The return journey, curiously, did not have the despondency of the midweek defeat against Clach seven days beforehand. Maybe the road from Banff is more conducive to the philosophical approach than the landscape of the Merkinch that resonated at the time with the mocking cheers of the Clachers. Talk too, on the way home of the Highland League cup tie on Saturday the 6th of Aprill at Station Park against the Merkinchers and when football was exhausted there were rich seams of other parochial affairs to mine to take one's mind off the defeat.
Another cold night out but not as cold as last Saturday afternoon at Station Park. A quick look out of the window this morning indicates the low temperatures have not gone away yet - will we ever see warm sunny football again before this season finishes?
Soccer is such a bitter sweet game and there were moments where one was very satisfied with the County performance yet stunned by the failure of the ball to go in the net. It wasn't going to go in last night and to this observer that feeling was at the height of its definition when Andy Neill decided to go all the way on one of his piecing runs on the wing: the gods denied him and the sound of the crossbar rattling violently echoed loudly across the floodlit Princess Royal Park panorama - then John Cameron was to fail to capitalize on the loose ball, maybe if he had been a couple of centimeters better placed? Plenty of other maybes to discuss too.
Bizarre injury time moments as the Ref went down, he eventually got up but the stoppage interfered with a long period of County domination. Then the blow that was Mo's second card. County hung on with determination however and seemed to fight even more for every ball. The late Vale goal sealed it though.