Aberdeenshire AFA

Official website of the Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association

Beacon Rangers 0 – 4 Hazlehead United

Colin’s Tyres Association Trophy First Round at Strathburn Park, Inverurie on Satudary 18th August

Report by Andy McLaren

Hazlehead player-manager Duncan Stewart believes their 4-goal mauling of Beacon Rangers in the first round of the Association Trophy proved his players are ready to compete in the Premier Division of amateur football.

However, he has warned his players must perform consistently if they are to achieve their ultimate goal.

He said: “We have kept the main skeleton of our side, adding only one player since last season. Having 21 players allows us to change our squad to suit our needs.

“I would love to play against the best teams every week and get Hazlehead to where they belong. To win the league would add another chapter to our massive success story over the past couple of years.

“Keeping players such as our talisman Nicky Emslie means we can compete with anyone in amateur football”.

Nicky Emslie, United’s all-time leading goal scorer, reckons it will be hard to beat the 76 goals he scored last season.

He said: “To score that amount of goals in 38 games was out of this world. I have already grabbed 13 goals in 5 games so far this season so we will have to wait and see if I can beat those 76 goals.

“The team have all grown up together since school so the spirit in the dressing room is always positive.

“Other clubs have said we are the favourites to progress to the Premier Division, but we must keep our heads down and avoid against complacency.

“We all have great fun playing for Hazlehead and hopefully this can give us more silverware this season”.

Referee Alex Lovie was forced to brandish 5 yellow cards to Beacon in a very heated affair in Inverurie.

The Aberdeenshire side, who were unbeaten before this match, started on the back foot as United opened the scoring inside 10 minutes. Jamie Reid cut into the area to prod a looping ball to David Macklin who neatly nodded it back across goal to Nicky Emslie who couldn’t miss from 10 yards.

But Hazlehead could not make their chances count while Beacon almost put away their first opening of note on 20 minutes. A teasing through ball from Stephen Rae was met by Kevin Wilson who scuffed his shot inches wide.

With the Beacon defence static, Emslie reacted quickest but cannoned his fierce drive against the cross bar.

The goal machine soon put this behind him and gave Rangers a timely reminder of what he is capable off when he expertly lobbed the despairing Peter McDougall in goal to make it 2-0 on 30 minutes.

Beacon’s Paul Laing then had to react smartly to clear Raymond Massie’s header off the line to keep his side in touch with the Division Two champions before half-time.

Half-time: 0 – 2

Emslie’s frustration at not getting his hat-trick soon grew as McDougall twice denied him with two low saves before the Beacon stopper scrambled his follow up onto the post.

United made it 3-0 on 55 minutes when David Macklin’s cross fell at the feet of Jamie Reid, who turned to curl home an unstoppable shot past McDougall.

A fourth Hazlehead goal soon looked likely and came on 70 minutes. A neat passing triangle involving Emslie and Macklin saw the latter find space to scoop a looping cross onto the head of James Kirkland who nodded the ball into the net.

The Inverurie side’s frustration was soon compounded when Ryan Crombie’s powerful shot was deflected onto the post before full-time.

Full Time: 0 – 4