MacNab's strike is enough to get Scorries up and running against Maroons
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Wick Academy got their 2022/23 Highland League campaign up and running with 1-0 victory over Keith at Harmsworth Park on Saturday courtesy of Gordon MacNab's goal early in the second half.
After the frustration of Buckie's stoppage-time winner on the opening day, three points and a clean sheet represented a satisfactory day's work for the Scorries – although they survived a couple of scares along the way.
The Maroons were awarded a penalty after three minutes when Wick goalkeeper Graeme Williamson collided with striker Matty Tough just inside the box. Williamson made amends by diving low to his right to save Tough's spot-kick.
At the top end, Richard Macadie wasn't far away with a powerful right-foot shot.
Academy had a penalty appeal turned down four minutes later after McNab was flattened by Keith keeper Craig Reid while running onto a through ball.
Trialist Toby Macleod set up MacNab for a first-time shot that was turned away for a corner. Macleod then had an attempt with an angled shot that flew beyond the far post, via a deflection, after good work by Jack Halliday and Sean Campbell.
Ross Allan briefly got in a tangle and his short back-pass allowed Demilade Yunus to set up Tough for a tap-in, but it was ruled out for offside.
Wick made the breakthrough two minutes into the second half when MacNab seized on an error by Connor Grant and took full advantage by slotting the ball past Reid.
Keith's Ryan Robertson was sent off just before the hour mark for a second bookable offence.
The Scorries kept pushing forward, and Mark Macadie's speculative long-range effort was clawed behind by Reid before the Keith keeper was again called into action to punch away a shot from Macleod.
There was a let-off for the Scorries late on when Williamson appeared to slip, allowing Joey Wilson a glimpse of an unguarded goal, but the Keith substitute sent his effort wide.
Wick Academy: Williamson, Hughes, R Campbell (Bain 85), Allan, Henry, R Macadie, S Campbell, Halliday, MacNab, M Macadie, Macleod (Bremner 71). Sub not used: More.
Keith: Reid, Abdulkarim, Yeats, Grant, Robertson, Hutcheon, Ironside (Coull 71), Brownie, Tough (Nawrocki 62), Yunus (Wilson 71), Andrews. Subs not used: McKeown, Irvine.
Referee: Duncan Nicolson.
Buckie Thistle laid down a title marker by clinching a 2-1 victory over Fraserburgh at Victoria Park in the clash between last season's league runners-up and champions respectively.
After beating Wick Academy 2-1 at home on the opening day, the Jags did the same to the Broch.
Buckie took the lead on 53 minutes through Kevin Fraser, before Paul Campbell levelled the scores with 20 minutes left. Andy MacAskill's 75th-minute penalty proved decisive.
Buckie are one of four teams to have won both their opening matches, along with Brora Rangers, Brechin City and Formartine United.
Brechin were made to work hard for their second win by Forres Mechanics, who had Ben Barron sent off after half an hour. Kevin McHattie was the match-winner for City with a 25th-minute strike.
Brora came from behind to beat Turriff United 2-1 at home. Turriff took the lead through Aaron Reid at the start of the second half but goals from Tony Dingwall and Jordan MacRae completed a turnaround.
Formartine United were convincing 6-1 winners over Strathspey Thistle. Jonathan Smith hit a hat-trick, Julian Wade struck twice and Mark Gallagher got the other goal for the Pitmedden side, with Ben Cullen replying for the Strathy Jags.
League newcomers Banks o' Dee drew 1-1 for the second week in succession, this time against Inverurie Locos.
Deveronvale beat Lossiemouth 2-0 at Princess Royal Park, while Rothes drew 2-2 at Nairn.
Huntly are one of four sides – along with Lossiemouth, Keith and Strathspey – who remain pointless after two matches. The Black and Golds were beaten 1-0 at home by Clachnacuddin.
Highland League results: Brora Rangers 2, Turriff United 1; Buckie Thistle 2, Fraserburgh 1; Deveronvale 2, Lossiemouth 0; Formartine United 6, Strathspey Thistle 1; Forres Mechanics 0, Brechin City 1; Huntly 0, Clachnacuddin 1; Inverurie Locos 1, Banks O' Dee 1; Nairn County 2, Rothes 2; Wick Academy 1, Keith 0.
Fixtures for Saturday, August 6: Banks O' Dee v Huntly; Brechin City v Formartine United; Clachnacuddin v Brora Rangers; Fraserburgh v Wick Academy; Lossiemouth v Buckie Thistle; Nairn County v Forres Mechanics; Rothes v Inverurie Locos; Strathspey Thistle v Deveronvale; Turriff United v Keith.