WITH no match for the past three weeks due to the weather, this was Maud’s first game since the beginning of February.
With three impressive wins behind them Maud were trying to win their fourth game on the run, but with Stonehaven coming off the back of a good run of form too it was going to be a hard game for both teams.
Stonehaven were the first to show their intent when a weak defensive clearance on the edge of Mauds penalty area fell to Hive’s Will who tried to lob M.Simpson in goal but he just managed to collect the ball under the bar. Maud were quick to respond when good interplay by Marchi, A.Davidson and Ligertwood saw the latter play an inviting ball across Stonehaven’s six-yard line but nobody from Maud had followed in.
On 15 minutes Middleton played a neat ball over the top of Hive’s defence to Ligertwood but his weak shot across goal missed the far post.
On 26 minutes Maud got the breakthrough their play had deserved; a free kick 20 yards from Stonehaven’s goal on the left was taken low and hard by Middleton to Marchi close in and he made no mistake to put Maud 1-0 up.
Just two minutes later Maud went 2-0 when A. Davidson collected the ball on the left, went past two defenders into the penalty area and laid the ball across to Machi again, who although facing away from the goal managed to turn and bury the ball into the net.
Ligertwood again had a chance when he was clean through after some great midfield play but his shot was wide. On 35 minutes M. Simpson in Maud made an outstanding save from Cruickshank when he shot from the edge of the box to push it full stretch past the post.
In the final five minutes of the first half Maud created a number of great chances, the first when Rae won the ball 25 yards from goal and laid the ball into Marchi but his goal-bound shot was blocked.
Then A. Davidson waltzed past two defenders on the left and put a great ball across the goal but no Maud players were there to finish.
Straight after, Marchi set up A. Davidson but he failed to connect in the box and a similar outcome when he then laid it to Ligertwood. Maud finished the half in the ascendancy but still had work to do.
After only three minutes of the second half a corner from A. Davidson was headed goalwards by Ligertwood but Smith in the Stonehaven goal saved with his legs. Just after MacDonald put A. Davidson clear in the box, but again Smith made a good save.
Immediately after Hive’s Cruickshank had a chance from a long ball forward but his header was well wide. The signs were that Stonehaven sensed a goal was coming and Stewart should have done better when he found himself clear in the Maud penalty area but he shot straight at M. Simpson.
However a minute later he made amends when the ball wasn’t cleared by Maud’s defenders and this time he found the net to pull a goal back.
On 58 minutes a mistake on the edge of the Stonehaven penalty area left Ligertwood clear but again, he failed to find the net, chipping over the keeper but also past the post.
On 60 minutes however Maud increased their lead again. Rae collected the ball left midfield and ran towards the corner of the penalty area, he looked up and curled a brilliant shot high across Smith into the far side of the goal for Maud’s third goal. It was also Rae’s first goal for Maud since joining the club.
On 67 minutes A. Davidson had another shot that Smith saved but five minutes later were lucky to keep their two-goal advantage when a chip over M. Simpson in goal saw K. Simpson clear the ball off the Maud goal line.
With just five minutes to go Hive’s Bryant collected the ball 20 yards out and hit a volley that initially looked like it was going over but dipped at the last minute and hit the Maud crossbar.
On 90 minutes Stonehaven did score again when Nicoll took advantage of poor defending but then with time up Marchi scored his best goal to complete his hat-trick when he was played into the box and facing Smith in goal, dinked a lovely shot over him and into the net to complete the scoring.
This was a really good performance all over the park to record Maud’s fourth win on the bounce. This weekend Maud are away in the GA Engineering Cup to Arbroath Sporting Club with a 2.15pm kick-off.
MAUD: M. Simpson, B. Davidson, Hall, Arthur, K. Simpson, MacDonald, Middleton, Rae, Marchi, Ligertwood, A. Davidson. Subs: McKechnie, Walker, Morrison, Jamieson, Stott, Barbour.