On Saturday I attended my first Highland League game in a long time,which was among league leaders Turriff United and Keith at Kynoch Park on a freezing Valentines day afternoon. This match clearly showed what I have missed so much about this league. Goals galore, lots of drama and brilliant link up play.
Along with the excitement coming from the die-hard supporters. However, the dreaded vanishing spray was on show for the first time. Everyone was cheering when the spray was used at first but it began to turn into a pantomime villain due to it now slowing down the play. To be honest what’s the utter point of using it as you find it hard to see the white lines which its suppose to make.
But shockingly the Ref awarded a penalty for Turriff United in the 11th minute as he thought keeper Daniel Bell had brought down Gary Harris in the box. From my point of view Bell clearly got a hand to it and Harris had jumped over him so he didn’t hurt the keeper with his studs. This angered the home support and caused a kind of bust up on the field. This referee was certainly not on the Maroon fan’s Valentine card lists. Fair play to Gary McGowan who calmly stepped up and slotted the ball down the middle to give the away side the lead with the keeper helpless. This spurred the host on and started to put United under intense pressure.
As Matthew MacDonald’s and danger man Michael Ewen‘s link up play caused the back line all sort of problems. Turriff almost doubled their lead as Stuart Cumming‘s clever delivery found McGowan who only had to get a small touch onto to put it into the back of the net. However, his powerful header went flying over the crossbar. Minutes later Keith equalized as Ewen volleyed the ball which forced stopper Kevin Main into parrying it straight to Cormack who smashed the ball into the net.
But it was short-lived with McGowan showing why he’s such a top striker. As he went around the keeper with great ease and netted a neat finish. The Maroons broken forward with some creative movement which resulted in a corner. This landed for Bruce Milne who let fly with a powerful effort which was touched into the net by new signing Grant Mitchell. This punished the visitors for giving their opposition far too much room to move into
With the break approaching Harris sprinted down the right flank whipped in a wicked cross which Andrew MacAskill netted with a magical diving header. At half time my prediction was correct which delighted me so much however a tremendous second half display from United ripped it into tiny pieces and impressed me a lot. Along with them portraying a team that are challenging for the league title.
After the break in the 65th minute Harris fired the ball across to Lewis Davidson who sent the ball into the empty net. A torturous eight minutes was the downfall for Keith. As United were deadly with their quick play. Firstly sub Craig MacAskill skilfully rounded the keeper to slot the ball home. Then Lewis Davidson’s cross went to Andy MacAskill who tapped the ball into the net from close range. Finally, the victory was wrapped up to keep United top of the league with Harris putting in a great delivery which MacAskill headed into the net to complete his delightful hat trick and make it 7-2 to the travelling side.
At the death Finlay Stables got sent off for Keith which made their day even worse. What an amazing game it had everything I wanted in it. For me the MacAskill brothers stood out with their nice finishes and creative play. Vanishing spray go away and never return!
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