St. Duthus fell at the final hurdle in the Jock Mackay Cup Final on Saturday, losing 3-1 to a victorious Orkney side. A cruel goal just before half time set the wheels in motion for an Orkney win, which despite a late Saints fightback, was made inevitable by two more second half strikes for the Island side.
There was some deputising to be done with Ross Tokely and Jon Campbell both unavailable for the game. Filling the gaps, the returning Reece Paterson and Finlay Macleod took places in the starting eleven. Saints were dealt a disappointing blow on Saturday morning when top scorer Ben Bruce was forced to withdraw from the squad due to swelling on his knee.
The islanders edged a scrappy and cagey start to the first half, looking threatening in possession going forward while Saints aimed to hit on the counter. Four minutes in, St. Duthus had to clear on the goal line after a dangerous set piece had led to a frantic goalmouth scramble.
Orkney almost took the advantage from a corner kick on 18 minutes, but Ali Matheson reacted well to prevent a Liam Delday shot with a good save before Wayne Kirkness shot across the face of goal and wide.
A Liam Rostock long throw caused Orkney problems in the box on 32 minutes and from the loose ball, Stefan Macritchie connected with a volley which flew just over the bar.
It looked as though the teams would go in at the break with a blank canvas to contemplate, but St. Duthus were struck by a turn of misfortune when a Liam Delday cross was mishandled and under pressure from Chris Simpson, the ball cannoned off John Skinner before crossing the line.
Still reeling from conceding just before half-time, it took just two minutes of the second half for Orkney to threaten again, Matheson saving from Simpson before having to get down low to prevent Liam Delday from knocking home the rebound. Delday was not to be denied just a minute later when he collected a pass from Owen Young before tucking the ball into the far corner to make it 2-0.
Mikey Rae was unlucky soon after Orkney's second when he rose above the defence to meet a Craig Munro corner but Liam Valentine in the Orkney goal gathered the ball well at his near post.
The Orkney pressure continued and on 59 minutes they made it 3-0 when Callan Jessiman fired a low shot through centre half Charlie MacDonald as the ball deflected over Matheson and into the net.
Saints came back into the game soon after and on 64 minutes Liam Rostock was unlucky with a shot from the edge of the box which whizzed past the post. Five minutes later, Rostock dispossesed DJ Moffat inside the area after a neat through ball from Cammy Mackintosh, but his low drive was blocked by Valentine.
Rostock was eventually rewarded for his persistence with a good goal on 73 minutes. Collecting the ball just inside the box he quickly turned and struck the ball low and hard into the bottom corner to beat Valentine.
There were several signs of hope in the final 15 minutes that St. Duthus may make a comeback. On 77 minutes, Mikey Rae squared across goal and Robbie Murray hit the post with a shot from inside the box.
With ten minutes remaining, claims for a penalty following a foul on Mikey Rae were waved away by referee Eddie Nichol, as it started to become apparent that a comeback was not on the cards.
Full time: St. Duthus 1 Orkney 3
St. Duthus: Ali Matheson, Will Ross, Mikey Rae (bkd 84), John Skinner, Charlie MacDonald, Reece Paterson (bkd 20) (Finn As-Chainey 51), Stefan MacRitchie (Scott Miller 61), Cammy Mackintosh, Liam Rostock, Craig Munro, Finlay Macleod (Robbie Murray 51)
Subs not used: Adam Allan, Alan Geegan
Orkney: Liam Valentine, Steven Hellewell (Graeme Bain 90), Jordan Low (Connan Rendall 73), Aiden Drever (Chris Hellewell 77), Wayne Kirkness, DJ Moffat, Owen Young (Joe Wilson 66), Chris Simpson (Jamie Coulston 85), Zack Singh, Liam Delday
Referee: Eddie Nichol
Assistants: Colin MacDonald and Tommy Creighton