Athletic through to semi final



AThletic travelled to Westhill for this Edmond Trophy quarter-final tie with a depleted squad, albeit they made only one change to last week’s starting line-up with Fraser replacing Elliott.

The visitors kicked into the wind in the first half and started brightly. Neish and Reid were causing the home defence problems although few clear chances were created.

The best attempt for the visitors came from Lawson who, after side-stepping his opponent in midfield, unleashed an effort from 25 yards that beat the keeper but came back off the crossbar.

They were to pay shortly after when the hosts scored the opener. The home side broke down the left and after several missed tackles by the visitors they worked their way into the box and created an effort which was easily despatched past Middleton.

The hosts continued to put pressure on the Athletic defence and probably felt they should have added to their tally before the break.

An improvement was demanded in the second half from Athletic as they looked to take advantage of the strong wind.

Fraser had a chance to score but delayed his effort and was tackled before he could get a shot off. It was then the turn of Metelski to go close but the keeper pulled off a great save.

Irvine and Cohen then replaced Lawson and Fraser as the visitors kept up the pressure looking for the equaliser.

On a rare venture to the other end of the pitch, Middleton was forced into a save to keep his side in the game.

Duncan then replaced Ross as Athletic went for broke and the pressure was eventually rewarded with the equaliser in the 89th minute. Reid swung in a corner from the left and captain Bowron rose to power home a great header.

Reid almost won the game with the last kick of normal time when he turned in the box and fired goalwards only for his effort to hit the bar and go over to send the game into extra time.

The visitors continued the pressure in the first added period and the home keeper kept his side in the game most notable saving from Neish. Athletic were causing problems down both flanks with Duncan and Cohen combining well on the right and Nicoll and Irvine likewise on the left.

The game then went into the second period with scores still level. Reid then made space for himself on the edge of the area only to see his effort beat the keeper only to hit the post and rebound across the goal and out for a goal kick.

Athletic then lost Bowron to injury and were left to play the last 10 minutes with 10 men.

With two minutes left on the clock, they won a corner down the right. Reid played in yet another great ball which Mitchell met at the back post to loop a header back across the goal which beat everyone to score the winner.

This was a great effort by the players to put them through to their second semi-final of the season and Westhill will be glad not to play Athletic at home again this season as this was the second time they were to lose the game in the closing minutes.

This result showed what happens if you play right to the final whistle and will be required every week as Athletic fight for promotion and try and reach the final of this competition.

Athletic: Middleton; Ross, Bowron, Mitchell, Nicoll; MacLeod, Metelski, Lawson, Fraser; Neish, Reid. Subs: Irvine, Cohen & Duncan.