2 - 2
2 - 2
Craig Gunn (27)
Sam Mackay (57)
Fraser Robertson (26)
Daniel Maclennan (81)
Michael Steven for Andrew Hardwick (85)
Richard Macadie for Gordon MacNab (85)
Lukasz Geruzel for Matthew Grant (70)
Blair Lawrie for Liam Shewan (63)
James Beeston for Fraser Robertson (90)
Gary Manson (19)
Sam Mackay (88)
Billy Baxter (Referee)
An ill wind usually is the cause of despair but in Academy’s case, a lack of it was their undoing. To say a gale had done its best to try and ruin Saturday’s Highland League fixture would be putting it mildly to say the least.
Both teams were trying in vain to string some passes together but, depending on which way you were kicking, the ball either flew away like a rocket or came spinning back at you.
However, if you were kicking downwind, the odds were with you – especially for Wick who in the second half had the wind behind their backs and at a greater rate of knots than Clach had earlier on.
But with nine minutes left, the gusts took a breather and Clach took advantage to finally get out of their own half to deny their hosts victory. A small window of opportunity... and they man-aged to take it.
Earlier, Academy were up against the wind in the first half but it wasn’t strong enough to stop them from encroaching inside their opponents’ half. But Clach had an advantage with the elements and should have had an early lead when Paul Smith’s cross picked out an unmarked Stuart Leslie only for the visiting striker to fluff his lines completely when it was easier to score.
Wick came back and Steven Anderson nearly had a contender for goal of the season, only to see his swerving shot from outside the box brilliantly saved by Clach stopper Douglas Maclennan.
A minute later, Andrew Hardwick came close from the resulting corner only to see his header narrowly fly over.
But the wind was an issue and Academy were finding it a slog at times with Clach using it to press them back into their own box. Yet the home combine could not blame the weather for the goal that gave the visitors the lead. Fraser Robertson’s free-kick looked an easy take for Danny McCarthy as the former’s mishit effort scuffed along the ground. But McCarthy got his bearings all wrong and somehow managed to allow the ball to bobble into the net.
Credit to Academy who bounced back within 60 seconds with a well-worked equaliser. Anderson led Clach a merry dance on the left wing before cutting the ball back to Craig Gunn who thundered in a low shot past the despairing Maclennan.
Then at half-time the wind got even stronger and ruined the game as a spectacle with the near-comical sight of Clach trying to clear their lines only to have the ball come back at them.
Academy took advantage just before the hour as Sam Mackay’s mazy dribble into the box was followed by a coolly taken finish.
Tom McKenna’s side tried to press home their advantage as the wind made it impossible for Clach to even get into their own half. Unfortunately – as it was the previous week against Huntly – they couldn’t make it count and were made to pay.
In 81 minutes, mother Nature let her guard down and the wind dropped off. A long ball played over the top and, instead of being blown back, it fell to Daniel Maclennan who duly homed in on goal and fired an equaliser into the top corner.
Academy were lucky not to lose the game in in-jury time with a spectacular full-stretch save from McCarthy required to deny Macdonald’s header.
Match report written by Caithness Courier - Wed, Feb 28, 2018.
|Danny McCarthy (GK)||19||5||-||13||-|
|Michael Steven (sub)||27||15||-||228||11|
|Richard Macadie (sub)||30||24||9||478||186|