For the third time this season, Tain Thistle pushed on to the next round of a cup at the expense of Invergordon Social Club, winning their Mallard Bar Coronation Cup 1st Round tie 6-2 at the Links yesterday. Three changes were made to Wednesday's starting eleven. Arron Christie and Neil MacDonald both returned to the side in place of Chippie Mailley and Daniel Christie, while John Maclellan stepped in for Tony Farquhar up front. Dean Ross also returned to the club and took up a place on the bench.
Netting his first goal for the club, Mark Lamont opened the scoring for the Jags after 12 minutes. Running onto a long kick out by John Allan, the former Alness striker hit a side foot volley over the top of Social stopper Jodie Campbell to make it 1-0 to Tain. Lamont could very well have double the lead moments later when a looping cross from Alan Duff met his head, but he directed the ball over the bar. On the half hour mark Tain went 2-0 up, when an Arron Christie corner kick was knocked on to Cammy Mackintosh who rose above Campbell to nod the ball into the net. Just before before the interval, Lamont doubled his tally to make it 3-0 when he slotted home from close range after a low cross from Alan Duff.
At half time, injuries forced both teams into making a change, Brian Kennedy replacing Jodie Campbell in goal for Social Club and Martin Smith replacing Neil MacDonald in the Tain midfield. The second half started as the first had ended with Tain in command, and substitute goalkeeper Kennedy was called into action on a couple of occasions, saving from Mark Lamont to prevent the striker's hat-trick. The next goal of the game came for Social Club when Donald Sutherland snuck in behind the Tain defence to dribble round John Allan and slide the ball into the net. Thistle hit back straight away though, scoring within 60 seconds of the restart. From a Cammy Mackintosh cross, John Maclellan headed the ball over Kennedy from close range to make it 4-1. Five minutes later, Alan Duff got his name on the scoresheet with a well placed effort to make it 5-1 before Social hit back again through Ali MacKinnon. The final goal came right on the final whistle as the Jags rounded the scoring off; Sean Scott picking up a neat layoff from Dean Ross to cross for the head of Dave MacGruer, who netted his tenth for the season.
The win puts Tain into the semi final of the Coronation Cup, which will be played on Saturday, June 13th. Tain will have to wait to discover who their semi final opponents will be following the postponement of the Alness v Balintore first round match which will now be played on Wednesday.
Allan, M Farquhar, A Christie, Cameron, Munro (Scott 75), Mackintosh, MacDonald (Smith 46), MacGruer, Duff, Lamont, Maclellan (D Ross 81)
Subs not used:
Cormack, D Christie
Lamont 12, 45, Mackintosh 30, Maclellan 75, Duff 80, MacGruer 90
A very much changed Jags' eleven made amends for their weekend cup exit tonight, as they welcomed Alness United back to the Links for the second time in five days, this time on league business, and a workmanlike performance saw them run out 4-0 winners.
Returning from suspension, John Allan returned between the sticks with Daniel Cormack feeling under the weather. Chippie Mailley stood in for the suspended Arron Christie in the middle of the back three, while Tony Farquhar stepped into the starting lineup in place of Gus Mcdonald. Mark Lamont made his first start, in place of the late arriving Darran Goller, who took up a place on the bench.
In the Alness goal, Andrew Maitland was tested a number of times during the first half with the wet conditions causing the ball to spin from his grasp once or twice, but the Jags attack could not capitalise on the corners that followed. Cammy Mackintosh nearly scored from close range with ten minutes of the half left, and with a sizzling drive from 30 yards, Daniel Christie shot wide. The opener came from a set piece two minutes before the break. Capping off an expert first half performance, Craig Munro sent a free kick past Maitland into the top left hand corner of the net to give Tain a 1-0 lead at the interval.
Tain continued the second half in the same vein, bossing the game and dictating the pace and after eleven minutes, any fears of a repeat of Saturday's mistakes were put to bed when Craig Munro scored again, with another free kick, this time curling the ball over the Alness wall to deceive the 'keeper in the most stylish of fashions. Soon after, Dave MacGruer made sure of Tain's command with an authoritative strike, powering an effort into the far corner from the edge of the 18 yard box to score his ninth of the season and take his place as the club's top scorer this season. Alan Duff sealed the win with a fourth for the club and his second of the season when he curled a shot over Maitland after a period of sustained pressure which continued into the final twenty minutes.
Thistle never looked like relinquishing their four goal lead, and they saw the match out to record their first clean sheet in seven games - a pleasing result - considering tonight's back three were an entirely different trio to those who last kept their opposition out on May 2nd.
The win for Thistle puts them in an excellent position at the top of the Ross-shire Welfare league, now 5 points clear of their nearest rivals with 15 points, ahead of Contin, Alness and Invergordon Social Club, who are all jointly placed on 10 points.
Allan, M Farquhar, Mailley, Cameron, Munro (Maclellan 73), Mackintosh, D Christie (Goller 73), Duff, MacGruer, T Farquhar (Scott 77), Lamont
Subs not used:
Munro 43, 56, MacGruer 63, Duff 68
A young Alness United reached their first final of the season yesterday, with a penalty shoot out win over a Tain Thistle side who had run out of ideas after 120 minutes of play in the semi final of the Pattisons' Challenge Cup.
Tain took the lead after seventeen minutes. Calum Greenlees scored his first goal for the Jags with a half volley on the edge of the eighteen yard box and moments later Darren Goller hit the post. Tain took their goal advantage in to the second half, but it took the visitors just eight minutes to equalise. Capitalising on a defensive error from a cross, Johnny Bremner pushed the ball home to make it 1-1. Just ten minutes later, substitute James McGroarty twisted and turned before beating Daniel Cormack with a great goal to make it 2-1 to Alness, as Thistle looked all at sea.
Some changes towards the end gave Thistle hope as they stemmed the tide and bringing himself on for the last five minutes of normal time, manager Robert Ross nodded a corner on to the back post where prolific scorer Dave MacGruer was on hand to beat Andrew Maitland.
A scuffle between Mikey Rae and Arron Christie saw both men dismissed in the 90th minute leaving both teams to play 30 minutes of additional time with ten men. No further goals were scored and the game was settled on penalties. After sixteen kicks, the game finished 5-4 to Alness.
The final takes place at the home of Thistle on the Links on June 6th and will be contested between Alness United and Fortrose Union, the latter side having beaten Contin 5-4 in the other semi final.
Cormack, M Farquhar, A Christie, Cameron (R Ross 85), Munro (Scott 110), Mackintosh, Mailley, Greenlees (Duff 70), MacGruer, D Christie, Goller
Sub not used:
Greenlees 17, MacGruer 89
Following the Inver Inn's withdrawal of sponsorship for this season's Pattisons' Challenge Cup, the Railway Hotel, originally set to sponsor the Cordiner Cup, have agreed to move their sponsorship to the coveted 120 year old Pattisons' Challenge Cup trophy. The final is scheduled to be contested on Saturday, June 6th and will now be held at the home of Tain Thistle FC, The Links.
The Pattisons' Cup was originally donated by brothers Walter and Robert Pattison to The Crown Hotel in 1895. The Crown was a public house in Tain which was the then home of St Duthus Football Club. St Duthus were the first winners of the trophy in 1896, beating Dingwall Victoria United (later known as Ross County) in a cup final replay at the Links. The competition final was contested at the Links every year for many decades thereafter, before the trophy fell into abeyance following the Second World War. It was revived some years later and has been played at Inver under the auspices of the Ross-shire Welfare league for several years.
Hard battling saw Thistle win through with only ten men against a Balintore side full of energy tonight. In a game that the Jags may have been happy with just a point, given the 20th minute sending off of their goalkeeper, they took all three points to go two clear at the top of the Maclean Electrical Ross-shire Welfare League table.
Balintore started as they meant to go on, winning a corner in the opening minute to put the Thistle rearguard under pressure, but the chance was safely handled by the Tain defence. There were clear signs that the Balintore forward line, in particular Ryan Ross and Terence Brady, were likely to be a threat and a couple of times the pace of Brady caught the visitors by surprise. Tain's persistence in possession saw them test the home side at the other end though, with Gus Mcdonald heading wide at the far post from a corner and Chippie Mailley firing over the bar.
The game changed significantly in the 20th minute when John Allan fouled Ryan Ross outside the box. Referee Keith Middleton promptly dismissed the Tain custodian, and substitute goalkeeper Daniel Cormack came on for the unlucky Darran Goller, who was selected to make way for the replacement stopper. With ten men, Thistle's approach changed and up front, Gus Mcdonald was left on his own. The former Balintore forward played the role expertly, holding the ball up and allowing Tain to create several scoring opportunities. Chances fell for both sides as the game raged on, Balintore continuing to run at the Thistle defence and Tain trying their best to counter with the long ball. The opening goal finally came on 44 minutes, when a long Chippie Mailley pass found Gus Mcdonald allowing the tall striker to bear down on goal before cooly slotting the ball past Steven Friel to make 1-0.
The look of relief on the face of manager Robert Ross turned to disgust just a minute later when the talented Ryan Ross pounced on a loose ball following a block from Martyn Farquhar before running the by line and slotting the ball across the goal line and in at the far post to beat Daniel Cormack, leaving the scores level at half time.
Thistle re-emerged for the second half and quickly asserted their authority, passing the ball better and, while still having to cope with pressure from a tireless Balintore forward line, they assumed control of the match. Daniel Christie and Chippie Mailley both came close with chances and on at least two occasions Friel was forced into a save, first blocking a shot on goal with his legs then tipping another chance onto the bar and over, while at the other end, Daniel Cormack was forced into a save destined for the top corner.
A frenetic second half served as great entertainment for those watching the game, however, as time ran out it seemed as though the game may end in a draw. Substitute Mark Lamont made his debut in place of Mcdonald as Thistle tried for a winner, and on 85 minutes the goal finally arrived, thanks to a thumping Dave MacGruer drive sent into the far corner.
Tony Farquhar replaced a fatigued Daniel Christie and took up a spot at centre half as Thistle looked to close the game out. Fantastic running and defensive play from Dave Murray in the latter stages was a particular highlight as Thistle held on for win.
A draw between Alness United and Contin was enough for Thistle to take a two point lead at the top of the league table, a week ahead of their first league meeting with United. Thistle now face two games in five days against the Alness side, first in the Pattisons' Cup semi final then at home in the league.
Team: Allan, M Farquhar, MacDonald, Murray, Munro, Mackintosh, Mailley, Goller (Cormack 21), MacGruer, Mcdonald (Lamont 59), D Christie (T Farquhar 86)
Subs not used:
Mcdonald 44, MacGruer 85
Thistle advanced to the semi final of the Pattisons' Cup at the Links yesterday, thanks to an injury time winner in a game that the Jags will be very relieved is now behind them.
Coping with a number of injuries and absences due to wedding and birthday commitments, manager Robert Ross called a handful of players into the side for their first start of the season, Tony Farquhar, Stephen Campbell and Brian Cameron among them. Ross also named himself on the bench while Kiki Dingwall was also recalled.
After a back and forth start, it was Thistle who got the ball down and settled better, scoring the opener after just five minutes when Tony Farquhar cleverly beat his man on the left wing to send an excellent cross into the box. Dave MacGruer met the chance and after forcing a fumble from Social 'keeper Jodie Campbell, he forced the ball home at the far post.
Social Club forced stand-in goalkeeper Stephen Campbell into the action in the Tain goal, holding a couple of shots from distance as the Invergordon sought out an equaliser. It should have been 2-0 on 20 minutes though the Farquhar-MacGruer combination worked well again, this time the taller striker nodding into the path of MacGruer, but he could only shoot wide.
The best chance of the half fell to Cammy Mackintosh when some quick passing play left him clean through on Campbell, but the Social stopper saved Mackintosh's shot.
Having taken a ball to the side of the face during the first half, Dave Murray was forced to withdraw with vision problems at half time, and was replaced by Kiki Dingwall.
Injuries began to take their toll on the Jags as the second half began, with Neil MacDonald and Craig Munro both struggling with movement. Social asserted their authority throughout the second half and their domination told after 70 minutes when Donald Sutherland found himself in enough space to turn a shot towards goal past Stephen Campbell to make it 1-1.
Penalty shouts for both sides, first a foul on Tony Farquhar then an exchange between Gordy Oman and Neil MacDonald in the Tain area, were both turned down by referee Keith Middleton. It seemed as though if anyone was to score a winner it would be the Social Club but the Jags' clever defending continued to be enough, Calum Greenlees a particular highlight at left back.
Many thought Kiki Dingwall had put Thistle into the lead with a header during the final five minutes of the game, but the defender's effort was adjudged to have not crossed the line. Battling through the pain barrier for the last few minutes, Tain were able to survive a series of Social corners and stem the flow of attacks from the visitors, before they succeeded in hitting them on the counter during injury time when Martyn Farquhar squared the ball for Gus Mcdonald who tapped the ball home.
The win comes with a sense of relief for a Thistle side who perhaps didn't have the better of the game, but certainly did enough to secure the win in the end, thanks to perseverance and some solid defending. The Jags now meet Alness United in the semi final, next Saturday, May 23rd.
Campbell, M Farquhar, MacDonald, Murray (Dingwall 46), Munro (McGaw 90+1), Cameron, Mackintosh, Greenlees, MacGruer, Mcdonald, T Farquhar
Subs not used:
MacGruer 5, Mcdonald 90+1
The Jags bounced back from their League Cup final disappointment with a victory tonight against league rivals Contin in what was to be the first "top of the table" clash of the season.
With a number of players missing through injury, Sean Scott, Stephen McGaw, Keith Dingwall, Chippie Mailley and the re-signed Brian Cameron were called into the squad. Kick off was delayed by seven minutes as several of the Contin players were late in arriving for the match.
It became clear early on that Thistle were set to dictate the pace, playing short passes and weaving their way through the midfield, heaping pressure on the Contin defence. Dave MacGruer should have made it 1-0 after 6 minutes, getting on the end of a superb Craig Munro cross to head towards goal, leaving goalkeeper Shaun Carson standing as he watched the ball sail over. MacGruer headed off target again moments later from a Munro corner, putting the chance just wide of the post.
Fifteen minutes in, the game was sent into disarray. Calum Greenlees, breaching the Contin defence pushed the ball past Carson, and as it was seemingly about to cross the line, the ball was cleared. Referee Keith Middleton, however, pointed to the half way line, awarding a goal to Tain. The Contin players were up in arms, and after a minute's pause, the referee reversed his decision! A stunned Tain Thistle touchline had no idea what was going on until the whistler decided to hold a "drop ball" on the six yard line. Completely bemused by the decision, the Tain players elected to pass the ball back to Carson and play on, drawing applause from the Contin sideline, but any real inclination as to what just happened is still a puzzlement!
Nevertheless, Tain maintained their pressure and just a minute later, Dave Murray sent a shot wide. At the other end, Contin won their first corner on 22 minutes and from the ball in, Kraig Vass met it with a powerful header. His effort though, flew just over the bar.
Craig Munro was next to test Carson with a free kick, and again the stopper could just watch as the ball flew past him, but it cannoned off the crossbar and was ultimately sent out for a corner kick. A Calum Greenlees chance at the far post was sent wide after a flurry of attacks.
Carson was called into action on the half hour mark when a quick Greenlees throw caught Contin on the hop and a cross into the box was met by Gus Mcdonald who bulleted a header towards goal. The Contin 'keeper, however, tipped the chance over the bar. It seemed as though the goal may never come, but it finally did on 37 minutes when Chippie Mailley, having danced through the Contin back line, forced a save with his left foot before turning the ball into the net with his right to make it 1-0.
Tain's celebrations were short lived. From the restart, Contin went on the attack and a neat ball across the face of goal was met by the prolific Ryan Dow for his fifth goal of the season, sending the ball past Daniel Cormack from close range. A final chance for Dave MacGruer in the first half forced a top drawer save from Carson once again, as the score at the break remained 1-1.
Calum Greenlees continued to impress in the early stages of the second half, giving the Contin defence a torrid time of it before getting into the box himself to head over the bar. His clever work in midfield set up Chippie Mailley for a long range effort but the Dornoch man's strike was saved by Carson.
With twelve minutes of the second half played, Tain took the lead. Shoving Cammy Mackintosh to the ground, Contin's Kraig Vass conceded a penalty, and from the spot, Arron Christie coolly placed the ball hard into the bottom right corner to score his first goal for the club since August 7th, 2013. A chance for Mcdonald just a minute later forced Carson into yet another superb save, however from the resultant corner, the Jags extended their lead as Christie, this time the provider, sent a corner into the box to be met by the head of Gus Mcdonald. This time the Contin man could not prevent it.
The score now at 3-1, Tain held a commanding lead. Cammy Mackintosh missed out on putting Thistle 4-1 up with twenty minutes remaining after a series of short passing moves played the midfielder in on goal, but he fired just wide. Dave MacGruer was next to shoot wide after another good spell of play, but a lapse in concentration at the back left Thistle stunned as Contin were able to reduce the deficit to one goal, Ryan Dow again the finisher, capitalising on a loose ball to beat Cormack.
The last fifteen minutes were nervy for Tain, as they hurriedly looked to prevent an equaliser, but also had an eye on extending their lead to put the game out of sight, offering many parallels between their League Cup first round meeting just three weeks prior. There was to be no fourth goal though, despite the best efforts of MacGruer and Greenlees, who both had late chances, and the Jags held out for the win.
The victory puts three points between the sides, who before tonight were joined in 1st place alongside Alness United. United scored a last minute winner to beat Eastern Rose at Portmahomack to ensure that the league table still has shared leaders, Tain and Alness both on 9 points from 9.
Cormack, M Farquhar, A Christie, Murray, Munro, Mackintosh, Mailley, Greenlees, MacGruer, D Christie (Goller 67), Mcdonald
Subs not used:
Cameron, Scott, Dingwall, McGaw
Mailley 37, A Christie pen 58, Mcdonald 60
Thistle get back to league business tomorrow evening with a home game against Contin. The game kicks off at 7.15pm at the Links and offers the earliest top of the table clash of the season, with Tain and Contin both having taken six points from their first two league games. It isn't the first time the teams have met at Tain this year, though, having played in the first round of the League Cup just three weeks ago. Manager Robert Ross will be hoping for a repeat of the result from that day.
Brian Cameron is set to make a return to the Jags this week following his release from Inverness Premier side Hilton AFC, as the squad looks to plug some gaps in an effort to cope with long term injuries to Liam Rostock (hamstring) and Mikey Dunnett (ankle) sustained during the weekend's cup final. Neil MacDonald is also amongst those sidelined with injury this week.
A date has been set or the Graham Jardine Memorial Quaich this year. Tain Thistle and Balintore, drawn together in the first round of the Cordiner Cup on Saturday, July 18th, will also contest the Quaich on that day - with extra time and penalties to be played if required. Tain Thistle will hold a raffle at the game and the proceeds will be donated to a charity to be chosen by Graham's parents, Jim and Jean Jardine.
It was not to be for Robert Ross's free scoring Tain Thistle side as they lost by the narrowest of margins to a Fortrose & Rosemarkie Union team filled with fight and determination, in the Union Tavern League Cup Final yesterday. Having played a big part during the first round and semi final matches, Chippie Mailley missed out through injury, while the league's top goalscorer Gus Mcdonald was also noted as absent for Thistle. Nevertheless, Tain named a strong sixteen and hopes were high among the travelling Jags support that they could secure their first League Cup trophy since 2011.
The teams had met just four days prior in the Ross-shire Welfare League, and on that evening, Tain ran out 3-1 winners following a tightly contested game. The MET Office had forecast clear skies and some sun, but frequent showers before the game were leaving those who forgot to bring a satisfactory jacket to the game ruing their decision!
Neither side gained a foothold during the early stages of the first half, as both teams looked as though they were content to have a repeat of Wednesday's league game with plenty of challenges in the midfield keeping referee Barry Stuart busy.
Liam Rostock had the first shot on goal after fifteen minutes with an effort on the turn which Fortrose custodian Martin Smith held with ease. Jordan Knight was first to offer a shot for Fortrose when he bore down on Daniel Cormack, but the Tain stopper closed the angle and blocked the Union forward's attempt on goal. Neither defence looked to give up any ground in the moments that followed though, and the chances were few and far between during the first half hour.
A poorly defended corner kick led to the opener on 35 minutes, and it was for the hosts. Lewis Graizer, a consistent threat at set pieces, sent the ball into the box and Aaron Henderson met the chance, sending it past Daniel Cormack.
At half time, Ross took his side into the King George V pavilion to regroup, while the Fortrose men gathered at their touchline. It took Tain just five minutes of the second half to show that the half time talk had worked. From an Arron Christie corner kick, his fifth of the game, Liam Rostock headed down towards goal and approaching the goal line, Daniel Christie turned the ball past Smith and into the net.
It looked as though Tain had fired themselves into the lead with a free kick just moments later. Neil MacDonald beat Smith with his curling effort but the ball careered off the underside of the bar down towards goal, and unfortunately for Thistle, it was cleared to safety by an alert Fortrose defence. Minutes later, Robert Ross was calling for a red card to be issued when it appeared that Dave MacGruer was denied a goal scoring opportunity by the last defender, but no card was shown, despite the free kick award.
It all went wrong for Tain just after the hour mark. Taking a wrong turn on an already unforgiving surface, Mikey Dunnett went down with an ankle injury on the edge of his own eighteen yard box. Play was stopped so that he could leave the field for treatment, but on attempting a return it became obvious he couldn't continue. Just two minutes later, after bursting up the right wing, Liam Rostock pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring problem. The two enforced substitutions had Thistle all over the place and just two minutes later, a Lewis Graizer free kick was powered past Daniel Cormack by Rhys Shewan with a header to put his side back in front. A game that was beginning to look as though it was turning in the Jags' favour now presented them with an uphill task.
Both teams were forced to compete with less than consistent weather, as players and supporters were offered rain, sleet and a hail shower during the latter part of the second half. Fortrose were containing well as Thistle pushed for an equaliser, but the plaudits were left for their goalkeeper, Martin Smith. A flurry of corner kicks for the Jags heaped pressure on a backs-to-the-wall Union defence, and with each effort, Smith was up to the task, collecting high balls and organising.
Neil MacDonald had no better luck with another free kick with a quarter hour left, this time sending his 20 yard effort over the bar. Dave MacGruer then came close with ten minutes left when a long MacDonald pass found the left midfield man, but his shot rolled wide.
With five minutes remaining, Smith's defence were left standing, as Alan Duff headed towards goal from close range with the type of chance that would normally have been net bound. Were it not for the heroics of Smith, who produced a tremendous save, the game could have been headed for extra time. A last attack for Tain, deep into stoppage time, saw Daniel Cormack almost notch as he cantered a hundred yards forward for another Tain corner, but again Smith was up to the challenge, and Fortrose Union held out to win their second League Cup trophy in three years.
Team: Cormack, Dunnett (M Farquhar 61), A Christie, Murray, MacDonald, Munro, Mackintosh, MacGruer, Duff, Rostock (Goller 63), D Christie
Subs not used: T Farquhar, Greenlees, Smith
Goal: D Christie 50
Tain Thistle showed great resolve in Fortrose to come back from a goal down to record a 3-1 victory and three points in the league, thanks largely to a fantastic second half performance. The game also served as something of a dress rehearsal for the League Cup Final this Saturday, to be played on the same ground, against the same opposition. With Chippie Mailley missing through injury, Martyn Farquhar returned to the side on the bench for his first appearance of the season. Also returning from injury was Darran Goller.
After several days of rain, it was anticipated that the poor conditions may continue into the evening, but the weather let up just before kick off, with only a slight wind remaining. The Jags failed to get going in the early stages, despite nearly taking a lead in the fifth minute, when Neil MacDonald's shot rifled off the upright and out for a goal kick. The opener was reserved for Kieran Fitzpatrick, who, with Fortrose's first chance of the game, powered a ball past Daniel Cormack to make it 1-0 for the home side after eighteen minutes. Despite enjoying most of the possession, Thistle struggled to do anything with the ball and it appeared as though an equaliser would not be forthcoming. A couple of tasty challenges saw yellow cards issued to both sides as the contest heated up, and for Tain, Neil MacDonald was forced to leave the field with a bloodied nose.
The equaliser came ten minutes before the break thanks to Thistle's only shining light of the first period, Cammy Mackintosh. Pouncing on a loose ball, the young midfielder rifled the ball past Martin Smith with authority from 12 yards out. Dave MacGruer nearly scored soon after with a shot destined for the far corner, but the ball was cleared to safety. Neither keeper was tested as the first half came to a close, and manager Robert Ross retired with the players to the King George V pavilion to regroup.
The second half commenced in excellent fashion for Tain just two minutes after the restart. From a free kick for a collision a few yards outside the eighteen yard box, Arron Christie sent a low looping shot across the face of Smith's goal and Neil MacDonald met it with purpose, sending the ball into the net to make it 2-1. It's unclear just which part of his lower extremities was used to push the ball home, but arrive in the net it did.
Now in the driving seat, Tain began to use their savvy and experience to assume full control of the match. It came as no surprise when Jordan Black, for Fortrose, was issued a yellow for dissent, with frustration setting in amongst the Fortrose ranks. Replacing Liam Rostock, Martyn Farquhar made his first appearance in what will be his Testimonial season for the club, taking up a position in the back three. A third goal arrived on 72 minutes when MacDonald, firing towards goal for what would have been his second, saw his shot deflected, and Alan Duff was on hand to nod the ball into the net.
The Jags strolled to victory in the dying stages as Smith in the Fortrose goal thwarted attempts from both Daniel Christie and Tony Farquhar. The 3-1 win makes it 6 points out of 6 for Thistle after Week 2 of the Ross-shire Welfare league campaign. Fortrose has always been a tough place to come - Thistle's one win in three visits had made that clear before the game - but this win in a fixture that would have always been earmarked as a difficult trip will give manager Robbie Ross many reasons to be cheerful.
Team: Cormack, Duff, A Christie, Dunnett, Munro, MacDonald, Mackintosh, MacGruer, Rostock (M Farquhar), D Christie (Goller), Mcdonald (T Farquhar)
Subs not used: Scott
Goals: Mackintosh 34, MacDonald 48, Duff 72
Bookings: Dunnett 28 (foul), Duff 68 (dissent)
Tain Thistle will meet Fortrose & Rosemarkie Union twice in four days this coming week. The teams' scheduled league meeting at Fortrose will take place on Wednesday, May 6th, before the exact same fixture will be repeated in the Final of the Union Tavern Ross-shire Welfare League Cup on Saturday, May 9th.
Wednesday's match will only be the tenth meeting between the sides, and just the fourth to be played in Fortrose. Tain's one and only victory against Fortrose on the Black Isle's sides home turf came during their league winning season in 2013, finishing victorious by 4 goals to 2.
Despite having played each other so few times, Saturday's final will actually be the third final in as many years in which the teams have met. Their first meeting was in Maryburgh for the Coronation Cup Final in 2013, and the second in Tain, at the end of the same season in the Cordiner Cup Final.
View the Tain/Fortrose head to head here.
Tain Thistle put seven goals past Invergordon Social Club this afternoon in the semi final of the Union Tavern League Cup. A hat-trick for Liam Rostock was the highlight as the Invergordon men struggled to cope with the strength of a Thistle side in a rich vein of form.
Alan Duff, freshly released from SPFL Playoff bound Brora Rangers, signed for Tain just in time to make his season debut while Ben Brown, Keith Dingwall and Stephen McGaw were recalled to the squad in the absence of Craig Munro, Gus Mcdonald, Marc Munro and Martin Smith.
Thistle asserted themselves in this match from the get go and in the eleventh minute they scored. A long ball from goalkeeper Daniel Cormack reached Liam Rostock in an advanced position and the Jags record goalscorer sent the ball over Jodie Campbell to net the all important opener. Thistle were relentless in their pursuit of a second, and Daniel Christie and Rostock were both unlucky not to score soon after with chances; Campbell up to the task on a couple of occasions.
Liam Rostock eventually notched the second after the half hour mark when Christie hit a lay off and the former finished the chance. The Jags' dominance in a very one sided first half was summed up with a goal at the near post for Mikey Dunnett four minutes before time, in what was his first for the club.
The second half allowed Social no respite as Cammy Mackintosh also notched his first for Tain, making it 4-0 eight minutes after the restart. Liam Rostock completed his hat-trick soon after an hour's play, before leaving the field to be replaced by debutant, Tony Farquhar.
Dave MacGruer's eye for goal that he has shown so far this season continued with two goals in the second half within six minutes of each other, the latter the better of the two, finishing excellently in a one on one with Campbell.
The win finished in a comprehensive 7-0 victory for Thistle, but in truth the score line could have been much heavier, were it not for some good goalkeeping, the woodwork and some impulsive finishing in the six yard box towards the end of the second half.
The Jags now go on to meet Fortrose Union in the final of the Union Tavern League Cup on the Black Isle side's home turf of King George V Park. The final takes place next Saturday, May 9th.
Team: Cormack, Dunnett, Murray, A Christie, Mailley, MacDonald (Brown), Mackintosh, Duff (Greenlees), MacGruer, Rostock (Farquhar), D Christie
Subs not used: Dingwall, McGaw
Goals: Rostock 11, 35, 62, Dunnett 41, Mackintosh 53, MacGruer 74, 80