Copeland Road To Victory! By Easton Thain
Buckie Thistle 3 Banks O’ Dee 1
In their third pre-season friendly Thistle had to thank the talented youngster Drew Copeland for seeing off the challenge of top junior side Banks O’ Dee but you have to say that the victory was more than a tad flattering for the Jags and the Spain Park side were unlucky to lose in many respects. In the latter half of the opening 45 minutes the juniors cut through the Thistle defence more than once and there was a similar pattern from the hour mark onwards also and it was hard to believe this was the Dee’s first friendly of the pre-season. There were some positives for the Jags notably fine displays from Drew Copeland, Jay Cheyne, Daniel Bell and Chris Angus but it was worrying the way the Dee cut through the defence at times and also that some players looked decidedly unfit and all of this will have to be rectified in the final friendly games before the first competitive game in the Aberdeenshire Cup at Cove on July 30th.
The Jags started promisingly enough against the Dee and in the 2nd minute good lead up play saw Chris Angus set Shaun Wood free, his cross found Liam Baxter who held the ball up then fed it into the path of ‘Zico’ Davidson who struck a powerful drive but the ball was blocked away. The first alarm bell in the Thistle defence came three minutes later when Harry Noble dallied and conceded possession to Ryan Hall who fired in a shot which Daniel Bell spilled but the ball was cleared. The Jags took advantage of their let off by taking the lead on the 13th minute with an excellent goal. Jay Cheyne gained possession of the ball and neatly fed it through to Drew Copeland who deftly eased past a defender before cracking a fine shot past Mike Smith. The lead was nearly doubled a minute later when Chris Angus weaved his way through the Dee defence before cracking in a low shot which Mike Smith dove full length to turn away but only pushed the ball to the side, Liam Baxter was following up but the angle was too tight to net so he rolled it across the goal but no one had followed in and the chance was gone. In the 16th minute Chris Angus set off on a fine run before crossing, Drew Copeland got to it but a wee bit early and his header didn’t threaten the goal and the ball was cleared. Seven minutes later Drew Copeland picked the ball up and fired in a 25-yard drive but it flew over. For some reason though Thistle lost their way and the dangerous Ryan Hall started to cause a lot of problems. On the half hour he waltzed straight through a non-existent defence before firing in a drive that was stopped but sheer panic followed, somehow the ball ended up behind for a goal-kick. Five minutes later the No 10 shook off Lewis MacKinnon in the box and fired in a low drive but Daniel Bell got his boot to the shot and the ball was then cleared behind for a corner. Then, with three minutes to go to half-time, Andrew Anderson set up Ryan Hall but his shot was held by Daniel Bell
Half-time Buckie Thistle 1 Banks O’ Dee 0
More alarm bells rang at the start of the second half and in the first minute Max Alexander set up Jindrich Biskup but his drive was deflected for a fruitless corner. Two minutes later these two combined before the ball came the way of Keith Horne but he hooked a tricky shot over. Just 60 seconds later though the Dee were deflated as the Jags took advantage of an absolute howler, the ball was rolled back to the keeper who then took his eye right off it and he laid it on a plate to Drew Copeland who calmly rolled the ball into the unguarded net. This bucked Thistle up and in the 52nd minute they made it 3-0 this time with an excellent goal. Jay Cheyne set Chris Angus free on the right and the winger sent in a wonderful cross that cut out the defence and there was Drew Copeland to seal his hat-trick with a superb header. In the 58th minute it really should have been game over when Drew Copeland set Liam Baxter free but his final shot was blocked by the keeper. You would have thought that Thistle would go on to a comfortable win but they inexplicably lost their way and were darned lucky not to get punished severely. On the hour Keith Horne drove a précis free-kick towards the bottom corner of the net but Daniel Bell got down well to turn it behind. Three minutes later though the Jags had a massive escape when Andrew Anderson fed Keith Horne who went clean through before smashing a drive in that beat Daniel Bell all ends up only to crash back off the post. In the 67th minute Jordan Reid got free and fired in a drive but Daniel Bell pulled off a fine save. The Dee deserved a goal and got it five minutes later when shoddy marking from a corner left Mathew Robertson free and he duly headed home. Thistle hadn’t learned from this and in the 77th minute another corner was poorly dealt with letting in Phillip McCall but fortunately he headed over. Only then did the Jags wake from their slumber and they nearly added a fourth in the 81st minute when they won a direct free-kick which Chris Angus curled in beautifully but the keeper pulled off a fine stop to turn the ball round the post. Three minutes later Stephen Gauld and ‘Franny’ MacMillan exchanged passes but the former dragged his shot wide. With two minutes left Thistle got another lucky break when Max Alexander was tripped as he shot in the box but no penalty was awarded.
Full-time Buckie Thistle 3 Banks O’ Dee 1
Overall some god signs for the Jags but worrying ones also and they have to start getting it right before the cup game at Cove a week on Wednesday. The next friendlies are both on Wednesday night with one Thistle XI taking on Deveronside at Victoria Park and another XI heading to Simpson Park, Keith to take on Islavale. Then on Friday the U-20 side from Dundee United are in town before the final pre-season challenge next Monday at home to Aberdeen U-20’s in the Kevin Small Testimonial, so some challenging games before the big kick-off!
Match Photo’s courtesy of Allan Robertson
Buckie Thistle – Bell, S Wood (Duncan), Noble (L Cheyne), Davidson (G Stewart), MacKinnon (Hodge), MacRae, Angus, J Cheyne (Munro), Baxter (MacMillan), Copeland (K Gauld) and Alexander Subs – B Stewart, D Wood, Low, Main (GK)
Banks O’ Dee – Smith, Allan (Reid), Turnbull (P McCall), Robertson, Croll (Cameron), Forsyth, L McCall (Duncan), Horne (Wilson), Hall (Biskup) and Anderson (A. N. Other)
Referee – A Milne