LONGSIDE travelled to Crathes to play Banchory St Ternan in their opening league fixture of the season and, after a midweek 2-1 victory against a strong Fraserburgh team, they took to the field looking to take the three points.
It could have been a great start within seconds of the start but Danton hesitated and the danger was cleared. Banchory’s first effort on goal came after 18 minutes when Gray cut in from the left but his effort was easily saved by Thompson.
Garrett then tried his luck but Panton headed clear before Craik played a long ball to Porter and his cross was put over by Campbell.
Longside deservedly took the lead after 27 minutes when Danton cleverly held up the ball, laid it off to Porter and the winger’s cross was blasted home at the back post by the inrushing Park.
Things got even better for the away side when, only two minutes later, a Bruce free-kick into the box was beautifully headed home by Norris. Banchory fought back and Carroll missed a great chance when he shot wide from a great position. As half-time approached a slick move down the left finished with Geddes firing wide.
The second half carried on with the away side on top and Danton had a great chance to increase the lead but he weakly chipped into the keeper’s hands when put through on goals.
Porter then burst past a static home defence and his angled shot came back off the post and Campbell blasted the rebound over. Stainer then countered for Banchory but he shot over when well placed.
The match became disjointed for a spell and Porter and Park for Longside and Carroll and Strachan were all booked in the space of ten minutes as tempers frayed. It was no surprise when referee Veitch sent off Strachan two minutes after he’d been booked for a deliberate stamp on Porter.
Being reduced to ten men inspired the home side and Thompson pulled off a terrific save from a Stainer shot and then the keeper dropped a cross under pressure from the same player and the keeper pulled the striker down as he prepared to shoot.
Thompson earned himself a booking before Stainer blasted home the spot kick to give the home side some hope.
Park then crossed for Campbell to head wide before Campbell broke clear to only overrun the ball and the home keeper gratefully saved at the striker’s feet.
Campbell was then booked for a trip before being substitued with five minutes to go. Ian Wheeler came on to replace the departed Campbell and the travelling support were delighted to see him back in action after a long injury lay-off.
He nearly made it a scoring comeback when home keeper Sim mistimed a clearance straight to Wheeler and from fully 40 yards his chip just cleared the bar.
Longside finally secured the three points deep into injury time when Norris sent Danton clear and the striker calmly rounded Sim and slipped the ball home from a tight angle.
This was a great win for Longside at a place that has always been hard to go to and the whole team battled well to get their league season off to a tremendous start.
LONGSIDE: Thompson; Beddie, Panton, Craik, Bruce; Park, Geddes, Norris, Porter; Campbell, Danton. Subs: Wheeler, Donaldson, Black, Cameron, Whyte, Butcher.