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Bunillidh trip was not pitch-perfect for Anglers


By Matt Leslie


Halkirk United manager Ewan McElroy. Picture: James Gunn
Halkirk United manager Ewan McElroy. Picture: James Gunn

A POOR pitch and a bad day at the office contributed to Halkirk United's downfall at struggling Bunillidh Thistle.

With their hosts seeking their first North Caledonian League victory of the season, the Anglers were heavily fancied to head back up the A9 with three points on Saturday.

However, the Helmsdale side ran out 2-0 winners thanks to second-half goals from Robbie Murray and Billy Cairns.

This defeat, combined with Golspie Sutherland winning at United's next opponents Inverness Athletic, meant the Anglers dropped down a place in the table to sixth.

While manager Ewan McElroy admitted his side's performance could have been better, he was amazed that the game was played at all given the state of Bunillidh's Couper Park pitch.

"It was not a great day all round on Saturday," he said. "The pitch was again in a dire state and I think everyone involved was surprised the game got the go-ahead.

"It it quickly became apparent that the game would be decided by who could stay on their feet the longest rather than any actual football being played.

"That said, Bunillidh have a few new faces and it would have been a difficult game regardless.

There was no real football from either team, to be honest.

"I think Bunillidh adapted to the conditions better than us in the second half. We had chances in the first but never took them and it was whoever managed to get their noses in front would likely win the game.

"There was no real football from either team, to be honest. The conditions made it impossible. It was more a case of who could take a chance when it arose, and unfortunately for us Bunillidh did and we squandered ours.

"We were missing another four players from the previous week so eight boys were out in total. It was not ideal but I was still more than happy with squad we put out. We roped in a couple of trialists and both did well.

"I think Aaron McNicol was probably our best player, certainly in the first half."

Halkirk United are back on familiar turf this weekend as they entertain Inverness Athletic.

McElroy added: "It’s going to be another tough game on Saturday. Inverness will be desperate for the points and have a revamped squad from last time.

"We need to assess a few of the injured boys at the end of the week as we lost another three to injures on Saturday. However, Bryan Reid, Ben Gordon and Mark Webster are all hoping to return.

"As for new signings, I don’t think there will be many at this stage. We have a lot of injuries at the minute but equally a large enough squad that we should be able to cope."



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