Highland Hero Hammers Huntly by Easton Thain
The Jags kept well and truly in the race for the Aberdeenshire League title with an emphatic win over Huntly and there was no doubting who the outstanding player was on the night namely new man Kevin Fraser for in his hour on the park he led the Strathbogie defence on a merry dance and they simply could not handle the Highlander whose sheer pace and dazzling skills tore the visitors defence to shreds. As well as bagging a brace of goals he created chances for others and also won Thistle a penalty after some nifty skills. Whilst tempering it a bit by saying this was an Aberdeenshire League game against a young Huntly side the ability of Kevin was there for all to see and there is no doubt the skill he showed on the night is capable of opening up Highland League defences as well hopefully starting with Formartine United in the Highland League Cup! There were other fine performances on the night notably those of Drew Copeland, who again display his burgeoning talent and Andy Low who was a superb foil up front and always a goal threat himself whilst at the back Darren Wood was in commanding form.
To be honest at the start of the game a scintillating Jags win did not look on as Huntly raced into the attack from the off and in the 3rd minute Ross Mackie sent over a superb cross which Liam Cheyne tried to clear only to send the ball past Andy Burr, luckily the youngster recovered to clear with the help of the post. The pace of the visitors was causing pandemonium though and 60 seconds on they took the lead when first teamer Craig Dorrat slid the ball through to Tom Johnston who ran in and cracked a shot past Andy Burr. Thistle were rocked but gradually found their feet and created a couple of chances in the 10th minute. Firstly Drew Copeland found Kevin Fraser who showed superb skill before returning the ball to the former whose shot was blocked away. Moments later a throw in found its way to Kevin Fraser who again showed superb skill before firing in a drive but this was held by Jamie Fraser. Huntly responded two minutes later when a break led to a drive from Craig Dorrat which Andy Burr spilled but the giant keeper recovered to grasp the ball. In the 14th minute a Jags corner in was half cleared and the ball fell to Harry Noble but he shot over. In the space of a minute Thistle hit Huntly with a double-whammy to take the lead. In the 18th minute Jay Cheyne delivered a brilliant ball through the defence to Kevin Fraser who showed sublime skill as he diddle a defender before drilling a shot past Jamie Fraser. Just 60 seconds later Jay Cheyne delivered another fantastic ball through this time to Andy Low who moved forward and thundered a drive into the net. The Jags were now all over Huntly like a rash and in the 23rd minute Drew Copeland found Kevin Fraser who left the defence standing but as Jamie Fraser advanced he hit his shot across and wide. Four minutes on though it became 3-1 when Drew Copeland delivered a delicious pass through to Kevin Fraser whose neat footwork was too much for a defender who promptly whipped his feet from under him for a stonewall penalty which was clinically dispatched by Stuart Hodge. Thistle never let up and in the 32nd minute more brilliant play by Kevin Fraser saw him hit the bye-line before setting up Stuart Hodge whose flashing drive was tipped behind by Jamie Fraser. Three minutes on Kevin Fraser set up Drew Copeland who delivered the ball in, it was met by the head of Andy Low but his header was held. In the 37th minute that man Kevin Fraser sent a superb ball through to Andy Low but the striker shot wide. Three minutes on a rare chance came Huntly’s way as a corner caused problems and the ball fell to Ross Mackie but he shot over.
Half-time Buckie Thistle 3 Huntly 1
The half-time whistle probably came to soon for Thistle but they started the second half as they left off and a minute in the ball was fed through to Kevin Fraser who was clean through but this time he was denied by a fine save from Jamie Fraser. In the 52nd minute it was effectively game over as the Jags struck again, this time it was Route One as Andy Burr launched a massive kick down the park which cleared the defence but the finish was quite brilliant as Kevin Fraser sent an exquisite lob over the keeper and into the net. Thistle kept pressing and three minutes later Kevin Fraser sent a fine pass through to Andy Low who clipped in a drive but the ball went over. On the hour Drew Copeland set up sub Robert Scott but the youngsters drive was held. Moments later Stuart Hodge found Liam Cheyne who set up his namesake Jay Cheyne but his effort was saved by the keeper. With about 20 minutes to go Huntly came more into the game and they should have scored when a free kick in by Jay Munro found David Clark completely free but he contrived to head wide. The Jags responded when Robert Scott fed Drew Copeland who tried to lob Jamie Fraser but the ball went wide. With fourteen minutes left the Strathbogie side was awarded a direct free-kick 25-yards out which Craig Dorrat crashed goal-wards only to see his effort hit the top of the bar. Huntly’s late efforts were rewarded through with five minutes left when Andy Burr hauled down Craig Dorrat in the box and Tom Johnston fired home the resultant penalty.
Full-time Buckie Thistle 4 Huntly 2
A fine win for Thistle with lots of encouraging signs as they played some superb passing football at times which opened up the Huntly defence. All the signs are they have found a real gem in Kevin Fraser who could inspire the first team on to greater things. Let us hope that is the case staring against Formartine United!
Buckie Thistle – Burr, Gordon, L Cheyne, B Stewart, D Wood, J Cheyne, Hodge, Copeland, Low (Scott), Fraser (C Murray) and Noble
Huntly – Fraser, Harrison, Penny (Munro), Brian, Clark, Ingram, Mackie, Dorrat, Johnston, Morrison and Gray
Referee – P McAvinue