HL Roundup - 11th May 2013

Highland League round-up
Saturday May 11th
Third place still up for grabs as Academy maintain 100% home record

Academy are 90 minutes away from completing the entire Highland League season with a 100 per cent home record after easing to a 4-0 victory over Strathspey Thistle.

And, with third place still up for grabs, there will be plenty at stake this Saturday when the Scorries round off their 2012/13 campaign by playing host to Deveronvale.

Sam Mackay hit a double as Academy brushed aside an under-strength Thistle outfit who kept the scoreline within the bounds of respectability with a committed, backs-to-the-wall display.

Academy were hot favourites to extend their winning run at Harmsworth Park and the outcome was never in doubt after they scored twice in the space of a minute just after the midway point in the first half.

With 25 minutes gone, Mackay beat the offside trap as he latched on to a pass over the top from Stevie Cunningham. Mackay took the ball round keeper Willie Ridgers, steadied himself and slotted it into the net before any of the backtracking defenders could get in the way.

A minute later, Davie Allan went storming up the left wing and his low cross was met by Strathspey defender Mark Mackernie, who slid it past Ridgers for an own goal.

The third came two minutes before half-time when Mackay delivered an inch-perfect pass to Richard Macadie in the inside-right channel. Ridgers got a touch to Macadie's initial effort but the midfielder scored at the second attempt.

The best goal of the match arrived in the 69th minute as Mackay advanced down the right and, from around 35 yards, blasted an unstoppable shot past the diving Ridgers and into the far corner.

Manager Barry Wilson made a few attack-minded substitutions and Academy could have brought their tally of league goals closer to the 100 mark as they continued to push forward. However, with Strathspey defending in depth, and with a couple of efforts being ruled out for offside, the Scorries had to settle for four.

Formartine United and Cove Rangers are set for a title showdown after Steve Paterson's side missed the chance to secure the championship with a game to spare.

Formartine slumped to a 3-1 home defeat to Nairn County on Saturday while Cove were winning 2-0 at Rothes.

Those results mean Cove can snatch the championship by taking all three points in the clash of the top two at North Lodge Park this weekend. A home win or a draw will be enough to hand Formartine their first-ever HFL crown.

Nairn, looking to bounce back from their defeat at Wick in midweek, opened the scoring through a Martin Macdonald header with a quarter of an hour gone. Craig McKeown equalised with a free kick five minutes before half-time, but Conor Gethins restored the Wee County's advantage early in the second period and the Irish hitman wrapped up the points with a stunning lob just before the hour mark.

Nairn's victory means they are still in with a chance of pipping Academy for third spot.

Cove, meanwhile, kept their title hopes very much alive with goals from Jamie Lennox and Martin Johnston inside a five-minute spell at the start of the second half at Mackessack Park.

Clachnacuddin made sure of a fifth-placed finish with a 2-1 away victory over Turriff United.

Turriff's Paul Campbell had a penalty saved by his namesake John in the Clach goal before Neil MacDonald put the Lilywhites in front 10 minutes from half-time.

Donald Fraser levelled early in the second period but Clach's Blair Lawrie sealed the points with a free kick midway through the half.

Goals from Lee Fraser, Ross Archibald and Kevin Duguid gave Forres Mechanics a comfortable 3-0 win at Buckie.

Keith lifted the Breedon Aggregates Highland League Cup after coming from behind to beat Inverurie Locos at Princess Royal Park, Banff.

Locos led at the break through Scott Begg's 17th-minute strike, but Andy MacAskill levelled just before the hour and Cammy Keith netted from the spot with 20 minutes to go.

The Maroons were awarded a second penalty in the dying stages after Inverurie's Steven Park had been red-carded. This time Cammy Keith's attempt was saved by Andy Reid, but Darren Still's men held on.