No Sand Dance For Young Arabs by Easton Thain 

Buckie Thistle 1 Dundee United U-20’s 3 

In the summer of last year the Dundee United U-20’s side annihilated the Jags 5-0 with a dazzling display but if they expected a similar outcome this time around they were in for a big shock and they admitted afterwards that they were a bit lucky to emerge with a victory on this occasion with their coach Steve Campbell admitting that Thistle were the better side in the second half. All told there were plenty of positives for the Jags with numerous players standing out and that can only be good for the season ahead. The only downside was that they again failed to put away great chances and if there is one reason that could be aimed at them as deserving to lose it was that factor for they had enough opportunities to at least earn a draw if not better. It is better to focus in on the positives though and the Jags passing, movement and positioning on the night was very good and they tried to play football ‘on the deck’ throughout the match and it very nearly bore dividends. Once again the trialist Scott Adams was outstanding with some mesmerising runs, great balls into the box and he scored a brilliant goal to boot. Little wonder then that Gary Hake has moved swiftly to get the youngster on loan from Peterhead and he could shine in the Highland League. Thistle sadly lost ‘Zico’ Davidson to injury early on but that heralded the arrival of on form Drew Copeland and although he didn’t score this time he put in a grand display being very mobile and taking on opponents with gusto. Some feel he needs to muscle out a bit but he does have a good habit of getting in between players and he is not easily put off. Kyle Gauld showed some classy touches again as did Jay Cheyne when he came on and both will be major assets this coming season. Shaun Wood also made some great runs down the right, Darren Wood did likewise on the left, Liam Baxter showed up well again but just cant get a goal right now whilst Elliott McDonald put himself about when he came on and should have scored. All good signs for the Jags now if they can just put the ball in the net! 

The Jags made an enterprising start and in the 6th minute Liam Baxter slid a great ball through the United defence which Kyle Gauld tried to run on to but keeper Joe McGovern just got their first. Five minutes later great play by Scott Adams won a corner which he delivered in, Darren Wood met the ball but his header just went wide. In the 14th minute Iain MacRae delivered a deep ball into the box which saw ‘Franny’ MacMillan challenge the keeper but the latter held on. Two minutes later however, the bright start brought due reward with a superb opening goal. Liam Baxter showed a great touch on the ball but was promptly dumped onto the deck some 22 yards out. Up stepped Scott Adams and he blasted in a glorious strike that rocketed over the top of the keeper and into the net. It was all Thistle at this stage with the young Arabs struggling and in the 22nd minute Liam Baxter set off on a great run that culminated in a corner and when this came in Darren Wood again met the ball but his glancing header drifted just wide Five minutes later Drew Copeland showed all his skills when he set off on a great run that ended with a superb pass slid through to Liam Baxter but the striker sent his drive wide. On the half hour a mistake by a defender set up a chance for ‘Franny’ MacMillan but the ball just wouldn’t fall for him and it was cleared. It was looking good at this stage but then things unravelled and United hit the Jags with a double-whammy in the space of three minutes helped by woeful defending. In the 33rd minute Brad Smith was allowed to stroll into the box before cutting the ball back, it eventually reached Santiago Diguseppe, he actually sclaffed his shot and the effort looked to be going wide but somehow Matt Smith managed to touch the ball past Daniel Bell. Three minutes later the Jags were totally sleeping as a corner was fed short to the unmarked Chris McLaughlin and he was given free reign to cross and the ball was turned home by Reghan Tumilty. Just before the break ‘Franny’ MacMillan picked the ball up near the box and fired in a drive but it was deflected wide off Liam Baxter

Half-time Buckie Thistle 1 Dundee United U-20’s 2 

Thistle started the second half brightly and in the 49th minute a ball into the box fell to Liam Baxter but Joe McGovern held his drive. Three minutes later though a ball across the Jags box fell to Ola Adeyemo but his drive was held by Kevin Main. Then, in the 55th minute, great play by Reghan Tumilty ended with a drive which Kevin Main turned away. 60 seconds on at the other end Joe McGovern picked up a pass-back ten yards out resulting in a free-kick that was played to Scott Adams but his drive was blocked by the Tangerine mass. In the 63rd minute a great ball through by Shaun Wood caused real panic as Joe McGovern and Luka Margaroli went for the ball, the latter got there first and headed past his keeper but luckily for United it went wide. Then, in the space of three minutes, Thistle could have scored twice before Kevin Main showed why he is rightly regarded as a superb keeper. In the 68th minute Elliott McDonald broke through and fed Andy Low but his shot went across and wide. 60 seconds later Donnie Munro slid a superb pass through to Elliott McDonald who only had the keeper to beat but the youngster dallied on the ball and his final effort was blocked. Just a minute later at the other end Chris McLaughlin smashed in a glorious dipping volley only to see Kevin Main brilliantly turn the ball over. In the 74th minute a Jags corner went over the defence, Donnie Munro managed to find Drew Copeland who drove the ball in, had Elliott McDonald flicked it on he might have scored but he got out of the way and Joe McGovern easily held. Four minutes later Shaun Wood delivered a great ball in which Andy Low did well to get a head to but the ball went just wide. After all their good work the Jags were hit by a sucker punch with nine minutes left when Reghan Tumilty found Aaron DUKE and he drilled a shot into the corner of the net just past Kevin Main. Thistle had one more chance which fell to Elliott McDonald but the keeper turned this behind and the young Arabs held on for a scarcely deserved victory

Full-time Buckie Thistle 1 Dundee United U-20’s 3 

Match Photo’s courtesy of Allan Robertson

Buckie Thistle – Bell (Main), S Wood, D Wood (Duncan), K Gauld (J Cheyne), Davidson (Copeland), MacRae, Angus, G Stewart (McDonald), MacMillan (Munro), Baxter (Low) and Adams (Alexander)

Dundee United – McGovern, Ballantyne, B Smith (Margaroli), Montgomery (O’ Connor), Harwood, McLaughlin, Diguseppe (Burt), Devine, Adeyemo (Duke), M Smith and Tumilty (Pederson)

 Referee – D Watt

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