Stonehaven kicked off last Wednesday’s home game against Ellon United in perfect conditions, as they looked to round off their Superleague campaign with a win before taking on champions Hermes tonight (Friday) in the McLeman Cup Final.
Ellon began well and forced an early corner but the ball was easily cleared.
With five minutes gone a ball in from the right found Winton but he could only shoot wide. The following quarter of an hour saw neither side threaten with Stonehaven happy enough to keep possession as they looked for an opening.
It wasn’t until the 26th minute before either side created a clear cut chance. Low did well down the right and played the ball into the path of Steel who saw his shot blocked. Ten minutes later The Hive took the lead. A ball down right saw Steel played in and he cut the ball back for Cruickshank who made no mistake from six yards. There was almost a carbon copy goal just a minute later but after good work by Steel to play the ball back, Cruickshank shot wide.
Stonehaven continued to press in the second half as they looked to increase their lead. With two minutes gone good play saw the ball played to Duncan who took the ball on and saw his shot palmed away.
Two minutes later a free kick from the edge of the area was headed wide. With just under an hour gone the lead was doubled when a free kick from Reid found the head of McCall who looped a fantastic header into the bottom corner. Cruickshank was put clean through with 10 minutes remaining and tried to lift the ball over Forsyth in the Ellon goal but his effort was easily held. Stonehaven were content to keep hold of the ball but with just two minutes remaining they broke with Cruickshank whose cross just missed Duncan. Duncan in turn played the ball back across and Alexander was inches away from connecting. It was Alexander who had the last chance of the game in the last minute but he could only send his header over the target.
Stonehaven: Smith, Croll, McCall, Winton (Nicoll), Low, Reid, Murray, Duncan, Steel (Horne), Cruickshank, Glass (Alexander). Subs: Stewart, Pyper, Martin Shand.
Stonehaven have finished second in the Superleague, their best placing since they won the Premier League title way back in 1994.
All that Hive have to do now to make this the most memorable of seasons is secure some silverware.
They have their chance tonight when they take on champions Hermes in the final of the McLeman Cup.
The game takes place at the Hillhead Centre in Aberdeen with a 7.30pm kick-off.
Tickets are £5 and £3 for what promises to be a thrilling end to the junior season.
Dougie Baxter and his players and everyone connected with the club would appreciate some vocal backing as they try to end the season on a high.