Match Report - By Steven Mew
City continued their winning start to the season with an important victory over Buckie Thistle at Glebe Park yesterday afternoon, putting an end to the Jags 29-match unbeaten run in the process.
Although still very early in the season, the significance of these head-to-heads can’t be underestimated and City were more than worthy of the win.
After being rested in the win over Deveronvale at the weekend, trio Euan Spark, Fraser MacLeod and Grady McGrath were restored to the starting lineup.
City came flying out the traps and within the opening minute, Marc Scott headed straight at Demus from Seth Patrick’s cross.
With 4 minutes on the clock, City opened the scoring. Jamie Bain showed great vision to set GRADY MCGRATH clean through on goal and although it looked as if Demus got out to deny him, the ball rebounded kindly for McGrath to slot into the empty net.
City had the ball in the net just two minutes later when Marc Scott swept a cross from Jamie Bain into the far corner, however the hedge side linesman had his flag up for offside.
Andy Kirk’s men certainly looked fired up for the game and Bain himself was next to threaten with a shot from range which soared over the crossbar.
Having netted 18 goals in their opening 4 league games, City were fully aware of Buckie’s attacking credentials and it took the Jags until midway through the half for their first real opportunity. A flicked header from skipper Kevin Fraser almost caught out Lenny Wilson however the City keeper stretched to save.
The home side took control once again and Demus was called into action to deny Fraser MacLeod with his feet and two minutes later, Grady McGrath fired over from the edge of the box after some neat build up play.
City were unfortunately forced into a change 7 minutes before the break with Michael Cruickshank hobbling off – he was replaced by Kieran Inglis.
The second half certainly didn’t have the same manic start as the first. The visitors started to have more of the ball but struggled to create any clear-cut chances against a well organised City rearguard.
Sam Pugh threatened twice for the Jags – firstly his scuffed shot from a corner was comfortably saved by Wilson and six minutes later his strike was range flew well over.
Just after the hour mark, Kieran Inglis had a shot deflected past for a corner and at the other end, substitute Kyle MacLeod screwed a shot well wide.
Midway through the half Lenny Wilson made an excellent save to keep out MacLeod’s header from a Kevin Fraser cross, managing to gather at the second attempt.
With 69 minutes on the clock, City should have put clear daylight between the sides as a glorious opportunity was spurned. The ball fell kindly for Jamie Bain 10 yards from goal but his effort came back off the inside of the post and from the rebound, Demus did well to block from the City stand-in captain.
As the game approached the final quarter hour Buckie pushed forward with Sam Pugh’s free kick being comfortably saved by Wilson before Jordan Northcott headed a goalbound shot off the line just a few minutes later.
Anthony McDonald, who had replaced man of the match Grady McGrath, broke clear of the Jags defence ten minutes from time. His cutback was only cleared as far as Fraser MacLeod who saw a shot blocked before Seth Patrick’s left footed effort spun wide.
As the game entered stoppage time, the frustrated visitors were reduced to 10 men. Fraser MacLeod burst forward on the break following a Buckie attack and he was cynically brought down by a dangerous tackle from behind by Joe McCabe. Referee Greg Soutar had little hesitation in showing a red card and a brief melee ensued with City players incensed with the challenge.
Following 6 minutes of added time, City held on for a deserved victory against one of their fellow title challengers. A different challenge awaits Andy Kirk’s side on Wednesday evening as he host league 2 outfit Stirling Albion in the 2nd round of the SPFL Trust Trophy.
Other Results - Breedon Highland League
Banks O' Dee 8 Keith 0
Clachnacuddin 1 Turriff United 4
Forres Mechanics 3 Huntly 0
Inverurie Locos 1 Formartine United 1
Lossiemouth 2 Wick Academy 1
Nairn County 2 Deveronvale 2
Rothes 0 Brora Rangers 4
Strathspey Thistle 0 Fraserburgh 9