Clach and Buckie Thistle, two of the teams hardest hit by injuries this season, fought out a highly-entertaining Highland League draw at Grant Street Park, Inverness, on Saturday.
Michael Finnis gave the home side a half-time advantage but league champions Thistle levelled in the second period thanks to a Jay Cheyne strike.
Both teams had chances to grab all three points but over the 90 minutes a draw was probably just about right. Both managers felt that their team had done enough to win, with Clach’s Iain Polworth seeing a far more spirited display than their previous outing at Deveronvale.
He said: “We thought we did enough to win the game but were very disappointed in the manner we lost the goal as our defence didn’t take responsibility to clear our lines. Overall, we limited the champions to very few chances and we created the better clearcut openings.
“We kept going right to the end and young Jordan Andrew is really upset about missing a great chance in injury time. But I said to him he is going to miss a lot more than he is ever going to score and that is the way it is with forwards taking pot luck. I told him not to let it get him down.
“Michael Finnis scored a great well-worked goal and we nearly had a carbon copy of it five minutes later but he put it wide – he should probably have finished the opening.
“Lukasl Geruzel was excellent and gave us a focal point up front to aim for, putting the Buckie defence under pressure, while Liam Shewan also put in a great shift.”
The former Wick Academy striker is playing for Golspie and Polworth will probably have another look at him as he would bring great experience to his young side.
Buckie manager Graeme Stewart felt the Jags were the better team in what was a difficult game for his injury-hit side.
He said: “We had to change the team before kick-off as Steven Ross called off and Lewis Mackinnon moved up front to partner John Macleod and both did well. No team could survive the amount of setbacks we have had to endure this season due to injury but we will sort things out and come back stronger. It will take time for players to return.
“Hamish Munro had to return a week earlier than we had expected, while Sam Urquhart made his second appearance from the bench in a week.
“We lost a bad goal from our point of view but deserved to get back level and got stronger as the game went on but couldn’t get a winner.”
Clach went ahead after 18 minutes as Blair Lawrie’s pinpoint cross picked out Finnis, who powered an eight-yard header into the postage-stamp corner of the net. Finnis almost repeated the dose five minutes later, while Shewan and Andy Stark had openings for Clach on the restart.
Buckie levelled when Mackinnon’s long pass released Macleod after 52 minutes and he did well to set up Cheyne to fire the ball beyond Douglas Maclennan from 16 yards.
Striker Macleod was then denied by a fine stop from Maclennan before substitute Andrew fired an eight-yard header wide at the back post after a fine cross from Finnis found the head of the youngster as the final whistle approached.