Champions Banks o’ Dee extended their lead at the top of the McBookie.com Superleague table with a comfortable win over Ellon United.
The match took place in extremely blustery conditions at Spain Park ahead of tomorrow evening’s Aberdeenshire Shield final against Formartine United at Cove.
Dee took only six minutes to move in front when a low corner by Jamie Buglass was rifled home by Callum MURRAY.
And three minutes later the home side doubled their advantage.
They were awarded a penalty after United keeper Cameron Fraser had pole-axed Luke Barbour, who required lengthy treatment before continuing.
Once his team-mate had recovered, Jack HENDERSON made no mistake from the spot.
United responded with a good move involving Dean McDonald, ending with James Bain firing wide.
But the home team made it three after 25 minutes when Jamie Brailsford was dispossessed by BUGLASS, who fired an unstoppable shot past Fraser from distance.
There was no further scoring in the first half, but nine minutes after the restart Kane WINTON made it four with a left-foot shot after a great move involving several players including Murray and Henderson.
United, though, didn’t give up and Lenny Johnson and Jack Sim both came close, while Fraser prevented further scoring with excellent saves from substitute Lachie MacLeod and Mark Gilmour.
United played out the final couple of minutes with just nine on the park following the departures of Sim, who picked up a second yellow, and full-back Ross Gibbon, who limped off.
Banks o’ Dee co-manager Jamie Watt admitted the two early goals killed the game as a contest.
He said: “It was really windy in the first half and it was with us and the early goals settled us and we bossed it, without being at our best, before the break.
“We had the best of the second half but we weren’t playing at the intensity levels that we’re used to.
“Maybe the boys had tomorrow in their thoughts. But to get a clean sheet is always a positive and we had four decent goals.”
Jamie says his squad are looking forward to tomorrow night’s showdown at the Balmoral Stadium.
“It’s a chance for this club to make history as no junior team has ever won it,” he said.
“This is our third year in a row getting to the final and we’ve lost two.
“We need to take it to the next step and we’re going into the game in a positive frame of mind.
“We’ve been playing well of late and we have boys coming back, so it’s all positive.
“The game is coming at the right time.”