Dyce Juniors ........ 1
Banchory are off the bottom of the PMAC Superleague after beating 4th placed Dyce at Ian Mair Park. The game was originally scheduled for Milton Park, but was switched early in the week due to the Crathes pitch still being unplayable after the Banks O’Dee game two weeks earlier.
Manager Sandy Carrol welcomed back Ryan Whelan who slotted in at left back, with Grant Moorehouse getting a start on the opposite flank.
After a fairly even opening ten minutes it was Dyce that made the first real opening when they forced Saint’s keeper Murray Buchan to block a close range shot at his near post. Buchan then had to look smart to hold a shot at the second attempt.
Saints first chance came from a Buchan clearance that Jindrich Biskup latched onto, only to see his left foot effort trundle past the far post on 17 minutes. Dyce were beginning to press for the opener and forced Whelan into a decisive block tackle and then Buchan reacted well to smother a low cross cum shot. But the home side opened the scoring on 20 minutes when Dyce centre forward was given too much room, wriggled past a couple of defenders to hammer an angled drive past Buchan.
Banchory stepped up their game a bit after this, but were still guilty of winning the ball and then immediately giving it away again. Biskup was giving the Dyce defence a hard time and he was crudely brought down but nothing came of the free kick.
Steve Gray found room down the left to fire in a low cross into the Dyce 6 yard box, but there was no-one around to capitalise. The final two chances of the half fell to Saints, with Biskup’s flick hitting the base of the Dyce post and then Ben McGregor heading straight at the Dyce keeper.
Manager Carrol made a change at half time with Andrew Close coming on to replace Moorehouse with Gray moving back to right back and this made all the difference. And Close was in the thick of the action right away winning and taking the corner for skipper Darren Pyper to see his header tipped over the bar by the Dyce keeper.
The scores were level however on 56 minutes when Biskup’s effort was blocked with the ball running loose to McGregor for the striker to tap into the net from 4 yards. There were claims for offside from the home team, but the goal stood.
The pace of the game stepped up a bit as Dyce tried to hit back from this set back, but the Banchory defence were standing firm. There was a scary moment when Buchan went walk about to the edge of his box, but thankfully Dyce could not capitalise from his absence between the sticks.
With 15 minutes remaining Dyce were desperate to find a second goal that would keep up their hopes of challenging Culter for the title. The Saints defence blocked a shot that resulted in two corners in quick succession, but Dyce could not find any way of forcing any semblance of a save from Buchan.
But it was Banchory who grabbed the all important second goal on 78 minutes. A break down the right saw McGregor fouled just outside the edge of the box and taking the free kick himself, he found Biskup getting himself in front of his marker to bullet a header into the corner of the net.
Saints found the confidence in the final 12 minutes to play a possession game and continued to pressure the home defence. However, with the referee playing four minutes of injury time and awarding a soft free kick against Josh Robertson just outside the box, the nerves were getting the better of the Banchory support towards the end.
A great result for Banchory puts them up one place and in a much better position with games in hand over the teams above them. The difference this week was the lack of silly mistakes and it just shows that the young squad are capable of challenging in the Superleague.
Team: Buchan, Moorehouse (Close), Whelan, Reid, Robertson, Leith, Gray, Adam (Presly), Biskup, Pyper, McGregor. Subs: Ritchie, Henderson, Ross
This Saturday 6th April, Lewis United are the visitors to Milton Park, kick off 2.00pm. The Aberdeen side are three points better off, but Banchory have three games in hand, so this is a vital game for Saints to lift themselves further up the league. Hopefully a good support will turn out to support the lads in their efforts.