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  • Alness Athletic 2-1 Tain Thistle

    Three first half goals and a valiant second half effort from the Jags against league leaders Alness Athletic made for a storied and toughly contested game at Academy Park last night.<br /><br />Missing both centre halves from last week's win over Inver (Martyn Farquhar suspended and Michael Brand recovering from surgery), Thistle fielded an otherwise unchanged eleven with last minute addition Michael Stein added to the subs bench.<br /><br />The game's importance was clear to see as both sides started with an eye for goal, Goller shooting over at one end before Mark Lamont hit the side netting at the other - all in the opening two minutes.<br /><br />The end to end action continued, with John Allan called upon early with a double save, continuing the brilliance in goal that he has shown all season. At the other end, it was Tain who eventually found the opener. In a moment of brilliance, Chris Mailley flicked the ball to Darran Goller who turned and lobbed a shot from over 30 yards, foxing Daniel Cormack in the Alness goal as his powerful shot rattled the crossbar on its way into the net.<br /><br />It should have been 2-0 shortly after as a goalmouth scramble was eventually cleared by Cormack and the Alness defence following a series of corners, and again at the other end, Allan was equal to Alness.<br /><br />Missing their top goalscorer Shaun Robertson, an otherwise strong forward line was bolstered by David Niven, who eventually found Athletic's equalizer on 26 minutes, tapping home from a Lamont squared ball.<br /><br />At 1-1, the frenetic pace didn't change, however the grip was held stronger by Alness, buoyed by their goal. Unlucky with an earlier attempt, it was Chris Graham for the home side who eventually scored. John Allan, otherwise excellent in the first half, could do nothing to prevent Graham's thumping angled shot, ghosted past the Jags at pace to make it 2-1.<br /><br />The break followed within four minutes and so began a second half of Tain pressure. The back two of Robbie Ross and Kev Graham expertly stood up to early attacks from Alness, with Allan in goal again up to the test when required and Durrand and Johnston were both quick on the counter for Thistle. Under pressure, the Alness back line grew in numbers and successfully defended a series of well delivered corners from Daniel Christie.<br /><br />Liam Rostock looked the Jags' biggest threat, unlucky not to score with an effort that missed the target, continuing however to link up well with Johnston and substitute Donald Matheson - the former also shooting just wide.<br /><br />In the dying stages it looked as though Tain would surely snatch an equalizer as Maclellan found himself through on goal, but his shot flew agonisingly over.<br /><br />The win for Alness all but cements their position as champions-in-waiting, having already beaten closest rivals Balintore a week ago. <br /><br /><b>Team:</b><br />Allan, Durrand, Johnston, Ross, Graham, Cowie (Matheson), Mailley, Rostock, Goller, Maclellan, Christie<br /><br /><b>Subs not used:</b><br />Stein<br /><br /><b>Goals:</b><br />Goller 16<br /><br /><b>Man of the Match:</b><br />John Allan

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  •   League Table

    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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