With a number of injuries and missing players, Manager Ian Bruce had to reshuffle the team to play Sunnybank this afternoon.
Maud actually came out of the blocks very quickly and with the strong wind and sun at there backs put Sunnybank under immediate pressure. It paid off after only 2 minutes when a deep cross from Kevin Simpson on the right flew over everyones heads and ‘bank keeper Knowles who could only palm it behind him and into the net for a great start for Maud.
On 5 minutes another cross found Luke Barbour in the middle of the goal but his header this time was well saved by Knowles. On 12 minutes ‘bank nearly equalised when Mike Rae lost possession in the middle of the park, the ball came back and only a goal line clearance by Murray Reid prevented a goal.
However the ball was quickly played back towards the ‘bank goal after 12 minutes where Barbour took on ‘banks Low but managed to get to it to put it behind for a corner, this was played in low through defenders and to Richie Ligertwood who easily turned it in for Maud’s 2nd.
The game was opening out but Maud were not imposing themselves on the game but on 25 minutes found themselves 3 goals to the good when another corner was played in low again where Barbour turned the ball in from waist height.
The points should have been secure at this stage but Maud were not convincing and too many players were not pushing themselves, allowing Sunnybank to get more confidence.
On the half hour, just after Barabour had a speculative shot from 20 yards saved, ‘bank plyed it back upfield and a simple big ball into the Maud defence on the edge of the penalty area was misread by Ian Massie and Mark Simpson in goal and the formers header back to his keeper, who was now out of position, saw the ball roll simply over the line for and own goal.
Sunnybank were now sensing Maud were not on their game and 2 minutes later should have scored again when a long cross field ball to ‘banks Duff free on the right of the Maud penalty area saw his lob over the onrushing Simpson drift wide. Rae was trying to impose himself in the middle to try and push forward and after 37 minutes he got the ball 25 yards form ‘baks goal and let fly with a rising shot that Knowles did well well to turn around the post for a corner.
Just before half time Bob Ritchie played Ligertwood into the penalty area but his shot was also saved. Half time came and although Maud were 2 goals better off than Sunnybank they had not played well and with the elements at ‘banks backs in the 2nd half this game was far from over.
The 2nd half was more of a disappointment than the first from Mauds point of view and even with a half time roasting the same players were making the same mistakes. On 57 minutes Sunnybank got lots of space out on the left and a speculative high shot from all of 25 yards that looked like and day ball for Simpson to collect saw the ball go over his head and although he got his hand to it, it didn’t prevent Sunnybanks 2nd goal.
Nine minutes later Sunnybank were level when Close got the ball on the right and easily beat Fraser Hall as he seemed to misjudge the danger, once past him Hall lunged and took the attacker down in the box, penalty to Sunnybank which Low smashed past M.Simpson for the equaliser.
Similar to last week, once Maud conceded 3 goals they then tried to play like they should have for the previous 60 minutes and on 72 minutes they pushed forward, Ritchie beating his marker on the left and also being taken down in the box for a Penalty to Maud which Ewan Clark made no mistake with to put Maud 4 - 3 up with 12 minutes to go.
With 4 minutes to go Maud were awarded a free kick on the right which Hall played well into the penalty area but the defenders managed to hack it off the line before any Maud forward could turn it in. Then in the final minute Sunnybank played the ball forward to Galley in the middle 25 yards from goal, Mauds midfield just watched as he ran towards the defence who were backing up, Galley went back inside past 2 defenders along the 18 yard line until he saw the space to hit a dramatic equaliser with almost the last kick of the game.
This draw felt more like a defeat given the way the scoring went, especially to be 3 goals up to allow Sunnybank back into the game with an own goal, a goalkeeper error and a penalty, the last Sunnybank goal was actually the best of all the 8 goals. Unless Maud pick themselves up for next weeks game at Stonehaven there could be a long battle in the League, even with games in hand, performances like this are simply not good enough.
Next week Maud are away to Stonehaven in the SuperLeague with a 2.30pm kick off.