The rain lashed down in the second half at Lawsondale but it stimulated Dundee, who came out 3-1 winners over Aberdeenshire after coming back from a goal behind.
After a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen City in the last round, this win earned Dundee a place in the semi-finals of the Under 18 National Trophy.
The match began at a rapid pace for both sides, Aberdeenshire had opportunities but were restricted to chances outside the box or failing to get a shot away inside. Jake Blackwood had an early chance for the hosts, denied by Lewis Haldane.
Dundee on the other hand were effective in their approach but rarely threatened – Jayden Herd found Owen Stirton after 19 minutes to create the only real chance in the early exchanges which Matthew Cook parried before Josh Mitchell had an effort go wide.
The intensity of the sides hit another chord as the game progressed with both teams keen to get on the ascendency and find an elusive breakthrough.
Aberdeenshire took the lead on the half-hour mark, taking advantage of lacklustre Dundee defending. The visitors attempted to play out from the back after Haldane found Lewis Boylan. He tried to knock the ball forward but could only find Callum Grant who smashed his shot into the roof of the net past the exposed backline.
A slice of luck but regardless, a terrific strike by the Mearns Academy pupil, applauded by a minority of the crowd, who took time off work and other commitments to watch their kids in action.
The remainder of the half petered out for both sides. Aberdeenshire were happy being in front at half-time but knew they had an onslaught coming against a well-drilled Dundee outfit.
Rain was expected around 2 pm in the Kingsford area and so it proved to be. Umbrellas were out in force for the beginning of the second period.
Aberdeenshire remained resolute for large periods of the half, but it was a Dundee side with a point to prove and energy to burn. One Aberdeenshire player correctly said, “We haven’t got going in this half lads.”
On 58 minutes, Dundee levelled. A good delivery in from the right found Stirton, who guided his effort beyond the stranded Matthew Cook to level things up. The striker looked hungry and was in the mood to add to his tally.
The tenacious Stirton looked to give his side the lead on 65 minutes with a delicious lob that was cleared off the line by Owen Emslie as Aberdeenshire were holding on.
Rio Bradford looked lively in the second period for Dundee and a superb strike by the Monifieth High School pupil made it 2-1 in the 72nd minute. The 30-yard screamer flew past Cook in the Aberdeenshire goal. The forward was causing Aberdeenshire all kinds of problems and had another chance towards the end that was unsuccessful.
The fine performance was capped off in the dying stages. Lukas Gasowski found Kyle Duncan, who tapped into the net to seal a fine win for Dundee. Disappointment definitely for Aberdeenshire but joy for the away side who were delighted knowing they put a lot into a well-earned win in Westhill.
Aberdeenshire have an opportunity to rectify things when they play Aberdeen City at Cove Rangers next Thursday. There is still an opportunity for a semi-final slot if they finish as the best runner-up meaning it is all to play for in the local derby.
Aberdeenshire Player of the Match: Callum Grant
Dundee Player of the Match: Owen Stirton
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