Neave bags a tre­ble

Derby delight for Neave as he hits an­other hat-trick

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Johnathon Men­zies

Blair­gowrie over­came Coupar An­gus in a tough east Perthshire derby.

Played at break­neck pace on a heavy pitch, this was not a match for the purist or the faint-hearted. Coupar, with some good re­cent re­sults, must have been op­ti­mistic, but it was Blair who opened the stronger.

An early Gary Ax­wor­thy free-kick was bril­liantly-saved by Al­lardyce in the home goal, then crosses from Keir Reilly and Rudi Brown caused prob­lems be­fore Coupar took the lead in their first mean­ing­ful at­tack.

With 10 min­utes gone, Alex Gibb broke through all too eas­ily to score with a shot high into the Blair net.

The vis­i­tors re­sponded swiftly when Matty Adam flicked on a long ball on to Dar­ren Neave, who scored with a pow­er­ful low vol­ley.

Coupar re­gained the lead af­ter 24 min­utes. A Gibb drive struck the Blair cross­bar and re­bounded to Euan McIl­venny who had the eas­i­est of tasks to nod home the re­bound from close range.

Neave again equalised im­me­di­ately for Blair. A pow­er­ful James Simp­son header was par­ried by Al­lardyce, but Blair’s in-form striker was on hand to steer the loose ball into an empty net.

Blair­gowrie went ahead af­ter 35 min­utes af­ter some good play by Mark Chris­ti­son. The vet­eran was fouled in mid­field, but the ref­eree played ad­van­tage which al­lowed Chris­ti­son to play a beau­ti­fully-flighted cross to Adam who steered home from 10 yards.

Adam had a couple of chances early in the sec­ond-half for Blair, but they had to wait un­til the 68th minute to ex­tend their lead.

Brown was fouled at the edge of the Coupar penalty area and Neave took the free-kick smartly to earn his sec­ond suc­ces­sive hat-trick in as many games.

Coupar An­gus protested and ‘keeper Al­lardyce was red-carded for his ef­forts.

Late on, Blair’s Danny Mil­lar was caught in a col­li­sion and looked se­ri­ously in­jured. The vis­i­tors were also down to 10 men for a lengthy spell as all three sub­sti­tutes had been used.

Thank­fully, Mil­lar re­turned for the fi­nal sec­onds as Coupar An­gus fought to the end, striv­ing for a life­line that would have set up a dra­matic fi­nale.

Blair­gowrie: O’Brien, Reilly, MacNaughton, Mil­lar, Simp­son, Brown, Ax­wor­thy, Plen­der­leith, Adam, Chris­ti­son, Neave. Subs used: Findlay, Gray, Nor­rie.

This Satur­day, Blair­gowrie travel to Bridge of Don in Aberdeen­shire to play Her­mes FC of the North Re­gion Su­per­league in the Scot­tish Cup. It’s a 2.30pm kick-off.

Her­mes cur­rently lie third in the league ta­ble and will clearly start as favourites.

Blair­gowrie’s cause is not helped by an ex­tremely lengthy in­jury and un­avail­abil­ity list. Danny Mil­lar had to re­ceive stitches in his face and doubts re­main as to his avail­abil­ity on Satur­day.

Mean­while, this week’s Blair­gowrie JFC berry-pick­ers’ weigh-in num­bers were 12, 14, 16 and 18.

There were no win­ners, mean­ing the next avail­able jack­pot is £1150.

Tre­ble Neave net­ted an­other hat-trick

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