Buchanhaven Hearts 4 - Turriff Thistle 3
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Game five of Turriff Thistle’s pre-season programme may have ended in a narrow loss but this was by far the best performance from the Jags in this run-up to the start of the season.
Thistle ran their Junior level opponents ragged for long periods of the match with pace, intensity and confidence and only some bad luck and a couple of dubious decisions saw them come away with less than what they deserved.
The Jags fell behind three times but each time they fought back to level the match and only a breakaway in the final minutes secured the win for the Hearts.
Ryan Morrison, Mo Morrison, Greg Miazek and Dan Bruce returned to the starting line-up and new signing, 16 year old keeper, Lewis Cheyne took his place on the bench.
The match kicked-off in Peterhead with a fierce wind blowing the length of the pitch and into the Jags faces, however, Miazek showed his class by weaving his way down the right in the first minute but his cross was blocked.
He was back in the action a minute later when a neat through-ball from him put Mo Morrison in on the left but the winger’s shot was well saved by the Hearts keeper.
Both teams battled with the swirling wind which came to the Hearts assistance in the 11th minute when a left-footed 25 yarder simply rocketed into Jordan Ogg’s top left hand corner, before he could even attempt a save, to give the hosts the lead.
The game swung from end to end and in 14 minutes Mo Morrison cut in from the left and shot narrowly over the bar then a Hearts cutback from the right was saved by Ogg’s feet.
Buchanhaven had a further chance in 23 minutes from a free kick that was floated into the Jags box but the striker’s overhead kick flew past the post.
In 26 minutes a superb through-ball from Lewis Hendry set Mo Morrison away on the left but his driven cross from the bye-line was just missed by Miazek in the centre.
On 32 minutes Hendry threaded another pin-point ball forward which was chased into the Buchanhaven box by Ryan Morrison only for him to hit the deck after a push by a defender, however, the referee waved the Thistle penalty claims away.
Both Morrisons combined to create another scoring chance for the Jags when a cross from Mo on the left was met by Ryan in the middle but his low drive was saved at the post.
An equaliser for the Jags came two minutes later when Dan BRUCE picked the ball up on the right hand side, paused to see that the Hearts keeper was off his goal-line, then fired in a high shot that soared over the keeper’s head and dropped into the top corner of the net at the back post.
Others who witnessed this strike might say it was only a hopeful cross that dropped into the net but the description of the goal was how Dan saw it.
Even more unfortunate for the Buchanhaven keeper was that, after letting the ball drop over his head and into the net, he was immediately substituted with less than five minutes of the first half remaining, which is a bit harsh in any team.
The last of the first half action came just before the whistle when Mo Morrison again drove down the left then cut inside, nipped past three defenders, then smashed his effort over the bar.
The second half saw Paul Williamson, Jay Robertson and Daz Bruce come on for Greg Miazek, Joe Bisset and Neil Chapman.
With the wind at their backs the Jags took the game to Buchanhaven and in 50 minutes a brilliant ball through from Robertson put Williamson clear in on goal but play was halted for a very dubious offside decision.
In 53 minutes Hendry found Ryan Morrison inside the Buchanhaven penalty area with a free kick but the skipper’s turn and shot was well saved by the keeper low at his post.
The next to create a chance was Robertson who drove up the right and his angular shot was caught by the wind and the Hearts keeper had to deal with it carefully at the back post.
Thistle found themselves behind for the second time two minutes later when Buchanhaven burst through the Jags defence and Ogg was out and down at the striker’s feet to block, however, as happens in 99% of these clashes, a penalty was awarded and converted.
Thistle went back to business after the re-start and Daryn Bruce lashed a 35 yard free kick just over the Buchanhaven bar.
As both teams had agreed to rolling substitutions, Neil Chapman, Joe Bisset and Greg Miazek returned to the match in place of Dan Bruce, Mitchell Allan and Mike McCombie.
A short time later saw the introduction of new signing Lewis Cheyne who took over in mthe Thistle goal from Ogg.
In 76 minutes a short roll-out from the Buchanhaven keeper to a defender was pounced on by Williamson and the ball broke to Robertson who rounded the keeper on the six yard line and shot into the empty net, however, a defender dived in to block the ball with both hands for an undisputable penalty.
Paul WILLIAMSON duly stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to square the match.
The Jags continued to put pressure on the Hearts and in 80 minutes a free kick from Daryn Bruce on the left was driven into the six yard box and met on the volley by Lewis Hendry at the back post but the keeper pulled off another superb save.
A minute later and Thistle fell behind for the third time when Buchanhaven broke through the middle and the striker, although in a clear offside position, was allowed to continue and poked the ball past Cheyne much to the annoyance of the Jags both on and off the pitch.
Thistle never broke their stride after this setback and were back on level terms within four minutes when Hendry wriggled free on the right, hit the bye-line and cut back to Williamson who saw his shot blocked by the keeper.
The ball broke to Hendry at the near post but, before he could tap it into the corner of the net, he was pulled down from behind and the Jags were awarded a second penalty.
WILLIAMSON stepped up again, slotted the ball into the opposite corner from his first and still sent the keeper the wrong way.
With only a few minutes left on the clock it looked as if a draw was on the cards, however, Thistle pushed forward for the winner and were caught out by a Buchanhaven breakaway on the left which ended with an angular shot into the corner of the net and the home team nicked the victory.
Despite the score-line Thistle must take away massive positives from this brilliant performance against a team competing at a higher standard.
The whole squad was buzzing and played with pace, urgency, quality and self-confidence which has been building over the past couple of games and the Management Team must be looking for a consistent level of performance over the next fixtures.
Turriff Thistle return to the Haughs on Saturday 31 st October with a local derby against Fyvie FC who have just entered the Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association leagues for the approaching season.
Kick-off is at 1.30 pm.