1 - 1
1 - 1
Craig Shearer (51)
||Chris Ross (65)|
Ian Munro & Richard Hughes
Martin Gunn for Nigel MacKenzie (70)
Stevie Cunningham for David Cowie (70)
Martin Gunn (92)
David Ross (69)
Neil MacCuish (92)
Alan Frew (Referee)
There was plenty of entertaining attacking football in this Scot-Ads Highland League clash at Harmsworth Park on Saturday. Both sides had chances to win the game but in the end had to settle for a draw.
Academy gave an early sign of how the play would develop when in the 3rd minute David Cowie drove the ball in from the right along the 18 yard line to Gary Weir. He turned it back to Richard Macadie who fired a shot from 24 yards which was still rising as it shaved the top of the Clach crossbar.
During a series of three corners for the visitors around the 6 minute mark Craig Shearer made a spectacular headed clearance over the Wick bar, a header from Clach veteran Davie Ross was deflected wide and finally keeper Don MacMillan made a confident high catch.
In the 10th minute Weir was tripped by Andrew Lewis 25 yards from goal just right of centre. Stewart Ross drove the free kick low to the far post where Shearer ran in on cue but could only divert the ball across the goal.
At the top end Neil McCuish sent an inswinging 40 yard free kick from the Clach left touch line over to the back post and there was an anxious moment when MacMillan allowed the ball to bounce before clutching it safely to his midriff.
Weir shielded the ball well in midfield before sweeping it out to the left for Nigel MacKenzie to set off on a run. He crossed the ball low into the area and Macadie steered it goalwards but without the timing that had seen him net a 12 minute hat trick a week earlier
This end to end play continued and Andrew MacLeod met a cross from Adam Naismith with a diving header, MacKenzie clearing the resultant corner. The visitors soon pushed forward again and in the 23rd minute a glancing header from Chris Ross rebounded from the base of MacMillan's right hand post. The powerfully built Gordon Morrison seemed prepared to have a go from any range and one 40 yard drive flew past the top left corner of MacMillan's goal.
A raid from MacKenzie down the Academy left brought a couple of corners but no tangible reward. Then in the 29th minute Weir was through on goal and keeper Neil Hastie did well to block his 8 yard shot. Weir seized on the rebound and manoeuvred to have another left foot effort but by then four red shirted defenders were on the line and Weir could not force the ball past them.
Academy enjoyed a creative spell and twice Hastie had to dive full length to stop 20 yard shots from Macadie.
A quick counter raid up the Clach right saw a couple of efforts blocked near the penalty spot before MacMillan stretched high to hold a header from Chris Ross.
Just before the break Academy came oh! so close to a first goal. Macadie's long corner from the left was missed by Hastie and reached Ross just beyond the back post. It was too tight an angle and his drive flew past the face of the goal.
From the restart Academy kept up the pressure but without testing Hastie until breaking the deadlock after 52 minutes. The Clach keeper could not hold a 40 yard free kick from the right from Macadie and Shearer reacted quickly to drill the loose ball into the net from 6 yards.
Near the hour mark MacCuish and Chris Ross both went close for Clach and then MacLeod headed a cross from Morrison behind for a corner. David Watson crossed from the Clach right to Chris Ross whose volley from 12 yards was well saved by MacMillan diving to his left. The equaliser was not long delayed. Chris Ross ran down the inside right channel and fired the ball low past MacMillan's left hand into the corner of the net.
Wick rallied and a Macadie free kick led to a scramble in the area.
A quick clearance down the park gave Morrison a chance to close in on goal. The big striker wriggled his way to the 6 yard line but MacMillan was able to snatch the ball.
At the top end Weir twisted and turned to shake off three defenders and fired a left foot shot. Hastie dived to his left to turn it round the post. The corner led to more half chances ending when Weir chased a loose ball to the goal line on the left and turned it inside to Martin Gunn who shot wide.
The visitors forced play to the bottom end and MacLeod did well to win a heading duel with Davie Ross at the back post when the ball came over from a free kick on the left.
Weir took a return pass from Stevie Cunningham and one on one with the keeper had a great chance to win the match for Academy only to shoot wide.
A 40 yard free kick from Steven MacDonald was deflected for a corner on the right from which Watson's cross was well caught by MacMillan high at the back post.
A brief feud between Gunn and MacCuish ended with a free kick for Wick and a booking for both players. The 35 yard free kick from Stewart Ross drifted wide and Academy's last chance of three points went with it.
The Inverness team retain their four point advantage over their Wick rivals in that all too familiar area just below mid table.
Match report written by Ken Wood
|Don MacMillan (GK)||-||10||-||122||-|
|Stevie Cunningham (sub)||-||11||1||11||1|
|Martin Gunn (sub)||-||10||1||347||70|