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Lack of killer instinct proves costly as Scorries lose out


By Alan Hendry

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Ross Gunn battles for possession with Nairn County's Kenny McKenzie. Picture: Mel Roger
Ross Gunn battles for possession with Nairn County's Kenny McKenzie. Picture: Mel Roger

Wick Academy were left with nothing to show for their efforts at the weekend as they lost 2-0 to Nairn County in the Highland League.

It was the Scorries' second away defeat in a row without scoring, but manager Gary Manson said he was pleased with the level of performance. He blamed mistakes for both goals and admitted that Academy have been lacking a killer instinct in the past couple of games.

After beating Forres 3-2 at home at the start of October, the Scorries were edged out 1-0 at Lossiemouth before Saturday's defeat at Station Park.

George Robesten broke through to put Nairn in front after 54 minutes and Ciaran Young made sure of the points in stoppage time.

Manson said: “We are disappointed not to have taken at least a point from the game, because over the piece I felt we were by quite a stretch the better team. Certainly in the first half we had them penned into their own half and we never let them out at all.

“We were probing. We didn't create too many clear-cut chances – maybe a couple in the first half and one or two in the second half that we should have done better with.

“It was really unfortunate. We put in a really good performance and to come away with no goals and no points is disappointing.

“I said to the players all week that I fancied us, and to be fair to them they went down there and they played really well. I don't know if it's a lack of confidence at the moment, or things not breaking our way, but we're not scoring enough goals – and when you don't score goals you're obviously not going to win games.

“The performance level was there. If we can perform at that level most weeks then we will come away with wins eventually.

“It was maybe just that lack of killer instinct or the final touch, the final cross, the final pass, that was just missing.

"But you get games like that – you get games that you dominate and you just can't get the ball in the net. And it was two mistakes that led to their goals.”

Kyle Henderson shields the ball despite the close attentions of Steven Mackay. Picture: Mel Roger
Kyle Henderson shields the ball despite the close attentions of Steven Mackay. Picture: Mel Roger

The Wick starting line-up on Saturday featured five changes from the Lossiemouth match, with Alan Hughes, Alan Farquhar, Jack Halliday, Marc Macgregor and Kyle Henderson coming in.

Academy dropped to 13th in the table as a result of Lossie's 3-0 victory away to bottom club Strathspey Thistle. All three goals came in the opening 10 minutes, courtesy of Henry Jordan and Ross Morrison with a double.

Meanwhile, Clachnacuddin have confirmed that they will again be switching to an earlier kick-off time for their Saturday fixtures at Grant Street Park during the winter period.

In a repeat of last season, the Inverness club will start their home games between November and February at 2pm. These include their match against Wick Academy on December 30.

Highland League fixtures – Friday, November 3: Banks O' Dee v Fraserburgh. Saturday, November 4: Brora Rangers v Forres Mechanics; Buckie Thistle v Lossiemouth; Clachnacuddin v Rothes; Deveronvale v Brechin City; Huntly v Formartine United; Keith v Strathspey Thistle; Nairn County v Turriff United; Wick Academy v Inverurie Locos (3pm).

Wick's Ryan Campbell and Nairn's George Robesten. Picture: Mel Roger
Wick's Ryan Campbell and Nairn's George Robesten. Picture: Mel Roger

Jeanfield Swifts' stunning victory over League Two side Elgin City in the second round of the Scottish Cup came as a huge surprise to many – but not to Wick Academy manager Gary Manson.

The East of Scotland Premier Division outfit from Perth knocked out the Scorries in round one before storming to a 6-0 home victory over Elgin on Saturday. It has been described as arguably the most embarrassing result in City's 130-year history.

Manson knew all about Swifts' capabilities after the first-round tie at Harmsworth Park in September when Academy lost 3-1.

He said: “I wasn't surprised in the slightest that they beat Elgin. I was surprised at the size of the scoreline, but I wasn't surprised at all that Jeanfield Swifts won – they are a good side.

“I was favouring them. I told a few people that if they're going to the bookies then get some money on them – and I fancy them to get through their third-round tie [against Clyde] as well.

"It was quite a tough draw that we got in the first round. It was just unfortunate that we got drawn against one of the best teams in and around Perth.”

Former Elgin striker Chris McLeish scored twice, and there were also doubles for Dayle Robertson and Chris Scott.

Wick Academy's Marc Macgregor holds off Nairn defender Ross Tokely. Picture: Mel Roger
Wick Academy's Marc Macgregor holds off Nairn defender Ross Tokely. Picture: Mel Roger

Brora Rangers, Formartine United and Buckie Thistle are the Highland League survivors going into the third round of this season's Scottish Cup.

Brora were 2-0 winners away to League Two side Stenhousemuir on Saturday, with Ali Sutherland and Jordan MacRae getting the goals.

A double from Julian Wade helped Formartine United defeat Clydebank 3-2, while Buckie's Jack Murray got the only goal against Forres Mechanics in the all-Highland League tie.

Brora will be at home to Pollok in the next round, while Formartine United go to Falkirk – Wick Academy's conquerors at the same stage of last season's tournament. Buckie are away to Broxburn Athletic.

Fraserburgh lost 2-1 at home to Bonnyrigg Rose after extra time. Huntly's home tie against Forfar Athletic also went to extra time, with the visitors running out 4-1 winners.

Banks O' Dee were two up at Dumbarton but two goals in stoppage time helped the home side to a 3-2 victory.

Deveronvale were beaten 1-0 by Broxburn Athletic and Turriff lost 2-1 at Cumnock Juniors. Brechin City lost 2-1 at home to Spartans, while Clachnacuddin went down 3-1 at Peterhead.

Rob McLean heads the ball clear for Academy. Picture: Mel Roger
Rob McLean heads the ball clear for Academy. Picture: Mel Roger

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