Late goals secure Echt win

Echt’s first footers on league business were Luthermuir, a side who had recorded a 3-0 winning scoreline on their home patch as recently as early November.

Marc Lawrence volleyed an early half chance over the Luthermuir crossbar, thereafter the opening 15 mins were fairly evenly contested with little in the way of goalscoring opportunities for either side.

In 16 mins a typical Jamie Wood, early left side delivery across the visitors goalmouth was competently grasped by the Muir keeper Wamds with Paul Presslie in close attendance.

When Presslie and Scott Aberdein exchanged a series of one touch passes down the left touchline the latter’s cross was again claimed by the keeper, this time on the edge of his box with Lewis Chouman the denied strker.

Muir’s lively frontrunner Clayton lifted an edge of the box central strike into Gordon Kessack’s welcome arms.

Wood then cheekily nutmegged his marker out on the left touchline but his cross carried over backpedaling keeper and crossbar.

In 29 mins Muir midfielder Findlater attempted a 40 yard free kick strike on goals but the ball sailed high over the top of Kessack’s goal.

Three minutes later Alan Douglas came agonisingly close to opening Echt’s account when he poked an edge of the box effort goalwards that Wamds fingertipped over.

From the resultant corner a Lawrence inswinger from the left, Muir’s Elrick rose to head it to safety at the expense of another flag kick, this time from the right.

Prior to Woods delivery referee Catto dealt with a goal line incident that saw Echt’s Presslie booked and Muir’s central defender Duff red carded,

Douglas did as well as he could with with Wood’s corner following a lengthy stoppage, facing away from goals he conjured a backheader that just crept over.

The remaining 10 mins of the first half saw Echt now with numerical superiority enjoy the lion’s share of possession but the visitors working extremely hard for each other, fairly comfortably kept the scoreline goalless.

Early second period, with Echt now enjoying slope advantage. saw a Presslie drive pass comfortably over the crossbar after he had engineered a shooting oppotunity for himself as he cut across the edge of the box from the right.

On the 55 minute mark a Lawrence 35 yd drive bounced awkwardly off the turf in front of Wamds but the keeper competently smothered the ball.

Four mins later another long range, on target strike, again from Lawrence was dealt with by the keeper, albeit at the second attempt above his head, as he was forced to move across his goals to do so.

Echt swapped midfielder Andy Davidson for Kevin Symonon the hour mark. When Lawrence won Echt a free kick at the 18 yd right junction of the Muir box in 62 mins Wood executed a superb finish across and beyond Wamds into the far side of the net but the strike was chalked off for an infringement by Presslie, before he was withdrawn to be replaced by Phil Craig as Echt sought the elusive opener whilst the visitors stood firm with a no nonsense safety first approach at the back.

A major setback for Echt in 66 mins when Wood limped off with what appeared to be a hamstring problem and prior to the introduction of Scott Birse as his replacement Craig was well off target with a central 20 yd free kick, and then a ball played in from the left side by fullback Ryan Robertson deceived players from both sides before arriving at the feet of Stewart McLaren with a clear sight of goals, but he fired over.

With 14 mins remaining it was Luthermuir on a rare upfield venture who came close to breaking the deadlock, the tieless Clayton held up the ball and then laid it back to Craig whose fierce rising drive briught out a magnificent flying fingertip save from Kessack to divert past his right hand post.

However it was Echt’s Craig who hit the jackpot in 81 mins drilling low past Wamds in a crowded Muir box to the relief of the home touchline.

Fellow substitute Symon came close to increasing the advantage in 86 mins with a low strike that flashed across goals and wide of far post.

Despite a spirited response from the visitors Chouman scored Echt’s second with a textbook downward header on a McLaren right side cross that found net via the keeper’s left hand post.

ECHT: Kessock, Daun, Robertson, Douglas, Aberdein, McLaren, Lawrence, A Davidson, Presslie, Chouman, Wood. Subs: Craig, Symon, Birse, Buirds, Milne.