Freak goalie injury can't prevent Groats cup win
Not even a freak injury to goalie Graeme Williamson could halt Wick Groats' march to Eain Mackintosh Cup glory.
Groats again overcame close rivals Pentland United to land their second trophy of the season as they emerged 3-1 winners at a drizzly Halkirk.
Goals from Martin Sutherland, John Budge and Ben Sinclair gave them a 3-0 lead.
Despite Sean Campbell pulling one back from the spot, Pentland could not cash in and launch a dramatic comeback after an unlikely lifeline had been given to them.
Groats boss Kevin Anderson said: "Graeme pulled off a brilliant save from one of their guys and next thing you know, he's holding his hand in pain.
"It turns out that in making the save he dislocated two fingers so he had to come off the pitch.
"I was about to make an outfield substitution before that happened but thankfully the substitute I was about to field – Lewis Harrold – offered to go in goal for Graeme.
"Thankfully, apart from a couple of crosses, our game management was that good that Lewis didn't have much to do and we were able to close the game out.
"Graeme might be missing for the next few weeks while his fingers heal up."
Of the victory itself, Anderson was delighted with the professional way his men went about their job.
He added: "I'd mentioned the slow starts we'd been having of late but we were not slow this time round.
"We controlled the game in the first half and had it not been for my opposite number Michael Gray in goal for them, we could have been two or three up by half-time.
"They came back at us for the first 15 minutes or so in the second half but we expected that. Our defence though was resolute and we handled them very well.
"Aside from Graeme, we also lost James Mackay early on with a hamstring and Mark Macadie to a pulled muscle.
"However, the strength in depth of our squad is very good – Martin Sutherland who came on for Macadie scored our first goal.
"Most people tend to look at a starting 11 but that alone doesn't bring you success.
"Injuries, suspensions, players off for work or holiday commitments are all a major factor in the County League and if you don't have a good squad of 17 or 18 players you don't win things."
There are still three competitions to play for – which we could win or lose.
With the Eain Mackintosh trophy already sitting proudly beside the Colin Macleod Memorial Cup won last month, are Groats on for "the grand slam"?
Anderson said: "We're not talking about that. Yes, we did the grand slam a while back, but there are still three competitions to play for – which we could win or lose.
"The league is still tight with Pentland United right behind us, and there are some good teams left in the David Allan Shield and Highland Amateur Cup.
"We'll take it one game at a time, as all it takes to ruin plans of trophy success is one bad day at the office."