Jags Ran Out Of Steam by Easton Thain
After the thrilling victory over Clachnacuddin the Jags faced a far tougher test away to Fraserburgh in the Aberdeenshire Shield with Bellslea a real bogey ground for Thistle in the last few years and the home side also had the psychological edge having defeated the Jags in the Aberdeenshire Cup Final. It was going to take a performance similar to that at Grant Street Park for Thistle to stand a chance and in the first 45 the Jags more or less delivered on that front as the momentum built up by the win at Clach continued and come half-time Thistle had a well merited lead. However, such a lead was by no means decisive against a Broch side who have shown their ability this season and they are never out of a game. If they got an early second half goal then it was going to take some effort to stop them. Sadly for the Jags that is exactly what happed and in the latter stages of the game a Thistle side affected by illness and injury wilted under a Broch barrage and the home side deserved their win in the end. All credit to caretaker bosses Graeme ‘Spider’ Stewart and Lewis MacKinnon though as they concentrated afterwards on the positive aspects of the game namely the effort throughout and the first half display but there was, of course, a lot of disappointment about the final outcome. Thistle gave it their all but ran out of steam in the second half and then long balls up the park got them nowhere as they were gobbled up by Russell McBride.
The Jags started promisingly and in the 3rd minute Liam Baxter shook off Russell McBride and slid a pass towards Drew Copeland but Joe Barbour got to the ball first. The Broch responded seven minutes on when Graham Johnston fed William West who sent in a dangerous cross but luckily Scott Barbour failed to connect to this. The Jags took the lead in the 15th minute and it was a case of Christmas coming early for Liam Baxter when he was presented with the opener, home keeper Joe Barbour picked up a long ball through but somehow lost concentration and it slipped from his grasp to the striker who duly knocked it home. Just 60 seconds on Scott Adams conceded possession and that let in Scott Barbour but he shot over. In the 22nd minute a kick out by Andy Burr led to Andy Low winning the ball but he then shot over. A minute later though Thistle doubled their lead when the ball was slid down the right, Liam Baxter raced onto it before delivering a great low cross and there was Andy Low to turn the ball home. In the 25th minute the moment arrived that perhaps changed the game as Andy Low swung over a superb corner that reached the unmarked Lewis MacKinnon about 4 yards from goal but somehow the skipper headed wide, had he netted it may have been ‘tatties ower the side’ for the home side’s hopes. Little of note happened after that until half-time and the Jags retired with a deserved lead.
Half-time Fraserburgh 0 Buckie Thistle 2
I had a gut feeling that this game was not over and that it was crucial for the Jags not to concede an early goal in the second half and give the home side momentum. The Broch though raced out of the blocks and pulled a goal back in the 49th minute when a corner bypassed the defence and William West volleyed it home. The Jags responded six minutes on when Liam Baxter fed Scott Adams but he shot too early and Joe Barbour saved easily. In the 57th minute a corner found Russell McBride who set up Bryan Hay whose drive hit a Jags hand in the box but no penalty as awarded. Thistle then had a couple of half chances in the space of a minute but Scott Adams volleyed the first of them over and then, after being set up by Shaun Carrol, Liam Baxter saw a shot blocked then cleared. Drew Copeland then sent over a fine cross but the keeper got there before Scott Adams. The Broch though then upped the ante and in the 68th minute Scott Barbour held the ball up well in the box before crossing but Bryan Hay headed just wide. Two minutes later though the writing was on the wall when the Buchan side drew level. Thistle failed to close down the space and when Scott Barbour fired in a low shot Andy Burr only managed to parry the ball to the side and Mark Cowie gleefully slid the ball home. Thistle’s discipline then went a bit with a spate of bookings as the Broch turned the screw. In the 79th minute Scott Adams lost the ball and Graham Johnston broke through but his final shot was deflected behind by Lewis MacKinnon. Two minutes later Marc Dickson crossed and Steven Davidson headed goal-wards but the ball was held by Andy Burr. Just 60 seconds on though the Broch went ahead though they got a bit of luck in doing so. A Steven Main effort was cleared away and the ball appeared to go out but nothing was awarded allowing Mark Cowie to cross and Steven Davidson out-jumped the defence to head home. With six minutes left the scorer sent a great ball through to Scott Barbour but his shot was blocked away for a corner. However, on time salt was rubbed into a gaping would when a throw in was helped on by Graham Johnston to Scott Barbour who slid the ball into the net.
Full-time Fraserburgh 4 Buckie Thistle 2
A massive disappointment in the end for the Jags but it was clear a number of players were struggling in the second half and there just weren’t the subs available to come into the keep positions. The team gave it their all though with Shaun Wood, Drew Copeland and Liam Baxter the pick of the bunch. Sadly Thistle ran out of steam and ideas late on and one team you don’t want to do that against is the Broch. Another good chance of a trophy has gone and if Brora Rangers continue on their merry way no other side really has a chance of winning the last cup competition, the League Cup, so it looks like another barren season for the Jags. However, there is new light at the end of the tunnel on and off of the park with good signs on the playing front. There is new hope and enthusiasm amongst the players and the management style of ‘Spider’ and Lewis is working. The Shield is gone now but another challenge now awaits and Thistle could probably do without having to face a powerful and giant Forres Mechanics side who wiped the floor with the Jags in the first game this season. If Thistle can dig deep though and find a performance similar to the Clach match then they will have a chance, let’s just hope all the bugs and injuries have cleared up by then.
Fraserburgh – J Barbour, Hay, McBride, R Cowie, Dickson, M Cowie, Main (Davidson), West, Fowlie, Johnston (Buchan) and S Barbour (Combe)
Buckie Thistle – Burr, S Wood, Carrol, Munro (K Gauld), MacKinnon, Hegarty, Copeland, Cheyne, Baxter, Low and Adams
Referee – C Sim