Currie STAR and Joppa United Under-16s served up an enjoyable summer encounter at Kingsknowe, winning a point apiece on the opening day of the season.
Former Joppa captain and 2010 player of the year Sean Jardine was diagnosed with leukaemia three months ago but was present to see his team take a two-goal lead only for Currie to claw back in the last half hour to earn a draw. Jardine hopes to take to the field bearing Currie’s blue and white in time for their assault on the under-17 league next season.
Both teams unveiled new kits for the campaign ahead, with Joppa United displaying the logo of new sponsor Stephen Loy Builders, while David Maloney presented a cheque from AAA Coaches to Currie Star.
With both teams starting the match slowly, it took a quarter of an hour for the first chance to materialise. A long range free kick from Joppa’s Liam Fisher was deflected wide by Currie goalkeeper Daniel Coll.
On 25 minutes, Joppa left back Harry Wanless picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and launched it over Coll into the net to open the scoring in style.
Joppa had chances to double their lead before half time. Ross Rutherford’s long ball was flicked on to Keir Stanton, whose shot was tipped wide. From the corner, Fisher’s cross found Rutherford at the near post but he headed over the bar. But they doubled their lead shortly after the start of the second half. Rory Grevers played the ball to Connor McDonald inside the area. He went round Coll for a simple finish.
After 55 minutes, Currie pulled a goal back. Callum Campbell’s shot from the edge of the area was parried by Joppa goalkeeper Liam Randall to Rikkie Henderson. He played it short to Mark Hemmings who shot home from ten yards out.
In the last ten minutes, Currie had a few opportunities to equalise, and Henderson saw his shot saved after creating space for himself in the box.
Star’s break came in the 85th minute. Liam Walker’s shot from 20 yards was tipped wide by Randall, and the subsequent corner was floated towards the far post where captain Jack Hawthorne was waiting to finish from close range.
The Currie Star coaches Harry Lawrie and Billy Scullion felt pleased with the team’s performance. Lawrie said: “We were very unlucky. I was pleased with how the team kept their game together despite all the changes. Joppa United are one of the best teams in the league so we’re very pleased with this match.”
Scullion added: “We’ve improved year on year and as long as we keep doing that we’ll be very happy.”
Cameron Lovie, the Joppa United coach, thought that both teams deserved a point and was optimistic for the season ahead. “It was a fair result overall,” said Lovie. We were only a point off promotion last season so our expectation is to win the league this season. It might be a bit optimistic but it’s something to aim for.”
Currie Star: Daniel Coll, James Scullion, Fraser Kirkman, Sean Preston, Stuart Scott, Rikkie Henderson, Callum Campbell, Chris Fairfell, Mark Hemmings, Liam Walker, Jack Hawthorne, Connor Lawrie, Stuart MacDonald, Callum Jackson, Michael Higgins, Mathew Fairfell.
Joppa United: Liam Randall, Connor McDonald, Craig Flynn, Oliver Carnevale, Noel Davidson, Ross Rutherford, Keir Stanton, Ben Lovie, Liam Fisher, Harry Wanless, Jacob Reid, Dylan Robertson, Alex Wilson, Ewen Russell, Perry Dignan.