On a glorious day in Newtonhill, with the pitch looking in good condition, Colony kicked off life in Division One against a Cammachmore team who has finished fourth in the other Division Two last season.
With the three leading scorers from last season unavailable, Colony lined up with Alex Wilkinson and Mitchell Reid up front. Andreas Mitchell made his debut in the middle of the park with Paul Gee missing out through suspension (first game of 3).
The game started largely as it played out for the whole game, with Colony trying to build from the back and the home team dropping deep and relying on perhaps a more direct style of play.
Both teams though lacked a bit of rhythm and cohesion and the first 10 minutes were played largely in the middle of the park with neither team getting the ball to stick up front or cause any problems. In the 11th minute though, Colony took the lead. From a corner on the left hand side, a scramble ensued with Andreas’ shot being blocked and Ben RATTRAY was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Colony looked like they were starting to take control of the game, but were stunned in the 17th minute when a free kick to the back post found their big centre forward in yards of space (ie potentially offside) and he controlled the ball and slotted past Martin in goals. There were also shouts of handball against the lad, but the referee wasn’t for changing his mind and Cammachmore had their equaliser.
Several robust challenges from the back went unpunished and the Colony touchline and players were clearly rattled as the game began to get scrappy.
Knocked out of their stride, worse was to follow for #CPA as an awkwardly bouncing ball and a bump in the penalty box saw Callum Stewart unintentionally handle the ball. The changes to the law though determined that his hand was in an unnatural position and the resulting penalty kick was converted putting the home team 2-1 up.
Slowly, Colony started to find a way in behind the Cammachmore defence and they were stunned when they weren’t awarded a penalty kick in the 33rd minute. Mitchell Reid combined with Wilko and beat his man and tried to cut back the ball. The cross though was met full on the outstretched arm of a defender, but somehow only a corner was given.
A sense of grievance was growing within the Colony camp and Martin Cheyne saved them from going further behind with a stunning save from a headed cross.
HT: Cammachmore 2 Colony Park 1
The start of the second half was again scrappy with some meaty challenges going in from both sides but on the 55th minute, Colony were again disappointed with a refereeing decision. Some neat play let a winger through on goal and he fired a shot against the crossbar with the ball rebounding down to be neatly headed back to Martin by Calzy. As both sides spread out to start play again, the referee suddenly blew his whistle and awarded a goal. In honestly, this could only be seen as a total guess given he was stationed just beside the half way line. Martin was adamant the ball had not crossed the line, but regardless Colony were now 3-1 down and up against it.
The home team simply sat back for the rest of the game but the long ball was always a good outlet for them.
Colony introduced Shaun Reid and Michael Donaldson and both were to have a major impact on the game.
First up was Shaun with a tackle which earned him a yellow card that could easily have been a red on another day – but given some of the challenges we had received during the game that went by without a word perhaps the yellow was fine.
Colony were pressing and earned a number of corners in quick succession. From a goalmouth scramble, Ben Rattray found Michael DONALDSON at the back post and he calmly slotted home. 15 minutes to go and it was game on. It was all Colony now, as Cammachmore tired from chasing the ball all game.
Kyle Wilson perhaps should have levelled from inside the box and the same player headed over from a corner. Lukas Kennedy deftly cut inside his man, but his left foot isn’t the most reliable and his shot was easily saved. The chances were coming thick and fast, but with just two minutes left on the clock the equaliser came from an unlikely source. Another goalmouth melee followed a Colony corner with Kyle’s header being blocked, up popped Callum STEWART to fire into the net from close range for his first goal for the club.
There was still time for more drama and one more reason for Colony to have discussions with the referee. Nicky Clark, also on his debut, robbed the Cammachmore centre-half midway inside their half. He was clearly pulled back, but ran through into the box where he was clearly fouled once more. The referee blew, and just as Colony expected a penalty they were amazed when a free kick was awarded in the place of the original foul.
The free kick came to nothing and our introduction to Division 1 was over with 2 points dropped.