Balmoral Stadium, AFA Association Cup 1/2 Final, 17/6/22
Entrance – £3 me, £1 Wee Man
Attendance – 226 (rough head count)
Pie – Shut
Pint – N/A
Back to the Balmoral Stadium where I swore I would never set foot again and have been twice in a week. This season is starting to get daft now and going by the info I got today for the dates of the final of this Association Trophy its got a couple of weeks left yet. There are pre season friendlies started in other parts of the country yet this week has seen league and cup games played in the AAFA. After tonight there are still four cup finals to go will take the season towards July. No summer for these boys involved.
Tonight threw up a clash between two teams I have a fair bit of time for and two teuchter sides, this giving me no chance to go with my usual teuchter solidarity. I just wanted a good game. I think we did alright with the viewing on the whole. The score line may suggest one way but Alford gave it a go and played some very bonnie fitba at times.But in the end Echt were more clinical and streetwise and deserved their place in the final.
The game started at a fast pace in the twenty degree heat. I was interested to see how long this would keep up. Alford had the better chances early on with Adam Reid having the best when he had the chance to lob a stricken Mitchell in the Echt goal but he got it wrong and the body language suggested he knew as much too. Both sides were playing decent football on the deck but and the pace Alford knocked it about was causing real problems for Echt, then in typical fashion against the run of play Echt took the lead. when from a corner big centre half Craig Anderson ran in as good as unmarked and his finish struck the inside of the right post ending up in the left hand side of Middleton’s goal. This led to Echt becoming more prominent in the game and MacAuley was unlucky soon after with a curling effort from distance which was no more than an inch over. Alford had a move mid half that was awesome to watch right in front of us at the north side of the park. It was a rapid fire multi pass move starting on the wing that left Echt chasing the elongated shadows the sun were creating on the plastic carpet. This is something after seeing Alford previously I knew they were capable of and when they get going they are untouchable. Unfortunately, the move ended up with a great last ditch block by an Echt defender. It really deserved a goal. Alford then had their best chance of the game when Rennie had a free diving header at the back post from a corner but Mitchell got across quickly to save. A decent enough half littered with some questionable refereeing decisions was brought to an end and it was kick about time.
HT 1 v 0
Again we utilized the training goals at the side of the pitch. Two of which were set up opposite each other like a mini pitch, this obviously to the delight of Wee Man. An simple game of banging shots ensued. Like we do in the garden. However I did get a bit carried away at one point and connected a half volley with serious venom. One of those where you see where its heading and think “oh fuck hes away to get twatted and maybe knocked out” but incredibly he pulled off a wonder save and tipped it over the bar. I was standing there in amazement at A- the save and B- his hand wasn’t sore. It was just like an everyday occurrence to him. He didn’t realise how good a save it was. Any 2014s team looking for a keeper? I have one in the making. The teams came out again and for this half we perched ourselves in the stand. Alford had a good chance early on when Scott Coutts managed to wriggle past two defenders and tried to curl one around Mitchell but it went just wide. Echt’s first chance of the half was their second goal. MacAuley crossed to Greig who’s touch was poor, Alford cleared with no distance, Ewan Mackie was on hand to control the ball and send it into Middleton’s left hand corner with an excellent finish from twenty yards. On Mackie, we have seen Echt three times this season and he has been very good in all three games. A very decent midfielder. Alford never gave in and continued with their game plan but didn’t create much. They were robbed of a corner after a long range effort was tipped over by Mitchell. Incredibly the referee gave the goal kick. Alford boss Gav Slessor was apoplectic in the dugout* and Echt keeper Mitchell just laughed at the decision . Not long after it looked to be game over when Echt grabbed a third via Aiden Grieg. Mackie played a through ball and the Alford defence misjudged it, Greig ran in behind with Middleton running at him the striker knocked it past the keeper and tapped home into an empty net despite a last gasp siding tackle attempt. Echt were heading to the final. Alford did create a couple of chances inclusive of a free kick off the post(im sure Mitchell saved it) and had a goal chopped off when Adam Reid was adjudged offside. To be fair they never gave in but it was not to be. Echt are to face Tarves on the 29th of June at the Balmoral in the final. Alford end the season in disappointment but with a League and cup double and heading to the Premier next season they should be proud of their efforts and I bet they will cause a lot of problems up there for many teams with their style of fitba. Echt’s season continues and deservedly head to the final , will it end in getting the Brasso out. Only time will tell.
*Why are the dugouts so far down the pitch closer to the corner flag than the halfway line. It really bugs me. As did the mismatching linesman flags
Me still 235, Wee Man still 111