Blairgowrie battled hard to defeat league leaders Downfield on Saturday in what was by far the most impressive performance of the season from the Davie Park outfit.
What made the result even more remarkable was the fact it was achieved without a recognised goalkeeper for more than 50 minutes.
The odds were firmly placed against Blairgowrie prior to the game. Downfield were on form in the league and were fully deserved of their place at the top of the North Division table.
A win for them would fully cement their position as league favourites. On the other hand, Blairgowrie had put in a less than convincing performance against Forfar Albion in their previous league outing and were dealt a blow with the news that striker Andy Murison would be out of action until February.
A good crowd got behind the team in what was undoubtedly the biggest game of Blairgowrie’s season so far.
Blair opened the scoring in four minutes when a clearance from the Downfield defence fell to James Simpson on the right. He crossed into the box for Paul Maloney and, as the keeper came to collect, he struggled to make a clean catch, allowing Maloney to capitalise and put his side ahead.
Axworthy and Maloney caused havoc in the Downfield defence before Stewart Sheed went closest from 12 yards, skimmed the outside of a post.
Axworthy put himself in promising positions and nearly caught the keeper out in a one-on-one situation only to be foiled.
In a rare attack a Downfield striker found himself up against keeper Gordon O’Brien and, as he tried to round him entering the box, the Blair skipper brought the player down and saw red.
Greg McDonald volunteered to go in goal and was faced with the daunting prospect of trying to save a free kick from the edge of the box, but he produced a strong double fisted save – one which had a huge bearing on the outcome of the game.
With every attack the supporters urged the Blair players forward becoming the 11th man they were missing.
In 62 minutes Blairgowrie went 2-0 up following a superb move. A clearance from defence was headed on by Josef Frangiskou to Gary Axworthy whose blistering pace left the defence with no chance of stopping him, and he rounded the keeper before slotting the ball into the empty net.
The defence were asked a lot of questions but held steadfast. Paul Maloney saw an effort go wide as did Gary Axworthy.
Stewart Nicoll went close on a one on one with the keeper only to be put into a tight angle.
At the other end, Greg McDonald produced a great one-handed save over the bar to deny Downfield and when they were awarded a penalty kick in 90 minutes.
The save was one of several highlights in a super performance in goal by their left-sided midfielder.
Five minutes of added time were played but the Davie Park side held on for a famous victory which puts Blair up to joint fourth in the table, four points behind Downfield but with two crucial games in hand.
Blairgowrie are away to Arbroath Vics tomorrow (Saturday), kick-off 1.45pm. Berrypickers Weigh-in numbers: 12, 15, 17, 20. No winner. Next week £650.