All Over In 23 Minutes! By Easton Thain
With the Aberdeenshire Cup Final looming it was important for the Jags to get three points under their belts from the latest League match and hopefully they would put in a good performance as well. Thistle was hot favourites to beat a young Keith side at Victoria Park but nothing could be taken for granted. As it transpired an emphatic first half display left the Maroons reeling and the points were sewn up and victory assured after 23 minutes by which time the Jags had bagged all their goals. Some of Thistle’s play in the first half was a joy to behold. A solid back four enabled the midfield to take the limelight and in there Shaun Carrol showed his class with some superb passing whilst Kyle Gauld was very fluid and appeared in all areas of the central midfield, making passes but putting in tackles as well. Of the wide players Scott Adams stood out with some dazzling play although, at times, he did too much but that can be the case with young players and is part of their learning process. Up front Andy Low was once again a great link-up and he could have also added to his early goals as well. Liam Baxter was also a constant threat and rightly won the man of the match award. His brace of goals will have done his confidence a world of good but now he must be rueing a daft yellow card in the Aberdeenshire Cup semi-final against Formartine United as it was his second of the competition ruling him out of the final against Fraserburgh.
They say it is important to start well in any match, Thistle did just that and how as they took the lead just 40 SECONDS into the game! Right from the kick off they broke up the park leading to a cross from Jay Cheyne off which ex-Jags keeper Daniel Bell got it all wrong allowing Andy Low to peel off of him and head the ball home! In the 2nd minute a fine pass was slid through the visitors defence and Kyle Gauld went for the ball but Daniel Bell managed to smother it. Four minutes later Shaun Carrol sent a superb pass through to Scott Adams whose cross in found Liam Baxter completely free but somehow he headed against the bar, just as well then that offside was given! A second goal though was only delayed until the 12th minute and it was a superb all-round effort. Andy Low fed Shaun Carrol who sent a brilliant pass through into the path of Liam Baxter and he thundered a drive into the far corner of the net. Three minutes later the game was effectively over with another excellent goal. ‘Zico’ Davidson set it in motion with a great ball through to Kyle Gauld who delivered a fine low cross to the six-yard area, Andy Low got there first, his shot was blocked by Daniel Bell but the ball went loose and into the path of Scott Adams who couldn’t miss and didn’t shooting into the empty net. More pressure was heaped upon the Maroons and in the 23rd minute it really was ‘Goodnight Vienna’ as Thistle added goal number four and it came courtesy of a defensive error. The ball was played through by Kyle Gauld and in trying to clear Stewart Hutcheon only succeeded in hitting the ball against Andy Low, it then broke into the path of Liam Baxter who duly knocked in his second of the game. The Jags didn’t let up and Liam Baxter had another chance five minutes when the ball was dummied into his path by Andy Low but the strikers shot was just cleared. 60 seconds later a corner was half cleared and played back in and the ball fell to Andy Low but he shot wide. A further 60 seconds on Keith had a rare chance when the ball was played through to Mike Ewen who crashed in a drive only to see Andy Burr tip the effort over. Back came the Jags and in the 33rd minute Kyle Gauld delivered a superb pass to Liam Baxter but instead of shooting he decided to cross and the ball was cleared. A minute before the break Thistle should have gone nap, Jay Cheyne sent a superb pass through to Andy Low whose drilled low cross eluded the defence and fell into the path of Scott Adams but with an open goal in front of him he missed the ball completely.
Half-time Buckie Thistle 4 Keith 0
With such a commanding lead and the points in the bag no-one would have been surprised if the Jags eased off in the second half, that they did but disappointingly this was to a point where they got sloppy at times and, on another day, a rejuvenated Maroons side could and possibly should have had at least two goals to their name with Matthew McDonald in particular having four or five decent chances to score. Thistle’s second half display will not win any finals and a team like Fraserburgh will punish them if the performance eases off like it did against Keith. That being said Thistle also had decent second half chances to add to their tally and the result was never in doubt at any point. All credit to the Maroons who had a go in the second half and a minute Stuart Massie got free, his shot was only parried by Andy Burr and fell to Matthew McDonald but his effort was blocked. In the 53rd minute poor defending by Darren Wood saw him give the ball away, it eventually found Matthew McDonald who had a great chance but he shot across Andy Burr and wide. Thistle responded two minutes on with a superb ball over the top from ‘Zico’ Davidson to Jay Cheyne who ran in but his final effort was turned away for a corner. 60 seconds later at the other end another decent chance fell to Matthew McDonald as he was picked out by Sean Keith but the No 11 wasted it by blasting the ball over. In the 61st minute Darren Wood found Drew Copeland who sent in a superb pass to Liam Baxter but he too wasted a great chance by blasting over. Back at the other end a cross into the Jags box gave a free header to that man Matthew McDonald but the effort went over. In the 69th minute Thistle was awarded a direct free-kick but Andy Low curled this wide. Two minutes later another Jags break led to Drew Copeland setting Liam Baxter free again but the strikers shot hit Daniel Bell then rebounded back off Liam and behind. With twelve minutes left it was a case of de ja vu for Matthew McDonald as he was set free again after sloppy play by the Jags but the No 11 again shot across Andy Burr and wide. 60 seconds on at the other end a ball through found Andy Low who shook off a defender but then shot over. A further 60 seconds after that a deep ball in by Lewis MacKinnon found Andy Low who fed Scott Adams but his low shot was held. With two minutes left a ball over the top set Andy Low free again but his final shot was deflected wide. In the final minute Craig Cormack got free but his low cross was superbly cleared by Lewis MacKinnon. The last chance of the game came to Thistle in injury time from a corner which Lewis MacKinnon met but headed over
Full-time Buckie Thistle 4 Keith 0
There was a lot to admire in the Jags performance in the first half with the young guns again displaying their undoubted talents. Thistle can be forgiven in a way for easing off in the second half but will be aware they cannot play like that in the final. All roads now lead to Kynoch Park for another massive match in the Jags history. The ;ads should be fired up to make amends for the League Cup Final defeat at that ground back in May. Play like they did in the first half v Keith then the Aberdeenshire Cup could be in Buckie by the early evening – all with a Jags vent will be praying this is the case!
Man of the Match chosen by the Buckie Thistle Supporters Club – Liam Baxter
Match Photo’s courtesy of Allan Robertson
Buckie Thistle – Burr, MacRae, D Wood (MacKinnon), Gauld, Davidson, Hegarty, Cheyne (Copeland), Carrol, Baxter (Kleczkowski), Low and
Keith – Bell, Hutcheon, Ralton, Milne, Stewart, Strachan, Keith, Collinson, Ewen, Massie and McDonald Subs (Used) – Smith, Cormack, Robison
Referee – C Sim