Banchory St.Ternan 3 v 0 Deveronside
Banchory St.Ternan are the North Region Junior McBookie.com First Division Champions after a very solid performance against Banff team Deveronside who were lying in second place five points adrift of Saints with a game in hand.
Manager Ewan Robb knew well in advance he would be missing Captain Steve Travers, midfielder Steve Young, top scorer Ryan Whelan who were all unavailable, and long term injured Jason Ritchie. So the full squad was utilised for this crucial game with the addition of young Robbie Coutts on the bench.
The Banff side were on the front foot right from the start and Saints’ keeper Ross Salmon did well to punch clear an awkward corner kick in the 2nd minute and the visitors continued to look dangerous in the opening five minutes.
Mark Reid went close for Saints when he controlled the ball just outside the box, turned his defender to send his low shot two feet past. But on 14 minutes the Lumsden youngster found the net to open the scoring. Dean Henderson made a tenacious run down the right, squared the ball to Reid who shot first time to find the net off the post.
Above: Saints’ player’s celebrate Mark Reid’s opening goal.
This calmed the nerves both on and off the park, but Deveronside were still looking dangerous although not troubling Salmon too much. There was a good chance passed up when Jordan Clark ran in from the right beating two defenders and instead of laying off the Henderson on the left he shot weakly past the post.
On 30 minutes a needless free kick gave Deveronside an opportunity to send a header just over the Banchory bar. Three minutes later the visitors gave away a free kick on the right. Ben Ross sent in the cross which Josh Robertson headed to the back post where Aaron Thomson rose above everyone to send a looping header over the keeper for his first goal of the season to make it 2-0.
Above: Aaron Thompson celebrates after heading home Saints’ second.
It was almost three a few minutes later when Darren Reid’s lung bursting run down the left ended with his cross being headed just over by Dean Henderson.
Into the second half and in the very first minute Mark Reid was the provider to find Jordan Clark and it looked as though the midfielder would score but his effort was blocked. Two corners followed that were scrambled away by the Deveronside defence.
On 58 minutes Ross Salmon made a fine one handed save low to his left from a headed corner to maintain Banchory’s two goal advantage. Shortly after there was loud claims for a penalty when the Deveronside centre forward fell in the box under a challenge, but the referee was having none of it. Play was hotting up now and Deveronside became a bit more energised, perhaps realising they needed to win the game to have any chance of the league title.
On 65 minutes Jordan Clark was replaced by Calum Wilson and within a couple of minutes the substitute found himself clear on the left but his low cross was defended for a corner. There was more pace in Saints game now and with 15 minutes remaining the decisive third goal arrived that sealed the championship.
Darren Reid was bearing down on goal when he was brought down 12 yards out and captain for the day Grant Munro stepped up to slot the ball home from the penalty spot.
Above: Grant Munro steps up to slam home goal number 3 from the spot.
The remainder of the game was all Saints. Munro beat the offside trap to square to Darren Reid only do be denied a fourth goal by the keeper’s low save. Munro was then booked for a tackle that resulted in his injury and replacement by Craig Peters with ten minutes remaining. Peters was prominent in these final minutes finding plenty of space down the right. With five minutes to go Greg Smith made his comeback from injury replacing the hard working Mark Reid.
Celebrations ensued for some considerable time as the North Region Secretary was on hand to present the First Division trophy and medals to all the players. It is a huge credit to the Management team who kept the players together after last season’s relegation disappointment to get the Club back to the Superleague at the first time of asking.
The Saints’ boss was delighted at full time.
Obviously delighted for the players, the coaching staff and everybody at the club. It’s a great reflection on all the hard work everyone has put in. The players were brilliant today. Obviously we were missing Trav, Wheels & Stevo who’ve all been massive for us this season but even without them we were fantastic. We’ve got a way of playing and whoever plays in each position knows what we’re looking for. I thought we controlled the game well and got 2 good first half goals. They had a spell in the second half which we expected as they’re pushing to get something from the game but we regained control and the penalty puts the game to bed. Great feet from Darren on the edge of the box and the lad has caught him late. We knew how hard 3 games in a week is as we had the same the week before so we knew a fast start and good possession would tire them.
There is now one game left for Banchory St.Ternan with a chance to win a League and Cup double. On Friday 10th May Saints take on Buchanhaven Hearts in the AM Property Maintenance Morrison Cup Final at New Advocates Park, kick off 7.15pm.
Team: Ross Salmon, Conran Wilson, Liam Cheyne, Aaron Thomson, Josh Robertson, Ben Ross, Grant Munro (Craig Peters), Darren Reid, Mark Reid (Greig Smith), Dean Henderson, Jordan Clark (Calum Wilson). Unused Subs: Euan Rose, Robbie Coutts.