Aberdeenshire AFA

Official website of the Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association

Kintore 3 – 8 Nicolls

1st Touch Football Division One (East) at Kintore on Saturday 5th January

Report by Andy McLaren

Nicolls midfielder Michael Reid believes there is not much difference between the standard of junior and amateur football in Aberdeen.

The 25-year-old was man of the match during his sides 8-3 win over Kintore, lifting the Aberdeen outfit to 8th in the Division One (East) table.

Nicolls were founded in 1953 and are celebrating 60 years in amateur football on March the 9th.

The former Cove Rangers player, who joined Nicolls in 2008, also had spells with junior sides including Lewis United and Glentanar, but admits he has no regrets about leaving junior football.

He said: “A large number of amateur players are capable of playing in the Highland League. In my opinion, the only major difference between junior and amateur football in Aberdeen is the quality of pitches and extra officials at games.

“It is a privilege to play for Nicolls with all the history they have and I think they are one of the best run amateur clubs in the league. It’s great to be able to play with boys who care for each other and this will help us in forthcoming games”.

“There has been a variety of changes since I joined the club but we are now seeing the boys gel as a team and it’s great to see.”

Nicolls co-manager Harry Mackenzie, who is in his second season with the club, hopes his side have turned the corner after their impressive performance against Kintore.

The 40-year-old said: “We have signed players from Sunnybank, Hall Russell and Parkvale which has helped us. This season is a transition period for the club and it probably explains why we have made such a slow start to our campaign”.

“Obviously promotion is beyond us but like the rest of the guys involved with the club, I think we can build on what we have and look for promotion next season.”

Fellow co-manager, Paul Robertson, who played under Mackenzie at Bridge of Don Amateurs, believes a mixture of youth and experience will be key to their promotion push next season.

He said: “I arrived at the club four seasons ago with the aim of getting Nicolls to the Premier Division. I feel we are starting to build a team capable of this and I hope to finish as high as possible.

“It’s great to see the young guys starting to mature at the club. Younger players tend to be fitter and sharper so this will be an added bonus during the latter stages of games.”

Both teams had not played competitive football in over a month and Nicolls had their top goal scorer Michael Ord missing due to injury, but it was the Aberdeen side who took an early lead on 10 minutes through Andrew Brown’s side-footed finish into the bottom corner of the net.

The Nicolls partnership of Brown and Steven Benzie linked well and it was Benzie who supplied the end product as he headed the ball into the ground past Kintore goalkeeper Gavin Fraser to make it 2-0.

Kintore’s frustration at a poor start to the season showed when Fraser Ewan was booked for a high challenge on Nicolls’ Brown.

The Aberdeenshire side grabbed a goal back with their first effort on goal when Andy McCall’s powerful effort flashed past Martin MacPhee.

Jordan Rae and Michael Reid were twice denied by the impressive Fraser before Reid trying to clear the ball blasted it into his own net past the despairing MacPhee on 35 minutes to make it 2-2.

Nicolls’ failure to convert their chances invited pressure from the home side and Kintore, who currently sit bottom of Division One (East), took the lead on 40 minutes after a fabulous left-footed strike into the top corner from Cameron Donald.

Half-Time: 3 – 2

Nicolls’ man of the match Michael Reid, helped save his sides first-half blushes by hitting a ferocious corner low across the Kintore 6 yard box which Reece Ward half-volleyed into the corner of the net to level the score at 3-3.

A moment of madness in the Kintore defence shortly followed when Scott Walker misjudged the bounce of the ball and Andrew Brown was on hand to calmly finish past Fraser.

The Aberdeen side gradually became more dominant and made it 5-3 on 70 minutes when substitute Jack Spiers tapped the ball home after a fizzing low cross from Reece Ward.

Brown all but ended the tie when he knocked the ball under Fraser from 10 yards after a low cross from Andrew Storey to make it 6-3 for his hat trick.

Michael Reid was at the heart of every Nicolls’ attack and his tenacious run and cross was met by Spiers who bulleted a header past Fraser.

Nicolls’ substitute Spiers sealed an emphatic 8-3 win for his side when he calmly slotted the ball under the onrushing Fraser on 85 minutes.

Full Time: 3 – 8

Anyone wishing to purchase a table or place at Nicolls 60th Anniversary Dinner should contact Raymond Morrison on 07790386375 for further information.