Saints lose out to controversial penalty decision

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With Michael Skene still out injured, Manager Tom McPherson kept the same team that beat Dyce in midweek, with Lewis Shand playing at the heart of the defence.

It was Longside who took the early initiative, forcing two corners in the opening 10 minutes. And it was the home side that took the lead on 12 minutes when Saints keeper McKenzie defied a Longside forward in a one on one, but as the ball broke free the Saints defence stood still, allowing the home side an easy chance to open the scoring.

Campbell Watt was set up after a Fettes-Stainer move, but the midfielder’s 15-yard effort went inches over. It was then Watt’s turn to be the provider when his in-swinging free kick saw Lewis Shand glance his header past the post.

Longside had lost the early initiative as Saints looked for the equaliser. A Richard Stainer wind assisted 40-yard free kick went inches over and then an Alan McRae 25-yard shot went a foot past. But the equaliser arrived on 27 minutes when Scott Garrett evaded two tackles inside the box and angled a shot past the keeper into the far side netting.

Minutes later, Saints striker Garrett had the ball in the net only to be ruled offside after a Josh Robertson cross and Stainer lay off.

Longside had been quiet for a spell, but they almost took the lead again when Allan Ogston missed a high through ball allowing Longside to get a volley on target but Derek Mckenzie pushed it past his far post.

With 5 minutes of the half remaining Longside’s number 10 was allowed to force his way through the Banchory defence to clip the ball over the McKenzie to make it 2-1 for the Buchan side.

Allan Fuller replaced Josh Robertson for the start of the second half, with Shand being moved to left back, and it was Shand who had an early chance that was blocked by the Longside defence.

On the hour mark, Saints scored a stunning goal when Stainer picked out Keith Horne with an inch perfect pass for the midfielder to pick his spot and expertly curl the ball past the keeper into the top corner.

Alan McRae had his arms up claiming a goal but his header from a Watt corner was booted off the goal line by a Longside defender.

Banchory were now looking for the winner and replaced McRae with Robert Ritchie on 70 minutes. With 15 minutes left a good move down the right gave the home side a terrific chance inside the 6-yard box but there were no takers as the Saints defence claimed for offside.

Banchory were presented with a great chance to take the lead when a loose pass from the Longside midfield gave Horne a chance but he rushed his shot with just the keeper to beat and sliced it a foot past the post.

Jim Fettes and Allan Ogston got themselves in a tangle but the Longside effort was blocked and then McKenzie was forced to make a great double save at the edge of his 18-yard box.

Saints’ players were stunned when the linesman made a controversial decision to award Longside a penalty with two minutes remaining. As the ball bounced around just inside the 18-yard box, it came up and hit a Saints defender’s elbow. The linesman waved his flag and the referee gave a penalty which Longside converted.

With all the Banchory players questioning both officials decision, the linesman pointed out Mark Galashan for alleged dissent, giving him a second yellow card and ordering off.

Team: Derek McKenzie, Allan Ogston, Josh Robertson (Allan Fuller), Alan McRae (Robert Ritchie), Mark Galashan, Lewis Shand, Keith Horne, Jim Fettes, Scott Garrett, Richard Stainer, Campbell Watt. Subs: Alan Forbes, Gary Cruickshank, Marc Lawrence, Chris Reid.