More Woe v Wick by Easton Thain

In the first meeting of the season against Wick Academy it was defensive errors that cost Thistle in a dire encounter and after similar mistakes at Brora the Jags needed to tighten up their defence for the return game against the Scorries who, like the Cattachs, are well capable of pouncing on defensive errors and inflicting more pain on the opposition. Sadly for Thistle it all went wrong again at the back and this is hard to take for a team that has been so defensively powerful overall in the last ten years or more. Okay, the conditions didn’t help but it was the same for both sides who both had to play into the wind for a half and it really was down to poor defending that the Jags lost for they had as much of the game as Academy, the Caithness side simply made fewer errors and were stronger in defence. It has to be said that puzzling decisions once again went against Thistle and it is difficult to convince anyone at the club that this evens out over a season because as of now every single puzzling decision is going against them. That alone cannot be used as an excuse for the defeat but when this is continually happening against you then you do begin to wonder what is the point of it all!

The Scorries had the first chance of the game which fell to the clever Pole Lukasz Geruzel in the 3rd minute but his drive dipped over. The Jags responded a couple of minutes on when a short corner was played back to Andy Low whose cross was met by the head of Kevin Fraser but he glanced the ball wide. In the 8th minute brilliant play by Kevin Fraser saw him get the ball to Chris Angus in the box but his drive was saved and the follow-up from Kevin Fraser was blocked. Ten minutes later Drew Copeland won the ball and fed Chris Angus who set up Kevin Fraser but he shot wide of goal. It went a bit quiet for a period as a stalemate developed but then, in the 33rd minute, Academy took the lead after initially being awarded one of those puzzling decisions that leave your management totally exasperated. The ball went out for a throw which the stand-side assistant clearly awarded to the Jags, he confirmed this at half-time, but for some reason the man with the whistle gave it to Wick Academy, from this the ball found Dave Allan at large who was more or less given a free run in on goal, as Andy Burr advanced the winger shot past the keeper towards the far corner of the net and Stephen Harrison knocked the ball home. Thistle’s bench was left seething and the fans left wondering what point is there of having assistant referees for games! The goal knocked the wind out of Thistle’s sails and the Scorries had another couple of chances before half-time first in the 37th minute when Lewis MacKinnon dallied on the ball and conceded a free-kick about 25 yards out but fortunately Sam Mackay curled this over. Then with three minutes left Dave Allan fed Lukasz Geruzel but luckily he shot just wide of goal.

Half-time Buckie Thistle 0 Wick Academy 1

The question was could the Jags use the conditions to their advantage in the second half something they have not been that great at in recent times. It looked a cert they would seven minutes in only for the faithful to be stunned as moments later Thistle was two down! The Jags won a corner which Shaun Carrol swung in and it was knocked back to Darren Wood who tried a back-heel shot only for the ball to hit his other foot. The ball was played up the other end but came to Iain Macrae who seemed to be in control of the situation but then he lost concentration allowing Sam Mackay to win the ball and race in on goal whereupon the classy midfielder crashed in a drive which beat Andy Burr all the way only to cannon back off the post, in attempting to clear though Lewis MacKinnon only played the ball into the path of Lukasz Geruzel who calmly knocked it home. Needless to say the home fans were shaking their heads in disbelief but, sadly, there would be more calamitous defending to come. Six minutes on Academy had another chance when they cleared a corner and Dave Allan broke before setting up Stephen Harrison but his drive produced a fine save from Andy Burr. Right away at the other end a corner in was met by Darren Wood but cleared, the ball was played back in to Shaun Carrol but he shot wide. On the hour a ball through found a hole in the Jags defence and found Sam Mackay but, luckily, he shot just wide of goal. A minute on a throw in found Lewis MacKinnon about 35 yard out and he lumped in a wind-assisted drive but the keeper parried this and held. Ten minutes after that Thistle won a long-range free-kick, probably 40 yards out and up stepped Lewis MacKinnon again but his drive flew over. With ten minutes left the game was up due to another defensive howler but also aided by a puzzling decision. Almost on the half-way line Iain MacRae lost possession to Dave Allan who raced in on goal before hitting the deck whereupon the whistler pointed to the spot leaving Andy Burr particularly raging as the award was of the soft variety. Not that Richard Macadie gave a jot as he fired home the resultant penalty. The Jags made a late push to get something from the game and with eight minutes left a corner fell to Kevin Fraser who fed Darren Wood but he shot over. With five minutes left Lewis MacKinnon fed Drew Copeland whose shot was blocked but the ball fell to Andy Low who thundered in a raging drive only to see Sean McCarthy pull off a great save. From the corner though Darren Wood helped the ball on and Craig MacMillan headed home what was his 90th Thistle goal. It was too late to save the game and the Jags finished with ten when Darren Wood got a nasty knock and retired injured, that just about summed the day up

Full-time Buckie Thistle 1 Wick Academy 3

Buckie Thistle – Burr, MacRae, Carrol, D Wood, MacKinnon, Cheyne, K Gauld (MacMillan), Fraser (Baxter), Angus (Munro), Low and Copeland

Wick Academy – McCarthy, Campbell, G Steven, Farquhar, R Allan, Pickles, Mackay, Harrison (Manson), Geruzel (Weir), Macadie and D Allan

Ref – G Beaton

It was another bitterly disappointing afternoon for the Jags with poor defending and dumbfounding decisions going against them once more. There were some positives with the Jags creating as many chances as Wick Academy and they did play some good ‘carpet football’ at times. Kevin Fraser, Drew Copeland and Shaun Carrol were probably the best on the day but on his milestone occasion (100th game) it was not a day Iain MacRae will want to remember! Now more than ever Thistle needs a result in their next game at Keith on Wednesday where they are out to complete the double. Player for player the Jags should be good enough to overcome the Maroons but nothing can be taken for granted especially with Thistle’s defence in meltdown mode! Personally I couldn’t care less how a win comes about it can be 1-0 thanks to a last minute shot going home off the rear end of a home player for all I care. Forget the liking to see ‘bonny football’ right now getting a much needed win is ALL that matters!

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