Narrow defeat for Link Up U12s

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Based on the balance of play in this match, Link Up will be disappointed not to have gained at least a draw. They certainly matched their opponents throughout and were well on top in the closing stages only to lose out to the sucker punch of a goal on the counter-attack.

The hosts shaded the opening spell, gaining the bulk of possession but Albion were always dangerous and Wisely was the keeper first called into action to make a smart save from a 15 yard drive.

Link Up opened the scoring almost immediately when a series of quick passes gave Watt the opportunity to burst into the box. Marc then unselfishly squared to BAILEY SIMPSON who slammed his finish high past the keeper.

The lead was to prove short-lived, however, as a through pass caused confusion in the Broch defence and the ball broke kindly for an Albion forward to slot home after Wisely and Rodger collided in their attempts to clear. This left Scott in a fair degree of pain and he had to hobble off to be replaced by Alford, with Fraser switching to central defence.

The second twenty minute period was fairly even, Link Up threatening first when Bailey Simpson gathered a lofted clearance and laid it off to Watt on the left touchline. A neat turn saw Watt sprint clear and carry the ball into the box but although his low cross caused panic in the visitors’ defence they managed to scramble it clear.

It then took a brilliant save from Wisely, followed by an acrobatic clearance from Fraser as it rebounded off the crossbar, to keep it all square.

The Aberdonians did go 2-1 up soon afterwards, breaking down the left, as the Link Up midfield and defence missed a couple of challenges, for a forward to bend an excellent finish from an acute angle into the opposite corner.

Mair won a challenge and made ground out of defence before sending a ball over the top for Jack Simpson to race onto but the Albion defence was alive to the threat and managed to intercept as Jack was about to pull the trigger.

Buchan then displayed his ball-winning qualities with a tigerish tackle to win possession in midfield but his team-mates did not capitalise.

Despite being behind, at this stage Link Up were producing a fast, crisp passing game which, allied to intelligent running off the ball, was gradually gaining them the momentum.

This was in evidence as first Alford, Watt and Masson combined well to make ground down the left and then a Fraser clearance was controlled on the run by Bailey Simpson before he fired wide when a quick pass to Morrison was the better option.

The final third opened with Bailey Simpson turning his marker in midfield before storming forwards and slipping a through pass to Alford who squared to Jack Simpson. Jack did the right thing, attempting to catch the keeper off-guard by firing in a first time shot but, unfortunately, it slipped wide of the target.

Link Up then squandered a golden opportunity when Alford gathered in midfield and spread play wide right to Jack Simpson who drove past the left-back before rolling an inviting cut-back across the face of goal but there were no takers.

Another promising move came to nothing with Jack Simpson head-flicking a Mair throw in to Fraser who showed quick feet and good control to beat his man before playing in Alford but again the impressive Albion defence snuffed out the danger.

The deserved equaliser finally arrived after Jack Simpson battled through a series of challenges on the right flank and then showed the vision and composure to send a superb lofted pass over the defence to WATT at inside left. Marc controlled it instantly and, although under severe pressure, smacked it against the post before keeping a cool head to notch with the rebound.

Link Up were now bossing the game and a feature of this period was a series of wickedly in-swinging corners delivered from the left by Jack Simpson, which only needed the merest of touches to find the net. If the lads can learn to attack these they are a sure source of goals in future.

As happens so often, however, the team under pressure managed to break out and score a winner. It was all the more galling as it came with virtually the last kick of the ball, but that’s partly why Albion win many more games than they lose.

A great team performance from the Broch lads, however, and if they maintain this level of effort and skill every week between now and the end of the season they will be more than a match for any opposition. Keep it up lads!