholson met it with his head, but it was tame and straight at Grant. This was the last effort Hearts had in the game and Hibernian held on for the win and almost added a third, however Alex Harris couldn’t find the net after an impressive run.

At the final whistle the crowd of over 2000 people gave both teams a standing ovation after an enthralling encounter and Ross Caldwell enjoyed milking the applause from the home support by running down the touchline.

Hibernian enjoyed the victory by making the most of their chances and having Grant in fine form despite the pressure from Hearts. The main issue for Hearts will be one of missed chances whilst their fierce Edinburgh rivals progress to the 4th round of the cup.

Hibernian: Grant, Doris, Stanton, Monaghan, Foster, Verth, Horribine, Gold, Caldwell (Donaldson 113′), Handling (Smith 58′), Addison (Harris 69′). Substitutes not used: Horne, Mitter.
Goals: Caldwell (86, 95)

Heart of Midlothian: Hamilton, Mullen, McHattie, Kane, McKay, Tapping (A. King 105′), Paterson (Nicholson 90′), Smith, Stewart (B. King 79′), Holt, Walker. Substitutes not used: Carswell, McGhee.
Goals: McHattie (61)

Black ops and red poppies

by John Stephens

This coming Sunday the nation will fall silent at 11 am as we begin a poignant tribute to the men who have served and are serving in our Armed Forces. However there will still be murmurs of unrest over the furore caused due to comments Robert Kotick has made over his company’s Call of Duty franchise.

CEO of Activision Blizzard, Kotick claims that the recently released Call of Duty: Black Ops is “a tribute to the courage, and the dedication and the sacrifice of those people who defend our … freedom around the world.”

However these statements are being hit back at with games forums buzzing with criticisms of the CEO. One avid gamer, Michael Forrest was eager to display his viewpoint on the whole situation as we have passed November 11th and are gearing up towards the annual Remembrance Sunday congregations.

“The game does not represent real war, if your artificial intelligence comrades are gunned down in battle more respawn, ready to die over and over again with infinite lives. Real war heroes only have one life unlike those represented in the Black Ops game and throughout the Call of Duty franchise. The game is not a tribute, it is an insult and it glorifies war.”

A scene from the recently released Black Ops game- Credit: Activison Blizzard

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Men in moalition to fight cancers

Denton Wilson, Prostate cancer survivor
Denton Wilson, Prostate cancer survivor

by John Stephens

Usually November marks the entrance of winter and the donning of accessories to hold warmth within your body as the winter slowly creeps in like a militant involved in guerrilla warfare. Thermal gloves, waterproof jackets, and ski hats are all seen as necessities… and now, if you are a man so is a moustache.

The moustache is however not purely for heat-retaining properties or as a fashion accessory, but more a symbol. Gavin Brown MSP for the Lothians was willing to share his experience and thoughts on the Movember campaign, as various MSP’s are campaigning and all pitching in to help spread awareness of men’s health issues.

“I was e-mailed by constituents mid-October asking if I was taking part in the campaign. It was then that I decided to do it as it is undoubtedly a good cause and growing a moustache is definitely worthwhile to help address serious issues such as prostate and testicular cancer.” Continue reading Men in moalition to fight cancers

d’Hooghe criticises challenges

by John Stephens

Every Sunday afternoon men, young and old, the length and breadth of the country play in Amateur football leagues. Far removed from the Theatre of Dreams they are faced with the Theatre of Reality on a variety of different pitches, each one more worn out than the previous.

In recent weeks in high profile games we have seen a few robust challenges, most notably Nigel De Jong on Hatem Ben Arfa which resulted in the latter having to undergo surgery to repair his tibia and fibula. Of course these are commonplace as you descend further into the murky depths that football reaches.

Dr. Michael d’Hooghe of Fifa recently stated that ‘some players come on the field… to break a career’ and even labelled the acts as ‘disfiguring football at the highest level’ and ‘criminal’. On a game on Sunday that was played on Cavalry Park’s own Theatre of Reality, the only criminal acts were those of violent conduct and not of the beautiful game played in its somehow attractive brutal force with a real injection of venom in tackles.

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