Debut goal for Kevin

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With eight players out Saints manager Sandy Carrol was down to the bare bones in what was a crucial PMAC Superleague match against Banks O’Dee, who were four points clear of Saints having played two games more.

The game got off to a very slow start with both sides finding it difficult to settle and it was very much hustle and bustle for the opening ten minutes.

Dee were the first to produce any sort of opening when a low cross was scrambled away and from the resultant corner the visitors struck the bar but the linesman had his flag up for offside.

Saints then looked to have a promising chance when Stainer laid the ball off to Robertson but a poor cross saw any chance of a goal disappear.

Neither side were creating anything of note and Dee had loud claims for a penalty rightly waved away by the referee for handball on 20 minutes.

A minute later Stainer picked up a loose ball 30 yards out advanced to the edge of the Dee box and forced keeper Robertson to make a good save at his top left corner.

Banchory were slowly putting things together and a Robertson and Scully move saw the latter’s shot deflected only to be saved easily by the Dee keeper.

A poor attempt at a headed clearance on the left by Saints Galashan allowed the visitors to get a low cross in with the resultant shot being blocked.

Dee began to create the better chances and the best of these was from a corner, but from a good position at the back post Gray blasted well over Saints bar.

However, right on half time it was Banchory who took the lead.

Robertson pounced on a through ball and picked his spot with a low shot past the advancing Dee keeper to make it 1-0.

The second half again saw a slow start from both sides, but on 53 minutes the game took a dramatic turn.

A Dee shot from just outside the box hit a Saints defender’s arm from close range. The referee pointed immediately to the penalty spot despite the protests from the Banchory players, with Cammy Gray being booked as a consequence meaning that he had to leave the field having been booked in the first half.

But Saints keeper Chris Irvine made a fine save from Dee’s Jack to retain the 1-0 lead.

Ten minutes later however the scores were level. A long ball forward found left back Turnbull to slot past Irvine.

Scully went close with a header a few minutes later when he shaved the bar and then a McRae header from a free kick found Stainer, but his turn and shot was deflected over the Dee bar.

Dee’s David Greig found space on the right and his well drilled cross caused problems but Chris Donald stepped in at the back post to clear the danger.

It looked as though Saints had scored on 75 minutes when a Shaun Carrol cross found the head of Galashan but his effort was brilliantly saved by Dee’s Robertson.

Despite being down to ten men, Banchory were still producing the better chances towards the end and were also pulling out the stops to keep Dee having any clear chances at goal. In one such move Adam Morrison made a lunging tackle to clear the danger.

All in all, this was a very good performance under the circumstances by Banchory and keeps them in fifth spot in the league.

Saints manager Sandy Carrol was happy with the effort of his team.

He said: “A draw was probably a fair result, we had 5 players out due to injury and sickness  but the lads who came in more than compensated, with young Kevin  Robertson making his début and scoring a very good goal..

“Defensively we were solid, and although we lost a goal in the second half we coped very well with anything Banks O Dee had to offer.

“We are away to Ellon this week on league business and we are more than capable of getting a result up there.”

A series of three away league games up to the Christmas break is now in store for the Milton Park side.

The first of these is a trip to Ellon United on Saturday. On the 10th December Hermes are the hosts at Brdige of Don, and then on 17th December a long trip up to Forres Thistle for the last league game of 2011. All kick off’s are 1.30pm.

Team: Irvine, Donald, Galashan, Morrison, Burke, Carrol, Gray, McRae, K.Robertson (Bennett), Stainer, Scully. Subs: J.Robertson, Sim.