Beacon Rangers 4
Halliburton welcomed premier league side Beacon Rangers to Lawsondale on Saturday for the third round of the North of Scotland Trophy.
At the start of the game, the pitch was in perfect condition despite it being very wet and windy, but this changed over the next 90 minutes and it was heavily flooded by the end if the game.
With manager Stuart Marlow on holiday, Jim Ritchie was in full control and made just one change from the previous weekend with G.Young replacing an injured R.Fulton in the centre of midfield; S.Marlow in goal; N.McDonald, G.Fulton, D.Simpson and N.Duncan at the back; S.Jaques and K.Jaques on the wings; G.Young and C.MacDonald the holding centre midfielders with N.Webster the attacking centre midfield to support lone striker A.Laing.
Another strong bench consisted of R.Fulton, R.Brown, N.Hunter and C.Howieson.
Referee Nick Quinn blew the whistle for Halliburton to get the game under way and the first 10 minutes mostly consisted of long balls from both sides as each team tried to grasp control of the game.
G.Fulton and N.McDonald both had a couple of well read interceptions to cut out any dangerous attacks. Predictably, the opening goal came from a long ball from Beacon that deceived D.Simpson, bouncing over him and allowing a Beacon striker to run onto and score with a neat finish around the onrushing S.Marlow. (0-1).
The play continued with no team taking control although N.Webster was doing his best to push forward and fooled the whole Beacon defence just outside the box as the sent them all in the wrong direction with a skilful turn. However, he could not keep his balance and the chance was lost.
The same player soon made amends. S.Marlow started the attack with a long kick down the centre towards A.Laing who put enough pressure on the tall centre back to miss the header where K.Jaques was lurking behind the defence and forced them into a poor clearance. A.Laing picked it up and threaded the ball through to N.Webster who calmly slotted past the keeper for the equaliser. (1-1).
Soon after, Halli took the lead. G.Young and C.Macdonald closing down the Beacon midfielders and, winning the ball, spread out wide to K.Jaques who played a one-two with A.Laing. K.Jaques then held off two defenders down the left wing as he waited for support to arrive in the box and clipped in a cross to the near post where fox in the box A.Laing glanced home to keep up his incredible scoring record for the season. (2-1)
This angered the Beacon team who dished out some late challenges and rough treatment to A.Laing for the remainder of the first half that referee missed, and had to calm the Halli frontman down after he reacted.
Beacon equalised with a long ball down the centre which may have been offside when a visiting forward nipped past S.Marlow and finished well from a tight angle. (2-2).
C.MacDonald showed his usually fighting spirit but was lucky not to be booked for a hard challenge that halted a Beacon attack. D.Simpson also was showing no mercy to the Beacon attackers and brought one down on the edge of the box leading to a free kick.
The Halli wall stood firm and blocked the shot and, unlike last week, cleared their lines as N.McDonald surged forward at speed but Beacon had enough men back to stop him.
S.Marlow’s long goal kicks caused the Beacon defence a lot of problems throughout the half as Laing, Young, S.Jaques and N.Webster continuously won the aerial battles. Halliburton had the last chances of the half as S.Jaques flew down the wing only to be miles ahead of any other Halli player so he held the ball up well, skinned the full back and put in a low cross met superbly by C.MacDonald only to be denied by just as good a save from the Beacon’s experienced keeper putting the ball out for a corner.
S.Jaques then put in a dangerous cross that D.Simpson looked certain to score from but the ball just slipped away from him as he powered up his shot. Half time 2-2.
Owing to the the freezing temperatures, it was a quick restart. Beacon had the majority of the possession and kept the ball on the ground, playing some nice stuff, especially down their left wing, causing N.McDonald problems.
On the other side, however, N.Duncan was not allowing any attacks to materialise down the right. S.Marlow pulled off save of the match from a free header at the back post from a Beacon corner that was thundered towards goal, forcing S.Marlow to show great positioning and quick reaction to get down low and clear.
Beacon pressure continued and they got their lead in the 70th minute when the ball was put into the box for a Beacon forward, totally unmarked, to chest down to a team mate on outside of the box to curl into top corner round a diving S.Marlow. (2-3).
An injured C.MacDonald was replaced by R.Fulton who added some energy and enthusiasm back into Halli’s game.
D.Simpson moved into midfield and N.Webster up top who continued to try keep the ball on the ground and start some attacks but Halli could only manage a couple of long distance shots over the bar from himself and K.Jaques.
N.Duncan also showed up well, getting forward and delivering a great cross to the back post that Halli could not take advantage of.
S.Jaques continued to work hard down the wings, despite being forced back for most of the second half and delivered a couple of crosses that flashed past the Beacon goal but there was nobody to take advantage.
In the 80th minute, the killer goal from Beacon again came from their left hand side. The cross came in and their striker tapped in at the back post. (2-4).
Game over as the rain still poured down and the whistle went possible earlier than it should have done. N. Webster was man of the match.