A Sore One To Take by Easton Thain
On the face of it the result against Cove Rangers gives the appearance that Thistle took a real tanking but in reality they matched the Allan Park side for most of the game and had a bit of luck gone their way in the first half the match might have turned out differently. However, there is also no hiding from the fact that the Jags made far too many mistakes on the night and if you do that against a team lying near the top of the table then you are in trouble and Rangers pounced on errors to secure a nap hand. As in the U-20 game two nights before the conditions were dreadful and certainly had their part to play but it was the same for both sides and Cove simply did not make the errors Thistle did and few could argue that they deserved their victory in the end. The Jags were left to lick their wounds and to try and make sense of what happened it will be what they learn from the match that is telling. A look at the goals against in the League this season will indicate where a problem lies but it is the whole team that has to sort that out for you have to defend from the front in this game. Leave the defence exposed then you will suffer the consequences! Sometimes it is hard to find positives from such a defeat but there were some as Thistle played some very good football at times with Kevin Fraser and Chris Angus the liveliest whilst Darren Wood did all he could to stop the yellow tide.
The early warning signs were there for the Jags as in the first minute a ball across the box found Daryl Nicol but he shot wide. Six minutes later Connor Scully thundered in a drive only to see Matthew McGinley pull off a brilliant save to turn the ball over. However, in the 13th minute Rangers pounced on poor defending when Daryl Nicol was given the freedom of Victoria Park to race in on goal whereupon he fired in a low drive and although Matthew McGinley got a hand to the ball it flipped up and over him and into the net. Eight minutes later the game might have taken a different turn if bad luck had not befallen the Jags. Chris Angus broke through and smashed a glorious drive over Craig Reid only to see the ball crash back off the bar, it then bounced in front of Kevin Fraser but he perhaps went too early although it took a grand save to turn his header away. In the 25th minute another chance fell to Thistle again to Kevin Fraser but this time he shot over. Thirteen minutes later though disaster befell the Jags again when a corner came in and Matthew McGinley only managed to punch the ball down into the path of Stuart Walker who controlled it before stroking it home. Perhaps the wind was a factor in this goal as it would later cause the Cove keeper all sorts of problems in the second half.
Half-time Buckie Thistle 0 Cove Rangers 2
Cove resumed on the attack and in the 48th minute Connor Scully picked the ball up and fired in a shot but it went wide. Two minutes later it should have been 3-0 to Rangers when Darryn Kelly sent a sublime pass through the defence to Stuart Walker who only had the onrushing Matthew McGinley to beat but the former striker got his angles wrong and his shot was cleared away. In the 54th minute the Jags failed to capitalise on ropey goalkeeping from Craig Reid who initially spilled a shot from Kevin Fraser but the ball was somehow cleared behind. From the corner though the keeper flapped at the ball and dropped it but there was no one in the hoops to take advantage. Just two minutes later it was all but over when more kamikaze defending proved costly, the ball was slid across goal and there was Connor Scully to knock it home. Thistle never gave up though and just after the hour they pulled one back albeit with a huge slice of luck, they won a corner which Shaun Carrol swung in whereupon the keeper completely missed the ball and it went in off the far post. Any hopes of a recovery though ended with thirteen minutes left when Rangers struck their fourth albeit luck favoured them, Daryl Nicol broke through and eventually he got in a shot but he sclaffed it, however, Andy Low instinctively stuck out a boot and the ball was diverted past Matthew McGinlay. Cove should have gone nap with eight minutes left when a ball over the defence set Daryl Nicol clean in on goal, he duly nipped past Matthe McGinley but then inexplicably lost control of the ball, it was not fully cleared though and fell to Michael Selfridge but he shot over. Just 60 seconds later though the visitors did go nap with the goal of the game though it came after another error as Lewis MacKinnon lost possession whereupon Connor Scully set his sights and unleashed a raging drive that flew over Matthew McGinley and into the net. The seal was thus set on a forgettable night for the Jags. Forget it Thistle will though they must learn from such defeats so that it does not happen again.
Full-time Buckie Thistle 1 Cove Rangers 5
Buckie Thistle – McGinley, MacRae, Carrol, Cheyne (MacMillan), Hegarty (MacKinnon), D Wood, S Wood, Fraser, Angus, Low and Copeland (Scott)
Cove Rangers – Reid, Burnett, Milne, Yule, Walker, Kelly (Clark), Scully, Duff, Watt (Selfridge), Nicol and Park (Smith)
Match Photo’s courtesy of Allan Robertson
Referee – L Duncan
There is now a big break until the last game of the season at home to Huntly when the Jags will be giving it everything to end the campaign on a high. What they must avoid is a repeat of the first game between the two when the only one left smiling was former manager Gregg Carrol whose new charges got a rare victory from that match. If Thistle play like they can though then they will have every chance of ending the campaign with a victory. Let us hope that is the case!