All three games in today’s Division 2 opening league fixtures ended in big wins as Lairg, Invergordon and Kinlochbervie each set out their stall for the season ahead.
Lairg Rovers 8 Inver 2
A second half collapse saw Lairg Rovers run out comfortable winners against Inver at Ferrycroft Park. After an evenly contested first quarter, Ryan Newlands swept a Louis Webster assist into the net off the inside of the post in the 24th minute to give Rovers the lead. Inver were back on level terms 60 seconds later when Simon Orenczak was fouled in the box and Jordan Hailes coolly converted the resultant spot kick. But Rovers restored their lead in the 36th minute when Webster finished off a lightning raid involving Lee Mackenzie and Ryan Newlands. There was no hint of what was to follow but after James Ross made it 3-1 with a gloriously taken 25-yard free kick four minutes into the second half the floodgates opened. Michael Newlands added a fourth goal from close in three minutes later and Ross scored again in the 56th minute when he hooked home a Mackenzie corner. Webster made it 6-1 in the 69th minute when he was first to react after a Mackenzie shot was parried. Two more goals from Michael Newlands followed. He netted his own second and his side’s seventh in the 75th minute when he was left with a tap-in after an Adam Mackay header rebounded off the crossbar. Newlands completed his hat-trick with a fine solo effort seven minutes from the end – cutting in from the left and firing high into the net. Josh Cattanach headed in a Hailes free kick in the 87th minute for a late consolation for the visitors.
Embo 1 Kinlochbervie 5
Embo had a torrid time of it at home to visitors Kinlochbervie, who punished their hosts with a first half quadruple which all but ended the game as a contest before the break. Kyle Mackenzie opened the scoring for KLB after just five minutes, finishing well after getting on the end of a through ball from Liam Flett. Flett got on the scoresheet himself ten minutes later with a flashing cross that fooled the Embo custodian and flew in at the far post. With little of the half left the visitors were awarded a penalty kick and David Macgregor duly obliged from twelve yards. Macgregor made it four moments later after cutting inside on the edge of the box, beating the Embo stand in keeper Gabor Kovacs with a composed finish. KLB added a fifth in the second half, Liam Flett notching his second after the Embo defence had failed to clear. The Back Park side did have the final say though as they wrote off the possibility of a clean sheet with a goal from Owen Mackay.
Invergordon SC 8 Tongue United 1
New boys Invergordon kicked off their Division 2 campaign in style with an 8-1 home win over Tongue United at the Recreation Grounds. Ryan Ross helped open the scoring after 18 minutes when he played a through ball to Ali MacKinnon and the striker made no mistake with his finish. Ross himself got off the mark with a goal on 33 minutes when he pounced on a loose ball to double the scoreline. But it wasn’t all plain sailing as Jason Mackay soon grabbed one back for the visitors. With a minute to go it looked as though the teams might convene with just a goal between them, but another goal from MacKinnon extended the home side’s lead when the forward man capitalised on a defensive error from Tongue. Drew Sutherland then broke clear to score in injury time to give Invergordon a handsome first half advantage. The second half was no easier for Tongue as they conceded a further four goals to Invergordon. Ali MacKinnon secured his hat-trick with the finishing touch on a goalmouth stramash on 54 minutes before Kyle Macleod had his say 18 minutes from time with a goal. Two minutes later Drew Sutherland blasted a shot high into the net for his second of the game and the home side’s seventh. The final goal came in injury time from the penalty spot after Jack Mitchell was fouled by Michael Gunn. Tommy McClenaghan did the necessary to round off the afternoon’s work.