Halkirk on cloud nine at start of cup campaign
RAMPANT Halkirk United were on cloud nine as they got their Football Times Cup campaign off to a flying start.
A superb display of attacking football delivered a 9-3 victory for the Anglers at Bonar Bridge.
Kyle Henderson smashed in four goals while Bobby Gunn bagged a hat-trick. United's other strikes came via Korbyn Cameron and an own goal.
Bonar replied through Miller Mackay (2) and Jake Lockett.
Convincing though the win was, you would have been hard-pressed early on to envisage the battering Halkirk were to inflict on their hosts.
Manager Ewan McElroy said: "The winning margin was a surprise given the way we started the game.
"It took us a solid 20 minutes to get going, and if anything Bonar were the better team. We were forced into an early substitution with Bryan Reid struggling and it took the boys a little longer than usual to get up to speed.
"However, from the first goal onwards we controlled the tempo of the game and created a number of chances. If it was not for their excellent keeper, it would probably have been more comfortable still.
"Bobby Gunn and Kyle Henderson will rightly receive some deserved acclaim for their scoring feats. There is a healthy competitive edge between them.
I am confident that the entire squad will aim to put on a much better performance.
"It was a scrappy game for the first 20 minutes, but with Kyle and Bobby up top you are always likely to create something. Mark Webster and Kai Cameron were linking up brilliantly with the boys and both strikers' finishing was superb.
"I also thought Murray Mackay and Steven Sutherland were superb and played their best games so far this season.
"Similarly we had three boys, Cameron Mackay [centre-half], Kai Cameron [attacking midfielder] and Billy Miller [goalkeeper], who played their first game for the club and I was impressed with them all."
Halkirk are back on North Caledonian League duty on Saturday when they will be hosting Invergordon – a side that dished out an 8-0 drubbing to them earlier in the season.
McElroy said: "I would like to think the boys have a point to prove. However, Invergordon are a very strong side and are aiming to be title contenders.
"We obviously took a hammering from them in the away tie, but I am confident that the entire squad will aim to put on a much better performance this time round.
"We are missing a few for Saturday. We have a few boys working and a couple are away south for the weekend.
"Chrissy Green’s injury is worse than we first thought and he will likely be sidelined for a while. It’s a real shame as he has been fantastic since joining the club a few months ago.
"However, on a more positive note, an energetic Korbyn Cameron played his first competitive football after an ankle injury and looked sharp, scoring an unlikely header on Saturday.
"Similarly, Ryan Sutherland played his first 90 minutes in a while and even managed a stint at centre midfield. Both were excellent and will be champing at the bit to be involved on Saturday if selected."