2 - 0
2 - 0
Sam Mackay (25)
Richard Macadie (pen.) (67)
Gordon C McNab
Steven Anderson for Jack Henry (66)
Alan Hughes for Gordon C McNab (77)
Scott Begg for Donald Fraser (74)
Aidan Sopel for Max Berton (74)
Stewart Hutcheon for Kieran Lawrence (82)
Billy Baxter (Referee)
Academy’s new year resolution to start climbing up from the nether regions of the Highland League got off to a decent start with a goal in each half enough to see off their Moray visitors.
After the rains, snow and ice which have decimated the league programme over the past two months, Saturday’s fixture was blighted by a swirling, capricious wind which had it been much stronger could have put a question mark on whether the tie would go ahead.
Both sides did their level best to play a fluent passing game on the deck with every time the ball was lifted making the pass, clearance or cross a hostage to fortune. It proved a challenging day for Danny McCarthy to get a rare outing in goal in favour of his brother, regular keeper Sean McCarthy, while Steven Anderson was demoted to the bench to make way for Craig Gunn’s first home start in his second spell with his home town side.
The wind direction changed shortly before kick-off to sweep towards the main road end, into the faces of Academy.
The first chance came after four minutes when Bradley Manson and Gary McNamee combined to set up Donald Fraser who blasted high and wide.
A minute later, Academy showed the first sign of their attacking intent when Sam Mackay was cut down after a surge towards the box, with Gunn’s resultant in swinging free kick requiring a decisive intervention from Bradley Manson to clear the danger.
McCarthy showed his mettle in the first half when he confidently pouched a series of speculative efforts and fielded wickedly swerving crosses.
Academy’s backline coped well with the pressure with left back Gary Manson also featuring with some forward forages and several deep, hanging crosses. One came close to providing the opener on 14 minutes when his towering delivery fell to Gunn on the edge of the six-yard box but the striker was unable to get a shot away.
A well-timed Michael Steven challenge ended Ryan Spink’s dangerous run into the Academy penalty box a minute before the Scorries forged in front.
A slick move triggered by Richard Macadie saw his assist laid off by Gunn into the path of Sam Mackay who shook off his marker before steering a first-time shot between keeper David Dey and his near post.
Fraser had a decent effort deflected behind before the home crowd were incensed by ref Bill Baxter’s failure to allow an obvious advantage at the end of a glorious long-range inter-change. Sam Mackay was caught late after he redirected Gunn’s pass to Jack Halliday who had an unobstructed view of goal. Halliday’s first-time blast crashed off the underside of the bar but Mr Baxter had already blown up for the foul which earned Spink a booking. Had Halliday scored, Mr Baxter’s gaffe would have been magnified.
The half ended with Sam Mackay unable to convert a run-in on goal and Fraser going close again with a cross-cum-shot which narrowly missed the target.
Despite facing the Arctic blast, Keith made the sparkier start after the turnaround and came desperately close to the leveller on 49 minutes. Spink and Berton linked to set up Fraser whose close-in volley at the far post was kept out by a brave body block from Gary Manson.
Academy had the lion’s share of possession though the visitors continued to pose a threat on the counter.
Dey did well to reach a snap-shot from Jack Henry and then divert behind a powerful effort by Halliday after Gunn had done the spade work.
A Keith raid on 65 minutes created space for veteran striker Cammy Keith who would have scored but for McCarthy getting a firm hand to keep out his angled strike.
Two minutes later, Gunn had shimmied his into the box where he was felled by McNamee. Mr Baxter pointed to the spot and MacAdie duly sent Dey the wrong way from the resultant penalty.
Macadie passed up a glorious chance to get his second a couple of minutes after when a through ball from sub Steven Anderson found him one-on-one with Dey which the keeper this time came out on top.
Academy pressed hard for a third with Anderson going close with a header and Gunn going close to convert an Alan Hughes cutback.
Match report written by Caithness Courier - Wed, Jan 17, 2018.
|Danny McCarthy (GK)||19||4||-||12||-|
|Gordon C McNab||29||14||4||14||4|
|Alan Hughes (sub)||22||8||-||58||1|
|Steven Anderson (sub)||25||20||5||133||58|