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Grantown United claim bragging rights again in town derby

By Gavin Musgrove

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Spot the ball in the Grantown derby.
Spot the ball in the Grantown derby.

Grantown Utd 9-2 Grantown Rovers

This was the second Grantown derby of the season, and just like the Dalvey Cup match three weeks previously United won the local bragging rights.

Michael Wright came close to opening the scoring for Rovers after only 10 minutes when he collected a superb cross from Blair Bingham but his final effort flew just over the bar.

And 10 minutes later Gordy Archer was equally unlucky for Rovers when he ran down the left and cut inside onto right foot and fired a shot which hit the post.

This galvanised United and they took the lead when a sloppy exchange between Rovers keeper and a defender was pounced upon by James McShane, and he ran in to drill home from eight yards out.

This clearly took the wind out Rovers’ sails.

Within 10 minutes they found themselves 3-0 down

First a cross from Adam Szinyeri was neatly prodded home by United’s Dafydd Simon.

And then Szinyeri turned from provider to scorer as he found the net himself shortly after to give his side a commanding half time lead.

United made it 4-0 soon after the break when Liam Grant found the net from close range.

Rovers pulled one back in the 54th minute when Lewis Bingham was hit on the back by a United goal kick but he was sharp enough to turn and finish it off for 4-1.

Four minutes later John Fowler found the net to make it 4-2 but there was to be no fightback.

United scored again on the hour mark when Fraser Greenless sweetly found the top corner from just outside the box.

But Rovers returned, and Archer was unlucky when his headed shot rebounded off the crossbar. And his agony was compounded moments later when his shot from the edge of the box cannoned off the bar - meaning he had been denied three times by the woodwork.

It was 6-2 when James McShane’s free kick was too well struck for the Rovers’ keeper to control, and Liam Grant pounced to score from the rebound.

This was followed by Greenlees bagging his hat-trick.

Rovers were then presented with an opportunity to pull another one back when the referee pointed to the spot after a clumsy challenge inside the box by James Crilley.

However, keeper Callum Liggertwood was equal to the task, diving to his right to block the spot kick.

McShane then unleashed a powerful drive from 20 yards which sailed into the net to make it 8-2.

Rovers were a spent side now, and United continued to dominate the closing stages.

Greenlees was especially keen to bag a hat-trick and it was mission accomplished in the last minute when he found the net again.

Cromdale 1-4 Aviemore Thistle

The Jags maintained top spot on the League table with a comfortable away win in Cromdale on Tuesday night.

The opening stages of this encounter were played at a fast pace, with both teams at full throttle to make an impact.

It was a midfield battle till the Jags were awarded a corner on 17 minutes.

The ball was deftly swung across the area by David Robertson, and Neil MacEwan was there to meet it as he bulleted in a header to open the Jags’ account.

But just after the half hour mark Cromdale bagged a deserved equaliser. A pinpoint pass from Cairn Giles completely wrong-footed the Thistle defence.

Graham Murray beat the offside trap, and controlled the ball with his first touch, and with his second touch lobbed the outrushing Thistle stopper.

The game ebbed and flowed until Thistle won another corner which Dale’s defence managed to partly clear.

But the ball landed kindly for Declan Brannan to drill a shot low through a forest of legs and into the bottom corner

Thistle emerged from the interval a more determined side and launched an onslaught on Dale’s goal.

However the men in blue stood firm until just after the hour when a powerful shot from Robertson was deflected to the feet of Finlay McDonald and he poked it home for 3-1.

And 15 minutes from time Rory Mackinnon put the game to bed with a sweet strike from inside the area to net a deserved fourth goal for Thistle.

Badenoch Utd 5-0 FC Abernethy.

United were last season’s whipping boys but have become a vastly improved side which the

demonstrated in style on the Aviemore Astro.

An end to end start saw Nethy’s Martin Guckian force a good save from United’s keeper whilst at the other end Calum Guy pulled off a smart save.

Abernethy suffered a setback when Ben Buckler, their talismanic goal scorer, limped off with a nasty looking injury, and after that United turned the screw.

Badenoch broke the deadlock from a corner which evaded everyone bar Ty Cobb as he cut it back for Finlay McBain to prod into the bottom corner.

United kept up the pressure from the restart, and moments later were awarded a free kick at the edge of the area.

Toto Burnett was tasked with taking it, but his shot pinged back off the post.

Fortunately for Badenoch, Cobb was in just the right spot to tap home into the empty net to double the hosts’ advantage.

United had a tight hold of the game by now. A third goal was coming, and it arrived in spectacular fashion.

Svend Pedersen found himself in acres of space and let fly a rocket which flew pat Guy into the top corner of the net.

And five minutes later it was 4-0 when an in-swinging corner was hoofed away by the Nethy defence but landed kindly for McBain who placed it past Guy and into the net with the aid of a deflection for his second goal of the game.

Nethy’s players used the interval to regroup and compose themselves.

Indeed, following the restart they were desperately unlucky not to pull one back when Guckian capitalised on a sloppy pass back only to see his snapshot creep tantalisingly past the post.

The game was now a lot more even.

But the hosts would have the final say when in the 68th minute Pedersen collected a slick through ball and Guy could only parry his well struck shot into the net.

There is also plenty of Cup action to come on Friday and Saturday with Clubs having the chance to

advance in two separate trophy competitions.

Last Friday saw the preliminary round of the local Caldwell Cup. Cromdale and Grantown Utd

received byes into the final four, but the remaining sides still had to see action.

Aviemore Thistle made short work of a depleted FC Abernethy side, running put winners by a

thumping 8-1. It was a far closer affair between Grantown Rovers and Badenoch Utd however as the

sides were locked at 1-1 by full time. This took the game straight to penalties where Rovers scraped

home 5-4 winners.

These results mean that Friday’s semi-finals shape-up as follows:

Aviemore Thistle v Grantown Rovers

Cromdale v Grantown Utd

However Rovers will need to have very fresh legs as the next day they head east to Aberdeenshire to face NE Scotland side Cuminestown in the preliminary phase of the Highland Welfare Cup.

The congested nature of this season’s domestic competitions means there is no room to rejig Rovers’ Caldwell Cup match.

It leaves them with the hefty challenge of playing two games on consecutive days.

Cuminestown are presently sitting at the top of the NESFA League 2 table so it’s a daunting task for the Carrbridge-based side.

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