2 - 0
Kyle MacLeod (44)
Craig Campbell (58)
Jack Henry for Jack Halliday (57)
Gordon MacNab for Richard Macadie (66)
Alan Hughes for Marc MacGregor (80)
Sam Mackay (18)
Gary Manson (65)
Danny Mackay (82)
Billy Baxter (Referee)
The new Highland League season started with more than a tinge of sadness as the match began with a minute's silence to mark the passing of Keith FC and Highland League stalwart Sandy Stables.
Brora ran out winners of the first derby match of the season with a goal in each half - The first in the 45th minute when a Paul Brindle shot was well saved by Wick keeper McCarthy but he could only push the ball out from goal and Kyle Macleod slid in ahead of Wick's Danny Mackay to knock the ball inside the right hand post.
The second came in the 60th minute when Craig Campbell ran onto a perfectly weighted through ball from Paul Brindle and, without breaking stride, volleyed the ball past the diving McCarthy.
Wick had started off the match on the front foot - in the first minute Davie Allan picked up the ball on the right wing and drove forward only to be immediately brought down with a tackle from behind by Brora's Ally Macdonald. Academy could make nothing of the resulting free kick - Brora's loanee keeper Ryan Esson watching as the ball flew harmlessly over the crossbar.
Brora's first chance came in 3 minutes when Ally Macdonald ran on to a ball on the edge of the 18 yard box but his shot was well collected by Sean McCarthy. Two minutes later Craig Campbell thought he had put his team into the lead when he slotted home a pass from Kyle Macleod only to see the Assistant Referee's flag up for offside.
Ally Macleod was next to go close when his shot had the keeper beaten but the ball found the side netting.
Then ten minutes of derby day madness by both sides - first Wick's Craig Gunn slid into tackle Martin Maclean, missed the ball and upended the Brora man - next Sam Mackay slid in to collect a loose ball, collected the ball but caught the man on the way through and the crowd were witness to the sight of Zander Sutherland flying through the air -Mackay picked up the first yellow card of the match for the tackle despite his protestations that he got the ball. A few minutes later Brora's Zander Sutherland sent Craig Gunn crashing to the ground.
The next foul could have proved costly for Brora - Craig Gunn brought down by Neil Macdonald on the edge of the penalty box - but Sam Mackay's free kick was well saved by Ryan Esson diving low to his left and pushing the ball away to the feet of Neil Macdonald who cleared the ball upfield to safety.
Brora continued to press and probably should have taken the lead when after a one two between Craig Campbell and Ally Macdonald - Macdonald dragged his shot wide of the post. Finally though the Brora pressure told and just before half time Kyle Macleod was on hand to slot the ball into the net.
The first chance of the second fell to Brora's Paul Brindle after he cut in from the left an unleashed a shot that was deflected for a corner by Jack Halliday. A heart stopping moment for keeper McCarthy from the resulting corner when he was impeded in the air by Steven Mackay and the ball flashed by the Wick far post.
Next chance up for Brora a few minutes later when Craig Campbell drove into the box, slipped the ball to Kyle Macleod, who was only denied by a diving save from McCarthy.
Wick's first chance of the second half came when Marc Macgregor beat Neil Macdonald to the ball on the 6 yard line but the ball spun away as he was about to shoot.
Sam Mackay was next up for Wick but pulled his shot from the edge of the 18 yard box wide of the post
Brora then became the more likely team to score the next goal - a shot from Zander Sutherland flashed across the 6 yard box - Colin Williamson just missed making contact with a cross in from the right - and Zander Sutherland with another shot that beat McCarthy but hit the side netting.
The home side did not have too long to wait tho and Campbell's strike for Brora's second would have graced any stage.
Brora continued to press - Wick picked up two more bookings - Gary Manson for a swipe out at the ball - that made contact with neither ball or man - and Danny Mackay for a crunching tackle that left Zander Sutherland flying theatrically through the air.
2 nil to the home team at full time.
Match report written by Mel Roger
|Sean McCarthy (GK)||25||1||-||137||-|
|Jack Henry (sub)||26||1||-||17||-|
|Alan Hughes (sub)||23||1||-||72||4|
|Gordon MacNab (sub)||24||1||-||19||6|
Tom McKenna interview with Alan Hendry, Caithness Courier.
Tom McKenna delivered a damning verdict on the performance of his Wick Academy players as they slumped to defeat in their Highland League opener at Brora.
“We were lethargic, we were disjointed, there was no fluency in our game,” the manager said after Saturday’s 2-0 derby loss. “We lacked leaders, we lacked responsibility.
”Kyle Macleod prodded the ball home just before half-time and Craig Campbell added a well-taken second around the hour mark, but the Cattachs should have won by a bigger margin as they were superior in all departments.
Other than a couple of half-chances, Academy offered little up front and struggled to keep possession. The lacklustre display was a serious let-down after all the hard work done in pre-season.
Speaking just after the full-time whistle, manager McKenna admitted: “I thought we were thoroughly disappointing.
“I’m not going to take anything away from Brora – they were by far the better team. I thought they outfought us and outplayed us – we just weren’t at the races today.
“I thought they bullied us throughout the game and we just weren’t up for it.
“Take nothing away from Brora. They thoroughly deserved the three points – they were head and shoulders above us.
“With the fantastic pre-season we’ve had I thought it had taken us to a stage where we would be able to compete. But today has been a great indicator of where we are – we’re still a long way off it.
“I just thought we were really flat. There’s not one person who could have come off that park and said they’ve performed or contributed to the game for Wick Academy.
“We’ve not tested the keeper, our retention of the ball was poor. on the defensive side we didn’t battle for the first balls, we never won the second balls. We were just not in contention.
“The good thing is, whether we won or lost today, there’s still a long way to go. So if we can fix it now before it festers then that’ll be a positive for us.”
The manager will be expecting an improvement in tonight’s North of Scotland Cup first-round tie away to Strathspey Thistle, with a league match to come against Lossiemouth at Harmsworth Park on Saturday.
“We’ll get back training on Monday and we’ve got Strathspey on Wednesday. If we can put a few things right on Monday hopefully it will stand us in good stead for going forward,” McKenna said.
It was Steven Mackay’s first competitive match in his new player/manager role at Brora and he was understandably pleased with the way his players performed.
“I’m absolutely delighted with all the boys. I couldn’t have asked for more,” Mackay said.
“It was important that we won the game first and foremost but I think the manner in which we won it was most pleasing.
“I thought we controlled it more or less from the start of the game. We feel that we’ve got the ability in the changing room to do that to teams. It’s a case of going out there and actually doing it.
“We’ve obviously worked the boys really hard in pre-season on fitness and imposing ourselves and I think we showed that really well in both halves.
“Games against Wick are historically really tough and really close but I just felt that if we went out and started the game with a tempo and intensity, winning every header and winning every second ball, then we could really stamp our authority on the game.
“We asked that from the boys at the start of the game and they went out and delivered. It was a complete performance.”
Mackay felt that Brora’s opener on stroke of half-time was the least they deserved.
“You could almost sense it was coming,” he said. “So it was good to go in at half-time with that cushion and it would obviously have had the opposite effect on Wick.
“At 1-0 it’s always quite precarious but we got the second goal with a great move and a fantastic finish from Cammy. He has earned his keep this week, that’s for sure.”
Former Aberdeen and Caley Thistle number one Ryan Esson played as a trialist for Brora, having been drafted in on Friday night to fill in for regular keeper Joe Malin.