10-man Saints make a point

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A controversial offside decision, a sending off after 40 minutes and a dramatic comeback with a spectacular equaliser from 3-1 down were the talking points of this PMAC Superleage game at Milton Park last weekend.

Manager Sandy Carrol made a few changes after the previous weeks defeat with Steve Gray, Darren Pyper and Jack Henderson all coming in to start the game.

The opening quarter of an hour was uneventful with only one shot of note being blocked by the Banchory defence. But on 15 minutes Saints took the lead with a well worked free kick. Craig Simpson lined up to have a pop, but squared the ball the Andrew Close who hit it first time to fizz inside the Ellon keeper’s left hand post.

Ellon’s height was always going to cause problems at set pieces and Lawson went close with a back post header.

But on 30 minutes the visitors equalised from one of their ever threatening set pieces, when from a corner, Lawson bulleted a header into the net at the back post.

Five minutes later worse was to follow when from a blatantly offside move with three Ellon players clearly well offside and Saints keeper Chris Irvine challenged one of them only to bring him down just outside the 6 yard box. A penalty was awarded with Chris getting his marching orders. Ellon’s Stewart scored from the spot kick. Justin Knowles replaced Irvine with Jack Henderson making way.

Within 12 minutes of the restart Knowles was beaten to the ball by Ellon’s Dunbar with a suspicion of hand ball but he rounded the substitute keeper to score from an acute angle. Down to ten men and losing 3-1, the question was, how would the young Banchory players react. Well, they took the game by the scruff of the neck and showed their metal.

Craig Graham replaced Murray Buchan and Murray Adam replaced Dean Leith and this sparked the fight back.

On 65 minutes Darren Reid made room for himself on the left and picked out Craig Simpson who did well to head down for Biskup to score from 8 yards.

Ellon were finding it hard against the resurgent Saints. Simpson was causing all sorts of problems and from his challenge on the keeper Josh Robertson had a gaping goal but shot well over from 18 yards.

With a couple minutes of normal time remaining Biskup set up Close and with just the keeper to beat the forward’s net bound attempt was cleared off the line when a goal seemed certain.

But on 89 minutes Saints got their just rewards with a stunning strike from Craig Simpson. A free kick was awarded wide right 35 yards out and his effort completely deceived the keeper sending the ball high into the top right hand corner.

One point at home is perhaps a bit disappointing, but the controversial manner in which Banchory went behind and down to ten men, certainly made this a point gained and all the players can take credit for their fighting attitude.

Team: Chris Irvine, Steve Gray, Josh Robertson, Darren Reid, Murray Buchan (Craig Graham), Dean Leith (Murray Adam), Andy Close, Darren Pyper, Jindrich Biskup, Jack Henderson (Justin Knowles). Subs: Jack Presly, Ben McGregor.

This Saturday (September 29), Saints travel to Lochside Park, Bridge of Don to play defending champions Hermes in the PMAC Superleague, kick off 2pm.