BANCHORY ST TERNAN 2
The Uniconn Park in Bridge of Don passed a morning inspection which allowed this PMAC Superleague game to go ahead.
Underfoot conditions worsened as the game went on with the soft pitch cutting up, making underfoot conditions a bit difficult.
There was an early chance for Banchory when Henderson only had Hermes’ keeper’ Sweeney’ to beat but the referee blew for offside.
Murray Buchan was forced to palm over a header from Hermes’ Pirie after eight minutes and then Napier went close for Banchory when he shot inches over the junction.
There was a let off for Buchan when his clearance rebounded of a Hermes player and fortunately ran past the post for a goal kick. But after 15 minutes, the luck ran out when Stuart Rogie’s tackle eight yards out was deemed by the referee to be illegal although he seemed to have made connection with the ball first. Hermes made no mistake from the penalty spot to go 1-0 up.
Hermes had a wee spell of pressure but Banchory were holding their own and started to put some moves together. A neat pass from Rogie forced a fruitless corner and, as Saints pressed forward, there was anticipation of a goal coming. The referee tended to award some soft free kicks in favour of the home side and from one such award Buchan saved from a header.
A great move between Andy Close and Sean Napier ended with the latter forcing Sweeney into a flying one-handed save with the ball just creeping over the bar and then almost immediately Napier was again denied by the keeper parrying over the bar.
The deserved equaliser came on e 33rd minutewhen Jack Henderson intercepted a pass and, with just Sweeney to beat, calmly slotted the ball under the advancing keeper.
Within three minutes, Saints almost increased their lead when Henderson found Napier but the wee striker’s low shot trickled past the far post.
After 38 minutes, a long cross-field pass from Scott Davie found Ben McGregor clear with his close range effort being blocked by Sweeney, but Napier was on hand to tap the ball over the line from two yards.
All the good work was undone within a minute when Steve Gray gave away a needless free kick and, with Buchan failing to cut out the cross, it presented Hermes withh an easy chance to equalise inside the six-yard box.
Worse was to follow two minutes from half time when, from a throw-in, the ball was crossed into the box where Hermes’ Mountford, in a suspiciously offside position, headed a third in off the post.
A disappointing end to the first half, but it was well within Banchory’s grasp to salvage something in the second period although, unfortunately, that never came to fruition.
Hermes pushed forward from the restart, forcing Buchan to tip over from a corner and then a low shot came off the base of the post.
A corner was awarded to Hermes rather than a goal kick to Saints and this almost proved costly when a header hit the woodwork for a second time within minutes.
Rogie was replaced by John Smith after 55 minutes and the injured Buchan gave way to substitute keeper Rhys Bain. The keeper was immediately in action when he made a diving save off a deflection from his colleague, Josh Robertson, who then blocked a certain goal as Hermes put the pressure on.
The fourth goal arrived after 65 minutes when Mountford was allowed too much room on the left and his resultant cross being headed home by Wyness.
Saints made their final substitution after this with Neal Oort replacing Scott Davie and this sparked a resurgence in their play.
Andy Close’s in-swinging corner came off the face of the Hermes bar and then Napier crossed for Henderson to head for a certain goal that was brilliantly tipped away by Sweeney for a corner.
Banchory continued to find space and it was Oort’s turn to collect a pass down the left with his left foot shot once again saved by Sweeney at the expense of a fruitless corner.
Hermes were almost gifted a fifth goal when Robertson’s sliced clearance was tipped over the bar by Bain.
There was still time, however, for Banchory to get themselves back in the game and everyone thought that was the case with seven minutes remaining, when Henderson was in the clear down the right and, as Sweeney came out to meet him, the Saints top scorer’s lob soared over the keeper’s head but hit the base off the post and evaded the effort of Napier to force over the line.
Banchory deserved much more out of this game and, when they were 2-1 up, Hermes were there for the taking. Sweeney played a big part in the Bridge of Don side taking all three points.
Team: Murray Buchan (Rhys Bain), Darren Pyper, Steve Gray, Darren Reid, Josh Robertson, Stuart Rogie (John Smith), Scott Davie (Neal Oort), Andy Close, Sean Napier, Jack Henderson, Ben McGregor. Subs: Aaron Scully, Jack Mitchell