Early goals kill-off Maud challenge

HERMES started off this game looking like they were intent on keeping the pressure on Culter and Hall Russell at the top of the league.

Despite warning before the game about not committing cheap free kicks near the Maud penalty area, that is exactly what happened and Mike Grant had to make a save from an early free kick after only five minutes.

Three minutes later yet another free kick was conceded and although Grant again made a great save the ball came back out and the Hermes No. 8 made sure he was first to the ball to open the scoring. Another three minutes later, a cross ball from the right was headed goalward by Hermes’ centre forward but it was narrowly over the bar.

At this point it was one-way traffic, Maud seemingly unable to clear their lines and allowing Hermes to attack at will. On 13 minutes the inevitable second Hermes goal was scored directly from a corner to Hermes No.11 who easily headed into the net unchallenged. A minute later Maud’s first foray into Hermes penalty area saw Derek McKechnie go past the defenders to the bye line and pull the ball back to John Willox but his weak shot didn’t trouble the keeper.

The next ten miutes saw Maud finally look like they believed in themselves and they started to produce the sort of football they are capable of. This culminated on 23 minutes when Willox and Gavin Middleton combine to play in Richie Ligertwood on the edge of the Hermes penalty area. He ran across into the area, drew the keeper and put his shot across him into the far corner for a well-worked goal.

Straight after the goal saw a quick throw on the right, Willox played in Ligertwood again but this time his shot was well saved. A minurte later a long high ball into the Hermes penalty are landed right at Shaun Jamieson’s feet but the ball on the hard pitch wouldn’t come down and although he only had the keeper to beat the ball wouldn’t come down and he couldn’t get a shot away.

However on 30 minutes Hermes opened up their two-goal advantage again when their No.7 seemed to have all the time in the world just inside the Maud penalty area to place a shot wide of Grant for their third goal. A minute later Maud’s job was made all the more difficult when Ligertwood made a rash, late challenge right in from of the referee and he received a straight red card.

Just before half time Willox nearly pulled a goal back when his deep dipping shot seemed to fool the Hermes keeper and the ball bounced in front of him then up and onto the bar. So down to ten men and two goals down at half time, some serious work was needed to bring the game back.

Maud’s cause got a whole lot worse within ten minutes of the second half when two innocuous fouls were deemed to be soft bookable offences for MacDonald and he was sent off for the second yellow on 55 minutes. A few minutes later Hermes were 4-1 up when they made the most of the two-man advantage to break down the left and cross for a simple tap-in.

Being three goals and two men down, the bench feared the worst but at this point Maud actually started to play better and Hermes were looking like the team with two men short. Walker, Rae and Reid all came on to try fresh legs and Maud started to find some gaps in the Hermes defence.

With 15 minutes to go, Iain Arthur won the ball well in the left back position and laid the ball down the line to McKechnie who broke free of the defenders and laid the ball into the Hemres penalty are where Walker was on hand to put a shot over the keeper for Maud’s second goal. Three minutes later a long ball out of Maud’s defence saw Walker again free in the middle bearing down on the Hermes keeper however at 18 yards out he elected to try to chip the keeper but failed to worry him and the ball was easily caught.

There were a few near misses when MacKechnie and Walker looked like they had broken through the Hermes defence but were offside. So the game finished with the early two-goal advantage being the difference between this loss and a point. Had Maud defended better in the first 15 minutes, they showed they were more than capable of getting a result but it wasn’t to be.

Maud’s next match is on Saturday, at home against Culter with a 2.30pm kick-off.

MAUD: Grant, Stott, Hall, K. Simpson, Arthur, MacDonald, McKechnie, Ligertwood, Jamieson, Willox, Middleton. Subs: Davidson, Rae, Reid, Walker, M. Simpson.