History was made on Deeside last Sunday as Banchory Boys’ U17 team reached the Scottish Cup final after a dramatic penalty shootout win over Glasgow side Harmony Row.
It is the first time in Aberdeen and District JFA history that a team outside Aberdeen city has achieved this accolade.
The game was played at Crombie Park, where junior outfit Cutler FC had allowed permission for the game to be held due to a neutral venue being required.
The game was started with a minutes silence after the sad death of ADJFA secretary and SYFA president Raymond Kelly earlier in the week when he lost his fight with cancer. Raymond had been at the forefront of juvenile football in the Aberdeen area for over 26 years and will be sorely missed by all in the youth football fraternity.
Banchory started the game well and created the first chance when Buchan took on a shot from outside the area only for it to go wide.
The home side then had a claim for a penalty after 15 minutes when Henderson went through on goal. The keeper came out and totally missed the ball and appeared to take the striker out but to the surprise of the Banchory players the referee waved play on.
At the other end another long ball was gathered by Leslie and the visiting striker followed through leaving the Banchory keeper needing treatment, and was left with a set of stud marks on his thigh.
The second half started with Harmony Row on the attack as a momentary lapse of concentration let in the striker but his shot went wide of the target.
Minutes later Banchory had the ball in the net. A shot by Buchan was parried by the keeper, Smith pounced and brilliantly turned to fire home, only for the referee to indicate the ball had initially gone out for a corner.
Another piercing move from Banchory down the right saw Christie latch onto the loose ball only for his effort to be blocked on the line and cleared.
As the game neared to 90 minutes both teams were giving their all to win the match and Banchory had three corners in quick succession but failed to make them count as the game went into extra time.
Banchory stepped up the ante and halfway through the first period they again had the ball in the net. A rasping shot by Henderson was spilled by the keeper and Buchan ran in and slotted the ball home.
The large crowd celebrated what they thought was a good goal only to be short lived as the assistant referee indicated Buchan was in an offside position and the goal was disallowed.
The second period saw the hosts shoot up towards the Pavilion end and an early break by McPherson saw a good cross find Henderson but was just off target.
The game took a dramatic twist two minutes later when Leslie raced from his line and collided with a Harmony striker. The referee awarded a free kick and after consulting with his assistant produced a red card, much to the disappointment of the home crowd.
Banchory had to sacrifice Iason in the midfield to take on reserve keeper Adams in goal. Minutes later he was called into action when he made a brave save to his left.
Banchory still pushed forward in numbers and a great cross by Davies was headed goal wards by McPherson but the keeper did well to save down to his left.
Banchory were finishing the stronger of the two teams and a poor clearance by the Harmony keeper found touch. Christie quickly threw to Henderson but he placed his shot just wide of the target and into the side netting.
With only a minute to go and penalties looming Banchory replaced Christie with McRae. From his corner kick Rowett’s header looked goalbound only for a last gasp lunge to clear the ball off the line.
The final whistle went and penalties was going to decide who would progress into the final.
Tubby, Rowett, McRae all scored in the shootout and when Stevie Adams in goal twice saved efforts from the visitors it was down to Sam Smith to send Banchory into the final. His effort crept under the crossbar to send the home crowd wild.
Banchory will now play Bellfield Royals FC on Sunday May 6 at the Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie. The club is looking to run buses to the game and anyone interested should contact a club member.
Banchory: Leslie, Sadler, Rennie, Reid, Rowett, Christie, Smith, Nicoll, Buchan, Henderson, Iason, Tubby, Davies, McRae, McPherson, Adams, Findlay.