Aberdeenshire AFA

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Bon Accord City 3 – 2 Nicolls

1st Touch Football Division One (East) at Denmore Park on Saturday 1st December

Report by Andy McLaren

Bon Accord City manager Billy Ross admits his side are lucky to still be in existence after almost folding due to a lack of players.

He watched on as City edged past Nicolls with a 3-2 victory that moves them to fourth in the Division One (East) table.

Ross believes re-building the 2010 Premier Division champions was the toughest task of his managerial career.

He said: “When we were relegated last season, 11 players left us, mainly to go to Echt and newly-formed Granite City. We were only left with 2 players and I was ready to fold the club.

“We rallied on during the pre-season and brought in a large amount of players from juvenile level. This is only our first season with the youngsters and the progression we have made has been fantastic.”

The City boss praised veteran and club captain Murray Ritchie for “holding everything together” at the start of the season.

“Murray is a great player and a credit to the team,” said Ross. “The team, because of their youth, are sometimes easily knocked off the ball so Murray’s strength and experience is vital.”

“I have 9 teenagers in the squad who are always learning and gaining valuable skills every game. If I can keep hold of all the boys, I’m sure we can progress and win some silverware.”

Bon Accord veteran Murray Ritchie believes his manager has done a great job to keep the club alive. The 39-year-old, who has played for sides including Burnley, Montrose, Cove Rangers and Deveronvale admits he only returned to football three years ago to improve his fitness.

He said: “Going to the gym or swimming isn’t the same as playing football, that’s why I love the game so much. There have been massive personal changes at the club since I joined.

“It’s good to see the club winning games but I think we have left too big of a gap to challenge for promotion. I really don’t know what the future holds but hopefully we can continue winning these vital games.”

Nicolls started the stronger of the two teams, dominating possession and getting forward in numbers. Michael Ord had two early chances but both were well saved by Alexander Henderson.

Ord then had another opportunity when he spun John Hamilton to unleash an overhead kick that was scrambled off the line by the City defence.

Hamilton was at the centre of attention again when he outmuscled Brian Ingles to strike a low shot that skimmed Martin MacPhee’s post.

Hamilton made up for his earlier miss to put City ahead on 25 minutes. The winger was on hand to tap the ball into an empty net after a goalmouth scramble.

Bon Accord’s David Henley provided a moment of class 10 minutes later when he unleashed an unstoppable looping shot from 25 yards that flew over MacPhee into the roof of the net to make it 2-0.

Half-time: 0 – 2

Michael Ord was the focal point of Nicolls attacking play and he grabbed his side a lifeline on 50 minutes after finishing from close range.

The scoreline should have been 2-2 moments later when Keiran Grant rounded Bon Accord’s Henderson after being one-on-one only to overrun the ball to the relief of the keeper.

The young winger made up for his miss when he latched onto a sliced goal kick to clinically slot the ball past the onrushing Henderson to make it 2-2.

Despite the best efforts of Nicolls goalkeeper Martin MacPhee, City made it 3-2 on 70 minutes when Daniel Taylor’s chip deflected into the top corner of the net.

Nicolls were left ruing their missed chances again on 85 minutes when Andrew Brown shot agonizingly wide from 15 yards.