Super league Colony Park were the visitors for this Domino’s Pizza North Region Cup 1st Round tie at Milton Park and as is usually the case with the Inverurie side, this was a close encounter, settled by penalties.
Normally Saints pass up a few chances early in a game, but this week it didn’t take long to go in front. In the very first minute a good move involving Jordan Clark and Grant Munro ended with Mark Reid’s shot well saved by the Colony keeper. But a minute later a similar move saw Mantas Mickevicius half hit his shot to see it trundle into the corner of the net.
Colony had a long range shot go well over after 11 minutes and at this stage the game had developed into a midfield battle. It wasn’t until the 17th minute for the next goalmouth action when a Darren Reid free kick was headed down by Mickevicius inside the six yard box and eventually scrambled away by the Colony defence.
Grant Munro was fouled 35 yards out with a Steve Travers free kick being deflected for a corner which was easily saved. Aaron Thomson was booked on 25 minutes for handling the ball on the touch line and from the free kick a Colony shot went just past the post but Saints keeper Ross Salmon had it well covered.
A neat move down the right saw Craig Peters put in a fine cross which the outstretched Steve Travers could only volley past. Moments later the Colony keeper threw the ball out and Aaron Thomson jumped to block the ball which resulted in a second booking for the centre half and the obligatory sending off.
Into the second half with Saints down to ten men, but no changes in personnel. Saints started brightly forcing an early corner, but on 53 minutes the scores were level when a simple ball through the middle of the Saints defence gave the Colony forward an easy chance to score.
Steve Travers picked up an injury shortly after the goal and was replaced by Conran Wilson who went into the heart of defence with Darren Reid moving forward to midfield. This change made all the difference as Colony were on top at this stage.
On 60 minutes a Darren Reid run put Jordan Clark through but the winger was forced wide and the chance was gone. Colony were finding space but there was no killer punch at the end.
On 70 minutes a Mantas Mickevicius back post cross was almost forced over the Colony goal line by Jordan Clark, but the winger only succeeded in hitting his knee against the goal post.
Colony missed a very good chance on 76 minutes but a poor weak shot dribbled past the post and at the other end Mickevicius looked as he could get onto the end of a cross but just failed to connect.
Even with one man less Saints were holding their own. With 5 minutes remaining Greg Mackie and Dean Henderson replaced Mark Reid and Mantas Mickevicius. Two minutes later a Conran Wilson foul 25 yards out gave Colony a free kick which Ross Salmon tipped over the bar. Two remaining chances went close in injury time. First Greg Mackie’s turn and shot went a yard over and at the other end Colony went even closer with a shot going a foot over the Saints bar.
So scores level at 1-1 after 90 minutes plus added time and into the dreaded penalty shoot out. Colony were first up and scored all their five penalties with ease, as did Saints with Darren Reid under pressure with the fifth. Ross Salmon saved Colony’s sixth and young Dean Henderson made no mistake firing high into the top corner with his spot kick and Saints sixth.
Just for the records, Saints first five penalty scorers were: Grant Munro, Greg Mackie, Jordan Clark, Conran Wilson, Darren Reid.
We caught up with the Saint’s boss after the game and he had this to say…
Really proud of the lads after today’s performance. With 7 lads missing and a reshuffle before kick off with 2 of the starters being called out to work, it wasn’t ideal preparation for the game. The work rate, especially in the 2nd half was brilliant. I thought we were the better side in the 1st half, moved the ball well and coped with Colony’s long ball over the top. Start of the 2nd half i felt we panicked a bit being down to 10 men and for the first 10 mins or so we were all over the place but we settled down and started to get on the ball again and created a few chances. We lost a poor goal from our point of view with the ball through the middle catching our CB’s out, but after we moved Daz forward and Conran into CB i felt we organised well and looked dangerous on the counter with the pace of Jo and Mantas out wide and Mark through the middle. 2 decent chances for each team towards the end could’ve sneaked it but delighted for the lads and the club they managed to progress via the shootout.
Team: Ross Salmon, Darren Reid, Calum Wilson, Aaron Thomson, Josh Robertson, Craig Peters, Grant Munro, Steve Travers (Conran Wilson), Mantas Mickevicius (Dean Henderson), Mark Reid (Greg Mackie), Jordan Clark. Subs: Euan Rose, Euan Morrison.
Next Saturday Saints are on Cup duty again with an away tie against Super league Hall Russell United in the North/Tayside Cup 1st Round kick off 2pm.