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Big Win for Kemnay Academy in AFC Trophy Final

Kemnay Academy 9

Taylor 12, Buchan 13, Mason 16, Duncan 26, Mason 31, Mason 41, Bever 51, Mason 57, Taylor 60, Duncan 66

Portlethen Academy 4

Whyte 1, Whyte 18, Baxter 22, Milne 63

Kemnay Academy put double digits in the goals column on Thursday, to see themselves victorious over Portlethen Academy in the S2 AFC Trophy Final. Four for striker Taylor Mason broke the game open, as the 10-4 scoreline was a fitting reflection of a pulsating fixture which gets top marks for the entertainment served up by both schools.

Portlethen were first to strike in the opening minute of the match. The referee adjudged a foul on the edge of the area following an initial freekick delivery by Lennon Brown. Cody Whyte stepped up for the second set-piece and drilled it superbly beyond Owen Forsyth to give Porty the early advantage and get the fun started. 

Dean McDonald's shot called Forsyth into further action moments later. At the other end, Finlay Wilson was alive to stifle the running of Anton Chauvin, the tricky midfielder thwarted on his dribble through, as both sides tested the water. 

Kemnay's equaliser arrived on 12 minutes. Again here, Chauvin's neat footwork was the catalyst. Picking the ball up twenty yards out, he sidestepped delicately, rolling the ball square for MacKenzie Taylor to fire home a lovely curling effort. 

They would pick the lock twice more over the next five minutes. First, a fine team move turned the match on its head. Tightly congested, Kemnay pinballed their way to the net with precision. Callum Duncan was key in the smooth interchange, laying it on for Josh Buchan to slot away for 2-1. 

Mason had his first say on the quarter hour. Orchestrated down their right, McKenzie Taylor turned provider, whipping a terrific centre across the face. Timing is everything. All the forward had to do was guide this header. In the cold of Cove, there was daylight. 

Surely the match would have to calm, but no lull was forthcoming as the teams went end-to-end, toe-to-toe.

Unperturbed, Portlethen gritted their collective teeth, and the deficit appeared to ignite fresh vigour in their performance. The charge was led by the twisting Tristan Baxter. A tireless worker throughout, the exciting winger was brave in the challenge with Callum Duncan, catching an inadvertent high boot. Portlethen loaded the box for Ramsey Davidson's delivery, which was met by Cody Whyte to steer them back into contention. 

It's amazing what goals can do for the confidence of any team, and wonderful to watch their impact on the natural enthusiasm of young and talented players, such as the sides in this Final. The Balmoral Stadium crowd were getting their fill of thrills, with more on the horizon. Buoyed by their rapid response, something special was about to happen to restore parity. 

Stand up and be counted, be applauded, Tristan Baxter.

On 22, Kemnay keeper Owen Forsyth did very well to mop up some Portlethen pressure. His lengthy clearance was won back by Baxter at distance, nipping in, and he took aim. In one swipe, he smashed the ball from fully 35 yards, if not more, sending it crashing back beyond the stopper. A stunning, memorable finish, and the tie was back in the balance.

So, 22 minutes gone, six goals shared, and time to get the calculators out. Told you this was fun...

In no mood for drama, Kemnay would answer Portlethen’s resurgence with a swift pair before the interval. Callum Duncan converted with composure from a lofted forward pass to edge them ahead again. Taylor Mason was obviously taking notes, stretching away in similar fashion, this time to round the goalkeeper for the fifth by 31.

Two goals born of determination in a footrace, but with Portlethen still asking questions of their own, who would cross the line first remained anyone’s guess at the break.

If the first period had sparked debate, the second gave more definitive closure, with, you guessed it, more goals. The train had barely left the station when Taylor Mason was facing a penalty on 41, sent tumbling on his arrival in the box. 6-3 Kemnay.

Portlethen’s front two were working hard to bring them back into it, a nice cross almost landing at the feet of Scott Milne as he gambled on a Forsyth parry, minutes before he warmed the keeper’s hands again with a snapshot. Craig Bever and Owen McKenzie watched consecutive efforts flash over for Kemnay.

Bever would, however, be rewarded. He had clipped the bar in an earlier attack. Here though, was a combination of that endeavour with anticipation. MacKenzie Taylor, Mason and Lucas Whyte had touches in the setup, Bever switched on to intercept an attempted back pass and now there was 7 up.

Both sides made changes, and Portlethen racked up a trio of chances with a Cody Whyte drive and two further corners. To their credit, they never fell out of the contest in terms of their evident spirit and application to the task, worthy of their place in the showpiece.

Taylor Mason had another on 57. Worked short, a sharp freekick by Buchan caught out the defence and Mason arrowed the ball across Wilson to the far corner. Eight became nine as MacKenzie Taylor danced his way through to score with the outside of his right boot.

Scott Milne had the ball in the net for Portlethen with ten to play, meeting a Ritchie Urquhart cross, but it was disallowed for offside. Three minutes later, Milne notched one legitimately. Ben Brown slid him through in the left channel, and he found the target for 9-4.

Angus Stewart set the tenth and final goal in motion four minutes from time. He controlled the ball in the centre of the park before playing in MacKenzie Taylor on the left wing. His cross found Callum Duncan on the doorstep and the celebrations could begin.

It is extremely rare to witness a match and to be able to report on a contest consisting so heavily of goals. A pleasure to watch from start to finish. Congratulations to deserved winners Kemnay Academy, who grasped the spotlight in style. Well done also to Portlethen, who more than contributed to the action and should be rightly proud of their progression to this Final.

Lineups

Kemnay Academy
Portlethen Academy
1. Owen Forsyth
2. Scott Robb
3. Craig Bever
4. Liam Duthie
5. Josh Buchan
6. Angus Stewart
7. Anton Chauvin
8. Callum Duncan
9. Taylor Mason
10. Lucas Whyte
11. Owen McKenzie
12. Adam Morrison
13. Colin Lindsay
14. MacKenzie Taylor
15. Andrew Morrison
16. Conlan Smart
1. Finlay Wilson
2. Callum More
3. Callum Philip
4. Ramsey Davidson
5. Lennon Brown
6. Ben Brown
8. Ritchie Urquhart
9. Cody Whyte
10. Lewis Grant
14. Dean McDonald
15. Tristan Baxter
16. Finlay Dyce
17. Scott Milne
18. Jack Keir
Star Player
Kemnay Academy
Portlethen Academy
Kemnay Academy – Taylor Mason: A quad of goals in a powerful display by the striker. Looked dangerous on multiple occasions with piercing, strong runs. Has many reasons to thank his teammates for their assistance, but made the ultimate difference in the match.
Portlethen Academy – Ramsey Davidson: Contributed a fine delivery for Cody Whyte’s goal at 3-2. An understated, yet noticeable performance which showed composure and maturity to help disrupt Kemnay’s attacks at times.
Magic Moment
Kemnay Academy
Portlethen Academy
Kemnay Academy – MacKenzie Taylor’s sweeping finish for 1-1 was a wonderful strike from outside the area, and set the tone for things to come.
Portlethen Academy – Tristan Baxter’s equaliser for 3 apiece. Arguably the pick of all 14 goals for its simply breathtaking execution. A majestic strike fit to grace any game.

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