Leader Farquhar could one day fill Scorries hotseat
Wick Academy 3
(Alan Hughes 27 & 52, Jonah Martens 79)
Inverness Caley Thistle XI 2
(Roddy Kennedy 34, Matheus Machado pen 81)
Wick Academy boss Tom McKenna jokingly conceded that club captain Alan Farquhar could well be after his job following their 3-2 win against an Inverness Caley Thistle XI on Wednesday night.
Farquhar gave yet another superb display of leadership in central defence as he time and again blunted Caley Thistle's attack.
Two goals from Alan Hughes and one from Jonah Martens gave Academy a morale-boosting win as they bounced back from last weekend's 5-1 mauling at Nairn St Ninian. Roddy Kennedy and Matheus Machado were on target for the visitors.
On a night when referee Gordon Seago tried to steal the show by dishing out more bookings than Brian Epstein, it was Farquhar who was a shining light in the Caithness mist with a commanding performance.
It should be no surprise that the Scorries stopper is McKenna's de facto gaffer on the park as Farquhar himself is a manager, having recently guided Wick Thistle to the top flight of the CAFA summer league.
McKenna said: "I commended Alan [Farquhar] on his performance. He stayed calm and, along with Grant Steven, he was exceptional at the back.
"Alan's a manager himself with Wick Thistle. I'm sure that one day – if he wanted to, of course – he could be in my position.
"I don't see why not. He's got the character and leadership ability required to do this job and he's also very well respected. Maybe I'm now under threat?
"Joking apart, he's doing very well both on the pitch for us and on the touchline for Wick Thistle."
The victory was soured with one bizarre incident 20 minutes into the game.
Academy defender Michael Steven launched a "pre-watershed" verbal tirade at referee Seago – audible to those shopping at Lidl across the road.
He was booked but then said something back to Seago in more hushed tones. That in turn prompted the referee to frogmarch Steven to McKenna demanding he substitute him now or he'd send him off.
McKenna, given no choice but to comply, did so with Steven kicking the dugout in disgust.
It was one of a host of bookings dished out and McKenna said: "I can't speak for the referee but I don't know if the majority of cards were warranted – you would have to speak to him about them.
"It's disappointing to see so many bookings – at this stage of the season it's unnecessary. Especially dragging Joe all the way to the touchline where I was just to give him a telling-off. maybe he could have dealt with that another way."
On a positive note, Lybster's Jonah Martens – on trial with Academy – did his chances of winning a permanent deal no harm with a well-taken goal that even had Caley Thistle boss John Robertson, sitting in the main stand, being heard to remark "decent finish".
McKenna said: "With Jonah, there's a lot more to see than just that. When you step up to this level there's still a naivety and a lack of sharpness. However, when you train regularly in this environment, that will improve.
"I think both he and [fellow trialist] Kuba [Koziol] need to be in this environment a bit longer before they can fully step in and make an impact.
"Jonah got his goal and took it well. I heard about John Robertson's comment on Jonah putting in a 'decent finish' and he – with his own goalscoring record for Hearts – would know about what makes a good striker. We will still be monitoring both Jonah and Kuba's progress but they've done themselves no harm with their performances so far.
"Overall, it's been a good game for us. We need to have another couple of games like that with that kind of intensity – sadly we won't be getting that at Golspie on Friday as that game's been called off because they can't raise a team."