Aberdeen Development Squad came from behind on Wednesday night to dump Highland League outfit Brora Rangers out of the SPFL Trust Trophy, after a late equaliser from Alfie Bavidge saw the game decided by a penalty shootout.
A familiar looking Under 18’s squad was aided by Tom Ritchie in goal, as well as Kieran Ngwenya at the back. Adam Emslie and Blair McKenzie, who are both out on loan at Formartine United and Elgin City respectively were also eligible for the cup tie and involved from the start.
The clash in the Highlands began at a frantic pace – The hosts were denied by a last ditch block within the first few minutes. Within seconds Aberdeen were up the other end of the pitch where Bavidge was only able to push an attempt at goal into the outer side netting.
It didn’t take long for Brora to take control of the early period. Ritchie was kept busy in the Aberdeen goal, but the score remained level.
Despite Brora’s early dominance there was a strong claim for an Aberdeen penalty waved away after Bavidge did incredibly well to close down the Brora keeper Danny Gillan, who’s clearance rebounded off the onrushing Dons attacker. With both chasing after the loose ball Bavidge was able to get across the struggling keeper and was caught in the process, but there was to be no whistle and play continued.
Brora struck the post through Max Ewan after Aberdeen were unable to clear their lines. Ewan was proving a threat and soon after tried his luck again, this time his shot going narrowly wide.
Just before the half hour mark Brora opened the scoring. The two Macrae’s on the pitch combined with Andy playing in Jordan who was able to fire home from inside the six-yard box.
Up the other end the young Dons were extremely unfortunate to not pull level after a flurry of blocks one after another denied Kai Watson and then Findlay Marshall from close range, after Bavidge had an attempt blocked that went behind for a corner.
Half-Time, Brora Rangers 1 Aberdeen 0.
Aberdeen came flying out the traps for the second half as they looked to find a way back into the game. Brendan Hamilton stung the palms of Mallin with a testing effort from outside of the box, forcing a corner. Emslie flexed his pace after getting the better of Mark Nicholson, who could only stop him by fouling the young attacker as he ran through on goal.
Alistair Sutherland passed up on a golden opportunity to double Brora’s lead on the hour mark but Ritchie was more than equal to it, he pulled out the best save of the game when his team needed it the most to keep them in the tie.
The final 15 minutes were hotly contested – both sides saw players go into the book for cynical challenges as Aberdeen continued to peruse a leveller.
With just over five minutes to go, the young Dons finally got their goal. Bavidge did incredibly well to take down a high ball, balance himself and finish hard and low, into the back of the Brora net. There was no surprise to anyone at Dudgeon Park that the young striker had got himself on the scoresheet, he often does.
Collin Williamson should have secured a Brora victory with merely seconds on the clock, he headed wide from inside the six yard box. There was to be no more chances for either side and the tie was to be decided by penalty kicks.
With the exception of the first spot-kick, the young Dons remained composed throughout the shootout and after Brora missed their first two Bavidge stepped up to take Aberdeen’s 5th and final penalty of the night. As Alfie Bavidge does so well, he put the ball in the back of the net to secure the victory, winning 4-2 on penalties.
A great result for Scott Anderson’s side, who will advance to the next round of the SPFL Trust Trophy, where they will play hosts to Peterhead.
Dons Penalty Shoot-Out – Brendan Hamilton (miss), Findlay Marshall, Dylan Lobban, Adam Emslie & Alfie Bavidge (all scored).
Brora Rangers Teamsheet
Gillan, Hardie, A. MacDonald (Strachan 46), Nicolson, Gamble, Brindle, Gillespie, J. MacRae (Williamson 81), Sutherland, A. MacRae, Ewan (Gunn 73)
Unused Substitutes: Malin, Dingwall, MacLean, G. MacDonald
Aberdeen Teamsheet Ritchie
.Unused Subs: Vitols, Mackie, Wilson, Kondolo, Smilie.Bookings: Marshall
Venue: Dudgeon Park, Brora
Referee: Ryan Lee