Banchory St Ternan 1-0 Hall Russell Utd
Saints were on the front foot immediately and Liam Cheyne had a shot blocked in the opening minute which was quickly followed by Hall Russell forcing Ross Salmon to make a comfortable save. The game was being played at a fast pace with both sides closing each other down quickly.
On 13 minutes Darren Reid set up Greg Smith but his weak shot was easily saved. At this point Banchory began to control midfield and were pressing Hall Russell back. Two corners in quick succession ended with Cheyne flashing a shot past the visitors post.
Salmon made an easy save from an 18yd shot and from his clearance Mike Bruce, on his first start since returning to the club, chested the ball down turned and unleashed a glorious curling shot into the top corner of the net to put Saints 1-0 up after 23 minutes.
Three minutes later Halls No 21 went a foot past the post with a vicious shot, followed at the other end with Darren Reid setting up Steve Travers but the captain’s weak shot was blocked by the advancing keeper’s legs.
Halls No 8 had a half chance on 38 minutes but his weak effort was easy dealt with and then a bad pass give Halls another chance. With 5 minutes to half time, Greg Smith flashed a low cross along the 6 yard box but there were no takers.
Hall Russell opened the second half brightly but could not break through the resolute Banchory defence.
Smith had an angled low shot saved, before Hall Russell forced two corners resulting in the Saints’ defence blocking a shot. Saints should have been 2 up on 63 minutes when Smith got on the end of a Cheyne cross but header over the bar from 6 yards out.
Time for a change on 70 minutes with Jordan Clark coming on for Ryan Whelan.
Saints won a corner which was easily cleared with Halls breaking quickly and looking dangerous but once again the home defence closed down the danger.
Another change on 78 minutes with Smith making way for Connor Kelly and Dean Henderson replacing Steve Travers. A minute later two Halls shots were blocked with shouts for a penalty from the second.
On 82 minutes Jo Clark was through on goal and about to shoot when he was brought down but the referee booked him for simulation, the second instance of the day with Mike Bruce getting the same treatment in the first half.
Aaron Thomson mistimed his header at the back post from a Cheyne free kick with five minutes remaining.
Right on 90 minutes Ross Salmon made a wonderful low finger tip save to deny Halls. The final 3 minutes of added time got a bit frantic as the big home support was getting nervous, but the Saints did the business to get the three points in this opening Superleague fixture.
Here’s the Saints’ boss on his side’s performance.
I thought the lads were fantastic. It’s been a tough run of games with the 2 Tuesday games in a row, and all 4 of them in the heat, so to come out of it with 4 wins is a massive credit to the lads. There were some heavy legs out there tonight but we probably should’ve won by a bigger margin with the chances we created. Mikey has won it with a great strike but the skipper’s had a great chance well saved, Turbo’s header, Liam’s had a decent chance, Aaron with a late header and then i’ve no idea how we’ve not been awarded a penalty for the foul on the Jo. All that while restricting them to a few shots from distance. Ross has made a great save late on to make sure we got our league campaign off to a good start.
Team: Ross Salmon, Darren Reid, Aaron Thomson, Josh Robertson, Steve Young, Steve Travers (Connor Kelly) Mikey Bruce, Ryan Whelan (Jo Clark) Jack Dalgarno, Greg Smith (Dean Henderson)
Unused: Grant Munro, Euan Rose
Saints travel to Montrose on Saturday in the McBookie.com Superleague, ko 2pm.