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North Region Juniors: Cross deceives Stoneywood keeper in tough conditions and delivers victory in ‘must win’ clash for Stonehaven

Stoneywood's Barin Faleye, left, and Alan Lloyd, right, of Stonehaven. Picture by Kenny Elrick
Stoneywood's Barin Faleye, left, and Alan Lloyd, right, of Stonehaven. Picture by Kenny Elrick

Stonehaven closed the gap on McBookie.com First Division leaders Stoneywood Parkvale to four points with a battling single goal victory in tricky conditions at Stoneywood Park.

The only goal of the game arrived in the 84th minute and it was something of a fluke – as Daniel Higgins’ cross, heading into the wind, totally deceived the home keeper and landed in the back of the net.

Stonehaven boss Martyn Rollo underlined the significance of the goal to his side, saying: “That was a must-win game for us, make no mistake.

“It was a good performance in very difficult conditions with the wind and we really needed those three points and I think we deserved them.

“The goal wasn’t even wind assisted as we were against the wind after the interval and I think we played better in the second half.

“Daniel wasn’t even due to start, which would have been harsh as he’s been training really well, but Clark Robertson, our centre-back, got injured in the warm up and I thought Daniel and young Ronan Masson did really well in the middle of the defence.”

Rollo was particularly impressed with the performance of right winger Josh Christie, who was making his first competitive start for Hive, saying “Josh was part of the Pittodrie youth system and then won a scholarship to the USA, which was cut short due to the pandemic.

“He’s been doing well for our under-21s and has taken a wee while to get up to full fitness, but he could have had a hat-trick on Saturday.

“He’s a good, old fashioned winger, a real throwback and a crowd pleaser.

“Progression from the 21s is important to us and Lee Taggart has already made the step up, and the likes of Reece Wilson and Cameron Cook are there or thereabouts.”

Stoneywood’s Liam Bain winning the ball against Josh Christie of Stonehaven. Picture by Kenny Elrick

Rollo conceded the league is an extremely tight one with everyone capable of beating everyone else on their day.

“There’s probably four teams that would hold their own in the Superleague and almost everyone has been up and down all season,” he added.

“That was our first win in two months after a very good start to the campaign. Sunnybank, who we don’t have to play again, are also on the up.

“Stoneywood have been very steady all season, and the likes of Buchanhaven Hearts, Dufftown, Fraserburgh United and Longside are all extremely capable.

“Even Aberdeen University, who are currently bottom, were sitting top when we came out of the first lockdown.”

Next up for Stonehaven are back-to-back league games against second-bottom Fraserburgh United.

Rollo said: “The table can be misleading and they are a very strong side and always competitive. They were as strong as we faced last year.”

 

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