Jags Earn A Deserved Point at Bellslea by Easton Thain

With the Aberdeenshire Cup Final between the Broch and the Jags looming I don’t suppose either really wanted to be meeting each other two weeks before but the rearranged league game was played on Saturday and the outcome was a fair result after what was a cracking match at Bellslea. If this game is anything to go by then the outcome of the final itself is almost impossible to predict as the teams looked so evenly matched it was untrue. Bellslea is no easy place to go to and Thistle will have been happy enough to get a point although the gaffer will have been disappointed about the goals conceded and the number of free kicks conceded near the 18-yard box. Nevertheless the way that the Jags responded in going behind twice was very encouraging and the all round team effort was very pleasing as each and every player worked his socks off.

Thistle started the brightest and in the 3rd minute Shaun Carrol picked up a pass but drive his shot over and three minutes on fine play ended with a pass to Scott Adams but he shot wide. It was the Broch who struck the first blow though when, in the 8th minute, they were awarded the first of numerous free-kicks whereupon Graeme Johnston stepped up and curled the ball past the wall and also the diving Andy Burr. The home fans gas was soon put at a peep though as the Jags responded immediately by drawing level sixty seconds later with a fine goal. Neat play saw Shaun Carrol feed the ball wide to Liam Baxter who delivered a fine low cross and in an instant Andy Low cracked his shot into the corner of the net from close range giving Scott Cowe no chance. Free-kicks though nearly cost Thistle again first in the 11th minute when that man Graeme Johnston curled in another but Andy Burr tipped this over and then nine minutes on when the same Brocher curled in another only to see the Jags goalie pull off a fine save. The Jags responded in the 22nd minute when Shaun Carrol sent a superb pass through to Liam Baxter but the Highland laddie wasted a great chance by blasting the ball well wide. 60 seconds on Willie West got free at the other end and he fired in a shot but Chris Hegarty got his boot to the ball and it went over for a corner. In the 26th minute though the Broch went ahead for the second time from yet another free-kick which Graeme Johnston once again curled in, Andy Burr parried this but then the ball was not fully cleared and eventually fell to Scott Fowlie who drove it into the corner of the net. Thistle came close to another quick equaliser two minutes later when they were awarded a direct free-kick in Andy Low territory and he duly curled in a pip only to see Scott Cowe pull off a great stop at the expense of a corner. Shaun Carrol delivered in the latter and Scott Adams met the ball with a header but it dipped over. The Broch responded in the 31st minute when Scott Fowlie fed Willie West but his shot dipped over. Thistle replied two minutes later when Shaun Carrol fed Scott Adams but his drive was parried and held. The Jags though drew level again seven minutes before the break in route one style as Andy Burr launched a howitzer kick down the park, Andy Low flicked the ball on into the path of Liam Baxter who shook off a defender and then drilled home a fine shot. In the 40th minute Aidan Combe found Scott Barbour who turned instantly in the box but luckily he shot inches wide. Two minutes before the break a ball into the box fell to Kyle Gauld whose shot was parried by the keeper, Liam Baxter got onto it and rounded Scott Cowe who then appeared to haul down the striker but no penalty was awarded, if it was not a spot-kick then the Jags man should have been yellow carded but he wasn’t.

Half-time Fraserburgh 2 Buckie Thistle 2

More goals were expected after the break but none came however there was plenty of action and thrills to come. Two minutes into the half yet another free-kick was awarded to the Broch but this time Graeme Johnston shot wide. Just after the hour a ball across the Jags box fell to Graeme Johnston whose shot beat Andy Burr but hit the post. Moments on another Broch free-kick was played into Scott Barbour but his drive was turned away by Andy Burr then cleared. In the 67th minute another ball into the box found Graeme Johnston who shook off Chris Hegarty but his drive was then turned behind by Andy Burr. Thistle fought back and with twenty minutes remaining Andy Low fed the ball through to Liam Baxter who moved in on goal but his final shot deflected off a defender and then Scott Cowe turned the ball behind. 60 seconds later Andy Low picked the ball up and cut across but then sent his final shot wide, a pass out to Drew Copeland may have brought a better reward. Fraserburgh retaliated in the 74th minute when Ryan Cowie played a free-kick in to Scott Barbour who turned in an instant but then contrived to shoot over. 60 seconds on Scott Fowlie sent in a dipping cross-cum-shot which Andy Low did well to tip over the bar. Then the home side won another free-kick which Graeme Johnston shot into the wall but the ball broke back to him and he sent in a low drive but Andy Burr held this effort. With six minutes left Thistle had a great chance to win it when Drew Copeland sent in a super cross that evaded the defence, diving in came Stephen Gauld but his header from about six yards out was grabbed on the line by Scott Cowe. A minute before the end Drew Copeland fed Liam Baxter who laid the ball off to Shaun Carrol but his drive was held by the keeper. There was a dramatic conclusion to the game when, in the final minute, Scot Barbour cut across and fed Mark Cowie who cracked in a drive only to see Andy Burr pull off a great save to ensure the Jags emerged with a hard earned point.

Full-time Fraserburgh 2 Buckie Thistle 2

It was a highly entertaining game with both sides attacking with gusto. The Broch had most of the clear cut chances but the Jags deserved some reward for their display and got it with a point. All the players put in a shift but Iain MacRae and ‘Zico’ Davidson looked solid at the back, Shaun Carrol pulled the strings in midfield and up front Liam Baxter looked more confident and got a deserved goal. The Cup Final should be a cracker but first up the Jags face Keith in the Highland League and the Maroons will be out to avenge their Aberdeenshire Cup loss to Thistle so nothing can be taken for granted. The players should see the game as a chance to stake a claim for a starting berth in the cup final team and thus must give everything to win the match.

Match Photo’s Courtesy of Allan Robertson

Fraserburgh – Cowe, Hay, McBride, R Cowie, Dickson, Fowlie, M Cowie, West, Combe (Davidson), Johnston and S Barbour

Buckie Thistle – Burr, Cheyne, MacRae, K Gauld, Davidson (D Wood), Hegarty, S Wood (S Gauld), Carrol, Baxter, Low and Adams (Copeland)

Referee – W Cusiter

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