Sunday afternoon saw East Sutherland amateur league new boys Contin AFC visit the Links for Tain’s opening friendly of the season. Kick off was delayed by fifteen minutes due to the late arrival of the visitors, however this did not disrupt Thistle’s preparation as they started the brighter of the two sides.
Looking confident, the home side kept position well and the majority of play was in the Contin half. Thistle were denied the opener after 12 minutes when referee Mike Stainke decreed Martyn Farquhar to have fallen foul of the offside trap prior to tucking the ball past the visiting keeper.
Thistle, sporting a 3-5-2 formation, were making the most of the extra man in the middle of the park. The pressure paid off after twenty minutes, when a long ball from goalkeeper Steven Martin led to a corner kick and from the resulting set piece Daniel Christie found the head of centre back Robbie Ross, who expertly guided the ball into the net - despite the best efforts of Jordan Tremlett in the Contin goal.
It was 2-0 only seven minutes later and this time Farquhar was not to be denied, after neat build up play involving Stuart Wood and Martyn Oliver the ball was worked to Farquhar at the edge of the area and he finished with aplomb, steering the ball into the roof of the net leaving Tremlett with no chance.
Contin had Tremlett to thank on 30 minutes for keeping the score at 2-0 with a fantastic reaction save; the big stopper getting a hand to a ball destined for the postage stamp, tipping it onto the cross bar to deny Ross his second of the afternoon.
Contin did have a chance to pull one back only a few minutes later however, as a mix up in the home defence allowed the visitors in behind, only for the attacker to roll the ball wide as the advancing Steven Martin narrowed the angle well.
Shortly afterwards Brian Cameron was adjudged to have fouled the advancing player 20 yards from the Thistle goal. The free kick however, was wastefully curled wide of target.
The home side made several changes at the break, bringing on Graeme Smart, Michael Mackay and Arron Christie and adjusting to a 4-4-2 formation. Contin, however, began to gain a foothold in the match and Thistle had their goalkeeper to thank only three minutes into the second half, making a block when faced one on one with the striker.
The visitors’ pressure paid off in the 55th minute with a fine strike from Dean Morgan taken from the edge of the area, finding the roof of the net. Morgan should have levelled the match only 3 minutes later but lifted the ball over the bar from 8 yards out.
Martin was again called into action when a mix up at the back allowed another one on one, but the Jags’ keeper was able to thwart the aspiring equalizer.
Tain introduced two former youth goalkeepers to the game, as Darren Custerson and Alec Beattie came on at the hour mark playing up front and wide left respectively.
The home team where able to get back into the game and took control of the midfield once more, this was to pay off with 20 minutes to go, Graham Davis scoring a fantastic diving header after reacting quicker than Tremlett in the Contin Goal.
Thistle where able to see out the rest of the match with relative ease, there were no other chances of note and a 3-1 victory, albeit nervy is spells, was recorded by the home side.
Martin, Davis, Dingwall, Ross, Durrand, Wood, Cameron, Farquhar, Sutherland, D Christie, Oliver, Custerson, Beatie, A Christie, Mackay, Smart
Tain: Ross (20), Farquhar (27), Davis (70)
Contin: Morgan (55)