Saints held in Grill Cup opener

Banchory opened up their Grill League Cup campaign with a hard fought draw against First Division East End last week, coming from behind twice to earn a point.

The home side showed their intentions from the start pumping high balls down the middle that troubled the Saints central defence.

Chris Irvine had to look lively on three occasions with some good saves to keep the scores level.

But on 24 minutes Steve Gray needlessly challenged an East End player just inside the box and gave away a penalty that the home side dispatched with ease.

At this point Saints had to thank Irvine on two more occasions to keep the deficit at one.

Into the second half and an early goal was what Saints needed to calm the nerves and they got it on 52 minutes when Jindrich Biskup’s diagonal run ended with his low shot creeping into the far corner. Darren Reid replaced Steve Gray at right back.

Within 10 minutes East End had regained the lead.

Two End players were caught offside, but as the Saints defence stood still a third home player burst through to lob the advancing Irvine.

Two substitutions were made shortly after with Gordon Milne being replaced by Murray Adam and Chris Donald making way for Murray Buchan.

The scores were level ten minutes later. Jack Henderson burst into the box rounded the keeper only to be felled by the East End custodian who was sent off for his efforts.

Andrew Close had to wait several minutes until the goalie was replaced, but he calmly slotted the ball low into the corner of the net to make it 2-2.

Both sides had one more chance each forcing saves from the respective keepers.

A draw was a fair result although the home side had the bigger share of the chances due to their long ball tactics.

Banchory: Chris Irvine, Steve Gray (Darren Reid), Craig Simpson, Craig Graham, Chris Donald (Murray Buchan), Dean Leith, Darren Pyper, Gordon Milne (Murray Adam), Jindrich Biskup, Andrew Close, Jack Henderson. Subs: Josh Robertson, Andy Smith.