Cove Rangers' Balmoral Stadium played host on a blustery day as the North region’s Under 16’s faced off against their Eastern counterparts.
High winds were always bound to play a part in the fixture, which benefited from otherwise perfect conditions and a top standard playing surface.
North dominated the early stages of the game. Number ten Logan Watt – who was very much playing as a number ten – was part of the bulk of the North attacks. First Watt’s effort following a loose ball falling his way was straight at the goalkeeper. His ball out wide to winger Jordan Lynch also resulted in Lynch getting a shot off – but it was saved by East’s number one Craig Doctor.
Next it was the turn of North’s goalie – Jamie Williamson – to make a save. He rushed out to meet Rudy Bou as the East player made a cutting run in from the right hand side. Williamson made a timely block with his chest.
North’s Lewis McDonald had the next close call – he turned on the ball just outside the area before flashing a shot over the bar – a warning to the East defenders not to give him too much time on the ball.
The game was beginning to have an end-to-end feeling, and as that would suggest – East were next up to have an opportunity. Jack Reid’s surging run put him into the box on the wide right and just as it looked like he’d have a shooting opportunity, defender Tait Duthie came sliding in with a fantastic challenge – putting it out for a corner.
At this point North were beginning to control possession, but East looked increasingly dangerous on the counter-attack. Making it a difficult game to call.
McDonald had a repeat of his earlier chance – although this time slightly further in – again, it had the East goalkeeper Doctor thinking, this one came even closer to dipping into the net, but had the same result as the stalemate continued.
The game was no longer goalless just moments later. With just under five minutes to go in the first half, East took the lead. The away side’s striker Connor Reid chased down a loose ball, forcing a back pass which goalkeeper Williamson attempted to clear – only to see the clearance cannon off of Reid and into the net.
The game would go into the break with East leading 1-0.