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  • Thistle win Seaboard Cup

    Tain Thistle secured their first ever Seaboard Cup win yesterday, following a brilliant second half performance and some resolute defending. A brace from substitute Andy Ripley and a goal from Darran Goller were enough to see out the result, despite a late fight back from fellow finalists Alness Athletic.<br /><br />Thistle, for the first time this season, were at full strength, and gaffer introduced a reshaped back four, with Michael Brand and Martyn Farquhar taking up the full back positions either side of himself and Arron Christie. Paul Cowie, Chris Mailley and Daniel Christie made up the midfield, with Liam Rostock and Darran Goller on the wings, and John Maclellan completed the lineup as the lone striker.<br /><br />Alness Athletic had been hard at it pre-match with close to an hour warming up on the sodden Lower Seaboard Park; the rain hitting the ground at a furious rate - but just minutes after the Thistle boys made their way onto the pitch at 2.45pm, the wet weather relented.<br /><br />Jags keeper John Allan was called into action early on with a series of attacks; Mike McKenzie testing first with a shot saved well at close range. A flurry of corners followed with the Jags very much under the cosh. During the opening 20 minutes, Athletic will feel very disappointed not to have scored, having seen multiple chances fly over and wide of the bar; Ross and Arron Christie both doing excellently well to see the ball clear.<br /><br /><img border="0" align="none" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/seaboardaction1.jpg"><br /><br />The Jags eventually settled into the game, and it was Rostock who was first to test Docherty in the Alness goal with a tame effort, however the battle in midfield was becoming anything but. Hard work from Farquhar, Cowie and Mailley to win possession saw Thistle begin to pass the ball in the way that has seen them win six of their last eight games.<br /><br />Maclellan was next on the offensive for Tain, forcing a near post save from Docherty, however as quickly as the corner was taken, Thistle were on the defensive, as the end to end battle continued.<br /><br />The second half started more in Thistle's favour, Alness appearing tired following am all-out attack in the first period. Slick passing and clever forward play allowed the pace of Goller and Rostock to get in behind the Alness back line, however Alness were up to the challenge in defence. <br /><br />It looked as though the fruits of Thistle's labour in the early spell of the second half had paid off as Robbie Ross headed home from a Rostock ball, but referee Gary McCarthy judged that the attacking side had pushed inside the box.<br /><br />Disaster struck after the hour mark for Thistle however, as Rostock was felled with an ankle injury. With his ankle swelling to the size of a tennis ball, he was forced to leave the field, and introduced in his place was Andy Ripley.<br /><br />Albeit non-tactical, the change heralded success almost instantly as Daniel Christie found himself through on goal. His shot was saved by Docherty, but in at the far post to knock home the rebound was Ripley, sending the Jags into the lead.<br /><br /><img border="0" align="none" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/celeb.jpg"><br /><br />With twenty minutes remaining, Thistle had a job on their hands to defend their lead, and it looked as though they had lost it when Allan was beaten on the edge of the eighteen yard box, but Arron Christie, excellent in his efforts all afternoon, was there to clear the ball before it crossed the line.<br /><br />Injury forced another Thistle player off the park shortly after when Paul Cowie left the field with a knee knock, Andy Durrand being called into action in his place. <br /><br />Moments later, Alness eventually found their equalizer as Mark Lamont headed home at the far post from a series of knock-ons. Undeterred however, Thistle hearts didn't sink and Darran Goller, tireless in his efforts all afternoon rattled a shot home from inside the eighteen yard box through a wall of defenders past Docherty to make it 2-1, completing a personal hat-trick of cup final goals for the Jags.<br /><br />The Jags players and supporters watched on for the longest ten minutes of the game, awaiting the final whistle, but on 82 minutes, Ripley once again sent the Thistle support into applause with the coolest of finishes from the edge of the box, rattling a shot past Docherty with confidence to make it 3-1. <br /><br />However, as lifelong fan Norman Macangus would say, quite frequently, "This is Tain we're talking about - we don't do things the easy way...". Following a spell of end to end chances for both sides, Maclellan particularly unlucky for Tain, it was Alness who netted again. With two minutes remaining, substitute Kevin Munro found the net and at 3-2 it was backs to the wall for Tain.<br /><br />In the dying stages, hearts were in mouths as Alness Athletic had a goal denied, as Liam Muir believed he had headed home when his effort came off the bar, but Christie once again was the hero with a goal line clearance. Attacking at the other end, Docherty stranded, the Thistle forwards went on the counter towards an open goal, however linesman Martin Godwin deemed them to be offside.<br /><br />Alas, that was to be all the action, and referee Gary McCarthy blew for full time. Thistle secured their fourth cup win in the short history, this their first ever Seaboard Cup win.<br /><br /><img border="0" align="none" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/seaboardcupwinners.jpg"><br /><br /><b>Team:</b><br />Allan, Brand, Farquhar, A Christie, Ross, Cowie (Durrand), Mailley, D Christie, Rostock (Ripley), Goller (Matheson), Maclellan<br /><br /><b>Subs not used:</b><br />Johnston, Munro<br /><br /><b>Goals:</b><br />Ripley 67, 82, Goller 78<br /><br /><b>Man of the Match:</b><br />Arron Christie

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