Keith put in an amazing first half performance and magical Ryan Keir proved to manager Allan Hale that signing him from Inverurie Locos was a piece of brilliance. However, this failed to prevent the hosts from losing 4-1 to Formartine United on the opening day which was due to a great performance in the second half by the away side.
Neil Gauld’s volley, a spot kick by Paul Lawson and début goals from new signings former Aberdeen player Derek Young and Conor Gethins wrapped up the victory for the away side. Keir’s tremendous free kick just before the break didn’t affect the outcome.
The home side controlled the half from when the whistle was blown and quickly caught United on the counter attack with striker Michael Ewen darting down the right flank to cross the ball into Craig MacAskill who struck a powerful strike which keeper Andy Reid saved well.
Soon after the United defence fell asleep which resulted in Kris Duncan being allowed time to attempt a chip over the head of Reid ,however, it went narrowly over the crossbar.
At the other end, Scott Barbour used his trickery to get to the byline to whip a dangerous delivery into the box but nobody managed to get the right connect onto the cross.
Then Keir drove into the box with United failing to close him down however his decision-making let him down, as he decided to unselfishly try to find one of his team mates despite being in a perfect shooting position but a defender blocked his pass which resulted in a corner.
Not long after Keir from 20 yards curled the ball perfectly which looked to be heading for the top right corner with Reid beaten but it crashed off the post after doing a clever one two with MacAskill. The 19 year old showed his class again a few minutes later with a rocket of a strike from 35 yards which beat Reid however this time it struck the bar. Luck didn’t seem to be on Keith’s side.
In the 40th minute, the away side broke the deadlock when a defensive mistake let Neil Gauld volley the ball powerfully from close range into the net. This was the travelling team’s first shot on target.
The home support went wild five minutes later when Keir beautifully curled a set piece from the edge of the box into the top left corner of the net out of the reach of helpless Reid to level the scoring. After Gary Wood tripped Luke Barbour who was sprinting towards the box.
Keith knew they still had a great opportunity to beat United and may feel aggrieved at referee Liam Duncan for not awarding them a spot kick straight after the break. When Ewen’s cross into the box struck the hand of United player Graeme Rodgers. Despite the hosts roaring for a penalty to be given, the referee waved play on.
In the 50th minute, Kris Hunter’s side retook the lead when Stewart Hutcheon attempted to play a long ball to Donald Fraser which was picked up by Barbour quickly who feed the ball in front of aware Young who smashed the ball into the net. After the goal, Ryan Pink and keeper Dey fell into Young which resulted in him having to be replaced by Neil McVitie.
Three minutes later, Gauld skillfully got behind the backline and defender Michael Ralton made a rash challenge on him inside the box. Which resulted in the referee pointing to the spot. Paul Lawson was composed to calmly strike the spot kick low and past Dey.
Gauld was replaced by Conor Gethins and his partnership with McVitie was proving to be a menace to the Keith defence. Biscuits clever and dangerous balls meeting Gethins runs into perilous areas was effective.
Soon after Barbour went for the speculative inside the box but Dey did well to save the effort.
Minutes later Hale decided to take off scorer Keir who desperately got clapped off the pitch for his brilliant performance and replaced him with Ryan Stewart.
MacAskill almost grabbed a goal back when he broke into the box but he dragged his shot narrowly wide.
Gethins and McVitie partnership resulted in a goal at the death when McVitie used his pace down the right channel to get the better of the left back and delivered a cross to Gethins who tucked it home to bag his first goal for the Pitmedden side.
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