4 - 0
HL Cup (Final)
Daryl Nicol (pen.) (33)
Daniel Park (53)
Daryl Nicol (81)
Jonathan Smith (88)
Eric Watson (C)
Jonathan Smith for Jamie Watt (80)
Stirling Smith for Connor Scully (85)
Gary Weir for Richard Macadie (55)
Lukasz Geruzel for James Pickles (68)
James More for Sean McCarthy (79)
Stuart Duff (60)
Connor Scully (84)
Alan Farquhar (80)
David Allan (82)
Graham Beaton (Referee)
Academy's dreams of winning the first trophy of their 20 year Highland League career were shattered by a ruthless second half performance from Cove Rangers who won the Highland League Cup with a 4-0 victory. It was Academy's first time in the Highland League Cup final and an estimated crowd of just over 1,000 consisted mainly of Wick Academy supporters filled the ground at Grant Street Park.
In blustery conditions and a bobbly pitch, both teams struggled to get to grips with the ball but Daryl Nicol had a great chance to open the scoring within two minutes when Alan Farquhar's poor clearance gave the striker a chance from the edge of the box which he blasted wide.
Two minutes later, Davie Allan caused havoc down the right wing and crossed to find Richard Macadie whose 18 yard effort did not trouble keeper Murray Kinnaird as it sailed over the bar.
Both keepers were rarely tested in the first half, so it was no surprise that the first goal came from the penalty spot which gave Cove advantage at half time. Grant Steven was judged to have wrestled Jamie Watt to the ground inside the box and Nicol's penalty was too powerful to give Sean McCarthy an earthly of getting to it.
1 - 0
Academy could have equalised on the stroke of half time when Gary Manson's corner found Grant Steven on the edge of the six yard box and his shot was heading for the net when Park put his body on the line to divert the ball behind.
Half Time - Cove Rangers 1 - Wick Academy 0
Cove stamped their authority in the second half and doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute. Roy McBain's cross from the left wing found an unchallenged Daniel Park in the six yard box and he nodded the ball past a despairing McCarthy.
2 - 0
It was a bruising encounter with James Pickles hobbling off with an ankle injury midway through the second half. His replacement Lukasz Geruzel almost made an immediate impact when Allan made a lung-busting run down the left wing to find the Pole in the six yard box. But the striker had his back to goal and was unable to get a shot away with Stuart Walker managing to shepherd the ball away from the danger area.
Academy went close again to pulling one back when Grant Campbell's powerful low drive forced Kinnaird to make an excellent save.
With 10 minutes to go, McCarthy handed over the gloves to James More after being forced to retire with a groin problem.
Two minutes later, Cove had one hand on the cup when they made it 3-0. More blocked Park's original strike at goal but Nicol was first to the rebound to fire home his second as the Cove players celebrated, knowing victory was almost certain.
3 - 0
If there was still any doubt, Cove snuffed any hope of a late Wick revival three minutes from time when Nicol's cross found the head of substitute Johnny Smith, who had only been on the park for a minute, and he nodded home from close range.
4 - 0
Full Time - Cove Rangers 4 - Wick Academy 0
Match report written by John Briskham
|Sean McCarthy (GK)||21||32||-||32||-|
|James More (sub) (GK)||26||9||-||145||-|
|Lukasz Geruzel (sub)||-||29||13||98||45|
|Gary Weir (sub)||17||33||16||380||151|