Cove Rangers eventually eased past Banks o’ Dee at Harlaw Park last night to lift the Morrison Motors (Turriff) Aberdeenshire Shield in front of just over 300 fans at Harlaw Park, Inverurie.
Man-of-the-match Mitch Megginson was Cove’s match-winner with two brilliantly taken goals, taking his season’s tally to 41, but the junior outfit made the Highland League leaders work for every ball in an entertaining final.
Despite their main priority being the league Cove fielded their strongest side but Banks o’ Dee were without injured striker Michael Philipson.
Favourites Cove were shocked in the second minute when Banks o’ Dee opened the scoring from their second corner of the game, Jack Henderson headed it on and Luke Barbour smashed the ball home from six yards.
The junior side, who had beaten three Highland League teams on its march to the final, certainly weren’t being overawed by last night’s illustrious opponents in the early stages of the game.
In the 16th minute Dee goalkeeper Andy Shearer did well to block a stinging 15-yard drive from Ryan Stott and fortunately for the junior outfit the rebound bounced just behind North football’s leading scorer Megginson.
At the other end Banks o’ Dee centre half Liam McCall got his head to another corner kick but this time Cove keeper Stuart McKenzie was in just the right place.
Dee almost made it 2-0 in the 21st minute when the evergreen Jamie Watt just failed to get a foot to an enticing low ball from Barbour to the back post.
Cove responded with a Jamie Masson but his weak effort was easily saved by Shearer, then the Dee goalkeeper was slightly fortunate to gather a Masson corner kick at the second attempt.
On the half-hour mark Cove levelled when Masson fed Megginson and the prolific striker beat Shearer with a low 14-yard drive, his 40th goal of the season.
Banks o’ Dee responded quickly and it took a good save from McKenzie to stop a fierce Barbour effort from restoring the junior club’s lead.
Four minutes from the break Cove took the lead when Megginson’s deep cross was volleyed home at the back post by Stott.
At the start of the second half Dee brought on Greg Alexander in place of Ryan Hall.
In the 47th minute Stott almost added another with a curling effort from just inside the box which flew just wide of the far post. Three minutes later Dee were back on level terms when Cove failed to close down Kane Winton and he made scored from 12 yards, firing the ball high past the helpless McKenzie. But in the 57th minute Cove broke upfield and Masson’s deep ball was turned into the net by Megginson to restore Cove’s slender advantage.
A minute later a beautifully worked short free kick from Dee ended with Watt slotting home but Dee delight was shortlived when the goal was ruled out for offside.
In the 79th minute Cove sealed their victory when a Masson cross was headed into his own net by McCall, and two minutes from time substitute Nick Gray’s powerful header made it 5-2.