Aberdeenshire AFA

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RGU 5 – 1 MS United

Division One (North) at Garthdee on Saturday 24th January

With New Advocates Park unplayable due to the overnight frost this Division One (North) encounter was switched to RGU’s all-weather surface at Garthdee. MS United went into the game hoping to build on a fine 6-2 victory over Grammar Rovers last weekend while their hosts were looking to get their promotion challenge back on track after suffering successive league defeats against Sportsmans Club and Turriff Thistle.

RGU started brightly and they took the lead with only two minutes on the clock when Low crossed from the left and Campbell ghosted in to glance a header past Smith and into the bottom corner.

The home side continued to have the better of the early exchanges and they almost doubled their advantage after ten minutes when Bryant delivered an inviting cross from the right and Thain rose above the MS defence but his header flashed just wide of target. Two minutes later, MS United were indebted to their keeper Smith who produced a great save from Thain following good build-up play involving Logan and Low. However, RGU were not to be denied and their second goal arrived midway through the opening period when a shot from Leonard was parried by Smith and Thain prodded home the rebound.

RGU continued to press forward and they went close to grabbing a third on the half hour mark when Leonard played an inch perfect pass though to Campbell who drew the keeper before squaring the ball to Bryant whose driven shot was headed off the line by Thomson.

MS United gradually came more into the game and they halved the deficit eight minutes before the interval when some uncertainty in the RGU defence allowed Smith to latch on to a loose ball and when he was tripped in the area, referee Mitchell had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.  It was Smith who got up to smash the spot kick into the bottom corner of the net.

The visitors then sensed an opportunity to get back on terms in the closing minutes of the half and Gunn created a good opening for himself on the edge of the area but his shot took a looping deflection off a defender and was comfortably gathered by RGU keeper Smith.

Half-time: 2-1

MS United came within inches of finding an equaliser within sixty seconds of the restart when Gunn went on a remarkable solo run right through the heart of the home defence and placed the ball wide of the advancing Smith but also just the wrong side of the post. At the other end, RGU almost extended their lead when Campbell twisted and turned on the edge of the box and laid the ball off to Lally whose fierce drive was well held by Smith. United were finding it difficult to create many clear cut openings and their most notable effort as they went in search of an equaliser was a long range volley from Stewart which drifted narrowly wide of target.

In the end, it was RGU who finished the game the stronger team and a devastating spell of three goals in eleven minutes put the result beyond doubt. Their two goal advantage was restored after 62 minutes when Walker played an incisive through ball to Bryant who accelerated towards goal and unselfishly squared the ball to Armstrong who made no mistake from six yards. Five minutes later, Bryant was again the provider when he latched on to a pass from Campbell in the inside right channel and once again picked out Armstrong who supplied a cool left foot finish. The scoring was completed seventeen minutes from time when an outswinging corner from Low was met by Campbell who sent an emphatic header crashing into the net to claim his second goal of the afternoon.

Final Score: 5-1

RGU: Smith, Logan, Low, Lally, Walker, Forsyth, Bryant, Campbell, Thain, Armstrong, Leonard. Subs: Carr, McGillivray, Antoniazzi, Munro.

MS United: Kevin Smith, Jamieson, Scouller, Hay, Mitchell, Rollo, Gunn, Stewart, David Smith, Webster, McIntyre. Subs: Thomson, Beaver.

Referee: David Mitchell