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Torry United 3 – 4 Johnshaven Athletic

Saltire Fashions North of Scotland Amateur Cup 2nd Round at Inverdee on Saturday 18th October

Torry perhaps held the upper hand in the psychological stakes prior to this enthralling North of Scotland Amateur Cup tie at Inverdee, having beaten Johnshaven only two weeks previously by the odd goal in three in a very competitive league encounter. Athletic travelled north with a strong squad determined to maintain their cup challenge.

Conditions were excellent underfoot, with a swirling southerly wind adding an extra difficulty to proceedings. The match kicked off with Johnshaven attacking with the wind, and setting about their task with good energy and controlled aggression. The home side found Johnshaven’s start hard to cope with and the visitors created a raft of chances in the opening exchanges. It was no surprise then, when an excellent Gardiner through ball was met by left winger Calder cutting in from the flank. His control was sure, and his low, left-foot finish emphatic to put Athletic 1-0 up on 11′.

The goal served, as is so often the case, to provide a dampener for the visitors attacking verve as Torry immediately redoubled their efforts. After 4 minutes of sustained pressure after the re-start, United drew level.  A cut back from the left was met squarely by Ross, his 22-yd effort rebounding off the right post to the fleet-footed Ritchie who slipped the ball beneath Athletic custodian Wands for 1-1.

The equaliser stung Johnshaven, and they soon got back to using attack as the first form of defence.  On 20′ a rampaging run from reuturning left back Welsh led to a deep back post cross met by Gardiner, who headed wide. Wave after wave of Johnshaven pressure was beginning to tell on the home defence, with holes appearing with increasing frequency. On 26′ an exhibition of pacy wing play from Calder finished with a Ross Blease header going just over the bar with the Torry ‘keeper Clark beaten.

United were not without a healthy share possession or attacking threat in the latter stages of the half, with their short, sharp passing game causing all manner of trouble to the visitor’s rearguard when they broke the midfield lines. Impressive strength, composure, and interplay between Petty and Ross characterised their attacks.

Wide men Clark and Ritchie were supplying a variety of cross balls to experienced target man Lunn whose hold-up play provided a platform for his team-mates to join the attacks. 5 minutes from the interval, Johnshaven centre-back Buist strode out in possession and fed a ball through the centre of the field for Calder to meet and send a sublime lob over K. Clark into the back of the net.

Just before the whistle, the visitors’ L.Dundas sent an effort inches wide.

Half-time: 1-2

As the game re-started, Torry looked a different side; composed, controlled and aggressive. A succession of 3 corners had the Johnshaven defence stretched to breaking point, but they held firm. Martin Ross and Kris Petty were becoming increasingly influential for United and on 58′ Ross drew the scores level with an opportunist strike, prodding a loose ball into Wands’ bottom right corner.

Johnshaven were forced into a containing game as Torry continued to hold the upper hand, with the benefit of the following wind. A breakaway on 63′ saw Johnshaven attack with 3 against 1 but the United defence, marshalled well by Colin Clark, saw the danger off and dealt well with the resultant corner.

As the second half progressed, play raged from end-to-end in a typical old-fashioned Scottish cup tie style with aggression, attacking wing play and goalmouth incident in no short supply. On 68′ a moment of real controversy; a United player returned to play at the Johnshaven bye-line, after being off the pitch, into an offside position. He received the ball and was somehow deemed not to have interfered with play – this led directly to a chance at goal which was scrambled away by a desperate Johnshaven sweeper Dane Dundas.

Minutes later the influential Torry midfield general, Kris Petty, sent a rasping drive just over the bar from all of 30 yards. Minutes from the end of regulation time, an inch-perfect Dane Dundas set piece delivery evaded the outstretched arms of Kevin Clark in the home goal to be met by the head of Athletic midfielder Scott Beedie, his effort going agonisingly over the bar.

As normal time petered out, the game became stretched and as both teams went for the winner, chances went a-begging at either end. Referee Colin Roberston blew an epic 90 minutes to a close, ushering in the additional 30 minutes of extra time.

Full-time: 2-2

Both managers rallied their troops and the players re-hydrated and had their aches and pains seen to prior to entering the additional period. Only 5 minutes into the 1st period, Torry United’s right back Stephen Roy gambled in attack and met a deep back post cross in the run to send an unstoppable header into the net.

The home side thought they had done enough to win and began the risky business of playing for time. Johnshaven had a couple of breakaway attacks during the 1st half of extra time but to no great impact.

After the re-start, the Johnshaven team forced their aching limbs into action when all seemed lost. 2 minutes in, impressive right midfielder Gardiner sent a low hard cross ball into the Torry 6-yd box which caused sufficient panic to force an own goal at the near post. It would be the hardest of hearts not to feel for the Torry side who had battled so hard for the spoils, but this Johnshaven team just would not be beaten.

The equaliser appeared to shock the home side, who were a little off the pace when, 8 minutes from time, late Johnshaven substitute Shaun Blease popped up to send a bullet header past Clark to give Johnshaven the advantage which they held on to until Referee Roberston blew time.

This was a game which was great credit to both teams, a common-sense referee who let a fiercely competitive game flow, and the AAFA. It also proved the the blood-and-thunder Scottish cup tie is alive and kicking at the grass-roots level. Long may it continue.

Result After Extra Time: 3-4

Torry United: K.Clark, S.Roy, Yeats, Co.Clark, Wood, Ritchie, Petty, Ross, Innes, Lunn, Ch.Clark. Subs: Wright, K.Roy, D.Clark

Johnshaven Athletic: Wands, Scott, Welsh, Buist, D.Dundas, Reid, Gardiner, Beedie, L.Dundas, R.Blease, Calder. Subs: S.Blease, Gourlay, Cruickshank, Gunnis.

Referee – C. Robertson