Banchory Girls U16s got their campaign off to a flying start with a victory over Cove Youth U16s at Balmoral Stadium on Saturday. Goals from Kirsty Abernethy, Eilidh Blackhall and second half strike by Aimee Gordine were enough for Rhoda Cameron's side, in an impressive display.
Both teams started the match with great energy and created some fine early chances. Minutes in, an Aimee Plender corner from the right for the visitors sparked a scramble in the area, with the ball falling favourably for Desiree Glansbeek to hit into a crowd of players, before eventually being cleared to safety.
At the other end, the first of several strong runs by Cove's Kaitlyn Milne produced a corner for the home team. Out-swinging, the set piece evaded the defence, presenting Grace Goodwin with an opportunity, however her touch escaped her and the chance was lost.
On six minutes, Banchory took the lead. With space at a premium in the centre of the field, Sky Pirie unlocked the congestion, slipping a nice pass forward fpr Kirsty Abernethy. A question of offside as Abernethy raced through, however play was allowed to continue, and she kept her composure to notch neatly beyond Sophie Bently.
Five minutes later, Abernethy tested the gloves of Bently again, this time just inside the area, having been played in from the left a right footed snapshot on the turn was well held by Bently.
At the other end, the hosts' Courtney Shirran was playing well, linking together Cove's attacks and looking lively each time they advanced. Her control in midfield meant she'd be at the centre of creating further openings for Milne and Ruby Mason from wide angles. Neither could find the target despite their endeavour.
Midway through the half, Banchory doubled their advantage. This time, the move was instigated by Mollie Jamieson, snuffing out the danger of Cove's Lucy Birrell to win the ball back. Worked through midfield, the ball was lifted into the path of Eilidh Blackhall to chase. Coming together with the last defender, April Taylor, she did well to hold off the challenge, and then crashed the ball high into the net.
Two more chances developed for Banchory in the next ten minutes, and they were both for Charlotte Riach. First, picked out from the left, Riach was unmarked twelve yards out, but pulled the effort wide. Then moments later the ball arrived with her again. Once more, her radar was a little off and the ball skewed away.
As the period drew to a close, Cove fought hard for a foothold. Kaitlyn Milne called keeper Robyn Anderson into action. The stopper was alert twice to handle two of her dangerous low crosses, the latter a smart take at the foot of her near post. Grace Goodwin fired a final effort wide after her pace took her clear on the left. At 2-0, the teams knew the next goal was crucial, and Cove, to their credit, were doing what they could to keep their hopes alive.
It was, however, Banchory Girls that were in pole position for the points at the break.