1 - 5
|Donald Horsburgh (30)||
Richard Macadie (5)
Richard Macadie (14)
Richard Macadie (17)
Craig Shearer (23)
Craig Shearer (38)
Ian Munro & Richard Hughes
Steven A Sim
Steven Dunn for Donald Horsburgh (83)
William Sutherland for Mike Smith (64)
Stevie Cunningham for Andrew MacLeod (54)
Greg Shearer for Nigel MacKenzie (69)
Grant MacNab for Gary Weir (77)
Steven A Sim (40)
Michael Dunn (49)
Gary Burr (54)
Michael Dunn (73)
Kevin Shortreed (88)
Gary Weir (63)
|Michael Dunn (73)||None.|
Caryl Potten (Referee)
Wick Academy notched their first Highland League win of the season on Saturday in some style. At picturesque Mackessack Park with its backdrop of hills, glens and malt whisky distilleries, they turned on an intoxicating display of high speed passing football. The Rothes defence was left reeling as Academy raced into a four goal lead in 23 minutes. The last hour was better balanced as the home team at last found their feet but by then this vintage production was in the barrel and the Wickers were not going to let the three points evaporate.
The opening five minutes gave no hint of what would soon unfold. Rothes launched a couple of raids down their right wing and Academy were unable to move far from their own half. Then Shaun Sinclair tidied up a loose ball and drove it forward on the right. Gary Weir helped it on its way and suddenly Richard Macadie was past the Rothes defence with the ball at his feet 25 yards from goal. Crossing the 18 yard line he steered an accurate shot into the bottom far corner of the net giving former Academy keeper Daniel Bell no chance.
Wick switched on and Nigel MacKenzie raced along the left wing to turn the ball inside along the ground to Craig Shearer who sliced his shot wide.
On 15 minutes Rothes made a determined move forward and a couple of shots were blocked in the Academy area by Shearer and Andrew MacLeod. Stewart Ross stroked the ball into space to his right and Sinclair again drove it powerfully forward. This time Weir stepped over the ball to allow it to run ahead of Macadie who from 30 yards closed in on Bell to produce an action replay of his first goal.
Within a minute the young midfielder had completed a 12 minute hat trick. A slick passing move set Mackenzie free on the left. Leaving a couple of defenders in his wake he fired a deep cross to the far corner of the area where from his usual spot Macadie rifled the ball high past Bell's right shoulder.
Pursuing the ball after a quick one-two on the left by Gary Manson and Macadie, MacKenzie set off again along the touch line but this time Steven Sim was better positioned to tackle him. Academy soon regained possession and again it was Ross and Sinclair who initiated a raid on the right. Bryan McKiddie who had been the pivot of much of his team's high speed one touch passing, this time fooled his marker by letting the ball run to Shearer who from that seemingly magic square of turf just inside the Rothes box drove the ball low and hard into the net. Only a quarter of the game played and it was now Rothes nil Wick four. This was not just football, this was Wick Academy football!
Macadie was soon in the clear again near the 18 yard line but this time he had to hurry and volleyed his shot over the bar.
Iain MacRae on the Rothes right had not given up the fight and after a 25 yard run he fired a tantalising cross to the back post but there were no tangerine shirts within 20 yards.
In the 28th minute came perhaps Academy's best move so far. With a neat shimmy in a crowded centre circle McKiddie created the time and space to measure a pass to the right for Weir. He stroked it on to Davie Cowie who made a determined 20 yard run, stopped suddenly to dodge a tackle from Kevin Shortreed and drilled the ball low along the 18 yard line to the feet of Mackenzie who, confronted by three defenders twisted and turned to create an opening but saw his shot blocked by legs.
MacRae's perseverance on the Rothes right was rewarded in the 30th minute when he drove in a low cross towards Ross Duncan who fooled the Wick defence by leaving it for Donald Horsburgh who netted from 10 yards.
Can a goal after only half an hour be termed a consolation or would this be the start of a remarkable fight back? Within three minutes Michael Grant was clean through near the penalty spot but shanked his shot seriously wide.
The play was now more end to end. Bell, making his Rothes debut, anticipated a close range flick from MacKenzie to make a smart catch and then Academy keeper Don MacMillan had to make his first real save of the game when Ross Duncan shot from 10 yards. Kris Duncan cut inside on the Rothes right on to a pass from MacRae and Shearer tackled him at the expense of a corner.
When the ball was passed first time from Shearer to Manson to McKiddie to Mackenzie very close to the halfway line it was mainly to evade tackles and retain possession and the final touch almost sent the ball out of play on the left. However Weir stretched a size 12 boot to push it on and at the same time hurdle Sim's sliding tackle. Weir ran on and turned the ball inside to Shearer who struck a swerving volley which flashed past the advancing Bell's outstretched right hand high into the net.
Rothes became more aggressive, particularly in the midfield exchanges and Sim was booked for a bad foul on Shearer.
Seconds before the break MacKenzie almost scored to complete a surging solo run on the left. The ball was deflected for a corner from which Macadie picked out Weir at the back post only for his header to flash past the upright.
Disappointed maybe at these misses but surely happy at 5-1, Academy's followers may have wished that one of the five could have been transferred to the Scotland account at Hampden with the ease that our Council Tax is switched to frozen Icelandic banks! Text messages from absent fans urged record breaking attempts in the second half.
It was soon obvious that Rothes would now challenge for every ball and Michael Dunn was booked for clattering through the back of Weir's legs. Manson's free kick was volleyed first time back down the park by Michael Grant and bounced in the Academy area where MacMillan came off his line and with a flailing fist punched it off Smith's head.
In the 53rd minute Gary Burr was booked for tripping McKiddie and Stevie Cunningham came off the bench to replace MacLeod who had taken a couple of knocks in the first half.
Although unlikely to save the game Rothes appeared to believe that they could win the second half. Smith crossed from the right and Burr's glancing header drifted just wide. A free kick from Shortreed on the left was met at the back post by MacRae whose shot was blocked by MacMillan.
On the hour mark after a 10 yard burst by Weir, Macadie and Cunningham swapped passes and Weir ran on for a shot which was blocked by Dunn's foot. Moments later Weir was booked for a dangerous high boot as he challenged for a 50-50 ball.
Bell sent the free kick the length of the pitch where it bounced to the right of the Wick box and when MacRae chipped the ball into the goal mouth Ross headed it safely over the bar for a corner on the left from which MacMillan made a clean catch.
The fourth yellow card for Rothes in the 74th minute also incurred a red as Dunn was the culprit. Macadie picked out Greg Shearer but Bell stopped the youngster's 8 yard shot with his feet. Shearer junior was then halted by a fine challenge just inside the area by Shortreed but the Rothes defender was soon to be booked for a wild lunge at Cowie on the right touch line.
Academy had shown only occasional glimpses of their dazzling passing but if the second half display did not match that of the first then credit the more determined approach shown by the Speysiders.
Overall this was a far better game than in similar circumstances at Fort William four weeks earlier. Macadie missed that game to attend the funeral of his grandfather Bill Mackay. Bill netted a double hat trick for Academy against Brora in February 1959 but now almost 50 years on, grandson Richard had to settle for a single hat trick though it is almost certainly Wick Academy's fastest ever.
Match report written by Ken Wood
|Don MacMillan (GK)||-||9||-||121||-|
|Grant MacNab (sub)||16||2||-||6||1|
|Greg Shearer (sub)||-||4||1||6||1|
|Stevie Cunningham (sub)||-||10||1||10||1|