Aberdeenshire AFA

Official website of the Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association

Portlethen United 2 – 3 Granite City

North of Scotland Cup First Round at Portlethen on Saturday 9th February

Report by Andy McLaren

Granite City veteran Richard Durno admits he has no plans to bring the curtain down on his 35-year playing career after his side clinched a 3-2 win over Portlethen in the first round of the North of Scotland cup.

The 53-year-old has played in the amateur ranks since he was 18 and has only lost one game in his first season with the Aberdeen outfit after forming last year.

Richard, who previously played for Wilson’s XI, Mugiemoss and Bon Accord City, expressed his desire to play football for years to come and admits he enjoys being one of the oldest players in Aberdeen.

He said: “There is a superb atmosphere at the club, which is why I am enjoying playing football more than ever before.

“I was going to quit football at the end of last season but once I got the motivation for pre-season training, I couldn’t resist the temptation.

“I have always enjoyed training and keeping myself fit so it will always be hard to turn my back on football.

“We have got a bunch of guys together who were fed up playing serious football and the team seems to be gelling together nicely.

“A lot of the guys playing for the club didn’t enjoy playing football at a high level because there was too much pressure on them but playing at Granite City is much more relaxed.

“We always want to win but the main aim is to enjoy ourselves.”

Granite City’s Greig Harris partnered Richard in defence at former Premier Division champions Bon Accord City and admits he is delighted to be reunited with Durno.

The 32-year-old, who recently joined City from Echt, has played with Richard for over 10 years and believes the pair can still be a formidable partnership in amateur football, despite their advancing years.

He said: “I thought I would give the Premier Division a shot again with Echt but I wasn’t enjoying it.

“It’s great to be reunited with old friends and it’s a decision I will never regret.

“I asked myself the question: ‘Why do something that you are not enjoying?’ so to have the chance to play with my mates was something I couldn’t turn down.

“We definitely have a squad who are capable of winning the league and the other cups we are involved in.

“If we can keep everyone together during the spell of midweek games coming up then I feel we are capable of beating most teams in amateur football.”

Granite City, who are currently top of Division Three and have scored 65 goals in the league this season, opened the scoring on 10 minutes when Michael Watt calmly slotted a loose ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the net from 10 yards.

The pace of Watt caused panic in the Portlethen defence throughout the match and he collected a long ball to drive a powerful shot past the onrushing Paul Murphy to make it 2-0.

Daniel McMullan and Michael Watt were the games outstanding performers and it was McMullan who made it 3-0 with an audacious strike from 30 yards that cannoned against the post and crossed the line.

Portlethen were struggling for any rhythm or momentum and it was no surprise when they almost went 4-0 behind when Watt’s shot was blocked on the line before Gary Cruickshank’s follow-up skimmed the crossbar.

The Aberdeenshire side pulled a goal back on 25 minutes when Craig Will pounced on a high ball to bullet a header past Craig Hill.

Portlethen gained in confidence and grabbed a second goal 5 minutes later when Ryan Causby squeezed past Hill to header the ball into an empty net.

Half-time: 2 – 3

Portlethen were left frustrated on 55 minutes when Scott Brown’s header was tipped onto the bar by Hill before Michael Christie’s powerful header was blocked on the line by Granite City’s Kevin McKenzie.

The Premier Division side pushed for an equaliser but almost went further behind when Daniel McMullan’s shot was somehow palmed away by goalkeeper Paul Murphy.

Portlethen ended the second half on top but couldn’t beat Craig Hill in the City goal as he expertly saved a fizzing drive from Michael Christie on 85 minutes to secure Granite City’s 2nd round spot in the North of Scotland Cup.

Full Time: 2 – 3