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Buckie Thistle beat Rothes after half-time Highland League title race rocket; Turriff thump Huntly; Strathspey’s frustration at Lossiemouth loss

"No disrespect to Rothes, but I had to remind our lads that it’s us who are meant to be going for the league."

Buckie Thistle striker Josh Peters. Image: Jasperimage.
Buckie Thistle striker Josh Peters. Image: Jasperimage.

A Josh Peters hat-trick secured Buckie Thistle a valuable three Breedon Highland League points against a hard-working and much-improved Rothes outfit who had taken an early lead.

Buckie boss Graeme Stewart was delighted with his side’s second half showing, and said: “I think we could have scored a few more goals, especially in the second half, but the first half and the second half were like chalk and cheese.

“I was angry at half-time for the first time in a long time, as I wasn’t happy with our first half performance when Rothes were hungrier. No disrespect to Rothes, but I had to remind our lads that it’s us who are meant to be going for the league.

“We were outstanding in the second half when Max Barry controlled the game and Josh Peters was lethal until we took him off.”

In the third minute, Rothes’ Jake Thompson waltzed past a couple of Jags’ defenders, but his parting shot was straight at home keeper Stuart Knight.

The Speysiders were enjoying the majority of possession in the early stages and they took the lead in the 16th minute when Gary Kerr hammered the ball low past the diving Knight from eight yards.

Two minutes later, Kerr drove a yard wide as Rothes looked to double their advantage.

Buckie levelled in the 36th minute when Andy MacAskill played Peters through and he made no mistake from 10 yards.

Five minutes before the break only a brilliant by Sean McCarthy, using his legs, denied Peters a quick-fire double.

Buckie took the lead in the 66th minute when Peters ran through to net from 15 yards – though he did look to be at least a couple of yards offside.

Peters then completed his hat-trick 10 minutes later when he stabbed home Joe McCabe’s cross from a couple of yards out.

The victory means title-hopefuls Buckie stay 15 points behind Highland League leaders Brechin, and still have five games in hand to make up.

New Rothes manager Richard Hastings confirmed he had seen some encouraging signs from his charges in his debut game, and said: “Obviously it was disappointing to lose and the goals they scored came from mistakes on our part, but the boys held their hands up to that.

New Rothes manager Richard Hastings. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.

“I haven’t even taken a training session as that was cancelled due to the weather, so it was literally the first time I had set eyes on them.

“I saw what I was hoping to see in terms of energy and fighting spirit, the foundations I am looking for – although later on our fitness went a wee bit. But, from a starting point, there really were some positives to take.”

Lethal Turriff United punish Huntly in 4-0 victory where McKeown shines

Turriff United ran out 4-0 winners to leapfrog opponents Huntly into seventh place.

United boss Warren Cummings said: “We performed well. All round we were deserving of the victory, though 4-0 maybe flattered us in terms of the scoreline. We’re delighted with the victory, first and foremost, and happy to keep a clean sheet.”

Reece McKeown played a part in three out of the four goals against his former team, including netting his seventh of the campaign, and Cummings is keen for the winger to continue that form.

He added: “Reece had a nice finish and scored a great goal, and put in a great ball for the fourth.

“He’s contributing well and long may that continue. He’s bright and got quality – but he’s got to maintain that and keep that consistency as he is a threat.”

United opened the scoring after nine minutes when a throw from the left was worked in by Jack McKenzie to McKeown, who fired in a shot off the post.

The hosts doubled their lead after half-an-hour when McKeown’s corner was met by Andrew Watt and took a ricochet before defender Dylan Stuart turned in from close range for his first goal since early September.

With seven minutes of the first half remaining, slack play between the Huntly defence saw John Allan intercept before teeing up Ewan Clark to fire high inside the post.

Turriff added a fourth before the hour. A McKeown corner was not cleared properly and the winger returned the ball in for Clark to score his 15th of the season from close range.

With a minute remaining, Huntly saw a consolation header from Robbie Foster ruled out for offside.

Huntly manager Colin Charlesworth said: “That’s a hurt dressing room.

“We’ve competed, but the decision making has let us down, and credit to Turriff, they’ve been clinical and that’s what wins you games.

“We got punished for every mistake we made and we’ve come away with nothing.”

Strathspey lose at Lossiemouth: ‘That’s another game we were the better team and lost’

Highland League stragglers Strathspey Thistle paid the penalty for missed chances when they went down 2-1 to Lossiemouth in an action-packed match at Grant Park.

After a goalless first half, which Strathspey edged, they went behind to a Ross Morrison goal midway through the second period.

Jags substitute Owen Loveland levelled shortly afterwards –  before another second half sub Niall Kennedy hit the winner for the Coasters from the penalty spot.

Lossie manager Frank McGettrick said: “I thought we were a bit fortunate to go in 0-0 at half time. Strathspey looked to be a bit more up for the game than we were.

“But the boys kept going and we were a lot better in the second half.

“At the end of the day, I’m happy with the three points. Credit to Strathspey, they fought very well.”

Owen Paterson cut inside and cracked a shot off the crossbar for Strathspey on five minutes.

Lossie then came close in the 20th minute when Morrison got on the end of a low cross from Brandon Hutcheson, but he steered his shot wide of Ethan Rae’s left hand post before Strathspey finished the half strongly with a couple more spurned opportunities.

The first real chance of the second period arrived in the 57th minute when Dylan Lawrence’s free-kick fell to Hutcheson, but his shot from inside the six-yard box was brilliantly blocked by Rae.

Lossie were well on top at this stage and the pressure paid off in the 65th minute when a defence-splitting pass from Ryan Farquhar sent Morrison clear on goal and he coolly finished.

The Jags refused to lie down, though, and they levelled in the 71st minute. Lossie keeper Cammy Farquhar could only parry a Jack McKay shot and Loveland followed up to force the rebound into the net.

Lossie, however, restored their lead four minutes later when Jags’ defender Caelan Mutch handled in the box and Niall Kennedy slotted away the resultant spot-kick.

Lossie had to survive a nervy final few minutes with 10 men after Jared Kennedy was sent off by referee Fillipo Mazzoni, picking up a second yellow card for time wasting.

Strathspey boss, Robert McCormack said: “I just said to the boys: ‘that’s another game that we were the better team and lost.’

“I don’t think anyone would argue we weren’t the better team, so to come away after getting beat is frustrating.

“We should have been comfortable by half-time, but if you don’t take your chances when you are on top you are going to struggle to win games.”