St Duthus ended their 2021-22 season with yet another memorable 2-1 victory in Orkney on Saturday.
Saints drafted in a handful of trialists to boost numbers for the game, with several squad members posted absent due to injury and work commitments.
Orkney had the better of things in the first half, playing against the wind. But the final ball deserted them more often than not, and Saints defended well.
But despite not creating many chances, the home side did manage to take the lead on 39 minutes, albeit with the assistance of some good fortune. The goal arrived when an otherwise tame cross sent into the box met the chest of defender Lewis Smith, who inadvertently diverted the ball past Johnny Allan.
Saints undoubtedly came into the game more in the second period, with two changes made during the interval.
A foul on Jake Lockett on 50 minutes, who was wrestled to the ground by an Orkney defender was ignored by the referee, much to the disbelief of the Saints sideline.
But just moments later, a second penalty claim for a foul on the St Duthus trialist sub winger resulted in a spot kick. Lockett, making no mistake, found the net to draw level with Ben Bruce as top scorer for the season.
An injury to referee Bruce Simpson on 70 minutes resulted in a 'change' with assistant referee Gavin Leask taking charge of affairs in the middle. Paul Barber, a qualified referee on the sidelines who had been enjoying a spot of photography, was drafted in to cover the linesman's duty.
A moment of brilliance handed Saints the lead with 89 minutes on the clock. Receiving the ball from Lockett, James Mackay found space to curl the ball into the top corner of the net with precision, drawing applause even from the opposition supporters.
The earlier stoppage meant that Saints had to ride out a final ten minutes of added time, and they did so expertly, as they have all season - with special praise reserved for their trialist right back.
The win secures fifth place for the club, and their highest points per game average at the end of a completed season for at least the past 25 years. Along with last weekend's cup win, the team is in good hands and the future is very bright!
Pic: Paul Barber