Banchory St.Ternan 6
Despite the long odds available at the bookies, Saints progressed to the third Round of the Scottish Junior Cup with three goals in either half.
West Lothian side, Pumpherston, were clear favourites despite sitting bottom of their East Premier Division, but Banchory put on a first class display. It was a pity there wasn’t a bigger crowd to see the improvement the team is making as the squad gets back to full fitness.
Sean Napier, signed from Dyce Juniors two days previously, made a memorable debut by scoring a hat trick, but it was the overall team effort that won this game, putting Banchory into the third round draw of the national competition for the first time since season 2010/11.
The visitors were the first to threaten when Adam’s free kick went round the wall but was easily held by Blair McIntosh.
Banchory picked up the pace and, after nine minutes, a Jack Henderson back header put Napier through to flick the ball over the advancing keeper and, despite the efforts of a defender, the ball found the net.
Another chance came along minutes later but the shot was deflected for a corner.
Saints continued the high tempo and Neal Oort should have scored but the midfielder sliced his shot well wide. However, after 17 minutes, the second goal did arrive when Napier collected a neat pass from Darren Pyper, rounded the keeper and slotted home from a tight angle.
Five minutes later it was 3-0 after a neat move between Andy Close and Napier set up Jack Henderson to grab a well-taken goal.
Pumpherston seemed shell-shocked from the start that Saints had made. They forced a corner after 27 minutes which was easily cleared.
John Smith found space down the left, forcing his way just inside the box, but his low drive went well past the post.
Three minutes before half-time, Pumpherston’s Omara found himself free at the back post but he headed the ball well wide from the cross.
Into the second half and, with only three minutes gone, Saints made a change with Stuart Rogie coming on for Oort, and within a minute the fourth goal more or less sealed the game. Henderson made room for himself down the right, beating the left back to power in a fierce low shot that the keeper could only parry to Napier who scored his hat-trick.
And, two minutes later, the game was more or less over when Pyper evaded a tackle at the edge of the box, but after sending in a low 15-yard effort that was saved, he was brought down from behind with the referee awarding a penalty, much to the disgust of the visitors. Andy Close made his usual immaculate job from the spot to make it 5-0.
Banchory took their eye off the ball, having increased their lead, and after 55 minutes a move down the left allowed Pumpherston too much room with Davidson cutting inside to send a low curving shot past McIntosh.
Ross Cochrane replaced Scott Davie as Pumpherston found some confidence from their goal. They should have scored a second when they missed a clear chance from 10 yards, then Benson beat Smith but curled his shot well past when a more direct effort might have been better.
Saints had to up their game again with 15 minutes remaining. Rogie sent a perfect pass to Napier and it looked as though the striker would get his fourth but was denied by the keeper’s legs. Moments later, Napier had another chance but was once again denied by the Pumpherston keeper.
Napier was finding a lot of space with his pace and he was denied by the keeper, then Josh Robertson had to look lively to get his body in the way of a Pumpherston strike with four minutes remaining.
Napier was replaced by Jack Mitchell on the 88th minute with the wee striker applauded off the park.
McIntosh made a good save from a Pumpherston free kick as the game came to a close, but Banchory had the last say. A minute into injury time, the visiting defence twice blocked goal-bound shots with the second rebounding clear to Pyper who calmly picked his spot from 15 yards to make it 6-1.
Rogie should have made it seven in the third minute of injury time, but the substitute lost control at the vital moment.
Team: Blair McIntosh, Steve Gray, John Smith, Darren Reid, Josh Robertson, Darren Pyper, Andy Close, Neal Oort (Stuart Rogie), Sean Napier (Jack Mitchell), Jack Henderson, Scott Davie (Ross Cochrane). Subs: Kyle Brunsmann, Rhys Bain.
This Saturday, Banchory are back to PMAC Superleague business travelling to Longside for a 2pm kick off.