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MacGregor strike sends Top Joe's through in Eain Mackintosh Cup


By Alan Hendry

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Paul Mackenzie of Top Joe's stops Pentland United striker James Murray during their Highland Amateur Cup tie on Saturday. Picture: James Gunn
Paul Mackenzie of Top Joe's stops Pentland United striker James Murray during their Highland Amateur Cup tie on Saturday. Picture: James Gunn

A second-half strike by Jack MacGregor proved decisive as Top Joe's progressed to the next round of the Eain Mackintosh Cup with a 1-0 home victory over Keiss on Tuesday night.

In a scrappy encounter, Keiss were reduced to 10 men in the first period when Lee Oman was given his marching orders and Scott Levack was red-carded after the full-time whistle.

Top Joe's manager Bruce Cormack was unable to attend the game but was briefed by coach Paul Mackenzie.

They were pleased with the reaction after losing 7-0 to Pentland United on Saturday in the first round of the Highland Amateur Cup.

"It was a big boost for us to win after the exertions from the weekend," Cormack said. "The boys are looking to get a break now and get some time to recover as there’s a few carrying knocks.

"We didn’t play particularly well but we did enough to get through.

"It was a tight first half and we took the lead in the second half with a sublime finish by Jack MacGregor."

Top Joe's manager Bruce Cormack: 'The boys are looking to get some time to recover.' Picture: James Gunn
Top Joe's manager Bruce Cormack: 'The boys are looking to get some time to recover.' Picture: James Gunn

Keiss had been hoping to bounce back after going out of the Highland Amateur Cup at Watten at the weekend.

"It was very hard to take," Keiss co-manager Kai Tait said. "The boys played really well against a good, experienced Top Joe's side.

"We had a squad who had a point to prove after Saturday. We went down to 10 men in the first half but still battled and played good football.

"We scored what we thought was a perfectly good goal right at the end which was chalked off, and that denied us the chance of extra time. The players would have deserved that because they fought and played so well."

Graham MacNab hit a hat-trick for the second time in four days as Wick Groats began their Eain Mackintosh Cup campaign with a 6-0 win at Lybster, with five of the goals coming before the break.

MacNab had also scored a treble against Dornoch City in the first round of the Highland Amateur Cup.

Groats manager Kevin Anderson said: "I was extremely pleased with the result and the performance. The pick of the goals had to be when Graham beat three or four Lybster players before rounding the keeper to score.

"He has hit the ground running since coming back into the team – that's now six goals in the last two games.

"The second half was a bit flat, to be honest, but that can often happen after such a dominant first half. To be fair to Lybster, they were missing some players but they kept battling right to the very end."

Also on target for Groats were Stewart Atkins, Stewart Ross and Ben Sinclair.

Goals from Shaun Macdonald and Charlie Fraser gave Thurso Pentland a 2-0 victory over Watten.

The Top Joe's squad before their Highland Amateur Cup first-round match against Pentland United. Picture: James Gunn
The Top Joe's squad before their Highland Amateur Cup first-round match against Pentland United. Picture: James Gunn

Results – Eain Mackintosh Cup, first round: Lybster 0, Wick Groats 6; Pentland 2, Watten 0; Top Joe's 1, Keiss 0; Wick Thistle 0, Pentland United 4.

Highland Amateur Cup first round (ties involving Caithness clubs): Acks 2, Golspie Stafford 3; Dornoch City 1, Wick Groats 6; Helmsdale United 0, High Ormlie Hotspur 1; Lochbroom 4, John O'Groats 2; Lochinver 9, Thurso Pentland 0; Lybster 0, Wick Thistle 1; Staxigoe United 8, Swifts 0; Top Joe's 0, Pentland United 7; Watten 4, Keiss 0.

Revised draw for round two (ties involving Caithness clubs, Saturday, June 4): High Ormlie Hotspur v Lochinver; Loch Ness v Wick Groats; Pentland United v Kirkwall Thorfinn; Staxigoe United v Lochbroom; Watten v Iochdar Saints; Wick Thistle v Ardersier.

Caithness AFA fixtures: Friday, May 20 – Division One: Staxigoe United v John O'Groats (7.15pm).

Monday, May 23 – Division Two: Keiss v Castletown; Pentland v Swifts; Top Joe's v Watten (all (7.15pm).

Tuesday, May 24 – Division One: Lybster v High Ormlie Hotspur; Pentland United v Wick Groats; Wick Thistle v Acks (all (7.15pm).

Thursday, May 26 – Division Two: Castletown v Keiss; Swifts v Pentland; Watten v Top Joe's (all (7.15pm).


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