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Final showdown will be between top two


By Matt Leslie


The county league's top two teams will be contesting silverware next month in the Colin Macleod Memorial Cup final.

Pentland United notched up a 4-0 semi-final success against John O'Groats, while Wick Groats disposed of Thurso Swifts 5-1.

The two will meet in the final at Castletown's Back Park on Saturday, June 22, with a 3pm kick-off.

Grant Budge of John O'Groats closes in on Pentland United's Kyle Innes. Picture: James Gunn
Grant Budge of John O'Groats closes in on Pentland United's Kyle Innes. Picture: James Gunn

Goals from Roddy Innes, Kyle Innes, James Murray and Murray Mackintosh gave Pentland their win, although boss Michael Gray says the match was a strange affair.

He said: "The game was a funny one. We opened up brightly and then there was a lull in the match.

"Then out of nowhere we got two quick goals and that seemed to knock the stuffing out of them.

"The second half was a bit flat so we decided to change things a wee bit by going with two strikers up front instead of one. It worked, as in the last 20 minutes we got two more goals.

"The team as a whole I thought were a good, solid seven out of 10 but it wasn't one of those games where anyone hit an eight or a nine.

"Kyle Innes, though, deserves a mention as this was his first outing for us in a long while due to his work commitments. He worked hard and was full of running.

"As for the final itself, we've not been regular attendees at county finals so it's nice to reach one. Wick Groats are a side with a proven pedigree and a very good final is a prospect."

John O'Groats manager Grant Budge had no complaints about the outcome.

He said: "It was a fair result. We gave away two sloppy goals in the first half and once you do that with a side as good as Pentland it's always a hard ask to come back.

"One of our key defenders, Stuart Sinclair, is still out with injury and we have missed him.

"We did pass the ball quite well but the only other positive I can draw from this is that we've improved on our last outing before this one where we lost 8-0 to Wick Groats in the league.

"The good news for us though is that we are very hopeful of finally playing a home match in John O'Groats itself this Saturday.

"We've been playing at Watten for a while now. The new pitch has had drainage issues and a prolonged wait for the grass to grow.

"However, I'm 95 per cent certain that Saturday's Highland Amateur Cup tie against High Ormlie Hotspurs will take place on it."

Wick Groats booked their place in the final thanks to a hat-trick from Mark Macadie, with Stuart Ross and Grant MacNab also netting. Lewis McKechnie got Swifts' consolation.

Groats boss Kevin Anderson said: "We did what we needed to do – it was a good level of performance without being at our best.

"Swifts battled away – their keeper, Danny Reid, was the game's man of the match in my opinion. Danny plays for Wick Academy's under-17s and he had a outstanding second half to keep the score down."

James Murray (left) congratulates Murray Mackintosh on scoring the fourth goal for Pentland United. Picture: James Gunn
James Murray (left) congratulates Murray Mackintosh on scoring the fourth goal for Pentland United. Picture: James Gunn

Fixtures

Wednesday, May 15 (all kick-offs 7pm)

CAFA Division One

John O'Groats v Staxigoe United

(at Watten)

Lybster v Thurso Acks

CAFA Division Two

Wick Thistle v Thurso Pentland

Saturday, May 18

Highland Amateur Cup (all kick-offs 3pm)

Keiss v Helmsdale United

Halkirk v Brora Wanderers

Wick Thistle v Wick Groats

Thurso Acks v Lochinver

John O’Groats v High Ormlie Hotspurs

Watten v Invergordon SC

Tain Thistle v Staxigoe United

Castletown v Dornoch City

Pentland United v Lairg Rovers

Lybster v Inver



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