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Hopeman, Aberlour Villa and Lhanbryde United progress in Scottish Welfare Cup

By Craig Christie

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Three Moray clubs progressed in the Scottish Welfare Cup matches at the weekend.

Stewart McLaren (left) scored in Hopeman’s Scottish Cup victory at Abernethy. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Stewart McLaren (left) scored in Hopeman’s Scottish Cup victory at Abernethy. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Hopeman were on the road to take on Abernethy and returned with a 3-1 victory in the bag.

The Moray side almost scored direct from kick-off when Stewart McLaren spotted the keeper off his line and fired the ball forward, hitting the post with seconds on the clock.

Ina frantic opening, Hopeman manager/ keeper Lee Spencer had to dash out to deny a home player on a one-on-one.

Play settled down in the intense heat, with a water break required. Hopeman scored on the resumption of play, Gary Burr cutting back for Logan Urquhart to slam home.

Ten minutes later, McLaren met a looping Chris Cooper free kick and although the keeper saved his first effort, he followed up to make it 2-0.

Abernethy had chances but trailed by two goals at the break, and their keeper denied Ian McCallum a third just after half time.

Abernethy eventually scored when their striker robbed keeper Spencer of the ball in the long grass and found the net.

McLaren shot just past for Hopeman, who restored their two-goal lead on 67 minutes when a Calan Munro cross forced an own goal from a home defender.

Abernethy did hit the Hopeman bar from a corner but never really looked like getting back into it as the visitors held on comfortably.

Penalty kick shoot-outs decided two of the ties with Moray clubs involved.

Lhanbryde United got off to a flying start at home to Methlick when Lee Duncan scored from a Craig Harrold free kick after just 40 seconds.

The visitors levelled on ten minutes but Aaron Wells restored United’s lead before the break.

It got lively after the break, with Lhanbryde keeper Jamie Strathdee making some fine saves to keep his team ahead, while his opposite number was sent off and two John Harrold penalties put the home side 4-1 up.

The ten men then rallied to score three times and force the shootout, but Lhanbryde keeper Stephen Dey was a hero saving three of the four Methlick kicks while Craig Harrold, John Harrold and Chris Snedden-Murdoch netted to put the home team through.

Grantown United didn’t have too far to travel to face Moray hosts Craigellachie in another high-scoring encounter.

United got off to a flyer with a fine solo run to set up a ten-yard finish inside a minute.

Craigellachie hit back quickly with Daniel Brittain’s long throw setting up Jordan Gray to level. However, on five minutes Grantown were back in front after a home defensive error.

It took a moment of brilliance to ghet Craigellachie level inside 15 minutes as Kyle Coutts picked the ball up at least 35 yards from goal and after seeing the keeper off his line, fired over him into the net.

There was time for a fifth goal inside the opening quarter as Grantown went in front for a third time, and it needed a couple of saved by home keeper Archie Scott to deny United more goals before the break.

In the second half, Aaron O’Hara had a goal-line clearance for Craig but it wasn’t long before Grantown doubled their lead with a chipped finish.

Just after the hour, O’Hara got Craigellachie back in it with a fine free kick. The same man made it 4-4 on 78 minutes from the penalty spot after Jack McConnachie had been fouled in the box.

Both sides had chances to grab a winner but penalties were needed and United won 5-3 in the shootout.

RAF Lossiemouth hosted Mormond Thistle and after a goal-less first half, serviceman Ben Carby crossed for Ryan Woods to head the airmen ahead midway through the second half.

It was looking good for Lossie until they conceded twice in the closing ten minutes and exited the competition.

Aberlour Villa were 4-1 winners away to former Moray league side Macduff, thanks to goals by Harry Doble (2), Gary Morrison and Barry Grant.

Rothes A faced a tough tie away to Strathspey and Badenoch welfare champs Aviemore Thistle.

The Speysiders put up a battling effort and goals by Owen Alexander, Matthew McConachie and Calum Smith tied the scores at 3-3, before the home side finished strongly and earned a 6-3 victory.

Scottish Welfare Cup results.
Scottish Welfare Cup results.

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