Neave’s triple triumph
Determined fightback gives Blair a deserved victory over Arbroath
Ogilvy Park, the home of Arbroath Vics, has rarely proved a happy hunting ground for Blairgowrie in recent seasons.
However, a determined second-half fightback gave Blair a deserved and welcome victory.
Blair started brightly without really threatening the Vics’ goal.
However, after 15 minutes, Gary Axworthy played an intelligent pass through to Darren Neave who opened the scoring with a delicate finish.
Mark Brash’s side looked comfortable at this stage, but they soon lost two carboncopy goals to go behind at the interval.
On both occasions possession was cheaply surrendered and Arbroath counterattacked swiftly to expose a short-handed Blair defence.
These setbacks led to a loss of rhythm for Blair, up against it at half-time.
Gradually Blairgowrie reasserted themselves after the break and put pressure on the home defence.
The equaliser came on the hour mark when an Axworthy corner was headed across goal by James Simpson to Neave, whose vicious net-bound volley from 18 yards found the goal via a deflection.
Blair continued on top and Matty Adam came close on three occasions in quick succession. Twice venomous volleys were acrobatically tipped over by the home ‘keeper and then from an Axworthy cross, Adam’s header smacked off the upright and bounced to safety.
There was a scare for Blair immediately after this when a home striker headed over from a good position, but Blair soon returned to the offensive.
Rudi Brown had been a thorn in the home defence’s side all afternoon, winning countless free-kicks, and it was no surprise when he won a penalty for Blair with 10 minutes left.
After a lengthy spell of treatment for Blair winger Brown, Neave completed his hat- trick in expert fashion from the penalty spot.
In the 87thminute Stephen Findlay, on for Brown, continued to torment the left flank Arbroath’s defence to set up Axworthy who scored with a fierce drive from close range, much to the delight of the travelling support.
Blairgowrie: O’Brien, Reilly, MacNaughton, Millar, Simpson, R. Brown, Axworthy, Plenderleith, Adam, Christison, Neave. Subs used: Findlay, Scott.
This Saturday, Blairgowrie travel to Foxhall Park to play Coupar Angus in a North League derby match. It’s a 2.30pm kick-off.
Blairgowrie will play North Region Super League side Hermes in the second round of the Scottish Junior Cup on Saturday, October 28.
Any supporters wishing to travel with the team should contact Mike Coyle on 07504 650475.
Meanwhile, this week’s berry-pickers weigh-in numbers were 2, 14, 15 and 17.
There were no winners, meaning the prize money next week will be £1100.
Scoresheet Gary Axworthy
Treble Darren Neave