Second Half Surge Secures Success by Easton Thain
A powerful second half performance by Thistle brought sweet revenge over Clachnacuddin for the cup final defeat in May but more importantly showed so much positive signs to suggest that a better season lies ahead for the Jags. Time alone will tell if that is the case but the squad looks a lot stronger now and the shrewd acquisition of former Legia Warsaw man Andrzej Kleczkowski has beefed up the forward line and suggests that the Thistle attack will be more of a threat this season. The Pole bagged his first goals for the club and in general was one of the stand out performers on the day along with man-of-the-match Chris Angus whilst Kevin Main’s heroics in the first half meant that the Jags were still in the game at half-time and they regrouped to take advantage of their No 1’s No 1 performance to push on to victory in the second 45. The final outcome of the game seemed highly unlikely in the first half when after a bright start by Thistle the Lilywhites took control and for over 25 minutes they ruled the roost being first to every ball and attacking in droves only to be defied by the best goalkeeper in the Highland League. Kevin Main saved the day alright and late in that first half the Jags got going and drew level. They regrouped at the break and within minutes of the restart took the lead and never looked back as they took command albeit Clach did get further chances to score. Once again when the Jags played the ball on the deck they looked irresistible at times and there was fluidity in their movement in that second half which the Lilywhites couldn’t stop.
Thistle started well enough and won a 4th minute corner, Andy Low took this but it was a poor ball in but it came back to him and he found Jay Cheyne who sent a superb curling shot towards the top corner of the net only to see Ali Ridgers brilliantly tip the ball over the bar. From the resultant corner Donnie Munro met the ball but his effort went just over the bar. The Jags won another corner, albeit a fruitless one, three minutes on and things looked good at this early stage but then it unravelled as the Lilywhites took the game by the scruff of the neck, they started winning most balls and Thistle’s passing went awry. In the 11th minute it took a great block from Kevin Main to deny Martin Callum who burst through after Clach had broken from a dire free-kick by the Jags at the other end. The Inverness side were in control now and ten minutes later that man Martin Callum broke through again and crashed in a thunderous drive that took a deflection and looked to be heading into the net until Kevin Main brilliantly touched the ball onto the bar and it was then cleared. 60 seconds later another Clach break led to a drive from Martin Laing firing in a drive but Kevin Main turned this effort away. Another minute later Daniel MacLennan out-muscled Iain MacRae and cracked in a drive but there was Kevin Main again to pull off a fine stop. In the 28th minute Martin Callum fed Daniel MacLennan and only a brilliant tackle by Iain MacRae denied the latter a real chance. On the half hour Martin Callum broke again and set up a good chance for Martin Laing but luckily he shot wide. A rare Jags chance came 60 seconds later when fine play by Jay Cheyne saw him set up Donnie Munro but he shot over. A Lilywhites goal always seemed likely and the inevitable happened in the 38th minute from another break which saw Darren Wood exposed trying to cover two attackers, he came inside leaving Martin Laing free on the right, he got the ball and drove in a cross which Daniel MacLennan knocked home. Thistle finally woke up and put on a late push in the half to gain parity before the break and in the 41st minute a good break led to Andy Low finding Chris Angus but his shot was deflected for a corner. Chris Angus met this but his header was blocked, Darren Wood followed in then Donnie Munro did likewise but the ball was cleared away. Two minutes later though the Jags drew level when Andy Low delivered in a brilliant cross which ‘Spider’ Stewart met with a superb placed header only to see the ball hit the junction of post and bar and drop down in front of the line but Andrzej Kleczkowski reacted the quickest and managed to poke it over the line for his first Thistle goal. On half time the Jags had a glorious chance to take the lead when Donnie Munro sent a superb ball over the defence into the path of Chris Angus but he blazed his shot well wide.
Half-time Buckie Thistle 1 Clachnacuddin 1
The Jags regrouped at half-time and made a whirlwind start to the second half rocking Clach back on their heels in the 47th minute by taking the lead. Fit again skipper Lewis MacKinnon played the ball into the box and Jay Cheyne and a defender went for it but both missed, however it then dropped to Chris Angus who duly banged it home. Two minutes later Chris Angus sent a great ball into the box but Andrzej Kleczkowski just failed to connect with it. The Lilywhites responded in the 51st minute with a free-kick into the box that found the unmarked Sean Fitzpatrick who got in a header but Kevin Main pulled off a fine save. 60 seconds on Thistle won a free-kick just inside the Clach half and Lewis MacKinnon, on seeing the keeper out of his goal, tried an audacious lofted ball in but it landed on top of the net. In the 54th minute there was action at both ends starting wit a real escape for the Jags when a corner fell to David Watson, his effort was blocked but from the follow-up Kevin Main and Lewis MacKinnon seemed to get in each others way but the latter managed to boot the ball off the line. Thistle went up the park where Chris Angus won the ball and fed Andy Low but his shot was parried then gathered by Ali Ridgers. Just 60 seconds later poor marking allowed a cross into the Jags box to Daniel MacLennan but he was denied by a brilliant tackle from Lewis MacKinnon. Thistle then took a grip of matters and in the 57th minute Jay Cheyne latched onto a back-header from David Chambers but his shot was saved by the goalie. Four minutes later Andy Low showed fine control on the ball before firing in a shot but this was held by Ally Ridgers. Three substitutions followed by Thistle allowing them to strengthen their control of the match and in the 71st minute Andy Low showed great skill before playing the ball into the box towards Andrzej Kleczkowski who lost it then won it back but a defender hurriedly cleared. In the space of two minutes though the Jags struck the killer blows to shatter the Lilywhites hopes. In the 73rd minute Scott Adams found Andy Low who crashed in a magnificent drive only to see the ball rebound off both posts but it fell to the grateful Chris Angus who knocked it home. Just 60 seconds later Thistle struck the goal of the game when Chris Angus set off on a mazy run before drilling the ball across to Andrzej Kleczkowski who calmly controlled it before thumping a precise shot into the top corner of the net. The visitors had one late chance when a scramble at the edge of the box saw the ball fall to Dachi Khutsishvili but he shot over.
Full-time Buckie Thistle 4 Clachnacuddin 1
A spirit uplifting result for the Jags and on top of that a victory to savour as well. There was tremendous effort put in by the players and all credit to them for the second half performance which earned them due reward. A more important game now follows though as Thistle head to Keith for a clash in the Aberdeenshire Cup and with a cup offering the best chance of success this season the Jags have to go all out for victory at Kynoch Park. This will be far from easy though as the Maroons will be far more difficult to overcome than in the last encounter and in Mike Ewen have a lethal forward. If the Jags shackle him and win their individual battles though then there is every chance of qualifying for the semi-final and a potential clash with Formartine United.
Match Photo’s Courtesy of Allan Robertson
Buckie Thistle – Main, Hegarty, D Wood (S Wood), G Stewart, MacKinnon, MacRae, Angus, Cheyne (K Gauld), Kleczkowski, Low and Munro (Adams
Clachnacuddin – Ridgers, Fitzpatrick (Khutsishvili), Chambers, Laing, McGurk, Skinner, Doran (R Watson), Callum (MacLean), Morrison, D Watson and MacLennan
Referee – B Baxter