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Stoppage-time stunner as Acks keep up their winning start

By John MacLeod

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Staxigoe's Grant Aitkenhead volleys past Scott Bell of Acks. Picture: James Gunn
Staxigoe's Grant Aitkenhead volleys past Scott Bell of Acks. Picture: James Gunn

THURSO Acks maintained their winning start to the CAFA season thanks to a stunning stoppage-time goal in a 2-1 victory against Division One rivals Staxigoe United.

Acks manager Murray Coghill admitted his side were fortunate to take all three points on the night but is more than happy with the way his side have started the season.

“Staxigoe were probably the better side in the first half,” he said. “We created more chances in the second, although maybe a draw would have been a fair result.”

He added: “Staxigoe are always tough opponents, it is always pretty even between the two sides, so to come away with three points is brilliant.”

After a goalless first half, Sean Munro headed Acks into the lead on the hour mark following a Louis Webster corner.

Acks keeper Sean Milligan was forced to pull off a superb one-handed save from Martin Banks as Staxigoe threatened.

It took a spectacular own goal from Steven Sinclair in the 75th minute to level the scores. In an attempt to clear a Sam Barclay cross the Acks skipper headed the ball into his own net as Staxigoe's Jack Steven waited to pounce.

Staxigoe are always tough opponents, so to come away with three points is brilliant.

The match was in the balance and with time fast running out Graham Bremner unleashed a sensational strike from 20 yards into the top corner of the net for the winner.

Staxigoe boss Andrew Banks said: “I thought we were the better team but we didn't defend well and missed a lot of chances – we probably got our comeuppance.”

Joint leaders Wick Groats were in scintillating form as they raced to an 8-0 victory against John O'Groats.

John Budge opened the scoring and Sandy Sutherland netted twice either side of a Graham MacNab goal as Groats dominated the first half.

Grant MacNab got in the act early in the second half to make it 5-0 and further goals from Stewart Ross, Gavin Sinclair and Graham MacNab rounded off a devastating display of finishing from the champions.

A Jonah Martens double, one from the penalty spot, and a Bobby Gunn goal helped Lybster to a 3-1 win over Castletown at Back Park. Chris Sutherland scored a consolation for the home side.

The Pentland United v Swifts match was postponed after the Thurso club were unable to raise a team. Swifts had no fewer than 17 players ruled out – several were injured, while others were unavailable due to work or holidays.

Darren Sheppard tackles Scott Mowat. Picture: James Gunn
Darren Sheppard tackles Scott Mowat. Picture: James Gunn

KEISS manager Graham Banks admitted his side flattered to deceive in a 3-0 win against Top Joes.

"It was pretty even, both sides missed good chances in the match," he said. "The 3-0 score flattered us.

"We will get a better understanding of where we are after the next few games. But we've made a steady start to the season, even though we've lost a couple of good players from last year.”

A 15-minute spell in the second half settled the outcome. Ben Mackay broke the deadlock in the 65th minute when his corner kick was deflected into the net.

Keiss wereawarded a penalty five minutes later for a push on James Thain and Alan Ferrier coolly converted from the spot.

Ferrier missed the chance to stretch the lead a couple of minutes later when Keiss were awarded a second penalty after Mackay was fouled, but this time it was saved.

Mackay put the result beyond doubt shortly afterwards when he turned his marker and fired into the net.

Elsewhere, Scott Ross scored the only goal of the match as Thurso Pentland defeated High Ormlie Hotspur 1-0, while Halkirk and Wick Thistle settled for a point apiece in a 1-1 draw. Stuart Campbell scored for Halkirk with Marc Gunn on target for Thistle.

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