Sandy Carrol was delighted with his side’s performance last weekend as they brushed aside Superleague strugglers Sunnybank at Milton Park.
The Saints manager was especially pleased for striker Scott Garrett as he grabbed both goals in the 2-0 victory.
Carrol said: “Scott had a great game and his two goals will do his confidence the world of good.
“We played some excellent stuff especially in the first half against a vastly improved Sunnybank team, whose league position does not do them justice.”
Chris Irvine was welcomed back in goal after a lengthy injury absence and there was also room on the bench for Darren Red and Liam Sadler, two of the heroes who helped Banchory Boys Club 17s into the Scottish Juvenile Cup Final the previous weekend.
Sunnybank had the first chance in the very first minute but their 25 yard free was blocked by the Banchory wall.
As the game progressed Sunnybank found themselves parked in their own half as Saints applied the pressure. Good work between Josh Robertson and Richard Stainer saw the latter’s cross being poked past a post by Alan McRae.
The home side were winning plenty of ball in midfield but were not doing much with the possession up front. Scott Garrett, operating wider than usual, was working hard tracking back when necessary to combat Sunnybank’s tricky winger Stewart.
But on 20 minutes McRae was thwarted by Justin Knowles in the Sunnybank goal when he parried the Banchory midfielder’s angled shot past for a corner.
At the other end Sunnybank went close to scoring when Whyte lobbed Irvine but the ball went a foot wide of the Banchory post.
McRae was on target with a low 25 yarder that Knowles expertly touched round the post. But on the half hour mark Saints took the lead in a well worked move.
Shaun Carrol found Campbell Watt wide left who sent in a lovely low cross finding GARRETT in the six yard box for the striker to side foot home.
Six minutes later it was 2-0 with a bizarre goal. Stainer’s flashing cross from the left hit a defender with the ball coming back off the post and the keeper before GARRETT pounced for his second.
At this stage it was all Banchory as Carrol had a long range effort trundle wide bBut on 42 minutes Sunnybank’s Stewart’s pace got him just inside the penalty box wide left and a rash challenge by Michael Skene gave the visitors a penalty. Low took the spot kick but Irvine made a great save low to his left to keep the score 2-0 at half time.
Four minutes into the second half and Watt had a chance to increase the lead when he latched onto a long Irvine clearance but the Banchory midfielder volleyed just past.
Stainer got himself clear on the left to cross for Garrett but the Bank defence blocked the effort and then Garret was the provider when McRae set him free down the right but the striker’s flashing cross found no takers.
With 20 minutes remaining Sunnybank made a couple of changes and with Banchory seemingly running out of steam and losing control of midfield, the visitors began to pose a few problems.
Chris Irvine had to be smartly off his line to clear the danger, venturing as far as the touchline. Bank’s substitute Robertson looked odds on to score but a last ditch tackle by Skene saved the day.
The final 10 minutes saw Sunnybank have the better of Banchory in midfield but they failed to force Irvine into any real action.
The last chance fell to the home side when Jake Strachan forced Knowles into a low save to his right.
A good first half performance was followed by an average display in the second half, but the three points were welcome at the end of the day.
Saints are next in action on April 14 with a PMAC Superleague game at Longside and the Banchory manager believes the break has come at a bad time.
“It is a pity as we are slowly getting the squad back up to scratch again after a horrendous period of work commitments and injuries,” Carrol said.
Team: Chris Irvine, Darren Pyper, Josh Robertson, Michael Skene, Chris Donald, Jake Strachan, Shaun Carrol, Alan McRae, Scott Garrett, Richard Stainer, Campbell Watt. Subs: Darryn Irvine, Liam Sadler, Darren Reid, Grant Sim.