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Castletown's cup homework gets top marks


By Matt Leslie


Michael Smith celebrates scoring the opening goal in Castletown's 2-0 win against Lochinver. Picture: James Gunn
Michael Smith celebrates scoring the opening goal in Castletown's 2-0 win against Lochinver. Picture: James Gunn

Preparation was the key to Castletown's success as they booked themselves a last-eight Highland Amateur Cup tie against Wick Groats.

A Michael Smith strike along with an unfortunate own goal from Lochinver gave James Robertson's men a 2-0 victory.

It was a closely fought contest but the background checks done on the north-west Sutherland side beforehand proved pivotal.

Robertson said: "We did a lot of homework on them.

"We know guys who play in the Sutherland league and they were able to provide us with the information we needed on Lochinver.

"That was very helpful for our preparation and we put it to good use.

"We were anticipating a hard game from them and that's exactly what we got. However, our workrate was extremely good – a lot better than in our previous game against Staxigoe where we were flat and lethargic.

"Against Lochinver we managed to established a good tempo to our game and the team were closing down everything and harried the opposition.

"I couldn't pick out a single player who stood out – the whole team were superb. Lochinver were stuffy and hard to create chances against but we kept at it and got our rewards."

A trip to CAFA Division One leaders Wick Groats awaits Castletown, and Robertson knows how tough a draw that is.

He added: "It doesn't get much tougher than the top team in the county.

"We're under no illusions as to how big our task will be but I know that if we turn up with our best, we can give any team a game. We're the underdogs but you've got to believe."

Castletown's Greg MacLeod hails Lochinver's misfortune as an own goal helps put the Back Park side through to the quarter-finals of the Highland Amateur Cup. Picture: James Gunn
Castletown's Greg MacLeod hails Lochinver's misfortune as an own goal helps put the Back Park side through to the quarter-finals of the Highland Amateur Cup. Picture: James Gunn

Wick Groats meanwhile had to battle against some Hebridean grit in order to set up a quarter-final tie with Castletown.

Facing Isle of Lewis side Point, Groats had to dig deep and two late goals from John Budge and Ben Sinclair sealed a 2-0 win.

Manager Kevin Anderson said: "Point are one of the best teams we have played in recent years.

"They are a strong, physical side with huge players – I'm six foot three and some of their players were towering over me.

"Stornoway sides are usually very tough to play against so we knew this would be hard.

"We had to battle hard in the first half and did well to stay in the game.

"But the longer the match went on, the more we grew into it and in the end it came down to who would take their chances. Thankfully we did.

"We've got Castletown next but I'm not taking anything for granted as we know they are capable of springing a surprise."

Elsewhere, Pentland United made it a triple success in the cup for Caithness as they hammered Loch Ness 5-0.

Andy Hardwick's hat-trick, along with strikes from Aiden Reid and James MacLean, helped set up a quarter-final tie away to Maryburgh.

Highland Amateur Cup – third round results

Castletown 2 Lochinver 0

Loch Ness 0 Pentland United 5 (match played at Ardersier)

Maryburgh 4 Rendall 2 (after extra time)

Whitedale 1 Lerwick Spurs 0

Stornoway Athletic 1 Sleat and Strath 2 (AET)

Point 0 Wick Groats 2

Staxigoe United 4 Kirkwall Thorfinn 3

Avoch w/o Ness (Avoch receive a bye into the next round following Ness's withdrawal from the competition)

Highland Amateur Cup – quarter-final draw

Avoch v Sleat and Strath

Maryburgh v Pentland United

Staxigoe United v Whitedale (at Sir George’s Park, Thurso)

Wick Groats v Castletown

(Ties to be played on Saturday, July 20)



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