Golspie Sutherland 3 v Thurso 2 – report from Iain Grant
Saturday’s defeat at King George V Park extended Thurso’s run of thin pickings on the road in North Caley action this season.
Michael Sanderson’s opener followed by a brace from Shane Sutherland topped Lukas Garazel’s leveller and young sub Mark MacGregor’s late strike to consign the Vikings to their sixth defeat in eight away outings.
They recovered after a low-key opening to play their part in an entertaining tussle and perhaps deserved to return north with some reward.
Golspie are on a good run with this win putting them third, with just too much to do to make up ground on Halkirk United and Muir of Ord Rovers.
The home side forged in front on 13 minutes when Tommy Campbell’s cutback from near the bye-line was met first-time by Sanderson whose crisp left side-foot flashed past keeper Asa Sinclair.
The lead lasted all of two minutes by when Gerazel netted with a powerful header from Lee Elder’s well-flighted corner.
The Polish striker again proved his worth with some crafty hold-up play and links and his aerial prowess.
There was little to choose between the sides for the remainder of the half when neither keeper came under serious threat.
Stuart Sinclair marred an otherwise sound display in the middle of defence when he upended Shane Sutherland in the penalty box soon after the turnaround.
Sutherland dusted himself down before converting the spot-kick.
MacGregor went desperately close to an equaliser when his overhead kick wrongfooted stand-in keeper Gordon MacRae only to come back off a post.
Thurso continued to show up well with Graham MacNab – out for most of the season through injury — impressing in his new role in the centre of midfield.
But their efforts went unrewarded and they found themselves 3-1 down with 12 minutes remaining.
Shane Sutherland grabbed his second when he demonstrated close control in chesting down a deep cross before dispatching a firm right-foot volley past Sinclair.
Thurso again responded within two minutes when Gerazel did the donkey work to allow MacGregor to fire home his fifth of the season from six yards.
Golspie spent the remainder of the match on defensive mode though persistent Thurso pressure produced no more than a couple of half-chances.
Manager Stevie Reid said his side had played out a script which had been all to familiar this campaign.
He said: “I wasn’t too happy about the first half performance when I thought some of our players were just going through the motions.
“We were much better after the break and it was nip and tuck before they got their third goal.
“Even then, we worked to get one back and we finished very strongly but just couldn’t force the equaliser.”
Reid believed his side were worthy of at least a point in a match, played on a heavy pitch.
He said: “I thought that overall we competed well against a decent, experienced Golspie side.
“Graeme showed what we have been missing for most of the season while Lukas again proved a real handful up front for us.”
Golspie Sutherland – MacRae, McKernie (A. Smith 7), J. Smith, J. Sutherland, Mailley, (Henstridge 65), Sanderson, A. Sutherland, Campbell, Kerr (Pullen 80), Grant, S. Sutherland. Sub (Unused) – MacKenzie.
Thurso – A. Sinclair, Manson, Harrold (Sutherland 75), S. Sinclair, Forbes, Wann (Wares 70), MacNab, Petrie, Gerazel, Murray, Elder (MacGregor 68).
Ref – Mr J. Nicolson.