Under-par Gowfers hit the bunkers at St Andrews

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St Andrews United 2, Carnoustie Panmure 0

FOR THEIR away fixture against St Andrews United in the ACA Sports East Super League at Recreation Park on Saturday afternoon, Carnoustie Panmure made several changes to the side that had crashed out of the East of Scotland Cup to Dundee Downfield on penalties the previous week.

Scott Gates, Josh Perera and Kevin Cumming were all on from the start with Steven Narey dropping to the bench where he was joined by Mark Matthew and trialist Steven Hegarty, who was with the Saints last season. Kevin Milne missed the match through suspension and John Roberts was on holiday.

St Andrews kicked-off playing up the slope and Brash sent a deep cross right into the Carnoustie box. Millar went up with Dignan in an attempt to head clear, but as their heads clashed the ball spun out behind for a corner.

After both players had received treatment, Patrick’s cross from the flag kick was punched partially clear by McCafferty. McMullen played the ball back in for Dignan to chase, but McCafferty rushed from his line and got to it first.

In three minutes, Cumming received a long through ball from Perera, but his shot was blocked away by ‘keeper Bennett with his feet. The loose ball broke back out to Cumming, who hammered it back in, but again this was blocked by the ‘keeper. Bennett felt Cumming’s second challenge was too robust and reacted accordingly, only to be shown a yellow card for his trouble.

Saints had a half-chance in seven minutes when Wilson fired the ball in low and hard to Buchan, who squandered the opportunity by shooting high over the top.

Next minute, Gates made a strong run down the Carnoustie left to the bye-line where he won a corner off Suttie. Clark’s cross was blocked out to Robertson, who lobbed the ball back in, but right through to Bennett, who took it cleanly.

In 12 minutes, Cumming was fouled by Brash, but Clark put the free kick straight to Bennett, who again saved easily.

Responding to this spell of Carnoustie pressure, Saints stepped up a gear and took the lead in 21 minutes. Sutherland got the better of Tonner out on the left and played the ball inside to BUCHAN, who took a couple of steps before curling a right-foot shot just inside McCafferty’s right-hand post.

The loss of that goal temporarily unsettled the Gowfers and just two minutes later United came close to doubling their lead when Patrick took a pass from Dignan, but shot narrowly over the top.

As Carnoustie pushed forward in 27 minutes, McIlravey was tripped by Buchan. Gates took the free kick, but shot weakly straight at Bennett, who again had no trouble making the save.

Back at the other end, Brash linked with Buchan, whose cross to the back post went out off Tonner for a corner. Buchan’s flag kick picked out Fotheringham, who powered in a header, but McCafferty got up to tip the ball over. Again Buchan took the kick, but this time Robertson got up well to head clear.

In 35 minutes, a Fotheringham free kick right into the Carnoustie goalmouth was knocked down by Sutherland to Brash, who fired in a shot, but McCafferty brought off another fine save.

Three minutes later, the Gowfers were awarded a free kick when Perera was fouled by Brash 30 yards out. Clark drove the ball in low and hard, but it was blocked away and fell to Gates, who lobbed it back in, but Bennett rose to clutch it safely.

Shortly before the interval, Carnoustie had another half-chance to get back on level terms when Cumming linked with Millar, who chipped the ball forward towards Perera, but Bennett came smartly off his line to take it cleanly and keep his charge intact.

Half-time: St Andrews United 1, Carnoustie Panmure 0.

Early in the second half, Sutherland almost put St Andrews further ahead when he headed narrowly over from a Buchan cross.

Saints continued to press and in 51 minutes a Patrick throw-in found McMullen, who shot just wide of McCafferty’s right-hand post.

Two minutes later, Cumming tried to get Carnoustie back in the game with a great surging run forward from midfield, beating three men on the way. He then slipped the ball through to Gates, who loosed-off a shot, but Bennett got up well and touched it over the top for a fruitless corner.

In 56 minutes, Patrick was booked for comments made to the referee.

Next minute, the Gowfers were denied what appeared a stonewall penalty claim when Perera went down under a challenge from Fotheringham, but the referee saw nothing wrong and waved play on.

With an hour on the watch, Carnoustie came very close to levelling the score after the ball broke to Gates on the edge of the box from where he blasted in a rocket shot, but Bennett denied him with a great save.

However, the Gowfers were rocked in 62 minutes when a Buchan shot from the edge of the box rebounded from McCafferty’s right-hand post and fell to DIGNAN, who thumped the ball home.

Carnoustie dug deep and almost pulled a goal back in 65 minutes when Gates made a good run up the left and sent in a cross to the far post to McIlravey, who headed narrowly past Bennett’s left-hand upright.

Two minutes later, Tulleth replaced Dignan for St Andrews.

Robertson became the first Carnoustie player to be booked in 69 minutes when he saw ‘yellow’ for tripping Buchan.

The Gowfers made a change in 74 minutes with Perera being replaced by Trialist.

A minute later, Wilson limped off for St Andrews with McInnes coming on in his place.

The home substitute was quickly in the thick of the action, taking a pass from Buchan and trying a long-range shot, but put the ball straight to McCafferty, who had no trouble making the save.

In 78 minutes, the Gowfers were awarded a free kick when Cumming was fouled by Brash. The Saints’ player then picked up the ball and carried it away before throwing it down and not surprisingly became the third United player to be cautioned on the day.

On the 90 minute mark, Trialist was brought down by McInnes, but Clark fired the free kick just wide of Bennett’s left-hand post.

As play moved into stoppage-time, Clark was booked for a rather innocuous looking foul on Brash.

A minute later, St Andrews made a third change with Sutherland being replaced by Paterson, who didn’t even get a kick of the ball before the referee blew for full-time on the Gowfers’ first league defeat of the season and sees them drop from fourth to eighth in the table.

Teams:

St Andrews United - Bennett, Wilson (McInnes 76), Brash, Fotheringham, McMullen, Patrick, Buchan, Sutherland (Paterson 91), Dignan (Tulleth 67), Suttie, Ramsay. Substitutes, not used - Brown, Macrae, Farquharson, Sloan (gk).

Carnoustie Panmure - McCafferty, Tonner, Gates, Millar, Perera (Trialist 72), Hendry, McIlravey, Robertson, Clark, Cumming, Cook. Substitutes, not used - Matthew, Narey.

Referee, N. McLennan, Perth.

Tomorrow’s match

Tomorrow (Saturday), Carnoustie play host to Arbroath Vics in the preliminary round of the GA Engineering Cup.

With the Gowfers having narrowly pipped Vics to a place in the D.J. Laing League Cup final just over a month ago, the Arbroath side will no doubt be out for revenge and another tough encounter is in prospect.

Kick-off time at Laing Park is 2.30 p.m. A home tie against Montrose Roselea in the first round proper awaits the winners.

ACA Sports East Super League

P W L D F A Pts

Bo’ness United 3 2 0 1 11 1 7

Musselburgh Athletic 4 2 1 1 13 8 7

Linlithgow Rose 4 2 1 1 11 8 7

Lochee United 4 2 2 0 12 8 6

Bathgate Thistle 4 1 0 3 7 6 6

Kelty Hearts 4 2 2 0 7 7 6

Hill of Beath 4 1 1 2 11 7 5

Carn Panmure 4 1 1 2 5 6 5

Bonnyrigg Rose 2 1 0 1 3 1 4

St Andrews United 4 1 2 1 7 9 4

Camelon 3 1 2 0 4 6 3

Forfar WE 4 0 4 0 1 25 0