'Surreal' situation as Buckie and Deveronvale to play Aberdeenshire Cup clash at junior ground
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Highland League football history will be made tonight when Deveronvale and Buckie Thistle meet in a cup clash on a junior football ground for the first time.
Jags’ penalty shoot-out success over Banks O’ Dee last Wednesday earned them a trip to Vale this week, but the Banff side can’t play midweek home games after one of their floodlights was damaged in recent storms.
However, Buckie’s Victoria Park pitch has severe drainage issues so they couldn’t host the tie, leaving Vale to make an unsuccessful search across the north-east for an alternative Highland League venue to play at.
“It’s quite a surreal situation that we find ourselves in,” said Vale manager Craig Stewart. “To be fair to the chairman he’s tried clubs from Nairn and everywhere in between and we’ve ended up at Longside which we are very grateful to them for hosting us.”
Stewart believes the mass of remaining matches due to the weather is making a mockery of north football.
“From a Highland League point of view the season has become a bit of a farce with the fixtures pile-up. To be honest, it devalues the competition when there’s certain times that teams have to go places where they wouldn’t normally go for midweek games and the likelihood is that there will be weakened teams who go to the likes of Brora or Wick.”
With Buckie unlikely to be able to play at Victoria Park for the foreseeable future, Vale and Lossiemouth have both stepped in to offer their home grounds to Jags - it is likely that Buckie’s home game with Rothes will go ahead at Princess Royal Park on Saturday.
So while Vale have been accommodating, Stewart said: “I’m a wee bit disappointed that other Highland League clubs weren’t in the position to help us out. So we’ve ended up at Longside, and it’s a strange situation to say the least for Vale to be playing a home cup tie against Buckie over there.
“I’m sure that Buckie don’t want the game put back any more when they have enough league games still to play but from our point of view its probably easier for us to go to Longside than for some of their Inverness-based players.”
Vale lost 3-0 at Brora Rangers in the league on Saturday after conceding a disputed penalty just two minutes in.
“We set up with a game plan and within two minutes it was undone. I’ll be interested to see the video, it looked offside before the penalty incident.
“Brora were very impressive, one of the best teams we’ve played this season and it didn’t quite work for us but you wonder how it would have been if we didn’t concede that early goal.