Win was all about grit and determination, says Halkirk boss
Halkirk United boss Ewan McElroy hailed his side's grit and determination at a rain-soaked Bunillidh.
The Anglers came away with a 5-1 win in the latest of their Football Time Cup group matches despite the elements turning the Helmsdale pitch into a quagmire.
Two Bryan Reid penalties, a double from Bobby Gunn and a late strike from Korbyn Cameron gave them victory with Bunillidh's goal coming from Paul Gordon. The home side would have had more had Halkirk keeper Sean Milligan not saved two penalty kicks.
While both sides at times made heavy weather of trying to play football, it was the Anglers who managed to acclimatise.
McElroy said: "The conditions were awful and after 20 minutes the pitch was in a dire state. For the first 10 minutes I think both teams were struggling to stay on their feet, let alone play football.
"Both of our penalties were pretty clear-cut. Korbyn Cameron did well in the build-up for our first and if anything there could have been a couple more.
"There was not a huge amount of quality football on show but I thought our back line were excellent. Alan Davis did well and battled for absolutely everything, while Bobby and Korbyn took their goals well.
"Our keeper [Sean Milligan] was excellent in tricky conditions, especially with his two saves from the spot. Ross Mackay made his debut from the bench and slotted in well on the wing. He is on loan from Wick Academy and, although very young, he already looks like he has settled in well with the boys and is of similar mould.
"I was hugely impressed with the overall performance and attitude, to be honest. We have played some good football over the last few months but Saturday was all about grit and determination.
They have a wealth of talent in the squad and will again be going in as strong favourites.
"The boys get on brilliantly off the pitch and you can see the impact this has on the field. They fought for everything and there is a real sense of togetherness in the team.
"Bunillidh’s goal [to level the match at 1-1] came from the only real lapse in concentration from an otherwise solid defensive performance in the first half.
"It didn’t change the team talk much – we knew that it was going to be a real battle with the conditions and also the state of the pitch. It was about who wanted it more on the day."
Halkirk entertain Golspie Sutherland in the next round of group matches in the Football Times Cup with McElroy hoping his side can make a statement against one of the favourites for the competition.
He added: "Golspie are obviously the league champions and still the team to beat.
"They have a wealth of talent in the squad and will again be going in as strong favourites.
"In saying that we have some fantastic players ourselves, are moving in the right direction, and everyone involved with the club is really looking forward to the match.
"We will be without Bryan Reid is now away for a month to Australia – that’s a blow, for sure.
"Bryan was one of the first players I asked along and he’s been terrific. He has played a variety of different positions, never complains, and is always keen to help the squad in any way he can.
"However, we are hopeful Ben Gordon will return to training this week which would be a massive bonus as he has missed the last five games with a toe injury.
"Similarly Stuart Sinclair and Ian Ross should be back and vying for a place in the squad after missing last week."