Stonehaven Juniors can not now qualify for the last eight of the Grill League Cup after they lost 2-1 at home to FC Stoneywood on Saturday.
Stonehaven went into the game knowing that a win, followed by another win over Ellon Thistle in their final section game, would see them safely through to the last eight.
It was not to be however and the 2-1 defeat leaves Hive out of the competition and unable to even get the “best runner-up” berth which is up for grabs alongside the seven section winners.
Stonehaven manager Dougie Baxter says he will now use the final section game, away to Ellon on Saturday, to try out a few different things as they build up for the start of their league programme.
“The result on Saturday no longer matters, so we will perhaps try a different formation, with a few guys in different positions.”
Hive lost 2-1 to Banks o’ Dee in their first section match, a game in which Dougie says they should have been out of sight by half-time.
This was followed by a 1-0 win over East End and a 3-2 win over Banchory, which rekindled their hopes of qualifying.
Stoneywood are now poised to win the section. They have had three wins and a draw so far and need to beat Banchory in their final game to make sure.
“We always look to win every game we play. The League Cup is not to be for us this year, but the five games will have been a big benefit to us and have allowed us to experiment a bit before the league campaign starts.”
After their final section game, Stonehaven are at home to Fraserburgh in the first round of the Regional Cup on September 1, before they face their first league game on September 8.
Hive were due to take on defending champions Hermes on that date, but as they will be playing a Grill League Cup quarter-final, Stonehaven will be given other league opponents.
Stonehaven have lost another player, with the sale of Steve Reid to Ellon Thistle and he will be up against them on Saturday.
Dougie Baxter said: “I hope to bring in a couple of new faces. There will be a couple of guys at training on Thursday and I hope to sign them up.
“We will be a far younger side this season than last.
“That will be a disadvantage as experience counts, but the young lads who have come in are keen to do well and we will go with what we have got.”