Grant Park, North Caledonian League 1, 29/05/21
Entrance – Free
Attendance – 57 when counted (hard to put a figure to, this due to comings and goings)
Pie – N/A
Pint – N/A
St Duthus Football Club
Founded – 1885
Nicknames – The Saints, The Tain Saints
Honours – North Caledonian Cup- 1924/24, 1978/79, 19/83/84, 1886/87, 1989/90, 2017/18
Random Fact – The club’s chairman is Niall Harkiss, the author of the cracking “The North of Scotland Football Review” and “Lowland League Football Review” series of books “
The second of a weekend double header of fitba. This was a late addition to the plans but a nice addition. This going for the game and the weather which hit the balmy heights of twenty degrees in the royal burgh.
Today’s derby(is this classed as derby with eleven miles between them?) turned out to be a good match to watch. Open, chances, some great performances and a picnic at Wee Mans request. We arrived at Grant Park bang on kick off to a decent sized crowd and what looked to be a travellers site(which I am surprised was not on the actual pitch in the usual style). Both teams looked up for it from the off and there was not much between them in the first half. The hosts put the ball up the park a lot and had decent spells of possession but didn’t really create much. Invergordon had an equal share of possession but did create with no finishing touch to be added. The first of note was a mazy run from the visiting 11 who’s feet looked to be a blur as he skipped past three Saints players but keeper Allan was equal to it with a solid save with his foot. The effort could have been harder but a decent save none the less. Almost immediately Invergordon were again guilty of poor finishing when after being set up perfectly the 11 again fluffed his lines and ballooned his effort over the bar and the car park with what looked to be a rush of blood. The Saints keeper was the busier of the two and was called into action a couple of times with very tidy saves before the half was out to keep his clean sheet in tact. Towards the end of the first period I realised the Invergordon number 20 was in a different shirt from the rest of his team mates team for whatever reason. I find this to be gloriously non-league. The last action of the half came when there was a tussle at the edge of the Saints box right in front of us where the home man As-Chainey was struck in the face bursting his nose in the process. To me I would say it was malicious. The linesman on the other hand said no and to make matters even worse , it was given as an Invergordon freekick.
Invergordon were unlucky not to break the deadlock in the opening minutes of the second half. After what can only be describes as a bit of a stramash, the visiting captain (5) tried to smash the ball through a cluster of bodies from the edge of the box which he was successful in doing so, but his effort cannoned off the bar and was cleared. Again the visitors should have broken the deadlock when the number 10 showed fast feet and did everything right creating the opening for the shot only to see it cleared off the line. As the game went on I noticed how good the St Duthus 20, Kenny was. Solid, reads a game well and was clear MOM in my eyes. A very good performance from him. That goes for his sidekick MacKay who also looked the part over the afternoon. Not quite Miller and McLeish but a decent pairing. After the early scares the Saints came into the second half and eventually took the lead through McKenzie who was on hand to snaffle up a rebound off the post from an As-Chainey effort. One became two when Fell drove an effort with precision past the hapless keeper. He has his team mate Bruce to thank for some selfless play to allow him in. The league leaders were rattled and staring at potentially relinquishing there position at the table top if they did not pull one out of the bag in the last twenty minutes and Golspie won at Halkirk. From here the Saints were rock solid and kept the visitors at bay with their hunting in packs style approach to defending. Invergordon went at them and at them and only managed to get two shots off which brought out saves from Allan, but they looked a beaten team after the second went in. The early missed chances were rued and in the closing stages their day in front of goal was summed up when an effort was so wild it went out for a throw.
Over the 90 the Saints were the better team with some great performances, Lockett(who looked to breathing out his ass at 90), As-Chainey, Bruce, MacKay but especially Kenny who was immense. But they were better across the board and deserved their win at the not so sunny but more foggy at full time Grant Park. A good advertisement for the North Caley League. Hopefully there is another match shoehorned in before the league concludes.
Me 193, Wee Man 59