Saturday saw a depleted Ratts head to Stonehaven for the AFC trophy clash with AC Mill Inn. With several players away shopping and others unable to prise their wives thumbs from their heads, it was going to be a tough afternoon against a premier league team on the 4g pitch.
The Ratts lined up with a youthful team, with one or two exceptions, and gave a good account of themselves in the first half, which was pretty evenly contested. There were half chances at both ends, and good football from both teams, with hardly a long ball to be seen. Mill Inn hit the crossbar with the closest opportunity of the half, while the Ratts lost both Denoon and Macintosh to injuries, to further hinder their chances in the match.
Five minutes into the second half, Mill took the lead when a brilliant pass from their number 9 found number 6 inside the penalty area, who tucked the ball past the Salmon into the far corner, 0-1. The Ratts didn't let the goal get to them, and were well in the game, until a quick free kick by Mill Inn found their number 9 free on the penalty spot to head home, 0-2. Heads stayed up, and from a Tony Miller corner, Lewis Fraser volleyed home with 10 to go to give the Ratts hope, 1-2. The game played out from end to end as the clock ticked down, with Salmon making a couple of good saves, and the Ratts creating a couple of half chances, but the fitter legs told in the end, and Mill Inn deservedly sneaked through to AFC round three. Plenty of effort but a lack of bodies saw another cup competition come to an end. Great credit to the lads that battled throughout the 90 minutes, and hopefully the same effort next week will see a result v Blackburn in NoS cup.