Cove Rangers 4
Wick Academy 3
HL Cup (1st Round)

Cove Rangers 

4 - 3

Wick Academy

HL Cup (1st Round)
Saturday, February 6th, 2016
Harlaw Park
3:00 PM Kick-off

Daryl Nicol (32)
Daryl Nicon (48)
Jonathan Smith (67)
Jonathan Smith (69)
Sam Mackay (44)
Darryn Kelly (o.g.) (50)
Ross Allan (54)

Team Managers
Unknown. Gordon Connelly

Starting Eleven
Stuart McKenzie
Alan Redford
Stuart Walker
Blair Yule
Eric Watson
Darryn Kelly
Daniel Park
Stuart Duff
Daryl Nicol
Jonathan Smith
Stirling Smith
Sean McCarthy
Danny Mackay
Michael Steven
Grant Steven
Ross Allan
James Pickles
Sam Mackay
Alan Farquhar
Gary Weir
Steven Anderson
David Allan

Jamie Watt
Dean Donaldson
Sam Burnett
Dean Lawrie
Harry Milne
Roy McBain
John McCafferty
Danny McCarthy
Colin Macrae
Marc MacGregor
Gary Manson
Richard Macadie
James McLean
Alan Hughes

Harry Milne for Eric Watson (69)
Sam Burnett for Daniel Park (89)
Roy McBain for Stirling Smith (80)
James McLean for James Pickles (69)
Marc MacGregor for Gary Weir (69)
Gary Manson for Ross Allan (85)

Stuart Duff (57) James Pickles (10)
Gary Weir (17)
Sam Mackay (68)

Red Cards
Daryl Nicol (92) None.

Match Officials

Thomas Shaw (Referee)
Bob Inkster & Ross Bisset (Assistants)

Match Report

Wick Academy travelled to Harlaw Park today to play Cove Rangers in a repeat of last year's Breedon Aggregates Highland League Cup final. The teams served up a cracker and Cove took the spoils to advance into the next round running out 4-3 winners.

The opening exchanges were pretty even. The first chance fell to Cove after 26 minutes. Stuart Duff had a 20 yard shot saved by Sean McCarthy down low to his right. Daryl Nicol followed up the re-bound but shot straight at McCarthy.

Academy were next to have a half-chance. Gary Weir was brought down for a free-kick. Ross Allan took it and it flicked off a defender for a corner. From the corner, taken by Sam Mackay, the ball fell for Ross Allan on the edge of the penalty area but he fired over the cross-bar.

Cove broke the dead-lock after 32 minutes. Alan Redford delivered a long diagonal ball into the Academy box. Jonathan Smith took the ball down and his shot was saved by McCarthy but he could only parry it into the path of Daryl Nicol and he buried it from 12 yards out.

1 - 0

Academy missed a great opportunity to level the tie. Sean McCarthy punted a goal-kick up-field and it was flicked on by Gary Weir for Davie Allan to run onto. He blasted past the Cove defence and went one-on-one with keeper Stuart McKenzie but McKenzie made a good save.

5 minutes later and Academy had another good chance. A cross from the left was cleared as far as Michael Steven. He sent it back into the mix for Davie Allan but he headed wide from 13 yards out.

A minute before the interval Academy were back on level terms. Sam Mackay picked the ball up inside the centre circle. He drove forward, skipped a couple of tackles and from 22 yards out struck a peach off his laces that beat Stuart McKenzie.

1 - 1

Half Time - Cove Rangers 1 - Wick Academy 1

Academy started the second half well but against the run of play it was Cove that once again took the lead.

Stuart Walker played a long ball up the left flank. The ball bounced over Grant Steven and Daryl Nicol was on it in a flash and from 16 yards out he fired into the roof of the net.

2 - 1

In a pulsating cup tie it wasn't long before Academy were back in it. A long kick-out from Sean McCarthy broke to Davie Allan and he burst into the Cove box. He squared the ball across the 6 yard box and Darryn Kelly diverted it into his own net for an unfortunate own-goal.

2 - 2

Four minutes later Academy took the lead for the first time in the game. A long kick-out from McCarthy again caused the Cove defence issues as it landed at the feet of Davie Allan. He played it into his brother Ross who took a touch into the box before firing the ball low across keeper McKenzie into the bottom right hand corner.

2 - 3

Cove should have equalized in their next attack. Redford fed Park on the right and he crossed into the box. Jonathan Smith got his head to it but McCarthy made a great save and the ball was cleared for a corner.

It wasn't long however before parity was restored. The ball was played into Jonathan Smith who laid it off to his strike partner Daryl Nicol. Nicol drove onto the box before squaring back to Smith who had the easy task of a tap home from 8 yards out.

3 - 3

Two minutes later Cove scored what proved to be the winner. Sam Mackay gave away a free-kick for which he also picked up a booking. Jonathan Smith took it and fired the ball high into the right hand corner for his second goal in as many minutes.

4 - 3

Straight from the re-start the ball was worked up to Weir on the edge of the Cove box. He laid it off to Steven Anderson but his goal-bound shot was pushed for a corner by keeper McKenzie.

End to end stuff. Daniel Park on the right wing laid it into the feet of Daryl Nicol on the edge of the box and his effort was tipped over the cross-bar by McCarthy. From the corner Stuart Walker shot straight at McCarthy from 8 yards out.

Manager Connelly made three changes in the last 10 minutes but Academy couldn't find a reply. The game ended in a sour note for Cove. In injury time Daryl Nicol gave away a free-kick. He remonstrated with referee Thomas Shaw and Shaw changed the yellow he was about to give to a straight red. Nicol will now be suspended for the second round and will certainly be a big miss for Cove in the next stage of the competition.

Full Time - Cove Rangers 4 - Wick Academy 3

Match report written by Luke Bunch

Squad Statistics (as at February 6th, 2016)

2015/2016 All Time
Sean McCarthy (GK)22 33 - 66 -
Grant Steven23 2631486
Michael Steven25 3021788
Danny Mackay25 321321
Sam Mackay26 2917232105
James Pickles25 29112314
Ross Allan22 1421549
Alan Farquhar28 27 - 2443
David Allan26 3211273123
Steven Anderson23 30136826
Gary Weir18 2812411163
Gary Manson (sub)32 26151736
Marc MacGregor (sub)21 268268
James McLean (sub) - 3 - 3 -

League Table (as at February 6th, 2016)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Brora Rangers 26 22 1 3 +81 67
2. Cove Rangers 23 19 1 3 +43 58
3. Formartine Utd 23 18 3 2 +73 57
4. Turriff United 23 15 4 4 +50 49
5. Inverurie Locos 26 16 1 9 +31 49
6. Nairn County 24 15 1 8 +18 46
7. Buckie Thistle 26 13 2 11 -10 41
8. Fraserburgh 24 11 5 8 +9 38
9. WICK 22 11 4 7 +23 37
10. Keith 25 12 0 13 -19 36
11. Forres Mech 21 10 1 10 -9 31
12. Lossiemouth 24 9 1 14 -19 28
13. Deveronvale 22 7 4 11 -6 25
14. Clachnacuddin 23 7 1 15 -8 22
15. Strathspey 24 5 0 19 -51 15
16. Huntly 22 3 2 17 -35 11
17. Fort William 20 2 0 18 -51 6
18. Rothes 24 0 1 23 -120 1