DGYFDA side Heston Rovers had a seven hour round trip to contend with as they visited Spain Park to battle the ADJFA’s Banks O’Dee Albion in the SYFA U13’s Challenge Cup fifth round.
The surface at Spain Park was perfect for football. A small rain shower before the game aided passing on the ground and the temperature was surprisingly mild for a January in Aberdeen.
Both sides knew a tie with Cove YFC awaited the winner in the next round, with both teams starting well.
Heston’s Lewis Howat looked a bright spark from the offset. The Dumfries outfits number ten created two chances in as many minutes, first from open play and then a free kick wide right of Albion’s goal that none of his teammates managed to connect with.
It was Albion’s number ten however that made the breakthrough, ironically enough just after the ten minute mark. Damon Collins pouncing after Alfie Knox skinned the Heston full back, his cross resulting in Corey Stevenson getting a shot off, which was blocked and deflected into the path of Collins, who made no mistake with his finish, a half volley into the bottom right.
Heston responded well to conceding, continuing to push for a goal of their own. Albion had however also taken confidence from Collin’s goal and both sides cancelled each other out somewhat for the next period of the game. Both teams creating more half chances rather than full chances, with plenty crosses flashing across goal not being met by any takers.
The next big chance did fall to Heston. Jake McNally watching his shot from outside the area agonisingly trickle wide. For a brief second it had appeared Albion goalkeeper Calum Davie had misjudged the shot and Heston knew they were close to an equaliser.
Heston struggled to maintain a period of dominance for an extended period of time and as expected with the back and forth nature of the game, the next opportunity fell to Albion. Scott Milne put pressure on the visitors defence as he chased a lofted through ball. Heston’s clearance fell as far as Stevenson arriving on the edge of the area. Albion’s man of the match last week, Stevenson struck a sweet half volley that seemed destined for the net, but unfortunately struck the post and bounced out of danger.
The final action of the half saw Albion’s Stevie Livingstone race past two Heston players, only to be outnumbered on the edge of the penalty box. This was to be a warning for the visitors regarding the wingers’ ability to go past opponents.
A tightly contested first half drew to a close with Albion deserving their lead, having created the best chances; however both teams were still very much alive in this tie.