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    Thistle battle Inver at Port

    Tain Thistle's Welfare side took on Inver in their first pre-season friendly this afternoon at the villagers' temporary home of Portmahomack.<br /><br />Still waiting on the arrival of a number of players from Winter commitments, manager Arron Christie took the opportunity to introduce a group of talented youngsters promoted from the Under 17s, namely Andrew Sutherland, Ryan Johnston, Ayah Rattanaphithak and John Maclellan to the fray, combined with the core of the side who won the Ross-shire Welfare league title last year.<br /><br />Exhibiting some good passing football, Tain took an early lead through Daniel Christie, as the midfielder dazzled Inver stopper David Crombie with a long range effort into the top corner. A second followed ten minutes later, as winger Darran Goller was fouled inside the box and referee Harry Corbett pointing to the spot. Christie made no mistake with the penalty to put Tain 2-0 ahead.<br /><br /><img class="imgright" align="right" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/invertain.jpg">Full back James Rice and midfielder Darran Goller withdrew from the game early, seeing Ryan Johnston and Ayah Rattanaphithak introduced on about the half hour mark.<br /><br />Thistle could have gone 3-0 up through the returning Colin Burry on two occasions, but the winger was unable to capitalize. Inver were not without their share of chances however; mostly notably when Tain Second XI star Chris Mailley rattled the cross bar for the home side.<br /><br />Tain would have gone in 2-0 leaders at the break, were it not for a fortunate cross, which looped over Steven Martin into the Tain net, giving Inver a consolation before half time.<br /><br />Tain started the second half as they began, winning a free kick to go 3-1 up after the restart; Daniel Christie netting again for his hat trick with the set piece, placed over the Inver wall into the top of the net.<br /><br />With a quarter hour remaining, Inver assistant boss Darren Mackay showed some style of his own, pulling the score back to 3-2 with a classy effort looped into the top corner. Thistle were undeterred however and could have scored through Ayah Rattanaphithak, with the diminutive winger thwarted only by an oncoming David Crombie. <br /><br />Tain managed to nick a further goal however; Rattanaphithak playing his former Under 17s team mate John Maclellan into space for the calmest of finishes to make it 4-2. A fifth followed soon after as Brian Cameron drove a ball into the bottom left corner from midfield.<br /><br />Despite a 'meaty' atmosphere at times, Thistle's younger players showed great discipline and determination, never showing themselves to be overawed -- a credit surely to the great lessons learned under the coaches of the Ross-shire league winning Tain Juniors U17s.<br /><br />Late on, Christie introduced substitutes Craig Nimmons and Michael Stein, along with reserve keeper Davie Matheson. Matheson was brought into action straight away however, having to tip an Inver effort round the post before a goalmouth stramash found its way into the net for Inver's third. Matheson was unlucky moments later as Inver pulled the scoreline back to 5-4. The stopper was able to block a shot at close range before being beaten by the rebound.<br /><br />The scoreline remained at 5-4 despite late chances at either end. <br /><br />Thistle's Welfare side are likely to travel to Dingwall this coming Saturday, April 24th for another friendly against newcomers Vertex.<br /><br /><b>Starting XI:</b><br />Steven Martin, Ryan Cowie, James Rice, Mark Munro, Michael Brand, Martyn Farquhar, Daniel Christie, Brian Cameron, Colin Burry, Darran Goller, Dickie Durrand<br /><br /><b>Subs (all used):</b><br />Davie Matheson, Andrew Sutherland, Ryan Johnstone, Ayah Rattanaphithak, Michael Stein, Craig Nimmons, John Maclellan

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