Echt rue spot kick miss
Echt, back on league business, travelled south to face last season’s Division 1 East champions Luthermuir, the first league meeting between the two since the 2006/07 season.
The hosts started the game in fine fashion, pushing Echt back on the defensive and from a corner kick in 4 minutes a strong downward header was cleared off the line by Darren Stewart.
Two minutes later another flag kick, delivered deep by Findlater was powered back across the Echt goal and just wide from a Miller header.
Luthermuir thought they had made the early breakthrough their opening superiority deserved in 12 minutes when a frontman raced through the heart of the Echt rearguard but instead of striking for goal himself he laid off to a colleague on his right, who finished with ease, but from an offside position and Echt breathed a sigh of relief.
At last Echt got forward, Phil Craig turned his marker twice on the edge of the Luthermuir box before clipping a good effort over their keeper but just too high.
A good ball forward from Joe Kirton allowed Jamie Wood space down the left flank to angle a drive also over the top.
Around the 20 minute mark with Echt having now got a good foothold on proceedings, crosses from first Wood and then Paul Presslie had the Luthermuir defence defending in their own 6 yard box, and from the latter, grateful to concede only a corner from which Andy Davidson was marginally wide of target with a difficult header.
In 28 minutes a long range effort from home frontman Clayton shaved the outside of the left hand post and flew behind.
In 32 mins Kessack dived full length to push a 35 yard free kick wide and from the resultant corner, Craig rifled a decent strike just wide.
A Stuart Cooper goal-line clearance denied Luthermuir the breakthrough they craved and ended the first half goal-less despite near things at both ends.
The first real goal threat of the second half was at the Luthermuir end, full back Miller headed a dangerous Wood inswinging corner clear from under his own crossbar.
Echt’s Kirton was correctly red-carded in 51 minutes for a bad challenge on a Luthermuir player and was followed by a home player being dismissed minutes later as tensions rose in what had been a fairly contested match up to the Kirton dismissal.
Luthermuir got their noses in front just before the hour mark, Greig firing past Kessack with Echt on the backfoot inside their own box.
Echt swapped Stewart for Lewis Chouman and in 67 minutes Presslie inside the home box was felled and the referee awarded the spot kick. However Presslie was denied by the home keeper.
The game had now settled down again following the earlier mayhem, evenly contested,but mostly confined to midfield action.
A Scott Birse attempt from range curled just wide in 76 minutes with Echt still very much in the game.
With 13 minutes left Luthermuir introduced prolific veteran goal grabber Murdoch Anderson as Clayton was withdrawn and four minutes later it was he who pounced close in to ram home a second after a Greig drive was blocked by Kessack to effectively kill Echt hopes.
David Buirds replaced Paul Presslie with five minutes remaining but another home substitute, James Reid, scored a wonderful third with a chipped goal from some 35 yards to the delight of the home touchline.
Echt’s woes continued with McLaren being sent off with seconds remaining.
ECHT: Kessack, Birse, Kirton, Harris, Cooper, McLaren, Stewart, A Davidson, Presslie, Craig, Wood. Subs: Chuaman, Buirds, Daun, Loch and Milne.