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Keith manager Craig Ewen eager to avoid tame end to progressive Highland League season after back-to-back losses to Buckie Thistle and Wick Academy

By Alan Hendry

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Manager Craig Ewen is adamant that he doesn’t want Keith’s season to “end with a whimper”.

The Maroons have suffered back-to-back defeats without scoring since their 10-game unbeaten run in the Highland League came to an end at the beginning of last week.

Speaking after Saturday’s wind-affected 2-0 loss to Wick Academy at Harmsworth Park, Ewen said: “To be honest, the game was spoiled by the conditions. It was always going to be very difficult.

“When I arrived, I thought the wind was across the pitch but then nearer kick-off it seemed to switch more diagonally up the pitch.

“We didn't capitalise or use the wind effectively for the whole first half. We didn't take enough shots at goal, we were wanting too many touches, and Wick were quite happy to sit in.

“In the second half I felt for the first 20 minutes we were arguably the better team. Wick had four shots at goal from 35 yards but it was never really a threat and we had a couple of line breaks without having any quality on the front end.”

Wick’s Gordon MacNab broke the deadlock on 73 minutes when the ball broke for him in the penalty box and he slammed it low past Craig Reid.

Marc Macgregor made sure of the points in the last minute of the 90 when he weaved his way through the Keith defence on the Academy left and forced the ball home at the base of the post.

Ewen said: “On reflection, Wick created a good first goal and that’s maybe the bit of quality that won the game.

“The second goal was a mistake right near the end. We had four up front near the end so you’re just trying to chase it and get something out of the game.

"We're disappointed because we haven't shown any good attacking intent. We had heavy touches and poor decision-making.

“It’s one of those where you need to try and get your nose in front when you've got the wind.

“Round about 60 minutes we couldn’t really see either team scoring. I thought that was the pattern of the game.

“From our point of view, a point up here would have been a reasonable result. I’d have taken that.

“But fair play to Wick, they got the job done. We weren't good enough.”

The teams meet again at Kynoch Park on April 27.

Keith’s 10-game run was halted by a 3-0 home defeat to Buckie last Monday. The Maroons face the Jags again this weekend – but first there is a home match against the other main title contenders, Brechin City, on Tuesday night.

“We had a good 10-game run but we don’t want our season to end with a whimper either,” Ewen said. “We’ve got three difficult games and two of those are against teams going for the league, so we have to regroup and go again.”

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