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Rampant Pentland United in seventh heaven


By Matt Leslie


Pentland United's James Murray beats John O'Groats keeper Christy Cannop to score his side's fifth goal during their 7-1 win. Picture: James Gunn
Pentland United's James Murray beats John O'Groats keeper Christy Cannop to score his side's fifth goal during their 7-1 win. Picture: James Gunn

Pentland United left John O'Groats reeling at Ham Park as they dished out a 7-1 thumping to keep themselves in the title race.

James Murray fired in a hat-trick with Andrew Hardwick, Cameron Montgomery, Gary Manson and Murray Mackintosh completing the rout.

All John O'Groats had to show for their efforts was a solitary strike from Mark Munro.

The win takes Pentland into third spot, a point behind Thurso Acks and three behind league leaders Wick Groats. John O'Groats drop down to fifth.

For United boss Michael Gray, there were many star performers on the pitch with playmaker Roddy Innes showing why he was once on the books of Caley Thistle.

Gray said: "Roddy had one of his best games for us. His pass to set up James for our first goal was superb – pinpoint precision from him.

"As most people know, Roddy used to be at Inverness Caley Thistle and we're trying to get him back to a level as high as that.

"He complements Michael Petrie well in midfield. They both get involved in the battles to win possession and they both have an eye for a good pass.

"James had a great game up front as well. He deserved his hat-trick and we are hoping there is more to come from him.

"He is only back with us after serving a very long suspension for allegedly stamping on an opponent last year.

They both get involved in the battles to win possession and they both have an eye for a good pass.

"I don't know if he's fully up to speed yet – he's still to complete a full 90 minutes. However, he brings a lot to the table and is the focal point for our attack.

"The rest of the team all played really well – I'd go as far as to say that's the best we've played this season.

"John O'Groats have this never-say-die attitude but everything went right for us. We passed the ball well, pressed high up the pitch and, to be honest, the scoreline didn't flatter us at all.

"The only minor criticism I have is that we passed up a lot of chances that could have seen an even bigger winning margin."

For John O'Groats boss Grant Budge, it was the proverbial "bad day at the office".

He said: "We deserved to lose – and by that scoreline as well.

"Pentland United were fitter, faster and stronger than us and we just seemed to be lacking in organisation out there.

"We were missing a few players but it's tough enough facing a side like Pentland if you are not playing well.

"But realistically, if we could have got anything it would have been a bonus. Games such as the one coming up against Lybster are where we've got to take points."

Lybster leapfrogged over John O'Groats into fourth spot following their victory at Staxigoe United.

On-form striker Jonah Martens was yet again on the scoresheet as Lybster came away with a 1-0 victory.

In Division Two, the battle of the basement was won by High Ormlie Hotspur who edged out fellow Thurso side Top Joes in a seven-goal thriller at Ormlie Park.

Neither side had won a league game all season and it was Top Joes who blinked first.

They remain rooted at the bottom – still searching for their first point – despite Martin Murray and Mark Hutcheon (2) finding the net.

Spurs however racked up their first win of the season thanks to strikes from Marc Keith, Aaron Wilson, Liam Dykes and Korbyn Cameron to land a 4-3 victory.



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