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Swifts can fly high again, says Groats boss

By Matt Leslie

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Wick Groats' Sandy Sutherland (right) stretches to win the ball from Thurso Swifts defender Andrew Bremner. Groats inflicted a thumping 9-0 defeat on Swifts. Picture: James Gunn
Wick Groats' Sandy Sutherland (right) stretches to win the ball from Thurso Swifts defender Andrew Bremner. Groats inflicted a thumping 9-0 defeat on Swifts. Picture: James Gunn

Wick Groats boss Kevin Anderson has backed Swifts to turn things around after his men pummelled the Thurso side 9-0.

Goals from Grant MacNab (3), Sandy Sutherland (2), Ryan Campbell, Ben Sinclair, Mark Macadie and Connor Farquhar delivered an emphatic victory.

This thrashing for Swifts came days after an 8-0 hiding at the hands of Pentland United in the Highland Amateur Cup.

Admittedly, Groats and Pentland are the two best CAFA teams and while on paper wins for both against Swifts would be seen as a likely outcome, the massive margins would not have been.

Swifts do have mitigating factors with a number of players unavailable, but even though the season is in its early stages it looks like being a long one for Nigel Mackenzie's men.

However, Anderson insists that once Swifts get a full squad available they will start getting results.

He said: "As was the case last week against Pentland United, they were struggling to get a team together.

"They did so but they were still weakened with a number of key players either injured, suspended or away for work reasons.

"I back Nigel to come through this as once the guys who were out return, they'll be back to the Swifts we really know.

"It was a good professional performance, although I think players in general don't like to see the opposition struggling when you're in a situation where the goals are piling up."

Once again this season looks like being another straight shoot-out between Groats and Pentland for the title.

Anderson added: "Staxigoe and Acks are usually there or thereabouts but they've tailed away towards the end.

"However, it has been coming down to who wins the head-to-heads between ourselves and Pentland United, which does add extra pressure for both of us."

Anderson has also sought to clarify the confusion regarding Groats' home tie in the Colin Macleod Memorial Cup against Castletown being played at the latter team's venue.

He said: "It was just a case of us and Wick Thistle – who share the same pitch as us – being drawn at home. In order to avoid fixtures being rescheduled I offered to switch the tie at Castletown's place.

"I did the same last season so it's no bother to us. Also, Castletown does have one of the best pitches in the league so it should make for a good game."

Elsewhere in Division One, Thurso Acks helped themselves to a 2-0 win against John O'Groats thanks to goals from Sean Munro and... well, as Acks boss Murray Coghill reveals, there is a bit of dispute as to who got their second.

He said: "We're giving it to Kuba Koziol – although Scott Miller is claiming it for himself.

"What happened is that Kuba had an effort that was cleared off the line but it looked like the ball was well over the line before it was cleared. Scott made sure by smashing in the rebound but, as far as I'm concerned, the ball had crossed the line with Kuba's shot."

In Division Two, Wick Thistle defeated High Ormlie Hotspur 3-1. Ross Macleod, Colin Henstridge and a Euan Munro own goal sealed the points for Thistle, with Spurs replying through Cameron Mackay.

Ryan Campbell takes on Ranald Mackay. Picture: James Gunn
Ryan Campbell takes on Ranald Mackay. Picture: James Gunn

Pentland United followed up their Highland Amateur Cup win by continuing their fine start in the county league.

The Ham Park side travelled to Lybster and moved to top spot in CAFA Division One with a 4-2 victory. Colin McLean, Conor Cormack, Michael Petrie and Cameron Montgomery all netted for the Dunnet side.

Lybster replied with strikes from Gareth Miller and Paul Gordon.

Staxigoe United gained revenge on Castletown for last week's Colin Macleod Memorial Cup defeat by winning their Division One encounter 2-0.

In Division Two, an exhausted Top Joes side had nothing left in the tank as a gruelling schedule over the previous seven days took its toll.

The Thurso side have been involved in two cup ties that went to extra time – the second of which was played 48 hours before their league clash at home to Halkirk.

They couldn't lift their weary legs for one more effort as Halkirk cruised to a 5-0 victory with goals from Michael Bremner, Stuart Campbell, Matthew Mackay, Liam Miller and James Watson.

Elsewhere in Division Two, Watten carried on from their thrilling Highland Amateur Cup win with a 2-1 victory at Thurso Pentland.

Shane Honeyman and Lewis Jack were on target for Watten with Thurso Pentland's reply coming via Connor Macleod.


Friday, May 3

Colin Macleod Memorial Cup – Quarter-finals

Lybster v Pentland United (6.30pm)

Thurso Swifts v High Ormlie Hotspur (6.30pm)

Wick Groats v Castletown (6.30pm)

(To be played at Castletown)

Wick Thistle v John O'Groats (6.30pm)

Monday, May 6

CAFA Division One

Castletown v Lybster (7pm)

Wick Groats v John O'Groats (7pm)

Tuesday, May 7

CAFA Division One

Pentland United v Thurso Swifts (7pm)

Thurso Acks v Staxigoe United (7pm)

CAFA Division Two

Halkirk v Wick Thistle (7pm)

High Ormlie Hotspur v Thurso Pentland (7pm)

Keiss v Top Joes (7pm)

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