Tain Thistle, the Ross-shire Welfare league leaders, have won the Cordiner Cup, after beating challengers Inver 3-1, after extra time. Goals from Darran Goller, Liam Rostock and Michael Brand were enough for Thistle, as Inver's Andrew Ripley offered their only reply.
In what is believed to be a record attendance for Tain Thistle at their Grant Park home, close to 350 spectators gathered round the field to watch the game, both teams backed superbly throughout. Add to that an abundance of parked cars around the field and the competing teams, the spectacle will take some matching, for any Welfare game this season.
The game commenced to the tune of the bagpipes, which could be heard playing on Tain High Street as part of the town's Help for Heroes parade. Thistle winger Darran Goller could very well have become a first half hero, when he tested Inver stopper Ross Henderson straight from the kick off; cleverly put through by Daniel Christie.
Inver, having looked sharp in their pre-match warm up, were not to be deterred by Tain's bright beginnings, as they quickly took control of play, pinning the Thistle defence deep into their own half. Resolute defending in the opening ten was to the benefit of Thistle, as David Calderwood and Andrew Ripley both failed to turn and shoot with the ball at their feet, for a first half lead.
It was Ross Powell though, who first drew a gasp from the big crowd. Thistle keeper Steven Martin kicked from outside his box, and the Inver midfielder returned almost instantly, with cat like quickness, not unlike a young Pete Sampras, to strike a shot goalward toward the empty net. Luckily for Tain, the shot bounced over the bar.
Thistle appeared to come into the game on the half hour, with right winger Liam Rostock running his flank expertly, but failing to play the necessary cross for either Robbie Ross or Mark Reid to connect with. Rostock, however, came closest for Thistle in the first period, when his clever dribbling allowed him to get into space for a shot on goal; Henderson only able to tip the powerful strike over the bar for a corner.
Thistle would have been confident going in at the break having controlled the last ten, but disaster struck two minutes from time, when diminutive forward Andrew Ripley broke forward and danced into a neat position, before slotting ball across the face and into the far corner of Martin's goal -- much to the elation of the Inver bench, as they went 1-0 ahead.
Referee Eric Robertson blew almost exactly on the 45, as Inver retired to the changing rooms. A defiant Thistle remained on the pitchside, as they regrouped. Manager Arron Christie was joined by mentor John Oliver, to deliver instructions for the second half, where the objective was simple.
Unlike the first half, the second took several minutes to get started, with play concentrated in the middle of the park, but it took a series of Thistle corners to rejuvenate the excitement in the game. Christie the elder was excellent in his delivery of corners, with Keith Dingwall, Liam Rostock and Darran Goller all coming close to finding an equalizer, in front of goal.
Mark Reid, too, was unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions as he skipped into a forward position against the tired legs of Inver's defence. Their keeper Henderson, a match for him every time.
True to Thistle's recent form and resilience, it would emerge that they were not to be beaten, as a goalmouth stramash initiated by Robbie Ross was walked in by Darran Goller, beyond a helpless, felled Henderson. The equalizer split the game open and from then the game adopted a frenetic pace, with only fifteen minutes left on the clock.
Thistle pushed for a winner; the memories of extra time and penalties against the Social Club still fresh in the minds of supporters, hopeful of a result before that eventuality. Despite chances for Daniel Christie, and an Arron Christie free kick, which hit the Inver wall, the score stayed the same, and extra time followed.
Extra time began, with both sides showing signs of fatigue. The beating sun and the intense heat was hard to endure for the 90 minutes itself, let alone the addition of a further thirty.
Continuing their pressure though, it was Thistle who enjoyed most of the attacking play with Goller and Rostock opening the Inver defence, who had grown tired against the already faster legs of Tain's wingers. Their pace paid off after ten minutes, when Liam Rostock blasted the ball past Henderson from close range, to make it 2-1. The goal came after a period of Tain pressure, countered only by some breaking runs from Inver's Billy Ferries, who came close to pulling a goal back for the challengers. Daniel Christie did well throughout to stifle Inver's midfield pressure, as did the fresh legged substitute Kyle Oliver.
At 2-1, Thistle were headed for glory, but the inevitability of a further fifteen minutes had the Tain technical area biting their nails. The introduction of Calum Macdonald, for forward Mark Reid showed that Tain had no intentions of resting on their goal advantage.
Rostock, who had delivered so much during the game, including his goal, was forced to leave the field in the second period due to excessive cramp. To his credit, he attempted to finish the game, but his legs showed no co-operation. Darren McGaw was introduced, injecting new pace to challenge an exhausted Inver back four.
In the end, Thistle's superior fitness and momentum shone through, as Michael Brand, who had earlier been unfortunate with a mazy run toward goal, bulleted a header past Henderson to make the score academic, at 3-1. The opportunity had come from a free kick, awarded by Robertson when Ross was hauled back by Ferries upon his approach to goal.
The afternoon was topped off with a clever piece of play from the outstanding Andy Durrand, who nutmegged former Ross County star Billy Ferries following a confident break down the left wing, sending the Thistle supporter into rapturous cheers. The moment capped a phenomenal performance from the young full back, who not only excelled during the final, but has done so since replacing the holidaying James Rice two weeks ago.
Alan Nimmons, manager of the Railway Hotel (sponsors of the 2009 Cordiner Cup) presented the trophy to a jubilant captain, Daniel Christie, at the end of the game. Medals were presented by Welfare represenative Jimmy Patullo, at the Railway Hotel.
The cup win, Thistle's first since 2007, marks only the second time the club have captured a piece of competitive silverwear in the Ross-shire Welfare league. More pleasing for the manager however, was that it was his second in three seasons -- the result of the persistence and hard work of a club who have worked together from top to bottom.
Niall Harkiss reserved special praise for the club, at the end of the match.
"Today has been a great reward for everybody who has worked hard to make this club a success. From Graham Macrae painting the goalposts, to Norman Macangus, cleaning out and making the clubhouse presentable, Dale Finlayson, Alan, Lauren and Kerri for organising and preparing food on the day, Sandy Mackenzie and Alasdair Rhind for their help making the park a tremendous venue for football -- the best supported it's been in the town for several years, Arron and Steven for the phenomenal job they have done with a wonderful group of players, each and every one of them winners and fantastic contributors to one the most special clubs in Ross-shire. “
“The game today was a fantastic advert for football in Tain, and for the Ross-shire Welfare league. Jimmy Patullo and John Macleod do tremendously well to keep this league going, and its days and occasions like this that reinforce the fact that it is one of the greatest sporting associations in the area. I’d like to thank Gary Ross and Darren Mackay for their assistance in introducing the first Welfare cup final programme, which was on sale at the game. Due to the co-operation of two well supported teams, who came with excellent support, the game proved a huge success and was played in great spirit."
In other news, the Chairman won Jimmy's raffle, and Peeps' shirt won the contents.
Martin, Durrand, Brand, A Christie, Dingwall, Farquhar (Oliver), D Christie, Goller, Rostock (McGaw), Ross, Reid (Macdonald)
Subs not used:
Goller 76, Rostock 101, Brand 116
Man of the Match:
Arron Christie (Choice of sponsor Alan Nimmons)
The Tain Juniors Under 17 side rounded off a good week with a 5-1 win over Wester Ross at the Grant Park tonight, after seeing off Aird Athletic, 4-2 in Aird on Tuesday.
This past Tuesday in Aird, the Juniors took a commanding two goal lead thanks to an Ayah Rattanaphithak brace, before Aird levelled, to make it 2-1 at half time.
John McLennan scored in 47th minute to make it 3-1, but the 17s were made to work hard and whilst creating a lot of chances, hitting the woodwork twice, they lost a poor 2nd goal in the 78th minute.
After a couple of positional changes, the Juniors were able to score their 4th through Martin Smith to make the score 4-2 on the night.
Coach Gavin MacDonald reflected on the result, as an "excellent result, winning an important three points for the team".
Allan, Gordon, Johnstone, Sutherland, Matheson, Mein, Bell, Smith, Rattanaphithak, Stewart, Maclellan
Robertson, Mackintosh, Shearer, McKenna, Phillips
Rattanaphithak x 2, Maclellan, Smith
In last night's game, with Martin Smith and Andy Bell dropped ahead of the Cordiner Cup final on Saturday, John Maclellan opened the scoring for the 17s, before the newly introduced Under 15 Ben McIvor notched his first of the season for the 17s, to make it 2-1 at half time.
Maclellan hit the hat trick early in the second half, and a late fifth from Ayah Rattanaphithak, described by coach Rob Nicolson as "a peach". Wester Ross had no further reply, and the game finished at 5-1.
Allan, Gordon, Johnstone, Mein, Shearer, McKenna, Rattanaphithak, Stewart, Maclellan, Robertson, McIvor
Maclellan x 3, McIvor, Rattanaphithak
The wins push the 17s further ahead at the top of the SWL Ross-shire League table, with two games in hand over rivals, Dingwall.
Preparations for the Cordiner Cup Final rage on with both teams facing absences as the kick off ticks closer.
Thistle are expected to be without Paul Cowie, Andy Murray and Gary Austin, while Martyn Farquhar and Kyle Oliver face late fitness tests.
Inver are reported to be without the golfing Billy Ferries and Christopher Mailley, but time will tell on their availability.
Tain Thistle threw away a 3-0 lead to narrowly edge past the Sutor Inn tonight, three goals to two, to go five points clear at the top of the Ross-shire Welfare league table.
Missing from the side was assistant manager and in-form goalkeeper Steven Martin, who was ably replaced by reserve stopped and former St Duthus player David Matheson. Mark Reid also returned, replacing Darren McGaw up front. Arron Christie and Martyn Farquhar also switched places, with the former joining the midfield for the first time this season.
A weakened Sutor Inn side saw themselves on the wrong side of the score sheet early on, when Daniel Christie opened the scoring on ten minutes. The nippy midfielder launched a 30 yard shot down the middle of the unorthodox Chris Cooper's goal, and the shot sailed in. At 1-0, Thistle were coasting.
They could have taken the lead five minutes earlier however, when the expert kicking of Matheson saw the goalkeeper outfox his counterpart Cooper with a 70 yard launch. The effort bounced over the collapsed frame of Cooper before drifting just wide.
Arron Christie could have extended the lead on 20 minutes his powerfully struck shot sailed goalward, but Cooper parried and held the swirling effort well.
Christie found himself party to a goal only six minutes later however when his spinning cross careered in off the Sutor's centre half David Kennedy, to make it 2-0.
Sutor rarely threatened in the first half, with goalkeeper Matheson doing what was asked of him in a quiet period. The second proved different however as Sutor passed up a glorious chance to pull a goal back. A slip by Dingwall allowed the Sutor in on goal. The attacking player glided past Matheson before slotting the ball goalward, but in bizarre fashion, Sutor forward Reece Brown trapped and touched the ball away from his target, saving Dingwall's blushes!
After an hour, Mark Reid notched a third for Thistle, after missing a string of chances and at 3-0 the game looked dead and buried.
Despite the score, a resilient Sutor fought back and for the final twenty minutes it looked as though they may nick a draw. Player/manager Stephen Campbell sclaffed a ball into the net to pull the affair back before Ashley Mills long shot deflected past Matheson to make it 2-3.
Despite late pressure, Thistle held on to their lead and recorded the win, Matheson touching the best chance of an equalizer beyond for a corner.
The victory takes Thistle five points clear of rivals Balintore, who were soundly beaten by Alness and six clear of Ross-shire Club, who won 3-1 at the Recreation Grounds against the Social. In other action, Cromarty recorded an upset, beating Cordiner Cup finalists Inver, 4-3.
Matheson, Durrand, Brand, Dingwall, Farquhar (Nimmons), D Christie, A Christie, Goller, Rostock, Reid (McGaw), Ross
Subs not used:
D Christie 10, Kennedy og 26, Reid 62
Man of the Match:
Last Tuesday, the Tain Juniors Under 15s brought the curtain down on their short league campaign. With the news that Cunningham had been sidelined, going up against an unbeaten Dingwall side, who had already won the title, was always going to be a tall order.
Nevertheless, it was Tain who looked like the champions, pressing for an early advantage with a number of chances to take the lead; a young Ferries looking particularly promising.
Against the run of play, it was Dingwall who took the lead however. Smart had a chance as did Greenlees, but it was the latter who registered the equalizer, rounding the Dingwall keeper to make it 1-1.
Second half, changes in the formation paid off as Tain took the lead through Greenlees, scoring again. Before long, Greenlees had his hat trick, capitalizing on an expert through ball by Ferries for what proved to be the winner.
Post-match, coach Robert Farquhar commented, "It was a great result today. This young Tain team finished in second place on their own. Both myself and Wilfie reflected on what has been a good year and to coach this squad this year with little hassle has been great. I hope they go on to do well for the 17s and eventually play for Tain Thistle."
Allan, Smith, Maclean, McIvor, Allison, Ferries, Joy, Smart, Codie, Greenlees, Cooper
Macleod, Kidd, Warren, Durrand
Greenlees x 3
Tain Thistle today confirmed the appointment of a new manager for the club's winter North Caledonian league side.
John Oliver accepted the club's offer last night after weeks of speculation surrounding the post. Oliver, a former youth coach with Ross County and Invergordon, brings a wealth of experience coaching players in the Ross-shire area.
Everyone at Tain Thistle FC wish him all the best in his new post.
(John Oliver, pictured above with club chairman Niall Harkiss (right))
A bullet header from in-form striker Robbie Ross in the final minute of the game was enough to beat Invergordon Social Club to advance to the Cordiner Cup Final. The winner came after a frenetic 90 minutes of back and forth action, which saw the Jags lose a 2-1 lead, before bouncing back to win 3-2.
Missing Calum Macdonald, Arron Christie started Darren McGaw up front alongside Ross, while Andy Durrand filled in again for the absent James Rice.
It was the home side, Social Club who took the lead however, when Dave MacGruer's looping header flew over the advancing Steven Martin to make it 1-0. Undeterred, Thistle fought back in dominant fashion, and a piece of clever play from Daniel Christie saw the midfielder chip the ball over Barry Nimmons and volley in confident fashion to make it 1-1.
Robbie Ross could very well have put Thistle in the lead straight after, but could only shoot into the arms of Nimmons. The second did come soon after however, when Liam Rostock's presence upset the kilter of Barry Nimmons who fisted the ball into his own net.
Despite constant pressure in the first half, and a number of creative moments from the pacey Liam Rostock, Thistle couldn't extend their lead.
Disaster struck for Thistle mid way through the second half when a shove on Steven Martin resulted in the keeper being dispossed before the ball was knocked home for an equalizer. Despite protests from the Thistle men, referee Keith Middleton awarded the goal, to make for a tense second half.
Forward men Darren McGaw and Darran Goller could make no second half impact, and Rostock's influence seemed to wane as Social Club pushed for a winner. Martin did exceptionally well to save on a couple of occasions as they pressed their advantage up front.
Bookings issued to Martyn Farquhar and Chris Graham as well as stoppage for a challenge on Rob Nicolson resulted in an extended period of injury time -- and it was in the 94th minute that the game was won. An Arron Christie cross from deep was met with authority by Ross, to thump the ball with a pacey header. The winner sent the Thistle support into rapturous applause, as the Jags secured the win and an appearance in the Cordiner Cup Final.
The final is scheduled to be played on Saturday, June 27th with a 3pm kick off at Thistle's own Grant Park. In other news, Inver dumped Alness Athletic with a last minute winner to record their place as Thistle's final opponents.
Martin, Brand, Durrand, A Christie, Dingwall, D Christie, Farquhar, Goller, Rostock, Ross, McGaw
Subs not used:
Nimmons, Swann, Matheson
D Christie 26, Nimmons o.g. 35, Ross 90+4
Man of the Match:
Tain Thistle were drawn into the four North Caledonian cups for the Winter campaign tonight, as local rivals Balintore also confirmed their withdrawl.
Thistle were handed the following draws:
Port Services Cup:
1st Round: Bye
2nd Round: Thurso vs Tain Thistle
1st Round: Bye
2nd Round: Tain Thistle vs Muir of Ord
Jock Mackay Cup:
1st Round: Bye
2nd Round: Tain Thistle vs Golspie Sutherland
Football Times Cup:
1st Round: Dingwall Thistle vs Tain Thistle
2nd Round: Dingwall/Tain vs Bunillidh Thistle
Dates for the ties are to be confirmed.
In other news, the season start date for North Caledonian league has been set as August 22nd.
Thistle stalwart Gary Austin is no stranger to the heartbreak of Cup semi finals in the Ross-shire Welfare league -- and none more so than this coming Saturday as a back injury rules the midfielder out of the squad for Saturday's tie with Invergordon Social Club -- Tain Thistle and its supporters will hope however, that the heartbreak is only his.
Born in Cork, Ireland and learning his craft as a product of the Billy Russell era, Gary Austin truly has Tain Thistle at heart. Now, alongside Steven Martin and Calum Macdonald, he remains one of only a handful who were present at the beginning of Russell's tenure.
"Billy did a lot for the club, and is the main reason I'm still playing. I'm still chasing fitness, but this latest injury is likely to set me back about three weeks."
"I last played against Dornoch in pre-season in 2007, and I even scored that day! It's great to be back now and to see the club playing so well. It can be hard waiting for games, but I'd rather be involved than not. We have a very strong squad."
Though he wont be able to make the semi final, Austin believes Tain have what it takes to the make the final and even win.
"I expect to see Tain joined by Alness in the final. It would be great to win it, as it is in Tain, but we have to remember that the league is the priority. For me, that is the main prize."
Austin re-signed with Tain for the 2009 season and has made two first team starts (in the victories over Sutor Inn and Balintore) and five substitute appearances.
Thistle found no problem playing on the uninviting narrow pitch at their nomadic opponents' Portmahomack home, as they trounced a strong Inver side in tonight's Ross-shire Welfare league match, putting memories of their ill-fated season opener behind them.
Manager Arron Christie reintroduced Rockness fuelled Martyn Farquhar to the side in the absense of holidaying James Rice, while Kyle Oliver remained on the sidelines with a shin complaint, joining Gary Austin, out with a back problem.
Capitalizing on a cross, it was Robbie Ross who got Thistle off the mark with a textbook finish on 14 minutes, placing the ball just over Ross Henderson, after the keeper had misjduged his position.
Michael Brand could very well have extended the lead only moments later when he hit the cross bar, and an effort at the other end was only narrowly cleared by Ross.
The second half saw no changes, and within ten minutes Ross was again the scorer when he was able to better Scott Innes in a jump for a Kiki Dingwall pass; the nimble forward then rounding Henderson with ease to make it 2-0.
Ross eventually hit a hat trick, Thistle's first of the season, just after the hour mark when a header which cannoned off the crossbar fell into his path, as he rifled the ball home to make it 3-0.
The scoring was rounded off by the in-form winger Darran Goller, who won possession on the half way line, before out running the Inver defence to hammer the ball past Henderson.
The win keeps Thistle firmly on the top of the table, while Balintore kept the pressure on with a win over Sutor Inn. In other action, Social Club fell away with a 1-1 draw at Alness and Ross Club moved into third with a thumping 6-3 win over Cromarty.
Martin, Durrand (Nimmons), Farquhar, A Christie, Dingwall, D Christie, Brand, Goller, Rostock, Macdonald (Swann), Ross (McGaw)
Subs not used:
Ross 14, 55, 59
Man of the Match:
Tain Juniors Under 15s suffered defeat twice at the hands of Alness this past week, in both league and cup action.
Playing on the back of a 6-1 win over Invergordon, coaches Robert Farquhar and Wilfie Campbell would have been disappointed with the mental approach of their players, as they appeared to have left their heads in the dressing room for last Tuesday’s league game against Alness, at Grant Park.
Stuart Smart may have given Tain a quarter hour lead, but it was against the run of play, and soon the effort of Alness shone through; the Juniors’ custodian John Allan doing well on a number of occasions to thwart the visitors.
The pressure finally paid off for Alness as the levelled after the restart, before a second followed to take them into a deserved lead, leading ultimately to a deserved 2-1 win on the night. The win places Alness and Tain in joint second place in the SWL Ross-shire league.
Allan, Maclean, Allison, MacIvor, Smith, Smart, Joy, Kidd, Mackay, Greenlees, Cooper
Retribution, it was not to be, as Tain played hosts to Alness once again – this time in the 1st Round of the MSIS Shield, this past Thursday. Contrary to their league meeting the week prior, the 15s were a match for Alness, and the 80 minutes saw no goals.
Extra time looked like it may have gone Tain’s way, before Alness were able to score against the run of play. Running on empty, the Juniors were unable to prevent Alness from nicking a second and advancing to the semi final.
Amidst the disappointment, coach Robert Farquhar was delighted with the effort of the side, singling out Ben McIvor for special praise.
“Ben was outstanding today and will certainly go on to play for the 17s this year, and hopefully Tain Thistle in the future.”
Allan, Allison, MacIvor, Maclean, Cooper, Joy, Smart, Kierian, Kidd, Greenlees, Muir
Tain Thistle coasted past league rivals Balintore to secure a place in the Cordiner Cup semi finals today, with a comfortable 3-1 win at Seaboard Park.
Missing a handful of players possessing Rockness tickets, Arron Christie brought Gary Austin, Andy Durrand and Calum Macdonald into the side, with Craig Nimmons and Davie Matheson also reclaiming bench spots, to form Thistle’s smallest match squad since their May trip to play the Sutor Inn.
Starting for the second game running, Robbie Ross opened the scoring for Thistle, adding the final touch to a Calum Macdonald cross from 12 yards out, drilling the ball home. Ross could have doubled his account only three minutes later when his headed effort shot goalward, but could only connect with the crossbar.
Thistle’s domination of their opposition was clear, as it had been in their league meeting weeks earlier, and before long Balintore’s failure to match their opponents saw two of their players in the book, first Gus Macdonald, and later David Wood for a dangerously high foot on Michael Brand.
The Jags made it 2-0 on the hour mark, Macdonald this time the scorer as he brilliantly headed home a Darran Goller cross.
Goller was replaced by Darren McGaw soon after and it was the substitute who should have made it 3-0; Andy Durrand’s clever play down the wing put McGaw through on goal, but the striker could only shoot over the bar. Within minutes, earlier scorer Macdonald saw his chance of a brace thwarted by Crombie, as his shot was tipped over the bar.
The third and final goal for the visitors came on 85 minutes, when Ross scored his second. Liam Rostock crossed for the on-form forward, and from 12 yards, Ross drilled the ball into the far corner.
A late injury time foul, committed by Gary Austin gave Balintore a consolation penalty which was converted by Mackenzie, leaving the score at 3-1.
The win sets up yet another semi final clash between Invergordon Social Club and Tain Thistle, this time in Invergordon, as Social were granted a bye over the withdrawn Cromarty.
In other action, Inver defeated Ross Club 4-2. The fate of the participants in the postponed tie between Alness and the Sutor Inn is expected to be decided tomorrow.
Martin, Durrand, Austin, A Christie, Dingwall, D Christie, Brand, Goller (McGaw), Rostock, Macdonald (Nimmons), Ross
Subs not used:
Ross 2, 85, Macdonald 61
Man of the Match:
Tain Thistle made very easy work of a poor Invergordon Social Club side at the Recreation Grounds tonight, to go two points clear at the top of the Ross-shire Welfare league table.
Kyle Oliver failed a late fitness test, suffering from a shin complaint which saw Bob Swann added to the bench, with the returning Robbie Ross replacing Calum Macdonald up front in an experimental change.
The change proved a masterstroke as Ross scored the opener on 12 minutes after a sustained period of Thistle pressure. An Arron Christie free kick sent into the box was eventually knocked on by Mark Reid before Ross was able to poke the ball home at the far post, past a helpless Barry Nimmons.
Thistle found themselves 2-0 ahead when James Rice got the all important touch on the half hour mark, heading home from a Rostock cross.
Nimmons picked the ball out of his net once again after coming off his line, floundering in an attempt to prevent Liam Rostock from netting his third, unsuccessfully.
The half time break saw no changes to a buzzing Tain Thistle side. Reid, the earlier assistant to Ross, could have scored on a number of occasions during the second period, but placed shots over the bar and at Nimmons to end an unsuccessful run out before being replaced.
Substitute Calum Macdonald had better luck however, scoring within three minutes of his introduction, when his opportunistic effort was bundled past Nimmons.
Michael Brand rounded off the scoring for a rampant Thistle side, when his backward header sailed over Nimmons to make it a very comfortable 5-0.
The win puts Thistle four points clear of losing side Social Club, but only two ahead of weekend cup opponents' Balintore, who registered a 3-2 win at Cromarty. In other action, Inver lost 3-1 to Ross Club and Alness registered a close win over nearby rivals Sutor Inn by one goal to nil.
Martin, Rice (Austin), Farquhar, A Christie, Dingwall, Brand, D Christie, Goller, Rostock, Ross (Macdonald), Reid (Durrand)
Subs not used:
Ross 12, Rice 29, Rostock 41, Macdonald 74, Brand 86
Man of the Match:
Football programme collectors and Tain Thistle enthusiasts can still get their hands on official matchday programmes from last season's North Caledonian league campaign, via our Club Shop. Available programmes also include collectables from the club's final Welfare league games of 2008, and a number of pre-season friendlies.
Two goals from forward John Maclellan were enough to hand Tain Juniors' Under 17 side yet another win at home tonight, against Muir of Ord. The clever forward's quick turn and strike opened the scoring on 25 minutes, before adding an aerial touch to a Donald Matheson cross in the second half.
Thistle jumped back to the top of the Ross-shire Welfare league with a thumping 5-0 win over league newcomers Cromarty.
Tain set off with Michael Brand coming back into the side for absent Kyle Oliver, and Calum Macdonald replacing the injured Paul Cowie. A full compliment of substitutes saw the unfortunate Bob Swann miss out on a bench place, reaffirming the strength in depth Tain currently have.
Calum Macdonald had the first chance of the game, his header hitting the crossbar as Cromarty keeper Maclean could only watch it bounce over. But it was winger Darran Goller who capitalized first, on 3 mins, to make it 1-0. The clever dribbler cut inside, before easing the ball past Maclean, revealing his undershirt which displayed the message "Peeps is my hero!" -- a tribute to Goller's childhood idol, former Thistle keeper Graham Macrae.
Thistle dominated play, despite the occasional excited counter from Cromarty, and their handle on the game was no more reinforced than when Calum Macdonald's 30 yard effort curled up the chest of goalkeeper Maclean, rolling over the top of his head and into the net! At 2-0, Thistle found themselves in cruise control going into the break.
The game resumed as it had left off Jags' full back Martyn Farquhar leading excellently down the flank to create further chances for Goller, who scored Thistle's third with a voluptuous left foot half volley, which panthered its way into the top corner.
Confidence high and chasing more goals, Thistle introduced the fresh attacking threat of Darren McGaw, and the change paid instant dividends. In a one sided final fifteen, James Rice's header found the back of the net on the hour mark, but the goal was disallowed for a push on McPhee.
It was only minutes later however, when forward Mark Reid was able to burst through to make easy work of a one on one, curling a shot round Maclean to make it 4-0. Substitute McGaw rounded off the scoring with a wonderful striker's goal, thundering past Maclean to extend the lead to six.
Former Thistle man Colin Burry was the Croms' only shining light, in a side which looked inexperienced and overawed by the occasion.
The win puts Thistle back on top after Balintore thrashed Invergordon Social Club by 7 goals to nil. In other action, Inver registered a win over the Sutor Inn.
Martin, Rice, Farquhar, A Christie, Dingwall, Brand, D Christie, Goller (Nimmons), Rostock, Macdonald (McGaw), Reid (Austin)
Subs not used:
Goller 3, 71, Macdonald 37, Reid 82, McGaw 87
Man of the Match: