Tain Thistle were vindicated in a deserved league win over Dingwall's Ross-shire Club tonight, as they cantered to a two goal victory.
A series of changes were made to the side that fell 3-2 in extra time to this evening's opponents, with Martyn Farquhar and Marc Munro stepping back into the first team. John Maclellan also made a return to the side after a successful spell playing in the university leagues and came straight in as Tain's number 9.
The Jags controlled the game from the outset; man of the match Martyn Farquhar and Michael Brand handling any offence from the Dingwall men with ease. At the other end, wingers Liam Rostock and Darran Goller were a constant threat but failed to find Daniel Christie or Maclellan in the middle with any distinction.
The deadlock was finally broken after 35 minutes when Goller, splendidly controlling a ball into the box managed to expertly curl the ball beyond Hyslop with his shin to make it 1-0.
It looked as though it would be 2-0 upon the 40 minute mark, when Martyn Farquhar was mercilessly scythed down inside the box and referee John Nicolson showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Paul Cowie however, the taker, blasted the penalty kick over the bar to miss a chance to send the Jags two up. Rostock, too was unlucky on the stroke of half time not to extend the lead with an effort that drifted just wide.
The second half started as the first had ended with Tain on the attack, and Maclellan looked like he may have extended the lead with a smartly taken flick in the box, which flew just wide. A break moments later saw Maclellan force a save from Hyslop from a tight angle after great work from John Allan to send Thistle on the counter.
Maclellan eventually found the net on 88 minutes finishing off an excellent move with the coolest of finishes beyond Hyslop to put the result beyond doubt.
Allan, Durrand, Graham (Johnston 75), Brand, Farquhar, Cowie, D Christie, Munro (Ripley 75), Goller (Matheson 80), Rostock, Maclellan
Subs not used:
Goller 35, Maclellan 88
Man of the Match:
An extra time goal for Ross Club was required to put the Jags out of their second semi final this season, after equalizing twice during the game.
Tain were thin on the ground for the Pattison Cup semi final tie with players absent due to stag do commitments and injury. Making his first appearance at welfare football level was Mike Mackay, as a substitute.
Ross Club got off to the perfect start as Donald Stewart netted after only ten minutes, despite calls for offside. But their resolve could not prevent Thistle from equalizing as Liam Rostock scored his second of the season, netting in an open goal on the rebound from Andy Ripley's earlier shot.
1-1 at half time, the Jags may have hoped to go on and take the lead, and looked like they may when Goller, having been tripped on the edge of the box, won a free kick. Daniel Christie however, could not convert the chance.
Instead, the Dingwall men took the lead through Keagan Stewart, and the second half looked as though it may finish 2-1. However, substitute Mike Mackay with almost his first touch of the game, lashed a shot from outside in the box, deep into the net to make it 2-2 on 89 minutes.
The game inevitably went to extra time, and again it was Ross Club who took the advantage, Aaron Simpson pouncing on a failed clearance to make it 3-2. Thistle could find no answer, but will feel aggrieved to have been denied a penalty with minutes to go; the referee claiming to have had his vision of the incident distorted as a Ross Club defender downed Donald Matheson's cross with a high hand.
Thistle go on to meet Ross Club again on Wednesday, this time on league business at their more familiar territory of the Links.
Allan, Durrand, Johnston, Graham, Brand, D Christie, Ross, Goller (Cowie), Rostock (Mackay), Ripley, Matheson
Rostock 30, Mackay 89
Tain Thistle saw their chances of winning the league take a significant blow last night with a 3-0 defeat to rivals Balintore at the Links.
Despite chances for both teams, the soon to be retired Alan Stainke opened the scoring with a free header following a Balintore corner just before the half hour mark. Despite Thistle's best efforts to equalize, Ross Henderson in the Balty goal was up to the task, faced with shots from Paul Cowie and Liam Rostock, and soon the Jags found themselves 2-0 down. Caught at the back once again, Andrew Bell found himself through on John Allan to slot past the keeper.
The second half started well for Thistle and it looked as if they had reduced the deficit when Darran Goller was through on Henderson, but his strike rattled the near post. Kevin Graham was unlucky not to score shortly. Eventually, the on-form Bell struck again slotting home from a tight angle to make it 3-0. With ten minutes remaining, Goller again struck the woodwork, but it was too little too late for Tain.
Allan, McVicar (Ross), Graham, A Christie, Farquhar, Munro, Cowie (Matheson), Durrand (Ripley), D Christie, Rostock, Goller
Subs not used:
Farquhar, Munro, D Christie, Ross
A solid second half performance from the Jags saw off Brora Wanderers in a friendly last night as Thistle sat out of this week's Ross-shire Welfare fixtures. Goals from Liam Rostock, Daniel Christie and Robbie Ross gave them a 4-0 win after a dire first half.
It was thanks to goalkeeper Steven Wemyss in the early stages that Brora did not take the lead, as he kept the Wanderers out on a number of occasions; Thistle's three man defence caught several times by the pace and trickery of the visitors.
Daniel Christie and Liam Rostock both tested David Crombie at the other end however, but the Brora stopper was more than upto the challenge, giving a great showing between the sticks.
A half time roasting from gaffer Arron Christie saw Thistle improve in the second half, and before long they found the net through Daniel Christie. A Liam Rostock brace followed with two goals in three minutes and just moments after, Robbie Ross capitalized on a mistake to dribble past Crombie and tap the ball home.
Substitues Colin Burry and Craig Nimmons were introduced late on in their first appearances of the season, but there were to be no more goals as Thistle finished as 4-0 winners.
Wemyss, Farquhar, Graham, Munro, Cowie, D Christie (C Nimmons), Matheson, Durrand, Ross, Rostock (Burry), Ripley (A Christie)
D Christie 60, Rostock 75, 77, Ross 78
With the season now fully underway and the first cup final played, Thistle can look ahead to yet another quiet spell with 11 days before their next game, against League Cup winners Balintore.
In what was believed by many to be their most difficult home game of the season, the Jags drew 2-2 with league favourites Alness Athletic this past Wednesday, coming back twice to finish the game all square. Last season's top goalscorer Darran Goller got off the mark with a tap in while Robbie Ross's last minute goal also opened his account. Andy Durrand, scoring twice against Inver last week, remains the club's top scorer with 2 goals.
Thank you to Alan and Alastair Forsyth who have been hard at work this weekend down at the Links pavilion, carrying out repairs on changing room walls and the toilets.
There are still a handful of places available for poker this coming Tuesday. Any interested parties should contact the Railway Hotel or the club via the link above.
Finally, a massive vote of thanks must go to Kirsty McFarlane of the Railway Hotel who has once again sponsored the club for the renewing of the club's home strips, currently winging their way to be renumbered and repaired. Thank you Kirsty and the Railway.
The Jags fought back twice to earn a draw against League Cup finalists Alness Athletic tonight.
Messrs Paul Cowie and Kevin Graham were missing from last Saturday's squad, while Darran Goller returned to action.
Thistle, undefeated in home games against Alness Athletic since the Easter Ross side's 2009 admission to the league, were facing their toughest test yet as Athletic are believed to be this year's favourites. The Alness men did not let down and the match kicked off with a high tempo.
The first chance of the match fell to Liam Rostock, but Jordan Tremlett, the Alness stopper, held the forward's shot.
Darran Goller should have scored after ten minutes following clever work from Rostock to play the striker beyond Alness stopper Tremlett, but Goller, taking a touch too many, played himself wide.
It took until the 20 minute mark before John Allan was tested in the Jags goal, as Shaun Robertson saw his effort saved with a cat-like reaction stop, as his shot was steered away from the top corner.
Referee Robert MacMillan waved off disputes for offside as Robertson was not to be foiled on his second time of asking, breaking free before dribbling round Allan to score.
A fired up Tain Thistle took to the field for the second half and with a groin concern for Andy Ripley, Donald Matheson was introduced to the fray.
Thistle pushed for an equalizer and thought they had done enough when an effort bound for the net was cleared off the line. Moments later, it was Rostock again the striker, shooting from a tight angle only to see his effort come back off the post.
The fruits of Thistle's labour were finally enjoyed on 72 minutes, when Darran Goller capitalized on a defensive error to tap home from a couple of yards. An ugly goal, but hugely deserved in a second half of continued pressure.
It seemed as though the Jags may go on and find a winner but Goller passed up another chance on 75 minutes, much like his first half effort, unable to find his feet to knock the ball home from the edge of the 6 yard box.
With fifteen minutes left, the Jags' pressure dwindled in a five minute spell of frustration as Alness took control. Substitute Liam Muir, in what appeared to be a clear offside position, eventually struck a ball past Allan at his far post. Referee MacMillan pointed to the half way line and Athletic were back in front. Stunned, the Jags were now chasing a game they were close to winning.
Rostock appeared to have scuppered Thistle's last throw of the dice with mere minutes left to play as he found himself clean through on goal only to fire a shot into the bosom of Tremlett.
Instead, the glory was saved for gaffer Robbie Ross, who had replaced Marc Munro minutes earlier. Getting on the end of a well placed cross from Donald Matheson, the prolific striker nodded home to make it 2-2 with all of 30 seconds left to play.
Allan, Cameron, Farquhar, A Christie, Munro (Ross 80), Brand, Durrand, Rostock, D Christie, Ripley (Matheson 52), Goller
Subs not used:
Goller 72, Ross 90
Man of the Match:
Tain Thistle's defence of the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup came to a toughly contested end this afternoon as Balintore edged their way past the Jags with a 1-0 win.
Missing Darran Goller from the side, the Jags brought in Arron Christie in an otherwise unchanged squad. Christie replaced Kev Graham in the back line while Paul Cowie returned to first team action, replacing the void left by Goller.
The early part of the first half largely belonged to Balintore on their home park, with young goalkeeper and Baltie native John Allan showing strength and determination to keep the Gulls out when asked.
The first half took an ugly turn after the half hour mark thanks to a series of gratuitously issued yellow cards for the Jags, amidst what was always destined to be a heated derby. This only served to add a bitter edge to an otherwise warmly contested game between both sides.
Despite chances for both sides, the score remained 0-0 at the break.
The best chance of the game came ten minutes into the second half as Daniel Christie found himself clean through, but, electing to lob goalkeeper Henderson, he aimed his finish wide of the post.
Moments later, Liam Rostock was unlucky not to have recorded the opener as his shot found the net, but was ruled as offside to the astonishment of the Jags touchline.
Resolute defending from Balintore in the second half and chances gone a-begging for the Jags ultimately led to the inevitable as Thistle were caught on the break and Andy Bell found the net for the home side. The goal game very much against the run of play in the second half, but it was evidence only that "chances taken" are what separates sides, not possession.
Balintore proceeded to "park the bus" for the remainder of the game in an effort to retain their lead, and despite late chances for substitute Robbie Ross, Paul Cowie and Rostock, the score remained the same.
Balintore will now go on to meet Alness Athletic in the final at Cromarty, the latter having hammered Invergordon Social Club by 5 goals to 1.
Allan, Cameron, Farquhar, Brand, A Christie, D Christie, Munro, Cowie, Durrand (Matheson 75), Ripley (Ross 80), Rostock
Subs not used:
Graham, Sutherland, Gordon
Munro 28, Cowie 34, Allan 34, A Christie 34, Brand 90, Cameron 90
Man of the Match:
A cold night in Inver played host to the Jags' opening fixture of the season, having enjoyed a bye in the first round of the League Cup. It was the first action the Inver Park had seen since 2008 other than rabbits and tonight's visitors did not disappoint.
John Allan, Marc Munro and Andy Ripley all made their debuts for Thistle having enjoyed a good pre-season, while Paul Cowie was a late addition to the bench, making his first Thistle appearance since 2009. Gaffer Arron Christie left himself out of the side, with co-manager Robert Ross benched.
Thistle took a short while to get started in the first half, with a number of chances going astray. Darran Goller, last season's top goalscorer was unlucky with an early effort from close range which sailed wide before Andy Ripley forced the first save from Inver stopper Macinnes. Goller, lashing the rebound goalward hit the crossbar.
Thistle thought they had scored when Marc Munro's looping shot appeared to have flown into the net from height and at pace, but the referee deemed that the ball had fallen into the roof of the net.
Daniel Christie was next to test the Inver keeper but his shot was saved, and at the other end, former Jag Craig Swanson forced John Allan into action, tipping the defender's shot over the bar.
Inver found themselves almost always on the defence however, with Brand heading Thistle's best first half chance wide from a Christie free kick. An Andrew Ripley shot from distance was the last throw of the dice before half time, as the Jags were beginning to wonder where the breakthrough would come from.
The second half started in more clinical fashion however with Andy Durrand opening the scoring for Thistle, knocking a rebound across the face of Macinnes' goal after Ripley had forced the keeper into a save.
Ripley got himself on the scoresheet just minutes later with an outstanding drive from 30 yards, leaving Macinnes standing to make it 2-0. Durrand was again the scorer on 56 minutes with a guided header past Macinnes after clever work from Darran Goller. Both scorers left the field on the hour mark as Donald Matheson was introduced for Durrand and Cowie replacing Ripley shortly after.
Liam Rostock made it four on 74 minutes with a shot placed past the keeper to the far corner. Brian Cameron was the creator within 90 seconds of the restart as he played Daniel Christie in on the keeper for an easy finish to make it 5-0.
Persistent offside calls resulted in bookings for dissent for Liam Rostock and Paul Cowie as the clock ticked away, before the latter launched a low drive from outside the box to round off the scoring at 6-0.
Allan, Cameron, Graham (Gordon 75), Farquhar, Brand, Munro, D Christie, Durrand (Matheson 59), Goller, Ripley (Cowie 66), Rostock
Durrand 47, 56, Ripley 51, Rostock 74, D Christie 76, Cowie 90+1
Cowie 83, Rostock 83
Man of the Match: