No End To The Strife by Easton Thain
Facing second bottom Huntly many of the Jags faithful had the feeling that this would be the game that would see Thistle get back to winning ways as player for player they should have been too good for the Strathbogie side. The fans hopes though were shattered as the Jags slumped to their sixth defeat in a row something that has not happened for many a year. Young defenders Ben Stewart and Harry Noble did okay and the defence was better than of late whilst Drew Copeland was a breath of fresh air when he came on but most of the team were below par and a hungrier Huntly side got their deserved victory with a goal good enough to win any game. The most disappointing aspect is that the home side seemed to be more up for the game than the Jags and that was disheartening. If things do not change soon then Thistle will slide down the table at alarming rate and that will be hard to take. They now have two must win games against Aberdeen University in the Aberdeenshire Shield and then against Fort William in the League with both at Victoria Park. Given the Jags propensity to struggle against teams they should be too powerful for nothing can be taken for granted in either match but if Thistle dig deep and show what they are capable of then they will win both matches and a shaft of light may poke through the dark and thunderous clouds hanging over Victoria Park. Only the players can change their destiny, those supporting them can only look on in hope that they do and some good times return.
Thistle started brightly enough at Christie Park and in the 4th minute Andy Low sent a superb ball through which was just cleared behind for a corner. Four minutes on a fine move saw Iain MacRae find Chris Angus who set up Andrzej Kleczkowski but he drove his shot just over the bar. Huntly responded in the 11th minute when Kyle Gauld conceded possession and the ball was fed through to Callum Dunbar but out came Andy Burr to block the striker and the ball broke off the latter for a goal-kick. The Jags won a free-kick in the 22nd minute in Andy Low territory but his effort was deflected away and when the ball came back to him his final shot was poor. Huntly responded four minutes later when they sent in a free-kick which was poorly punched away by Andy Burr, the ball fell to Callum Dunbar who shot goal-wards but Iain MacRae cleared the danger. Thistle won another free-kick in the 28th minute which Chris Angus sent in deep, it went all the way through to Liam Baxter but from a tight angle he shot wide. On the half hour a ball into the Jags box caused all sorts of panic, vain attempts to clear ended with it falling to David Booth but luckily he shot wide. Two minutes before half-time Harry Noble set off on a fine run before feeding Andy Low but he shot over.
Half-time Huntly 0 Buckie Thistle 0
Thistle had the first chance of the second half but both Andy Low and Chris Angus saw efforts deflected away. Six minutes in came the decisive moment of the game when the ball was sent wide to Ian Cruickshank who laid it across into the path of Callum Dunbar who crashed a raging low drive into the corner of the net past the despairing Andy Burr. The Jags tried to respond and in the 64th minute Chris Angus fed Andy Low who laid the ball off to Kyle Gauld but his drive was held by Fraser Hobday. Four minutes on at the other end a free-kick in fell to Craig Dorrat but his effort was blocked away. Then, in the 72nd minute, Harry Noble slipped when going for the ball allowing Ian Cruickshank to get free, he ran in on goal before firing in a low drive only to see Andy Burr superbly turn the shot behind. From the corner big defender Sam McKenzie got free but headed a great chance over. Drew Copeland’s introduction sparked some life into Thistle and with twelve minutes left neat play saw him set up by Andy Low but the youngsters shot was parried then held. With three minutes remaining a corner into the home box caused panic and eventually Drew Copeland poked the ball past the keeper but it was cleared off the line. The last chance fell to Huntly a minute on when the ball was nicked off Ben Stewart by Russell Guild on the bye-line, he laid it off to David Booth but his drive was superbly turned behind by Andy Burr. From the corner Sam McKenzie once again got free only to head over again
Full-time Huntly 1 Buckie Thistle 0
These are tough times for the Jags but every club goes through such periods and the players simply have to work that bit harder in order to change things around. I maintain that Thistle have a talented squad with the youngsters showing up well but talent will only pay off when allied to effort, desire and self-belief and only that combination will get the Jags back into the groove, let us hope this shows up against Aberdeen University and Fort William, the alternative is not worth contemplating!
Match Photo’s courtesy of Allan Robertson
Huntly – Hobday, Johnston, Davidson, Dorrat, McKenzie, Lawson, Guild, Cruickshank, Dunbar (Johnston), Booth and Davidson
Buckie Thistle – Burr, MacRae, Noble, K Gauld (Copeland), MacKinnon, B Stewart, Angus, Carrol, Kleczkowski, Low and Baxter (Adams)
Referee – A Frew