Saints bow out

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Saints travelled to Arniston in the second round of the Scottish Junior Cup as underdogs as the home fans anticipated a big win.

Banchory played with the wind in the first half and Shaun Carrol immediately was on the front foot but sliced well past the Arniston goals. From a corner a Banchory shot was blocked and then Richard Stainer had a chance with a free header but glanced well wide. Arniston had the best chance when Chris Irvine was forced to make an excellent block at the post when a goal seemed certain.

It was a fairly even game, but then Saints took control with some fluent play only to be denied by cruel luck and poor finishing.

Midway through the half, Scott Garrett was presented with the first of these as he turned in the 6 yard box but his first shot was blocked by the keeper’s body then from the rebound he hit the goalie’s legs and from the third the ball hit a defender and then the keeper once more before being cleared.

Garret had another chance a minute later but dragged the ball wide and then almost immediately Stainer was in a great position 6 yards out but instead of shooting for goal he elected to pass to Garrett and the chance was gone.

Then out of the blue from an Arniston free kick the ball was pinged to the back post evading Darren Pyper’s reach and landing at the home striker’s feet to score from an acute angle.

Banchory responded immediately with Alan McRae winning the ball in midfield and passing through to Garrett and with the striker through on the keeper a goal seemed certain but his low shot went inches past the post. This was another miss to rue as the home side minutes later went 2-0 up on the half hour. A slack ball by Scully gave Arniston the chance to find their No.7 all on his own and he ran through to slide the ball past the advancing Irvine.

Hardly what Banchory deserved but they responded well. Pyper raced forward and unleashed a right foot shot that was swerving into the home net but the big keeper made a terrific one handed save to push it just past the junction of bar and post.

It was all Banchory for the remaining ten minutes. A free kick produced another chance for Stainer but once again the attempt went straight at the keeper.

On 40 minutes Jake Strachan burst through from midfield and had a clear view of goal but another good chance was wasted when he dragged his shot past the post as the score remained 2-0 at half time.

On 55 minutes there was a scramble in the Saints box with the home side having three attempts but the ball was eventually cleared.

McRae found Garrett but it was one of those days for the wee striker and he dragged his shot wide again on 65 minutes. And again as he beat a couple of defenders the ball seemed to get stuck in the soggy pitch and another chance was gone.

The home side had a claim for a penalty for an alleged Pyper hand ball but Saints captain headed away the danger at the second attempt.

With a few minutes remaining Arniston scored a third but the referee blew for offside, but right on full time they did get that third goal that killed the game.

Team: Irvine, Pyper, Roberston, Burke, Morrison (Galashan), McRae, Scully, Strachan, Stainer, Garrett, Carrol. Subs: Cruickshank, Sim.