Anderson says North Caledonian League break has come at good time for Halkirk
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The North Caledonian League's midwinter break has come at a good time for Halkirk United, according to assistant manager Liam Anderson.
The Anglers have competed well in Division One this season but slumped to a 5-1 defeat at Golspie last Saturday after having two players sent off.
That setback came after a 4-1 loss at St Duthus the previous week, bringing an end to an encouraging mini-run in which Halkirk had kept clean sheets against Invergordon and Orkney.
"The boys were gutted after Saturday's result, especially the two lads who had received red cards, but everyone is focused on improving on the last two results," Anderson said.
"The lads have done well so far – it’s a really tough league but we have managed to pick up some positive results. The break has come at a good time for us, to be honest, as it gives some of the boys we currently have out injured a chance to get fit for the game against Thurso on January 9.
"The players' commitment is fantastic, especially in the current circumstances of not having changing rooms or showers available."
Anderson, who had been a Wick Academy under-17 coach, joined Halkirk United in November to assist Ewan McElroy.
"I am really enjoying my time with Halkirk so far," Anderson said. "It’s a fresh challenge coaching an adult team as I have been in youth football since I first started coaching.
"Hopefully I can help Ewan and the team get some more positive results now after the new year."
The Anglers were up against it at King George V Park after Jordan Howden was red-carded with 15 minutes gone for a handball offence to deny a goalscoring opportunity.
Liam Bremner scored from the resultant penalty and added another spot-kick on 34 minutes after Colin Macrae had scored Golspie's second.
Conor Cormack and Ally Macleod added further goals within the first 10 minutes of the second half. It got worse for Halkirk when Grant MacNab was dismissed following an off-the-ball incident which a linesman spotted.
Jonah Martens grabbed a consolation goal with 10 minutes to go.
"It was disappointing," Anderson said. "It was always going to be a difficult afternoon as Golspie have proved to be a really good team.
"Although down to 10 men I thought the lads did well in the first half as we got into a few promising positions on the counter-attack but unfortunately didn’t take full advantage."
Golspie's win means they are now a point behind Division One leaders Invergordon having played a game more. Invergordon’s match against Thurso was postponed.
Third-placed St Duthus defeated Orkney bottom side 2-1 in Stromness. Ben Bruce netted both goals for the Saints, with Craig Harrison on target for Orkney.
In Division Two, Bonar Bridge came out on top in the Sutherland derby with a 2-0 victory over Scourie.
Alness United thumped Loch Ness 5-1, while Inverness Athletic beat Nairn County A 1-0 to go top.