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Buckie United and Hopeman ready for Moray welfare football title battle at Borough Briggs on Sunday

By Craig Christie

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A TITANIC league title battle between Hopeman and Buckie United will finally reach a conclusion this weekend.

Hopeman and Buckie United will face off on Sunday at Borough Briggs for the Moray welfare title. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Hopeman and Buckie United will face off on Sunday at Borough Briggs for the Moray welfare title. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

The Moray welfare league duo finished all square after 13 league matches, including two dramatic 2-2 draws between the teams.

Hopeman beat RAF Lossiemouth 6-1 in their last league game on Friday while Buckie battled for a 2-1 success in the same town against Lossie Youths.

Level on points, the leading two couldn't be separated by their head-to-head record, so will fight it out at Elgin City's Borough Briggs ground on Sunday to find out who lifts the league trophy.

Hopeman were grateful to hosts RAF Lossie for allowing a band of their supporters on to the airbase to see last week's big match.

The league champions had to win and hope rivals Buckie slipped up against Lossie Youths, but they were up against the only team who had beaten them this season as Lossie won 5-2 at Hopeman earlier in the campaign.

Connel Gresham went close for Hopeman while Henry Jordan missed when through one-on-one for the hosts.

Josh Taylor then fired over for Lossie while Ryan Farquhar weaved through at the other end only to shoot at keeper Adam Thomas.

A Gresham corss was parried out to Gary Burr whose strike was deflected over, and Burr was fouled for a free kick which was taken by Marc Connolly, forcing a good Thomas save.

RAF Lossie player manager Dean McKellar, a substitute for his team, was sent off on 26 minutes for dissent, with the airmen claiming it was not their boss who made the remarks to the ref.

Hopeman took the lead just after the half hour from a Scott Wilson run and cross which was met by a bullet Graeme Ingram header.

Four minutes later they were gifted a second when David McNamara hoised a ball forward from inside his own half and Thomas let the high ball slip from his grasp into the net.

It was 3-0 just after half time, Farquhar setting up Gresham who rifled into the top corner from an acute angle.

The airmen hit back when Kristian Demetriou beat the offside and fired home a low finish on 63 minutes.

But Hopeman weren't going to let it slip and added a fourth goal from a Lee Spencer tap-in.

Spencer then hit the outside of the post before a foul on Farquhar gave the visitors a penalty which Ingram converted.

The final goal saw good play between Burr, Farquhar and Spencer to set up Simon Inglis for a cool finish.

Paul Mellon was once again Buckie United's goal hero with a superb winner at Lossie Youths.

The Lossiemouth youngsters had been the only team to defeat Buckie this term, and threatened to repeat the feat when Aidan MacKay scored a fifth minute penalty opener after Iain Macrae was penalised for handball.

It took Buckie half an hour to draw level, as a cross from the left evaded everyone except Mellon, who scored with a first-time finish.

Despite the second half being an even contest, United found their winner on the hour mark.

Mellon received the ball wide on the left and was able to dribble past four players to get into the penalty area before squeezing the ball past Rian Wilson in the Lossiemouth goal for the winner.

FC Fochabers were crowned Division 1 winners in the bottom half split, securing the point they needed against nearest rivals Cullen.

They had to come back from 2-0 down to nick the trophy from their coastal hosts.

Cullen had to win to take the title and took the lead after 15 minutes, with Saul Phimister being sent through on goal to score with a clinical finish.

The home side were then awarded a penalty and top scorer Kieran Ferguson scored from the spot to put Cullen firmly in command.

Fochabers weren't finished there, and quickly pulled one back from Stuart Harrold's deflected free-kick.

it was all square right on half time when Gary Burchell managed to bundle the ball over the line from a headed cut back at the far post.

Cullen pressed hard in the second half for the goal they needed, but Fochabers held firm to claim the glory after a 2-2 draw.

Portsoy finished their season on a high note with victory at home to Tomintoul, who made them work hard for the three points.

Tomintoul had the first big chance of the game when a long ball over the top was misjudged by defender Scott Christie, but 'Toul put the ball wide of the target from the chance presented to them.

The home side then took the lead from a long ball by keeper Craig Ferguson which released on-form front man Corbyn Wilson to fire home.

Portsoy nearly added another from a Wilson cross which was inches too high for Lewis Edward lurking at the back post.

Stuart Flett then headed just past from a Steven Jamieson free kick as 'Soy chased another goal.

Tomintoul got to grips with the game, missing some half chances before getting on the scoresheet when Jake Logan turned and chipped Ferguson with a great finish from the edge of the box.

Five minutes after the break, Portsoy were back in front when Jamieson again sent Wilson through on goal to net his second of the game.

There was no giving in by the visitors and their persistence was rewarded when the home team failed to close down Craig Durno, who advanced to crash a long range drive low into the net for 2-2.

Portsoy pushed for a winner in the last five minutes and they got it with a minute to go, double scorer Wilson turning provider with a cross for Flett to nod home.

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