Echt hosted Tarves, another of last season’s promoted sides in this Premier League fixture hoping to improve on a poor early season home record which has resulted in two defeats and one draw in their previous three games.
The opening 15 mins were fairly eveningly contested with both sides looking to play possession football in the hot conditions, but little in the way of goalmouth action to trouble the respective keepers.
Tall Tarves frontrunner Cruickshank had the first strike at goal of serious note in 16mins, from the edge of the Echt box he dragged his shot across goal and wide of target, after hesitancy in the Echt rearguard presented him with the shooting opportunity. Team mate Paterson also failed to hit target, from a good central position inside the Echt box.
With 21 minutes on the clock a ball played forward to the edge of the Tarves box was controlled by Paul Presslie who was felled by a clumsy challenge, the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Presslie took the spot kick himself low to Helme’s left, the keeper dived full length to push it out but Stewart McLaren was quickly in to ram home the rebound from an angle to give Echt the lead.
Echt were struggling to contain the visitors on their left and within a minute of McLaren’s goal another good move down that flank had Echt in disarray but Cruickshank completely miscued in front of goal.
Cruickshank then rose unchallenged and given a free header, close in, but failed to hit target and another gilt edged equalising opportunity was passed up.
Early second half action at either end saw first Helme produce a fine diving stop from Marc Lawrence after Macleod had done the spadework right side. Seconds later, Cruickshank with a clear sight of the Echt goal fired wide.
A Scott Birse delivery had Helme racing off his line to gather, with Presslie a close second and as play again switched upfield to the Echt end, Paterson, close in, failed to convert a cutback.
In 57 minutes Helme got a hand on a blistering Birse angular drive to push it wide of his back post and was again in action in 61 minutes, pushing a Jamie Wood free kick wide. Mayhem in the Echt box around the 75 minute mark when Kessack instinctively blocked a fierce drive and then a further couple of netbound efforts were blocked in the box by Echt bodies as the visitors turned the screw.
Disaster for Echt and Scott Aberdein in particular in 83 minutes when Tarves substitute McDonald curled a delivery across the Echt box, the unfortunate defender miscued a header that looped high into the far top corner of the net to level at 1-1.
In the final minutes the game levelled out but nothing more than half chances were created at either end with no end product.
Echt: Kessack, Birse, Daun, Harris, Aberdein, McLaren, MacLeod, Kirton, Presslie, Lawrence, Wood. SUBS: Stewart, Buirds, McKenzie, A Davidson & Cooper.