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Manson sees sharpness returning as Academy prove too strong for Thurso


By Alan Hendry

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Wick Academy manager Gary Manson at a wet Harmsworth Park, with Thurso boss Stevie Reid beyond.
Wick Academy manager Gary Manson at a wet Harmsworth Park, with Thurso boss Stevie Reid beyond.

Manager Gary Manson was happy to see signs of Wick Academy's match sharpness returning as the Scorries stepped up their preparations for the new Highland League season with a 3-0 victory over Thurso on Tuesday night.

It was Academy's second closed-doors friendly against local North Caledonian opposition in the space of a week, following on from the 4-2 win at Halkirk on Thursday, and again Manson chose to field a different eleven in each half.

Thurso manager Stevie Reid was unhappy with an offside decision when Charlie Fraser thought he had scored after finishing off a well-worked move. However, Wick ran out comfortable winners at Harmsworth Park after a first-half penalty by Gordon MacNab and two goals in quick succession by Craig Gunn in the second period.

"I had the two elevens against Halkirk so I thought I would do the same again to have an even number of minutes throughout the squad and give me a good look at every player, instead of just giving somebody five or 10 minutes at the end," Manson said.

"It gives everybody a chance to impress for at least 45 minutes. It worked well.

"I don't think Stevie was too pleased to see a brand new eleven coming on for the second half, full of running and full of energy when his team were starting to tire a bit. They had to face playing uphill in the second half against a fresh eleven from us, and we had some good runners in that second eleven.

"It was noticeable that our match sharpness was starting to come back. There was a bit more purpose in our passing. It was much more like an actual match.

"In the final third you could tell the boys were still a little bit rusty – the final pass, the final cross, the shot, it's still needing worked on. But that'll come – this was only their second game.

"Certainly the build-up play and the defensive third were quite impressive. If the final third was there, it could have been a lot more comfortable than 3-0.

"Overall it was really pleasing. We hit a post, and Asa Sinclair in goal for Thurso had a number of good saves which kept the score down.

"If we'd had a bit more match sharpness and were more clinical there could have been a few more goals.”

Reid felt it had been a good exercise for the Vikings.

“We've been training for a wee while now so it was good to get a break from that and get a game," he said. "You can train as much as you want but games are what matter.

"We had a few call-offs so we were a bit low on numbers, but a lot of the guys got 90 minutes under their belts, which they might not have thanked me for next morning – they might have been a bit sore.

"We had a couple of boys on holiday, and injuries, but we didn't want to turn it down. It was certainly worthwhile and it was a good game, although after an hour or so tiredness kicked in."



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