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Aviemore Thistle and Grantown United to battle for new season’s first welfare cup

By Ali Morrison

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FC Abernethy’s Richard Villegas shows a neat touch to get away from his marker.
FC Abernethy’s Richard Villegas shows a neat touch to get away from his marker.

The start of the domestic welfare campaign in Badenoch and Strathspey took a slightly back seat due to the Scottish Cup taking precedence.

Proceedings began with the opening round of the Dalvey Cup on Friday night with Aviemore Thistle and FC Abernethy being handed byes.

Badenoch Utd 2-1 Cromdale

The opening stages of this encounter were a scrappy affair, with both sides still shrugging off their early Scottish Cup exits and failing to gain any real dominance.

However, the game burst into life after 20 minutes with an opening strike for the hosts.

Dale gave away a cheap free kick on the edge of the box and Finlay McBain stepped up to smash the ball high into the top corner.

The sides then traded possession with no real chances to speak of until midway through the second half.

Cromdale’s pressure was mounting, and they were awarded a free kick 40 yards from goal.

The ball was played into the box and some serious harrying from Dale’s attackers was rewarded with a tap-in by Ewan Mackintosh to draw the sides level.

But Badenoch retook the lead with 20 minutes remaining in dramatic fashion.

Charlie Taylor played a ball into the area which Charlie Robbie collected, however, he was clattered by the outrushing Dale keeper and the referee pointed straight to the spot.

Scott MacDonald stepped-up but blasted his effort off the post.

But the referee had spotted an infringement by Cromdale and the kick was retaken.

This time MacDonald made no mistake, slotting low into the bottom corner.

Dale then threw everything at their hosts as they desperately battled to draw level but Badenoch stood firm.

Grantown Rovers 1-4 Grantown Utd

Despite being played in Carrbridge, this was the first Grantown derby in many years and it was United who claimed local bragging rights at full time.

United came close to opening the scoring after 10 minutes from a long range effort but Rovers keeper Ciaran Cullan was equal to the task.

But United continued to press and were rewarded on 20 minutes with a strike from Kane Davies.

Rovers may have been last season’s whipping boys but they are a far stronger side this season and emphasised the point with an excellent leveller only five minutes later.

Kyle Scott’s shot was parried into the path of Gordon Archer and he drove the ball into the bottom corner.

Martin Ross found the net 10 minutes from the interval to give the visitors the lead.

Rovers almost pulled one back shortly after the restart through a thunderous Toby Harrison strike from the halfway line which United’s stopper did well to save.

But midway through the second half United extended their lead from a Craig Brown penalty.

United were piling on the pressure and Rovers’ Lyall Kinnaird did well to hoof the ball off the


But Kane Davies’ second of the evening sealed the win with 20 minutes remaining.

Rovers though refused to give up Blair Bingham almost pulled one back, only to be denied by the keeper.

Semi finals

FC Abernethy’s Alex Smith tries holds off a determined challenge from the Jags’ Jason Minard.
FC Abernethy’s Alex Smith tries holds off a determined challenge from the Jags’ Jason Minard.

FC Abernethy 3-7 Aviemore Thistle

Aviemore took the lead within a minute of the start of their Dalvey Cup semi-final clash after a ball over the top from Brian Minard found

Craig Macleod on the right and he found Ron McKinnon in the box who finished low into the corner.

Abernethy pegged them back when Alex Starace held off his defender to head in after good work down the left from Jules Orsi.

But Thistle then struck twice in quick succession through McKinnon and Jason Minard to go into the break 3-1 up.

Thistle came out fast in the second half and scored again within 5 minutes through a great 30 yard strike from Declan Brannan. Rory McKinnon then scored another two goals after an hour, including one from the spot. to make it 6-1.

But Abernethy rallied and finished the game strongly. They were awarded a penalty of their own when Starace was tripped in the box and Ben Buckler smashed the resulting spot kick into the roof of the net.

But five minutes later penalties were exchanged when Neil McEwan was felled in the area and Rory McKinnon slotted home.

Next came the goal of the match. Jules Orsi and Tom Devereux combined to devastating effect, with Orsi swinging a fantastic ball in from the left and Devereux meeting it on the volley and guiding it low into the corner.

Badenoch Utd 1-6 Grantown Utd

Grantown opened the scoring in just the fifth minutes with a floated ball played into the penalty area which was converted by Rory MacKinnon.

Badenoch then started to get into the game and a long ball over the top went found Svend Pedersen who hit it past the keeper for 1-1.

Badenoch were controlling the game after that, creating chance after chance but could not find the net.

They went into the break the happier of the sides but Grantown struck with a vengeance following the restart.

Greenless netted his second on the hour with a well worked move drilled home.

Another well worked move five minutes later ended with Kane Davies finishing low into the net for 3-1.

Greenlees made it a hat-trick shortly after with a fine volley from the middle of the box, before grabbing his fourth shortly after with a headed effort from a cross.

Craig Brown completed the scoring four minutes from time, firing into an empty net from a Davies cross.

The results mean that Aviemore Thistle and Grantown Utd will meet in the first contest for silverware this season next Tuesday (May 14) at Cromdale with a 7.30pm kick-off.

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