Late Burst Secures Points by Easton Thain

The Jags overcame a spirited Rothes side at MacKessack Park on Saturday but they had to battle hard to do so as the battling Speysiders gave it their all. It has to be said the pitch surface was not good and didn’t suit Thistle’s style of play but you have to accept the conditions and get on with it. That is what the Jags did overall and although it was not their finest performance of the season they did what they had to do, go there, get the win and get out. The team played well with Darren Strong standing  in the place of the unavailable Kevin Main, elsewhere Donnie Munro and Andrzej Kleczkowski caught the eye the most and both were rewarded with goals.

Few expected the Speysdiers to come racing out of the traps but they did and just 16 second in they broke up the park and Darren Strong could only punch a cross out into the path of Kyle Stewart but luckily his shot was blocked. Then in the 4th minute a Rothes corner was not cleared and the ball fell into the path of Sean Mackay but fortunately he mis-kicked. The Jags first chance came in the 9th minute when a cross from Liam Baxter was only touched by Andrzej Kleczkowski, the ball fell to Donnie Munro who wasn’t expecting it and his shot was held. Nine minutes later a cross from Chris Angus was turned behind, the corner was played short to Shaun Wood who sent in a fine cross which Andrzej Kleczkowski met with his head but the ball went over. In the 20th minute though a ball through the Jags defence led to a poor touch from Chris Hegarty letting in Paul Winton who crashed in a dipping shot which cleared Darren Strong but luckily also the bar. Eight minutes later a fine run from Scott Adams saw him eventually cut across and fire in a shot but this was deflected for a corner. On the half hour an excellent ball over the defence from Chris Hegarty found Donnie Munro but his drive was deflected for a corner which Chris Angus met but headed wide. Two minutes on the ball was fed to Joao Rodrigues who had a great chance but Shaun Wood put in a great challenge and then cleared the ball. Then, in the 35th minute, the Speysiders had a superb opportunity to go ahead as a free-kick in found the unmarked Paul Winton who sent in a powerful header only to see Darren Strong superbly tip the ball over, either side of him though and it would have been 1-0. Two minutes on at the other end Scott Adams sent in a corner which ‘Spider’ Stewart did well to get to but his header dropped over. Four minutes before the break ‘Spider’ Stewart fed Iain MacRae who sent a great ball through to Scott Adams who cut inside and shot but the effort went wide. In the 43rd minute though Thistle took the lead with a fine goal as Shaun Wood sent in a cross which Liam Baxter dummied into the path of Andrzej Kleczkowski who showed great control before smashing the ball past Ricky Horne. Rothes nearly levelled on half-time when a ball in was not cleared and fell to Joao Rodrigues who sent in a drive but Darren Strong pulled off a fine save

Half-time Rothes 0 Buckie Thistle 1

The Speysiders redoubled their efforts on the resumption and five minutes in a break led to a poor attempt at a tackle by Bob Duncan that let in Gary Gallacher whose cross found Joao Rodrigues but his effort was blocked. Then, in the 56th minute, a corner into the Jags box was not fully cleared and the ball found Callum McIntosh but luckily he blasted it well wide. 60 seconds on a great kick out from Darren Strong sailed through to Liam Baxter who showed a nice touch before firing in a drive but this was held by the keeper. In the 63rd minute Thistle nearly doubled their lead when a free-kick in by Bob Duncan was mis-kicked by Scott Adams but the ball fell to Andrzej Kleczkowski who blasted in a shot only to see Ricky Horne pull off a stunning save. Just 60 seconds after that the Jags were rocked back on their heels as the Speysiders drew level, a break found Kyle Stewart free and his cross was poorly defended allowing Joao Rodrigues to crack a low drive past Darren Wood. The Rothes dander was up and in the 66th minute Joao Rodrigues fed Kyle Stewart who rounded Darren Strong and appeared to be taken down by the keeper but no penalty was awarded. A let off for Thistle and they took full advantage by taking the lead in the 78th minute and it was a goal the home side will feel was very soft. Iain Macrae fed Andy Low who sent the ball on to Scott Adams but it was cleared for a corner. Off that though the home defence got in a pickle and when the ball came back across goal Liam Baxter was free to nod it into the path of Donnie Munro who did not get in a clean header but the ball dropped into the net. 60 seconds later Shaun Wood delivered in a fantastic cross to the pate of Andy Low who guided in a well-placed header only to see Ricky Horne fly through the air and grasp the ball, a save for the cameras! With nine minutes left though the Jags iced the victory cake with a super strike as Scott Adams fed Andy Low who showed great control before crashing a drive into the corner of the net. One final chance came Thistle’s way in injury time when a deep corner found Liam Baxter free but he headed over.

Final score Rothes 1 Buckie Thistle 3

A hard-earned win for the Jags but these are just as important as any other and three points are all that matters. The pitch certainly didn’t help and hadn’t seen a roller for a while but both teams adapted to this reasonably well. All credit to Rothes for a battling display and they caused some problems with Joao Rodrigues a real nuisance. Thistle showed resilience though and this brought a due reward. It gets a whole lot tougher though as the Jags now head to Pitmedden for the Aberdeenshire Cup semi-final tie against Formartine United and it is going to take a high class performance to stand any chance of seeing off the team who stopped Brora’s relentless progress with a draw at the weekend. United, of course, won the recent league game at Victoria Park but that had a lot to do with poor Thistle defending and similar at North Lodge Park will cost the Jags again. If they keep it tight at the back and shackle Cammy Keith and co then there is a chance to get at the Formartine defence and a place in the final is well within Thistle’s capabilities and what a massive boost that would be.

Match Photo’s courtesy of Allan Robertson

Rothes – Horne, Corbett, Ewen, Dunn (Gallacher), S Mackay, Horsburgh, Winton (MacKinnon), K Stewart, Rodrigues, R Stewart and MacIntosh (M Mackay)

Buckie Thistle – Strong, S Wood, Duncan, G Stewart, MacRae, Hegarty, Angus (Copeland), Munro, Kleczkowski (Low), Baxter and Adams


Referee – G Fraser

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