HL Roundup - 30th July 2011

Highland League Roundup 30th July 2011

Scorries grab a point after disastrous start

Academy battled back for a share of the points after making a calamitous start to their opening Highland League fixture of the 2011/12 season against Clach.

Alan Pollock's quick-fire double had the Lilywhites two up inside four minutes at Harmsworth Park, and they led 3-1 with less than a quarter of an hour gone. But David Kirkwood's men showed plenty of spirit as they recovered to earn a 3-3 draw, with Gary Weir helping himself to two of the goals.

There was barely a minute on the clock when Pollock swept the ball into the net after a well-struck shot from Gordon Morrison had been blocked by Alan Bokas. The explosive start continued when Pollock nipped between a couple of defenders and drilled home his second.

Weir reduced the deficit with a neat head-flick after 12 minutes, but Clach immediately restored their two-goal cushion when Brian MacLeod placed an angled shot beyond Bokas from the right edge of the box.

The Scorries responded again on the stroke of half-time with Joe Steven powering home a downward header from Gary Manson's cross.

Weir tied it up at 3-3 on the hour mark when he tucked home his second of the afternoon following good work by Steven on the right.

Academy looked the more likely side to snatch all three points but Clach managed to soak up the pressure as Kirkwood was denied a victory in his first league game in charge.

The game had its fair share of feisty exchanges and there were bookings for Wick's Joe Steven, Craig Shearer and Sam Mackay and for Clach's Brian MacLeod, Neil M. MacDonald and Gordon Morrison.

Buckie Thistle began their defence of the title with a 1-0 win against Cove Rangers at Victoria Park, Graeme Stewart getting the only goal towards the end of the first half. The Jags had Davie MacRae red-carded with five minutes remaining.

Formartine United are being tipped as serious championship contenders this term and they began with an impressive 3-0 away victory over a Brora Rangers side that has been strengthened considerably during the summer. Stuart McKay gave Formartine an early lead and substitute Andrew Bagshaw added a second just before the break, with the newly returned Barrie Stephen rounding off the scoring in the closing stages.

Nairn County also eased to a 3-0 win in their home match against Strathspey Thistle. Robbie Duncanson struck twice for County and new signing Conor Gethins got the other.

Deveronvale's Grant Noble fired home an injury-time equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw with Forres Mechanics at Princess Royal Park. Gary Tweedie had opened the scoring for the Can-Cans just before the hour mark.

Huntly were 2-1 winners over Fort William at Claggan Park. Neil Davidson's headed opener for Huntly was cancelled out by another headed goal, from Fort's Sean Ellis.

Fort's Kevin Ferguson was sent off early in the second half and Huntly made the most of their numerical advantage as Alex Thoirs nodded in the winner with his first touch after coming off the bench.

New boss Kris Hunter led Fraserburgh to a 3-2 victory over Keith at Bellslea Park. Robert Morrice, Russell McBride and Zack Conway were on target for Broch, with last season's top HFL scorer Cammy Keith hitting a double for the Maroons.

Neil Gauld struck just before half-time to give Inverurie Locos a 1-0 win against Lossiemouth at Harlaw Park.

A single goal was also enough for Rothes on their opening-day trip to Turriff. Kris Duncan got the decisive strike with a first-half free kick.

Highland League fixtures for Saturday August 6th: Clachnacuddin v Buckie Thistle; Cove Rangers v Brora Rangers; Formartine United v Deveronvale; Forres Mechanics v Fort William; Huntly v Fraserburgh; Keith v Turriff United; Lossiemouth v Wick Academy; Rothes v Nairn County; Strathspey Thistle v Inverurie Locos.