Aberdeen win 5 v 3 on penalties
North Lodge, Aberdeenshire Shield 1/4 Final, 6/12/22
Me still 260, Wee Man still 132
Founded – 1948
Nickname – United
Honours (Since step up to senior)- Highland League Cup – 2017/18. Aberdeenshire Cup – 2013/14 and 2017/18. Aberdeenshire Shield – 2018/19.
Random Fact – United were forced to change their badge in 2010 after a “member of the public” complained it was illegal under heraldic law due to some details. The Court of Lord Lyon agreed and prosecution loomed. A new crest which had to be without a lion rampant(they added wings to allow it to stay), saltire and have the red and white vertical stripes widened was designed.They were allowed to keep the shield and French “Sans Peur”. All remnants of the old crest had to be removed hitting the club significantly in the pocket.
A change of plan on the latter school run saw us travel a round trip of 12 miles to a much visited ground, instead of the original 340 mile plan to Tranent ( The Big T will wait until my return from Denmark in January).
I was hoping for a lot more from the Dons here than we saw in the ‘Shire Cup at Huntly earlier in the season where they were extremely poor and limped out on penalties after a terrible 0 v 0 draw. We were in luck tonight and we got action and we also got another pen shoot out.
I am always interested to see the Dons babies up against the men of the HFL and have so on countless occasions over the years. So Wee Man’s change of heart today was actually welcomed despite my initial disappointment of not heading to Foresters Park. After the Huntly game in the Shire Cup I was a bit wary of how this would go action wise as that visit to Christie Park in August was pretty much eye bleedingly bad. This was to be totally different.
As we got to North Lodge early the inevitable kick about took place. Not using the training goals as it was too dubby. This starting the night off on a shocker for a gutted Wee Man. But this was not to last. This because he pulled off the most impressive thing I have ever seen him do with a ball much to both our surprise. After knocking the ball about behind the Dons goal during the warm up(being interrupted numerous times by stray shots that Wee Man retrieved) he noticed a shopping trolley beside the gate. A full twenty five yards away he shouted ” I have a new game, get the ball in the trolley” as he nonchalantly caressed a lob up and down straight into the trolley. Bearing in mind he is eight, it was unbelievably impressive. He never managed it again. But he didn’t need to. The first effort was bloody brilliant.
With the World Cup on, the weather being a bit shite and the fact this was the Aberdeenshire Shield the numbers present were surprisingly good at around 125. The first half an hour the Dons were well up on possession but the Highland League side had the better action in the final third. The best chances fell to Cole Anderson who unleashed a rocket from 18 yards early on, but he was unlucky to see it take the slightest of nicks which was enough to take it over Blessing Oluyemi’s goal. Moments later Formartine were again unlucky when Rodger tried a lobbed effort to the far post which went just the wrong side of the post, it was close enough to get Oluyemi scrambling and let out a sigh of relief as it went out for the goal kick. Aberdeen’s first clear effort fell to Hanratty who received the ball mid-half and from where we were standing saw the United defence part like the red sea leaving a clear shot but the number seven shanked it wide from the edge of the box. A minute later Alfie Bavidge made no mistake from inside the box and put the Dons in the lead on 35 minutes after he was firat to a rebound from a Hanratty effort. The Dons seemed to up a gear from here and took the game to Formartine for the rest of the half. But only managed to create one solid chance when Ryan Duncan hit a snap shot but although powerful had too much of an upper trajectory. Not a great watch but the score was pleasing.
HT 0 v 1
Formartine came out for the second half with an obvious hunger and were the better team throughout the second period. They created enough chances to win the match but weren’t clinical enough. Come the full time whistle they must have been kicking themselves that they were not in the semis. One thing I noticed first half was striker Julian “JuJu” Wade was scarcely involved which was surprising after seeing him in action and being very impressed with the Dominican international at Hermes a few months ago. But in the second half he was more visible and funnily enough this tied in with Formartine improving big time. Oluyemi had his palms stung early on by Daniel Park who leathered an effort at him but the keeper managed to get it over the bar. But this was just the sign of things to come. United had copious amounts of chances but were thwarted by the young Aberdeen team throwing bodies in the way, clearing off the line and Oluyemi pulling off saves to keep them out. You could see a goal was coming for the hosts and when it did rustle the net it was met by an extremely audible “fucking hell” from me. I can count on on hand the amount of times I have swore in front of Wee Man, but this was worth it. Step forward Julian Wade. The striker received the ball on the left of the box with his back to goal and with a rapid shimmy to turn his man and face goal he lashed the ball intro the opposite top corner. It was past Oluyemi before he had time to dive. A pearler and one of the best goals I have seen this season. At this point I genuinely believed I was going to get the score prediction correct on the night. I was even more certain when the home side took the lead via another peach of a hit. Shamefully I don’t know who scored it as we were up the other end and when you are that far away the far end seems dark and I couldn’t work it out. Anyway, whoever you were, take a bow. Great touch and a superb curling finish into the top right corner hit from pretty much the same spot as Wade had hit his earlier effort. However, this was all about placement rather than sheer power like Wade. This sending the Formartine faithful into a chorus of “you’re only sheep shagging bastards” which lets face it, is the equivalent of a celtic fan calling a rangers fan a bigot or vice versa.The Dons were in a bit of bother, if they were to get anything from this, I could only see it being on the break as they were rapid on the counter attack. Especially Bavidge who’s pace was demonstrated when he miraculously managed to close down United keeper MacDonald when he had no right to. It was a ballhair away from an embarrassing moment for the keeper with the ball going wide by a matter of millimeters. On saying that, the keeper did nothing wrong, he was just up against a whippet and couldn’t really do anything about it. MacDonald was again relieved when a quick break saw Bavidge burst through in behind on the right and send an inch perfect ball int an unmarked Hanratty who somehow managed to misjudge his connection and knee it beyond the frame of the goal from point blank range. A poor and equally strange finish. Back to counter attacks again and that’s exactly how the equalizer came. The Dons broke and that man Bavidge was again on had inside the box after being picked out by a defence splitting pass to slot past from Marshall from close range, surely sending this cup tie into penalties. And for the second time watching the young Dons against HFL opposition this season that’s exactly where we headed.
Ryan Duncan, Kevin Hanratty, Finlay Marshall, Adam Emslie and two goal Bavidge secured a 100% shootout win with the unfortunate Wade missing for United. His pen was a bit shite where he tried a short one step run up which looked awkward and a step and a half leaving Oluyemi to save comfortably. This sending the young Dons up to Buckie Thistle for the semi. Which will be a different animal all together a far sterner test for the Dons.
On the young loons, will any make the grade?I really don’t know to be honest. I feel a similarity with the days of Shankland, McManus and Smith banging them in for the 20s. A team I used to watch regularly at Pittodrie. A team that was full of hype yet it didn’t come to much or anything at all in all truth. Maybe I am being sceptical but there is a serious air of familiarity about this side. I hope I am proved wrong. In fact prove me wrong boys. I dare you.
Entrance – Me £10, Wee Man £5
Attendance – 125 (rough head count)
Pie – £6, 2 x pie, coffee and juice
Pint -N/A (got my latest beer club delivery today and is being sampled as I type)
Score Predictions – Me 2 v 1, Wee Man 2 v 0
Season Score Predictions Total – Me 1 v 1 Wee Man