To put this performance and result into context, Link Up were playing a side who boast a 100% record in last season’s ADJFA ‘A’ League and also reached the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup.
Even then, they only lost out to the eventual cup winners Hutchison Vale.
Effectively, Dyce are an Aberdeen City and Shire select who are accustomed to dominating all comers in the North East in this age group.
The Fraserburgh lads were certainly not overawed by this impressive record, however, as they raced into a 2-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes.
The first goal was simple and direct. Mair won possession at centre half and sent a 30 yard pass onto the head of McCrory who flicked it into the path of his strike-partner SIMPSON. He raced clear of the Dyce defenders and showed good composure to stroke an assured finish into the bottom left corner of the net.
Dyce were rocked by this start and gave away a free kick at left back as they struggled to contain a Link Up team who were slick, energetic & skilful throughout. Masson took the free and flighted a high ball deep into the box. This was only partially cleared to Dyka who did well to retain possession under pressure and pick out Watt on the left wing. Marc then stood up a superb cross for Bailey SIMPSON to rise above the defence and plant a firm header into the net.
Link Up were well on top at this point and settled into a fast, fluid passing game which repeatedly stretched the Dyce defence.
Bailey Simpson made a surging run up the right flank and squared the ball across the six yard box. Agonisingly, this just eluded McCrory with the goal gaping.
The match continued at a fast and frantic tempo with Dyce gradually clawing their way back into contention. The tension was eased with a moment of humour from one of the Broch dads when he greeted a Dyce effort on goal, which sailed well over the bar, with a cry of “PEEEEETERHEID!”
Close your eyes and it could have been Bellslea (or Balmoor).
Just prior to the half hour, Dyce made it 2-1 with a quickly taken free kick which caught Link Up napping.
The home side were then offered the type of opportunity they rarely spurn when they were awarded a highly questionable penalty for a Roger challenge. It may have been a foul but it was also well outside the box, according to two neutral coaches watching from the nearby touchline. This was converted efficiently to leave the Broch players, coaches and supporters feeling highly aggrieved as half-time arrived.
Link Up resumed on the front foot and had the Dyce defence under severe pressure for the opening 5 minutes of the second half. Unfortunately, they were undone by a lightning fast counter-attack up the Dyce left by one of their forwards who cut inside and hammered a powerful drive into the far corner.
The Dyce keeper was then forced into a superb save when he was at full stretch to palm away McCrory’s 20 yard snapshot, after good work by Jack Simpson.
Link Up were still well in the game though and drew level at 3-3 midway through the second period. McCrory stormed past a couple of challenges on the right and fired in a cross which was cleared to WATT, lurking at the edge of the box. He did brilliantly to cut inside his marker, advance along the 18 yard line and unleash a fierce drive which beat the keeper all ends up to the loudest cheer of the day.
The joy was to be short-lived, however, as two minutes later Dyce notched their best goal of the day when Milne fired home from 15 yards out.
Dyce were awarded another soft penalty in the closing stages but Smith pulled off a great save diving low to his right to turn away a well-struck effort. Much to his credit, the Dyce striker who was supposedly fouled admitted afterwards to the Link Up coaches that it was not a penalty.
Link Up came within an ace of registering a famous victory and were only denied by Dyce’s never say die attitude and a couple of contentious key decisions at pivotal moments.
If Link Up play at this level every week very few teams will beat them.