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Dyce ITC Hydraulics 0 – 7 Echt

Association Trophy First Round at Pitmedden Road on Saturday 15th September

Report by Andy McLaren

Echt co-manager Mike Robertson believes he has a squad capable of recapturing the form that won them the North of Scotland Cup and Premier Division in 2007.

Robertson, who has been at the club for over 20 years and is the father of Aberdeen ace Clark Robertson, is grateful to have fellow co-manager Stephen Davidson by his side.

He said: “Clark had a bad injury for the Dons in April, meaning i could focus solely on Echt.

“I have one opportunity in life to watch my son play for a club in the SPL and it’s hard to get the best of both worlds.

“The coaches at Echt are sensational and I firmly believe we have a squad capable of upsetting some of the big guns in the league.

“Our win against in-form Sportsmans Club shows we are a tough cookie to crack.”

Co-manager Davidson believes a mixture of experience and youth will bring silverware success to the club.

He watched on as the Aberdeenshire side thumped Dyce 7-0 to progress to the second round of the Association Trophy.

Davidson admits the failure of not winning anything last season will galvanize the five-time Association Trophy winners.

He said: “Once you get the right balance between experienced players and youth, you win things. It’s as simple as that.

“The whole squad is evolving and it will take time for the lads to gel together. The aim of this season always has to be to win the Premier Division.

“We have found it difficult to keep the high level of success consistent throughout the years but once we get the right balance, I feel we could be a force to be reckoned with.”

The home side, who were playing with the wind and downhill, pushed the visitors defence to breaking point in the opening 20 minutes.

Echt goalkeeper Gordon Kessack was forced to tip a Jason Stewart header round the post to ensure the score line remained at 0-0.

Despite their slow start, Echt also had chances. Stuart Cooper’s low cross-shot squirmed through the Dyce defence but Marc Lawrence could only blast his follow up against Craig Johnstone in the Dyce goal.

Against the run of play, Echt opened the scoring on 35 minutes from Lawrence’s looping free-kick that deceived Johnstone and curled into the top corner.

Half-time: 0 – 1

Echt doubled their lead on 50 minutes. Stewart McLaren lifted a pass over Dyce’s Derri McLeod, who was caught horribly out of position as Marc Lawrence sprinted clear to expertly guide the ball with the inside of his foot into the top corner of the net.

5 minutes later, Andrew Davidson looked as surprised as everyone else when his scuffed shot took a wicked deflection against Dyce’s Scott Nicol and bundled into the net.

Echt were a constant threat and it was no surprise when they made it 4-0 10 minutes later. Paul Presslie’s precise pass opened up space for Jamie Wood to cross and Marc Lawrence to finish with typical efficiency.

Dyce goalkeeper Craig Johnstone was forced to go off with an injury on 70 minutes. His replacement, Greig Pirie, was immediately forced into two fantastic saves from Presslie but was left helpless as Jamie Wood bulleted a header home from the resulting cross.

Dyce’s Derri McLeod was then given his marching orders after a high sliding challenge on Darren Stewart, leaving referee Alex Lovie no choice but to award the centre-back a second yellow card.

Dyce, who currently sit in 4th place in Division One (North), found themselves six goals behind when Presslie showed great determination to calmly chip the onrushing goalkeeper.

The hosts looked deflated and Echt’s seventh goal came on 90 minutes when Stewart McLaren’s fantastic half-volley flashed past the goalkeeper to round off a convincing win for the former Premier Division champions.