Winning start to season for Saints against Lossiemouth

Saints’ first pre-season friendly last Saturday was a tough one against Highland League side Lossiemouth but it was the Morayshire outfit who to their surprise found the going tough with the Banchory squad outplaying the Senior club. manager Sandy Carrol had a squad of seventeen travelling, with Marc Lawrence, Michael Skene, Richard Stainer and Jake Strachan unavailable.

Banchory started the game confidently forcing a corner on five minutes with trialist Marek Madle getting a header on target, and moments later a Saints free kick taken by Shaun Carrol caused some panic in the Lossie box and eventually scrambled away.

The strong wind made things awkward for both sides and new Saints goalkeeper Grant Sim found a high punt forward difficult to deal with, totally missing the ball but was fortunate to see the ball rebound of the post back into his arms.

At this stage Lossie were struggling to contain the eager Banchory. On

15 minutes, good work down the right saw Scott Garrett home in on goal and square the ball but there was no-one there to take advantage.

The home side could only threaten with a couple of corners which were adequately dealt with by the Saints defence.

Josh Robertson who had started well, lost the ball 20 yards out but thankfully the Lossie forward ran the ball out of play.

On 25 minutes it should have been 1-0 to Banchory. Garrett again broke down the right squaring the ball and this time finding Madle 8 yards out but the trialist fired high over the bar.

Then minutes later the trialist striker was found by a neat Darren Pyper pass, but his goal bound shot was deflected for a corner.

Alan McRae was industrious in the middle of the park and from his hard work Pyper slipped the ball through to Garrett and this time the wee striker had a shot of his own only to fly inches past the post.

Garrett and Madle were forming a good partnership and on 35 minutes the trialist volleyed inches over.

Saints should really have been a couple of goals up, and Lossie almost took advantage of the Banchory misses with a volley that Grant Sim expertly saved at the expense of a corner.

Lossie had the better of the last ten minutes, forcing three corners with Sim once again making an important low save right on the half time whistle.

Within five minutes of the restart, manager Carroll made three changes.

Mark Galashan, Gary Cruickshank and Scott Garrett were replaced by Rickie Moir, Adam Morrison and Cammy Gray.

Then five minutes later, Craig Graham and Nickie Ferguson replaced Shaun Carroll and Allan Ogston and within another two minutes Campbell Watt made way for Kevin Robertson.

But the substitutions did the trick when Saints scored their first goal on 58 minutes.

Madle played a ball down the right for Gray and with the Lossie defender and keeper getting in a muddle Gray nipped in to square for Alan McRae to slide the ball into an empty net from 6 yards.

The home side stepped up their game now that they were behind with their own substitutes making a difference.

The Banchory defence did well to block a shot and then a cross from the right found Lossie’s Smith all on his own but his header went just wide on 67 minutes. Sim had to look smart to push away and angled shot from a corner.

But after that spell of home pressure, Saints broke up the left with Gray beating his man, passing inside to Madle who let the ball bounce once and then volleyed into the back of the net to make it 2-0 to Saints with 15 minutes left.

Madle was always dangerous and he tried a cheeky volley that went a yard past the far post.

Lossie went up the other end and from a low trundling shot Sim had to look lively making a low save to his right.

But it was Banchory who had the last say when Josh Robertson found himself free down the left forcing his way into the box to unleash a low drive that the Lossie keeper did well to save low down at his near post.

A very good display from the whole squad against Highland League opposition who were very complimentary about the performance and the fitness of the players.

Squad: Grant Sim, Allan Ogston, Josh Robertson, Gary Cruickshank, Mark Galashan, Darren Pyper, Shaun Carrol, Alan McRae, Scott Garrett, Marek Madle, Campbell Watt, Rickie Moir, Cameron Gray, Adam Morrison, Nicholas Ferguson, Craig Graham, Kevin Robertson.

Aberdeen FC 19’s visit Milton Park on Saturday 30th July with kick off at 2.00pm.

The first competitive game kicks off at 7.15pm on Tuesday 2nd August against Parkvale in the Grill League Cup.