HL Roundup - 4th August 2012

Highland League round-up
Saturday August 4th

  Academy look four-midable in opening-day win

Academy are sitting proudly on top of the Highland League after a convincing 4-1 victory over Strathspey Thistle at Seafield Park.

The home side defended solidly for most of the first half but the Scorries took charge following Sam Mackay's stunning opener 10 minutes before half-time.

After playing a neat one-two with Davie Allan, Mackay looked up and unleashed a 35-yard screamer into the top corner.

Academy doubled their lead on 52 minutes. Craig Shearer had two attempts blocked by the defence before new signing Lukasz Geruzel pounced to fire in his first league goal for the club.

Davie Allan added the third on 78 minutes, getting on the end of a cutback from his brother Ross.

The home side pulled one back a minute later through substitute Gavin Smith.

However, Academy restored their three-goal cushion with five minutes to go. Stevie Cunningham slid an inch-perfect pass to the overlapping Richard Macadie and his low cross was turned in by Davie Allan for his second goal of the afternoon.

Allan was Academy's top scorer last term with 24 goals in all competitions and he will be delighted with his impressive start to the new campaign.

It's not the first time Academy have shot to the top of the table after an opening-day win against Strathspey. It also happened at the start of the 2009/10 season when the Grantown Jags were given a painful introduction to life in the Highland League with an 8-1 hammering at Harmsworth Park.

Elsewhere on Saturday, big-spending Brora Rangers issued a statement of intent as they inflicted a rare home defeat on the champions Forres Mechanics.

There was a rapturous reception as the Can-Cans' title flag was unveiled before kick-off at Mosset Park, and the home supporters had more to cheer about when debutant Scott Lawrie put Forres in front two minutes before the break.

However, Liam Baxter levelled with a quarter of an hour remaining and Dale Gillespie struck a last-minute winner to give Brora a winning start.

Last season's runners-up, Cove Rangers, had a 2-1 victory over Buckie Thistle at Allan Park. Goals by Danny Milne and Ryan Stott put the home side in command before Shaun Carrol reduced the deficit.

Huntly were 2-1 winners over Fraserburgh in an incident-filled match at Christie Park.

Andrzej-Slawomir Kleczkowski put the home side in front in the first half and they doubled their lead after the break through a Ryan Christie own goal.

Kleczkowski was red-carded with 10 minutes left and Fraserburgh got back into it in the closing stages when Christie made amends for his earlier aberration by scoring from the penalty spot.

However, Huntly's 10 men held on to take all three points.

Clachnacuddin won by the same score at Rothes. Paul Brindle and Scott Graham were on target for the Lilywhites, with Michael Dunn replying for the home side.

A first-half strike by Conor Gethins was enough to give Nairn County a 1-0 victory over Inverurie Locos at Harlaw Park, while Deveronvale and Formartine United fought out a goalless draw in Banff.

There was disappointment for the two Highland League clubs in Scottish Cup first-round action.

Keith were beaten 1-0 at home by St Cuthbert Wanderers, while Fort William lost 3-1 to Preston Athletic at Claggan Park.


Fixtures: Tuesday, August 7 - AJG Parcels North of Scotland Cup, second round: Nairn County v Lossiemouth.

Wednesday, August 8 - AJG Parcels North of Scotland Cup, second round: Clachnacuddin v Wick Academy (8pm); Strathspey Thistle v Forres Mechanics; Thurso v Brora Rangers (at Harmsworth Park).

Saturday, August 11 - Highland League: Brora Rangers v Cove Rangers; Clachnacuddin v Inverurie Locos; Formartine United v Turriff United; Fraserburgh v Fort William; Keith v Rothes; Lossiemouth v Forres Mechanics; Nairn County v Huntly; Strathspey Thistle v Deveronvale; Wick Academy v Buckie Thistle.