1 - 0
|Aidan Elliott Sopel (43)||None.|
Aidan Elliott Sopel
Aidan Elliott Sopel for Nicholas Gray (20)
Cameron Booth for David Booth (77)
Greg Mackay for Grant Aitkenhead (59)
Mark Macadie for Alan Hughes (80)
|Kai Ross (70)||None.|
Paul Cummings (Referee)
An understrength Wick Academy side lost 1-0 at Huntly on Saturday, a result that means the Scorries still have work to do if they are to claim a top-seven place in the Highland League.
With several first-pick defenders absent, Academy lined up at Christie Park with a back four of Craig Gunn, Andrew Hardwick, Sam Mackay and Ross Allan. There was also a first start for two 17-year-olds in midfield, Ben Sinclair and Grant Aitkenhead.
Gunn almost caught sub keeper Euan Storrier napping with a 35-yard free-kick and Hardwick headed wide from the resultant corner. David Booth looked certain to score in a swift counterattack but he was halted in the box by Allan’s perfectly timed sliding tackle.
After 42 minutes Aidan Sopel got on the end of a cross from Kai Ross to head home the only goal.
The Scorries’ best opportunity came after 75 minutes when Storrier could only palm down another Gunn free-kick. Although several Academy players kicked the ball in the ensuing scramble, none could direct it on target.
Huntly finished the game strongly and Aitkenhead bravely blocked a goal-bound pile-driver from Matt McDonald. Huntly’s win extended their unbeaten end-of-season run to six matches, while Academy require a point from the last game at Fort William this Saturday to secure seventh spot.
Manager Tom McKenna says Wick Academy will have a bright future if the current crop of talented youngsters can fulfil their potential.
He was speaking after drafting in five teenagers to the squad for the Scorries’ penultimate match of the Highland League season at Huntly on Saturday.
Although an under-strength Wick side lost 1-0 after Aidan Sopel’s first-half header, McKenna insisted there was no reason to feel despondent. As well as highlighting the impact made by two 17-year-olds who were in the starting line-up for the first time, the manager praised the senior players who were asked to fulfil unorthodox roles in a makeshift defence.
“I thought the lads were absolutely brilliant – I don’t think you could ask for any more from any-one,” McKenna said. “Sam Mackay was in at the centre of defence and Craig Gunn was in at right-back. Ben Sinclair and Grant Aitkenhead both started the game – they’re only 17, and neither of them looked out of place. “Young Ben is a fantastic prospect. He was in there with big physical lads and he wasn’t intimidated at all. He contributed to the game immensely.
“Once again when the lads had their backs against the wall the performance was excellent. We deserved at least a point.
“It’s frustrating. You go into every game wanting to win it, but we can’t be too despondent. The lads deserved something from it.” He added: “With the young boys that are round about, the future looks bright for the club going for-ward if they can develop as much as we anticipate.
“At the moment we’ve got some players in the latter stages of their careers. If these lads can come in next year and push forward it makes for a better club in the long term.”
Match report written by Caithness Courier - Wed, April 24, 2019.
|Sean McCarthy (GK)||25||32||-||168||-|
|Greg Mackay (sub)||17||5||-||6||-|
|Mark Macadie (sub)||16||3||-||3||-|
Both Grant Aitkenhead and Ben Sinclair started their first senior match for Academy today.