Maud went into this crucial Superleague game knowing it was still in their own hands regarding relegation, but their performances over the last few weeks, although good, had not resulted in many points.
They attacked Hall Russell Utd from the start, determined to get an early breakthrough and Murray Reid’s ball to Euan Clark after seven minutes in the penalty box almost provided the goal but it was cleared by the defence.
A couple of minutes later, good build up play on the edge of the Russell’s area saw Luke Barbour finally put it in the box to Clark again, however it was cleared back out to Murray Reid but his shot was wide.
After 13 minutes Barbour again got the ball on the edge of the box, ran past two defenders only for Russell’s keeper Simpson to save. Immediately after Russell’s broke down Maud’s left, getting to the byeline and pulling the ball back to Innes but he blazed the ball over which was a let off for Maud as it looked easier to score.
A couple of minutes later Russells again broke with a simple ball through the Maud defence and only a flying save by Gatt prevented Stuart scoring for a corner - that was put into the danger area and only a lucky break prevented the home side from scoring.
On 22 minutes Maud pushed up again and a great ball from deep by Iain Arthur to John Willox saw him go past the defender in the box but his low shot was saved by Simpson in goal.
Maud persistent play was finally rewarded after half and hour when Reid played Clark into the penalty area, his low hard shot was only palmed across the goal where Barbour easily converted to put the visitors ahead.
The second half saw Hall Russells step up a gear and they had a couple of chances in the first five minutes which they should have converted.
Maud were playing rather poorly, giving the ball away far too often and dropping deeper and deeper allowing Russells to push forward more and more.
This worsened when Reid was dismissed for a second yellow card and after 70 minutes Russells got their equaliser when a ball across the box was mat by Carrol who easily scored to level the game.
Even though Maud were down they still had the chance to score what could have been a winner five minutes from time when Barbour robbed the defenders 20 yards from goal, laid it off to Roy Noble but he was hesitant and laid it back into the box where no Maud player was waiting.
Maud were made to pay with almost the last kick of the game, with Bob Richie coming on and causing problems for Russells at one end.
But while he was fouled on the halfway line the referee waved play on, the ball was pumped forward and high to the right of the Maud penalty area where Shaw lobbed it over the onrushing Gatt for the winner.
It was an extremely disappointing result for Maud and although their play didn’t warrant a win, especially in the second half, the inexplicable referring decision immediately before the winning goal only made the result more galling as a draw would have been a fair result.
Next week Maud have a Superleague game against Culter, away with a 2pm kick off.
MAUD Gatt, Davidson, Hall, Gray, Simpson, Arthur, Reid, Rae, Barbour, Clark, Willox Subs; Noble, Massie, Fraser, Ritchie