St Laurence are well in the hunt for a top four finish in the Aberdeenshire AFA Premier Division, we speak to coach David Easton, Stonehaven Athletic are pushing for the title in the Division Two North, Stonehaven Ladies back in action and another postponed game for Bervie Caledonian & More!
A 5-2 win away from home for St Laurence this weekend has put them well within the hunt for the chance to finish in the Premier Divison’s top four. Ewan Slesser netted a brace in the weekend fixture against MS United, with Laurence Bayfield, Murray Smith and Callum Bayfield all grabbing a goal apiece. This all despite going behind in the first minute.
St Laurence now sit seventh, having beaten fourth placed MS – A win in the saint’s game in hand over the three teams immediately ahead of them would put the side, who were promoted to the league last term, fourth in the table. While in terms of points they’d then be close to the top three, games in hand would likely allow the top three to pull away – put being so high up in the table, in their first season, is still seriously impressive for the Laurencekirk side.
NE98 caught up with St Laurence coach David Easton. Firstly, Easton gave us his reaction to the win over MS United, Easton said:
“Saturday was a great result, it puts us 1 point behind MS Utd with a game in hand. We have been playing okay lately but Saturday’s performance was really good and it was pleasing to see the guys get a positive result.”
We also got some insight into St Laurence’s aims for the remainder of the season:
“At the start of the season, we set a goal of reaching a certain amount of points that we believed, would keep us in the league. We are close to the point tally but still have a bit of work to do. A great season would be finishing in 5th just below the top 4 teams in the league who have been competing at the top of the league for a number of seasons.”
“Ultimately, staying in the league with an unexperienced team in terms of the Premier League and with it being our first season in the division, would be another great achievement.”
Finally, we asked Easton about his side’s style of play, and what has helped them find success this term:
“We are happy to mix up our game but we have gotten our success, so far, from playing an attacking and possession style of play. The guys work hard in and out of possession to make playing the way I want them to possible.”
Elsewhere in the Premier Divison, Cowie Thistle are part of the previously mentioned top three – defeating third bottom Stoneywood East End 3-1. Buchanan, Masson and Cran on the scoresheet for Thistle.
Thistle are third, five points ahead of MS United in fourth, having played four fewer games than United. They are a point behind second placed Woodside, however have played one game more. Meanwhile, Cowie would have to win their four games in hand over Sportsmans Club, who sit top of the table, just to go a point behind them – should they wish to challenge for the title. Difficult, but of course not impossible.
Cowie’s Facebook page said:
“Not a great performance but the conditions played a part in that and it was more than enough to get the 3 points and move closer to the league leaders.”
Bervie Caledonian has been left disappointed after their third attempt to play a fixture against University in the Divison One North was postponed. University – who play their games at Balgownie, Garthdee in Aberdeen can obviously struggle with pitch issues – firstly, last week the game was called off due to a frozen and snowed over pitch. This week the game didn’t go ahead after the snow melted, waterlogging the pitch.
This has left Bervie frustrated and disappointed, as University have refused to change the venue of the game to Booth Park Gourdon, which would have been playable.
Bervie’s Facebook page expressed their annoyance at this saying:
“ Game today against University at Balgownie is off for the 3rd week running. Once again they are refusing to come down the Booth Park.”
Speaking of Bervie Caley, they’ll be hosting a race night to raise funds for the club on the 2nd of March at the Harbour Bar in Gourdon, with a 7PM start. Contact can be made via the club’s Facebook page if you’d like to donate a raffle prize.
Division One East side AC Mill Inn also had their fixture called off. They were set to travel to face Torphins.
Stonehaven Athletic are just a point off of Division Two North leaders FC Polska following a 3-1 win over Ferryhill this weekend. Although, the leaders do have a game more to play.
Sawyer scored twice to continue his goal scoring form (Sam Cosgrove-esc the amount of braces he has been scoring) with Davidson notching the other for Athletic.
The club’s Facebook page commented on the growing strength of the squad, saying:
“Another plus today was getting all subs on and getting minutes in to them, as the squad is nearing full strength again.”
They also added:
“So we made it 7 wins out of 8 at home this season and although we didn’t play well that is the sign of a good team grinding out a win when not at their best.”
Stonehaven Ladies returned to action with their league opener against Kelty Hearts this weekend – although the result is unlikely to have been what they were after.
A 5-1 loss will be tough to take for Stoney, but having just been promoted to the SWF Divison One North, it will likely be seen as a necessary learning curve following a successful season last term.
NE98 had the opportunity to speak to Stonehaven Ladies manager Matt Smith.
We asked Matt about the result against Kelty, Matt said:
“ It was a difficult first tie for sure but a match we went into believing we could take something from after pushing Kelty close in last season’s semi-final. We know they have quality all over the pitch and we fully expect them to be near the top of the table come the end of this season.”
Matt told us he, and the squad, are excited at the prospect of facing many local sides this season. Sides who he said the team maintain “ A good working relationship with those teams as well in order to push the women’s game in a positive direction.”
Finally, Matt gave us an idea of what to expect from Stoney’s goals for their league campaign, saying:
“Realistically we are aiming to stay in the division and have some stability after 2 years in division 2. our last season in division 1 started poorly and by the time we found our feet it was too late and we found ourselves relegated, thats not a situation we wish to find ourselves in again.”
Keep an eye out for next week’s NE98 feature article – we are taking a look at the progressing world of women’s football. A big thank you goes out to Matt, who has conducted an interview with us for this article. The article will also include an interview with Fiona Cardwell of Scottish Women’s Football. Fiona is the ‘Strong Quality Growth Director’ and is a former player for Aberdeen Ladies.
Finally, relegation continues to loom for Martyn Rollo’s Stonehaven. Stoney sit second bottom of the McBookie Superleague following a 1-0 loss at home to Dufftown. They are just a point ahead of bottom side Maud, who have five games in hand, and trail Ellon United – who have two games in hand – by five points.
Stonehaven will need immediate results if they are to have any chance of remaining in the Northern Juniors top league.
Mearns Fixtures This Week:
Stonehaven Vs Nairn St Ninian, Glenury Park, Stonehaven, Saturday, 2:00PM Kick-Off
St Laurence Vs Cowie Thistle, Memorial Park, Laurencekirk, Saturday, 2:00PM Kick-Off
Bervie Caledonian Vs University, Booth Park, Gourdon, Saturday, 2:00PM Kick-Off
Stonehaven Athletic Vs Lads Club Amateurs, Jim Glennie Park, Stonehaven, Saturday, 2:00 PM Kick-Off
Stonehaven Ladies Vs Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Mineralwell Park, Stonehaven, Sunday, 2:15PM Kick-Off