BOTH sides drew a blank today what was the Saints' final league game of the 2018-19 season in the Macleod & MacCallum North Caledonian League.
There was a long awaited return to the starting eleven for Martyn Farquhar coming into the centre of the midfield, while Jordan Mackinnon was also recalled at centre forward in place of the injured Scott Miller. Charlie Macdonald returned to the centre half position in place of Sam Beeston, who missed out due to work commitments.
The game began in competitive fashion but it was Saints who tested first when Martyn Farquhar collected a loose ball on the edge of the box before hitting a low driven effort which was easily held by Halkirk keeper Kieron Macleod. At the other end, a tame effort from Murray Mackay flew wide of the post.
A ball into the box from Alan Geegan looked dangerous on the quarter hour mark but striker Jordan Mackinnon was crowded out before he could connect. Cammy Mackintosh was next to test Macleod with a shot from the edge of the box, but his effort was also held.
It looked a certainty that St Duthus would take the lead after Jordan Mackinnon broke free and clear of Macleod with a gaping net in his wake, but the forward man's shot agonisingly cannoned off the post and out for a goal kick.
For Halkirk, Korbyn Cameron was unlucky with a headed effort on the half hour mark getting on the end of a Matthew Mackay cross, his diving effort steered over the bar. At the other end, Liam Rostock also fired over with a shot from just inside the box.
Half time: Halkirk United 0 St Duthus 0
Jonah Martens offered the first test of the second half, a shot from angle which Ali Matheson held with ease.
From a corner on 55 minutes, Cammy Mackintosh did well to head towards goal but his effort looped just over Macleod and onto the top of the net.
Ali Matheson had to be on his toes on the hour mark to prevent Murray Mackay hitting the net, blocking the effort with a low save before doing the same seconds later to prevent Korbyn Cameron from slotting home the rebound. A few minutes later, Martens hit the far post with a curling effort before the ball was eventually cleared to safety by Alan Geegan.
St Duthus continued to pile on the pressure as the game progressed and Jake Lockett forced a good save from Macleod with a free kick from 25 yards. Moments later, a Paul Beaton corner had to be forced clear with Cammy Mackintosh looming.
Matheson was in action again late on having to turn the ball out for a corner from a zipping Martens shot and from the ball back in, he only just got a hand to a Steven Sutherland first time shot.
It looked as though Saints had blown it right at the death, allowing Martens to break clear but after beating Matheson, his shot was blocked on the goal line in last ditch fashion by Iain Macrae.
Full time: Halkirk United 0 St Duthus 0
Kieron Macleod, Matthew Mackay (bkd 62), Ian Ross, Stewart Atkins, Owen Harrold (bkd 74), Craig Kennedy (bkd 84), Gordon Swanson, Steven Sutherland, Korbyn Cameron, Jonah Martens, Murray Mackay (Kai Cameron 72)
Subs not used: Grant Mackenzie, Gordon Macdonald, Sean Milligan
Ali Matheson, Alan Geegan (bkd 29) (Iain Macrae 82), Paul Beaton, John Skinner, Charlie Macdonald, Martyn Farquhar, Robbie Murray, Cammy Mackintosh, Jordan Mackinnon (Calum Neil 50), Liam Rostock (Aiden Stainke 67), Jake Lockett
Sub not used: Keir Carson
Referee: Graham John
Assistant referees: Paul Reid & Stephen Tait
Match Gallery: James Gunn Photography
Match Highlights: (Courtesy of Darren Manson, Picture House.)