Dunfermline Athletic

Andy Isn`t Doing It All On His Tod

Date: Sunday, 30th Oct 2022

The new Youth Academy is only 4 months old, but according to Head of Academy Football at Dunfermline Athletic, Greg Shields, the benefits are already starting to show.

Greg Shields benefits starting to show

In the past week, the Dunfermline Athletic Reserves and Under-18`s have both played in and won Cup matches at KDM Group East End Park, which can only aid their development going forward.

On Friday evening, Greenock Morton were the visitors in an Under-18`s SFA Youth Cup match. It started off well for the Ton, as they raced into a 1-0 lead at the break thanks to Gerrard Stevenson`s goal.

But, back came a determined Dunfermline – and mid-way into the second-half, Raymond Reddington equalised for the Pars. The game went to extra-time, with thanks to Athletic`s #1, Aidan Meikle.

There was only one side who looked like going on to win it during the extra 30 minutes and that was the hosts. Liam Hoggan got the scoring underway to make it 2-1 within 60 seconds of the restart, before Andy Tod Jnr got in on the act, scoring an extra-time hat-trick to round off an impressive night with an equally impressive score-line.

The son of The Son Of God - Andy Tod – has already been involved in the first-team this season and you can see why when he plays in the Reserve and Youth matches.

However, it isn`t just Tod Jnr who is impressing; Jake Rennie, Sam Young, Michael Beagley and Taylor Sutherland have all been involved in Match-Day squads for the Pars since James McPake`s arrival as First-Team Manager this summer and on the showings of this week, there are plenty more Academy prospects looking to make their mark at KDM Group East End Park on a more regular basis.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Reserves then took on Dundee United Reserves in the SPFL Reserve League Cup.

Despite three first-team players starting the match and playing the full 90 minutes – goalkeeper, Max Little, Captain for the afternoon Kyle Macdonald and Rangers B loanee Kane Ritchie-Hosler, it was a very young and inexperienced side once again put out by Shields and his coaching staff.

In comparison to the visitors, who had plenty Premiership experience on show through Peter Pawlett, Sadat Anaku, Matthew Anim Cudjoe and Archie Meekison, the youngsters stood firm and showed togetherness; a willingness to listen, learn and adapt during the match and showing a level of maturity in their performance which saw them become more of an offensive threat within the match, as the clock ticked down.

In the end, the match finished 0-0 with very little momens of magic to talk about at either end of the park – the game went to penalties to see which side gained the `bonus point` from the Group Stage Cup Tie, with the Pars running out 5-3 victors.

Macdonald, Ritchie-Hosler, Miller Fenton and Jake Sutherland had Dunfermline 4-3 up, following Jacob Comerford`s miss for the Terrors: the Tangerine attacker blazed the ball over the bar of Little, which gave an advantage to the hosts going into the fifth and final round of spot-kicks.

It was Tod Jnr who would step up to win the bonus point for Athletic and the cheeky midfielder made a mockery of Jack Newman in the United goal, as he Panenka`d the ball down the middle of the goal, to rapturous applause and cheers from the crowd within KDM Group East End Park.

As Greg Shields says in his video interview with ParsTV at the beginning of this article: it is only the beginning.

But if the future is only going to get better given time, then there is a lot to look forward to; this first group of players within the Academy are showing real positive signs and with a manager in charge of the first-team who isn`t phased by putting a youngster on the park, we seem to have the right mix at the right time for Dunfermline Athletic Football Club, as we look to re-build DAFC back up the senior ranks and provide it with a more prosperous future.

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