A hotly contested tie in the first round of the SYFA Challenge Cup saw Culter Colts take on Cove BC at the Garioch Sports Centre, with both sides looking keen to advance to the next round.
Cove came out on top in the end after scoring two crucial goals within three minutes of each other in order to cement their place over a disappointed Culter side in the second round.
As the game kicked off, Cove wasted no time with their quick passing football through the midfield as Kalvin Mundie found himself up against Culter keeper Cieran Hunter who got the ball away at the edge of the box. Mundie managed to regain possession however and slid the ball to Alan Oldryod whose lofted shot from outside the box tricked Hunter who was unlucky as the ball spilled out of his hands and rolled over the line to put Cove in front.
For the early portions of the match Cove continued to boss the midfield as Culter struggled to find time on the ball. After managing to withstand the Cove pressure for the first 15 minutes, Culter started to find their feet. With plenty of space in the midfield, Scott Coutts hit a long range shot which was parried away by goalkeeper Jakub Biorka but only as far Culter striker Ross Christie whose close range effort forced Biorka to make a fantastic low save to keep his team ahead.
As Culter began to spring to life, Cove tried to match them. A good switch ball to Oldroyd was brought down excellently before being slipped through to Fraser Carnegy who would have been clean in on goal if not for a fantastic last ditch sliding tackle from Michael Horgan to tidy up the defence.
Culter recovered from their shaky start and began to take the game to Cove in search for an equaliser. Christie made a darting run into the box from the left wing but found his shot from a tight angle again saved by the keeper.
Corners were an area in which Culter looked particularly threatening. A shot from Stuart Bridgeford was saved by the keeper high to his left only minutes before Aaron Esson was unlucky to see his headed attempt come crashing off the bar and drop into the keeper’s gloves.
Culter’s Josh Peters had been looking dangerous behind the striker for the entire half and was vital in setting up a fantastic chance as he allowed Christie to slide the ball round the defence to Aidan Wilkinson who would have levelled it up if it were not for another excellent save from Biorka down to his left.
Towards the latter part of the half the tables had turned, with Cove now appearing to be on the back foot. A swift counter attack saw Wilkinson break down the right hand side and play a through ball to Peters, whose options were limited due to good pressure from the Cove centre halves, thus resulting in a simple shot for the keeper to save.
A high tempo in the early minutes and a solid defensive performance throughout allowed Cove to stay in front as the first half ended but Culter had no reason to be disappointed as they had the better of the overall chances.