A tricky pitch did not prevent Cults and Harlaw Third Year players serving up a super contest to decide the CNR International League.
Chino Orisakwe’s run down the left flank on three minutes ended with a strong shot, which was dealt with confidently by Cai Shepherd in the Harlaw goal.
The home team took the lead on nine minutes.
The ball was sticking in midfield, but Orisakwe picked it up and quickly delivered it to Lewis MacDonald who turned and sent in a low drive past Shepherd at his right-hand post.
Cults then doubled their lead with a fine individual goal 13 minutes from the interval.
Samuel Sandilands gathered the ball in space on the right.
He beat the covering defender before moving into the box and unleashing a drive which Shepherd, although he got his hands to the ball, could not prevent from lobbing over his head and going into the goal.
Winger Charlie Stewart almost pulled one back for Harlaw on 28 minutes.
He gathered the ball midway into the home half on the left, cut inside and sent a curling 25-yard effort cannoned off the stanchion before rebounding into the arms of the grateful Cults keeper Ben Crawshaw.
The second half had scarcely begun when it became clear that the playing surface was going to cut up badly and become very heavy after the rain at the weekend.
Harlaw’s task of saving the match was not going to become any easier.
The job was made even more difficult seven minutes into the half when a third home goal arrived.
A Harlaw clearance fell to Sandilands in space on the Cults right. He neatly took control of the ball before sending it beyond the defence for MacDonald to move forward and direct his shot beyond Shepherd and into the net.
Harlaw tried hard to come back into things, but were fighting a losing battle with the playing surface.
They will have another chance at silverware on Saturday week when they meet Cults again in the final of the Gerrard Trophy on the new astroturf at Dyce.
Cults Academy Third Year: Ben Crawshaw, Grant Peddie, Eli Whitelaw, Gregor Alexander, Jordan Lynch, Samuel Sandilands, Lyle Innes, Chino Orisakwe, Charlie Milne, Jamie Milne, Jack Turner, Alistair Hall, Oliver Gough and Lewis MacDonald.
Harlaw Academy Third Year: Cai Shepherd, Jack McPherson, Leon Forbes, Struan Lumsden, Mario Reynard, Travis Reynard, Connor Creelie, Gary Livingstone, Chris Aikamhenze, Sultan Ahmed, Abraham Ana, Ben Dalgleish, Charlie Stewart, Stephen Holland and Luke Smith.
Cults …………………. 3
Harlaw ………………. 0