Dyce 2, Banchory St Ternan 2
BANCHORY travelled to Dyce to take on league leaders Dyce with the only absentees in the squad being Steve Mathieson (holiday) and the injured Ivan Petkov.
The weather had not been kind overnight with some torrential rain, but the pitch was not as heavy as expected.
The home side should have taken in six minutes when a shot cannoned off Graham Ewen's right hand post and somehow the centre forward contrived to squirt the ball past the same post.
Almost immediately Saints had to make a change when Jan Geekie had to leave the field with a hamstring injury, he was replaced by Paul Gill. Immediately Gill got in on the action and some great work from the midfielder sent Robertson away on the left and from his cross Stuart Cole's header was scrambled away.
Saints were in the ascendancy at this point and in 17 minutes another Robertson cross from the left found Lee Milne at the back post but from a good position he headed well over the bar. Continued pressure on the home side down the Saints left was exposing Dyce and from another cross the home
defence managed to scramble the ball away at the second attempt.
Dyce won a free kick in the 22nd minute after a forcing midfield run and for the second time the home side hit the woodwork with a tremendous drive that came off the corner of the bar. This was the catalyst for Dyce to take the best part of the play for the remainder of the first-half as their midfield began to take control.
Just before half-time, Banchory were under pressure again from another corner. Milne managed to head away, but the ball dropped to a Dyce player and his deflected shot went inches past Ewen's right hand post.
At the start of the second-half, Dyce continued to have the better of the proceedings and from another corner Ewen had to look lively to hold the ball at the second attempt.
It was the home side who took the lead in the 51st minute. From a move down the left the ball broke infield and with
Hulse beaten, the ball was played neatly to the number eight who fired in an angled drive under Ewen's body.
This was just the kick up the back side that Saints needed and they were level within two minutes. Good work by Cammy Bruce on the right released Ritchie McRae whose low driven cross was met by Milne at the back post and the Ballater loon forced the ball in at the far post.
Both teams were looking for the winner, and some great inter passing down the right between McRae, Cole and Bruce saw the latter's cross scrambled away. Then it was the home side's turn to create a chance but Ewen did well to hold a close range shot.
In the 65th minute Cole burst clear for Saints, but he took his shot perhaps a bit too early and went well wide of the target. Dyce were awarded a free kick 25-yards out, but unlike the first half, the ball went two feet over the bar.
Saints had rediscovered their early first-half form, and were producing some excellent football. The prominent and hard working Robertson made a good run down the right, and Cole went ever so close from his cross. But the pressure paid off in the 72nd minute when further pressure down the right won a corner, and from Bruce's flag kick, Cole headed home with Milne on hand to make sure although the ball seemed to be
over the line before he touched it.
This goal rattled the league leaders and they upped the pace to find an equaliser, but Saints continued to create the openings with some fine play and at the same time stood firm at the back. Gillies replaced the tiring Cole with 15 minutes remaining and he was soon in the action when he tried a speculative shot from wide on the left. With five minutes remaining however, a Saints move down the right broke down with Robertson failing to make a vital challenge.
The ball was played down Dyce's left and with the Banchory
defence pushing on, space was left for Dyce to exploit. The midfield run and pass inside found the centre forward who took his chance well by shooting low past Ewen.
A draw was a fair reflection of the game and with Banchory having now played all the top teams in the League, they have a chance over the next two weeks to put together a couple of wins to lift them up the table.
Next week they entertain Buchanhaven Hearts from Peterhead, kick off 2.30pm and the following week Burghead Thistle make the journey to Banchory.
Team: Ewen, McRae, G Moir, Hulse, Geekie, Bruce, Milne, Bain, Gall, Robertson, Cole.Subs: Gillies, Gill, McWhinnie, Dines, Smith.
n The Lucky Numbers Lottery draw produced no winners last
October 16 for the 6,800 Jackpot. Numbers drawn in the Douglas Arms Hotel were: 6, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16. The two Lucky Dip 25 winners were: Jane Gill, Banchory and Shona Buchan, Irvine Arms, Drumoak. Next week's jackpot is 6,900 and will be drawn in the Burnett Arms Hotel.