Luthermuir seal promotion

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Luthermuir 1

Portlethen 0

Luthermuir clinched promotion to the Aberdeenshire Amateur League Premier Division with a 1-0 win at home to Portlethen on Saturday.

Portlethen went into this their final game of the season as league leaders and already promoted. Luthermuir’s win takes them to within two points of Portlethen and they need three more points from their final four games to finish as champions of Division One East.

Portlethen should have scored in three minutes when Lewis Walker put the ball wide from close range.

Luthermuir threatened in 17 minutes. Murdoch Anderson hooked the ball into the area and Stephen Greig had an overhead kick saved by keeper Paul Murphy.

Back came Portlethen and in 22 minutes, Craig Will made space inside the box and his chip just cleared the crossbar.

Luthermuir took the lead in 25 minutes. David Craig chipped the ball through and Greig had a header tipped on to the bar by Murphy. Greig was first to react and regained posession before driving the ball home.

Two minutes later, hesitancy in the home defence let Will in and he went down in a challenge with keeper John Wands, but the referee said no penalty.

Luthermuir broke to the other end and a drive from Jim Ellis just missed the top corner.

There was a flurry of action just before half-time. A quickly-taken free-kick by Portlethen put Daniel Ross in and Wands saved at his feet. From the resulting corner, a header from Will was cleared off the line by Michael Cruickshank.

Right on the whistle, Greig cut the ball back and it took a bad bobble as Ellis was about to shoot.

Early in the second half, Duncan Smith fed Ross and his angled drive was saved by Wands.

In 53 minutes, Steven Mathieson sent in a free-kick and Ross sent the ball just wide with a diving header.

Luthermuir needed a second goal and Jimmy Reid failed to connect with an Ellis cross, then a Ryan Milne cross found no takers in the middle.

In 67 minutes, Greig worked a one-two with Ewan Slesser and Murphy did just enough to keep out his shot.

Three minutes later, Cruickshank headed wide from a Milne cross.

A Slesser shot on the turn was saved by Murphy, then Greig got to the line and his effort was saved at the post.

In 74 minutes, Greig headed wide from a Slesser cross.

Substitute Michael Christie had a chance for Portlethen, but his weak effort was saved.

Luthermuir just couldn’t make the points secure and Slesser hooked the ball over from a Cruickshank corner, then with eight minutes left, Greig drove over from long range.

In 87 minutes, Slesser played the ball across the face of the Portlethen goal and both Ellis and Greig just failed to force it home.

Portlethen needed something to keep their title hopes alive and with two minutes left they appealed for a hand ball before a shot from Will was deflected for a corner.

With the 90 minutes up, Wands made one final save from Will and Luthermuir played out time for a promotion clinching victory.

Luthermuir were due at Johnshaven last night (Wednesday), looking for the three points needed to clinch the title.

Luthermuir: Wands, R. Darar, Young, Miller, Reid, Craig, Ellis, Morrison (Milne), Anderson (Slesser), Greig, Cruickshank. Subs: K. Darar, Lindsay, Chalmers.

Portlethen: Murphy, Sellar, Manson, Davidson, M. Mathieson, McIntosh, Walker, S. Mathieson, Will, D. Smith (Gray), Ross (Christie). Subs: Bragg, R. Smith.