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  • Muir of Ord 5-1 Tain Thistle

    A shambolic first half performance saw Tain Thistle slump to their 8th defeat of the season, at the hands of an experienced and in-form Muir of Ord side.<br /><br />Playing 4-4-2 for the first time since the start of the season, Thistle manager Robbie Ross re-introduced midfield pair Paul Austin and Chris Mailley to slot in between Colin Burry and Brian Cameron, who impressed the week prior against Golspie. Ewen Thain and Scott Morrison returned to the side, paired up front, with the usual back four of MacGruer, Christie, Duff and Innes unchanged. The most significant change saw the debut of goalkeeper Steve Bannatyne, who replaced the unavailable Barry Nimmons.<br /><br />Both teams started quickly from the kick off, with through balls penetrating both defences early on. Indeed it was Tain who should have taken the lead on 5 minutes, when Colin Burry's cross found the head of Ewen Thain whose effort failed to hit the target. The rebound fell to the feet of right winger Brian Cameron at the far post, who also failed to make it count.<br /><br />In an end-to-end first quarter hour, Muir eventually took the lead through Ewan Dance who slotted the ball past an advancing Bannatyne with ease. Undeterred, Thistle hit back almost instantly to make it 1-1, with Paul Austin knocking an easy ball past a flustered Ian Bartlett at his near post.<br /><br />Bannatyne was exposed again two minutes later as yet another Muir attack found the back of the net; Martin Callum volleying a loose ball from inside the area past the punching fists of the debutant keeper.<br /><br />Despite a series of frenzied counter attacks, Thistle found themselves in hot water after 20 minutes, with referee Graham Fraser adjudging that defender Gordon Duff had felled Dance just outside the area. Despite not being a goal scoring opportunity, the ref showed no hesitation in dismissing Thistle's consistent defender. The protesting Colin Burry was booked in the aftermath, and from the resultant free kick, Callum made no mistake with his strike, putting the home side 3-1 ahead.<br /><br />Down to ten men, a disheveled and rattled Thistle side struggled to contain the persistent attacks of Muir of Ord, and on 24 minutes, Ewan Dance scored his second of the afternoon, from a tight angle. With the half time whistle still ten minutes away, Thistle's frustration saw the outspoken Scott Morrison booked for a verbal tirade directed towards assistant referee Leona Dunbar. Rounding off the first half's scoring tally, Martin Callum notched his hat trick on 35 mins, making it an embarassing 5-1 for Tain.<br /><br />As the break approached, Thistle's afternoon got worse when midfielder Paul Austin suffered a knee injury and was forced to leave the field of play.<br /><br />Following the break, Thistle moved into 2nd gear, as Muir of Ord happily sat back defending their more-than-comfortable lead. Winger Colin Burry did his best to open up a relaxed Muir defence, coming closest to scoring with a looping shot just over the bar. Shots from Thain and substitute Darran Goller in the latter stages also failed to hit the target, but it was Scott Morrison who was the first to test really test Bartlett, with a spinning volley inside the area which was stopped well at close range.<br /><br />Despite the goal spree of the first half, the second period produced no more goals for the home side; Bannatyne doing well to thwart a handful of attacks.<br /><br />While Muir move six points clear in 2nd place, the result leaves Thistle stranded at the bottom of the table, with Bonar Bridge having seen off the visit of Thurso in a 4-3 win to take them onto 7 points. In the other afternoon's games, Balintore returned from Alness with a 5-0 win, Halkirk saw off Golspie 3-1, and Bunillidh's visit to Invergordon saw them run out clear 4-1 victors.

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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

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