4 - 4
4 - 4
Gary Weir (50)
Mark Nichol (70)
Gary Weir (71)
Gary Weir (73)
Shane Sutherland (20)
Lewis Ross (26)
Lewis Ross (40)
Mark Finnes (56)
Ian Munro & Richard Hughes
Nigel MacKenzie for Shaun Sinclair (46)
Mark Nichol for Alan Sinclair (46)
Tony Farquhar for Gary Perks (79)
Nicky Denoon for Shane Sutherland (90)
Mark Smith (80)
Sam Mackay (74)
Mark Smith (80)
Ross Hamill (Referee)
The spectators that braved the rain tonight were entertained by an eight goal thriller. What an opening game to a season, breathless!! There was so much action, goals and incident that it was difficult sometime to keep up.
The game kicked off with fairly heavy rain falling and Brora were the first to threaten goal in the 5th minute. Richard Finnes broke up the right wing and his cross was deflected for a corner. The resulting corner took a flick through a ruck of players and just shaved Mores right hand post.
A minute later and Brora had a great chance to take the lead. The move started when Gary Weir gave the ball away with a careless pass deep in the Brora half, and young Shane Sutherland was sent through beating the off-side trap and went one-on-one with More, but James got a hand to his shot to make a good save.
Academy’s first chance came after Macadie was brought down on the edge of the Brora box. Gary Farquhar floated the free-kick to the back post and Stewart Ross did well to reach it and hooked it back across goal, but there were no takers to turn it home.
On the quarter hour mark Academy almost scored again, this time Gary Weir got his head to a corner-kick and forced Gray to make a smart save on the line.
It was Brora though that opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Perks slotted Shane Sutherland though the middle and he remained on-side to run in again one-on-one with More, but this time he produced a good finish to curl the ball around him for a well taken goal.
0 – 1
The rain stopped after 20 minutes, but the goals kept pouring in! The next came 6 minutes later after Finnes sent a high ball over the Academy back-line and Lewis Ross chipped More from about 25 yards out.
0 – 2
A minute later Academy should have pulled a goal back. Gary Weir ran in on goal from a good pass by Gary Farquhar, but he leaned back slightly just as he pulled the trigger and his shot went just over the top of Gray’s cross-bar.
Minutes later and Weir was again in the thick of the action, this time Gary Manson surged down the left wing delivering a perfect cross that Weir headed towards goal at the back post, but Gray made a great save to deny him.
Just after the half hour David Mowat went on a trade-mark run from mid-field passing 3 Brora players before sending Manson down the left wing. He crossed to the back post and Weir got onto the end of the ball but couldn’t direct it goal-ward.
In the 38th minute Academy had yet another great chance on goal. This time Macadie produced the wing-play, passing to Manson on the edge of the box and his shot took a slight deflection off Gary Macleod and smashed against the intersection of post and crossbar, ricocheting for a corner. The corner was hoisted into the box and Gray missed his punch, the ball falling to Weir in a melee of players and his attempt on goal was deflected wide.
So good chances for Wick, but it was Brora who delivered what everyone must have thought would be the winning goal 5 minutes before the break. Sam Mackay played a fantastic through ball to Lewis Ross and he scored his second of the evening rifling the ball home with a right foot shot low past an outstretched More.
0 – 3
2 minutes later and Gary Macleod almost scored when he caught More off his line and tried a dipping shot from 30 yards out. More back-peddled and must have been relieved to see the ball go just over the top of his cross-bar.
The last chance of the half fell to Academy when Gary Farquhar sent Manson clear, but Gray got a hand to his first-time shot.
Half time 0 – 3
Co-managers Hughes and Munro called the changes at half time, taking Alan Sinclair and Shaun Sinclair off, and on came Nigel Mackenzie and Mark Nichol.
Within a minute this almost paid dividends when MacKenzie found Nichol with a crossed ball but Nichol just failed to get his header on target.
MacKenzie was then involved again for Academy’s first goal. He did well to wrestle the ball around two Brora defenders at the corner flag, and cross into the Brora box where several players tried to connect before it fell to Weir and he sent his right foot shot passed a helpless Gray.
1 – 3
Brora responded in the 56th minute with the perfect reply when Richard Finnes scored a weird sort of a goal. More seemed wrong-footed from a deflected Shane Sutherland shot, but got a hand to it to make a save and the ball fell to Finnes and he hammered it home.
1 – 4
A few minutes later Brora’s Sutherland almost produced the death-nail but his looping header was brilliantly tipped over the top of the cross-bar by More.
Mark Smith picked up the first booking of the game in the 59th minute after he was booked for a combination of a hard tackle and what looked to be a bit of ‘afters’ with the referee.
Substitute Nichol then gave Academy yet another life-line when he netted in the 70th minute from a Gary Farquhar free-kick to pull a goal back, game on!!
2 – 4
A minute later and the fairy-tail fight-back continued. Gary Weir got onto the end of a ball that was fired into the Brora box and he scored with a well taken goal from 6 yards out.
3 – 4
Incredibly with the game barely re-started Academy squared the scores. Bryan McKiddie showed some good close ball control in midfield to evade a few challenges before passing to Stewart Ross, and he sent in the perfect cross for Weir to get on the end of to head home for his hat-trick. The ‘Harmsworth roar’ could have probably been heard in Brora as the crowd went wild.
4 – 4
More incident and action was yet to come, when with 74 minutes on the clock Sam Mackay got a straight red card from referee Hamill for a challenge through the back of Bryan McKiddie.
So Brora down a man, and by this stage Academy were going for the winner, and it so nearly came when MacKenzie again made good ground up the left wing and fired a wicked ball into the heart of the Brora defence for Mark Nichol to head just over the top.
With 10 minutes left the Cattachs lost another player when Mark Smith was adjudged by referee Hamill to have deliberately handled the ball from a David Mowat pass, and he got his second yellow card to join Mackay for an early shower.
A minute later and Nichol had another chance to seal the game when he had a close range effort saved by Gray.
With 4 minutes left the clock Richard Macadie looked to have just beaten the off-side trap and he slotted home with a brilliant finish from the edge of the box, but dismay followed as the far-side assistant flagged for off-side.
That was followed by a repeat performance from the left hand side a minute later when MacKenzie scored with a similar goal, but again the assistant flagged him off-side in what looked to be a very tight call.
Brora then thought they had won the game with almost the last kick when the ball was delivered into the Academy box and Mark Kennedy looked to have got the last touch to head home, but the near-side assistant this time flagged for what looked like another tight off-side call.
Final score 4 – 4
So honours even and a continuing cup run is still to play for with both sides still to face Golspie Sutherland. This leaves progression from this group onto the semi-final wide open with all 3 teams still in with a chance to progress.
The remaining games are scheduled for:
Brora v Golspie 8th August
Golspie v WAFC 15th August
The game on the 15th, although a home tie for Golspie, will be played at Dudgeon Park in Brora.
Match report written by John Briskham
|James More (GK)||18||1||-||32||-|
|Nigel MacKenzie (sub)||-||1||-||203||33|
|Mark Nichol (sub)||-||1||1||28||12|