2 - 1
Allen MacKenzie (81)
Allen MacKenzie (83)
Craig Gunn (44)
Ewan Neil for Ashley Ballam (55)
Gary Kerr for Fraser Robertson (65)
Kris Duncan for Craig Cormack (69)
Mark Macadie for Alan Hughes (66)
Grant Aitkenhead for Kuba Koziol (77)
Greg Mackay for Aiden Reid (85)
|Allen MacKenzie (84)||
Ross Allan (48)
Danny Mackay (87)
Liam Duncan (Referee)
Despite having to field three trialists, Wick Academy looked set to return from Mackessack Park on Saturday with three points until a late quick-fire double from Allen Mackenzie turned the game on its head.
Ex-Academy striker Steven Anderson had a great chance six yards in front of goal but Sean McCarthy dashed smartly off his line to make a point-blank save.
The match burst into life midway through the first half with a spell of end-to-end play. Jakob Koziol displayed nifty ball control to lob Rothes keeper Robbie Donaldson but his effort landed just behind the bar.
Danny Mackay headed away a Jack Maley free kick before Alan Hughes saw his well-struck 25-yard effort held by Donaldson.
A Craig Cormack volley deflected low to McCarthy’s left but the Wick keeper dived to smother the ball.
Craig Gunn and Richard Macadie combined well with a vintage one-two and Gunn warmed Donaldson’s hands with a stinging shot.
Approaching half-time, McCarthy was kept busy saving a shot from Anderson and scrambling away a looping header from Mackenzie.
The Scorries swooped straight upfield to snatch the lead a minute before the break. Koziol flew up the right wing and pushed the ball ahead of Gunn, who swept it under Donaldson’s despairing dive.
Shortly after the break Academy almost doubled their advantage. All three central de-fenders went forward to meet Gunn’s corner from the right and Aidan Reid’s powerful downward header was fumbled by Donaldson and bounced off the base of the post.
The Speysiders posed no serious threat until the 80th minute when Anderson and Cormack set up a chance for Mackenzie, who fired in the equaliser.
Two minutes later Mackenzie ran 20 yards up the Rothes left to rifle a shot high into the far top corner of the net.
Academy fought back but a 25-yard lob by Richard Macadie rebounded off a post with the keeper stranded.
Despite two successive away defeats, Academy could seal a seventh-place finish with a win against Keith this Saturday.
Match report written by Caithness Courier - Wed, April 10, 2019.
|Sean McCarthy (GK)||25||29||-||165||-|
|Greg Mackay (sub)||17||4||-||5||-|
|Grant Aitkenhead (sub)||17||6||-||6||-|
|Mark Macadie (sub)||16||2||-||2||-|
Interview by Alan Hendry Caithness Courier.
Tom McKenna praised his makeshift team for their “spirited” display against Rothes on Saturday – after admitting it had been the most difficult week so far in his time as Wick Academy manager.
A combination of suspensions, injuries and players being unavailable left Academy with a seriously under-strength squad for the Highland League trip to Mackessack Park.
McKenna’s starting XI included three trialists – Jakob Koziol, Aidan Reid and Sean Campbell – while teenagers Mark Macadie, Grant Aitkenhead and Greg Mackay all came off the bench.
The depleted Scorries showed great togetherness and looked on course to take something tangible from the match after Craig Gunn put them in front just before half-time. However, the Speysiders snatched all three points after a late double by Allen Mackenzie.
“I thought it was a spirited performance by the boys,” McKenna said.
“They had to battle, and they went long stages with-out possession of the ball, so they had to defend and be resolute. There wasn’t much between the teams but I just thought we lacked the relevant experience and quality in certain areas of the park. If we’d had everyone available I think it’s a game we would have won quite convincingly.”
McKenna was delighted with the attitude of Reid, Koziol and Campbell and the performances they produced, helped by the experienced players around them.
“I can’t fault them,” the manager said of his trio of trialists. “I thought they did exceptionally well to come in at short notice and to play at this standard of football. I thought they dealt with it really well and didn’t look out of place.
“I have no complaints about anyone. I thought the guys’ attitude was really professional, every single one of them.
“I’ll be honest, it was probably the hardest week I’ve had since I’ve been with Wick – chasing people, and just getting knockbacks. Fortunately I got three lads who were really keen to come in and help us out.
“The first half was even. Rothes were more dominant when they were in possession of the ball and we were a bit disjointed, which was understandable.
“At 1-0 we did create chances and we could have gone two up.
“The lads looked tired but they put in a fantastic shift. Rothes really had a go at us in the second half, they were pushing players forward.
“Aidan, Sean and Jakob got cramp in the second half but they gave everything they could. They did them-selves proud, and you can’t take anything away from the players round about them – Alan Farquhar, Gary Manson, Danny Mackay and Richard Macadie took on a lot of responsibility.
“The lads were gutted in the changing room. They thought they were going to see it through and they were really despondent. They thought they were so close to getting three points, and it’s a shame really when you see them so disheartened and disappointed after putting a lot of effort into it.
“Okay, the result has not gone our way, but it was a creditable performance.”
With Davie Allan and Jack Henry returning from suspension and other players back in contention, McKenna expects to have a stronger squad available for the home match against Keith on Saturday. “We should be in a better place for next week,” he said.