THE LAST of the Saints' home league games took place today and despite chances for both sides, a firey contest with Golspie Sutherland ended in a no score draw. The result was enough for St Duthus to secure a 6th place finish for the season.
A promising start to the game saw St Duthus enjoy the better of play with the wind slightly in their favour. The same motivation that has been a feature of the St Duthus team since the turn of the year was plain to see for the home crowd.
On nine minutes, great link up play down the left allowed Ewan Ross to get forward and a clever switch of play saw him find Finn As-Chainey on the right who sent a cross into the box. Midfield man Cammy Mackintosh advanced to meet the ball well with his head, but his powered effort flew just wide of Graeme Williamson's left post.
Moments later, Craig Ross showed his threat from set pieces with a neat ball into the box which found Jon Campbell, but the home captain's headed chance was gathered easily by Williamson.
Enjoying his first start of the year, Jamie Skinner had the best chance of the first half. Just before the half hour when he curled a shot towards goal from the edge of the box. The chance looked like it was heading for the far top corner as it looped over the head of Williamson leaving him standing, but it cannoned off the upright and bounced back into play.
Liam Rostock forced a save from Williamson with a volleyed effort on the end of an As-Chainey cross as the Saints continued to press, but the striker was forced to withdraw due to injury shortly after, replaced by Scott Miller.
Half time: St Duthus 0 Golspie Sutherland 0
Golspie were first to threaten upon the restart. Left back Blair Duncan headed wide from a corner on the 50 minute mark, and the same player was unlucky not to score with a free kick which Steven Martin held. At the other end, Ryan Patterson tested Williamson with a tame effort after being played in on goal by Jon Campbell
Steady defending at both ends kept the chances to a minimum as the game progressed, as both teams pressed for the opener.
With twenty minutes remaining, Finn As-Chainey was left to rue a brilliant opportunity after a defensive slip let the winger break clear on goal, but ball into the box was blocked and cleared, allowing Golspie to regroup. At the other end, Golspie striker Graham Macnab was denied by Martin on a couple of occasions.
The game took an ugly turn with a quarter hour remaining following an altercation in the St Duthus area. The scuffle resulted in Ewan Ross being shown a second yellow card, reducing the hosts to ten men for the remainder of the match.
As Golspie pushed for a late winner, chances for Bremner and Jake Lockett flew high and wide as the Saints defended resolutely - John Skinner in particular showing great resilience. The best of the late chances fell to Luke MacBeath inside the box, but a superb save from Martin denied the Sutherland striker with a diving save before collecting the rebound as the scoresheet remained blank.
With the final attempt of the game, a Duncan free kick from 20 yards was held authoritatively by Martin and after the ball was kicked back into play referee Stephen McDade called time on the game.
Full time: St Duthus 0 Golspie Sutherland 0
Post match, news of Halkirk's defeat of Inverness was enough to confirm that St Duthus have moved up one place to sixth in the Macleod & MacCallum North Caledonian League standings, which will almost certainly be their final position in the league owing to a significantly superior goal difference.
Steven Martin, Joe Sutherland, Ewan Ross (bkd 16) (s/o 74), Craig Ross, John Skinner, Jon Campbell, Justin Rogers (bkd 25) (Ken Morrison 72), Cammy Mackintosh, Jamie Skinner (Ryan Patterson 62), Liam Rostock (Scott Miller 37) (Sam Beeston 75), Finn As-Chainey
Sub not used: Trialist
Graeme Williamson, Gavin Sinclair, Blair Duncan, Jordan Sutherland (bkd 75), Daniel Coghill (bkd 43) (Jake Lockett 46), Alan Larnach (bkd 60), Ally Macleod, Cameron Sutherland (bkd 64) (Mark Coghill 65), Martin Banks, Graham Macnab (bkd 81), Liam Bremner
Subs not used: Evan Murray, Luke MacBeath
Referee: Stephen McDade
Assistants: Edward Nichol and Joe Buchanan
Man of the Match: John Skinner