Bridge of Don Thistle and Hermes fought out a scoreless draw in baking conditions to start the season – with both sides feeling crucial decisions had gone against them.
Thistle, who finished the game at Aberdeen Sports Village with nine men, saw two strong penalty claims go against them in their Super League opener, while Hermes thought they had won the game at the death, only for the “goal” to be ruled out for offside.
“It wasn’t one for the purists.” admitted Jags boss Lewis Muirhead. “We thought we had a penalty in the first half when Nicky Wozniak was brought down and a goal kick was given.
“Then, in the second half, a spot-kick was given when Max Alexander went down, but, after a five-minute debate, the referee changed his mind.
“I thought our back five of keeper Fraser Strachan, Sam Muirhead, Ross Forsyth, Craig McEwan and Lewis Dunbar, who’s on loan from Buckie, were immense, although it was extremely disappointing to have skipper Gary Clark sent off for two yellows, along with the straight red for on-loan Buckie player Marcus Goodall, who had just come on.
“We travel to Hall Russell United on Tuesday (7.30pm) and John Carrol always has them well organised, so it won’t be easy.”
Hermes manager Neil Dawson was also left frustrated at what he felt was “a perfectly good goal” ruled out for offside with just a couple of minutes remaining.
He said: ““It was annoying as it was definitely onside.
“A combination of seven months out and the heat meant it wasn’t easy, although I thought we asked all the questions. It was two pretty competitive teams and I felt we deserved the three points, but we’ll take the positives from the game.”
This evening sees Hermes at home to champions Banks o’ Dee (also 7.30pm) before a visit to Culter at the weekend.
“We play all the top teams early on.” added Dawson. “We’ve never had a harder start than this, but we’ve just got to try the best we can over this period.
“Banks o’ Dee are the favourites in all the competitions, but we certainly won’t be rolling over for them.”
Hermes are hoping to have ex-Maud and Culter defender Steven Whyte available tonight after injury, along with midfielder Joe Burr, while Jordan Reid is still out long-term.
Work commitments have forced Jack Sim to leave the club, while goalkeeper Greg Simpson has joined from Keith.
Plenty of Junior action tonight
There’s almost a full programme of fixtures on Tuesday evening, with a mix of McBookie.com league matches and the opening group games in this season’s League Cup.
In the Super League, Culter, who hit double figures at the weekend, face a tricky trip to Dyce, while champions Banks o’ Dee will also have their work cut out at Lochside Park against Hermes.
At Links Park, Montrose Roselea welcome East End, Colony Park travel to Ellon United, Maud entertain Banchory St. Ternan and Deveronside are at Nairn St. Ninian.
The sole Second Division clash pits Rothie Rovers against Newmachar United.