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  • Inver 2-1 Tain Thistle

    <img class="imgleft" align="left" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/scottyjohn.jpg">Inver are the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup winners for 2010, following an entertainment packed ninety minutes at Balintore Lower Park yesterday. <br /><br />Both sides had made changes since their inconclusive meeting at Portmahomack weeks prior, with Craig McCourt in for Greig Mitchell and Gary Mackay replacing Stephen Campbell in the Inver goal. For Thistle, Kyle Oliver was introduced to the midfield with Brian Cameron stepping into a full back role for Ryan Cowie. Experienced forward Robbie Ross failed to make the final squad due to the imposed limit of six Winter form players, while the returning Mark Reid took a place on the bench.<br /><br />Pre-match, the Tain players and committee arrived together, universally clad in red and black bar ties. For many of the younger players, it would be their first Welfare final, having stepped up from the Under 17 ranks this summer. <br /><br />Nerves were apparent early on as neither side could figure a conclusive hold on the game, but it was Inver who had the first chance, Ashley Mills managing to win a header in the Thistle box before sending a shot just over the bar after some shaky defending from the Grant Park men. <br /><br />Despite the early pressure from Inver, it was Tain who opened the scoring, through an unlikely source. A looping cross from right back Brian Cameron reached the edge of the Inver area, but it was Inver captain Scott Innes who was first to the ball in what he must have hoped would be a headed clearance. The unlucky defender could only watch his effort drift into the net at Gary Mackay’s far post however, giving Thistle a surprise 1-0 lead.<br /><br /><img class="imgright" align="right" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/ayahash.jpg">The goal should have served as encouragement for Thistle, who had seemed all-at-sea for most of the half thus far, but disaster struck moments later when Craig McCourt found himself through on the Tain goal, this time forcing goalkeeper Steven Martin to produce a save, beating the ball behind for a corner.<br /><br />The Thistle defence were caught napping once again as McCourt found himself in an advanced position and in a moment that player-manager Arron Christie will want to forget, the towering Inver forward was sent to the ground, leaving referee Michael Stainke with no other option than to point to the spot. McCourt stepped up and rifled the ball home to level the affair at 1-1.<br /><br />As the first half continued, frustration grew higher as the action flew from end to end. In the frenzy, Thistle could only stand and watch as the next goal flew in, as Stuart Wood struck the ball from 25 yards, over the Thistle defence and their keeper to make it 2-1.<br /><br />The deficit finally seemed to spur Tain on, as a flurry of chances before the half time whistle ensued. Kyle Oliver was unsuccessful first of all with a thumping shot that just skimmed its way over the bar, before the midfielder once again beat the keeper, only to see his angled shot bounce off the post � winger Darran Goller unsuccessful with the rebound. It was beginning to seem like one of those days for Thistle as John Maclellan also found himself clean through on Mackay. The forward dribbled the ball past the Inver keeper but in an infringement which seemed to escape the eyes of both the referee and his assistants, the young striker found his legs clipped by the keeper, ending his momentum and the scoring chance.<br /><br />The second half told a very different tale to that of the first, with forty-five minutes of Thistle pressure about to begin.<br /><br />Arron Christie, now in a forward position, should have made it 2-2 when he found himself one-on-one with Mackay, but much to the amazement of the Thistle support, after he beat Mackay his chipped effort came back off the crossbar! Christie’s frustration turned to scorn soon after as he found himself in the Inver box only to be wrestled to the ground; referee Stainke again ignoring any penalty claim to the amazement of both teams.<br /><br />Thistle’s best chance of the second period fell without doubt to Andrew Sutherland who, having advanced for a set piece found the goal gaping, but could only shoot directly at an Inver defender on the goal line.<br /><br />The Jags continued to pressurize up until the final whistle, Colin Burry, James Rice and even goalkeeper Steven Martin coming close to finding an equalizer but as time went on, it became evident that the name of Tain Thistle was never to be written on the League Cup this year.<br /><br /><img border="0" align="none" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/inverwinners.jpg"><br /><br />Competition sponsor Jim Oman of Highland Heatsave Ltd Plumbing & Heating presented the trophy to Inver captain Scott Innes after the match, before medals and awards were handed out at Balintore's Commercial Hotel. Any taste of bitterness following the result were soon washed away with some excellently prepared soup, provided by the hosts.<br /><br /><b>Team:</b><br />Martin, Cameron (Reid), Rice, Sutherland, A Christie, Oliver, Farquhar, Goller (Rattanaphithak), Burry, Maclellan, D Christie<br /><br /><b>Subs not used:</b><br />Johnston, Cowie, Durrand<br /><br /><b>Goals:</b><br />Innes o.g. 15<br /><br /><b>Match details:</b><br /><a href="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/matchdetails.php?id=409"> http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/matchdetails.php?id=409</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

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