THE SAINTS suffered their second successive league defeat of the season at Culbokie yesterday, as they fell by two goals to nil in a closely contested affair with Alness United.
Sam Beeston and Paul Beaton both made returns to the St Duthus back line after missing out against Invergordon last weekend, while making his debut between the sticks was former Strathspey Thistle goalkeeper Ali Matheson, who signed for the club this past week. Lewis Ross returned to action, taking a place on the bench.
Both teams started the game quickly in an end to end fashion, but it was Alness who gained the upper hand netting after 8 minutes when Mikey Grimes pounced on a rebound following a good save from Ali Matheson.
Saints enjoyed some good passages of play as the half continued in pursuit of an equaliser. For all of the Saints efforts though, they were unable to make it count in the final third.
Matheson was called into action again towards the end of the half, and produced another good save as Alness continued to look threatening up top.
The second half continued in the same rigour, with St Duthus pressing, and on the hour mark, Cammy Mackintosh showed good technique to wriggle free on the edge of the box before he dragged a left foot shot just wide of the post. Moments later, Glenn Fell was unlucky not to finish after he rounded the keeper, unable to hit the target from the tight angle.
Saints' efforts to find a leveller continued as Scotty Miller tested Jodie Campbell. A penalty appeal for a foul on Jake Lockett went unnoticed as the Tain side's hopes of getting back into the game dwindled.
All the while, Alness remained dangerous on the counter attack and with ten minutes left it paid dividends for the hosts as a long ball eventually fell into the path of Fraser Sinclair who hit the back of the net from 20 yards.
Jodie Campbell, Christopher Graham, Daniel Lowe (Mark Lamont 60) (bkd 85), Craig Munro (Robbie Williamson 64), Scott MacAngus (bkd 40), Mikey Rae, Jack Hudson, Mikey Grimes (bkd 77), Miller Mackay (Fraser Sinclair 79), Gordon Finlayson, Ryan MacFee
Sub not used: Jack Gilliland
Ali Matheson, Sam Beeston (Scott Miller 83), Paul Beaton, Theakston (trialist), Andreas Broomfield, Alan Geegan (bkd 68), Shewan (trialist) (Liam Rostock 66), Cammy Mackintosh, Jake Lockett (bkd 80), Glenn Fell, Finn As-Chainey (Lewis Ross 79)
Referee: Molly Alexander