Aberdeenshire AFA

Official website of the Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association

Old Aberdonians 3 – 2 Don Athletic

1st Touch Football Division One (East) at Balgownie on Saturday 23rd February

Report by Andy McLaren

New Old Aberdonians boss Colin Lawrence is hoping his new role will be the catalyst for guiding the club into the Premier Division next season.

Lawrence joined the Aberdeen outfit at the start of the season from Bucksburn United after the former Division Two (North) champions folded in 2011.

And Lawrence, who managed United for 8 years, admits joining Old Aberdonians is the best decision he has made in amateur football.

He said: “When Bucksburn folded, I started to miss football so I was desperate to get back with an amateur team.

“I saw that Old Aberdonians were looking for a new manager and the opportunity was too good to refuse.

“The club have made me feel very welcome and we have a great bunch of lads.

“At times, I felt I had to run Bucksburn solely by myself but it was really sad to see the club fold.

“The difference is I now have a stable committee behind me so I can now focus solely on the football.

“The aim is to consolidate ourselves in the First Division and next season, we can really push to get back into the Premier Division.”

Old Aberdonians formed in 1991 by a group of Aberdeen University graduates and most recently won the White Cup and Division One (East) title in 2009.

And Graeme MacLennan, who acts as a player and assistant manager, believes Lawrence’s arrival has had a positive impact at the club after a frustrating season last year.

MacLennan, who joined the club in 1997 after graduating from Aberdeen Univeristy to be a statistician, is confident everything is now in place to push for promotion into the Premier Division.

He said: “It has always been difficult to balance the team from being a social club to a serious football club because most new players are new to the city and are looking to make friends.

“Colin has implemented a winning mentality to the squad which makes us more focussed to games.

“He has been around the amateur leagues longer than I have so he knows what players to look out for on the opposing team.

“Very few of us have played for more than one amateur team so we only know a handful of players from different sides.

“Rather than just going out and playing football, Colin has brought an organised tactical set-up to matches.

“We want to get to the Premier Division, mainly because the pitches are better and there is less travelling to do.”

Old Aberdonians’ leading goalscorer Colin Marshall hopes his goals can get the club promoted and admits he was delighted with the appointment of Lawrence as manager.

He said: “Last season was meant to be my last year so we will have to wait and see what the future holds.

“It’s great to be the leading goalscorer at the club and hopefully my goals can help the club get to where we want to be.

“Every season, I always set a target of twenty goals so I’m hoping I can reach that by the end of the season.

“I actually don’t think there is much difference between the Premier Division and the two Division One’s but it would be great to get back into the top flight of amateur football.”

In the match itself, Old Aberdonians struck first when Andy Cameron was on hand to powerfully head the ball past Mitchell McKenzie from Marshall’s fizzing cross.

Aberdonians, who currently sit 7th in the Division One (East) table, almost doubled their advantage when Marshall’s curing shot skimmed the post before McKenzie tipped another powerful effort from Marshall over the bar.

Aberdonians’ pressure paid off when they made it 2-0 on 25 minutes when Scott Ure unleashed a powerful effort which flew past McKenzie into the back of the net.

Don Athletic, who are 13th in Division One (East), rarely threatened Aberdonians in the opening half but Greg Morrison wasted a golden chance on 35 minutes when his shot went inches past the post.

Half-time: 2 – 0

Aberdonians continued where they left off and made it 3-0 on 50 minutes when Gareth Ashton bulleted his header past McKenzie from Euan Wilson’s looping cross.

But Aberdonians’ resolve and discipline gradually dissolved when Kris Singer calmly side-footed the ball past Geoff Clark to make it 3-1.

A moment of madness soon occurred when Athletic players Reece Milne and William Valentine had an altercation as both players had to be restrained by their teammates.

The Bridge of Don side grabbed a late consolation when Andrew Harper curled a low shot into the bottom corner of the net but Old Aberdonians nervously held on to secure a vital three points.

Full Time: 3 – 2