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Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire play out a thriller in Under 15's National Trophy

Aberdeenshire 5

Laird 35, 50, 70, 80+1, Napier 55

Aberdeen City 3

Dalziel 12, Maclaren 60, Paszkeiwicz 90

A cold Thursday afternoon in Inverurie isn’t many people’s idea of a source of entertainment but when there’s an under 15’s National Trophy game with eight goals to see, exceptions can be made.

Aberdeen City went into this one knowing they needed a win. Having fallen 4-1 to North of Scotland, this was their final of two games in Group One. This was Aberdeenshire’s first game in the competition, with their game against North of Scotland still to come. Two sides will progress to the next round from the group of three.

It was obvious that City needed the result, as they started off the better of the two sides, showing an obvious ability to pass the ball quickly and effectively.

Within the first ten minutes Shire’s Scott Coull had a couple of half chances. The first saw Coullround the keeper, but he was crowded out by defenders before he could get a shot off.

The second opportunity was blocked by a City defender’s leg, leading to the first corner of the game – a set-piece City would make the most of.

Matthew Petterman’s corner was whipped in with pace and Tom Dalziel’s near post header clipped the post on its way into the goal, giving City a crucial lead.

As odd as it sounds, City might have regretted scoring so early, because it was Dalziel’s goal that sprung Shire into action.

Aberdeenshire began to find their feet almost as soon as City had taken the lead. It took them twenty minutes to almost equalise in style. Zane Laird’s corner ricocheted in the box, the ball found its way to Jamie MacLellan who’s ambitious overhead kick needed a strong hand from Jamie Shingler to push it over the bar.

Just over ten minutes later, Shire found the equaliser they had been hunting. Coull had drifted out wide, where the player that had initially started centrally was having a far bigger influence. Coull’s low cross was met by Laird at close range to draw the scores level.

The score lines remained level at half time – but plenty more goals were to come.

Laird had already scored once for Shire and he started off the second half looking to make the difference. Laird was unlucky just a few minutes in to the half as he jinked past two defenders, only for his shot to be well blocked by Shingler.

Just minutes later Lairdhad the beating of Shingler though. Making a run down the left side Lairdcut inside onto his right foot, curling a shot from outside the area past the City keeperinto the net to give Shire the lead.

Things went from bad to worse for City, but not much can be done when Connor Napier hits a shot like he did a couple minutes later. City could have had two goalkeepers in their net, but after Napier plucked the ball out of the air, with his back to goal, turned and hit a sweet volley into the top corner from 20 yards, there was simply no stopping this strike.

With a 3-1 lead, Shire seemed to be cruising, but City weren’t in the mood to go out of this competition without a fight. City looked to change the game with a couple of substitutions, and their substitutes certainly gave their coaches a reason to start them next time.

After a ten minute period of finding their way back into the match, it was game on. Substitute Jos McLaren was played through one on one with the Shire keeper and made no mistake with a sweet chipped finish to make it 3-2.

Just a minute later, Shire could have lucked back into another two goal lead. Coullhad caused issues all day and his cross from the right side almost looped into City Keeper’snet.

Maclaren had already scored since coming on for City and he was looking to make a further impact. Played through once again, his shot was blocked off before he could make proper contact.

Just as it looked like City could possibly find an equaliser, Zane Laird cut inside from the left wing once again, looping a shot from the edge of the box over City’s goalkeeper. With a hat-trick confirmed for Laird and the Shire leading 4-2, the result felt confirmed.

From this point on the game became fairly scrappy, with three bookings handed out and frustrations clearly being felt.

Nonetheless, City weren’t taking their apparent fate lying down. Both teams clearly felt scoring from inside the box was too easy in this game. Brunon Paszkeiwicz picked up the ball on the turn just outside the 18 yard box and unleashed a drive past Shire’s substitute keeper Kyle Morrison.

City were intent on finding an equaliser but perhaps threw too many bodies forward. Just as the game’s stoppage time began Zane Laird completed his man of the match performance. Skipping past a couple tired City defenders, Laird finished low into the net to give the game a final score of 5-3.

A heart racing dual between two very able sides. Normally you’d imagine there’d be plenty defensive mistakes to criticize in an eight goal game, but the standard of finishing was the primary reason for such a high score line. City will be kicking themselves but both sides were able to leave Inverurie knowing the game had plenty quality on show.

Aberdeen City bow out of the National Trophy, meanwhile Aberdeenshire will progress along with North of Scotland, but both sides will be looking to take top spot when they meet for the final group game.

Lineups

Aberdeenshire
Aberdeen City
1. Owen Campbell
2. Mark Thompson
3. Lewis Coull
4. Aiden McRae
5. Harvey Taylor
6. Louis McGarrity
8. Jamie MacLellan
9. Scott Coull
10. Connor Napier
11. Zane Laird
12. Jacob Taylor
13. Kyle Morrison
14. Bruno Dembele
17. Cameron Reid
18. Blessing Olyuyemi
2. Jamie Steel
3. Danny Belford
4. Neil Campbell
5. Tom Dalziel
6. Ryan Park
7. Kian Guyan
8. Lewis Dalgarno
9. Jackson Pirie
10. Jack Bowden
11. Matthew Petterma
12. Andrew Buck
15. Liam Strachan
16. Olek Dlugosz
17. Brunon Paszkeiwicz
18. Jos McLaren
22. Jamie Shingler
Star Player
Aberdeenshire
Aberdeen City
Zane Laird was the obvious choice for star player. The winger caused all sorts of issues cutting inside on his right foot and no other player could be named star player after Laird's four goals.
While coming out on the losing side, there were still plenty of choices for star player with many strong performances. Number 18 Jos McLaren deserves a special mention for coming off of the bench, getting the goal and making the Shire's centre backs jobs difficult for the closing minutes and almost taking part in what would have be an excellent comeback.
Magic Moment
Aberdeenshire
Aberdeen City
No other moment could take magic moment that number 10 Connor Napier's excellent goal. A written description really doesn't do the finish justice.
Brunon Paszkeiwicz's late goal may not have been enough to earn City any points, but it was a blistering finish that wouldn't have been undeserving had it won his side a point.

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