With steadily improving performances in the previous few weeks, Maud entered this Juniors Superleague game with high hopes but were ultimately undone by a mixture of two penalties and indecisive officiating.
With more players available Maud were stronger going into this game than previous weeks and for the first five minutes looked intent of making an early impact.
Runs down the right resulted in crosses into the ‘Dee penalty area by Luke Barbour and Bob Ritchie but nobody had followed up and the ‘Dee defence managed to clear the danger.
On five minutes though Maud were reminded of ‘Dee’s danger when, from a goal kick, the ball was flicked onto Jack who ran into the Maud penalty area where Gatt managed to keep his low shot out with his feet.
Maud continued to press forward at any opportunity and ‘Dee were beginning to rack up the fouls against the Maud midfield but many were ignored by the officials, increasing the tension on the park.
On 23 minutes Barbour collected the ball wide on the edge of the ‘Dee penalty area. running across the defenders then feeding Fraser Hall into the left side of the box, but his chipped shot was narrowly over the corner of the goal post and bar.
On 33 minutes Ian Massie broke forward in the middle of the park and played the ball out wide right to Ritchie who was causing ‘Dee all sorts of problems.
He cut inside and tried a first time shot but Robertson in the ‘Dee goal took the shot in his midriff making a good save. Five minutes before half time Barbour again won possession on the edge of the ‘Dee penalty area when he laid it to Mike Rae running in from midfield but he didn’t connect with his shot and Robertson this time had an easy save to make.
Just on half time Maud’s best chance to score resulted from a ball from Hall to John Willox in the ‘Dee penalty area, he pulled it back to Jason MacDonald with his back to goal and surrounded by defenders but managed to get a low show away that just scraped the far post.
Maud came out for the second half still imposing themselves on their opposition and on 55 minutes their good play resulted in the deserved opening goal.
After good build-up play the ball went wide to Ritchie who again put in a great ball into the middle. This time Willox was in the right place and he buried the ball into the net.
Seven minutes later Maud were denied a certain penalty when Barbour, inside the penalty area, was fouled but the referee ignored the obvious and ‘Dee escaped.
Just after Barbour again found himself wide right of the goal but his shot was just wide.
Then on 67 minutes, one of ‘Dees first attacks in the second half saw Murray Reid’s lunging tackle in the home penalty area result in a penalty which Jack smashed down the middle for the undeserved equaliser.
Maud upped the tempo and on 74 minutes Barbour won possession as ‘Dee tried to clear their lines. He laid the ball across to the left where Hall had run into the box and his rising shot was somehow saved by Robertson who did well to stop a certain goal.
Maud’s sense of injustice continued when numerous cynical ‘Dee fouls went unpunished, this was only exasperated when with 15 minutes to go, from a ‘Dee corner Bruce Davidson was adjudged, wrongly, to have pushed over McCall who went to ground as if he’d been poleaxed.
The result was another penalty that Jack dispatched for ‘Dee’s second goal.
Maud had two or three chances to save the game in the final minutes, firstly Willox chipping the ball towards the near post where Hall and Robertson competed for the ball but the ‘Dee keeper managed to clear.
Finally another cross from the right by Ritchie was inches in front of second half substitute Roy Noble who, had he connected, would have certainly scored.
So the full time whistle went with Maud feeling robbed of points they fully deserved.
Banks’o’Dee must have thought their Christmas had come early, with one shot on goal and two penalties they managed a smash and grab.
However Maud performed as well as they have done for weeks and their belief is returning which showed in the good football played throughout this game.
With injured players retuning over the next couple of weeks things can only improve and if they keep this standard of play up they will steadily climb the League.
This weekend Maud have a SuperLeague game away to Dyce with a 1.15pm kick-off.