Alness United 4 St. Duthus 3

St. Duthus and Alness United served up a seven goal thriller at Dalmore Park on Saturday, with the game ending in the hosts' favour.

Alan Geegan rang the changes following last week's defeat to Invergordon, with messrs Lewis Smith and Ross Tokely returning to the starting lineup, along with Duncan Davidson and Adrian Voigt, both making their first starts since the summer.

Saints had the better of the game in the early going and they should have taken the lead through Jake Lockett on ten minutes after a long throw was played into the path of the striker by Ben Bruce. But - from just yards out, he agonisingly sent his effort high over the bar.

A ball across goal from Lewis Smith caused the Alness back line problems on the quarter hour mark, with Taylor Sutherland almost diverting the ball into his own net before Lewis Bannerman gathered the loose ball.

But the opener came at the other end, somewhat against the run of play, on 34 minutes. A quick counter up the park following a slack midfield pass allowed Euan Henderson to break clear and lay the ball to Struan Coli for a first time finish high into the net.

Saints pressed for an equaliser as the half came to a close, and save for a chance for Lockett which was fired over the bar, the first period had no further goal action. But Saints made no mistake once the game resumed, as Jake Lockett levelled with a far post finish after getting on the end of a Ben Bruce cross, just one minute into the second half.

It took St. Duthus six minutes to complete the turnarond - and the goal arrived from 20 yards courtesy of Jamie Skinner who struck the ball sweetly beyond the grasp of Bannerman.

Saints were on the ascendency and were it not for a penalty award on 56 minutes, they may have extended their advantage. Awarded a penalty kick for a handball in the box, Alness were given a lifeline and got back into the game courtesy of Michael Mckenzie who found the net well.

The game was back on a level pegging in more ways than one as neither side looked to be in clear control - and it took a moment of class from Euan Henderson to put Alness back into the lead on 73 minutes, curling a well struck shot beyond Gillan from 25 yards.

Getting on the end of a pass from Kyle Mackenzie, Jamie Skinner looked certain to double his tally on 80 minutes after finding himself in plenty space to sidefoot home, but his shot rolled just past the upright.

Instead, the leveller came from Ben Bruce, with the aid of a deflection off keeper Lewis Bannerman, who could do nothing to keep out the striker's shot from a tight angle.

With seven minutes left, the chase was on for a winner, with both sides in hot pursuit. It took until the 89th minute for the game to be decided and following a moment of desperation in defence, the home side snatched a late victory. A zipping ball into the box was stopped by Gillan, but the rebound was not dealt with quick enough and sub Jordan Knight slammed the ball home from just yards out.

It was a disappointing afternoon for Geegan's charges, who will definitely feel an improvement on the week prior, but will surely be hurting to have dropped all three points.

St. Duthus:
Gillan, L Smith (bkd 54), Christie (bkd 56), JW Skinner, Davidson, J Skinner, Lockett (Mackenzie 78), Voigt (S Ross 64), Bruce (bkd 90), Tokely (bkd 6), As-Chainey
Subs not used: Rogers (bkd 60)

Referee: G Dearie
Assistants: I Ross & P Stevenson

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