ANOTHER fantastic team performance from St Duthus saw them continue their winning run with a 2-1 victory over league leaders Invergordon this afternoon.
For the first time this season, the same starting eleven who put Alness to the sword the week before was named to begin the game against Invergordon. Just two changes were made to the bench with the injury Jordan Mackinnon and work bound Martyn Farquhar dropping out to make way for Justin Rogers and Bartek Sosnowski.
The pace was set early on with a series of meaty challenges in what quickly developed into a fiesty and well contested derby match. Scott Miller had the first chance of the game, shooting goalward with a hooked shot after great work from Will Ross down the right hand side, forcing Will Counsell to block the effort just in front of the post.
Saints had the better of it for the most part with a series of set plays from corners and free kicks. Paul Beaton's delivery was the ever present threat, with Cammy Mackintosh having the most dangerous of opportunities with a header that Counsell did well to save.
At the other end, Darran Goller broke clear from a long goal kick, but under pressure from Will Ross, the Invergordon striker could only shoot across the goal. From the loose ball Shaun Kerr shot at goal, but Ali Matheson held well under pressure from Ken Morrison who was ready to pounce on any rebound.
On fifteen minutes, Will Counsell had race back to his goal after a speculative effort from Ross Tokely from inside his own area flashed just past the post, leaving Invergordon breathing a sigh of relief.
Saints were first to break the deadlock though. A neatly taken Paul Beaton free kick was floated into the area and rising above everyone was Ross Tokely who found Robbie Murray at the far post. Unmarked, Robbie headed past Will Counsell to give Saints the lead on 40 minutes.
Half time: St Duthus 1 Invergordon 0
Invergordon piled on the pressure in the early stages of the second half and from a Darran Goller cross they nearly found a leveller, but a superb interception from Will Ross at the far post denied Findlay Macleod who was lying in wait. From the resultant corner, Shaun Kerr steered a header over the bar.
St Duthus extended their lead just after the seventy minute mark. After Scott Miller had played Jake Lockett in on goal, referee Gordon Morrison blew for a spot kick after Arron Christie had bundled Lockett to the ground just inside the area. Miller made no mistake with the conversion, sending Counsell the wrong way with a well struck effort into the bottom corner to score his tenth goal of the season - and his 25th overall for the club.
A well hit free kick from Arron Christie reduced the deficit ten minutes before time to add some uncertainty to the latter stages of the match. To make matters worse, stoppages during the game led to seven minutes of injury time being added. Saints controlled things well as the game drew to a close though, and saw the game out with little cause for concern.
The result makes it six wins in a row for Saints in league competition as they continue their ascent up the North Caledonian League, now just a point behind early pacesetters Alness United.
Match Gallery (via Flickr)