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Wick Groats boss reckons there are twists and turns still to come in county title race


By Alan Hendry

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Alan Mathieson (left) celebrates with Graham MacNab after scoring the equaliser for Wick Groats in Saturday's Eain Mackintosh Cup final against Pentland United in Halkirk. The Stabbies ran out 3-1 winners. Picture: James Gunn
Alan Mathieson (left) celebrates with Graham MacNab after scoring the equaliser for Wick Groats in Saturday's Eain Mackintosh Cup final against Pentland United in Halkirk. The Stabbies ran out 3-1 winners. Picture: James Gunn

Wick Groats manager Kevin Anderson believes there could be a few twists and turns in the closing weeks of the county league title race.

Groats returned to top spot in Caithness AFA Division One with a 6-0 home victory over Lybster on Tuesday, three points clear of Pentland United. But the Stabbies – who hammered John O'Groats 11-1 the previous night – have a game in hand, and the 2022 championship will come down to goal difference if the leading two sides keep winning.

Anderson, though, reckons it might not come to that.

"I think there could be a few twists and turns yet, I honestly do," he said. "We have Acks and High Ormlie, both tough teams on their day.

"Acks got a good win on Monday night [4-1 against High Ormlie Hotspur], and High Ormlie on their day are capable of beating us or Pentland United.

"Pentland United have got Wick Thistle twice. Thistle are not scoring many but they're defending well.

"Everybody is scrapping for points. It'll be an interesting run-in, but all we can do is try and keep winning.

"It's all about the three points. You need to win the game first and foremost – if you can hit the goal trail, you do so."

Groats were two up inside 15 minutes against Lybster. Alan Mathieson struck the opener and Stewart Atkins nodded in from a corner.

Grant MacNab made it three before half-time.

Martin Sutherland extended their lead with a bullet header, then Steven Anderson scored from the penalty spot before adding his second of the night in stoppage time.

Lybster's Colin MacRae was sent off in the second half.

Manager Anderson said: "It was a good night's work, a clean sheet and a good win. Obviously both teams [Groats and Pentland United] are hunting goals.

"On another night we could have had a few more – but they're a good solid team, Lybster. Their keeper had a couple of good saves and they defended well.

"They've got a good group there, they work hard for each other, they made it tough for us. We'll take that and move on."

Remaining fixtures in Division One: Acks v Wick Groats; Pentland United v High Ormlie Hotspur; Wick Thistle v John O'Groats (all August 9); Staxigoe United v Lybster (August 10); Wick Thistle v Pentland United (August 12, TBC); High Ormlie Hotspur v Wick Groats; Lybster v John O'Groats; Pentland United v Wick Thistle; Staxigoe United v Acks (all August 16).

Results – Eain Mackintosh Cup final: Pentland United 3, Wick Groats 1.

Division One: High Ormlie Hotspur 1, Acks 4; John O’Groats 1, Pentland United 11; Wick Groats 6, Lybster 0; Wick Thistle 2, Staxigoe United 2. Steven Cup, semi-final, first leg: Castletown 5, Swifts 1.

Fixtures – Thursday – Steven Cup, semi-final, first leg: Thurso Pentland v Keiss (7pm). David Allan Shield, quarter-final: Wick Thistle v Pentland United (7pm).

Friday – David Allan Shield, quarter-finals: Castletown v John O’Groats; Lybster v Acks; Staxigoe United v Wick Groats (7pm).

Monday – Steven Cup, semi-finals, second leg: Keiss v Thurso Pentland; Swifts v Castletown (7pm).

Wednesday – David Allan Shield, semi-finals: Castletown or John O’Groats v Lybster or Acks; Staxigoe United or Wick Groats v Wick Thistle or Pentland United (7pm).


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