After all the recent rain the Denmore pitch was very heavy but definitely playable. Saints’ first attack was created with a series of passes down the right which led to a corner which Alan McRae headed just over.
Hemes then showed why they lead the league this season when Ross Salmon had to make a great block to thwart a certain goal. From the resultant corner a Hemes player missed a great opportunity from a free header that he put fractionally over the bar.
Saints responded with a fast break and, with Keith Horne free in the box, Campbell Watt just couldn’t find a telling ball to release him.
Ross Salmon again made a sensational save from a close range header, leaping high to his right to push it out, followed up with a good block.
Keith Horne had a snap-shot deflected agonisingly wide of the post with the keeper going the wrong way.
Ross Salmon in goal was having a super game and he again kept out the eager Hermes forwards with another great stop.
Martin Christie had to be replaced by Josh Robertson after suffering a nasty injury as Saints shuffled the pack.
Hermes’ next attempt just clipped the bar on the way over as Saints were being stretched but another rampaging run down the left by Lewis Shand almost brought the first goal but, with Saints waiting to pounce, the Hermes defender somehow managed to head the ball away from inside the six-yard-box for a corner.
Scott Garrett came on for Alan Ogston 10 minutes into the second half as Saints tried to inject some more threat further up the park.
Hermes were still creating the better chances and Saints were lucky to survive after a mix-up between Kriss Downing and Alan McRae allowed Hermes into the box but the eventual header went wide.
Saints almost took the lead just after the hour when a great free kick by Campbell Watt beat everyone but nobody was waiting at the far post for a tap-in.
Hermes took the lead in bizarre fashion on 67 minutes when Saints were guilty of over-playing the ball deep in their own half and when pressurised by the Hermes forwards, the ball was played back to Ross Salmon and the ball took a huge bounce up off a divot causing his clearance to go straight up in the air and he was out-jumped by Chris Courage who headed into the empty net.
With 15 minutes to go Ross Salmon again did well to stop a second goal by rushing out and blocking the ball when left in a one-on-one situation.
The Hermes goalscorer Courage was shown a straight red card for a shocking challenge on Paddy O’Driscoll who had to be carried from the field. Mark Lawrence came on to replace him.
He got straight into the match by playing in Campbell Watt whose cross to the back post was just missed by Keith Horne.
With two minutes to go Saints had a great opportunity to take a point when Keith Horne had a clear strike at goal but the keeper did well to block it and the rebound couldn’t be forced home.
This was a well deserved win for Hemes who stay top of the league. Saints will have to pick up their game before this Saturday’s home match with Longside. Kick off 1.45pm.
There were no winners in this week’s Lucky Numbers. The numbers drawn were 1-7-10-11-12-20. The two £25 lucky dip winners were Angela Koo c/o Irvine Arms and John England from Banchory. Next week’s will be £13,300.