Maud fall prey to sucker punches

WITH league wins hard to come by of late, Maud really needed to pick points up on Saturday and the visit of Hall Russell provided an opportunity that was ultimately missed.

After only two minutes Maud should have taken the lead when Mike Rae ran with the ball across the middle of the park, passing wide left to Fraser Hall who took the ball on and then laid a great low ball into the opposition’s near post where Luke Barbour seemed to get to it first but then lost his footing and the chance was lost.

Maud were building up the pressure on Russell’s defence and Barbour again got the chance to score in the 13th minute when he won the ball and rounded Carrol in the Hall Russell goal but the ball was cleared off the line before any other Maud players could react.

The game was being played in the Hall Russell half but without any clear Maud chances until on 24 minutes Russell’s broke free and a ball into the Maud penalty area was met by Russell’s Milne who seemed to be ready to pick his spot until a brilliant goal-saving tackle by Murray Reid cleared the danger.

On 32 minutes Barbour broke free on the Maud right and ran towards the Hall Russell penalty area, he laid in a great low ball into the goal area but again there were no Maud players there. The ball was cleared to Richie Ligertwood 20 yards out but his powerful shot was well turned around the post by Carrol for a corner.

A minute before half time Maud should have been awarded a penalty when Barbour again caused problem by getting to a ball in the goal area before the defenders where he was floored and although the far side Linesman flagged for then penalty, the referee decided not to give it for some strange reason.

Right on half time Maud had more chances to score, firstly when Hall again laid the ball into the opposition penalty area but once more no Maud players were on hand to capitalise and it was cleared for a corner which was again hacked clear.

Two minutes into the second half the first half failings reared their heads again when following a short corner to Maud the ball was well played into the danger area but there were no Maud players close to take advantage. On seven minutes Bruce Davidson got the ball in his own half and he powered forward, playing a 1-2 with Bob Richie before playing the ball across to Hall on the left, his low drive into the near post was turned into his own net by Whitfield for Mauds’ opening goal.

The lead however only lasted a minute, when from a Maud attack, Hall Russell broke away and with the Maud midfield not tracking back, the defence found themselves facing five attackers against three defenders. The ball was met by Hall Russell’s best player Milne at the far post where he took it and managed to place it wide of Gatt in goal from a narrow angle to equalise for the visitors.

On 66 minutes Barbour again broke free on the left and played a low ball across the defence but once again no Maud players were there - a recurring theme.

A couple of minutes later however a long ball down the middle was headed on by John Willox into the penalty are where Barbour beat the defenders and Carrol in goal to the ball. He seemed to have taken it too far to the by line but he then player the ball back to Hall who placed the ball high and wide of Carrol for Maud’s second goal.

Once again the lead lasted less than a minute when following a Maud corner, Hall Russell again broke quickly, where Innes found himself on the edge of the Maud penalty area and he managed to poke the ball wide of Gatt and into the net for the second equaliser.

Maud nearly paid the ultimate price for missed chances when Hall Russell again broke upfield and only a great point-blank save by Gatt prevented the visitors scoring a winning goal.

Overall Maud should have easily won this game but a mixture of profligacy in front of goal and bad tracking back when Hall Russell broke was resulted in the final draw.

Maud are going to have to push harder to convert the chances they are making but else defending better as a team if they are not going to fall too far behind their rivals in the League.

This week Maud have a SuperLeague game at home to Lewis Utd with a 1.30pm kick-off.

MAUD: Gatt, Davidson, Reid, Arthur, K.Simpson, Hall, Rae, Ligertwood, Ritchie, Willox, Barbour. Subs: Leslie, Massie, Walker, Stott, M.Simpson