SJFA North Region, Division One East Cup Final at Ellon United FC
Buchanhaven Hearts 1 Sunnybank 1, 3-4 on penalties (att 250)
The small Aberdeenshire town of Ellon is handily placed between Aberdeen, where Sunnybank are from, and Peterhead, home to Buchanhaven Hearts, so it was a logical venue for this cup final, and gave me a great opportunity to tick off an extra ground during a weekend in Scotland's north east.
Beyond its location, The Meadows doesn't offer much as a venue for a prestige cup final. It's basically just a railed off pitch inside a mesh fence, with one end, overlooked by the car park, out of bounds to spectators. The clubhouse, which looks as it if serves the whole sports ground, is outside the boundary of the football ground itself.
But what happens on the pitch is more important than what facilities surround the pitch, and after a slow start this cup final provided a very exciting afternoon. The sides had finished their league seasons tied on points, and at the lower end of the table, so a close encounter was likely.
The first half was even with few clear chances, until Sunnybank edged in front in stoppage time, a shot passing the Buchanhaven keeper almost in slow motion.
The Aberdonians held their lead until the 86th minute, when their keeper somehow let a softly struck shot squirm through his hands, arms and legs and just about creep across the line. No extra time in this tie, so it was straight to penalties once the 90 minutes were up.
Sunnybank failed with their first kick, but as so often seems to happen the first side to miss went on to to win. The Sunnybank keeper made amends for his earlier error by scoring once of his side's four remaining successful spot kicks. Buchanhaven's crucial missed penalty came back off the underside of the crossbar, without crossing the line.