With six points separating second placed Huntly and leaders Colony Locos in the ADJFA U19 Soccerworld League the Inverurie side needed only a draw to secure the League title on their visit to the Meadows on Saturday.
Manager Alan Gordon had almost a full squad to choose from and there was a good turn out of supporters to cheer on the Colony side on a dry, sunny afternoon with a chilling breeze.
Colony started the sharpest in the opening minutes playing against the breeze as they tried to make an instant impact but too many wayward passes led to them giving up possession too easily. Huntly were determined to play the ball on the ground and gradually took command of the game, never letting Locos settle on the ball and attacking with pace and determination.
Cammy Garden was the busier of the two keepers and was the first to pick the ball out of the net when the defence failed to clear in the box and a ball sent out left was squared back across goal leaving the striker with the simplest of finishes.
Huntly had their tails up sensing they might get some revenge for their 4-1 defeat in Inverurie in March and determined not to let Locos win the title on their ground. Further chances fell Huntly’s way but some good defensive work kept Locos in the game and in the 34th minute the game changed completely. A surging run into the box from Woodgreaves led to Huntlys left back committing a last man foul on the penalty spot giving Colony the chance to draw level and the referee having no hesitation in producing a red card, ironically for probably the best player on the park until that time.
Rhys SIMPSON duly stepped up to the spot and dispatched a fine effort into the keepers left hand corner of the net. Huntly regrouped and Colony pressured them into more mistakes but the hosts managed to hang on until half time with some good saves and a goal line clearance.
Locos came out second half and the one man advantage was quickly obvious as the Huntly back line retreated further and further back and Colony got their passing game going. Three minutes in to the second half a run and shot from Joe Burr brought out a good stop from the keeper but on the 11th minute some good work from the same player found Joe McCABE who rattled a fierce left foot drive from 16 yards into the keepers right hand side of the net, much to the delight of the Colony following.
Locos continued to dominate the match spurning several chances with Simpson , Gee, Burr and Woodgreaves all going close.
Huntly still continued to break at pace and Littlejohn had a couple of good clearances while Macdonald had one last ditch tackle to prevent a shooting opportunity. As the game moved into the closing stages it became a stop start game with Colony using all their substitutes which disrupted the flow for both sides.
Huntly forced a couple of corners and Locos survived a stramash in the box which could have set up a nail biting finish. With 49 minutes played in the second half, Huntly were awarded a free kick at the edge of the box and a well struck effort through a ruck of players eluded Garden making the score 2-2.
Fifty seconds after the re-start the ref blew the full time whistle to the relief and delight of the large Colony Locos contingent. The celebrations were relatively subdued Locos knowing it wasn’t really how they would have liked to finish the campaign but just one defeat all season left them six points clear at the top and deserved champions.