Halkirk United manager delighted with his young squad after victory in Orkney
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Manager Ewan McElroy was delighted to see his young Halkirk United side round off their North Caledonian League campaign on a positive note with a 3-2 win in Orkney.
Kyle Henderson struck twice in Saturday's encounter at Stromness as the Anglers ensured they will finish fifth in Division One, consigning the islanders to bottom place no matter what happens in their final two matches.
It was a morale-boosting result for United, who were beaten by Thurso and Golspie in their first two games after the league resumed in May following a five-month break because of Covid-19.
McElroy made a point of giving youngsters a chance in the final few outings of the prolonged 2020/21 campaign and after Saturday's victory he singled out 16-year-old Joe Anderson for special praise.
"I was delighted to get the three points," McElroy said. "We knew it was going to be a tough game but I thought the boys were excellent.
"They had been a little unlucky in the previous couple of weeks and it was good to round off the season on a real positive."
Henderson put the Anglers ahead after 21 minutes only for Orkney to equalise through Connan Rendall six minutes later. Henderson scored again two minutes after the break and Jonah Martens extended Halkirk's lead with 66 minutes gone.
Aiden Drever reduced the deficit right at the end.
"It was a pretty tight game but I think we edged it, certainly in terms of possession and the better chances," McElroy said.
"The whole squad played their part but special mention to Joe Anderson. Joe is only 16 and has played the full 90 minutes at centre-back in our last three games.
"He has built a really solid partnership with Aiden Reid and is showing a really mature attitude towards every game and training session."
Reflecting on the campaign as a whole, McElroy said: "I have been pretty happy with the performances as a whole this season.
"Granted, some of the results have not gone the way we would have liked, but our aim was to compete in every match and close the gap between ourselves and those above us.
"It’s a young squad and we have some really talented individuals and hopefully we can continue to improve when we return in August."