Stonehaven Juniors are fast becoming the penalty shoot-out kings of local junior football.
Last Tuesday the Hive beat league leaders Hermes on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the quarter-final of the North Regional Cup, then they followed that up on Saturday with another shoot-out triumph, this time over Banks o Dee in the first round of the McLeman Cup, following a 2-2 draw.
The previous Saturday, Stonehaven’s slim hopes of finishing as Superleague champions finally disappeared when they lost 1-0 away to FC Stoneywood.
Hive manager Dougie Baxter is delighted that his men have kept their pursuit of silverware alive on two fronts over the past ten days.
In Saturday’s McLeman tie at home to Banks o’ Dee, Stonehaven were in command early on and raced into a 2-0 lead with goals from Max Alexander and Philip Low.
Banks o’ Dee then roared back with two goals of their own and went on to dominate proceedings.
Dougie said: “They were the better side, there is no denying that.
“They got back to 2-2, but credit to our lads, they dug deep and kept them at bay for the rest of the 90 minutes.
“It was straight to penalties. We missed one of our first five and so did they so it was on to sudden death.
“Our keeper Michael Smith saved their eighth penalty them stepped up to smash home our eighth kick to put us through.”
Four days earlier, Stonehaven took the lead against Hermes through Ivan Sinclair, but the league leaders quickly equalised.
“In the shoot-out, they didn’t have a good time and only scored one of their first four, with Michael Smith saving two of them.
“We missed one ourselves but scored three to win.”
The Hive boss was sorry to lose at Stoneywood in the league, but said if he could have chosen which of his side’s three recent games to lose ir would have been that one.
“We were not going to win the league. We were hanging on waiting on slip-ups from others but the defeat has put an end to that.”
Hermes are hot favourites for the league, although with games in hand, Culter or Stoneywood could come up up the rails.
“Our aim is to finish as high as we can. We have six league games left, three at home and three away and I may use them to give a few of our fringe players some playing time so that when the cup ties come round, everyone is ready.”
In the Regional Cup semi-final, Stonehaven will be at home to either Banks o’ Dee or Culter, who were due to play on Wednesday.
In the quarter-final of the McLeman Cup they will be away to Culter.
“It will not be easy in either cup, but I have said all along that a cup was our best chance of success and we want to at least reach a final.
“There is not reason why we can’t win something and a whole host of teams would happily swap places with us.”
Hive are at home to Dyce in the league on Saturday, kick-off 2pm. Dyce sit second in the league, but a win for Stonehaven would take them above them.