Soft Goals The Jags Downfall by Easton Thain
For the second time in five months Thistle’s cup final hopes were shattered at Kynoch Park, Keith as they failed to win another major final at the ground and it has to be said that it was three poorly defended goals that sank their hopes. On a day when the teams were pretty even the experienced Broch attack made the Jags pay for haphazard defending. Not for one minute do I think the Bellslea side were a better side than the Jags but they were simply more clinical in the attack and that was the difference. They also won the physical aspect of the game out-muscling Thistle at times but on a skill level the Jags were the better footballing side.
Fraserburgh came flying out of the blocks and in 55 seconds Scott Barbour fired in a drive only to be denied by a super stop from Andy Burr. Their early pressure paid off in the 7th minute when they opened the scoring but it was a poor goal that the Jags conceded. Firstly the Broch got away down the right too easily and then the ball was nicked away from ‘Zico’ Davidson as he tried to shepherd it out, when it was then crossed in there was haphazard attempts to clear and it eventually fell to the unmarked Graham Johnston who couldn’t miss and didn’t. To be fair to Thistle they quickly dampened the early Broch fire and for the rest of the first half were the better side. Two minutes after the goal a fine move saw Andrzej Kleczkowski find Scott Adams who set up Shaun Carrol but his drive flew narrowly over the bar. In the 11th minute Chris Hegart sent a superb ball over the defence to Scott Adams who moved forward but then shot over. Seven minutes on another excellent move saw Chris Hegarty find Andrzej Kleczkowski who set Scott Adams free, his fine cross was flown at by Donnie Munro but a defender just got there first to head behind. From the corner the ball was only half cleared and reached Donnie Munro who fired it back across, Iain Macrae got a touch to the ball but sent it wide. Fraserburrgh responded in the 20th minute when a ball over the defence found Scott Barbour but he hit a dipping shot over. Two minutes later Jay Cheyne delivered a cross in and Kyle Gauld appeared to be felled by a defender, it looked to be a penalty but the referee awarded a mystifying free-kick to the Broch. Just after the half hour a cross shot in by Russell McBride I think went over Andy Burr but hit the face of the bar. In the 35th minute Thistle was awarded a direct free-kick but Andy Low hit this straight to Joe Barbour. Five minutes before half-time Shaun Carrol delivered in a free-kick which Donnie Munro met but could on glance wide. On half-time a Broch attack ended with a drive from Scott Barbour but Andy Burr pulled off a fine save.
Half-time Fraserburgh 1 Buckie Thistle 0
The Broch again came flying out of the blocks at the start of the second half and five minutes in they missed a great chance to double their lead when Marc Dickson was left free from a corner but he headed over. Two minutes after that Ryan Cowie sent in a free-kick that Willie West got to first but he headed over. The Jags first chance of the half came sixty seconds after that when a free-kick in was half cleared and fell to Andy Low who showed good control but then shot over. The Broch responded when Scott Fowlie got free on the right and sent in a dangerous low cross but this was cleared behind by Chris Hegarty. The game changed in the 61st minute when Thistle equalised with a well worked goal that had a bit of luck to it as well. Andrzej Kleczkowski fed Stephen Gauld who played the ball into the path of Andy Low who fired in a hard drive which took a big deflection to leave Joe Barbour rooted to the spot as the shot found the corner of the net off the inside of the post. The tails were up and a minute later Chris Hegarty played a brilliant ball forward to Stephen Gauld who was promptly shoved over but it was deemed to be outside the box, Andy Low took the free-kick but it was blocked. A further minute on the ball was played across to Jay Cheyne but he shot over. The pressure paid off in the 65th minute though when a ball into the box found Andrzej Kleczkowski who turned Russell McBride only to be tripped by the Broch defender for a stonewall penalty, up stepped Shaun Carrol and blasted home the resultant kick. Fraserburgh quickly responded as Willie West met a corner two minutes on but this dipped over. Thistle’s good work to get ahead was undone in the 69th minute when another ball into the box caused inexplicable panic with defenders all over the place and it fell to Graham Johnston who gleefully rammed it home. Four minutes later the same man got free on the left and bore down on goal only to shoot across and wide. A further minute on Scott Barbour did exactly the same. In the 79th minute Peter Alexander Bruce fed Graham Johnston but his shot was held by Andy Burr. 60 seconds on great play by Andy Low freed Jay Cheyne who should have set Stephen Gauld free but he went for glory instead and blasted his shot over. With five minutes left what the Jags faithful feared happened as a free-kick in led to more suicidal defending and the ball landed at the feet of Peter Alexander Bruce who duly blasted it home. Thistle, though, could have levelled it 60 seconds later when Shaun Carrol delivered in a free-kick deep to the back post where Lewis MacKinnon got free, he headed the ball towards the far top corner but it dipped over. Moments later the Jags club captain and one of the most experienced players stupidly reacted to being goaded by shoving his hand into the face of an opponent and he was duly shown a straight red card. Before the end Broch could have added to their tally, they should have in the final minute when Graham Johnston fired in a drive which was superbly saved by Andy Burr but the ball fell to Peter Alexander Bruce in front of an open goal but he contrived to mishit his shot and send it spinning wide. In injury time with Andy Burr up the field with the attack the Broch broke and from just past the halfway line Graham Johnston fired the ball towards the Thistle goal but it bounced wide.
Full-time Fraserburgh 3 Buckie Thistle 2
Fraserburgh – J Barbour, Hay, McBride, R Cowie (Main), Dickson, M Cowie, Fowlie (Chalmers), West, Bruce, Johnston and S Barbour
Buckie Thistle – Burr, MacRae, Cheyne, Munro (Stewart), Davidson, Hegarty (MacKinnon), K Gauld, Carrol, Kleczkowski, Low and Adams (S Gauld)
Ref – R Milne
Coming second best in a final is just about the worst feeling in football and another cup final tale of woe left everyone at the Jags completely gutted and there is nothing worse than having to congratulate the opponents and watch them lifting the cup. There is no getting away from the fact that bad defending was the downfall and that has to be rectified in the games ahead. The last thing the Jags needed after the final was a trip to Pitmedden where Formartine United will be hell-bent on revenge for their Aberdeenshire Cup semi-final defeat to Thistle at North Lodge Park and the Jags could be in for a very difficult evening and if they defend as they did in the cup final they are in big trouble. However, here is the chance to get over the final immediately and if they can find their form again then Thistle can get a positive result and a draw would be no bad outcome.