Stunning Goals Decisive by Easton Thain

With Mother Nature’s icy grip putting paid to the return match at Lossiemouth the Jags quickly arranged a friendly game against Paul Lamberton’s Rothes as their game against Huntly was also postponed. Funnily enough the weather had turned milder during the morning and come 12.45 Victoria Park was eminently playable so the game went ahead there instead of on the Astroturf, one wonders if it had equally warmed up in Lossiemouth! Anyway, playing another HFL side in a friendly was always going to be a stern test for a Thistle side who have not played competitively since January 3rd and so it proved as the Speysiders, as they had in the league game at the Viccy, made a first of it and the Jags had their work cut out to win the match. All the goals from the game came in the first half and, thankfully, two superb strikes by Thistle proved decisive in the end. Rothes never gave in and thus it was an excellent workout for the Jags.

The Speysiders were almost gifted an early goal when in the 2nd minute Darren Wood lost possession to Stuart Lamberton, brother of the Rothes manager and Jags legend Paul, but luckily the No 9 shot wide. The Jags responded five minutes on when the ball was fed to Scott Adams who cut across but then shot wide. In the 10th minute a short corner saw the ball eventually fed to Drew Copeland but he also shot wide. Two minutes on Scott Adams found Iain Macrae but his low shot was held by Khalid Al-Sammerie. Almost immediately the Speysiders burst up the park and the ball found Stuart Lamberton again, this time he fired in a better shot forcing Andy Burr to turn it behind. In the 14th minute Thistle took the lead with a great goal as Jay Cheyne found Andy Low who spotted the keeper just off his line and duly dinked in a wonderful chip that sailed over the goalie and in. Rothes responded two minutes on with another chance for Stuart Lamberton who fired in a low drive but this was held by Andy Burr. The Jags then doubled their lead in the 21st minute it and it was a classic team goal as superb lead up play down the right led to superb touch passing in the box with Andy Low finding Kyle Gauld who neatly set up Kevin Fraser who coolly shot home. A midfield battle followed for a long spell but five minutes before the break more great play by Thistle saw ‘Franny’ MacMillan, in an unfamiliar right back role, set Kevin Fraser free he in turn found Kyle Gauld who set up Jay Cheyne who flashed in a shot but it went narrowly wide. The Speysiders made light of this by pulling a goal back in the 42nd minute when a ball into the box was not fully cleared allowing Stuart Hodge to drive it into the corner of the net – what is it about Jags loan players to Rothes scoring against them!

Half-time Buckie Thistle 2 Rothes 1

A slip by Drew Copeland gave possession to Struan MacArthus four minutes into the second half but the midfielder saw his drive held by Andy Burr. A minute on Kevin Fraser slid a great ball through to Scott Adams who did all the hard work by weaving his way into the box but his final shot was weak. In the 52nd minute the Jags were awarded a direct free-kick about 25 yards out and up stepped Andy Low but he fired the dead ball over the bar. 60 seconds later luck went AWOL for Jay Cheyne who received a pass from Kevin Fraser and thumped in a raging drive but it clipped the far edge of the bar and went over. In the 55th minute a half clearance fell to Drew Copeland but he shot wide. Ten minutes on Lewis MacKinnon played a free-kick in to Kevin Fraser who sent in a controlled shot but it was saved. A minute later Drew Copeland fed ‘Franny’ MacMillan but his shot was held by Kahlid Al-Sammerie. The Jags continued to press and with fifteen minutes left a brilliant drive in, I think by Kevin Fraser or Drew Copeland, brought a magnificent save out of sub keeper Craig Ferguson. Two minutes on at the other end Callum McIntosh set off on an excellent run which saw him break into the box but last ditch defending saw the ball blocked away. The game then petered out but on time the ball was fed across to Lewis MacKinnon who fired in a fine drive but the ball went just wide.

Full-time Buckie Thistle 2 Rothes 1

A fine game then at such short notice and much better than just having a training session. It was good for the players to get back playing on the grass again and they played some excellent football at times scoring those two great goals. Kevin Fraser once again caught the eye and is a class act but fellow midfielders Drew Copeland and Jay Cheyne also stood out. All credit to Rothes for making a fist of it but the better side won in the end. Hopefully competitive football will return this weekend with a trip to Keith but the initial forecast for the week is cold weather and with Keith being on higher ground that could KO another match. If it goes ahead both sides could be a bit rusty which could be a leveller but if Thistle play to form then they should complete the double over the Maroons but nothing can be taken for granted and the Jags will need to show 100% commitment and determination to see off Keith’s young side.

Buckie Thistle – Burr, MacMillan (S Wood), MacRae, Cheyne, MacKinnon, D Wood, K Gauld (Munro), Copeland (MacMillan), Low, Fraser and Adams (K Gauld)

Rothes – Al-Sammerie (Ferguson), Corbett, Thomson (Ewen), McArthur, Jarvie, Dunn, Mair (G Lamberton), Mitchell, S Lamberton (Wilson), McIntosh (Lambie) and Hodge (Horsburgh)

Ref – S Riddoch

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