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  • Alness Athletic 2-0 Tain Thistle

    Football is at its cruelest when teams can play their best game of the season and still end up as the losing side. Last night was one of those nights for Tain Thistle, as they fell 2-0 to a strong and determined Alness Athletic.<br /><br />The expected stand-in for missing first team goalkeeper Steven Martin was Steve Bannatyne but a bad case of "RSI of the neck and shoulder" led to the keeper being forced to withdraw from the squad. Davie Matheson was the third in line, taking the numberless goalkeeping jersey for only the second time this season. Through suspension, player/manager Arron Christie was also missing, with brother Daniel returning to the lineup to fill the void. Brian Cameron also returned to the first team, replacing the absent Kyle Oliver in central midfield.<br /><br />Changes in personnel always force a period of readjustment, none moreso than when you have a different keeper between the sticks - but the introduction of Robbie Ross at sweeper certainly seemed to stem the flow of attacks that have left Thistle pinned back in many of their games this season. Ross, usually a forward, paired up well with youngster Andrew Sutherland to enjoy a flawless first half at the back, flanked by Ryan Cowie and Michael Brand, the latter playing as a full back for the first time since last season.<br /><br />The most significant chance of the first half came to James Cochrane of Alness, finding himself clean through after breaking free down the right wing. Cochrane, last season's top goalscorer in the Welfare league, failed to hit the target however, blasting wide of the far post.<br /><br />Thistle's interim stopper was called into action only once during the first half, when a Steven Alexander free kick forced a save; Matheson palming the effort away to his familiar right side.<br /><br />Despite a confident defensive display and numerous attacking runs from a blisteringly fast Darran Goller, Tain failed to find a first half answer in the final third. <br /><br />As quickly as the second half started however, front man Daniel Christie could very well have put Thistle into the lead, played in beyond the last line of defence by Garry Perks -- but Christie could only fire at the legs of oncoming keeper Scott MacGruer.<br /><br />At the other end, luck was on Thistle's side for a moment as Alness blasted a long range effort goalward only for it to cannon off the crossbar. The capable feet of Michael Brand ushered the rebound to safety.<br /><br />The luck would eventually run out however as an out-rushing Matheson was caught out of position and a goalmouth scramble ensued to clear the ball. Unfortunately for Thistle, it fell to the feet of Alness defender David Kennedy, who lashed the ball into the net for the opener.<br /><br />Within minutes of his first, Kennedy netted a brace. Played in for the easiest of chances for a one-on-one with Matheson, he watched his shot trundle beyond the fallen keeper; wrong-footed and unable to prevent the inevitable to make it 2-0.<br /><br />In search for a consolation, Thistle introduced young striker John Maclellan who made an immediate impact with a speculative cross into the box, only narrowly missed by an oncoming Darran Goller. The change was academic however as a resolute Alness defence held onto the their lead for the three points.<br /><br /><b>Team:</b><br />Matheson, Cowie (C Nimmons), Brand, Sutherland (Stein), Ross, Farquhar, Cameron, Rostock (Maclellan), Goller, D Christie, Perks<br /><br /><b>Bookings:</b><br />None<br /><br /><b>Man of the Match:</b><br />Darran Goller<br /><br /><b>Match details:</b><br /><a href="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/matchdetails.php?id=399">http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/matchdetails.php?id=399</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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