RESULTS: Highland Amateur Cup Prelim. Round (27th April)

Four North West Sutherland AFA teams were in action this weekend playing in the preliminary round ties of the Gows of Lybster Highland Amateur Cup North Section. Lairg enjoyed one of the bigger wins of the section with a decisive margin of victory over fellow Division 2 contenders KLB, while Golspie Stafford lost out in a fierce battle with Lybster. Invergordon picked up a victory over Thurso Pentland in what was their debut match in the competition.

Lairg Rovers 6 Kinlochbervie 1

Adam MacKay (Lairg) avoids the tackle from Kinlochbervie’s Liam Flett. (Pic: Scott Macdonald)

It was one way traffic at Ferrycroft Park in what was the only all-North West Sutherland League tie of the round. Lairg dominated throughout the first half and found themselves 5-0 up at the break. Miller Mackay opened the scoring before James Ross doubled the home side’s advantage after just 5 minutes with a free kick from outside of the box. KLB were not without chances though as Sam Lucas pulled a shot wide of goal after a long ball over top. Lairg kept going and Lee Mackenzie got the third with a shot from inside the box, before Mackay snatched his brace to make it 4-0 just after half an hour. Ten minutes before the interval Donald Sutherland opened his account for the season to make it five with a finish from close range.

With the main damage done in the first half, the second period proved to be a much quieter affair. On 67 minutes, James Ross netted his second of the game when he converted a low cross on his second attempt after mis-hitting his first effort and late on, Dodi Mackay bagged a consolation for Kinlochbervie to at least prevent a clean sheet for the home side.

Lairg will now go on to meet cup holders Pentland United in the first round, at the latter’s home ground.

Golspie Stafford 2 Lybster 4

Golspie Stafford’s good start to the season came to a halt with a second half capitulation against Caithness Amateur League side Lybster. Despite the eventual outcome, Golspie did take the first half initiative when Adam Sutherland gave his side the lead on the half hour mark with a headed goal from a corner. Sutherland’s goal was all that separated the sides at the break.

Robbie McIvor equalised for Lybster with fifty minutes gone to even the score with a neatly hit shot from the edge of the box — but the game took a significant turn when Stafford were reduced to ten men after Jordan Sutherland was shown a red card. With eighteen minutes left, Jonah Martens made it 2-1 for the visitors when he slotted home a penalty kick after being fouled and soon after Gary Swanson made it three with a strike that found the top corner. Stafford did manage to reduce the deficit with six minutes remaining when Adam Sutherland fed the ball to Shaun Urquhart and the forward tucked his chance away with composure. But Lybster eventually put the result beyond doubt with just a minute left when Bobby Gunn connected with a square ball from six yards.

Source: Picture House Films, Thurso

The win for Lybster confirms them as Inver’s first round opponents, with the Caithness side having home advantage.

Invergordon SC 3 Thurso Pentland 0

Invergordon Social Club made a winning debut in the Highland Amateur Cup with an impressive 3-0 victory against Thurso Pentland. Social Club got off to the perfect start with a goal after just three minutes. Gregor MacKay drove down the left and his cross into to the box was clipped into the net at the near post by Drew Sutherland. MacKay had a chance to double the lead in the 10th minute but Grant raced from his goal to smother the chance. The Social Club goal had a let off in the 25th minute when a Scott Ross effort rebounded off the crossbar. The Caithness side were coming more into the tie but with just 60 seconds remaining in the first half Social Club went 2-0 up. Sutherland dinked in from the right and his cut back from the bye-line was scrambled into the net at the second attempt by Ryan Ross.

MacKay rattled a shot off the post as Social Club went in search of a killer third goal early in the second half. But another goal was not long in coming. The alert Sutherland scored his second of the tie in the 53rd minute when he headed in a Fraser MacLeod assist from point-blank range with the visitors claiming off-side. That was the end of the scoring but not the drama. Pentland were reduced to 10 men in the 77th minute when keeper Ewan Grant was sent off for handling outside his 18-yard box. Then an off-the ball exchange between Social Club keeper Stuart Wilson and Pentland’s Scott Allan, who had already been booked, resulted in both players heading for an early bath.

Invergordon will now travel to meet Watten in the first round of the competition, the Caithness side having emerged victorious from a penalty-shoot out with Top Joes of Thurso.

Full Preliminary Round results:

North Section
Golspie Stafford 2 Lybster 4
Lairg Rovers 6 KInlochbervie 1
Invergordon SC 3 Thurso Pentland 0
Pentland United 8 Thurso Swifts 0
Watten 6 Top Joes 6 (Watten win 4-3 on pens, aet)

South Section
GA United 2 Maryburgh 3
ICM Electrical 2 Merkinch 1
Ferrybache 1 Culbokie 4
Ardersier 0 Blackrock Rovers 3
IRN Security 2 Charlestelona 0
Tomatin 1 Mallaig 2
Police 2 Portree Juniors 1

Northern Isles Section
Stromness Athletic 4 Dounby Athletic 0
Lerwick Spurs 11 Isles United 0
Kirkwall Thorfinn 1 Kirkwall Rovers 0
East United 0 Kirkwall Hotspurs 6

Western Isles Section (Games played Fri 26th April)
Carloway 4 Lochs 1
Stornoway United 2 Westside 1
Benbecula 2 Iochdar Saints 1 (aet)

Updated North Section first round matches as below. Ties to be played on May 18th.

Keiss vs. Helmsdale United
Halkirk vs. Brora Wanderers
Wick Thistle vs. Wick Groats
Thurso Acks vs. Lochinver
John O’Groats vs. High Ormlie Hotspur
Watten vs. Invergordon SC
Tain Thistle vs. Staxigoe United
Castletown vs. Dornoch City
Pentland United vs. Lairg Rovers
Lybster vs. Inver

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