Blonde Bombers Brace by Easton Thain
A brace of goals from the Blonde Bomber, a.k.a. Chris Angus secured the Jags a thoroughly merited point at the Haughs and put a spanner in the works of Turriff United’s title hopes. The double from the Blonde Bomber, the second a quite brilliant effort, grabbed the headlines but credit to the whole team for a great effort and in two consecutive games ‘Spider’ Stewarts troops have proved they can match top teams in the league, lets hope that becomes a trio in the next game away to Brora Rangers. All the players showed supreme effort and commitment at Turriff but catching the eye was Andy Burr in goal with some super saves, Kevin Fraser in midfield with his intricate skills whilst Drew Copeland, Donnie Munro and Drew Copeland put in great shifts in midfield as did Darren Wood at the back. All in all a very encouraging display and the foundations are there for the new management team and coaches to build on for the future.
Thistle made a bright start and won a 1st minute free-kick which was played to Andy Low but his shot was blocked. Six minutes later though the early confidence took a blow as United took the lead with what has to be said was a fine finish. Gary Harris delivered in a deep cross which Andy MacAskill dispatched into the net with a quality looping header. The Jags responded a minute on when Iain Macrae sent a deep ball in which found Kevin Fraser but his effort was blocked by ex-Thistle star Kevin Main. Five minutes after that at the other end the ball was played through to Gary Harris but he blazed his effort over. In the 17th minute Andy Low found Kevin Fraser who worked some magic before delivering across a superb ball but there were no takers and it was cleared. Four minutes later Iain Macrae failed to clear a ball into the Jags box and it fell to Andy MacAskill but his drive was saved by the feet of Andy Burr. A minute later another home attack saw Andy Burr come out of his box to clear from Gary Harris and Andy MacAskill but the latter two wrestled the ball into their possession and the former eventually fired in a shot but by then the Thistle keeper was back in his box and he duly saved. 60 seconds on at the other end Kevin Fraser broke through before setting up Andy Low but he crashed his shot well over the bar. In the 26th minute though the Jags drew level but there was some controversy about it. Kevin Main appeared to have turned the ball away from Chris Angus as the latter broke through but the Blonde Bomber hit the deck. After talking to his assistant the referee awarded a free-kick in which case the view was wasn’t the keeper last man, if so he could have been sent off. Once the dust had settled Andy Low drove the free-kick in low and hard, Kevin Main appeared to fumble the ball and Chris Angus pounced to net. On the half hour the home side were awarded a free-kick which Gary Harris took but shot over. Nine minutes later they won another free-kick, a soft award, and up stepped Gary Harris again, this time he drove it low but Andy Burr held this effort. In injury time Andy Low found Donnie Munro but his drive flew narrowly over.
Half-time Turriff United 1 Buckie Thistle 1
As in the first half the Jags had the first chance of the second 45 when, with a minute gone, they won a corner off which Andy Low played a 1-2 with Shaun Carrol before sending in a cross which Drew Copeland met but headed over. Seven minutes in Leszek Nowoslieski drove in a cross which Andy Burr spilled but he recovered to hold the ball. 60 seconds later both keepers showed their class with outstanding saves. Firstly Shaun Carrol set up Andy Low who smashed in a thunderous drove only to see former team-mate Kevin Main pull off a brilliant save. That was topped moments later though when Leszek Nowoslieski found Gary McGowan who smashed the ball goal-wards from close range only to see Andy Burr pull off a world class one-handed save. A relieved Jags then rocked United by taking the lead in the 58th minute with a brilliant goal. Chris Hegarty sent a long ball over the defence and as Kevin Main advanced Chris Angus executed a delicious lob that flew over the keeper and into the net. Back came Turriff and four minutes on a cross in found Gary McGowan but he clipped the ball over. In the 69th minute the same man had another chance but this time he drove just wide and eight minutes on the same fate befell an effort from Gary Harris. With eleven minutes remaining though United’s pressure paid off with an equaliser though this was surrounded in controversy. A ball through found Nicholas Gray but across came Darren Wood to challenge and he diverted the ball away before landing on the prone striker. To everyone’s disbelief this fair challenge was deemed to be a foul by the referee and as it was in the box he pointed to the penalty spot. The Jags bench was furious and their reaction brought about two yellow cards for ‘Spider’ Stewart and as he was listed as a player he was sent off. It wasn’t Spider that made the comments confirmed Stephen Bruce but it was the player-manager who saw red. Once the dust settled up stepped Gary McGowan who gave Andy Burr no chance from the spot. Four minutes after all of this the ball was fed through to Andy MacAskill who cracked in a drive only to see Andy Burr pull off another great save. Thistle responded with five minutes left when Andy Low found Chris Angus but his angled drive went over. In injury time another chance fell to Gary McGowan but his headed was held by Andy Burr. Lastly the Jags won a free-kick in Andy Low territory, he duly took the kick but sent it over the bar.
Full-time Turriff United 2 Buckie Thistle 2
Match Photo’s courtesy of Allan Robertson
Turrriff United – Main, Davidson, Herd, Beagrie, Bowden, Kuznecovs, Nowoslieski (Brownie), Young, Harris (Gray), A MacAskill and McGowan Subs – Chalmers, Allan, C MacAskill and O’Brien (GK)
Buckie Thistle – Burr, MacRae, Carrol, Hegarty, D Wood, Munro, Fraser, Copeland (K Gauld), Angus, Low and S Wood (S Gauld) Subs – MacMillan, G Stewart and McGinley (GK)
Referee – C Sim
Overall a fair result and it was a really good advert for the Highland League with both teams going for the victory. The Jags will feel hard done by in a way because of the penalty awarded against them but Turriff did enough to earn a point. Andy Burr edged the goalie ‘battle’ thanks two more outstanding saves whilst the midfield battle was pretty even. Turriff had the livelier strikers but the Thistle defence stood up well. Next up the Jags face a seemingly impossible task at Brora and with the Cattachs having wracked up over 100 goals already the Thistle defence will have to pull off the performance of the season to stop Zander Sutherland and co. The home defence is also very mean so chances for the Jags could be very limited and thus these must be taken if Thistle is to stand any chance of a result. A draw would be a stupendous achievement, a win phantasmagorical!