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Macgregor sends Pentland United through to Colin Macleod Memorial Cup final


By Alan Hendry

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Sean Munro (centre) is congratulated on scoring Pentland United's second goal by Marc Macgregor and No 10 Andy Mackay. Picture: James Gunn
Sean Munro (centre) is congratulated on scoring Pentland United's second goal by Marc Macgregor and No 10 Andy Mackay. Picture: James Gunn

Marc Macgregor hit the winner as Pentland United secured their place in the Colin Macleod Memorial Cup final with a 3-2 victory over holders Wick Groats at Ham Park on Monday night.

The Stabbies will meet Acks at Castletown's Back Park on Saturday with the first silverware of the county season at stake.

The result in Dunnet meant back-to-back defeats for Wick Groats following their league loss to Staxigoe on Friday and it ended the league champions' hopes of another clean sweep of honours.

Korbyn Cameron put Groats ahead at Ham Park but United levelled before the break. Grant Steven was credited with the goal, although Groats claimed the ball had not fully crossed the line.

Stewart Ross restored the visitors' lead in the second half but Sean Munro made it 2-2 with a header and Macgregor settled the issue.

Wick Groats striker Jonah Martens tries to get past Sean Munro of Pentland United in the cup semi-final at Ham Park. Picture: James Gunn
Wick Groats striker Jonah Martens tries to get past Sean Munro of Pentland United in the cup semi-final at Ham Park. Picture: James Gunn

Pentland United co-manager Michael Gray said: “It was a tough game. We made a slow start but we dominated pretty much most of the first half.

“The second half was more even – it was a little bit more end to end, but I thought we finished really strongly.

“We were camped in their half for long spells and they couldn't seem to get out.

“There were certain flaws in our game but overall I thought we shaded it.”

Gray added: “I've had quite a few phone calls from neutrals saying that they thought the better team won on the night. Obviously I'm biased and I quite accept that.”

Pentland United striker Marc Macgregor tries to get past Alan Sinclair. Picture: James Gunn
Pentland United striker Marc Macgregor tries to get past Alan Sinclair. Picture: James Gunn

Wick Groats manager Kevin Anderson felt the game changed after Grant MacNab went off injured.

"I felt there was very little in the game," Anderson said. "It's very fine lines.

"We started really well and went 1-0 up, then Grant MacNab had an unfortunate fall and dislocated his finger. We thought it was broken first of all.

"Grant had to come off. Pentland United's physio looked at him and put his finger back in place, so fair play to her – that was very good of her.

"At 2-1, Jonah Martens had a great chance – James More had a great save at his near post. If that goes in, at 3-1 up it's a different game.

"They went up the park and scored pretty quickly after we went 2-1. The game could have gone either way but Marc Macgregor got a good goal at the end. He is a class player."

Anderson added: "We've lost 3-2 and we're obviously disappointed. But there are lots of positives to take from it going forward and still lots to play for, so we're not too downbeat.

"We saw enough to know that we still have lots to look forward to this season."

Groats now have a rearranged league fixture at home to John O'Groats on Friday and then two games against Staxigoe United next week.

"We'll just dust ourselves down and go again," Anderson said. "When you get a bad result you want the next game to come as soon as possible."

Castletown were 3-0 winners away to Pentland in their Eain Mackintosh Cup quarter-final with goals from Shane Kennedy, Connor Macleod and Jack McKechnie.

Pentland United defender Sean Munro in an aerial duel with Graham MacNab of Wick Groats. Picture: James Gunn
Pentland United defender Sean Munro in an aerial duel with Graham MacNab of Wick Groats. Picture: James Gunn

County champions Wick Groats suffered their first league defeat of the season when they were beaten 3-1 by Staxigoe United at the Upper Bignold on Friday night.

Staxigoe United manager Colin Sinclair said: "It was an unbelievable result for us. Every player was outstanding, as they needed to be against Wick Groats to have a chance of getting anything from the game."

Grant Aitkenhead, Dave Manson and Morgan Kennedy scored for Staxigoe, with Graham MacNab on target for Groats.

Wick Groats manager Kevin Anderson said: "We got what we deserved. Fair play to them."

Groats had lost only one league match since the beginning of 2017 – a 1-0 defeat to Pentland United in June 2018.

The last team to take points off Kevin Anderson's side were also Staxigoe, in a 2-2 draw in June 2019.

First division leaders Pentland United racked up another convincing victory as they beat Lybster 7-0 at Ham Park. There were hat-tricks for Marc Macgregor and Sean Munro, with Conor Cormack getting the other goal.

Pentland United's Conor Cormack in a tangle with Korbyn Cameron of Wick Groats. Picture: James Gunn
Pentland United's Conor Cormack in a tangle with Korbyn Cameron of Wick Groats. Picture: James Gunn

Martin Sinclair scored twice for John O'Groats as they came from behind to win 2-1 at home to Acks, with all the goals coming in the first half.

Kyle Innes scored a penalty for Acks but was sent off before the break for a second yellow card.

On Thursday, Wick Thistle and High Ormlie Hotspur shared the points in a 1-1 draw. Aidan Reid's opener for Hotspur was cancelled out by Thistle player/manager Owen Harrold.

Division Two leaders Castletown ran out 8-0 winners over Top Joe's on Friday.

Jack McKechnie got a hat-trick and there was a double for Lewis Sutherland, with the other goals coming from Michael Smith, Jake Dunnet and Morgan Coghill.

The result completed a miserable four days for Top Joe's in which they conceded 25 goals and scored none, following their 17-0 loss to Staxigoe United in the Eain Mackintosh Cup.

Swifts made it six wins from eight games in Division Two with a 2-0 victory at Watten on Thursday.

John Holmes and Kieran MacGregor got the goals for the Thurso side as they kept up the pressure on Castletown.

Lewis Gow and Ian Smith scored for Thurso Pentland in their 2-1 home win against Keiss. Ryan Calder got the Keiss goal.

Results – Caithness AFA Division One: John O'Groats 2, Acks 1; Pentland United 7, Lybster 0; Staxigoe United 3, Wick Groats 1; Wick Thistle 1, High Ormlie Hotspur 1.

Colin Macleod Memorial Cup, semi-final: Pentland United 3, Wick Groats 2. Eain Mackintosh Cup, quarter-final: Pentland 0, Castletown 3.

Division Two: Castletown 8, Top Joe's 0; Pentland 2, Keiss 1; Watten 0, Swifts 2.

Fixtures – Thursday – Division Two: Castletown v Swifts; Watten v Pentland (both 7.30pm).

Friday – Division One: Wick Groats v John O'Groats. Division Two: Keiss v Top Joe's (both 7.30pm).

Saturday – Colin Macleod Memorial Cup final: Acks v Pentland United (at Castletown, 3pm).


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