Tain Thistle and Inver locked horns on the opening night of the Ross-shire Welfare league campaign, drawing a blank at both ends in an enjoyable match tonight.
Thistle felt much more at home with first choice keeper Stevie Martin back in goal. A more familiar looking 4-4-2 saw Arron Christie and Keith Dingwall flanked by Martyn Farquhar and Andy Murray, with a central midfield of Daniel Christie and Michael Brand, wings occupied by Andy Durrand and James Rice, with a front two of power and pace, respectively named as Robbie Ross and Liam Rostock.
Tain dominated from the outset, testing Inver keeper Henderson on the 5th minute when Daniel Christie's looping free kick found the head of winger Rice for a point blank effort. Henderson was up to the challenge, and again held well when Liam Rostock turned his marker to hit a confident strike on target.
Thistle had numerous chances to take the lead and will have been disappointed to go in at the break without having scored; goalkeeper Stevie Martin having the quietest of first halves. Andy Durrand had the most clear cut chance of the first period, having been clean through on Henderson but his hesitance to shoot saw him dispossessed by David Calderwood.
Unfortunately for Tain, momentum was lost when forward man Robbie Ross was forced to leave the field almost immediately after the restart when an ankle injury suffered in the first half worsened. Ross was replaced by debutant Mark Reid. Reid did well on his inclusion to open up play with an injection of pace, linking well with Rostock and attacking midfielder Daniel Christie on a number of occasions.
Tain felt their heart in their mouth in the latter stages however as Inver hit the woodwork on the 80th minute; Martin only able to watch as the effort cannoned off the crossbar down onto the clearing foot of Keith Dingwall.
Despite their dominance throughout, Tain could not find the elusive opener and the score remained at 0-0 until referee Gary McCarthy's full time whistle.
The result leaves both Tain and Inver in the middle of the table after day one, with the other three results on tonight's card recording winners. Invergordon Social Club enjoyed a home win against Alness Athletic, Balintore eased past the Sutor and Ross-shire Club beat new boys Cromarty 2-1 in the Black Isle.
Martin, Murray, Farquhar (Austin 85), A Christie, Dingwall, Brand, D Christie, Durrand, Rice (Oliver 75), Rostock, Ross (Reid 50)
Man of the Match:
Tain Juniors' Under 15 side fell 3-1 in their opening SWL Ross-shire League Game.
A promising start from Tain Juniors encouraged Under 15s coach Robert Farquhar as the young boys went head to head with the league favourites. Front man Stuart Greenlees troubled Dingwall early on, as the home side struggled to deal with his pace.
Dingwall settled into the game mid way through the first half and before long, found the net; scoring on the half mark to make it 1-0. Were it not for the woodwork, Tain may have equalized going into the break – Greenlees watching an effort hit off the post and another effort cleared off the line.
The Juniors started well in the second half when Graeme Smart split the Dingwall defence apart for Greenlees to get his just reward with a brilliantly taken goal.
At 1-1, the Juniors enjoyed a spell of possession and may have even taken the lead, but two late goals secured the win for the home side.
The Under 15s now travel to Invergordon on Tuesday 5th May.
This Saturday 2nd May, Tain Thistle will welcome naval vessel the HMS Sutherland for a friendly competition which will reward the winners with the first ever Homecoming Cup.
HMS Sutherland is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy. She is the thirteenth ship in the Duke class of frigates and is the third ship to bear the name, more than 200 years since the name was last used.
A big thank you to Tain Sports who have kindly offered to sponsor the match ball for the game.
The match will be played at Thistle's Grant Park home with a 1pm kick off.
Tain Thistle crashed out of the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup, falling at the first hurdle in their tie against local rivals Inver today.
Significant absences made the difference with Thistle again forced into changes due to injury. Most notably, David Kinnear returned to the side for the first time in several years, becoming the fifth keeper to play for the club in as many games! Coming into the side also was Kyle Oliver, replacing the otherwise engaged Paul Cowie in midfield.
Thistle seemed to be off to a good start, winning most of the possession in the first half, Arron Christie testing Inver keeper Ross Henderson with a free kick on 10 minutes. Referee Keith Middleton set the pace with an early yellow for Scott Innes in Inver colours for dissent.
Despite early pressure from Tain, it was a well worked Inver corner which resulted in the first goal -- Tain resident Christy MacDonald powering a header past Kinnear to put Inver 1-0 ahead. Thistle barely had time to recover as pacey Greig Mitchell punished the Tain defence for a miscommunication, and curled his shot round Kinnear to make it 2-0.
A switch in attacking approach released Daniel Christie down the wing to invigorate the Thistle threat and the change paid off ten minutes later when Robbie Ross was found by Christie for a point blank finish, sending the teams to the touchline at half time with a score of 2-1.
In an incident you would only expect to see in EA Sports' FIFA 09, Lewis Ross of Inver instantly nullified the Thistle half time team talk with an audacious shot from the half way line, direct from Mitchell's kick off. The effort looped onto the reaching fingers of Kinnear, only to fall behind the keeper and into the net, increasing Inver's lead to 3-1!
Thistle struggled to find the target throughout the second half, with their most notable chances coming from Andy Murray and Ross. Inver found time to add to their tally in the second half however, when substitute Russell Ferguson outran the Thistle defence to finish, in a solo effort which summed up Inver's comfortable lead.
The defeat sends Thistle out of the League Cup, but serves as a dress rehearsal for Wednesday's league match against Inver, again at Grant Park. The report card will simply read: "Must do better".
Kinnear, Murray (Durrand 63), Farquhar, A Christie, Rice, Dingwall, D Christie, Brand, Oliver (Austin 86), Ross, Rostock (Nimmons 80)
Man of the Match:
Detailed match stats: http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/tpl/matchdetails.php?id=182
Match gallery: http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/gallery
On what proved to be a fine Spring evening for Tain Juniors, the club’s Under 17 outfit made easy work of a hardy Dornoch side.
Pressure on the Dornoch goal was apparent from the outset, with the Juniors hitting the crossbar not once, but twice in the opening stages. However, against the run of play in the first half, Stewart Burnett gave the visitors a surprise lead when the Tain defence failed to deal with a long throw.
The deficit was short lived however as referee Brian Patullo soon awarded a penalty to the home side for a foul on Martin Smith. The same player, with conviction, hammered the ball home from the spot on the half hour mark to bring the scores level.
Tain were commanding from then on, and it was starlet Ayah Ratpanaphitak who made the difference on 38 minutes, finishing a clever run down the wing with a sublime chip over the advancing Dornoch keeper; the Juniors going in at the break with a more than deserved 2-1 lead.
Within five minutes of the restart, Tain scored again -- this time through forward John MacLennan, but the score line was quickly drawn back to 3-2 through Dornoch’s Jordan Morrison. With ten minutes remaining it was midfielder Andy Bell who found the net to make it a final score of 4-2, ending any hopes of a comeback from the Sutherland side.
Despite Morrison’s goal, John Allan had a quieter spell between the sticks second half than he did in the first, his counterpart on the bench David Robertson, the only substitute not to see action during the evening.
The win gives Tain Juniors a good start to their SWL Ross-shire Youth League campaign, with coach Ronnie Allinson particularly pleased with the result.
“It’s not often we get off to a good start, so I’m pleased we’ve been able to get off the ground with a win.”
John Allan, Stewart Shearer, Donald Matheson, Ryan Johnston, Andrew Sutherland, Rhys Stewart, Andy Bell, Alisdair Macintosh, Martin Smith, Ayah Ratpanaphithak, John MacLennan
David Robertson (GK), Paddy McKenna, Nicholas Main, Connor Philips
Smith (pen 30), Ratpanaphitak (38), MacLennan (43), Bell (70)
News of Stevie Martin's injury on Wednesday night on duty for Bonar Bridge has added to manager Arron Christie's woes for this week's double header against Inver, as Thistle go into the crunch League Cup 1st Round tie this Saturday with two injured goalkeepers; reserve keeper Steve Bannatyne still recovering from a cracked rib suffered against Embo.
Thistle are also expected to be without forwards Calum Macdonald and Darran Goller, the latter suffering a shoulder injury in Wednesday's friendly against the Sutor Inn.
A closely fought encounter at Grant Park ended in a 2-1 win for visitors The Sutor Inn, from Invergordon, over a Tain Thistle side who were missing a number of key players.
The otherwise engaged Stevie Martin was replaced in goal by Alan Forsyth, between the posts for the first time since his second half appearance in the Christy Grant Memorial Trophy match. Manager Arron Christie introduced a new look back three, playing himself as a sweeper alongside Keith Dingwall and Martyn Farquhar, who replaced the missing James Rice. Thistle started with a young midfield five of Daniel Christie, Paul Cowie, Michael Brand, Andy Murray and Andy Durrand. The forward two of Robbie Ross and Darran Goller, stepping in for the absent Liam Rostock, completed the lineup.
Despite a lively start to the match for the home side, it was the Invergordon men who had the earliest chance of the first half when Thistle keeper Forsyth charged down a Stevie Campbell effort. The Thistle back line were less lucky only minutes later however when a looping cross found a Sutor head to make it 1-0 in a simple move; Sutor manager Chris Cooper the scorer.
With only minutes for Thistle to recover, the Sutor made it 2-0, goalkeeper-come-forward Stevie Campbell capitalizing on a poorly dealt-with through ball. To make matters worse, the second goal was instantly followed by the early substitution of makeshift forward Darran Goller, who was replaced by Gary Austin after 15 minutes.
Daniel Christie joined Ross up front and soon Thistle settled into the game, pulling a goal back after referee Keith Middleton awarded the Jags a penalty. Christie's conversion bundled underneath monstrous keeper Andrew Maitland to make it 1-2.
Thistle could have gone in at the break level when they were awarded a second penalty, but Maitland had the measure of Christie the second time, for the set piece. The second half saw no goals, but did see the introduction of substitutes Craig Nimmons, Michael Stein and Bob Swann in midfield.
Despite boasting no further scoring, the second half was privvy to a spectacular save at either end of the park; Alan Forsyth first palming a Chris Cooper volley past the post, before Andrew Maitland defied the laws of gravity to reach a Paul Cowie strike destined for the top corner.
Forsyth, Farquhar, A Christie, Dingwall, Murray (Swann), Cowie (Stein), Brand, D Christie, Durrand, Goller (Nimmons), Ross
In other news, absentees Steve Martin and Liam Rostock played for Bonar Bridge against North Caledonian champions Golspie Sutherland. While the latter netted Bonar's second in three, the former, Martin, unfortunately suffered an ankle injury which could see him miss Saturday's crunch League Cup opener against Inver at Grant Park.
Goals from Darran Goller and James Rice were not enough to prevent another pre-season defeat at Grant Park for Welfare hopefuls Tain Thistle.
Goller and Rice gave Thistle a half hour lead but opportunist goals from Kraig Vass and Terry Stirling saw the visitors go in 3-2 ahead at the break. No goals followed, despite Alness keeper David Crombie having to leave the field injured, to be replaced by frontman Andrew Maitland.
The Thistle lineup was Martin, Farquhar, Murray, Rice, Dingwall, Cowie, Durrand, A Christie, Goller, D Christie, Ross
Subs: Austin, Swann, Nimmons
The fixtures for league and cup for this season's Ross-shire Welfare football league have been announced, with Tain Thistle opening with the visit of Inver, followed by a trip to Invergordon to play the Sutor Inn.
For a detailed list of fixtures, click the Fixtures link on the left hand side of the page, or click here: Fixtures
In other news, the proposed friendly between Tain Thistle and Alness Athletic planned for Wednesday 22nd April has been CANCELLED.
An ailing Tain Thistle side were soundly beaten by a strong amateur Black Rock side this Tuesday evening, by 5 goals to nil.
Black Rock Rovers, now playing in the Ross-shire Amateur league, have boosted their squad with a number of experienced North Caledonian league players, as well as amateurs from Highland League strugglers, Brora Rangers, proving more than a match for the summer welfare side of Tain.
Thistle's assistant manager and goalkeeper Steven Martin was still recovering from an ankle ligament injury before the game, and was therefore replaced by David Crombie in goal. Former Rocks man Keith Dingwall made his debut at the back alongside cold-stricken stalwart James Rice, with youngsters Andy Durrand and Martyn Farquhar manning the flanks. A last minute four of Daniel Christie, Bob Swann, Liam Rostock and Darran Goller made the midfield, before Michael Brand's early inclusion, replacing Swann, with a front line of Calum Macdonald and Robbie Ross completing a 4-4-2.
Wearing all white, Thistle had the first chance of the game when Ross was clean through on Grant Robertson, but saw his long range effort sail into the keeper's hands. At the break however, Rocks went in 2-0 up, with a goalmouth scramble and an unfortunate deflection off Thistle right back Andy Durrand giving the visitors goals.
Kraig Vass's side did enough to thwart a turn in possession in the second half, with substitutes Paul Cowie, Lewis Montgomery and Craig Nimmons getting involved, before adding a further three in the final ten minutes of the game, Tain's weakness on the wings being exploited to the full.
The defeat shows a marked improvement in Black Rock Rovers, but highlights a number of concerns for Thistle manager Arron Christie, with only ten days to go before the club's League Cup 1st Round tie with Inver, at Grant Park.
Tain Thistle will play their second friendly of the pre-season against 2008 rivals Black Rock Rovers, who will visit Tain's Grant Park for the first time since a league meeting last summer, which saw a 10 man Thistle run out 3-0 winners on the night.
The game will be played at 7pm, on the evening of Tuesday April 14th.
Black Rock, who won last year's Ross-shire Welfare league are currently competing in the Ross-shire Amateur league.
Tain Thistle will play their first game of the Welfare season on Saturday, 25th April. The club were handed a home drawn this weekend against local rivals Inver, in the 1st Round of the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup.
Thistle saw themselves handed four home draws out of five, in their First Round cup matches for 2009.
Tain Thistle players could have been guilty of thinking they were on holiday upon their visit to caravan paradise, Embo, as they cantered toward a very comfortable 6-0 win against Sutherland amateur contenders, Embo FC.
A swirly wind and wet conditions did not deter a buoyant and ferocious Thistle welfare side from exerting their authority on the game early on, as guest left back Ali Macdonald added the final touch in a glancing header to a neatly initiated Arron Christie free kick in the 5th minute. Indeed, Christie could have found himself on the scoresheet soon after, but his successful set piece strike was disallowed due to a Thistle player advancing in an offside position. Before long, returning Thistle forward Liam Rostock scored to make it 2-0, hammering home his first of the afternoon with a shot, high into the net from inside the area.
The first half was dampened only by an injury to midfielder Paul Cowie. Cowie was replaced by Andy Murray, who offered an impressive substitute performance.
Finishing 2-0 at the break, Thistle reappeared showing no mercy; Rostock again on the scoresheet to make it 3-0 just minutes after the second half began. Rostock completed his hat-trick soon after, capitalizing on a ball crossed in from the left hand side, beating compadre Dickie Durrand to an easy finish.
Noted goalscorer Robbie Ross, pleased to have been classified by the Ross-shire Welfare league as a North Caledonian exemption earlier in the day, found the net in style to make it 5-0. Beating the offside trap, Ross advanced on the Embo goal, hitting a low shot into the keeper, before hammering his rebounded effort into the roof of the net.
Steve Bannatyne, making his Welfare debut for the club after a series of appearances during the winter season, did well to prevent Kevin Lewis from scoring a consolation for the home side, winning two one-on-ones with the striker in the second half. Bannatyne's afternoon was cut short however as a rib injury saw him leave the field in the latter stages. He was replaced in goal by player-manager Arron Christie.
Tain's goal scoring was complete with minutes remaining when Rostock again looked sure to score from only 10 yards, but his powerful strike found it's way in courtesy of a Darran Goller boot, to give the latter a place on the scoresheet.
Post match, assistant manager Steven Martin noted that he was pleased the team's performance.
Stevie Bannatyne, Dickie Durrand, Ali MacDonald, Martyn Farquhar, Arron Christie, Paul Cowie, Michael Brand, Darren Goller, Liam Rostock, Robbie Ross, Calum Macdonald
Lewis Montgomery, Michael Stein, Bob Swann, Andy Murray