Banks o’ Dee rounded off what has been a fantastic season in perfect style.
They lifted the Domino’s Pizza North Regional Cup with a single goal victory over Stonehaven at Ian Mair Park.
The game’s only goal came after 16 minutes with a well-worked move down the right by Neale Allan. He found Jack Henderson, who played a neat one-two with Jamie Watt before crossing for Luke BARBOUR to fire home from close range at the near post.
Veteran striker Watt, who was on 99 goals over the past two campaigns, was desperate to reach the ton but scorned a couple of chances to do just that, including a lob over Hive keeper Gavin Robertson, deputising for the unavailable Fraser Stark, that passed agonisingly over the bar.
Ten minutes after the restart Kane Winton, who had been booked in the first half, handballed a cross into the box to pick up a second yellow from ref Morag Pirie and give Stonehaven a lifeline.
Spain Park boss Tommy Forbes was relieved they didn’t manage to take advantage of it.
“They had a lot of pressure but keeper Andy Shearer and the back four defended very well,” he said.
“I felt we bossed the opening 35 minutes of the game before they changed from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2, which gave them a bit of momentum.
“After Kane was sent off, we went 4-4-1 and managed to see the game out.”
The match marked co-manager Sandy MacNaughton’s last before stepping down and Tommy says his colleague will certainly be missed.
“Sandy has a wealth of experience and played and coached at a very high level,” he said. “So he brought a lot to the party over our three years together.”
Watt, who turned 40 earlier in the year, is joining the Spain Park coaching staff, something Tommy is looking forward to.
“If he does half as much off the park as he has on it for the last two seasons, he’ll do really well.
“We may register him as a player, but it will definitely be a cameo role if he plays.”
Centre-back Liam McCall is taking a year out to finish his studies and Dee will be looking to recruit a defender to join two new strikers already on board for next season.
Forbes said: “We’ve signed James Bain, from Ellon United, who will give us something different up front, as well as Richard Binnie from Banchory, who is a real buzz-bomb over 10 yards.
“It’s going to be hard to beat this season but I’d like to do better in the local cups and the Inter Regional Cup.
“We won the Superleague by 19 points, which is a record, but we don’t expect to win by that margin next year.
“It would be nice to emulate Culter’s achievement of winning four in row, though.”
Stonehaven ……….. 0
Banks o’ Dee ……… 1