Aberdeenshire AFA

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Insch 1 – 2 Cove Thistle

Aberdeen FC Trophy Semi-Final at Balgownie on Saturday 31st March

Report by Andy McLaren

Cove Thistle will play Glendale or Woodside in the final of the Aberdeen Trophy Centre Aberdeen FC Trophy after a gutsy 2-1 extra-time win over Insch at Balgownie, Bridge of Don.

The win means the current Division One (North) champions have won their last 6 games and are currently on an incredible 14 game unbeaten run in all competitions.

Cove’s Connor Craig set the tone for a feisty affair in the opening seconds with a fierce challenge which left Frazer Harper in a heap on the touchline.

Insch started the better team and Callum Williams should have given the Aberdeenshire side the lead when he latched on to John Anderson’s clever flick but scuffed his shot wide of goal from 5 yards.

Thistle made the breakthrough in the 15th minute when Connor Craig surged down the left unleashing a fierce drive that bobbled on the uneven surface past the unfortunate Errol Watson.

Cove continued in the ascendancy as Craig forced Errel Watson into two excellent saves.

Insch then surged down the field on 25 minutes as Colin Brown fired in a low drive which was well saved by Derek McKenzie but rebounded to Keith Cameron who made no mistake with an easy tap in.

Half-Time: 1 – 1

In what had become a lively affair, and with Insch now sensing they could progress to the final, they brought on the impressive Elliot Winter, who previously played in England’s conference premier division.

It was Winter who had his side’s best chance of the second half with his first touch of the ball as he was faced with a one-on-one opportunity after a teasing pass by Andrew Knight. His effort was well saved by McKenzie but deflected to Callum Williams who had his shot cleared off the line to send the Insch sidelines into disbelief.

Keith Cameron was then narrowly off target with 10 minutes left as he attempted to flick in John Anderson’s cross at the near post, another sign of Insch’s growing belief.

Cove’s Craig Wilson, always a danger in the box, was inches away from grabbing a winner after he unleashed a fizzing drive that left Watson with no chance.

Full Time: 1 – 1

The Aberdeen side were soon on the attack again at the beginning of extra time as they clinched the vital winning goal when Ritchie Fraser was allowed too much time and space to head Martyn Duthie’s well worked cross past Errol Watson.

Both managers used their full quota of substitutes and one of Thistle’s, Jordan Still, produced magnificent skill and calmness to round Watson but could only scramble the ball into the side netting with an open goal gaping.

There was no coming back this time for Insch, leaving Cove Thistle and their supporters planning on more silverware success this season as they progressed to the final of the Aberdeen Trophy Centre Aberdeen FC Trophy.

Insch manager Malcolm Mackie said his side were “bitterly unlucky” not to progress to the Aberdeen FC Trophy final. He added: “The turning point of the match came when Callum Williams had his shot cleared off the line.”