Coach praises hard-working Caithness U13s after victory over Dingwall
The cheers from the crowd at the final whistle were heard at the far end of Pulteney on Sunday afternoon in the latest instalment of Caithness United under-13s' impressive season in the Moray Firth Youth Development League.
A 4-2 win over a strong Dingwall side at Upper Bignold Park allowed the Caithness team to leapfrog their opponents and gain top spot.
The Ross-shire outfit played some neat football in spells, and provided an excellent test for the Caithness youngsters. Caithness, however, were more than a match for their opponents, both in their expansive style and in their physicality.
Caithness began with some purpose. Their first opportunity included some intelligent footwork from Lee Gordon on the left that allowed him to drift past two defenders before passing to Owen Bain, who neatly slotted the ball home for the opening goal.
Caithness kept Dingwall pegged back in their own half for a spell, with Euan Kennedy on the right-hand side creating several opportunities. One of these saw Kennedy cut inside and shave the top of the crossbar with a curling left-foot effort.
Some uncharacteristic indecision from the Caithness defence provided the first opening for Dingwall. Ali Young capitalised by stealing the ball and cutting in on goal before finishing smartly past the helpless Tom Armitage.
United's forward partnership of Morgan Kennedy and Sam Reid continued to impress with their workrate and selfless play.
Euan Kennedy restored the Caithness lead when he drove forward, shrugged off one challenge and cleverly nutmegged another defender at the edge of the box before unleashing an unstoppable shot high into the far corner of the net.
Caithness maintained their territorial advantage in the second period, and were unfortunate not to add to their tally. Lee Gordon was inches away from getting on the end of a well-placed Stevie Esson cross, then Matthew Mackay let fly with a left-foot shot that was tipped around the post by the Dingwall keeper.
Caithness paid the price for not capitalising on their dominance when at the end of the second period, Dingwall broke forward and a cut-back allowed Fraser Coyne to tap in to an open goal.
The final period got under way with Caithness controlling proceedings and they regained the lead with a well-struck free kick by Owen Bain after Morgan Kennedy had been brought down on the edge of the box.
Dingwall gambled on their formation as they went in search of an equaliser. United took advantage by quickly turning defence into attack.
Lee Gordon showed great composure in controlling the ball and threading an intelligent pass between two defenders for Morgan Kennedy to run on to. Kennedy galloped through and held off the attentions of despairing defenders before coolly brushing the ball under the keeper to round off another excellent win.
Caithness coach Steven Bain said: “The boys keep working hard for results, and that is exactly what was required against a very good Dingwall team.
"Sam Reid and Morgan Kennedy reflected that up front, where they often brought our full-backs and midfielders into play.
"The fact of the matter is Dingwall simply could not cope with Euan Kennedy, our man of the match. His superb goal merely underlined his power, pace and trickery which he showed in abundance throughout the match.”