Josh Winton was pleased to see Banks o’ Dee beat the weather and Strathspey Thistle to go to the top of the Breedon Highland League.
The Aberdeen outfit prevailed 4-1 at Spain Park with the game very much in the balance at 1-1 until Jags defender Jack Gilliland conceded a penalty and was sent off with 20 minutes remaining.
Frost led to the postponement of the seven other scheduled league fixtures, but Dee’s artificial surface was playable.
The victory moves Banks o’ Dee to the top of division, a point above Brechin City, who have three games in hand.
Co-manager Winton said: “We were a bit off our best, in spells during either half we were right at it.
“But there were also other spells where we were a bit off it, we were a bit disappointed with that.
“We knew with it being the only game on it was a good chance to get another three points on the board.
“That was the challenge for the boys to do that and then move on to Wednesday (away game against Keith).
“It’s good, the table is a bit all over the place because teams have played less games than others.
“But it certainly looks good until the next set of games, we’ll just keep taking the games one by one.”
Visitors strike first
Strathspey started brightly and took the lead in the 10th minute. Michael McKenzie did well on the right flank to gather possession and pick out Kane Davies.
His effort and Owen Loveland’s attempt were blocked, but the Jags worked the ball to Owen Paterson on the left side of the area and he curled an excellent right foot shot into the top left corner from 15 yards.
In freezing temperatures the visitors were warming to their task and Mackenzie headed straight at goalkeeper Daniel Hoban from an Iain Ross delivery.
After the first quarter Dee improved with Dayshonne Golding a lively presence up front.
He fired wide from Chris Antoniazzi’s cross and then the on-loan Cove Rangers striker had an effort headed off the line by Taylor Sutherland having rounded goalkeeper Steve Martin.
Just shy of the half hour mark the Aberdeen side restored parity. Antoniazzi did superbly well to skip away from Paterson and Gilliland on the right before cutting the ball back for Max Alexander to stroke into the bottom right corner.
Before the first period was over Strathspey’s Jack Davison curled straight at Hoban, while at the other end Martin did well to block Golding’s angled strike.
Dee up the ante
In the 62nd minute Martin denied Dee a certain goal. Jevan Anderson’s flick on released Michael Philipson on the left side of the area and his low shot looked destined to find the far corner only for Martin’s outstretched left boot to divert it wide.
Sub Lachie MacLeod curled narrowly wide as the home side looked to up the tempo.
In the 70th minute the key moment in the contest arrived. Anderson’s ball forward was missed by Sutherland which let Golding in and as he went to shoot he was pulled down by Gilliland.
Referee Owen Lawrence awarded a penalty – which Golding slotted down the middle – and sent Gilliland off for denying a goalscoring opportunity.
In the 77th minute the points and Dee’s place at the top of the table were secured as they netted a second penalty.
Antoniazzi went down under Davison’s challenge and this time Philipson tucked the spot-kick into the left corner.
Strathspey sub Ross Logan lobbed wide from a promising position and MacLeod hit the left post for Dee when through on goal.
In the 84th minute MacLeod didn’t miss out though, hammering home an Antoniazzi corner from six yards.
Positive reaction from Grantown outfit
The final score was harsh on Strathspey given their performance and they remain bottom of the table.
Boss Robert MacCormack said: “After last weekend (8-1 defeat to Turriff United) we wanted a reaction because last week was the worst performance I’ve had since I’ve been at the club.
“We got that reaction, for the whole game we worked really hard, but it’s hard with 11 players and then the red card and the penalty makes it difficult and we were tired.
“Four-one probably flatters Banks o’ Dee a little bit even though they had chances.
“I’m disappointed to lose the game, but I’m pleased with the response from the players and the performance they put in.”
On the penalty and red card decision, MacCormack added: “I couldn’t really see it, but Jack said after he pulled him back and if he’s done that it’s a red card and that’s it.
“It’s frustrating because we were defending well, but there were mistakes in the lead up to the goal where we had chances to clear it.”