1 - 3
1 - 3
NOS Cup (Semi Final)
Bryan McKiddie (58)
Andrew Barrowman (42)
Daniel Park (62)
Daniel Park (89)
Ian Munro & Richard Hughes
Craig Shearer for Alan Farquhar (46)
Bryan McKiddie for Stevie Cunningham (46)
Ross Allan for David Cowie (76)
Daniel Park for Jamie Duff (59)
Liam Polworth for Andrew Barrowman (84)
Kyle White for Shane Sutherland (89)
Graham Fraser (Referee)
Wick Academy defended magnificently during the first half of Wednesday night's Nutel North of Scotland Cup semi final at Harmsworth Park only to concede a goal three minutes before the break. There was a real cup tie atmosphere with a noisy crowd set on enjoying the occasion. When Bryan McKiddie came off the bench to net an equaliser Wick hopes were rekindled only to be doused by a quick goal at the other end.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle fielded a strong squad and with manager Terry Butcher watching from the stand the players looked eager to please and bid for a place against Ross County in tomorrow's big SFL derby. They dominated the first half hour with swift raids and slick close passing though Alex Lamb and Andrew MacLeod tackled like terriers at the heart of the Academy defence.
Andy Barrowman did break clear but keeper Michael Gray forced him to go wide and when the Jag's striker drove the ball across from a tight angle on the right Lamb kicked it behind for a corner. Former Academy youngster Shane Sutherland fired a 20 yard volley which swerved past the base of Gray's left hand upright.
Gray dived to collect the ball at Barrowman's feet as he chased a pass from Nick Ross.
The veteran Wick keeper was a hero again in the 15th minute with a great save from Russell Duncan.
Academy at last took play to the top end after 20 minutes. Grant Campbell was tripped and then Gary Weir was fouled as the ball reached him from the free kick. When Weir dribbled the ball into the penalty box it was cleared down the field to Ross who sent it on towards the Wick area. Barrowman shot and Gray held the ball after a spectacular horizontal dive to his left. There was another anxious moment for Wick in the 27th minute but Gray was quickly off his line and Barrowman's hasty lob looped just over the bar.
Davie Cowie battled his way forward in the 30th minute to briefly relieve the pressure but Barrowman was soon in the action again. He saw a header caught by Gray and was then tackled by Lamb, the ball going out for a corner.
Barrowman was not to be denied and when Ross picked him out with a cross from the right he volleyed it past Gray.
Half time 0 - 1
Craig Shearer and McKiddie joined the Academy midfield for the second half and within a couple of minutes Shearer headed inches wide at the back post from Gary Manson's free kick on the right. Manson then sent a free kick in from the left but MacLeod's header was held by keeper Kyle Allison.
There was delight for the Academy supporters in the 58th minute. Manson played the ball over the Inverness defence to Weir who held it up on the 18 yard line. He then drove it low into a crowded box and McKiddie seized on a rebound to push the ball low past Allison.
The joy was short lived. Jamie Duff had taken a knock trying to prevent the goal and was replaced by Daniel Park who within four minutes fired the ball in low from the Caley right across the face of goal and it crept in at the back post.
Academy battled bravely for another equaliser. Taking a pass from Martin Gunn, Richard Macadie poked the ball ahead between Weir and Allison but the Inverness keeper won the race and kicked it into touch. Receiving the ball from a Manson free kick Macadie shot too high. Another Manson free kick was scrambled away. A slick passing move took the ball into the box but there were too many blue shirts. Weir bustled past a couple of defenders but could not keep the ball in play.
Right to the end Academy were still in with a chance but this was killed stone dead when Park spotted a slack pass and ran into the box to steer the ball past Gray from 15 yards.
Inverness go on to meet Nairn, 2-1 winners over Rothes the previous night. For Academy the game goes into the history books as a ninth semi final defeat in the competition.
Full time 1 - 3
Wick Academy bosses Ian Munro and Richard Hughes have seen their team win 22 games since losing the semi final in Inverness on the same date last year. They would so dearly have loved Wednesday's game to be win 23 but it was not to be. "Yes, obviously we are disappointed ", said Hughes, "They put us under a lot of pressure in the first half but we knew that was likely to happen. They had full time first team players so they wanted to pressure us into making mistakes. 1-0 down we made a couple of changes at half time and I thought we played very well for the next 15 minutes. We were very much in the game and got it back to 1-1 but then gave a goal away almost immediately. We were still in the game and had a couple of chances but another mistake cost us a killer goal right at the end. Overall we are not too disheartened - we put up a good performance against a team of real quality".
Maurice Malpas, ICT assistant manager said " I thought it was a very competitive game. We played very well and our passing was good. Wick defended well and their keeper was outstanding. In the second half Wick deserved their goal but fortunately we then went straight back up the park and scored. That put a dent in their confidence. Overall we are pleased with the result in what was a very difficult game".
Match report written by John Briskham
|Michael Gray (GK)||-||3||-||3||-|
|Bryan McKiddie (sub)||-||2||1||82||4|
|Craig Shearer (sub)||-||2||1||327||42|
|Ross Allan (sub)||16||7||1||7||1|