THE FIRST of the Saints' pre-season friendlies for 2017-18 was played in beautifully warm summer weather last night as they welcomed Highland Football League side Lossiemouth to the Links. Following hard working displays from both sides the game ended 4-2 to the Coasters.
Manager Stuart Ross welcomed latest signing Rory Patience into the squad alongside new additions Miller Mackay and Craig Ross while two trialists took places on the bench. In the absence of defenders Will Ross and Garry Macleod, Ken Morrison dropped from his usual central midfield role to a centre back position.
In the early going, Steven Martin and his defence did well to thwart a couple of chances for the Grant Park men who, as expected, looked sharp and dangerous going forward. The Saints were equal to the challenge of their HFL opponents though, and showed early promise that they would trouble the Lossie backline. It was Lossie though who would take the lead. The deadlock was broken on 27 minutes when Harry Noble struck low into the corner to give the visitors the advantage.
Soon after, John Skinner did well to clear the ball off the line after a defensive lapse left the ball heading for the Saints goal. But just before the half hour mark, the Saints drew level. The goal came from a looping free kick from Craig Ross which sailed into the box to meet the head of Miller Mackay who sent the ball past Stewart Black to make it 1-1.
The Saints then enjoyed a sustained spell of attacking pressure, Cammy Mackintosh in particular very unlucky not to make it 2-1 with a couple of chances, the latter of which Black had to be at his best to stop, low into the corner. Moments later after finding himself clean through on goal, Liam Mcleod sent an effort over the bar.
A poorly dealt with corner allowed Lossie to retake the lead just before the half time break. Hit low along the ground, the ball evaded the Saints defence and was met by Lewis Buxton at the far post who touched the ball over the goal line.
Half time: St Duthus 1, Lossiemouth 2
The Saints started well in the second half again, with opportunities for Ken Morrison and Miller Mackay to level the scores going abegging. Good free kick delivery from Craig Ross too led to a number of chances in the Lossie area for Saints.
After an hour's play a goal did arrive, but went the way of Lossiemouth courtesy of a headed effort from their latest signing Kelvin MacKenzie.
Liam Rostock was unlucky not to notch with a couple of chances as the game progressed, having done well to get goal side of the defence. Sub keeper Cameron Farquhar, though, in the Lossie goal was up to the task.
The Saints' trialist goalkeeper had to be on his toes with a couple of efforts on goal during the second half as Lossie looked to extend their lead, but each time alert he was to the cause, beaten only by an offside effort. That was until a stunning drive from Lossie's Connor Macauley who extended their lead to 4-1 with ten minutes remaining.
The Saints had not finished their evening though. In the dying stages a well timed cut back from their young Trialist winger found Liam Rostock twelve yards from goal and the striker slotted the ball through the defence and under Cameron Farquhar to reduce the scoreline.
Full time: St Duthus 2, Lossiemouth 4
Steven Martin, Joe Sutherland, Ken Morrison, John Skinner, Jon Campbell, Rory Patience, Cammy Mackintosh, Craig Ross, Scott Miller, Miller Mackay, Jamie Skinner, Liam Mcleod, Liam Rostock, Martyn Farquhar, Trialist, Trialist
Stewart Black, Craig Mainland, Iain Macrae, Aaron Hamilton, Ally Bellingham, Ryan Farquhar, Aaron Maclean, Connor Macaulay, Harry Noble, James McLaren, Ross Archibald, Cameron Farquhar, Lewis Buxton, Kyle Ure, Kelvin Mackenzie, Tony Ross, Ross Duncan