Saints travelled to Nairn to take on Superleague Nairn St.Ninian in the 2nd Round of the Dominos Pizza North Region Cup.
Centre half pairing Josh Robertson and Aaron Thomson were still missing as was Ethan Grant who was still suspended and last week’s scoring hero Adam Reid was unavailable.
The game got underway with the wind blowing more or less diagonally across the park with Saints playing uphill and against the breeze. It was a slow tentative start by both sides and it was Grant Munro who had the first half chance after 6 minutes but his effort was blocked. Three minutes later a free kick from the right found Conran Wilson in the box but his hook shot went well wide.
The game settled down into a midfield contest with very few chances for either side, although Banchory did have the better of the play. And it was from one of the few attacks that Nairn won a corner on 24 minutes which was headed home by the centre half.
Saints continued to push but were not worrying the home keeper and Nairn were happy to counter on the break. Two Banchory penalty claims were denied by the referee. The first when Darren Reid was clipped outside the box continued on only to be tripped again with the referee blowing for the original offence outside the box. Then minutes later Greg Smith was also tripped as he surged into the box but kept his feet to square the ball which was easily cleared.
The final move of the first half saw Nairn increase their lead on 45 minutes when from a corner to the back post, the ball was headed back across the 6 yard box to be headed into the corner of the net.
Into the second half and Saints had a half chance early on but the ball did not fall kindly to allow a shot on goal. On 56 minutes Greg Smith was scythed down and from the 25 yard free kick Steve Travers low header was saved by the keeper and scrambled away. And a few minutes later Greg Mackie homed in on goal and set up a chance for Dean Henderson but the home keeper made a good one handed save at the expense of a corner.
Mark Reid picked up a knock and had to be replaced on 63 minutes by Calum Wilson. Saints continued to have the best of the possession but could not get a clear chance on goal.
However on 73 minutes it was very nearly 2-1 when from a corner Conran Wilson’s header came off the bar with Darren Reid’s net bound shot from the rebound producing a fine save by the keeper and then scrambled away.
With 15 minutes remaining, Craig Peter and Ben Ross replaced Dean Henderson and Grant Munro. Calum Wilson was booked for a very late tackle as Nairn pushed forward and from the free kick Ross Salmon stretched full length to touch the ball over the bar.
Saints were yet again denied by the home keeper making a fine low save from Steve Traver’s free kick on 82 minutes. The final chance of the game came in the first minute of added time when Jordan Clark shot straight at the keeper.
It tells a story that Banchory were hard done by, as Nairn’s best players were their twin centre halves. Saints had the better possession and chances, but once again did not take these opportunities which would have seen them into the Quarter Finals.
Saint’s boss Robb had this to say after the game…
Frustrating day for us. It’s a game we should’ve won from our point of view. We’ve created enough chances to do that but unfortunately not taken any of them. Ross has only had 1 save to make the entire game, but we have to turn the possession and the chances into goals. Fair play to Nairn, i think they’ve had 3 shots on target and scored twice and that’s the only stat which matters so all the best to them in the next round.
Team: Ross Salmon, Darren Reid, Greg Smith, Conran Wilson, Steve Young, Dean Henderson(Craig Peters), Steve Travers, Grant Munro (Ben Ross), Greg Mackie, Mark Reid (Calum Wilson), Jordan Clark. Subs: Jason Ritchie, Euan Rose.
Next Saturday it’s back to league business with an away game at Sunnybank, 2pm kick off.