SAILOR SAM STEERS JAGS TO THE CREST OF THE WAVE
Buckie Thistle 3-0 Deveronvale
Scorers: Urquhart 5, 86 (pen), K Fraser 28
Sam Urquhart netted twice as Buckie returned to the top of the Highland League by virtue of goal difference to set up a grandstand finish in the title race. The Jags are on seventy-five points, joint-equal with Brora Rangers and Cove Rangers with only three games to play for Graeme Stewart and John Sheran's sides whilst former champs Brora have just two matches remaining.
Kevin Fraser netted the second before hobbling off with an injury which may see the skipper miss his side's trip to Fraserburgh in midweek, which may just be one of their biggest matches of the campaign for the Buckie club.
Scott Fraser was a surprise addition to the Vale subs bench for this fisherman's derby although Cammy Murray being unavailable to play against his parent club was probably more significant given his recent form, Ross Aitken replaced the missing Murray in a five-three-two formation for Dippy's youngsters.
A lovely sunny spring day greeted the players as the hosts looked to take advantage of league leaders Cove Rangers' appearance in the League Cup final and climb back to the top of the SHFL in front of a large home support, who were enjoying the spring sunshine at Victoria Park.
Sam Urquhart took just five minutes to open the scoring for the buoyant Jags when he nipped in ahead of the static Vale back three to poke home Kevin Fraser's low cross into the six yard box.
John Maitland found the bread-bin of Grant Pennet following a set-piece 22-yards out while at the opposite end a clearance off Jay Cheyne's heel landed on the top of Daniel Bell's netting with the home custodian flat-footed momentarily before his defence cleared the resultant corner kick.
Shortly before the half-hour Buckie doubled their advantage when Kevin Fraser pounced on hesitant defending once more from the Banff side and slipped the ball into the bottom corner after Chris Angus and John McLeod had efforts partially blocked but not cleared.
John McLeod had a great chance to finish the match as a contest minutes later but Grant Pennet pulled off a great stop as the big striker bore down on the black-eyed keeper following Wednesday's unfortunate collision with Andrew Hunter which forced the keeper out of the action.
Sam Urquhart had Pennet throwing himself to his left as the low strike skimmed the post before a glimmer of hope for the visitors saw Lewis Dunbar race into the Thistle final third before squaring across goal but just as Robert Scott looked to pounce the ball seemed to bobble in front of the former Buckie striker and the chance was gone. HT
Steven Davidson was denied by Daniel Bell minutes after restart following a corner from the right and as the ball was cleared to the edge of the box Robert Scott flashed a rising strike narrowly past the keeper's upright.
A change of formation from the visitors saw Lukas Krobot's go to right-back and Lewis Dunbar move into midfield and this seemed to galvanise them into making a game of it although Grant Pennet kept them in the game once more with a turn over the top to deny defender Jay Cheyne.
Kevin Souter replaced Lukas Krobot before Grant Noble came on for James McLaren but the changes didn't do enough to find a route to goal for Dippy's youngsters who were certainly up for the fight during a much tighter second half.
With five minutes remaining Liam Forbes was penalised for a very harsh hand ball and Sam Urquhart delighted the home crowd by tucking home the penalty and completing the scoring and a workman like three points.
Vale: Pennet, Dunbar, Willox, *57 Forbes (cpt), *51 Krobot (*88 Souter 66), *85 Davidson, Sutherland, Gauls, Scott, McLaren (Noble 74), Aitken
Subs: Ross, Fraser, Chisholm, Mackie (gk)
Jags: Bell, Munro, Cheyne, Maitland, MacKinnon, McLean, Fraser (Taylor 55), Cowie, McLeod, Angus (Fraser 80), Urquhart
Subs: Wood, Carrol, Milne, Strong (gk)
Manager: Graeme Stewart
Referee: Alan Proctor
Efforts On: 1
Efforts Off: 3
Overhead Conditions: Sunny
Playing Surface: Very Dry
Temp at KO: 16 deg C
Last Season: 1-1
|Reporter: Neil Montgomery|
|Reported LastEdited: 8-Apr-2017|