Banchory St Ternan 2-1 Stoneywood Parkvale
Banchory were almost assured promotion before this game due to their superior goal difference over Stoneywood, but this win sealed the deal meaning that a return to Superleague football was guaranteed.
The visitors almost had a chance from a soft headed Josh Robertson clearance in the first minute and then at the other end Steve Young headed over the bar from a corner. Grant Munro did the same as Young on 10 minutes as saints continued to press forward.
Ross Salmon had to look lively to punch clear before Ryan Whelan had a shot blocked on 17 minutes. Five minutes later however, Whelan latched onto a poor Stoneywood pass back to slot the ball low past the keeper.
Salmon made a confident save minutes later and then Jordan Clark should have done better but his weak shot was easily saved by the Stoneywood keeper.
Both teams had a chance just before half time, first Darren Reid shot over from a Steve Travers square ball and then the Stoneywood centre forward headed over at the near post.
Four minutes into the second half Stoneywood scored a controversial equaliser. A move down the left from their keeper’s clearance, saw the striker clearly handle the ball to gain control, before laying off to the winger to run through and score low past Salmon.
Saints retaliated immediately with a Munro volley just over the bar, but Stoneywood were now confident they could get something from the game and it looked as though they could cause problems. But it wasn’t long before Banchory regained the lead. A Josh Robertson long pass down the left on 58 minutes found Steve Travers who beat two defenders to send in a low cross that was met by Grant Munro who had the easiest chance to score from 3 yards out. A great move that Travers celebrated with his band of Ballater supporters.
Manager Ewan Robb decided to freshen things up by replacing Jordan Clark with Mark Reid. Midway through the half Darren Reid had a good chance to make it 3-1 but rushed his shot to send the ball well past.
With 15 minutes remaining two more substitutions were made, Calum Wilson coming on for Steve Travers and then Craig Peters replacing Ryan Whelan. With just three minutes to go Stoneywood almost equalised when a downward header was deflected over the bar and then one minute into stoppage time a Stoneywood header from a free kick went inches past the post.
In the end it was three Banchory points that means a return to the Superleague after the disappointment of relegation last season.
We did it! We set one target at the start of the season, to get promoted. It was a tough game tonight after the heat on Saturday but the lads have been fantastic. I thought we were in control until they got their goal, which for us, was a clear handball and shouldn’t have stood, but we dug in and got back in front. A great ball from big Josh and Trav has made a great run to get on the end of it. We were hanging on a bit at the end, we probably could have kept the ball a bit better but were defensively solid. We can now look forward to the Semi-Final on Saturday.
Team: Salmon, Ross, Cheyne, Thomson, Robertson, Young, D.Reid, Travers (Calum Wilson), Whelan (Peters), Munro, Clark (M.Reid). Unused Subs: Henderson, Rose.