The top two in Div 1 East clashed in the Semi Final of the White Cup at Maryculter for the right to face Haliburton in the final and the game lived up to it’s billing of Match of the Day with Insch prevailing after extra time.
Glendale welcomed back Ryan McRae and Cammy Willox after long term injuries and with the traditional Maroon and Sky Blue kit finally getting an airing it was a much more familiar looking Glendale that took to the field. However the contest could have been over inside the first 10 minutes as Insch flew out of the traps. In Insch’s 1st attack a header from Munro skimmed the crossbar. 3 outstanding saves followed as the “Peter Pan” of Amateur football, Derek McKenzie, kept Dale in the tie.The 49 year old showed great reflexes to claw efforts round the post. A last ditch tackle from Russel MacPhee on Masson kept the score line blank and Glendale’s only response in this opening period was a long range effort from James McMahon which flew high over the bar. Gradually Glendale grew in confidence and with Cammy Willox and MacPhee working overtime in mid field the game began to even out. Chris Smith missed Dale’s best chance of the half when he found himself free on the left but screwed his shot miles wide of the target and the half time whistle on a frantic first half sounded with no scoring and all still to play for.
The 2nd half started with both teams striving for the opener and when it duly arrived in 58 minutes it was worth waiting for. Danny Lechner found a pocket of space just inside the Insch half and he managed to pick out CHRIS SMITH free on the left who controlled the ball with his left foot then bent a right foot shot from all of 18 yards round Wood and into the far corner. Insch were visibly shaken and J McMahon should have added to their woes when he raced clear but delayed too long and Souter got back to toe poke the ball away for a corner. 65 minutes Insch were back on level terms with a goal of quality to match that of Glendale’s. With the Dale defence struggling to clear the ball fell nicely for INGRAM and from the edge of the box his sweetly struck left foot shot had “goal” written all over it giving McKenzie no chance and sparking a mini pitch invasion from the away support. Then came a moment of controversy as Craig McRae stumbled as he went to challenge Masson and fell into the player, The Ref thought for a minute then pointed to the spot much to Glendale’s dismay and after much debate up stepped YOUNG and his penalty sent McKenzie the wrong way to put his side ahead. Glendale introduced Mark Robb and he almost scored the equaliser with a turn and shot but Wood threw himself to his left to smother the ball. With time running out J McMahon chased a long ball down and stole it off Souter and crossed for MARK ROBB who “turned on a sixpence” and smashed a shot off the underside of the bar for the leveler and now it was the turn of the Glendale touchline to celebrate as if they had won the cup! There was only time for Insch to re start as the Ref blew for full time bringing to the end a pulsating 90 minutes.
The first period of extra time saw Glendale squander a glorious chance when again J McMahon was clear but delayed and delayed getting his shot away allowing Anderson time to get back and tackle then Robb broke free beating two defenders before smashing a right foot shot off the outside of the near post but it was Insch who grabbed what proved to be the winner. Ally Black was a fraction late with a tackle in the box and as Insch appealed for a penalty and everyone hesitated the ball ran through to YOUNG and he kept a cool head to drill low past McKenzie.
The 2nd period saw Insch content to sit back and soak up the pressure as Glendale kept probing right to the end and Wood again excelled as he saved a Robb piledriver and despite numerous corners Glendale just could not find a way past a resolute Insch defence. Insch will surely now be odds on favourite’s to go on and lift the trophy but for Glendale after some inept performances of late this was at least a step in the right direction.
|1. Derek McKenzie|