MAUD went into this game with a bare 13 players due to various reasons so the line-up had to be changed, the main ones being Gavin Middleton slotting into the back four and Nico Marchi into midfield with Shaun Jamieson taking his spot up front.
Right from the kick-off Maud seemed determined to show they were more than a match than their high spending hosts and after only two minutes Shaun Jamieson linked up well with John Willox and chested a through ball to him clean through on goal but his weak low shot just went past the post when he really should have done better.
Five minutes later Derek McKechnie collected a pass from Zander Davidson on the right.
He ran at the defence and into the penalty area, his shot was well struck and low but the keeper managed to make a save.
Within the next five minutes Richie Ligertwood had chances in the Sunnybank penalty area after some more great build-up play on both occasions but both shots were well over the bar.
On 23 minutes McKechnie again got the ball, this time of the right flank and played a low cross into the Sunnybank goal area but Jamieson was denied by a last ditch tackle.
On 27 minutes Maud won a throw on the right. Quick thinking by Marchi saw him take the throw then receive a return ball where he ran into the penalty area and unleashed a shot that the keeper only just got to, however he dropped the ball and although there were Maud players in the box, Sunnybank somehow managed to scrape it clear.
On 30 minutes yet another chance fell to Maud when a through ball to March saw him dummy the ball allowing it fool the defender. Willox collected and hit a low shot that was blocked by the massed defenders.
At this point Maud were playing some amazing football and Sunnybank were not in the game at all, however the goal was not forthcoming. On 34 minutes Richie Ligertwood did well to win the ball 25 yards out and play in Willox but this time the keeper made a diving save to deny him again.
Eventually all the Maud pressure paid off when Kevin Simpson got the ball in the middle, played a telling ball though to the right where Zander Davidson collected it and then played it into the penalty area.
Nico Marchi collected the ball ten yards out with his back to goal but he swivelled and hit a shot on the turn to bury the ball into the net.
The lead was no more than Maud had deserved on this display but once again the old failings reared their heads almost immediately when an innocuous ball through the middle was misjudged by Ligertwood allowing the ball to run through to Sunnybank’s No. 7.
He was clear on goal and placed a low shot across Mark Simpson to equalise only two minutes after Maud had taken the lead.
Maud did have one more chance before the half time whistle when McKechnie played a high ball over the top which Jamieson got to just in front of the Sunnybank keeper but his attempted header over the keeper wasn’t high enough and it was easily held. If it had been six inches higher it would have been a certain goal.
The half time whistle went and Maud really should have been at least two goals better off than Sunnybank, this was to prove a let-off to the hosts in the second half.
Sunnybank came out more fired up for the second half and had a couple of half chances within the first five minutes.
On 53 minutes Maud again pressed forward with Marchi having another shot saved.
Then on 55 minutes, what turned out to be the defining moment when Sunnybank won a free kick 25 yards from the Maud goal.
Although it was hit hard enough it was off target until it hit the back of a defender in the wall which saw the ball loop over Simpson in goal, hit the far post and bounce into the net for Sunnybank’s second goal.
It was a cruel blow to go behind with such a lucky goal after playing so well. On 58 minutes a good 1-2 between Marchi and Willox saw another shot on target but the keeper did well to save.
A couple of minutes later Sunnybank nearly added to their tally but Simpson made a great flying save to deny them and then proceeded to clear the rebound before it was finally cleared by the defence.
The next 20 minutes saw Maud trying to equalise but were dropping too deep allowing Sunnybank to play further up the pitch than the first half.
This proved their downfall on 68 minutes when possession was lost on the halfway line while trying to build an attack, the ball was quickly returned to the Sunnybank winger who hit a hard low cross that missed everyone but their No.11 was on hand on the edge of the penalty area to hit a low hard drive past the Maud defence to Sunnybank’s third and decisive goal.
Once again in the minutes remaining Maud had chances with Zander Davidson coming in from the left but his first attempt was off target and the second hit the side netting. Maud’s final chance came when again Davidson got the ball on the left and played it into the goal area where Ligertwood tried to flick the high bouncing ball over the keeper but he managed to claw it away for a corner that came to nothing.
So Maud exited their final Cup competition with a display that should have seen them repeat their previous league win but the old problems of making the wrong decisions in the final third of the pitch and the keeper not being tested enough when in good position meant Sunnybank managed to scrape past to the next round of the competition
This week Maud are at home to Banchory St. Ternan in the Superleague with a 2.30pm kick-off.
MAUD: M. Simpson, Rae, Hall, Middleton, K.S impson, Marchi, McKechnie, Ligertwood, Jamieson, Willox, A. Davidson. Subs: Stott, MacDonald