Maud’s management team had the unenviable task of picking up the squad to play Stonehaven on Saturday with at least eight players unavailable.
However the team that took to the field should have been more than capable of achieving a result.
In the first five minutes Stonehaven pushed forward and Maud did well to keep their composure and tried to build slowly.
On seven minutes they got their first chance when a corner was whipped in by Ritchie into the ‘hive danger area but no Maud players gambled to get to the ball and the chance went begging.
This proved costly because only a minute later, a simple long punt upfield by ‘hive saw the ball roll wide of the Maud penalty area. Keeper Gatt took the decision to take the ball from the defenders and hurriedly tried to clear the ball upfield.
Unfortunately it was a poor kick that landed at the feet of Stonehaven’s No. 11 who immediately hit a shot right back towards the open goal before Gatt could get back and the ball was in the back of the net to put the home side ahead.
On 15 minutes Maud played some good build-up work which finally saw Michael Rae hit a shot but it was blocked and cleared. Gatt was then called upon to make another save when ‘hive again pushed forward.
On 20 minutes Bob Ritchie won the ball wide left and laid the ball inside to Ewan Clark who took it on and hit a shot that the keeper did well to save. Unfortunately the shot resulted in Clark having to be substituted as his previously injured groin was aggravated which saw Jake Leslie come on to take his place, yet another injury to cope with.
On 24 minutes Maud’s fragile confidence was dealt another blow when Stonehaven played well to get the ball out wide right, a cross/shot from near the goal line seemed to have caught Gatt out in his positioning and when he tried to get back across to the near post to get to the chest high ball he only succeeded in pushing the ball into his own net for Maud’s third own goal in two games and more importantly put them two goals down.
Just before half time more slack defending saw the ball hacked out of the penalty area after ‘hive had another clear chance but Gatt made the save. From the resulting corner the ball was simply headed in at the far post for Stonehaven’s third goal.
Just before the half time whistle Maud did get another chance when a free kick from Rae was headed wide but the first half was a catalogue of mistakes by Maud which saw Stonehaven gifted goals.
The second half started off better for Maud with the players trying to redeem themselves. After 55 minutes Richie Ligertwood picked the ball from a melee of players, ran forward and hit a shot across the Stonehaven keeper from 20 yards but it flew past the far post.
Maud did display more fight in the second half but the chances at both ends were few and far between.
Stonehaven were seemingly content to run the clock down, and Maud tried to gain some pride but in the end it was a defeat that on the first half showing was gifted to Stonehaven.
The second half was a better dispaly from Maud but with so many players missing and mistakes proving so costly it is going to take a mighty effort to get the players believing in their own undoubted ability.
With the Scottish Junior Cup game this weekend it is an ideal opportunity to build on the second half display and show everyone that Maud can pull themselves back up the League.
Maud are at home to Shotts Bon Accord in the Scottish Junior Cup with a 2.30pm kick-off.
MAUD Gatt, Davidson, Hall, Arthur, K.Simpson, Ritchie, Rae, Reid, Ligertwood, Clark, Willox. Subs: Massie, Leslie, Stott, Alexander, M.Simpson.