Hive stay in hunt

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Stonehaven Juniors manager Dougie Baxter was delighted after his side kept their Super League title hopes alive with a 1-0 home win over Stoneywood on Saturday.

Dougie said: “The win keeps us hanging on in there behind the leaders Hermes. We just have to win our games and hope they slip up, which at the moment seems unlikely.

“We have nine games to go and we have to play the bottom four teams as well as the top five.

“Culter are still in the hunt as well, but they have 16 league games to play, so it will be a tough schedule for them.

“We are happy with the number of games we have got played. It was really only in January that there were a few call-offs.”

Stonehaven are away to Hermes under lights in a Regional Cup tie on March 13. If they win they will face Culter or Banks o’ Dee.

They are also still involved in the League Cup where they are away to Banks o’ Dee and if they win that one, they will face Culter or Maud.

“The cup draws could have been kinder, but these are the sides you have to beat if you want to win a cup.

“We only have three home games left in the league and six away, but home advantage is not all that crucial at this level.

“We were a bit fortunate to get the three points on Saturday. They had a man sent off before we scored, then they had another man sent off near the end.

“Our season is shaping up very well and we want to stage a sprint finish.

“If we win something we will be delighted, but if we don’t we will have laid down a benchmark for next season when we aim to be even stronger.”

Stonehaven went into Saturday’s game looking to maintain their unbeaten record in 2012.

On a very windy day, the visitors were first to have a shot after a break down the right but Smith saved well with his feet from Stevenson.

Horne had Stonehaven’s first chance in eight minutes but his shot was saved.

In 13 minutes a good ball in from the right was just missed at back post as Hive struggled to get to grips with the game.

After 20 minutes a cross from Low on the right found the head of Lewis Shand, but his header was saved and the defence cleared the danger.

Horne did well soon after to control a ball into the box but instead of shooting laid the ball through but there was no one to take advantage.

In 25 minutes a ball over the top found Horne who was clean through on goal but he pulled his shot wide of the target.

The hosts were given a one man advantage five minutes before half-time when Stoneywood midfielder Steven Rintoul was shown a straight red card for a bad tackle on Martin Shand.

Just before half time a Steel header was tipped over the bar in what was one of very few attempts from the hosts in the first half.

Stonehaven came out the better side in the second half and within five minutes had grabbed the lead. The ball was played into the box and was finished by Martin Shand.

In 56 minutes David Glass replaced Lewis Shand and the substitute was almost immediately in the thick of the action. A good ball in by Low came to Horne who in turn laid to Glass whose shot was deflected wide.

Stonehaven continued to press in search of a second goal to ease the pressure and a corner by Horne was just about cleared over his own bar by former Hive defender Strachan.

Substitute Ivan Sinclair won the ball in midfield and played in Horne but his shot went wide of target.

Sinclair was involved again in 70 minutes when Low crossed the ball into his path but he was unlucky to see his shot blocked for a corner. Glass was next to threaten but his cross from the left was cleared for a corner.

Despite being the dominant side in the second period Stonehaven were let out of jail in 74 minutes when Pyper failed to clear but fortunately Stevenson ran through on goal and mishit his shot.

The visitors’ lack of discipline began to come to a head and not long after coming on as a substitute their number 16 was sent off following two bookings for dissent in the space of 10 minutes.

The final minutes proved to be a nervy affair as despite their two man advantage, Stonehaven struggled to keep the ball out of their penalty area. The win sees Stonehaven stay seven points behind leaders Hermes who also have a game in hand.