Turriff Thistle 3 - FC Polska 0
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Turriff Thistle continued their pre-season preparations with a comfortable win against FC Polska who could easily turn out to be one of their opponents in Division 1 North when the new season begins in three weeks time.
Due to the scorching heat both teams agreed to play three half-hour sessions to allow regular water breaks, however, the Jags had virtually sealed the victory after the first 30 minutes through two goals from club captain, Ryan Morrison and a debut strike from front man Bruce Mair.
Thistle should have added to their goal tally but the extreme heat and multiple substitutions took its toll on stamina, the pace and quality of the football, however, a missed penalty by Mike McCombie in the second session left the final score at 3.
The 3@30minute sessions allowed the 20man Thistle squad a full half-hour each of playing time and the Jags’ keepers, Jordan Ogg and Lewis Cheyne will both be happy with a clean sheet each.
Thistle welcomed back first team regulars Mike McCombie, Regan Fowlie and Steven Wight to the starting line-up and Jonny Buist, Jordan Ogg and Michael Williams to the subs bench.
Lewis Cheyne, Colin Bain Jnr., Lewis Loi, Calum Sivewright and Bruce Mair all kept their starting places from the previous week and Lee Stuart, Oliver Morgan, Liam Murray, Jamie Milne, Kyle Chalmers and Calum Anderson took their places on the bench.
Polska had the first crack at goal in two minutes with a free kick from just outside the box after a soft decision against Loi but Cheyne saved the effort comfortably.
The Jags took the lead after four minutes with virtually their first attack of the match when a superb cross from the left by Bain Jnr. was held up in the centre by Mair before he lobbed it over the defence to Fowlie on the right and his return cross back into the middle was headed into the net by MORRISON.
Thistle could have doubled their lead in seven minutes when Mair got the better of the two Polska central defenders to make space for himself but unfortunately shot over the bar.
The Jags kept pushing forward and in 15 minutes Fowlie shot off down the right and crossed to Sivewright who saw his low shot blocked for a corner by the Polska keeper.
Some clever play by Polska in 20 minutes saw them break through the Thistle defence but Cheyne was quickly off his line to smother the ball.
Fowlie, who had been given the freedom of the right-hand side all game, powered off again in 25 minutes before cutting in and letting loose with a fierce shot that was again blocked then collected by the keeper.
The keeper then turned from hero to zero in a flash when he rolled the ball out to his left back who was immediately robbed by MORRISON who then slotted a low shot past the keeper and into the far corner of the net for his and the Jag’s second.
Number three came within another couple of minutes when a long kick out by Cheyne was brilliantly picked up by MAIR deep in the Polska half before he burst clear through two defenders, rounded the advancing keeper and casually rolled the ball into the empty net for his first goal in a Thistle jersey.
The Jags made several changes during the first water break with Kyle Chalmers, Jonny Buist, Lee Stuart, Michael Williams and Jordan Ogg coming on for Kian Beaton, Colin Bain Jnr., Bruce Mair, Calum Sivewright and Lewis Cheyne.
The fresh legs told immediately when, in 32 minutes, a spectacular through-ball from Stuart split the Polska defence and set Williams free who slipped the ball past the advancing keeper only to see it roll narrowly past the wrong side of the post.
In 37 minutes Callum Anderson came on for Loi as the fierce heat took its toll.
Thistle maintained the pressure and in 45 minutes a long ball forward from Fowlie found Williams in the clear again but this time his low shot flew past the other post.
In 48 minutes the Jags launched another attack in numbers with Williams, Morrison and Fowlie running rings round the Polska defence before Williams was floored in the box and the penalty awarded.
McCombie stepped up to take the spot kick but his fierce shot to the left saw the Polska keeper pull off a magnificent save to turn the ball round the post.
Oliver Morgan then joined the match for a dehydrated Wight.
Thistle kept playing attacking football but could not breach the organised and resolute Polska defence.
Polska were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Jags box at the end of the second session but fired the ball well over Ogg’s bar.
The final 30 minute session saw Jamie Milne, Liam Murray and Kian Beaton replace Chapman, Morrison and Fowlie then shortly after the relentless heat forced Fowlie, Loi, Mair and Cheyne to return in place of Stuart, Chalmers, Morgan and Ogg.
Final substitutions resulted in Chapman, Bain Jnr. and Sivewright finish the match in place of McCombie, Buist and Williams.
The match ended with two scoring chances falling to Polska when in 85 minutes two attacking players broke through the Jags defensive line but the final shot was brilliantly saved by Cheyne then, on the final whistle the visitors drove up the right then cut into the middle before firing in a low shot that was well blocked by Cheyne at his near post.
The match was well won by Thistle who kept trying to play crisp, attacking football despite the horrendous, scorching conditions which both teams would be happy never to be seen repeated.
Turriff Thistle: Lewis Cheyne (Jordan Ogg), Mike McCombie, Neil Chapman, Kian Beaton (Kyle Chalmers), Colin Bain Jnr. (Jonny Buist), Regan Fowlie (Liam Murray), Ryan Morrison (Jamie Milne), Lewis Loi (Callum Anderson), Steven Wight (Oliver Morgan), Callum Sivewright (Michael Williams), Bruce Mair (Lee Stuart).
Turriff Thistle will be hoping it has cooled down a bit before Saturday, July 24 when the next pre-season fixture sees the visit of Kemnay Amateurs to the Haughs.
The match will kick-off at 1.30 pm.