Huntly 1: Callum Dunbar (51) Buckie Thistle 0
A sensational Callum Dunbar volley saw Huntly end a run of seven games without a win with their first home league win over Buckie Thistle since March 2011.
Huntly were missing midfielder Murray McCulloch while utility Alexander Thoirs was ruled out through a neck problem. Buckie had a lengthy absentee list with Christopher Hegarty, Donald Munro, Stephen Gauld and Graeme Stewart all calling off while there was a return to Christie Park for Andrzej Kleczkowski who featured against his former club for the first time.
The Polish forward wasted a great chance after only eight minutes when he fired over after running onto a Christopher Angus pass. Three minutes later, David Booth threaded the ball through for his strike partner Callum Dunbar but he failed to get a clean strike on the ball.
Russell Guild gained possession on the left and played a dangerous ball into the six yard box but good positional play from Lewis MacKinnon saw the defender chest the ball back to his own keeper to prevent a Huntly player from getting on the end of the delivery.
Despite his 6 foot 8 frame, Buckie’s goalkeeper Andrew Burr looked to be struggling with high balls into his own box and when Blair Johnston whipped in a free kick from the left, Burr punched the ball only as far as Dunbar whose effort was blocked in a packed area. Burr was caught out against on the half-hour when he flapped at a ball into the box before David Booth drilled wide.
Half-Time: Huntly 0 Buckie Thistle 0
A minute into the second half Angus looked offside as he broke forward but a timely block from Gary Davidson got the ball behind for a corner.
After not scoring in their previous three matches, a great piece of play saw Huntly open the scoring in the 51st minute. Blair Johnston burst down the left wing and his cross was laid off by Ian Cruickshank into the path of Callum Dunbar who struck a fantastic volley from just outside the box with the forward netting his third goal for the club.
There were strong claims for a handball inside the Buckie goalmouth ten minutes later and Assistant Referee Mike Sinclair stuck up his flag to indicate an infringement only to put it down again as the home bench became angered with the official.
A good save from Fraser Hobday kept out Kyle Gauld not before more controversy followed from the officials. A free kick was played short between Lewis Mackinnon and Harry Noble but when the return pass was not touch, Ian Cruickshank ran on with the ball only for Referee Alan Frew to order a retake despite his assistant not flagging. MacKinnon threw the ball to the ground as an act of dissent when instructed to move the ball back and should’ve be shown a yellow card however he went into the book just a minute later following a late tackle.
Cruickshank impressed with his box to box play and forced a save from Burr with a low drive from outside the box. Fraser Hobday kept his third clean sheet of the season and did his part to contribute to the shut-out when he got down to hold a shot from substitute Drew Copeland.
A good interception from Booth saw the forward cut back to Guild and he looked to be ending a goal drought which has not seem his score since late December only for ben Stewart to stick out a leg and divert the shot wide of the post.
The win sees Huntly move up two places to 15th just one point behind Lossiemouth and Keith. Buckie stay ahead of Deveronvale in 11th on goal difference.
Huntly: Hobday, B Johnston, G Davidson, Dorrat, McKenzie, Lawson, Guild, Cruickshank, Dunbar (T Johnston 77), Booth and N Davidson. Unused subs: Harrison, Ingram, McNamee and Gray. Booked: Dorrat (18)
Buckie Thistle: Burr, MacRae, Noble, K Gauld (Copeland 73), MacKinnon, B Stewart, Angus, Carrol, Kleczkowski, Low and Baxter (Adams 65). Unused subs: Hodge, S Wood, J Cheyne and Fraser (GK). Booked: Carrol (63) and Mackinnon (69).
Referee: Alan Frew.
Reporter: Grant Turner