The Jags strolled to victory with the score in double figures to give new team the Eastern Rose a debut to forget in the Ross-shire Welfare league. A four minute hat-trick for Gus Mcdonald all but put the game to bed after just a quarter of an hour, before the tall forward added a fourth on the half hour mark. Dave MacGruer got in on the goals before half time and after the break, then Mcdonald scored a fifth to equal the goals in a game record held by manager Robert Ross. MacGruer completed a hat-trick later with a stunning strike after an hour's play and with the goal of the game, Craig Munro scored with a sublime chip over Albert Wadzinski. Daniel Christie rounded off the scoring to take the total to an even ten with a cool finish fourteen minutes from time.
The win takes Tain Thistle to the top of the Maclean Electrical league after Week 1, despite an impressive 5-1 win for Invergordon at home to Fortrose.
Team: Cormack, MacGruer, A Christie, Dunnett, (Mackintosh 51) C Munro, Mailley (M Munro 66) MacDonald, Greenlees, Murray, D Christie, Mcdonald (Rostock 51)
Subs not used: Smith, Farquhar
Goals: Mcdonald 11, 13, 14, 31, 47, MacGruer 32, 49, 61, C Munro 70, D Christie 76
A combination of first game nerves and less than favourable wind direction saw Tain Thistle get off to a stuttery start in the Union Tavern League Cup this weekend, battling to a 4-2 win over Contin to advance to the semi final.
The manager had to cope with a number of absences for his first competitive game in charge, as the team played in their new red and white away strips for the first time.
Michael Dunnett was first to fire a shot towards goal in the fourth minute with a cross come shot which appeared to rattle in off the top corner, but the ball collided between the upright and the crossbar and came back into play, leaving the touchline wondering if the ball had crossed the line. It was Contin who took the lead though, just four minutes later, as hesitance in the Jags defence allowed Ryan Dow to easily tap the ball home after it had been squared across the face of Daniel Cormack's goal.
A goal down, Thistle took their time to get into any sort of stride and with twenty minutes gone, they could have been 2-0 down. As referee Michael Stainke was pacing out the yards between a free kick taker and the Jags' wall, the Contin men took their kick prematurely and found the net. The goal of course was disallowed - a let off for Thistle.
Neither side were able to extend their lead throughout the remainder of the first half as the wind continued to play a factor. With five minutes of the first half remaining, Dunnett had perhaps the best chance as he again rattled the woodwork when his looping shot from the right wing landed on the crossbar.
The second half started in better fashion for Tain, with the wind on their side, and they took just three minutes to equalise, Neil MacDonald rattling a thunderous shot over the top of Sean Beaton down the middle of the goal. With a goal under their belt, the Jags were playing with a renewed confidence and within six minutes they had taken the lead through Liam Rostock who expertly sent the ball home through an area of bodies.
Messrs Neil MacDonald and Cameron Mackintosh both threatened to extend the lead as Contin struggled to contain, but it was left to Liam Rostock to extend the lead again, with a first time shot to better Beaton. At 3-1, Tain looked to have the win sewn up. A twist of fate handed Contin a lifeline when referee Michael Stainke (who later admitted a mistake in the award) adjudged that Keith Dingwall had fouled Cammy Houston inside the box, and Fraser Heath for Contin scored from the penalty spot.
The threat of extra time was now looming as Contin threatened to equalise, and as legs began to tire and cramp set in, the Jags survived a couple of shaky moments. In the end, the win was wrapped up thanks to an excellent finish from Martin Smith, who, with one minute remaining, curled his effort to the back post past Beaton to make it 4-2 and the Tain Thistle touchline breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Team: Cormack, A Christie, McGaw (Dingwall 65), MacGruer, MacDonald, Munro, Mackintosh, Rostock, Dunnett (Greenlees 82), D Christie, Mcdonald (Smith 76)
Subs not used: Goller
Goals: MacDonald 48, Rostock 54, 71, Smith 89
Tain Thistle held their pre-season dinner dance at the Saint Duthus Hotel on the evening of Friday April 17th this past weekend, raising over £450 towards club funds. The club wishes to thank those who attended the meal, bought raffle tickets and contributed to the auction of several items.
We also wish to extend many thanks to the following donors of raffle prizes and auction items:
Glenmorangie Distillery, Balblair Distillery, Tesco, Carnegie Lodge Hotel, Royal Hotel, Saint Duthus Hotel, Railway Hotel, Niall Harkiss, ANTA Pottery, Tain Pottery, Kirsty McFarlane, Kenny MacDonald, KM Fitness and Dundee United Football Club.
New Ross-shire Welfare side Eastern Rose were handed a nine goal welcome to the Links at the hands of their Easter Ross neighbours Tain Thistle this evening. A six goal blitz in the first half left the Bombers reeling before further bombardment in the second half heralded a further three goals.
Manager Robert Ross had just a couple of absences to deal with as he named a strong 19 man squad for the game, with the aim of ensuring every player at least 45 minutes on the park. Martyn Farquhar, Michael Dunnett, Ben Brown, Stephen McGaw, Andy Durrand were among those on the missing/injured list while Kiki Dingwall and John Maclellan were recalled to the side for their first pre-season game this year.
Thistle stuttered in the early stages and failed to get into any kind of stride, the performance levels of last Friday seemingly a distant memory. A quick fire double from Darran Goller in the 11th and 12th minute with two similarly well taken goals, gave Tain a 2-0 lead, despite the Jags not having moved out of first gear. Goller was forced to withdraw following an ankle knock a minute later, and was duly replaced by Liam Rostock. It was Rostock who was next to score, slotting home with ease following an excellent and powerful solo run, before he added a second on 23 minutes, lobbing Sam Law in the Rose goal from over 30 yards out.
Another first half injury saw Dave Murray withdraw in the early stages to be replaced by Kiki Dingwall. It looked as though Rostock may notch a hat-trick when he struck goal ward but his effort cannoned off the woodwork and took a deflection off the head of the waiting Gus Mcdonald and the towering forward man notched the goal for himself. With ten minutes left, Mcdonald made it 6-0 with a tap in from close range. Eastern Rose's only notable effort in the first half came from Steven Christopher, when the Bombers' target man launched a powerful long range effort towards goal. Daniel Cormack was up to the effort though, saving well, despite the ball spilling in front of him for a brief moment.
A further seven changes were made to the side at half time, including the goalkeeper, and it took Tain just two minutes to notch their seventh - Martin Smith thumping the ball home during a goalmouth scrap from three yards out. After 54 minutes, the quick feet of Sean Scott deceived Ryan Newlands in the eighteen yard box and referee Bill Murray awarded a penalty to the homesters. Scott made no mistake with the spot kick and made it 8-0 for Tain. The final goal of the game came three minutes later when John Maclellan combined with Sean Scott to score easily at the far post, finishing off an excellent move.
The Jags could have added further goals in the final 25 minutes of the game, were it not for the goalkeeping of Sam Law and some less than desirable finishing - Maclellan, Smith and Mackintosh all coming agonisingly close to finding the net. In the Thistle goal, young goalkeeper Ian Ross had very little to do during the second half, only once called into action when David Purvis Jr shot into his arms from distance. Time was called prematurely after just 85 minutes and the score ended 9-0 to Tain.
Cormack, I Ross, MacGruer, Murray, Dingwall, A Christie, Duff, T Farquhar, Mailley, M Munro, C Munro, Mackintosh, Greenlees, N MacDonald, Smith, Goller, Rostock, G Mcdonald, Scott, Maclellan
In the latest of their preseason friendly matches, Tain Thistle put in an excellent performance to defeat current Highland Amateur Cup champions Avoch FC last night, in what turned out to be a thoroughly well contested game.
There were a handful of enforced changes following the trip to Embo last week. Missing Neil MacDonald and Chippie Mailley from the midfield with slight injury concerns, Robert Ross reintroduced Martyn Farquhar and Gus Mcdonald, the latter taking his place up front while Daniel Christie dropped to the midfield alongside Farquhar. Dave MacGruer was moved further upfield, swapping places with Dave Murray, and between the sticks, former Alness Athletic goalkeeper Andrew Maitland deputised for a one-off appearance, covering for the absence of both Daniel Cormack and Johnny Allan.
The Jags got off to a good start with a goal from Dave MacGruer in the eleventh minute of the first half, tapping home from six yards after an excellent build up. Avoch had a chance to equalise on the half hour mark from the penalty spot, but Andrew Maitland was up to the task, making a good save to deny the Black Isle side. The Jags ended the half on top and the score at half time remained in Tain's favour.
It took Thistle just seven minutes of the second half to add a second, this time via Daniel Christie, the attacking midfielder finding the back of the net with a stunning strike. Moments later, Alan Duff capped off an excellent piece of play with a goal of his own to take the score to 3-0. Most pleasing for Ross will be the clean sheet, as the Jags held on to the commanding scoreline while also preventing Avoch from scoring.
The victory all but rounds off the pre-season friendly calendar. Just a home game against Eastern Rose remains, which will be played this Wednesday, April 15th at the Links.
Maitland, Duff, Murray, A Christie, Dingwall, MacGruer, C Munro, M Farquhar, D Christie, G Mcdonald, Rostock, Goller, T Farquhar, Dunnett, Greenlees, Smith
The Jags will welcome Avoch FC to the Links for a friendly match on Friday, April 10th for a 6.30pm kick off. This will be the first time the teams will have met in any type of game and it should prove to be Tain's toughest test of the pre-season so far.
The friendly between Tain and Golspie, originally scheduled for tomorrow night (Tuesday), has been postponed, as the North West Sutherland side failed to raise a team.
Returning the compliment with a trip to Sutherland, Tain Thistle recorded another friendly win this evening against a much improved Embo side, ten days after their Tain meeting. The manager introduced three new players, all from last season's championship winning Alness Athletic side to compliment his already very promising squad.
Tain had to wait all of 90 seconds for the opener as Craig Munro launched a ball into the box for Dave MacGruer to guide a headed effort over the top of Steven Ure to make it 1-0. Slick passing and total comfort on the ball followed as Tain Thistle dominated the early stages. Alan Duff came close moments later with a long range drive, forcing a save from Ure at his far post. Up front, Darran Goller and Martin Smith pestered the Embo back line, and it was the former whose persistence paid off when he was fouled in the box. From the resultant spot kick, Neil MacDonald easily converted the penalty, sending the ball under the goalkeeper to make it 2-0 with ten minutes of the half remaining.
Eight minutes into the second half, Tain made it three thanks to a Chippie Mailley goal, which capped off a solid performance from the midfielder. A long ball from Arron Christie was picked up by the Dornoch native, as he forced a save from Ure before collecting the rebound and forcing it home from an acute angle.
The ink paper of the otherwise resolute Tain defence was blotted on 80 minutes. Much to the consternation of the Thistle touchline, Dave MacGruer was adjudged to have nudged James McGillivray off the ball just inside the area and referee David Cowie awarded a spot kick to the Fishers. Scott Mackay stepped up to take the spot kick and quite confidently put it past Johnny Allan to reduce the deficit.
Having kept Thistle at bay for most of the second half, the Embo back line eventually succumbed to a Tain attack on 90 minutes, when Calum Greenlees and Cameron Mackintosh combined for the latter to slot the ball home, for what was to be the last kick of the ball.
Cormack, Allan, Duff, A Christie, MacGruer, McGaw, MacDonald, C Munro, Dunnett, Scott, Mackintosh, Greenlees, Mailley, Murray, Goller, Smith, D Christie