WITH yet another two absentees due to injuries and work commitments, Maud had a bare squad of 14 including two trialists on Saturday to take on second top of the Superleague, Dyce, in Aberdeen.
It took ten minutes before play settled down with both teams trying to acclimatise to the very strong wind.
Maud were playing controlled football without too much penetrating until the 20th minute when a long ball by Dyce went wide right of the Maud penalty area. It was played into Dyce’s Neish who was unmarked in the area and his low shot cannoned off the defender’s legs for an own goal against the run of play.
Dyce then started to take control with far too many errors in the Maud play. This showed four minutes after the first goal when a long deep cross on the right under the Maud crossbar was only half cleared with Gatt blinded by the low sun and Dyce tapped in an easy second goal.
The next ten minutes saw Dyce cutting through the Maud defence with apparent ease and they really should have doubled their advantage but a mixture of last ditch defending and bad finishing meant the score stayed the same.
That didn’t last more than five minutes into the second half when when a simple ball through the middle of the Maud defence wasn’t cut out and Neish scored Dyce’s third with ease.
A minute later Maud were back in the game when Noble beat the Dyce keeper to the ball and nicked it past him for his first goal for Maud.
Dyce were losing their discipline and on 67 minutes they gave away a free kick 30 yards from their goal. Mike Rae whipped in a brilliant high free kick and again Noble got to the ball in front of the keeper to head past him for his and Maud’s second.
With 12 minutes to go, Maud’s failure to defend a set piece started off with a good save by Gatt for a corner but from that corner Dyce attacked the high ball with more conviction and scored their fourth of the day.
This week Maud have a replay against Hall Russell Utd in the North Regional Cup at home with a 1.15pm kick-off.
MAUD: Gatt, Fraser, Reid, Massie, K. Simpson, Rae, MacDonald, Leslie, Ritchie, Willox, Noble. Subs: Cumming, M. Simpson, Bruce.