Thurso 4 V Clach A 2 – report from Iain Grant
Thurso completed a double over Clach’s second string on Saturday to move up to fourth in the North Caley League.
Stevie Reid’s young guns commendably remained unfazed after seeing a two goal lead evaporate through defensive gaffes.
They finished on top thanks to two goals in the final 15 minutes to chalk up their third successive win at Sir Georges Park.
With all-time top scorer Mark Nichol – 189 goals in nine seasons – having vamoosed for a year’s work stint in Australia, the manager is looking for more players to get among the goals.
A good start was made on Saturday with four different marksmen all getting their firsts of the season.
Greg Shearer and Ryan Begg gave their side an early cushion before Marc MacGregor and Lewis Harrold restored their two goal advantage late on.
The Vikings capitalised on a sprightly start by taking an eighth minute lead when a flowing move down the right was finished off by Shearer.
Three minutes later, a carbon-copy sequence provided Begg with the chance which he took to put them 2-0 up.
The Lilywhites also fielded a young, inexperienced side though they responded well to the early setbacks.
A good spell was almost rewarded when midfielder Mark MacKenzie’s rasping drive came back off the bar.
The home side passed up a couple of half-chances before Clach got right back into the contest with a goal a minute before the interval.
A cross-ball caused confusion between keeper Neale Clark and John Budge, who were both making their first appearances of the season.
Gordon Hooker cashed in by seizing on the unclaimed ball to net from close range.
Clach A enjoyed the better of the early exchanges after the break but had created no clear openings before their equaliser close to the hour-mark.
Once again, a cross-ball caused cross-wires in the home defence with Budge ending up clipping the ball over keeper Clark.
The reverse appeared to galvanise the Vikings who looked as if they had reclaimed the lead with a headed goal from Liam Bremner.
Bremner outjumped keeper Douglas MacLennan and ref Graham John initially appeared to signal a goal.
The home side had regrouped in their own half when Mr John rescinded the strike and awarded a free-kick for a barge on the keeper.
Undeterred, Thurso recaptured their lead on 75 minutes when MacGregor capped a memorable first start for the club with a debut goal.
After exchanging passes with Bremner, the John O’Groats teenager veered in from the left and steered a firm shot past MacLennan.
That drew the sting from the visitors and Harrold sealed victory five minutes from time with his low free-kick deceiving the keeper as it found the inside of the net at the far post.
Manager Reid praised the resilience of his young troops in hitting back after losing their lead. He said: “Unlike the last few matches, we got of to a really good start and got two good goals. “They also had a young side and they had good spells without causing us too much trouble. “Both goals were down to defensive errors but the guys retained belief and we started pushing on and got their reward.”
Thurso – Clark, Stewart, Forbes, Budge, Harrold, Wann, Shearer, Begg (Wares 70) Bremner, MacGregor (Traill 78), Petrie. Sub (unused) – Mackintosh.
Clach – MacLennan, Morrison, Spence, Reid, MacQuordale, S. Chisholm, MacKenzie, Smith, Corbett, Hooker, MacKernan. Sub (unused) – A. Chisholm.
Ref – Mr G. John.