1 - 3
1 - 3
Sam Mackay (24)
Mitchel Megginson (51)
Paul McManus (56)
Jonathan Smith (74)
David Allan for Alan Hughes (60)
Jack Henry for Richard Macadie (60)
Gary Weir for Craig Gunn (75)
Connor Scully for Harry Milne (57)
Hamish Macleod for Paul McManus (76)
Nicholas Gray for Ryan Stott (85)
Michael Steven (58)
Jack Henry (70)
Michael Steven (90)
Michael Steven (90)
Dan McFarlane (Referee)
A good first half ’s work by Academy was undone as champions Cove pressed home the reasons why they’re top of the Highland League pack. Sam Mackay’s well-worked goal delivered a deserved lead to the Scorries but it only served to rile the newly crowned champs as they laid siege to Wick’s goal. Mitch Megginson, Paul McManus and Jonny Smith struck to hand the Aberdeen side a deserved win.
Cove were canny enough to play up the slope in the opening 45 minutes after winning the toss. The Harmsworth slope has been spoken of in mystical tones but, given Wick’s inability to get up it in the second half, the fables of players needing climbing gear to get up to the penalty box appeared to be true. Whether or not the infamous incline played that big a factor in the eventual result, Cove’s pressing game in the second half had to be grudgingly admired as Wick simply could not get out of their own half – such was Academy’s frustrations that skipper Michael Steven saw red in more ways than one, which resulted in him being ordered off near the end.
All of which seemed a distant past 90 minutes earlier when Wick, with a spring in their step, set about their title-winning visitors. Steven Anderson was unlucky to see his looping header dip the wrong side of the crossbar but Academy didn’t have to wait long before they hit the net. It was a pity there was no television coverage of this match because this really was a goal worth re-winding and playing back many times over. Alan Hughes’ perfectly weighted ball sliced Cove’s defence open. Anderson took it past his marker before cutting it back to Sam Mackay, whose delicate chip evaded the despairing dive of Cove keeper Stuart McKenzie and into the net.
With their pride injured, Cove set about getting back on terms only for Sam Mackay to be Wick’s hero at the other end with two successive line clearances from Ryan Stott and Megginson.
Academy were unlucky not to go 2-0 up when Richard Macadie’s long ball pierced Cove’s defence but Sam Mackay could not stretch his leg out any further to make contact.
Whatever Cove had in their half-time tea, it transformed them into a different side – one that made sure Wick would struggle to get across the halfway line, such was their dominance.
Their equaliser came when Jamie Masson’s long ball into the box was glanced in by the head of Megginson.
It got worse for Academy soon after when a ball over the top caught the Scorries defence flat-footed, leaving McManus to bear down on goal and coolly finish.
As they have done all season, Cove tightened the vice even further and Wick yielded a third with 15 minutes left. Megginson weaved his way past two defenders before cutting back to Smith who rifled home from close range.
All that was left was Steven to fling an arm across the face of Cove’s Sam Robertson – an act that saw him get first use of the bath before his team-mates.
Match report written by Caithness Courier - Wed, April 25, 2018.
|Sean McCarthy (GK)||24||30||-||135||-|
|Jack Henry (sub)||26||15||-||15||-|
|Gary Weir (sub)||20||2||-||449||168|
|David Allan (sub)||28||8||1||311||135|
Gary Manson took the honours as he was named the Wick Academy supporters’ player of the year after today's match. Manson in his 16th season with the club – took the award ahead of goalkeeper Sean McCarthy and forward Steven Anderson respectively.
The Dan Thomson Trophy for youth player of the year 2017/18 went to Greg Mackay.
Wick boss Tom McKenna paid tribute to Manson, saying: “Gary’s award is thoroughly deserved. Gary is a joy to work with. For me, I’d have voted for him because to work with Gary is a pleasure. What he contributes to the game is vital. He can play in any position, doesn’t moan and gives you his all.
“He’s so composed and confident with the ball and he defies his age with his superb work rate.”