The cruelty of penalties ended Thistle's hopes of an appearance in the Pattison Cup final next week, as Invergordon Social Club rode their luck to advance at a sunny Grant Park.
The game finished 1-1 after ninety minutes, and extra time heralded no further goals. In the end, the shootout settled the issue, with Social's Kenny Ross scoring the decisive kick.
Manager Arron Christie made changes to the side which struggled against Ross Club midweek, Michael Brand dropped in favour of Paul Cowie, while Liam Rostock came in to replace Calum Macdonald. Kyle Oliver was also reintroduced.
The Tain men got off to a promising start when Darran Goller found his header saved by Barry Nimmons, but a fifteen minute spell of pressure from a young and pacey Social side saw them take the lead on 23 minutes, when Kenny Ross headed a cross past Martin from 2 yards.
The goal followed a series of ISC attacks and was well deserved, Social having seen two efforts palmed wide by Martin, another hit the woodwork, and Martin saving again, this time a penalty from Ross. Thistle fought back into the game gradually, but were the weaker team of a high tempo first half.
Thistle re-emerged for the second half a different side, dominating most of the play. Wingers Rostock and Goller both tested Nimmons but the Social keeper was up to the challenge, and Reid, later replaced by Durrand, missed a chance in front of goal, that should have been easier to score!
As Thistle pushed for the equalizer, shoddy discipline from the Social Club saw them pick up bookings left right and centre, and soon, a straight red followed for Rob Mitchell after an assault on the felled Arron Christie.
A rattled Social struggled to cope with the late pressure, and soon Tain found the net. Keith Dingwall was the man on hand to get the final touch on a goalmouth stramash that even goalkeeper Stevie Martin was up to join.
Playing with the man advantage, Thistle had the better of extra time, but failed to find the elusive winner, having seen efforts from Goller, Rostock and Daniel Christie saved by Nimmons.
The inevitable was the penalty shoot-out, and ten spot kicks later, Social Club had secured a place in the Pattison Cup final, by 3 kicks to 2. It was Thistle own ineptness from the spot which was their undoing, Steve Martin having done tremendously well to save two of Social's efforts. Thistle's Arron Christie and Oliver found the net while Farquhar hit the bar, Daniel Christie placed wide and Rostock's kick was saved by Nimmons.
In the other semi, Ross-shire Club dumped League Cup winners Alness Athletic, 3-0. In league action, Inver held Balintore at bay to record a 3-2 win.
Martin, Rice (McGaw), Farquhar, Dingwall, A Christie, Oliver, D Christie, Goller, Rostock, Cowie (Macdonald), Reid (Durrand)
Subs not used:
Keith Dingwall 90
A Christie, Farquhar, Martin, D Christie
Man of the Match:
Tain Juniors continued the trend of beating Invergordon's youth sides with a thundering 6-1 win away from home this past Tuesday; Stewart Greenless scoring all six of the visitor's goals.
Tain started slowly, allowing Invergordon to take the lead, but it wasn't long before Greenlees knocked home his first of the night. A second quickly followed, before he hit the hat trick with the pick of the bunch -- a first time volley, making it 3-1 at half time.
Coach Wilfie Campbell made substitutions at half time, injecting some new legs into a game they were dominating. The pressure continued as the fourth was scored, Greenlees again fnding the net.
Centre half Ben McIvor was unlucky not to join Greenlees on the scoresheet, as he hit the woodwork twice in the final moments, but it was Keiran Allison up front who enabled Greenlees to score his final two of his night.
Allan, Allison, Maclean, MacIvor, Smith, Joy, Cunningham, Smart, Kidd, Greenlees, Durrand
Murray, Melville, Macleod
Stewart Greenlees x 6
As the days close in on this weekend's Pattison Cup semi tie between Tain Thistle and Invergordon Social Club, both sides will fancy their chances of reaching the 2009 season's second cup final.
Tain Thistle, the 2007 winners, will be hopeful of a repeat of the last time the sides met at Grant Park last July, when the Jags demolished the Social Club, by 5 goals to 1. Liam Rostock (who has re-signed for the 2009 campaign) notched a superb hat trick against a flat footed Social side, with Thistle favourites Paul Cowie and Martyn Farquhar also getting on the scoresheet.
When last they met
Social Club bear few changes from the side which struggled to cope with the pace and attacking force of a Tain side challenging for the Ross-shire Welfare league, while the Recreation Park men sat misersably at the bottom of the table. Social regulars Barry Nimmons, Rob McCormack and Kenny Ross have all turned out again for the Invergordon side this season.
But experienced midfielder Rob Nicolson believes his side have matured, and their recent form is the result of persistence and consistency in the side.
"We are playing well as a team, and Dave MacGruer has been amazing on the left wing. To have three players on 6 goals each is a credit to the work we've put in."
The Social played host, albeit by default, to Invergordon rivals the Sutor Inn tonight, in their belated 5th league fixture. Running out 6-2 winners, they proved again that they are having no trouble finding the back of the net, taking their league goals tally to nineteen. Unfortunately for Thistle however, the win takes Social to the top of the table, two points ahead of the Tain side going into the weekend's game. A confident Nicolson does not believe the closeness of the Social's league fixture to the weekend will play any factor.
"We are a young team with good fitness. Our conditioning played a big factor in the end of tonight's game. Tain will be next!"
Leg inuries to Thistle men Andy Murray and Paul Cowie will almost certainly rule both out of the match, but the Jags can expect to see the return of blistering forward Liam Rostock, who missed the club's first round tie, and midweek league clash with Ross-shire Club.
This weekend's cup tie is perfectly poised, with both sides unbeaten in their past six games. There can only be one winner however, and even if the eventuality of extra time and penalties is required, the winners will travel to Portmahomack on Saturday, June 6th to meet either Alness Athletic or Ross-shire Club in the final.
Tomorrow, Tain Thistle’s Andy Murray travels to Raigmore Hospital to hear the prognosis on his knee injury; news that could see the tenacious utility man ruled out for the season or more hopefully set on a road to recovery that would see his season get back on track.
Andy Murray is no stranger to football and its quandaries, as he entertains this latest setback seventeen years after Wattie Stewart first sent him to the now defunct Inverness Thistle as an aspiring youth. Reflecting on a storied career amidst his latest setback, Murray recalls how he got his start.
“I played through all of the youth teams at Invergordon before I left for Inverness Thistle when I was 17. Invergordon didn’t have an Under 18 side at the time, so Wattie sent me down there and I got my first taste of 2nd XI football.”
“I was there for a year before Willie Macrae took me to Fearn, and I was there for three seasons. I haven’t won many medals in my time, but I won my first at Fearn, in a cup final.”
Despite starting life as a right winger, Murray settled as a central midfielder before moving back to his home side of Invergordon, and later Bonar Bridge and Golspie Sutherland.
Murray made a brief return to Invergordon in 2007 before completing a surprise move to Tain during their first North Caledonian campaign, in a move he intends to be the final of his career.
“Scott Morrison was involved with Tain at the time, and he asked me to come along to training, and soon after Robbie (Ross) secured my release from Invergordon.”
“I would gladly see out my playing days at Tain Thistle. I love it here. We play as a team and there’s never any arguing within the squad. We battle for each other and are full of encouragement. This is a big factor in how well we’re playing at the moment.”
Now playing as a full back for Thistle in the Welfare league, Murray impressed manager Arron Christie in pre-season and won a starting place, culminating in a man of the match performance against former side, the Sutor Inn in May. During the league match, Murray assisted Mark Reid for the opener and more satisfyingly got on the scoresheet himself to secure the win.
Unfortunately, Murray’s next game resulted in the defender being carried off after only 5 minutes with his eventual knee injury, initially suspected to be a damaged cruciate ligament. But the veteran is optimistic about his future.
“I’m hoping that it’s just a bad twist, or at worst a partial rupture to my medial ligament. I did that before when I was in my early twenties. My instincts are that it isn’t anymore serious than that.”
“This latest injury has been the most annoying of my career. I’m the fittest I’ve been for about ten years and I’m playing with a bit of confidence. The timing is awful.”
“I have a visit to the Physio on Wednesday to determine the problem, but I’m fairly confident that I’ll be back playing in about 2-4 weeks.”
Thistle supporters will be hoping Mr Murray is right.
Thistle claimed a point at Jubilee Park tonight, from a bruising battle with mid table Ross-shire Club, having been 1-0 down at half time.
Forced into an earlier substitution, manager Arron Christie introduced Andy Durrand within three minutes of the kick off, with Paul Cowie leaving the field with a suspected hamstring injury. Liam Rostock was again missing from the lineup along with Kyle Oliver, whereas Michael Brand was reintroduced.
Thistle made a decent start to the game, with the to-be-injured Cowie testing David Mitchell in the opening minute of the game with a shot on target, and Darran Goller soon followed with a shot across the face of goal, which drifted wide. Substitute Andy Durrand could well have scored for Tain as the game tempo increased several minutes later when he found himself clean though, but could only loop his shot into the arms of Mitchell.
At the other end, Ross Club enjoyed frequent counter attacks, playing clever football down the wings before their best chance of the first half fell to Stephen McCallum for an open goal which cannoned off the upright.
Ross Club's pressure finally paid off during an end to end battle when Steven Martin was left helpless to prevent Donald Stewart from adding the final touch to a shambolic defensive lapse from Thistle.
Tensions rose as the game took an ugly turn with Thistle's Martyn Farquhar and Arron Christie involved in a bitter exchange with Ross Club's Marti Godwin; the home side's player seeing yellow for his part in the spat.
Thistle emerged a more energetic side in the second half, dictating most of the play through Daniel Christie and pacey winger Darran Goller. Goller's pace won Thistle an early second half free kick in fact, as he found himself brought to the ground on the edge of the 18 yard box. Arron Christie's well taken free kick however, was held by Mitchell.
Centre half Kiki Dingwall was replaced by Craig Nimmons with close to a quarter hour reamining, and the substitution proved a masterstroke. Supersub Nimmons won possession within seconds, linking with Goller on the wing to send a deft cross into the box for Calum Macdonald to blast a header through the outstretched hands of Mitchell for the equalizer.
Thistle pushed for another during the final 15 minutes but failed to find the elusive winner.
The draw moves Thistle to the top of the Ross-shire Welfare league, at least until Thursday, when Invergordon Social Club play town rivals Sutor Inn. A win for Social Club would push them two points clear of Thistle, ahead of their Pattison Cup semi final meeting.
In other action, Alness thumped Cromarty 4-1 to open up the bottom of the table.
Martin, Farquhar, Rice, Dingwall (Nimmons), A Christie, Brand, D Christie, Goller, Macdonald, Reid, Cowie (Durrand)
Subs not used:
Austin, Swann, McGaw
Calum Macdonald 73
Man of the Match:
Tain Thistle fought hard for a victory over a stubborn Sutor Inn side this afternoon, to advance to the semi finals of the Pattison Cup.
The manager was missing only Liam Rostock from the side that demolished Balintore midweek, with Andy Durrand coming in on the left to replace him. Added to the bench were the returning pair of Michael Brand and Mark Reid.
Thistle got off to a great start when Arron Christie found the net on seven minutes. Referee Bob Urquhart had awarded Tain a free kick outside the box for obstruction on winger Darran Goller, and Christie made no mistake with a picture perfect free kick which sailed past Craig Mackay. Goller could very well have put Tain 2-0 ahead only moments later but failed to capitalize on a loose ball to Mackay's left.
Undeterred, the Sutor continued to hit Thistle on the counter, with some clever wing play from Ashley Mills. After a couple of chances, Sutor found the net to level at 1-1; centre half Alastair Connell heading home a cross.
At the other end, Paul Cowie was unlucky not to be on the scoresheet come half time, having seen two of his headed efforts drift just over the bar, while winger Goller's thumping effort toward goal could only canon off the head of goalkeeper Mackay and fly wide.
Chasing the winner, Tain started brightly second half with Mark Reid soon replacing Paul Cowie up front. Reid's injection of pace resulted in a couple of excellent chances, the striker unlucky to score himself. Indeed, Thistle could have gone 2-1 ahead on the hour mark when Mackay's lunge at Michael Brand resulted in a penalty, but the eager Martyn Farquhar's spot kick was palmed away by the goalkeeper.
Reid's attacking played finally paid off with a stroke of luck, when his strike at goal was deflected and turned in by the outstretched foot of Calum Macdonald, giving Tain a 2-1 lead with a quarter hour remaining.
Despite late pressure, Thistle organised themselves well; the experienced defence of Dingwall and Christie holding strong against a number of late Sutor attacks, to finish 2-1 winners on the day.
Thistle will now play host to Invergordon's other Welfare side in the Social Club (3-1 winners over Inver), next Saturday 30th May at Grant Park. In other action, Ross-shire Club trouned Balintore by 6 goals to nil and Alness took care of Cromarty, to set the other semi clash, between Ross Club and Alness.
Martin, Rice, Farquhar, Dingwall, A Christie, Oliver, D Christie, Durrand (Brand), Goller, Macdonald, Cowie (Reid)
Subs not used:
Nimmons, Austin, McGaw
Arron Christie 7, Calum Macdonald 75
Man of the Match:
A sprightly Tain Thistle demolished an abysmal Balintore side tonight to go joint top of the Ross-shire Welfare league table, with a 5-1 win at home.
Michael Brand was the unlucky seventh North Caledonian pick as Arron Christie named a strong starting eleven for the top of the table clash. Kiki Dingwall returned to the back four as well as Liam Rostock, who started on the left wing.
Thistle got off to a perfect start after only 3 minutes, when Daniel Christie dribbled the ball from midfield to finish expertly from 15 yards to make it 1-0. Thistle could hardly believe their luck only two minutes later when they went 2-0 ahead; Liam Rostock placing a shot past Balti keeper David Crombie with ease.
Balintore continued to struggle with the incessant pace of Thistle, and soon were 3-0 down, as James Rice connected with an Arron Christie cross on 7 minutes.
The Seaboard men were dealt a further blow on 15 minutes, when Stuart Ross was forced to leave the field of play with an injury. To make matters worse, Rice was soon on target again, this time on 19 minutes to make it 4-0, with a cross-cum-shot, which dazzled Crombie. Rice could very well have had a hat trick only moments later, when his quick turn and volley was struck goalward, but Crombie was up to the challenge with a point blank reaction save.
Thistle's scoring rout reached a head on the half hour mark when Darran Goller hammered home to make it an astounding 5-0; the disheveled Balintore defence helpless once again to cope with the pace and trickery of Thistle's clever wingers.
Forwards Calum Macdonald and Paul Cowie were unlucky not to get on the scoresheet in the first half, the latter seeing his point blank header tipped over the post, and Macdonald, clean through on a number of occasions, hitting straight at Crombie.
The half time team talk seemed to spark a smidgen of life into Balintore, as they re-emerged with a brief attacking flair. Having won a free kick, Martin Mackay was on hand to pull a goal back for the visitors via the set piece, as his effort took a deflection to go past Thistle keeper Steven Martin.
Martin was rarely troubled for the remainder of the game, as Tain continued their attacks looking for a sixth. Despite numerous chances for Liam Rostock and substitute Andy Durrand, a sixth never came and the game finished 5-1.
The win puts Tain joint top of the Ross-shire Welfare league, with rivals Social Club recording a 5-0 win over Cromarty. In other results, Inver beat lowly Alness 1-0 and the Sutor Inn got off the mark with a 2-1 win over Ross Club.
Martin, Farquhar (Austin), Rice, Dingwall, A Christie, Oliver, D Christie, Goller (Durrand), Rostock, Macdonald (McGaw), Cowie
Subs not used:
D Christie 3, Rostock 5, Rice 7, 19, Goller 28
Man of the Match:
On Saturday, Grant Park will play host to two games of football, as Tain Thistle's Pattison Cup tie with the Sutor Inn at 3pm will be preceded by the Moylan Urquhart Memorial Quaich match, which will kick off at 11.30am.
The memorial tie, played in memory of Moylan Urquhart and to raise money for Takayasu’s Arteritis research, was this year organized by Graeme Ross and will be played for the fourth consecutive year. Played between two XIs of younger and older players from Moylan's generation, Keith Glazier and James Affrin will captain the sides for the afternoon.
Presentation of the Quaich will take place after the game, at the Railway Hotel.
Tain Juniors' Under 17s surrendered a 2-0 lead at a wind swept Grant Park tonight, as Alness fought back for a share of the spoils in a tightly fought SWL Ross-shire League game.
Martin Smith got the home side off to a good start on 20 minutes, adding the finishing touch a move just inside the box, and 15 minutes later, Reece Stewart volleyed home from outside the box to make it 2-0.
But the home side's lead was short lived as a wind assisted Alness pulled two goals back in the second half, courtesy of Jordan Greig and Stephen McGaw.
The game finished 2-2.
Allan, Johnston, Shearer, Matheson, Sutherland, Rattanaphithak, Gordon, Stewart, Mein (Mackintosh), Smith, Maclellan
Subs not used:
Robertson, McKenna, Phillips
Martin Smith 20, Reece Stewart 35
A delighted Calum Macdonald got his first team comeback for Tain Thistle off to a great start against Alness Athletic last Wednesday, marking the occasion with a goal to help the club to a 2-1 win.
And the 31 year old striker is hopeful that there will be more to follow, to add to his storied history with the club.
Calum got his start in football in his hometown of Crieff, Perthshire, where he played football at all youth levels throughout school. He got his first break at senior level with Crieff Amateur at the age of sixteen, before moving to Comrie Rovers three years later, where he settled as a striker, having previously played on the left wing.
“I played centre midfield, sweeper and even left back at youth level. I loved playing as a striker though, it’s always been my favourite position.”
Following a spell in Glasgow, Calum moved North to Tain in 2002, when he began attending training for the now defunct Tain St Duthus, then run by Malky Macdonald. Playing a handful of games as a sub throughout the winter, he found more regular action with the town’s summer club, Tain Thistle. Under Gordon Burry, Calum notched 7 goals in his first campaign, with a club who, at the time, were propping up the Ross-shire Welfare league. Indeed, Calum made history, by scoring a hat trick in his debut, against the Rigger on May 25th, 2002.
“I didn’t get much playing time in the winter with St Duthus so I went to Tain Thistle in the summer. I remember going along to training with Stuart Ross, while I was working with him in Alness, and the rest is history.“
Calum continued to set standards in 2004, when he scored an impressive 17 goals under new manager Bill Russell before breaking the season goal scoring record for the club, by netting 20 times in 2005. The following winter, seasoned second XI campaigners Balintore signed Calum for what would become their first league-winning season in fifteen years. However, despite playing in four Welfare cup finals, Calum is yet to win a medal with Tain Thistle.
The striker’s recurrent knee problems hampered his consistency in 2006, before he eventually left Tain to work in Norway, despite a brief return in 2007.
“I stopped playing because I was having problems with my knee, and the job came up in Norway. It’s a lot better now as I got it repaired last year, after cortisone injections and physio. I have a degenerative condition of some kind in the joint.”
Now back living in his native Comrie, Calum aims to be available as much as possible for Thistle this summer, having re-signed with the club for their 2009 campaign. Getting off to a fantastic start in pre-season with a hat trick against St Duthus in March, and a first of the season in his first start against Alness last Wednesday, Calum is sure more goals will follow.
“When I heard that Robbie Ross was a goal or two ahead of me in the all-time Thistle scoring records, the first thing I thought was “God, I do need to keep playing then!”
Fierce at best, the rivalry between Tain and Balintore will reach fever pitch this coming Wednesday when the sides battle at Grant Park for the top spot in the Ross-shire Welfare league.
Tain Thistle may have only been formed in 1996, but a long standing tradition of Welfare battles exists between Tain and Balintore sides. 63 years have passed since Tain St Duthus and Seaside Rovers rejoined the Ross-shire League after the end of the Second World War, when, at the first time of asking, Balintore defeated Tain 2-0 to win the Ross-shire league title in December 1946.
The competitive nature of the clubs was none more reinforced than in a friendly meeting that took place in 1968.
The date was April 9th, with Rovers (Balintore) playing hosts to St Duthus. The Tain side took the lead on twenty minutes, playing against the wind, when Archie Forsyth nodded home. Before long, Alan Dundas had made it 2-0 from the penalty spot and Tain were on easy street. But a swift comeback from the Rovers saw them finish 4-2 when a corner was neatly finished by Day and the equalizer was added by Browning. Ronnie Hart was the hero for the villagers as he netted a brace to take the win.
Spectators attending the coming evening's entertainment on the 20th will be hopeful of a well contested game, however the Thistle camp will simply be looking for the three points they need to take them to the top of the table, ahead of their visit to Dingwall. The Seaboarders however, will be keen to maintain their position as leaders; the result of win or indeed even a draw possibly being enough to see the job through.
Tain Thistle produced a gritty fightback to overcome a feisty Alness Athletic side in tonight's Ross-shire Welfare League match.
Missing last week's forward line of Mark Reid and Liam Rostock and defender Kiki Dingwall sidelined with a shoulder injury, manager Arron Christie reintroduced a number of players for the game. James Rice returned, while Paul Cowie and Calum Macdonald took to the field for the first time. Also returning on the wing was Darran Goller.
Tain got off to a decent start, dominating most of the play in a tight first half, but an early knee injury to form man Andy Murray upset the momentum; substitute Kyle Oliver replacing Murray.
Referee Keith Middleton was on hand to stamp his authority on the game, issuing the first yellow card on 3 minutes, to Kraig Vass for dissent. Persistent verbal abuse from Alness saw two further players added to Middleton's book before the end of the first half.
The best chance of the first half fell for Alness however, to Jordan Greig, who saw his effort sail just over the bar. Despite some persistance from Alness down the wing, defenders Arron Christie and makeshift centre half Michael Brand were well on hand to deal with cross balls.
Both teams emerged for the second half looking for the opener and it was Alness who found the net first, Davie Ogilvie connecting with a cross ball over the advancing Stevie Martin.
Daniel Christie attempted to hit straight back with a half way line effort, but the shot was swallowed by Andrew Maitland, in what would be counted as Thistle's first shot on target of the game.
The tide quickly turned however, as play was concentrated down the right hand side, with Darran Goller and Martyn Farquhar linking up well to create chances. Thistle's equaliser came from a Goller cross only 15 minutes later in fact, as Calum Macdonald was on hand at the far post to knock the ball home for his first of the season.
1-1 may have seemed like the most likely result as further stoppages and arguments saw the game turning ugly, however a goalkeeping error from Maitland was enough for Andy Durrand to pop up and score the winner for Tain, with ten minutes left on the clock.
The 2-1 win leaves Thistle in 3rd place, still equal points with Invergordon Social Club and two behind Balintore, who each scored wins tonight against Inver and Ross Club, respectively. In other action, Cromarty recorded a thumping 7-2 home win over the Sutor Inn.
Martin, Murray (Oliver 12), Farquhar, A Christie, Brand, Cowie, D Christie, Rice, Durrand, Macdonald, Goller
Subs not used:
Matheson, Swann, Nimmons, Austin
Calum Macdonald 68, Andy Durrand 79
Man of the Match:
Match details: http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/tpl/matchdetails.php?id=187
Tain Juniors Under 15's set the pace for the possibility of another Tain football hat trick, this week against Alness.
Tain dominated from the off, having switched MacLean to the middle of defence, with saw goalkeeper John Allan rarely troubled. Coach Wilfie Campbell was getting anxious as constant Tain pressure resulted in no breakthrough, Greenless, Cunningham and Smart all coming close.
The opening goal came just on half time however, when a fine interchange between Cooper and Greenlees saw the latter produce a fine finish to make it 1-0.
The half time team talk encouraged the 15s to stick to their instructions. Tain's persistence finally paid off with a second goal on the hour mark when Calum Cooper was on the end of a fantastic interchange of play.
Some late pressure from Alness forced the visitors to close up shop, which was done expertly, leaving coaches Campbell and Robert Farquhar happy with a 2-0 result.
"We're absolutely delighted. This is by far the best performance of the season yet. We were certainly both smiling at full time!"
Tain Thistle face uncertainty up front, going into their first ever competitive meeting with Terry Stirling's newly formed Alness Athletic.
Pre-season hopes of a return for Calum Macdonald went up in smoke as the prominent scorer returned to his hometown of Comrie. News quickly followed of record goalscorer Garry Perks' decision to stay in the US and a recent ankle injury to Robbie Ross, who scored Thistle's first goal of the season against Inver, has ruled the striker out for several weeks.
Mark Reid was able to come in to cover Ross last week but is unavailable as of today (Friday). With so many absenses, the goal scoring duties lie firmly on the shoulders of Liam Rostock, who is yet to find the net in a competitive game for Thistle this season.
Tain Thistle made easy work of the Sutor Inn in Invergordon tonight, as they climbed to third place in the Ross-shire Welfare League. Arron Christie made only two changes to the side who finished 0-0 with Inver last Wednesday, with Gary Austin replacing James Rice on the wing and Mark Reid replacing the injured Robbie Ross.
Tain started well from the offset in dreary conditions, testing Sutor goalkeeper Mackay on a number of occasions through the quick forward work of Mark Reid and Liam Rostock; Thistle coming closest to opening the scoring when Mark Reid saw his effort drift just wide of the post.
Reid finally opened the scoring on 35 minutes after sustained pressure when full back turned winger Andy Murray squared the ball into the forward's path for a well taken goal.
Goalkeeper Stevie Martin was tested only once in the game, in the first half when Chris Cooper's point blank effort was palmed away by Tain's in-form stopper. The score finished 1-0 at half time.
A shoulder injury saw Craig Nimmons replace Keith Dingwall at half time, following a solid defensive display from the Tain back four of Farquhar, Christie, Dingwall and Murray/Austin. The change heralded further opportunity with Nimmons linking up well with Reid and Rostock to create further chances. Rostock was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet in the second half after a series of excellent forward runs.
Reid added to his tally on the 52nd minute when his cross was deflected into the net to make it 2-0, much to the disappointment of the disjointed Sutor side.
Thistle wrapped up the points in style when a well worked move between Rostock and Reid led to Andy Murray slotting the ball home from 15 yards to make it 3-0.
The win pushes Thistle up to 3rd place, level on points with Inver, Social Club and Ross Club, who all gained points on the night. Balintore, who defeated Alness 3-1, go top by two points ahead of their game against Ross Club.
Next week, Thistle play host to Alness Athletic who are yet to win any points this season.
Martin, Murray, Farquhar, A Christie, Dingwall (Nimmons 46), D Christie, Brand, Austin (Swann 80), Durrand, Reid, Rostock
Reid 35, 57, Murray 77
Man of the Match:
Detailed match report: Click here
Memories of last week's defeat to Dingwall were shaken off with a comfortable win at home to Invergordon tonight, for Tain Juniors' Under 15s. With a near complete squad to select from, coaching partnership Wilfie Campbell and Robert Farquhar were able to field a strong side against an under-par Invergordon.
Stewart Greenlees caused havoc for the Invergordon defence early on, and on 15 minutes got his reward; his neatly taken lob looping over the head of the Invergordon stopper into the net to make it 1-0.
As the game progressed, the Tain defence (bolstered by the addition of Michael Maclean) never looked troubled and the 15s had their chances to increase the scoring -- Greenlees again using his pace to create chances for himself and those around him. However, despite their dominance, only a goal separated the sides at the break.
Strong words at half time from coach Wilfie Campbell encouraged the Juniors to start the second period strongly and some nice play led to Greenlees netting his second. Substitutes Murray, Macleod and Melville were introduced midway through the second half, before Tain's domination was rounded off with a well worked Keiran Cunningham goal to make it a comfortable 3-0.
Allan, Maclean, Smith, MacIvor, Allison, Durrand, Smart, Cunningham, Joy, Kidd, Greenlees
Murray, Macleod, Melville
Tain Thistle learned this week that all-time record goal scorer Garry Perks will not be returning to the club for their summer campaign, after the forward’s proposed plan for a May return from the United States was sidelined.
Perks last played for Tain Thistle in July of 2008, as the side crashed to a 2-1 defeat away to rivals and eventual league winners Black Rock Rovers, before leaving for Iowa in the United States to sign a soccer scholarship with college side Marshalltown Tigers. Despite finishing the club’s top scorer last year, he was unable to end his season on a high.
“I remember feeling extremely nervous for that game. We had two chances in the first half to take the lead. I didn’t play great and although we were never a one man team, my contribution didn’t help matters.”
Perks’ first season with the Tigers saw him playing alongside and against young aspiring US internationals, skillful Brazilians and athletic Argentineans – a far cry from his beloved Ross-shire Welfare league, in which Inver’s recent signing of Balintore native Ross Powell was considered a foreign import!
The Tigers' campaign was a mixture of success and disappointment; his club were ranked number 2 in the whole of the US, having won their regional division as well as a Texas based tournament, but disaster struck when an administrative error saw the Tigers banned from the league when it emerged that their filing department had incorrectly registered foreign nationals. But for Garry, the good outweighs the bad.
“My move to the US was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve matured greatly, as a player and person”.
“Of course, I miss the banter. Playing with my best friends at a club so close to my heart, as Tain Thistle is, will always be something I’ll miss”.
Up until recently, it was expected that Garry Perks would sign up with the Jags once again, for the 2009 Welfare campaign under the team of coaches Arron Christie and close friend Steven Martin, but a recent turn of events and uncertainty over employment has forced the Cannock native to remain in the US.
“I have found a job here in the US, and a place to stay. Its heart wrenching that I wont have the opportunity to come home and play with the boys, but I know they appreciate what I have to do.”
Perks leaves some big shoes to fill at Tain, in a team which has lost both Colin Burry and Brian Cameron – two other mainstays of the 2008 campaign. But Garry doesn’t think Thistle will have to worry about goals, or a lack of creative flair. A proponent of the theory that if you have plenty of self belief, and that anything can be achieved, the forward hopes that despite his absence Tain Thistle can take their chances, and push for the Welfare league title in 2009.
“With a little more confidence in his technical ability, Liam Rostock will get the goals. He’s the fastest player I have played with, it’s up to him to take the chances when they come.”
“There’s years in me yet. I’m only 22 and I will play for Tain again. Watch out Summer 2010, I’m coming to get ya!”
Tain Thistle captain Paul Cowie held the Homecoming Cup on behalf of his team as the Jags ran out 5-1 winners against the visiting HMS Sutherland FC. HMS Sutherland representative and player Jamie Ross also presented a plaque to the Thistle captain, in rememberance of the recent passing of a member of their crew.
The Naval men looked sharp and fit from the outset but struggled early on to deal with the pace of Thistle's forward line; strikers Daniel Christie and Mark Reid both missing clear cut chances in front of goal within the opening minutes. The Sutherland keeper finally picked the ball out of the net for the opener on the 8th minute however when a pacey Liam Rostock cut inside to curl the ball into the far corner.
Thistle's lead was shortlived however as Sutherland found an equaliser on the quarter hour mark; Tain keeper Stevie Martin unable to prevent the opposition effort drifiting to the side of him.
If Thistle were armed with a banjo, they would have struggled to connect with the rear of any bovine animal in the first half, as Christie, Rostock and Mark Reid all squandered excellent chances to reinstate their lead. Even when awarded a penalty for a poor challenge on the edge of the box, Thistle failed to score; Darran Goller rattling the crossbar with a powerful yet inaccurate penalty. Thistle's pressure finally paid off ten minutes before the break however, when Daniel Christie did well to bundle a shot past the Sutherland keeper from a tight angle, making it 2-1 at half time.
The second half saw a number of changes, with goalkeeper Martin being replaced by David Crombie, and Bob Swann and Andy Durrand on for Paul Cowie and Darran Goller. The changes heralded an immediate impact, with Swann playing in Mark Reid for Thistle's third.
Nobody could have seen the fourth coming as player manager Arron Christie stunned the crowd with a beautiful solo effort, driving the ball 40 yards through the midfield before launching a looping 35 yard shot past the Sutherland substitute keeper to make it 4-1. The goal will take some beating throughout the summer season!
It was game set and match with 10 minutes to go when referee Brian Patullo awarded a second penalty to Tain; Liam Rostock being mauled down by the Sutherland keeper. Daniel Christie made no mistake with the penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way to make it 5-1 on the day.
Railway Hotel manager Alan Nimmons was on hand to present the Homecoming Cup to the victors, as well as the Ship's Plaque.
Martin (Crombie), Austin, Murray, A Christie, Dingwall, Cowie (Durrand), Goller (Swann), D Christie, Oliver, Rostock, Reid
Rostock 8, D Christie 35, pen 80, Reid 48, A Christie 61
The Under 17 side of Tain Juniors soared to the top of the SWL Ross-shire Youth League table tonight after dismantling a poor Invergordon side at the Recreation Grounds, Invergordon.
Tain hit Invergordon from the outset, forwards John Maclellan and Martin Smith linking up expertly to open the scoring within five minutes, when the latter found the net. Smith netted a further three times in the first half, taking his opening period tally to four, thanks to clever forward play again from MacLennan and pacey winger Ayah Rattanaphithak.
The score finished 5-0 at half time, thanks to the addition of a brilliant strike from Reece Stewart. After the restart, Alasdair Mackintosh and Nicholas Mein temporarily replaced form players Andy Bell and four goal hero Smith, before Ryan Johnston popped up with the goal of the night; a 25 yard screamer into the top corner to make it 6-0.
Smith was reintroduced late, and found time to notch a fifth to make it 7-0 five minutes from time, as Tain cruised in style to a confident away win -- their second victory in two games since the start of the 2009 Ross-shire Youth League campaign.
Team coach Gavin MacDonald could not hide his delight following the side's excellent display.
"Tain have always had a good reputation, one we've built over the past couple of years, of playing flowing, quick moving football and I was pleased to see that tonight. Best of all we kept a clean sheet, and to score seven goals on top of that is just fantastic."
John Allan, Stewart Shearer, Donald Matheson, Ryan Johnston, Andrew Sutherland, Reece Stewart, Andy Bell, Chris Gordon, Martin Smith, Ayah Rattanaphithak, John Maclellan
David Robertson (GK), Paddy McKenna, Nicholas Mein, Alasdair Mackintosh
Smith (5, 15, 20, 30, 75), Stewart (36), Johnston (60)
Match report: Invergordon 0-7 Tain Thistle
Tain Thistle's contribution to the Homecoming Scotland campaign was unveiled today in the form of the new Homecoming Cup. The cup, to be contested this year between Tain Thistle and a team of Naval men from the HMS Sutherland, will mark Tain football's contribution to Scotland's first ever Homecoming year.
Homecoming Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative managed by EventScotland in partnership with VisitScotland, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns. From Burns night to St Andrew’s Day, a country wide programme of exciting and inspirational events and activities will celebrate some of Scotland’s great contributions to the world: Burns himself, Whisky, Golf, Great Minds and Innovations, and our rich culture and heritage.
For more information, visit: http://www.homecomingscotland.com
Tain Thistle will play the HMS Sutherland tomorrow, Saturday 2nd May at Grant Park, with a 1pm kick off.