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Holders FC Fochabers crash out of Moray welfare football’s Mike Simpson Memorial Trophy as Cullen hold their nerve in penalty shoot-out

By Craig Christie

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Holders FC Fochabers have been knocked out of Moray welfare football’s Mike Simpson Memorial Trophy.

Iain Mair (right) helped Cullen knock out holders FC Fochabers. Picture: Becky Saunderson
Iain Mair (right) helped Cullen knock out holders FC Fochabers. Picture: Becky Saunderson

The Rockets, who won a clean sweep of all three Moray trophies last year, will have to give up at least one piece of silverware after losing out to Cullen in a penalty shoot-out.

Gary Burchell’s miss in sudden death paved the way for Cullen’s goalkeeper Craig Bain to net the winning spot kick after a 3-3 scoreline at Logie Park.

The coast side started in bright fashion so it was against the run of play when Fochabers scored early on, Andrew Walker bursting through from midfield and showing good strength to hold on to the ball and slot it into the home net.

Robbie Bruce helped Cullen turn the game around, first of all netting a brilliant dipping 25 yarder over the Fochabers keeper to level.

Bruce then turned provider with a free kick driven low to the near post for Iain Mair to flick home and put Cullen ahead.

It was all square at the break when Burchell picked out Lee Alexander to score his fourth goal in two games with a header.

The game was end-to-end in the second half, with both sides creating some good chances. It would be the away side that would find the next goal, after winning a penalty that was deemed to be inside the box. Alexander stepped up to convert for his second of the game.

Cullen enjoyed a good spell of the game afterwards, putting Fochabers under increasing pressure. They were rewarded with an equaliser, with Bruce once again picking out Mair from a corner kick, who headed in at the far post.

There were a number of big chances to win the game each end. Jae Marandola came closest for Cullen, but his effort was blazed over the crossbar. Alexander almost won it for Fochabers, with his header pulling out a wonderful save from Bain in the Cullen goal.

In the penalty shoot-out, Jordan Clark, Alexander, Ben Stewart and Euan Edward all scored for Fochabers and Bruce, Grant Bryceland and Mair did the same for Cullen but Logan Macaulay Mill missed.

John Gerrard had the chance to win it with Fochabers’ fifth kick but failed to score, and ben Smith netted to taker it into sudden death before Burchell’s miss allowed Bain to send Cullen into the semi-finals.

There they will be joined by coast neighbours Buckie Rovers and Portsoy.

Buckie played host to a previously unbeaten Hopeman side and took an early lead when good build up play worked the ball to Jordan Bisset who fired home from just inside the box.

Rovers had a few chances to extend their lead but a combination of missed chances and a great reaction save from point blank range from the Hopeman goalkeeper to keep out Darren Thain’s effort kept the score at 1-0.

Hopeman should have levelled just before half time when the ball bounced to Iain Lunan from a scramble but he put it wide from six yards out.

Rovers doubled their lead early in the second half when quick thinking by former Hopeman goalie Glen Fraser sprang a counter attack and William Morrison took advantage of indecision from a Hopeman defender to slot it in on 56 minutes.

William Morrison (right) scored in Buckie’s win over Hopeman. Picture: Becky Saunderson
William Morrison (right) scored in Buckie’s win over Hopeman. Picture: Becky Saunderson

After that, Fraser made a fine save from Lunan to keep Hopeman at bay as Rovers progressed with a 2-0 win.

Portsoy picked up their second win of the season over Ugie in Keith.

The home side had chances in the first half but a combination of missed opportunities and good goalkeeping kept things level.

Portsoy were more in it after the break, and it was the Ugie keeper’s turn to be busy with some smart saves.

Ugie took the lead from a corner headed in by Mark Beveridge.

Portsoy responded when the home side failed to clear the lines and a cool finish by Gary Noble made it 1-1.

The winner came ten minutes from the end as Ugie gave away possession in midfielder and a ‘Soy effort was saved but Clarke Thompson stroked home the rebound.

The last few minutes saw Ugie press for a leveller while Portsoy had chances on the counter attack as it finished 2-1 to the visitors.

Aberlour Villa also reached the semi-finals after RAF Lossiemouth forfeited their tie.

Fresh from a 12-goal thriller with RAF Lossiemouth in their last match, Craigallachie were involved in another high-scoring clash at Lhanbryde United in the Tewnion Memorial Trophy.

Craig started the game well, having most of the ball and they were rewarded 20 minutes in when Brandon Tinley finished well into the bottom corner.

Their lead doubled 10 minutes later when Jordan Gray headed home his tenth goal of the season.

Lhanbryde hit back almost immediately when a great corner from Craig Harrold was met by Stephen Dey to put it in to the net.

The away side then added two more goals to take command, firstly when a Daniel Brittain long throw into the box cleared over a few heads and took a wicked bounce in front of home keeper Jamie Strathdee who tipped it into the back of the net.

After that Aaron O’Hara picked the ball up on the edge of the box, produced a little shimmy and fired it into the bottom corner for his 11th of the season to make it 4-1.

There was time for one more goal before half time and United got it as a Mark Lambert cross from the right hand side found Craig Harrold at the edge of the box, who used his quick feet round the defender to smash it in.

Lhanbryde's Craig Harrold (left) scored in his team’s cup clash with Craigellachie. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Lhanbryde's Craig Harrold (left) scored in his team’s cup clash with Craigellachie. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Five minutes after the restart some sloppy defending from ‘Bryde saw Dale Mctavish finish from close range and make it 5-2 to Craigellachie.

Dale McTavish (left) was a Craigellachie scorer. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Dale McTavish (left) was a Craigellachie scorer. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

The home side made some substitutions with two fresh faces making a scoring impact to put the tie back in the melting pot.

Craig Sim and Jake Greenhorn came on with Greenhorn scoring from a free kick for his first goal for the club.

Then a pinpoint cross from Harrold found Sim free in the box to bullet a header in for 5-4 with 15 left to play.

Lhanbryde were now going for it and pressed for a leveller, nearly being caught out by Craigellachie breaks to the other end and striking the post at one stage.

Sim missing a couple chances at the end and another Greenhorn free kick was tipped onto the bar as Craig just held out for a place in the next round.

Aberlour Villa and champions Fochabers both pressed closer to leaders Buckie in the league last Friday.

Villa were made to work by visitors Lhanbryde who hit the post and the bar in a goalless first half.

it took a goal from ex-Rothes and Dufftown man Kelvin Main on his Villa debut to break the deadlock five minutes after the break, bundling home at a corner.

However, Lhanbryde’s Duncan Paterson did the same five minutes later and the scores were level.

Korey Pring then got on the end of an Aberlour cross to restore the home advantage on 63 minutes.

Some good goalkeeping denied Villa any more goals while their own keeper Paul Robertson made a late save to deny united a point as it finished 2-1.

Fochabers were awarded a 3-0 win when hosts Craigellachie couldn’t raise a team.

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