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  • Balintore 3-6 Tain Thistle

    <img class="imgright" align="right" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/baltygame.jpg">Tain Thistle vaulted themselves into 6th place in the North Caledonian league today with a win at Seaboard Park, beating rivals Balintore by six goals to three in a non stop goalfest.<br /><br />Following last week’s defeat to Dingwall, manager John Oliver made wholesale (mostly enforced) changes. Oliver introduced trialist Lee Morrison at centre half, replacing the injured Gordon Duff while Ally Matheson was given the nod in goal. Robbie Ross and Chris Mailley switched roles, with the latter dropping to centre half. The line-up was completed with Russell Lawrie and Darran Goller replacing the absent Christie brothers up front.<br /><br />Thistle started the game well with the wind in the favour; Russell Lawrie drawing a save out of goalkeeper Ross Henderson and the forward line missing an early chance to take the lead following a fumble and stramash.<br /><br />Despite Thistle’s early blust-assisted pressure, it was Balintore who took the lead. A neat cross played into the Thistle eighteen yard box was met by an advancing Balty head, as Tain stopped Ally Matheson called for the ball but failed to deal. The ball nestled into the back of the net for a seventh minute opener.<br /><br />Even at 1-0 down, Thistle were undeterred and on 24 minutes David Mackay equalized for the visitors. Capitalizing on a clever through ball from Robbie Ross, full-back Mackay finished a nicely worked move, placing the ball at the far post, beyond Henderson. Thistle’s continuous first half pressure finally paid off just before half time when Robbie Ross blasted an effort past Henderson to make it 2-1, after some clever play from Martyn Farquhar.<br /><br />The second half started with Balintore aiming to take advantage of a strong wind, which was now blowing in their favour. Their brief period of pressure failed to result in a goal before Russell Lawrie played Darran Goller in for a third Tain goal just after the hour mark. The pacey forward pair surprised onlookers with a series of clever passes against the weather.<br /><br />Balintore were able to strike back almost instantly however, with a well struck free kick, only narrowly placed past Matheson from distance to pull the score line back to 2-3 - Steven Alexander the scorer.<br /><br />Thistle continued to press forward when the opportunities presented themselves and Paul Austin believed he had scored when he poked a ball under Henderson. Play appeared to stop as both sides concluded that the goal had been scored, but the designated assistant referee waved for play to continue, sparking an angry reaction from Thistle.<br /><br />The reprieve however, was only short lived though, as goalkeeper Henderson conceded a penalty with a quarter hour remaining. Robbie Ross stepped up to take the kick, but struck the ball down the middle into Henderson’s body � luckily for Ross, a speedy Ashley Mills was on hand to knock the ball home to make it 4-2.<br /><br />Thistle’s advantage was clear with ten minutes left and soon Balintore appeared to hit the self destruct button, with Henderson fumbling a ball into the path of Robbie Ross, who turned and knocked his second into an empty net to make it 5-2.<br /><br />A sixth inevitably followed with Russell Lawrie nipping clear of Henderson to side foot an effort home, but only after a defensive miscommunication saw Andy Ripley nod over Matheson for Balintore’s third consolation.<br /><br />The win, only Thistle’s second in North Caledonian league competition, pushes the club into 6th place. In other action, the game between Bonar Bridge and Invergordon, arranged to be played at Bonar was postponed due to a water logged pitch. Today’s results saw Golspie coming back from 2-0 down to beat Muir 3-2 while Thurso dumped Fort William 4-1. The only other fixture saw Dingwall Thistle maintain their 100% record with a 4-3 win over Halkirk Utd.<br /><br /><b>Team:</b><br />Matheson, Mackay, Farquhar, Morrison, Mailley, Austin, Oliver, Mills, Lawrie, Ross (Oman 81), Goller<br /><br /><b>Subs not used:</b><br />George, Durrand, Sutherland<br /><br /><b>Goals:</b><br />Mackay 21, Ross 45, 78, Goller 53, Mills 61, Lawrie 72<br /><br /><b>Bookings:</b><br />None.<br /><br /><b>Man of the Match:</b><br />Christopher Mailley<br /><br /><b>Match details:</b><br /><a href="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/tpl/matchdetails.php?id=260">http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/tpl/matchdetails.php?id=260</a>

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    Team Pld GD Pts
    Brora Wandrs 0 0 0
    Golspie Stafford 0 0 0
    Helmsdale Utd 0 0 0
    Lairg Rovers 0 0 0
    Lochinver 0 0 0
    Tain Thistle 0 0 0