Aberdeenshire AFA

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Echt 1 – 0 Banchory

Premier Division at Echt on Saturday 13th March

The match began at 100mph, with tackles flying in all over the park as these Deeside rivals battled for early supremacy.

Ewen handled cleanly an early Murray corner and followed this up by tipping over a Presslie, close in header, off a Murray cross. From the resultant corner the ball broke to Murray whose fierce drive was instinctively blocked by the busy visiting custodian.

In 13 minutes Ewen smothered a Ramsay netbound effort following a Murray mazy, and through ball.

Echt appealed in vain for a spot-kick in 22 minutes when Pell and Ramsay collided in the Banchory box, but Referee Wright saw nothing amiss, both players needed extensive treatment for head wounds.

Full back Smith was next up for treatment, injuring himself as he halted Mann in full flight, near the home touchline. In a rare Banchory attack Mackie won the visitors a fruitless corner in 28 minutes.

In 32 minutes a Mann right side cross caused mayhem in the Banchory box but the grounded Ewen denied both Ramsay and Presslie a finish.

The overworked Banchory keeper was then injured in a clash with Murray but managed to continue after a lengthy stoppage.

In 42 minutes an angular Presslie drive, following a clever Murray free-kick, flashed over, then Murray and Mackie were booked as tempers flared during an additional seven minutes at the end of the first period.

Half-time: 0-0

Echt keeper Garden made a spectacular early stop on a Chalmers blockbuster and then a Banchory frontman squandered a glorious chance, following a left side move and a ball played across the Echt box, found himself unmarked and Garden out of position, but a poor connection allowed the Echt keeper to get back and easily collect.

In 53 minutes Murray curled a central free-kick round the defensive wall but agonisingly wide of target.

The deadlock was broken in 64 minutes when a long diagonal ball from Majury into the heart of the Banchory box saw Ramsay steal beyond his marker to clinically steer the ball low past the helpless Ewen.

Ewen was called upon again to make another fine full length diving save and push a Presslie header round a post in 80 minutes.

Despite lots of possession Echt failed to conjure up a second goal that would have put the result beyond doubt, and indeed came uncomfortably close to being mugged at the end by Banchory’s final forward surge.

S. Girvan and keeper Ewen were outstanding for a Banchory side that fought a rearguard action for long spells of the match.

Full Time: 1-0

Echt: Garden, McCoy, Majury, Gill, Jahn, Henderson, MacLeod, Murray, Presslie, Ramsay, Mann. Subs – Leith, Still, Pawlett, McGillivray, Troup

Banchory: Ewen, Smith, Brand, Birse, S. Girvan, Pell, Fegen, Rooney, Mackie, Walker, Chalmers. Subs – Lloyd, Christie, Matheson, M. Girvan, McGregor