A brilliant Stuart Wood strike told the story as the Jags battled towards an impressive victory over Cromarty in the latest round of Mid-Ross Shield games.
With both sides keen to gain an advantage after two weeks of inactivity in the Mid Ross Shield, Cromarty and Thistle named a strong eleven. The winners would take the top spot in the Shield table and the effort shown by both sides matched the reward. Darran Goller and Martyn Farquhar were missing for the travelling Jags, while Keith Dingwall and Brian Cameron were both introduced to the side.
Playing attractive football, Cromarty took the initiative early on and thanks to the alertness of the Thistle defence, the home side were thwarted on a number of occasions. It was Tain however who were first to beat a keeper, as Niall McVicar watched his lobbed effort sail over Symmonds, only to cannon back off the crossbar.
A toughly contested first half was largely made up of some resolute defending from Thistle as Cromarty attempt to convert possession into chances, but the back line of the Jags was too strong.
On forty minutes however, the game took a swing in the favour of Tain, as Stuart Wood, who had impressed throughout the half, stunned Symmonds with an unstoppable long range strike to put his side 1-0 ahead.
Cromarty pressed hard at the start of the second half to get back into the game; the Tain back line strong once again and Ross Henderson in goal up to the task whenever required.
At the other end, Niall McVicar was unlucky not to make it 2-0 with a chance one-on-one with Symmonds, but his shot drifted wide. Paul Cowie too had a chance to score when the Cromarty stopper drifted out of his goal, but he could only lob wide.
Prolific scorer Ruari Rogan was introduced for Croms in the latter stages and the Jags began to contain, successfully so, dealing with a series of corners for the home side.
Thanks to a battling performance all round and some resilient defending, Thistle survived a couple of scares late on but held out for the important 1-0 win.
Thistle will now travel to Dingwall on Wednesday, October 31st, before an away match in Contin next Sunday, November 4th.
Henderson, Davis, Cameron (Durrand), Ross, Dingwall, Mackay, Cowie, Wood, Calderwood, Rostock, McVicar (Oliver)
Stuart Wood 40
Former club secretary and treasurer Alan Forsyth will resign from his post after 4 years at the club on October 31st.
Joining the club committee in May 2008, Alan's tenure as club secretary during Thistle's first foray into North Caledonian league football also involved a handful of appearances as a stand-in goalkeeper in friendly matches. After moving to his new home to Invergordon, he became Treasurer of the club, and was instrumental in securing key fundraising for the club's Ross-shire Welfare seasons.
Most notably in 2011, Alan successfully negotiated several Selkie waterproof panels for the showers as well as new kitchen worktops, kindly donated by Rearo Laminates of Inverness, for the further development of the Links Clubhouse.
Upon his departure, he noted "Its been a privilege to serve the club and I wish you all the best for the future."
Now living with his partner Jennifer, they are expecting their first child at the end of the year. We wish Alan and Jen all the best going forward.
Travelling over 400 miles in one day for the game, the footballers of Queen's Park Supporters FC arrived at the Links an hour before kick off to face Tain Thistle, welcomed by sunshine and better playing conditions than should be expected in mid-October. Former Tain man and QPSFC player Neil Skinner had initiated the tie with the club back in July and through the co-ordination of their club secretary Iain Campbell and Thistle's chairman, the match took place this afternoon.
The Jags asserted their authority very early on; the woodwork being rattled twice in the opening five minutes while Martin Kelly in the Queens' goal also stopped a number of shots. It took until 12th minute for Thistle to finally break the deadlock however, when Darran Goller tapped home a rebound to put Tain a goal ahead.
Enjoying plenty of attacking possession, messrs Liam Rostock, Goller and Niall McVicar were all unlucky in efforts to extend the lead during the next 20 minutes of play with Kelly again up to the task, but it was McVicar who eventually made it 2-0 with a beautiful struck effort into the top corner at Kelly's far post.
In goal for Tain, Ross Henderson had very little to do, save for the odd passback from his team mates, but he found himself stunned and picking the ball out of the net following the Queens' first shot on target after 43 minutes - Sean Connolly getting the finishing touch on a well placed cross to knock the ball high into the top corner. The goal, rather against the run of play, crucially renewed the determination of the visitors just before half time.
Changes were made at half time for the Jags with Steven Wemyss replacing Ross Henderson, and shortly after Martyn Oliver replacing Liam Rostock, the latter struggling with a vision problem.
No further goals were scored in normal time despite chances early on for Oliver. Second half substitute Andy Durrand was also unlucky and Goller also failed to score with a header. The reintroduction of Rostock late on in the second half saw the best chances for the home side in the second period, but on two occasions, the striker shot over the bar.
The final goal came in stoppage time, as Stuart Wood, controlling the ball well on the edge of the area, struck the ball firmly past Kelly to make it 3-1. This was to be the last touch of the game, ending in a satisfactory result for the Tain men.
For Tain Thistle:
Henderson (Wemyss), Davis, D Mackay, Calderwood, Ross (Durrand), Dingwall, Cowie (M Mackay), Wood, McVicar (McIvor), Rostock (Oliver), Goller
Scorers: Goller 12, McVicar 33, Wood 90+1
For Queens Park SFC:
Kelly, McNaught, Mackenzie, Lennox, Galindo, Colquhoun, Joyce, Blair, Connolly, Duncan, Macrae
Scorer: Connolly 43
A fresh looking Jags side took to the field for their first Mid Ross Shield game this afternoon against the newly formed Contin United, with positive results.
Prior to the game, both sets of players observed a minute of silence for the late Ernie Ross - a former player of St Duthus FC, businessman and a long time sponsor and highly respected contributor to Tain's footballing sides.
Introducing a plethora of new players, gaffer Gary Ross started with an effective 3-5-2 formation to baffle Contin for the better part of a goal proud first half. The goals however, came almost exclusively for Thistle.
Under the cosh for the opening minutes, Ross Henderson in goal was unbeaten before Martyn Farquhar opened the scoring for Tain, rather against the run of play. With eight minutes gone, Farquhar offered the most composed of finishes, controlling a difficult ball before slotting it home to make it 1-0.
The Contin men were undeterred, continuing to press - however the new look back line of Tain looked organised, with former Balintore centre half David Calderwood impressing with a dominant display.
Thistle made it 2-0 in spectacular fashion after 20 minutes. Pacey forwards Darren Goller and Liam Rostock had threatened to breach the Contin defence on a number of occasions, but it was the latter who eventually rifled home from outside the box to give Ross no chance in the Contin goal with a splendid strike.
Contin were all at sea for the remainder of the first half, a little shell shocked at the score, and before long Rostock had added a further two goals in quick succession to record a hat-trick - the second of which, however, was perhaps justifiably disputed as offside. Referee Keith Middleton however, waved off the protests and the goal stood.
The half ended in unpleasant fashion as centre half David Mackay was forced to leave the field of play with a deep gash above his eye which was later closed by three stitches. Shortly after Mackay's withdrawal, Contin punished the ten men of Tain with a goal from a tight angle, scored by experienced striker Maitland. Ryan Johnston was introduced at half time in place of the Mackay.
A further four substitutions were made during a more lacklustre second half, as Rostock failed to add to his tally. Replacing Darran Goller, Martyn Oliver was also unlucky in his efforts, missing the target twice of note.
The only goal of the second half came in the dying minutes from Contin's Campbell as the visitors broke against a tired Tain defence, trundling a ball past Henderson to reduce the score to 4-2.
With Cromarty recording a 5-2 win over Ross-shire Club on Saturday, Tain sit just a goal behind the Black Isle side on the same points in the Mid Ross shield table, with a game against Ross-shire Club to look forward to next weekend.
Henderson, Davis, McVicar (Durrand), Ross, Calderwood, D Mackay (Johnston), Cowie (Rattanaphithak), Farquhar, Wood (M Mackay), Goller (Oliver), Rostock
Farquhar 8, Rostock 20, 32, 34
New club Contin United will visit the Links on Sunday for the first of Tain Thistle's Mid-Ross Shield league games.
The new league, made up of four Ross-shire and Black Isle teams will be contested over October and November for the historic Mid-Ross Shield - a prize resurrected by former Thistle chairman Brian Macangus.
New gaffer Gary Ross is expecting a good turnout for Thistle's pre-game training match on Wednesday night, where a squad will no doubt be formed for the upcoming fixture on Sunday.
With the season ending in July, 2012 must certainly have been among the quickest of welfare seasons for Tain Thistle, and on the back of their final game last Monday, the club plans to play a series of friendlies over the winter, under the coaching of ex-Inver manager and former Thistle player Gary Ross.
The first confirmed friendly is between the Jags and a team run by former Tain native Neil Skinner - the Queen's Park Supporters' Club. At present, the game is scheduled to be played on Sunday, October 21st. For more info on the Queen's Park Supporters FC, visit here: http://queensparksupportersfc.webs.com
The club are preparing for a fun filled evening on their end of season night out, at the Railway Hotel on August 11th. Grifter Entertainments will be providing casino night entertainment in the form of roulette and blackjack, while the club will also be presenting their end of season awards.
The club wishes to thank volunteers Liam Rostock and Andy Murray for their efforts on matchday for the Cordiner Cup final between Alness and Cromarty, hosted at Tain. Congratulations to winners, Alness Athletic.
At the last game of the season, the club were visited by long time player and record goalscorer Garry Perks, who, were it not for an injury, would have turned out for the Jags.
Finally, another vote of thanks must go to Willie Rostock, for the kind donation of a new medical bag.