Second half display costs Stonehaven

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Stonehaven U15s made the long trip north to Fraserburgh on Sunday keen to get back to winning ways in the league following the disappointing defeat to Huntly last time out.

Despite a comfortable home win against Fraserburgh earlier in the season, there was concern that the weather conditions might assist in turning this fixture into a banana skin for Stonehaven and so it proved.

The visitors started well enough on an uneven pitch playing into the teeth of a bitterly cold wind and against the odds managed to secure most of the territory and possession in the opening 20 minutes. They won a succession of corners but were denied an opening goal by a mixture of resolute defending and bad luck as the ball just wouldn’t break for Stonehaven in the box.

against the run of play, the home side struck after 22 minutes with their first meaningful attack. Stonehaven conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position wide on the left. The ball was swung in with the wind and only partially cleared to the edge of the area where a Fraserburgh player struck a fine volley into the corner of the net.

Stonehaven were fortunate on several occasions with crosses into their box being scrambled clear or just eluding the Fraserburgh strikers but they survived without further damage until half-time and must have felt confident of winning the match in the second half playing with the wind.

Stonehaven certainly started the second half on top and again won a number of corners as the home side defended in depth.

Just as the Stonehaven supporters were beginning to wonder if it might be one of those days, the away side finally made a corner kick count. On 55 minutes, Lovick drilled in a flat delivery from the right which was met by a fabulous diving header by full-back McKenzie at the back post which gave the Fraserburgh ‘keeper no chance.

This should have been the springboard for the away side to push on to victory but it was not to be. Instead Stonehaven lost their way and the momentum swung back to Fraserburgh.

A defensive lapse by Stonehaven after 63 minutes allowed a striker to run through on goal and he finished well. The away side went to a more attacking formation in a bid to recover the situation and the whole match turned on a pivotal incident after 71 minutes.

A Stonehaven corner was not properly cleared and there was a melee in the six yard box with the home side eventually clearing the ball. The away side were over committed and Fraserburgh broke fast down the right. Their first attempt was saved by Forbes but the ball broke to a striker who just managed to score despite a despairing challenge.

Stonehaven’s attempt to rescue the situation inevitably left more gaps at the back and three minutes from time a winger was allowed to dribble along the byline before knocking in a dangerous ball that Davidson could only help into his own net.

Smith grabbed a consolation for Stonehaven in the last minute with a fine shot from outside the box but by then they looked a well beaten side.

This fourth league defeat is likely to be a hammer blow to Stonehaven’s promotion hopes and they will be left wondering how it went so badly wrong in the last 20 minutes of this match.

They now move on to a Stonehaven Trophy quarter final tie against in form Huntly knowing that an improved performance will be required to avoid another cup exit at the hands of their old rivals.

Stonehaven U15: Forbes, McKenzie, Davidson, Laing, Collie, Freeman, Smith, Garrow, Lovick, Hartley, Barclay, Oort, McCallum, Payne, Pyper.