Echt were delighted that their Division 1 East opponents Halliburton picked up the gauntlet and agreed to play this Association Trophy 3rd round fixture on the “all weather” surface under the floodlights at Kaimhill.
Echt went into this one not having kicked a ball competitively since November 26 whilst Halliburton had fared just slightly better with their previous outing on December 3.
Echt took the game to Halliburton from the off with visiting keeper Marlow being involved in most of the early action, but dealing competently with several strikes on his goal.
Both sets of players seemed to be experiencing difficulty in keeping their feet on the sodden “all weather” surface.
Halliburton’s first venture upfield ended with Webster’s right side driven cross, across the Echt box, proving to be too strong, with neither side able to get on the end of it.
Echt keeper L Milne was untroubled by a speculative 25 yard K Jaques snapshot but two minutes later, at the end of a free-flowing left side move that ripped the Echt rearguard apart, R Fulton fired just wide of target.
At the other end Greg Kane, not for the first time, eluded his marker to hit an 18 yard shot just over and it was he, who got a deft touch on a long ball from keeper L Milne to lay into Jamie Wood’s path and the midfielder cracked a beauty from 28 yards to find the net inside Marlow’s left hand post to put Echt in front.
Halliburton responded positively to this setback and were back on level terms five minutes later. Echt failed to clear a G Fulton free kick and when R Fulton picked up possession on the edge of the Echt box he wheeled to despatch a great finish inside L Milne’s right hand post.
Kane again warmed Marlow’s hands with an 18 yard snapshot but Echt’s early dominance had gone and Halliburton were now conjuring up some dangerous forward moves, none more so than on the 40 minute mark that ended with R Fulton clear, in a central position inside the Echt box, but much to Echt’s relief, firing over.
A minute later Halliburton deservedly got the lead their approach play deserved, Laing was the architect in playing Webster into the left side of the Echt box to clip a perfect near post finish behind L Milne.
The second half was played out with Echt enjoying by far the bulk of possession, but Halliburton made life very difficult for the Donside club to create anything resembling a clear cut chance.
Marc Lawrence replaced the injured Kane in 58 minutes and Andy Davidson and Ryan Robertson subsequently came on for Alan Daun and Kieran Graham as the half unfolded and Echt chased an elusuive equaliser that never materialised.
Indeed during the half, first Laing and then S Jaques had gilt edged opportunities to put the game totally out of Echt’s reach, but at the end of the day Halliburton triumphed courtesy of their two excellent first half counters and a defiant second half defensive display, aided and abetted by a superb last line of defence in keeper Scott Marlow and will now host the reigning Premier Division Champions at the quarter final stage of this competition.
ECHT: L Milne, Birse, Gill, G Milne, Aberdein, Daun, Graham, Leith, Kane, McGillivray, Wood. Subs: Lawrence, A Davidson, P Bennett, Robertson.