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London Reds Lift Cup
- Updated: May 8, 2012
Aberdeen 1st’s won the Dave Baister League cup on Sunday at Barnet’s Underhill stadium against a Boro side who had been undefeated this season sweeping all aside on their way to their first Div 1 title. Aberdeen had previously lost 3-0 twice to Boro in the league so went in to this game as major underdogs but everyone rose to the challenge and posted a sensational 2-1 victory to send the Dons players and fans in to dreamland.
Aberdeen had a squad of 16 on the day. Andy Graham started after almost 5 months out from a broken leg and only a couple of partial appearances under his belt it was a risk but one that paid off big time for the Dons. The reds were led on to the pitch by Cameron and Elisabeth Rennie, resplendent in their full Dons kits.
Boro started at 100 miles an hour and the Dons struggled to get a touch on the ball. Boro had two early chances but good blocks prevented a shot on target. It was time to dig deep for Aberdeen who were in danger of being swamped and they did just that and started to play their way in to the game. Andy Graham was at the heart of most forward moves and was tormenting the Boro right back with some strong running. Henderson and McAuley were linking well up front and suddenly momentum was swinging back towards the Dons.
The best chance in the opening period fell to Henderson. McAuley did brilliant down the wing and drove in a superb cross right on to the head of Henderson in the box. With the keeper helpless all the striker needed to do was hit the target but he attempted to place it and flashed his header just wide of the back post. A great chance and one the Dons would rue when Boro took the lead just prior to half time. A good move down the right saw their wide man chip to the onrushing midfielder and despite appeals for offside he was allowed to continue and beat the onrushing goalkeeper to score. It was tough on the Dons to go in one down as they had played well.
Aberdeen played up the incredible slope in the second half. They were given a sign of how to do it when mascot Cameron Rennie brilliant controlled a ball booted off the park by the ref to a huge roar from the crowd. The Boro fans chanting, “Aberdeen Sign Him Up, Aberdeen Aberdeen sign him up”.
Boro started brightly again and had a 2nd goal chopped off for offside by the extremely fussy stand side linesman. Aberdeen brought on McCall for Cadenhead who had a good game marshalling the Boro danger man out wide. Chances came and went for the Dons, Henderson had a go from a corner, McAuley and McCall both tested the keeper but the equaliser wouldn’t come. The Dons then got a great opportunity in the shape of a penalty, once again Graham charged in to the box and was felled by the sliding challenge of the centre half. Jamie Macintosh took responsibility but the Boro keeper pulled off a great save low to his bottom corner.
A lot of teams would have wilted after this and for a few minutes it looked like Aberdeen might drop out of it. Craig Duncan pulled off a stunning stop from a point blank header and also another great if slightly unorthodox save with his feet. The Dons came back strongly and put the Boro defence under severe pressure. McCall was spraying passes from left to right and Graham was getting in behind. McAuley had a fine shot saved by the keeper at the near post as it looked to be a day of frustration for Aberdeen. Then up stepped Graham, Scott Rae had been pushed up to support the forwards in the last 5 mins and he did superbly well to roll his man and play Graham in down the left channel. Graham showed tremendous pace and control as he strode in to the box and rifled a low shot across the keeper and in to the net for an incredible equaliser.
At the start of extra time it was obvious that Boro had made too many changes too early and had taken off their 2 most dangerous players. This helped give Aberdeen the belief that they could dominate the extra time period. They started well and had some half chances, McAuley did superbly on the edge of the box and the keeper handled his rasping drive well. Players were going down with cramp all over the park and it looked like it was going to go to penalties as chances started to dry up. The Boro keeper was huge and had handled crosses in to the box with ease all afternoon so when the Dons won a free kick out on the left there seemed little danger. Davie McCall took it and his out swinger fooled the goalie who came to far, Scott Rae rose majestically amongst a crowd of players to get his head on the ball, it seemed to deflect off the keeper and headed agonisingly slowly towards the net. It hit the back of the net despite the despairing lunge of the Boro defender and everyone temporarily lost their minds. Players, management and even some fans sprinted in to the penalty box to celebrate with scorer Rae, a great moment.
The scary thing for the Dons was they still had 8 minutes to defend and everyone was knackered. Craig Duncan was immense in this period coming for everything and controlling his penalty box. Alan Duncan had a superb spell and won every 50/50 to ensure that Boro’s efforts were fruitless. Then Aberdeen could have grabbed the clincher, McAuley raced away and the goalkeeper charged out to the half way line as McAuley chipped it round him he handled, the referee only deeming it a yellow card. Boro then launched high ball after high ball in to the box but the Dons defence were superb and met everything with their heads. Rae, Kilshaw and Macintosh all getting headers away.
The ref added on 2 mins of injury time and then played an extra 90 seconds on top of that. The Dons players were in bits and desperate for the final whistle, when it went it was the second mass pitch invasion of the day as everyone charged in to the penalty box to celebrate. A fantastic day that nobody playing will forget and hats off to the Dons fans who sang throughout the game, brilliant effort. Hats off as well to an extremely impressive Boro side. They deservedly won the league this season and have put together as good a team of players as we have come up against in our 12 years in AFPFSCIL. Makes winning the cup against them all the more satisfying!
MOTM – We considered giving MOTM to the whole team, every single person left everything they had out on the park and it was a joy to be involved with. Craig Duncan pulled off two terrific stops when it mattered, Jamie Mac covered every blade of grass as did McAuley and Henderson. Kilshaw tackled everything that moved, Alan Duncan was a huge presence in midfield winning every 50/50. Special mention to Andy Graham too, after so long out to come on and play like that and score with 3 mins to go when he must have been exhausted was fantastic. But man of the match goes to Scotty Rae. There is nobody that wanted to win the cup more than Scott and he not only set up the equaliser but scored the winner despite taking knock after knock he kept coming back for more. A well deserved MOTM to the Cup Final Hero Scotty Rae.
Team – C.Duncan, Rae, Kilshaw, McGinley, Graham, Cadenhead, A.Duncan, Macintosh, Rossiter, McAuley, Henderson
Subs – Urquhart, Aubrey, McCall, Rennie and Waterston