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Only way is up for Thurso ahead of double header against Loch Ness


By Alan Hendry

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Thurso's Connor MacIntosh tries to get past Steven Hellewell of Orkney in Saturday's North Caledonian League match which the islanders won comfortably. Picture: James Gunn
Thurso's Connor MacIntosh tries to get past Steven Hellewell of Orkney in Saturday's North Caledonian League match which the islanders won comfortably. Picture: James Gunn

Manager Stevie Reid reckons “the only way is up” for Thurso as they look to get their North Caledonian League campaign back on track against Loch Ness on Saturday.

Reid will be hoping for a reaction after last weekend's chastening home defeat to Orkney when the Vikings travel to King George V Park in Fortrose.

It is the first of a double header against Loch Ness, who are second in the table. The teams meet again the following Saturday in the semi-finals of the Football Times Cup

Thurso went into the Orkney match in confident mood after four wins in a row – two each in league and cup – in which they had averaged four goals a game.

But they rarely threatened at a very wet Sir George's Park and the match was effectively over as a contest early in the second half when Liam Delday's quick-fire double gave the islanders a three-goal lead.

“You don't deserve anything when you defend like we did,” Reid said.

A crunching tackle by Orkney's Aiden Drever on Thurso's Cameron Montgomery. Picture: James Gunn
A crunching tackle by Orkney's Aiden Drever on Thurso's Cameron Montgomery. Picture: James Gunn

“I don't think Orkney were anything special. They were gifted their goals with set-pieces and free headers and second balls – we were never near them.

“They were just willing to work that wee bit harder than us.

“I thought all four goals were very avoidable. It was very, very poor.

“Conditions were the same for both teams. They just played it a bit smarter than us.

“I told the players at the start, I told them at half-time, 'conditions are heavy going, it's not for dithering on the ball and pottering about'.

“We just didn't look comfortable. We didn't get Marc Macgregor involved nearly as much as we have been, and we paid the price – we should be looking to play off him.

“I'm really disappointed because we gave away really cheap goals. It was nothing they did, it was just set-pieces fired in there.

“At the start of the second half we looked sharper, we looked better – but apart from that, we got what we deserved. You can't defend like that.

Orkney's Owen Rendall in an aerial duel with Grant Aitkenhead of Thurso. Picture: James Gunn
Orkney's Owen Rendall in an aerial duel with Grant Aitkenhead of Thurso. Picture: James Gunn

“It's coming into winter football and the pitches are all going to be heavy now. This is the reality of winter football – some of them have got to get their heads around it that pitches are going to get heavier from now on in.

“I can't give anyone pass marks today.

“The only way is up again. I'm just really disappointed in the defending – it was just cheap, cheap goals. No matter who you were playing there today, they would have scored from it – it was just too easy.”

Aiden Drever opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark with a back-post header. Delday added a second for Orkney on 52 minutes when he rose to meet a knock-on from a free kick and nodded the ball beyond Asa Sinclair.

The lively Delday was on target again four minutes later when he ran through unchallenged before slotting in a low finish.

Robbie Scott added to Thurso's woes with six minutes remaining when he thumped the ball in from close range in the aftermath of a corner.

North Caledonian League fixtures for Saturday: Alness United v Inverness Athletic; Halkirk United v Golspie Sutherland; Invergordon v Nairn County "A"; Loch Ness v Thurso; Orkney v Bonar Bridge.


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