1 - 1
|Jamie Masson (22)||
Gordon MacNab (9)
Dean Lawrie for Grant Cambell (7)
Ryan Strachan for Ryan Stott (61)
Sam Robertson for Paul McManus (81)
Jack Halliday for Gordon MacNab (55)
Grant Steven (42)
Chris Fordyce (Referee)
Wick boss Tom McKenna praised his team for having defending down to an art as they stunned runaway leaders Cove Rangers. Academy became only the third team this season to have taken points off the Aberdeenshire side – who had previously won their last nine games – as they headed back up the road with a well-earned 1-1 draw.
Gordon MacNab had given them a surprise lead. Despite Jamie Masson’s equaliser, Wick kept their much-fancied hosts at bay with a combination of skill, luck and a good old fashioned penalty save to boot.
McKenna said: “There are two principles of football – attacking and defending and sometimes people forget that the latter is an art form.
“Our lads demonstrated that. We knew that when you play a side as good as Cove, the demands put on you are high and you have to rise up to that level in order to get something from them.
“We were very solid and the early goal gave us a platform to build on. However, a team of that quality were always going to come back at us and they did.
“However, we did not let their equaliser get us down and we continued to compete. Maybe we thought all that work would be undone with the penalty being given to them, which I’ve no complaints about, but our keeper Sean (McCarthy) showed why he’s the last line of defence with an excellent save.”
Academy were in dreamland after only nine minutes when MacNab latched onto Sam Mackay’s pinpoint pass and fired the ball past Cove keeper Stuart McKenzie.
They survived a scare after the quarter of an hour mark when Masson’s thunderous free-kick smashed the upright, came back down and brushed off Academy keeper McCarthy. Thankfully the ball spun back past the outside of the post for a corner.
Wick’s luck didn’t last long after that when midway through the first half, a failure to clear a loose ball cost them dearly as Masson took advantage to thump home the equaliser.
Close to the hour mark, Cove must have thought normal service, for them, was about to resume when they were awarded a penalty after Ryan Stott was brought down. However, they had not counted on McCarthy pulling off a great save from Mitch Megginson’s spot-kick.
Stoic defending from Academy continued to frustrate Cove with Masson in particular let the situation get to him late on in the match as his temper boiled over to earn him a red card for a second bookable offence.
Wick though were past the point of feeling any sympathy as their own resolve remained intact to put a halt on Cove’s winning run. Cove may go on to clinch the league title but Academy have hopefully laid down a marker for next season that the league’s best can be stopped in their tracks.
Match report written by Caithness Courier - Wed, March 21, 2018.
|Sean McCarthy (GK)||24||23||-||128||-|
|Jack Halliday (sub)||23||24||2||39||3|