6 - 0
6 - 0
Gary Manson (pen.) (30)
Andrew Hardwick (32)
Andrew Hardwick (55)
Michael Steven (62)
Andrew Hardwick (pen.) (70)
David Allan (77)
Craig Gunn for Richard Macadie (63)
Grant MacNab for Gordon MacNab (63)
Alan Hughes for Jack Halliday (72)
|David McGurk for Ryan Henderson (79)|
|None.||Andrew Reid (1)|
Billy Baxter (Referee)
For those who had a flutter on who would be a hat-trick hero for the Scorries and picked Andrew Hardwick, we hope you are enjoying your Caribbean cruise and can you also pass on this week’s lottery numbers? To say the defender would be an unlikely treble ace would be an understatement but that’s what he turned out to be in what was a comfortable victory for Academy who had Gary Manson, Michael Steven and Davie Allan also hitting the target their 750th Highland League game.
You had to spare a thought for Fort keeper Mateusz Kulbacki who pulled off a string of superb saves. His team-mates ran their socks off, but it was clear that the skill level required to be higher up in the Highland League was not there. Still, that wasn’t Academy’s problem – although a degree of patience was needed before Fort William’s defensive strategy could be dismantled.
Fort were well drilled for the opening half-hour as they steadfastly refused to give an inch. Kulbacki was proving to be a formidable last line of defence, having thwarted Sam Mackay, Jack Halliday and Michael Steven – the latter being denied by a remarkable one-handed save at full stretch. However, just as one or two dis-gruntled murmurings from the Wick support were beginning to surface, Fort handed the Scorries the opening goal on a plate. A careless challenge by Brandon Lopez on Mackay inside the box resulted in a penalty which Manson tucked away with ease.
Two minutes later, one-nil be-came two as a goalmouth scramble resulted in the ball squeezing its way to Hardwick who flicked it in from a couple of yards out.
With Fort now needing to come out and try to retrieve the situation, many expected Wick to pick them off at will, but Kulbacki’s heroics ensured that the home side were only two goals up by the break. The game was effectively over as a contest 10 minutes into the second half when Hardwick dis-patched a superb diving header past Kulbacki.
A fourth duly followed as Allan bamboozled the Fort back four with his dribbling skills before cut-ting it back for Michael Steven who rolled the ball into the empty net.
Then came the moment that Hardwick will remember for a long time. Halliday’s surging run into the box was interrupted when he was hauled down. Instead of Manson getting the chance to replicate his spot-kick from the first half, the ball was handed to Hardwick who comleted his hat-trick with aplomb.
No doubt noticing that all the goals had come from defenders, Allan decided it was time a forward got his name on the scoresheet. Good work from Alan Hughes on the left presented Allan with an easy chance from six yards.
Match report written by Caithness Courier - Wed, Oct 31, 2018.
|Gordon Clark (GK)||23||1||-||1||-|
|Alan Hughes (sub)||23||13||-||84||4|
|Grant MacNab (sub)||26||2||-||16||1|
|Craig Gunn (sub)||31||16||3||66||32|
This was Wick Academy's 750th League game since we joined the division in season 1994/95.
Tom McKenna interviewed by Matt Leslie, Caithness Courier
“Keep it up” is Academy boss Tom McKenna’s message to his surprise goalscoring hero Andrew Hardwick.
The centre-half weighed in with a hat-trick as Academy dished out six of the best to rock-bottom Fort William.
Gary Manson, Michael Steven and Davie Allan also chipped in for Wick who now go into Saturday’s crunch fixture against leaders Cove Rangers having scored 14 and conceded two in their last three games.
Hardwick found the net against Turriff and Inverurie Loco before his treble against Fort at the weekend.
But his main defensive duties have impressed his gaffer over the past few weeks.
McKenna is delighted with the way Hardwick has slotted seamlessly into the Scorries’ back four. He has been a key figure in Academy’s run of three victories in a row, following a winless streak in their previous four outings.
“Andy has done well so far,” McKenna said. “He’s come into the centre of defence and begun a good partnership with Grant Steven.
“They’ve combined well together and that helps the team to have a wee bit of continuity.
“Plus he’s also been popping up with a few goals as well. All credit to him – especially in getting three against Fort William.
“I had a wee bit of concern when I saw him striding up to take the penalty to give him the opportunity for the hat-trick.
“You see it on the TV when the regular penalty taker takes a back seat with team-mate on a hat-trick taking the kick in order to get it, only to make a complete mess of it.
“I had that in the back of my mind but thankfully Andy put it away.
“The game itself saw us dominate quite comfortably. Of course given the league positions of the two sides, this was a match we were expected to win and we were on top of proceedings without really capitalising on the possession we had.
“With the first half-hour, you did start to think that it was going to be one of those days with their keeper pulling off some phenomenal saves.
“We were not under pressure at the back and we had wave upon wave of attacks but that final ball was just not working for us.
“I suppose it was inevitable that it would be a penalty to break the deadlock. Once we get one we think we’re going to score more goals and that was the case.
“Being greedy, you want to score even more but that wasn’t to be the case. At the end of the day it’s three points, six goals scored and a case of ‘job done’.”
Fort William boss Kris Anderson was proud of the way his young side competed, despite the scoreline.
He said: “I thought the boys did themselves proud and that we were a little bit unlucky to go in at half-time 2-0 down.
“The average age of the squad was 20 years old and we only had one substitute that we could use.”