Echt unbeaten after tough week

Monday April 4 - Westdyke 1 Echt 2

The end of season run in for Echt began with a difficult away league fixture at near neighbours Westdyke, both Clubs sharing an unwanted flirtation with Premier Division relegation territory.

First half, Echt enjoyed the upper hand possession-wise but it took a headed MacLeod goal-line clearance following a Westdyke corner and then a timely Aberdein intervention on the edge of the Echt six yard box to deny the home side advantage against the run of play.

Just when it looked odds on for a goalless opening period the Westdyke rearguard were found wanting twice in a 60 second spell.

A long Echt throw in from the right was cleared only to the edge of the box and Darren MacLeod read the situation to perfection and flighted a great finish high into the net.

A minute later Matty Smith cashed in on poor defending and fired home a second for Echt.

Westdyke came out second half and pressured Echt, whose first half composure completely deserted them and having lived dangerously on several occasions it was game on after 68 minutes when Graeme Gillies found himself free inside the Echt box and easily reduced the leeway.

Echt however reacted positively to the wake up call and settled to see the remainder of the game through and secure a valuable 3 points.

Wednesday April 6 - Sportsmans Club 1 Echt 1

Another difficult away league match for Echt at Hazlehead against a host side with enough games in hand to overhaul all teams who currently sit above above them in the Premier League table.

In a cracking, goalless, first half Echt came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 14th minute mark when Ian Leith rose above his marker to head just over.

Darren MacLeod was taken down inside the home box after 53 minutes but Paul Presslie’s spot kick was blocked by home keeper Sutherland and Ian Leith fired the rebound over the top.

Minutes later Sportsmans were reduced to 10 men when one of their players was given a straight red for an infringement.

With seven minutes remaining Echt were awarded a second penalty and this time substitute Ramsay made no mistake to raise Echt hopes of another invaluable 3 points away from home.

However despite being a goal, and a man down, Sportsmans refused to throw in the towel and one of their substitutes, Ewen, fired home a spectacular long range equaliser in the dying seconds to give them a share of the spoils.

Saturday 9th April - Tarves 3 Echt 4

Echt were on the road again for this North of Scotland Cup Quarter Final which had fallen victim to a waterlogged pitch the previous Saturday.

Echt got off to a flying start as Matty Smith converted from the spot after a home defender handled inside the box after only 60 seconds.

Things looked even rosier for Echt after five minutes when Chris Mann’s cross was swept home near post by Paul Presslie to make the score 2-0.

Tarves reduced the lead a few minutes later when Echt keeper Ross Stewart was robbed of the ball and the Tarves player rolled it across to an unmarked colleague to slot home.

Echt responded as Presslie turned provider when he threaded a through ball which left Smith free inside the Tarves box to fire a drive across the goalkeeper and restore Echt’s two goal advantage.

Tarves grabbed a second goal in the 32nd minute, again keeper Stewart was made to look decidedly uncomfortable as he failed to deal with a loose ball that was bundled into his net.

The second half unfolded as a scrappy affair with Echt sitting uncomfortably on a one goal advantage that looked in danger of being wiped out every time Tarves got forward.

The home side did eventually level the tie when further uncertainty in the Echt six-yard box allowed the ball to be fired over the line.

With 15 minutes remaining the Echt management made a brave decision by introducing Graham Ramsay up front to replace Paul Presslie, who donned the keeper’s jersey and Stewart was withdrawn.

Almost immediately, Presslie made a smart stop on a low netbound effort to deny Tarves getting their noses in front.

In the 77th minute Echt grabbed what turned out to be the winning goal when Kieran Graham’s cross was met by the diving header of Ramsay.

Echt held on and to set up a semi-final date with Nicolls Amateurs on Sunday April 24 at Heathryfold.