One side excelled from set pieces, the other side faltered. It was the dead-ball situations that made the difference at the Bellslea as a trio of superb strikes saw Fraserburgh edge into the Semi-finals of the Aberdeenshire Shield at the expense of Buckie Thistle.
Fraserburgh began with an identical squad to the one that had dismantled Turriff United on Saturday, whereas Buckie were still reeling from their shock draw against strugglers Strathspey.
Barely five minutes had expired when Mark Chisholm saw his header from 6 yards end up the wrong side of the post from Zander Sutherland’s free-kick, a miss which would prove pivotal less than two minutes later when the ball found the net at the other end of the park. Marc Dickson’s chipped long ball matched Scott Barbour’s run, and, with no shout from his fellow defenders received, Darren Wood hesitated on making his clearance, allowing Barbour to nip in from behind him before executing a perfect lob over Kevin Main for 1-0.
However parity was soon restored for the 2007-08 winners of this competition through Paul Napier, introduced as a substitute seven minutes previous. Donnie Munro’s curling effort was kept out well by Paul Leask, but could only parry the ball back out into play and a goalmouth melee proceeded with Napier stabbing home from only yard out.
Buckie were now looking to rise into the ascendancy.
However, the complexity of the match changed with the very last kick prior to the half-time whistle.
Three minutes into stoppage time had surpassed when Dean Cowie’s free-kick was knocked out of the penalty area by Wood, but fell perfectly to Allan Hale on the half-volley, and his corker of an effort rocketed into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Thistle again looked to be getting a foothold on the game after that, but a moment of what some might brand as silliness from Gary Clark saw the player be dismissed by referee Bryan Braidwood after picking up two yellow cards in as many minutes for alleged backchatting to the match official.
Fraserburgh made their one-man advantage extend to a two goal advantage almost instantaneously.
Dean Cowie sweeped the ball into the top bag from the edge of the penalty area with a cracking finish from a corner. Following that killer third goal for Fraserburgh, it looked as if it was time-up for Thistle as far as this competition was concerned, especially with the virtue of the extra man falling in Fraserburgh’s favour.
Clear-cut chances were sporadic for the Jags, and their inability of converting in front of the Broch goal saw them leave the Shield competition early this year.
Fraerburgh will now progres to the quarter finals of the Aberdeenshire Shield, playing away to either Huntly or Inverurie Loco Works next Wednesday.
Pictures provided by David Williamson.