Thurso FC Season 2003/04 – Thurso won the cup double !!!
Thurso won the Morris Newton and PCT North Caledonian Cups and narrowly lost the Port Services Cup Final on a penalty shoot-out to Alness at Dudgeon Park, Brora
Results (oldest matches at the
Saturday the 1st of May 2004
MSIS North Caledonian League
Golspie Sutherland 1 V Thurso 3
Goalscorers - Jamie MacKenzie, Luke Cassidy and Mark Nicholl
At Golspie - 3.00 p.m k.o
(Bunillidh V Thurso was called off and this game re-arranged)
Golspie 1 V Thurso 3 – Saturday 1st of May 2004 – by Iain Grant
Thurso completed their MSIS North Caley League programme on a defiant note with a convincing victory over the champions on their own patch.
It was Golspie's first league reverse at home and they were only thankful the margin was kept in the realms of the respectable.
Darren Pullen's last minute counter put a gloss on a score-line which did not reflect the upper hand which the visitors held throughout the contest.
Goals by the in-form Jamie MacKenzie and Luke Cassidy had their tails up by the break and they had a steady diet of further chances before substitute Mark Nichol added a third with 12 minutes remaining.
Thurso settled well into a 4-4-2 formation with their patient but creative build-up play complemented by a lively and incisive strikeforce.
On a glorious, sunny day, the visitors quickly showed the menace they were to carry when slick interplay from Nigel MacKenzie, Gavin Bremner and Jamie MacKenzie set up a chance for Cassidy whose 20 yard effort narrowly missed the target.
After eight minutes, Kevin Warner, who was finding oodles of space down the left flank, set up Phil Makhouli for a shot which was well stopped by Ian Young.
Jamie MacKenzie almost produced the breakthrough after 15 minutes when he bamboozled several defenders before unleashing a shot which had Young beaten only to ricochet to safety off a defender.
Bremner had a decent effort before Jamie MacKenzie grabbed the opener when he got on the end of a slick move to steer a 20 yard shot past Young.
It was 32 minutes before the subdued home outfit produced their first goal threat.
The chance fell to Pullen who lifted the ball over the bar as Thompson raced from his goal.
Thurso went two up after 35 minutes with a cracking goal made by Makhouli, who was slotting in well to his midfield role.
Makhouli breezed down the right and crossed for Cassidy to net with a spanking volley from six yards.
A minute later, Makhouli blotted his copy-book when he failed to convert an uncontested header from a Martin MacGregor corner.
The pressure was unrelenting and after 40 minutes Ian Coghill was unlucky to see his curling effort produce a fingertip save from Young.
Golspie's frustration with the pattern of the game came to the boil shortly after the interval when Martin McAllister made the latest of a series of rash tackles on Cassidy.
An angry exchange between the pair ended with McAllister motioning with his head towards the Thurso striker.
He was fortunate the card flourished at him was only yellow and Golspie manager Stuart Sutherland showed good judgement in withdrawing the defender from the fray two minutes later.
Nigel MacKenzie went close with a 60th minute free-kick as Thurso continued to hold all the aces.
They should have added to their lead after 69 minutes when MacGregor crossed for Nichol who headed over from prime position.
MacGregor and Jamie MacKenzie both saw efforts wide before Nichol latched on to a sloppy pass-back to slot the ball past Young from 12 yards.
Golspie almost got one back nine minutes from time when Thompson had to look lively to keep out a tasty strike from Shane Sutherland.
From the resultant corner, MacGregor came to his keeper's aid when he was on hand beside a post to bundle Gary Anderson's header off the line.
A corner was the source of Golspie's belated consolation when Pullen was credited with getting the final touch.
Thurso manager Duncan Gray is not easily impressed but even he was effusive in his praise of how his side had performed.
"I thought we did really well," said the manager who has piloted the side to five trophies in two seasons.
"I thought we bossed the whole game from start to finish.
"We got to grips with them early on, passed the ball really well and our guys up front pulled their defence all over the place."
Thurso have scored four wins in their six tussles with title rivals Golspie, Balintore and Alness.
That should have laid the platform for a title defence but five points lost to Bonar Bridge and Tain in the early part of the season were crucial, as was a second half collapse which saw the Vikings lose 3-1 to Golspie at the Dammies at the end of November.
A key problem has been the lack of a regular keeper with Thompson the eighth used this season.
Saturday's game was hastily arranged after Thurso's scheduled trip to Helmsdale was called off after Bunillidh Thistle failed to raise a side.
That fixture will not now be played.
If, as expected, the league committee award the points to Thurso, it will enable the Vikings to leapfrog Alness into third spot.
Thurso: A. Thompson, Coghill, Warner (Sutherland 75), Moar, Forbes, MacGregor, Makhouli, Bremner, N. MacKenzie (Begg 71), J. MacKenzie, Cassidy (Nichol 60).
Thurso F.C - Goalscoring chart - 2003/04 season - 1/5/04
Results for season 2003/04
Saturday the 17th of April 2004
Morris Newton Cup Final
Thurso F.C 4 V Balintore 2
Goalscorers - Jamie MacKenzie (2), Ross Sutherland and Nigel MacKenzie
At Dudgeon Park, Brora - 3 p.m k.o
Match report from Thurso 4V Balintore 2- Morris Newton Cup Final – Sat 17th April 2004 – By Brian Mackay
Thurso Line-up – J.Mackay, Boyd, Forbes, K.Warner, Gray, Bremner, N.MacKenzie (Farmer 86),
R.Sutherland (Coghill 68), J.MacKenzie, Cassidy (Beattie 79), MacDougall.
Balintore Line-up – Shearer, Lowe, P.Skinner, J.Skinner (S.Warner 79), Calderwood (Wood 54),
S.Skinner, Fraser, McGruer, Dance, Farquhar, Ross (Hogg 78).
Ref – W.Sinclair
Thurso’s third cup final at Brora’s
2 mins – Lee MacDougall shot saved, then Bremner hit a long-range drive just wide of Shearer’s left hand post.
5 mins – Shearer punched clear a Bremner free kick under pressure.
12 mins – Nigel MacKenzie free kick fell through to the back post to Gray who volleys a shot across the goal and was blocked by Skinner.
15 mins – Powerful run down the left by Hamish Boyd, cut the ball back to Cassidy and blocked by Shearer as Thurso were turning the screw.
16 mins – Lowe broke down the right and his dangerous low cross was cut out by Warner.
21 mins – Fraser shot from the edge of the box, deflected on it’s way to goal by Dance, saved well by Jamie Mackay.
22 mins – Cassidy dangerous run, cut out for a corner to Thurso.
23 mins – Bremner corner from the left finds Jamie MacKenzie 10 yards out at the back post on the angle who unleashed a tremendous volley into the far corner of the net giving Shearer no chance to give Thurso the lead.
28 mins – Thurso were taking advantage of the strong wind across the pitch pinning Balintore back with the Seaboard side only breaking forward on rare occasions. Ross Sutherland flighted in a free kick from the left and was headed just over by Boyd.
33 mins – Balintore almost came up with an equaliser as a dangerous ball was played into the Thurso box, Calderwood headed across the goal only for Lowe to put his shot wide when it looked easier to score.
35 mins – Balintore again looked threatening and were playing their best spell of the first half as Dance crossed from the right but the ball was cut out by Mackay with Lewis Ross waiting to pounce at the back post.
40 mins – Balintore were to rue their missed opportunities as Thurso took a strong grip of the game and went two up as Cassidy was fouled on the edge of the box, Lee MacDougall blasted the free kick, only to be parried by Shearer and Ross Sutherland was at hand to poke the ball into the net.
45 mins – Thurso then hit Balintore with a hammer blow just before half-time as Jamie MacKenzie picked the ball up on the left, cut inside, beat several Balintore players and unleashed a powerful low drive into Shearer’s bottom right hand corner to make it three-nil for Thurso.
Half-time – Thurso 3 V Balintore 0
50 mins – Lowe shot over the bar as Balintore started the second half brightly and looking to take advantage of the strong wind blowing across the pitch as Thurso did in the first half.
54 mins – Wood replaced Calderwood for Balintore.
55 mins – Ewan Dance headed just wide of the right hand post from a cross from the right.
57 mins – Lee MacDougall shot blocked, Cassidy picked up the rebound and was brought down on the edge of the box for a free kick.
60 mins – Balintore threw themselves a lifeline as Ewan Dance crossed from the left, Mackay looked to have control of the ball, however it squirmed free under a challenge and broke to Lowe who made no mistake hitting the ball in off the underside of the cross bar.
61 mins – Balintore had their tails up now and Farquhar crossed from the left to Dance who missed the target from 10 yards at the back post.
63 mins – Thurso came back into the game after the torrid start to the second half and Ross Sutherland got some space in midfield and strode forward and hit a shot over the bar from 20 yards.
64 mins – Balintore clawed further back at Thurso’s lead as John Skinner played in a free kick 40 yards out on to the head of Tony Farquhar who looped a header past Mackay from 12 yards.
65 mins – Ross Sutherland had another effort on goal from 18 yards but this time was saved by Shearer.
68 mins – Thurso extended their lead bringing a collective sigh of relief from the Thurso dugout and travelling fans as Lee MacDougall broke free of a challenge on the left and made his way to bye line free and cut the ball back to Nigel MacKenzie who cracked the ball home from 6 yards and effectively quell the Balintore come back and retain the Morris Newton Cup for Thurso.
69 mins - Ian Coghill replaced Ross Sutherland for Thurso.
76 mins – Ewan Dance free kick played in, took a slight deflection and well saved by Jack Mackay.
78 mins – Hogg replaced Lewis Ross who limped off the field.
79 mins – Russel Beattie replaced Luke Cassidy who had put in a good shift up front for Thurso and taken some heavy challenges from The Balintore defence.
80 mins – S.Warner replaced John Skinner for Balintore.
82 mins – Nigel MacKenzie sent through on the right, he made his way into the box and unselfishly squared to Beattie but the ball was scrambled clear.
84 mins – Coghill picked up the ball on the edge of the box and his curling effort just creeped past the left hand post of Shearer.
86 mins – Ryan Farmer replaced Nigel MacKenzie.
Full-time – Thurso 4 V Balintore 2
Thurso win their second trophy of the season in their third cup final and it is now down to Thurso completing their three remaining fixtures at home to Alness United, then followed by two away trips to Golspie and Helmsdale, hopefully unbeaten in those remaining matches.
scores on the day saw Caithness neighbours Halkirk United progress into the
Final of The Football Times Cup with a 3-1 win at home to Tain St.Duthus and
Golspie Sutherland take another step to securing the league title with a 3-0
win away in Alness.
Saturday the 10th of April 2004
Football Times Cup Second Round
Thurso F.C 1 V Alness United 1
Goalscorer - Brian Gray (pen)
At The Dammies (Alness won 4-2 on pens a.e.t)
Match report from Thurso 1 V Alness United 1 –Football Times Cup Second Round– Saturday 10th April 2004 – By Iain Grant
Thurso 1 Alness United 1 (Alness won 4-2 on pens)
The fickle nature of football and the sport's enduring ability to floor teams when they are riding high manifested itself in Saturday's Football Times quarter-final at the Dammies.
The previous week, the Vikings secured an undemanding 3-0 victory at Alness to qualify for tomorrow's Morris Newton Cup final.
cast lists largely unaltered and the balance of play again
markedly in favour of the
But Alness absorbed lengthy periods of pressure to hold out for a draw after 120 minutes before delivering the coup de grace in the penalty shoot-out.
The two goals came within 10 minutes of each other with Brian Gray firing Thurso ahead from the penalty spot after 11 minutes before Robbie MacDougall restored parity when he rose unchallenged to net from a corner.
The home side's Achilles heel was their inability to convert a string of clear shooting opportunities in the penalty box.
Young keeper Grant Robertson again distinguished himself with several cracking saves.
But on many other occasions, he could do nothing but watch in relief as chance after chance went abegging through a mixture of indecisiveness and rank poor finishing.
An early spurt by Nigel Mackenzie saw him produce the first shot of the afternoon, which whizzed over the bar.
Though they enjoyed the lion's share of possession, Thurso had a vulnerable look throughout when the visitors broke from deep.
This was evident as early as the fourth minute when cross wires between wing back Alan Sutherland and keeper Brian Mackay ended with the needless concession of a corner.
The award enabled attacker-cum-defender MacDougall to give an early sign of his menace at place-kicks when he flashed a header just over the top.
Thurso's opener stemmed from a slip by a visiting defender which allowed Alan Murray to power down the unguarded left flank.
As he veered into the box, he was unceremoniously sent toppling by a crude lunge from Brian Davidson.
Gray duly thumped the spot-kick low inside the left post as Robertson dived the other way.
The visitors went perilously close to getting on terms three minutes later when David Chapman raced clear after a long through ball came off the back of Alan Sutherland's head.
Chapman rounded Mackay to net, only to have the effort ruled out after referee Graham Fraser belatedly saw the offside flag hoisted by his assistant Cliff Ball.
This marked the start of a shaky spell for Thurso.
The equaliser followed a corner conceded by Mackay when he just managed to get something on a deep, floated free-kick from Colin Doull.
The keeper was powerless when the resultant corner from Doull saw MacDougall rise at the far post to head the equaliser.
Two minutes later, here was another scare for the home camp when Andrew Maitland threaded a killer pass to Chapman whose run-in with Mackay was aborted thanks to a perfectly timed tackle from the retreating Shaun Moar.
Thurso regained the initiative and soon had their opponents tuned in to defensive mode again.
After 25 minutes, Kevin Warner's lay-off to Gavin Bremner saw the latter's powerful, swerving drive being adroitly turned past the post by Robertson.
Two minutes later, a fierce angled shot from Phil Makhouli flashed across the face of the goal, narrowly missing its target.
Robertson impressed again after 34 minutes when Lee MacDougall and Luke Cassidy combined before MacKenzie's would-be finish was plucked out of the air by the keeper.
Makhouli should have done better four minutes later when he missed the target after Alan Sutherland had picked him out at the far post.
Alness replied on 41 minutes with a half-volley from Brian Ross which went just wide.
The home defence was further troubled a minute from the break when Maitland's shot was half-blocked by Mackay before Warner completed the clearance under pressure from Chapman.
Tempers were frayed on both sides in a first half which had witnessed some grizzly tackles, most perpetrated by the visiting side.
Referee Fraser showed leniency in showing just two yellow cards -- one to Cassidy and the other to MacDougall.
Thurso turned the screw after the interval and they had enough chances to have reached for the cruise control well before the end.
But though their midfield was running the show, they struggled at the business end with too often attacks withering on the vine through poor quality crosses or woeful finishing.
The latter had its nadir on 50 minutes when the efforts of Makhouli and Murray created a golden opportunity for MacDougall who proceeded to lean back and launch the ball well over the bar.
After 57 minutes, the hard-working Makhouli's header from a cross set up Gray for a close-in header which was scrambled off the line.
A sparkling move three minutes later ended with MacDougall searching out the inrushing Cassidy whose 12 yard shot was somehow deflected for a corner.
A similar effort by Makhouli met with the same fate while Cassidy miskicked after being teed up in front of goal.
The tale of woe extended to Makhouli after 74 minutes when he shot over after MacKenzie had crafted the opening.
Extra-time saw no let-up in the sustained onslaught.
After 106 minutes, Robertson parried a dangerous, inswinging cross from MacKenzie into the path of Ross Sutherland whose low drive from the edge of the box was goal-bound until a defender managed to deflect the ball for a corner.
A minute later, Alan Sutherland's back-header produced a marvellous one-handed save from Robertson.
After the second turnaround, the keeper was again in the spotlight, smothering Bremner's powerful, low shot and then doing well to turn away a MacDougall effort.
In between, Thurso had a cast-iron penalty claim turned down when Makhouli was clearly upended in the box after he had wrong-footed Doull after 117 minutes.
Given the way the game had gone, Alness were more than happy to be afforded the lottery of a shoot-out.
The body language of the Thurso men betrayed the psychological scars incurred by their failure to score from open play.
The sudden-death sequence was stacked in the visitors' favour after Chapman, Ross and Willie Stewart all scored for them and MacKenzie and Alan Sutherland had their efforts saved.
Thurso survived three match points when Gray and Bremner converted in between Maitland hitting a post.
But the experienced Davidson held his nerve to step up to give his side a decisive 4-2 advantage.
Thurso v Alness: B.Mackay, A. Sutherland, B.Gray, Moar (Forbes 105), Warner, N.Mackenzie, G.Bremner, P.Makhouli, A.Murray, L.MacDougall, Cassidy (R. Sutherland 76). Sub (unused) -- Coghill.
Ref: Mr G.
Saturday the 3rd of April 2004
Morris Newton Cup Semi-Final
Alness United 0 V Thurso F.C 3
Goalscorers - Alan Murray (2) and Nigel MacKenzie
At Alness - 2.45 k.o
Match report from Alness United 0 V Thurso 3 –Morris Newton Cup Semi-Final- Saturday 3rd of April 2004 by Brian Mackay
Alness United – Robertson, E.Murray (Buntain 24), J.Bremner, Docherty, R.MacDougall,
Stewart, Munro, Davidson, Ross, MacDonald, Doull. Subs – Maitland and Wright
Thurso –B.Mackay, Gray (Angus 77), Morris, Warner, Forbes, G.Bremner, N.MacKenzie,
P.Makhouli, A.Murray, Cassidy (Coghill 72), L.MacDougall (Baker 73).
Perfect conditions for football greeted the Thurso squad from their long trip to Alness. Thurso manager Duncan Gray made several changes from last week’s disappointing defeat at home to Balintore with Brian Mackay replacing Jack Mackay in goal, Allan Sutherland, Phil Green and Trevor McLeod dropping out of the squad completely with Graham Angus, Kevin Morris and Lee MacDougall coming back in. Coghill, Baker and Angus took their places on the bench.
Alness United seemed to have several changes from the last time Thurso played them with influential veteran striker Ross Jack, Carl Jack and David Chapman nowhere to be seen.
2 mins – Good link up play between Makhouli, MacDougall, Murray, Cassidy and MacKenzie, which was to be a feature of The Thurso performance throughout the afternoon.
10 mins – Alness win a corner, taken by Doull. Headed clear.
15 mins –
16 mins –
Ball from Gray down the right to Makhouli who shot just wide of Left Hand post.
20 mins – Makhouli pass to Nigel MacKenzie, through the middle and brilliantly blocked by Robertson in the Alness goal.
24 mins – Buntain on for Evan Murray for Alness United.
25 mins – Thurso take the lead. Phil Makhouli and Gavin Bremner one-two on the edge of the box, Alness defender sliced his clearance, Makhouli challenges keeper, ball breaks to Alan Murray who pokes the ball under Robertson from inside the six yard box for a deserved lead.
28 mins – Alness hit back as Ross crosses to MacDonald who heads the ball straight at Mackay who makes a comfortable save.
31 mins – Lee MacDougall receives the ball from Bremner but is halted by an excellent tackle.
32 mins –
34 mins –
Cassidy receives the ball from MacKenzie, breaks down the left and plays the
38 mins – Thurso pushing for second goal as Makhouli plays in Murray who shoots into the keeper’s arms.
39 mins – Thurso get a wake up call as a Doull corner is headed just wide by Stewart at the back post.
40 mins –
Cassidy pass to
43 mins – Nigel MacKenzie crudely brought down by Docherty who deservedly receives a yellow card after a series of fouls against Thurso attackers.
44 mins – Docherty long free kick into the box headed clear by Morris under pressure in the six-yard box.
Half-time – Alness 0 V Thurso 1
45 mins – A rather portly Maitland appears up front for Alness United as a sub for the second half.
47 mins – Ross shot saved by Mackay as Alness United start the second half strongly and Thurso look decidedly shaky for the opening spell after the break.
48 mins – Dangerous ball by Davidson played into the box and headed clear by Morris.
49 mins – Gavin Bremner shot from the edge of the box, deflected into the path of Alan Murray who was beaten to the ball by the keeper.
51 mins – Forbes ball to MacDougall on the left cut out by Alness for a corner.
53 mins – Buntain cross from Left hand side caught by Mackay under pressure.
56 mins – Stewart booked for tripping Gavin Bremner who was breaking free in midfield.
60 mins –
Bremner brilliantly weighted through ball to Alan Murray who was straight
through on Robertson, coming out of his gaol at speed and
63 mins – Thurso win a free kick on the edge of the box, Lee MacDougall takes it, hits it into the wall, however Nigel MacKenzie thrashes the ball on the half volley into the top corner of the net past Robertson grasping thin air to make it three nil to Thurs and booked their third cup final appearance of the season.
65 mins – Cassidy shot saved.
69 mins –
Great move involving Cassidy to Nigel Mackenzie to
70 mins – MacKenzie one-two with Cassidy who dragged his shot across the goal.
72 mins – Coghill replaces Cassidy.
73 mins – Alan Murray passes to Gavin Bremner who’s volleyed effort flies just wide of the target. Baker replaced MacDougall.
76 mins – Stewart cross from the left cut out by Mackay who was to eventually secure his sixth shut out in 7 matches for Thurso.
77 mins – Graham Angus replaces Gray.
78 mins –
83 mins – Thurso playing some good passing football and have a great move between Bremner and Murray eventually cut out by the tiring Alness defence who have been run ragged by some speedy front play by Murray, MacDougall, Cassidy, MacKenzie and Makhouli prompted by Bremner in the midfield.
88 mins – Coghill good interplay with Bremner and MacKenzie with the ball cleared for a throw-in.
89 mins – MacKenzie shot wide from 18 yards.
92 mins – Morris received straight red card for strong challenge on Munro. Then received two further reds for foul language and was called into the referee’s room after the match.
Final score soured by the sending off of Morris was Alness 0 V Thurso 3.
play Balintore, who defeated Golspie 1-0 in the other semi-final and the game
will be played on Saturday the 17th of April at
sees two Football Times Cup Second Round ties in Caithness as Alness United
travel north to The Dammies to take on Thurso and Halkirk United entertain
Golspie Sutherland at
Saturday the 27th of March 2004
MSIS North Caledonian League
Thurso F.C 1 V Balintore 2
Thurso Line-up - J.Mackay, A.Sutherland, Forbes, Warner, Gray, Bremner, Green (Baker 65),
Coghill (T.McLeod 60),Murray, P.Makhouli, N.MacKenzie. Sub Not Used - Cassidy.
Goalscorer - o.g.John Skinner
At The Dammies - 3.00 k.o
Match report from Thurso 1 V Balintore 2 – MSIS North Caledonian League – Saturday 27th March 2004 – By Brian Mackay
Thurso – J.Mackay, A.Sutherland, Forbes, Warner, Gray, Bremner, Green (Baker 65),
Balintore – Shearer, Lowe, P.Skinner, J.Skinner, Calderwood, Boyd, Fraser, McGruer,
Dance (McKain 71), Farquhar and Ross. Subs Not Used – Hogg and Wood.
Balintore look as though they have almost a full squad to choose from, however Thurso have several selection problems with Jamie MacKenzie, Willie Inrig, Shaun Moar, Kevin Morris, Lee MacDougall all missing plus Luke Cassidy with a sick bug only able to take a place on the bench and call upon Phil Green, Shaun Forbes, Ian Coghill, Martin Baker and Trevor McLeod.
8 mins – Great move by Thurso involving Makhouli and Nigel MacKenzie to Alan Murray but just cut out by Shearer in Balintore goal.
10 mins – Long free kick taken by John Skinner headed out to the edge of the box by Thurso defence then overhead kick by Tony Farquhar well wide of the right hand post of Jack Mackay.
15 mins – Ewan Dance broke and crossed from the right to Tony Farquhar at the back post who headed wide of the goal.
16 mins – Lewis Ross shot from 20 yards saved comfortably by Thurso keeper Jack Mackay.
20 mins – Nigel MacKenzie shot saved by Shearer.
21 mins – High ball played in by Balintore from the left, however refreee Sinclair blew for a foul on Mackay.
25 mins –
Nigel MacKenzie played the ball to Ian Coghill on the right and he drilled a
low shot from an angle but was well saved by Balintore stopper Shearer, then a
few seconds later
28 mins – Nigel MacKenzie run and cross from the left to Phil Makhouli who’s header was blocked.
35 mins – Nigel MacKenzie had a powerful drive blocked by Skinner.
36 mins – Thurso very exposed at the back as Lowe broke free and grazed the outside of the post from 10 yards as Thurso looked more and more vulnerable missing the calming influences of Moar and Morris at the back.
41 mins – Thurso win a free kick on the edge of the box and Nigel MacKenzie takes it and puts the ball well over the bar.
43 mins – Tony Farquhar shoots from 18 yards but it goes wide.
45 mins – Just before half-time Ewan Dance takes a corner from the left and David Calderwood heads wide as Balintore threaten to take the lead.
Half-time – Thurso 0 V Balintore 0
Balintore came out of the blocks quickly and within two minutes of the second half were two goals up.
46 mins – Ewan Dance received the ball of the left of the penalty area and hit a low shot past MacKay from 18 yards, then in 47 mins – The ball was cut back from the right to Tony Farquhar who slotted into the empty net from 2 yards to make it Thurso 0 V Balintore 2
49 mins – Nigel MacKenzie run and cross to Alan Murray who shot wide of goal.
52 mins – MacKenzie run beating three players on the left and just cut out with Makhouli waiting to score, then Makhouli heading over from a Bremner corner kick.
60 mins – Trevor McLeod on for Ian Coghill.
65 mins – Martin Baker on for Phil Green.
68 mins – Tony Farquhar shot saved by Mackay.
71 mins – Goalscorer Ewan Dance off to be replaced by McKain.
75 mins – free kick conceded on the edge of the box by Gray who was losing the place and got threatened to be removed from the pitch by manager Duncan Gray. Resultant free kicks brilliantly tipped over the bar by Mackay from Lewis Ross effort.
76 mins –
79 mins – Baker yellow carded.
84 mins – Nigel MacKenzie run on the left beating several players and cutting the ball back across goal and slammed into his own net by John Skinner.
Final score – Thurso 1 V Balintore 2
Fixtures for Saturday 3th of April :-
Newton Cup Semi-Finals – Alness V Thurso and Balintore V Golspie plus Football
Times Cup Second Round as Bunillidh Thistle take on Tain St.Duthus at Helmsdale.
Saturday the 13th of March 2004
MSIS North Caledonian League
Thurso F.C 5 V
Thurso Line-up - J.Mackay, B.Gray, Forbes, Warner (Baker 69), Morris, N.MacKenzie,
G.Bremner, R.Sutherland (Angus 45), G.Reid, P.Makhouli, A.Murray (Cassidy 58).
Goalscorers - Alan Murray, Nigel MacKenzie, Phil Makhouli, o.g.Munro and Luke Cassidy
At The Dammies - 3.00 k.o
Thurso 5 V Bonar Bridge 0 – Saturday the 13th of March 2004 – MSIS NCL – Report by Iain Grant
Thurso extended their unbeaten run to nine games with their clinical dismantling of the MSIS North Caley League basement side at the Dammies on Saturday.
The sequence of eight wins and a draw has seen the Vikings rattle in 35 goals for the loss of three.
It is the kind of form from a side you would expect to be in the shake-up for the final furlongs of the league run-in.
But several early reverses, including an early loss in Bonar, have proved fatal to the cause of last year's title winners.
The defining setback was their last defeat on the last Saturday in November, 3-1 to Golspie, who are now firmly on course to land the championship.
With Vikings manager Duncan Gray out of commission, Gus Mackay took over the reins for Saturday's tussle.
It proved a contest for the first half-hour during which the visitors pressed hard to cancel out Alan Murray's early opener.
But their challenge fizzled out after they were hit by two goals in five minutes.
A fourth just before the break further sapped their resistance and the only surprise was that Thurso did not reflect their complete dominance with more than one strike after the interval.
Throughout the afternoon, Thurso impressed with some thoughtful build-up play and skilled execution.
The latter but not the former was reflected in the opening goal.
After a couple of corners had come to nothing, there seemed no danger when Shaun Forbes gathered the ball in the centre circle.
more in hope than expectation, eluded two defenders and provided
The striker still had a lot to do and he did well to step past keeper David Argyll and from an acute angle steer the ball netward.
The setback nettled Bonar into a feisty response and within a minute Ross Newton's snap shot from the end of the box provided the first test for Thurso keeper Jack Mackay.
Neil MacRae then set up Christopher MacKenzie whose would-be finish trickled past the right post.
Mackay had an anxious moment on 10 minutes when he spilled a corner, with the keeper's blushes spared when Kevin Munro's follow-up drive flashed just wide.
Thurso sparked back into life with the left flank a fertile territory down which to launch attacks.
Nigel MacKenzie was to give his supposed markers a torrid time as time and again, he bamboozled and wrongfooted them with his pace and repertoire of tricks.
minutes, MacKenzie went close to heading his side two in front after
Thurso's revamped defence was looking decidedly fragile and there was collective relief
when the rearguard was not punished for going AWOL after 19 minutes.
A minute later, a driven free-kick from Bonar's Craig Caunter deflected off Kevin Warner
for a corner.
It was to prove Bonar's last threat as the home side finally clicked into gear and recaptured their flowing style of recent games.
After 23 minutes, Gordie Reid's flying header from a Gavin Bremner corner was scrambled off the line.
Bonar's goal was coming under severe pressure with the Sutherland side defending deeper and deeper.
After 29 minutes, Bremner was unlucky when his 25 yard grounder cracked back of the outside of the right upright.
A minute later, the second goal arrived after good work by Phil Makhouli down the right.
He found Murray who in turn set up MacKenzie who steadied himself with his first touch before his second found the gap between Argyll and the right-hand post.
It was no surprise that two became three four minutes later.
Brian Gray was the architect with a long cross-field cross which arrived awkwardly for the inrushing Makhouli six yards out.
Makhouli send the ball arcing over Argyll with an improvised flick of the outside of his right foot.
Bonar's earlier flurry was becoming a distant memory and they fell four behind three minutes from the break.
upfield move saw
Argyll did well to parry the ball against the bar with Munro unlucky to find himself in the path of the rebound to score an own goal.
Referee Willie Sinclair's concern about a colour clash led to Thurso replacing their red jerseys at the interval break with blue.
The switch did not change the pattern of the game, with the eager home side keen to
press home their all-round advantage.
After 48 minutes, Bremner was again denied by the woodwork with his free-kick cracking back off the bar and Argyll saving Forbes's follow-up.
Argyll then did well to deny Makhouli and then produced the save of the day as he acrobatically leapt to keep out Bremner's near-post header.
The fifth goal after 62 minutes was notched by substitute Luke Cassidy who had the easy job of heading in from close range after MacKenzie's fizzing 25 yarder cannoned back off the cross-bar.
Warner missed a snip and young sub Graham Angus headed just wide after another piece of wing wizardry from MacKenzie.
The hard-pressed Argyll was indebted to Munro after 75 minutes when the keeper got in a tangle following a corner and the defender was on hand to bundle the ball off the line.
It was all-Thurso, with Cassidy unlucky to see his half-volley deflected over the bar and Angus hitting the bar with the first of two late chances which fell his way.
An easy day for Mr Sinclair saw him reach into his pocket just once to book Munro after 68 minutes for a clumsy challenge on Gray.
Stand-in manager Gus Mackay was happy with his charges performed, apart from the dodgy spell following the first goal.
"After we went 1-0 up, we were a bit shaky for a while and they could easily have equalised.
"Overall, I thought we played some pretty good stuff, especially in the second half when we relaxed and started to knock the ball about really well."
Tomorrow, Thurso travel to Helmsdale for a league match versus Bunillidh Thistle.
There will be a change of keeper with the unavailable Jack MacKay replaced by Brian Mackay.
Ross Sutherland, who has niggling calf and hamstring problems, is likely to be rested
while Shaun Moar continues to struggle with a back injury.
Lee MacDougall and Jamie MacKenzie are set to return.
Thurso – Mackay, Gray, Forbes, Warner (Baker 69), Morris, MacKenzie, Bremner, Sutherland (Angus h/t), Reid, Makhouli, Murray (Cassidy 58).
Ref: Mr W. Sinclair.
. Balintore's 4-0 defeat of Invergordon enabled them to take over at the top of the league from Golspie by virtue of their better goal difference.
The Sutherland outfit remain favourites as they have two games in hand.
On Saturday, Golspie had their work cut out before getting the better of neighbours Dornoch, winning 2-1 in the second round of the Morris Newton Cup.
Alness meanwhile booked a home semi-final versus Thurso in the competition after returning from Helmsdale with a 5-0 victory over Bunillidh Thistle.
United have no game tomorrow.
Saturday the 13th of March 2004
MSIS North Caledonian League
Halkirk United 0 V Thurso F.C 3
Goalscorers - Gavin Bremner (pen), Phil Makhouli and Alan Murray
At Recreation Park, Halkirk - 2.30 k.o
Halkirk United 0 V Thurso 3 – Saturday the 6th of March 2004 – Morris Newton Cup Second Round – Report by Brian Mackay
Halkirk United – Swanson, G.Mackay, Blair, Sinclair, Martin, Fearns, A.Farquhar, G.Coghill,
MacDonald, J.Farquhar, M.Bremner. Subs – M.Munro, D.Munro and Gunn.
Thurso – J.Mackay, A.Sutherland, Morris, Moar, Warner, G.Bremner, N.MacKenzie,
R.Sutherland (Reid 67), Murray (J.MacKenzie 67), P.Makhouli, MacDougall (Angus 80).
start of this local derby match it was a sunny day with a strong, cool breeze
blowing across the
started the match strongly with Nigel MacKenzie and Lee MacDougall causing
problems on the wings and playing in some dangerous balls. Thurso’s early
dominance was rewarded with the opening goal in the third minute, as Makhouli
broke free through on goal, only to be halted by Coghill who clipped the
striker just inside the box and referee
After seven minutes Halkirk had their first effort on goal as Alan Farquhar tested Jack Mackay from distance but the big keeper collected the ball cleanly.
In the tenth minute Thurso midfielder Gavin Bremner played in Alan Murray who shot over the bar as Thurso threatened to break even further ahead.
Nigel MacKenzie was next to test Swanson in the 17th minute with a low angled drive.
Thurso took a strong grip of the game as a high ball was played into the box and assisted by Sutherland Makhouli found himself in space on the left and blasted the ball past Swanson from an angle about 10 yards out.
Eight minutes later there was a moment of controversy as the ball avoided several Thurso players, then Murray and landed at the feet of MacDougall on the left corner of the box who flighted a brilliant shot into the top right hand corner of Swanson’s net only to be disappointed by the assistant referee flagging for offside.
The game then went a bit stale as heavy rain pounded the ground with supporters making for the shelter of the pavilion.
With five minutes to go before half time the weather improved and the sun came out and Murray nearly made it three for Thurso but his shot was blocked by the hard pushed Halkirk defence, but with a minute before half time, Thurso effectively killed off the game as a contest as a ball was played into the box from the right, headed across the face of goal by Ross Sutherland and headed home from close range by Murray.
Half-time – Halkirk 0 V Thurso 3
Halkirk made two changes at half time with Mark Munro and Graham Gunn coming on. Halkirk started the second half well with manager Iain MacDonald’s words ringing in their ears and almost pulled a goal back as Michael Bremner was put right through on goal. Thurso keeper Mackay committed himself early, Bremner went round him and when he was about to put the ball in the empty net, lost his footing on the greasy surface and Mackay scrambled back to flop on the ball and the chance was gone.
Thurso almost extended their lead in the 63rd minute as Warner intercepted the ball on the edge of his box, played the ball to Bremner who found Murray running through with two Halkirk defenders in attendance, however the nippy Thurso striker managed to get a toe to the ball and it trickled just wide of the target.
A minute later Michael Bremner was looking lively again and turned Warner and played in a dangerous ball across the face of goal with no takers at the far post for the home side.
With 23 minutes to go Thurso made two changes as Ross Sutherland and Murray took a well-deserved rest with Gordie Reid and Jamie MacKenzie taking their place.
With 13 minutes remaining Jamie MacKenzie shot wide from the edge of the box after being set up by his brother Nigel.
With ten minutes remaining Thurso youngster Graham Angus replaced the hard working MacDougall on the wing for the away side. A minute later Halkirk’s best player on the day Bremner shot wide of goal from the edge of the box.
With five minutes to go Thurso sub Angus almost opened his account as MacKenzie set him up at the back post, however the youngster lost his footing and the ball was scrambled clear by The Halkirk rearguard.
With three minutes to go Nigel MacKenzie broke down the left and crossed for brother Jamie but the ball was cut out.
With a minute to go Gavin Mackay received a yellow card for speaking out of turn to the referee and the last chance of the game fell to Thurso sub Gordie Reid who was set up at the edge of the box but shot well wide of the target.
Other results on the day were all in the league as Balintore kept their championship hopes alive with a 3-1 home win against Alness United and Dornoch and Tain completed their league fixtures as Dornoch won 7-3 and climbed above Halkirk United in the table.
weekend sees a mixture of league and cup fixtures again as Bunillidh play hosts
to Alness United at Helmsdale with Thurso awaiting the winners in the
semi-final and Dornoch travelling to Golspie in The Morris Newton Cup Second
Round (2.30 p.m kick-offs) and in The league Balintore take on Invergordon at
Seaboard Park and Thurso host Bonar Bridge at The Dammies with both league
games kicking off at 3.00 p.m.
Saturday the 21st of February 2004
PCT Cup Final
Thurso F.C 1 V Balintore 0
Goalscorer - Lee MacDougall
At Dudgeon Park, Brora - 2.00 p.m kick-off
Match report from Thurso 1V Balintore- PCT Cup Final – Sat 21st Feb 2004 – By Iain Grant
strike from Lee MacDougall secured a deserved triumph for Thurso in Saturday's PCT Cup final at
A low-key first half saw both sides under-perform in the second final of the MSIS North Caledonian season.
It was the Ross outfit who went closest to scoring when Lewis Ross's free-kick rebounded off the face of the cross-bar on 32 minutes.
But Thurso took command after the interval with keeper Jack Mackay a bystander as his side went close on a handful of occasions before MacDougall's clincher.
The Vikings suffered a blow after 10 minutes when Willie Inrig was stretchered off after a clash with Ross which left him writhing in agony.
midfielder, a late call-up after a work commitment fell through,
spent the night in
The lengthy hold-up and the subsequent arrival of an ambulance inevitably affected the flow and tempo of the game.
Thurso had made the more determined start before Inrig's unfortunate exit.
Alan Murray was inches away from connecting with an inswinging free-kick from Gavin Bremner and then went close with a dipping 25 yarder which flashed past the left upright.
Balintore keeper Eddie Shearer was also required to dive low to his other post to clutch a free-kick zipped in by Nigel Mackenzie.
After the stoppage, the chances continued to be manufactured at Shearer's end.
Sutherland headed over a MacKenzie setpiece with Balintore's first attack of any worth seeing James Skinner's shot skimming across the face of Mackay's goal after 27 minutes.
Five minutes later, the Thurso keeper was powerless to prevent Ross's free-kick swerve outside the phalanx of defenders in front of him and come back off the bar.
Tony Farquhar was set to net the rebound but was ruled offside by referee Kenny Beats.
With Kevin Morris and Brian Gray comfortably countering Balintore's aerial threat, the
The near-miss from the free-kick was to prove Mackay's only heart-stopper throughout the afternoon.
MacKenzie spurned two clear opportunities to give Thurso an interval advantage.
Ten minutes from the break, a clear corridor opened up for him down the left to home in on Shearer.
But the winger took too long to weigh up his options, allowing the keeper to beat away his shot, with the ball sent into an upward spiral.
Shearer recovered to foil MacKenzie's attempt to head into the empty net and Phil Makhouli sent his follow-up shot past the post.
minutes, MacDougall put MacKenzie away again but an action replay from
Shearer saw the shot blocked, with
MacDougall was booked towards the end of the half following a spat with Ewan Dance; with Morris and Balintore's Graeme MacGruer also yellow-carded.
Makhouli, a lively presence throughout, was thwarted by the brilliance of Shearer from grabbing the opener four minutes after the turnaround.
Makhouli's fierce, driven effort from 12 yards produced a stunning, fingertip save to divert the ball over the bar.
minutes, Makhouli instigated a move which ended with MacKenzie sent clear by
Shearer once again came out on top in the duel though the keeper required the assistance of his defenders to complete the clearance.
Balintore were focused on dogged defending as they sought to repel spells of intense pressure.
The goal was created by Makhouli's perseverance down the right flank.
took him past one defender and as he sought to wrongfoot a second, the ball
broke across goal to
defender in close attendance,
Balintore could have been expected to throw caution to the wind in the dying minutes but the cavalry charge never materialised as the Vikings' dominance continued until the final whistle.
Bremner was named man-of-the-match before lifting the cup, which Thurso won three years ago.
Balintore manager Alan Brindle afterwads had no excuses for his side, who he said had just failed to perform on the day.
He said: "I thought the first half was fairly even but Thurso were well in charge thereafter. They definitely deserved to win on the back of their second half performance.
"From our point of view, it was disappointing we could not get our passing game going.
"All credit to Thurso who have run into a rich vein of form. If they had shown that earlier in the season, there's no doubt they would be right up there challenging for the league."
The win extends the Midas touch of Thurso manager Duncan Gray who believes the victory was thoroughly deserved.
He said: "The boys have been working very hard at training and they have been putting in a lot of very good performances.
"I thought we were on top for most of the game and apart from the free-kick, I don't
think they really bothered us while we had quite a few chances.
"But Balintore are a tough team to play against. They keep battling away and they have two or three players who are always likely to sneak a goal."
set to miss the rest of the campaign while Brian Gray is suspended
for tomorrow's home league clash against
Ross Sutherland was not used in the final because of a tight hamstring and is again a fitness doubt but Jamie MacKenzie could well return to the squad.
Manager Gray accepts the league is now a lost cause but he is keen to extend his side's unbeaten run.
He said: "It's important we keep up the momentum so we can take it into the two remaining cup competitions."
Thurso v Balintore: Mackay, Gray, Morris, Moar, Warner, A.Sutherland, Bremner, Inrig (Makhouli 13), MacKenzie, Murray (Cassidy 86), MacDougall. Sub (unused) -- R. Sutherland.
K. Beats, Fort George
Saturday the 14th of February 2004
MSIS North Caledonian League
Alness United 1 V Thurso F.C 1
Thurso F.C Line-up - J.Mackay, A.Sutherland, Morris (P.Makhouli 84),Moar, Gray, Bremner,
N.MacKenzie, Warner, A.Murray, R.Sutherland (Inrig 84), L.MacDougall (Cassidy 87).
Goalscorer - Brian Gray
At Alness - 2.30 p.m kick-off
Match report from Alness United 1 V Thurso 1 – MSIS North Caledonian League - Saturday 14th of February 2004
Alness United – Robertson, E.Murray, Buntain, Docherty, R.MacDougall, Stewart, Davidson, C.Jack, R.Jack, Chapman, Doull. Subs – Ross, Sinclair and Houston.
Thurso –J.Mackay, A.Sutherland, Morris (P.Makhouli 84), Moar, Gray, Bremner, N.MacKenzie, Warner, A.Murray, R.Sutherland (Inrig 84), L.MacDougall (Cassidy 87).
Perfect conditions for football greeted the Thurso squad from their long trip to Alness. A big difference from the blizzard conditions they faced last weekend in Invergordon. Thurso manager Duncan Gray again made changes to his squad with Jamie MacKenzie still unavailable, however Willie Inrig was back in the squad as was Shaun Moar and Jack Mackay replaced Brian Mackay in the goals. Nicholl and Angus dropped out of the squad. Thurso started with a defensive line of Kevin Morris, Brian Gray, Shaun Moar and Kevin Warner at the back, a midfield of Allan Sutherland, Ross Sutherland, with Lee MacDougall and Nigel MacKenzie in the wings with Alan Murray ploughing a lone furrow up front with plenty of attacking options in Inrig, Makhouli and Cassidy on the bench.
In the early stages it was tough and competitive with both sides having difficult keeping the ball and both sides closing space down. In the second minute the home side showed their intentions from the off as Carl Jack hit a shot wide of Jack MacKay’s left hand post from the edge of the box.
Then Thurso took over as an attacking force and were starting to play some good passing football with some excellent one touch stuff and in the 3rd minute they won a throw on the right, taken by Gray which was launched deep into the Alness box, the ball broke to Alan Murray who’s shot was saved from 8 yards by Robertson in the Alness United goal, who was to prevent Thurso from scoring on numerous occasions throughout the afternoon.
After seven minutes Alness managed to break free down the left via Chapman who played in a dangerous ball across the six-yard box into the grateful arms of Mackay.
Two minutes later Thurso took the lead after a series of corner kicks and pressure. The corner was played in by Bremner, fumbled by the keeper to Gray standing on the corner of the six-yard box who unleashed a powerful volley into the far corner past a helpless Robertson to give Thurso a deserved lead.
Alness bench were very vocal during the game feeling they were not getting the rub of the green and on several occasions both the assistant referee and the referee had to calm Tommy Reagan and his men down.
A minute after taking the lead Thurso almost doubled their advantage as another corner was played in, onto the head of Allan Sutherland, which just evaded MacDougall at the far post who was poised to poke the ball home.
Thurso were ripping Alness apart now and Nigel MacKenzie again making good progress down the right wing. Alan Murray held the ball up, played it into the path of Nigel MacKenzie who looped a cross over to Lee MacDougall whose header was well saved by Robertson from 8 yards.
After 15 minute Thurso were awarded a free kick, which was blasted in by Morris only to be cleared by the hard-pressed Alness back line.
Alness then had their best spell of the match for 5 minutes putting Thurso under some severe pressure and After 20 minutes pulled level as Doull crossed to the back post to Ross Jack who cleverly peeled away to make himself free to head past Mackay at the back post to level the contest.
Thurso then established their supremacy and were again passing the ball well trying to regain their lead and almost took the lead after 28 minutes when Gray headed a free kick looping towards the top corner of the net only to be denied by a finger tip save from Robertson for a corner.
Two minutes later Thurso were awarded yet another corner, which was cleared as far as Ross Sutherland who advanced to the 18 yard box and hit a low shot which just missed the right hand post and the boot of Lee MacDougall who just failed to connect and divert the ball goal wards.
Two minutes later Carl Jack picked up the ball in the centre of the field, was taken late by Allan Sutherland, the referee played on and eventually the chance was wasted and Sutherland had his name taken.
minutes to half-time Thurso contrived the move of the match with Gray playing
the ball to MacKenzie who broke down the wing and squared the ball to
two minutes later Thurso had another excellent move playing some of the best
football this season with Warner playing the ball to
Half-time – Alness 1 V Thurso 1
Alness kicked off the second half brightly with their manager’s half-time words ringing in their ears and in the first minute Ross Jack almost gave the home side the lead with a header from a free kick which went wide of MacKay’s left hand post.
Then a minute later Alness were awarded a free kick on the edge of The Thurso area but Jack took the free kick, which sailed well over the bar.
Thurso then established the firm grip on the game again and in the 50th minute Nigel MacKenzie drove down the wing and squared only for Lee MacDougall to be just out of reach at the far post.
Seven minutes later after end-to-end play and no attempts of target, Alness played in a long high ball, which is a tactic they seemed to employ through most of the afternoon was well collected by Jack Mackay under pressure from Ross Jack.
A minute later Nigel MacKenzie again broke down the wing and crossed the ball, which was cleared, to Bremner who shot over from 25 yards.
Thurso were pushing again to take the lead and Ross Sutherland managed to get his head to the ball, which was again well saved by Robertson.
On the hour mark the game was going a bit stale but Thurso were still passing the ball well and causing Alness problems. Alness however won a corner and from the clearance Evan Murray shot wildly wide of the target when well placed.
In the 62nd minute Gray took his protests too far for some bad challenges coming in from the home side and was booked for his chatting back to the official.
With twenty minutes to go and the game end to end Ross Sutherland had an effort deflected wide from 20 yards.
With 15 minutes to go Alness took on Ross and Houston as some of their players had put in a hard shift chasing and harrying and were visibly tiring.
The game was looking more and more like a stalemate and with only a point not what was required by Thurso, manager Duncan Gray eventually decided to go for broke and threw on Inrig and Makhouli for Morris and Sutherland and this almost paid dividends as the pair combined to set up Nigel MacKenzie who shot across goal from the edge of the box.
Then with three minutes to go Cassidy replaced MacDougall. Cassidy almost made an instant impact as he ran on to a brilliant Phil Makhouli chipped pass over the Alness defence only to be nicked off his toes when ready to pull the trigger and cleared for a corner.
Thurso then piled bodies forward into the box attempting a winning goal but eventually the referee blew his whistle leaving both side with a point which didn’t help any side but Alness surely were the happier team having escaped on numerous occasions with home keeper Robertson taking the plaudits with a string of impressive saves.
go onto The PCT Cup Final next weekend at
fixtures on the day saw Golspie Sutherland take a huge step towards the league
championship with a 1-0 win away in Balintore. Other fixtures on the day saw
Halkirk United gain their first away win of the season with a 4-3 win away in
Dornoch and Bunillidh Thistle record a 4-1 away win at Tain.
Saturday the 7th of February 2004
MSIS North Caledonian League
Invergordon 0 V Thurso F.C 8
Thurso F.C Line-up - B.Mackay, A.Sutherland, Morris, Warner, Gray, Bremner, N.MacKenzie
(Angus 69), R.Sutherland, Murray (Nicholl 64), P.Makhouli (Cassidy 58), MacDougall.
Goalscorers - Nigel MacKenzie, Brian Gray (pen), Alan Murray (2), Phil Makhouli, Mark Nicholl, Gavin Bremner and Luke Cassidy
At Invergordon Academy Park, Invergordon - 2.30 p.m kick-off
Match report from Invergordon 0 V Thurso 8 – MSIS North Caledonian League - Saturday 7th of February 2004
Invergordon –Campbell, M.Sinclair (Whitelaw 6)(Hutchison 69), Cooper (Ross 69), McKaskill, Innes, Wilson, Ogilvie, Scobbie, Dinwoodie, MacDonald and McAllister.
Thurso –B.Mackay, A.Sutherland, Morris, Warner, Gray, Bremner, N.MacKenzie (Angus 69), R.Sutherland, Murray (Nicholl 64), P.Makhouli (Cassidy 58), MacDougall.
A light covering of snow on a soft playing surface at Invergordon greeted the Thurso squad from the long trip through the drifting snow from the North. Thurso manager Duncan Gray added Mark Nichol and Kevin Morris to the squad with Willie Inrig and Jamie MacKenzie being unavailable due to work commitments from the squad who defeated Golspie 5-0 in The PCT Cup Semi-Final a few weeks ago. Morris took his place in the back four along with Allan Sutherland, Kevin Warner and Brian Gray. Nigel MacKenzie and Lee MacDougall took their positions out wide with Bremner and Ross Sutherland in the centre of midfield with Phil Makhouli and Alan Murray making a pacy frontline.
Thurso started off brightly with Nigel MacKenzie and Allan Sutherland making strong runs down the right causing Invergordon a lot of problems with Murray and Makhouli using their pace to tear the Invergordon back line apart. Invergordon were using a lofted ball over the Thurso defence and on two occasions keeper Brian Mackay had to race outside his box to clear in the opening five minutes.
With 6 minutes gone Invergordon got an injury blow as Magnus Sinclair got a bad injury and had to limp off the field to be replaced by Whitelaw.
A minute later a run from Nigel MacKenzie from the halfway line into the box and cut back was intercepted by Invergordon with The Thurso strikers eagerly waiting to pounce. After 9 minutes Ogilvie and Dinwoodie had a great passing move down the left but was eventually cut out by The Thurso defence. Then a minute later MacDonald hit a long range shot which MacKay saved well.
Invergordon were playing with more confidence and Dinwoodie was causing Thurso more problems in the 13th minute as he again broke down the left and cut the ball back. Mackay got a touch which took the ball away from the Invergordon forwards and the ball was eventually cleared.
were to rue those missed opportunities as Thurso took the lead 2 minutes later
as Allan Sutherland played the perfect through ball into the path of Nigel
MacKenzie who chipped
later Thurso extended their lead as Alan Murray was tripped in the box by
Frustration was getting the better of the home side on and off the pitch as MacDonald got booked for a late challenge on Gray and referee had to speak to Invergordon manager Graham Stewart to try and stop the abuse coming from the home support who felt that Thurso were getting more than their fair share of any decisions on the pitch.
After 22 minutes McAllister for Invergordon made a dangerous run down the right, cut the ball across goal which was cleared from near the goal line by Warner as the home team tried in vain to get back into the match.
broke up the field straight after and Alan Murray was through on goal but
After 24 minutes Thurso effectively put the game out of sight as Ross Sutherland played an excellent through ball to Murray who drew the keeper and finished low into the bottom left corner of the net from 10 yards.
The game was going from end to end and after 25 minutes Gray handled outside the box and MacDonald hit his free kick into the Thurso defensive wall.
Then, Invergordon despite being three goals down kept fighting hard and almost grabbed one back in the 28th and 32nd minutes as Scobbie shot wide on both occasions
With seven minutes to go to the break Lee MacDougall almost made it four nil but shot wide from distance, then in the 40th minute an Invergordon corner was cleared by Warner to McKaskill who shot wide from the edge of the box.
Half-time – Invergordon 0 V Thurso 3
out of the blocks strongly at the start of the second half after conceding
several opportunities to Invergordon in the first half. They had the strong
wind in their favour and the second half was always going to be a tough one for
Invergordon with the weather threatening to deteriorate further. In the 46th
minute Thurso killed off the game as Nigel MacKenzie crossed from the left to
Phil Makhouli who neatly finished past
Five minutes into the second half Thurso almost extended their advantage as Murray was put through on goal again, his shot was blocked again by the exposed Campbell and the rebound was sent goal wards by the faint touch of Makhouli but was cleared off the line.
In the 55th
minute Thurso made it five as Nigel MacKenzie crossed deep to the far post to
Murray who finished with the aid of
In the 58th minute Makhouli was replaced by Cassidy who was looking for his first goal of the season as Invergordon looked more and more vulnerable against the fast Thurso forward line and the worsening weather conditions.
twenty-five minutes to play the grateful
an immediate impact as he broke down the left, cut inside, beating two
Invergordon players and hammering a low shot past
With 20 minutes to play Hutchison and Ross came on for Whitelaw and Cooper for Invergordon and Nigel MacKenzie was replaced by youngster Graham Angus who had a run out.
With eighteen minutes to go Scobbie was sent clear on goal on Mackay who blocked the striker’s effort with Gray at hand to clear the loose ball.
In the 74th minute Thurso took a seven nil lead as Bremner scored from a square ball from substitute Cassidy from 5 yards.
With eleven minutes to go Innes spoke out of turn to the assistant ref on too many occasions who received a yellow card, then almost immediately Nichol crossed to Cassidy who was denied by a point blank save from Campbell who, on the day saved his team from conceding into double figures.
With seven minutes to play Thurso completed the scoring as Nichol this time turned provider for fellow sub Luke Cassidy who tapped home from six yards to open his account for the season since his return from The Highland League for Brora Rangers.
One more chance for Thurso with a few minutes to go as Cassidy set up Lee MacDougall who’s powerful drive cleared the cross bar from 18 yards.
Final score – Invergordon 0 V Thurso 8
Thurso went within two points of third placed Alness United who’s game at Helmsdale was called off as the Sutherlandshire village had whiteout conditions as The Thurso travelling squad made their was south. The only other game of the day saw Balintore take top spot with a 5-0 home win against Halkirk United taking advantage of Golspie’s fixture at Bonar also falling fowl of the bad weather.
weekend sees the top four locking horns as Thurso travel to Alness and Golspie
travelling to Balintore. Other fixtures sees Dornoch
playing hosts to Halkirk United and Tain at home to Bunillidh Thistle.
Saturday the 24th of January 2004
PCT Cup Semi-Final
Thurso F.C 5 V Golspie Sutherland 0
Thurso: B.Mackay, A. Sutherland, Warner, B.Gray, Moar, G.Bremner, Inrig, R. Sutherland,
J. MacKenzie, MacDougall (P.Makhouli 67), N.MacKenzie (Angus 80).
Goalscorers - Brian Gray (pen), Jamie MacKenzie, Allan Sutherland, Nigel MacKenzie and Phil Makhouli
At The Dammies - 1.30 p.m kick-off
Match report – Thurso F.C 5 V Golspie 0 – Saturday 24th January 2004 – by Iain Grant
Claiming a place in the final of the PCT Cup proved surprisingly easy for the Vikings against the MSIS North Caley League pace-setters.
Golspie were missing several key regulars but few could have predicted how tamely they capitulated against a side they had beaten 3-1 in a league tussle at the Dammies last month.
Three up at the interval, Thurso underlined their superiority with goals in the last quarter by Nigel MacKenzie and substitute Phil Makhouli.
The manner of Golspie's defeat on Saturday made for sorry viewing for the visiting camp-followers, who included club stalwart Darren Pullen, the ex-Academy player who is currently sidelined after an operation to remove his appendix.
A fine, sunny day saw Thurso dominate from the off.
A tantalising, hanging first minute cross delivered by Gavin Bremner from the right flank could easily have produced a goal had one of his colleagues anticipated its flight.
A couple of minutes later, Bremner's cross from the other side was neatly nodded back by Jamie MacKenzie towards Brian Gray whose half-hit shot was easily cleared.
A low sun proved an unwelcome distraction for visiting keeper Ian Young and it could be blamed for him failing to gather a driven cross from Willie Inrig after seven minutes.
As he squinted to avoid the glare, the ball squirted from his grap but he did exceptionally well to recover and block Lee MacDougall's follow-up which looked certain to give his side the lead.
The breakthrough was delayed for three minutes when MacDougall skipped down the right and crossed towards Jamie MacKenzie who was barged by a defender as he rose to meet the ball.
The resultant spot-kick was struck low to Young's right by Gray.
Golspie's rearguard looked uncertain throughout the first half while their midfield's tendency to give away possession while under no real pressure meant they were not able to generate any forward momentum.
Thurso's second arrived after 17 minutes when Jamie MacKenzie seized on a stray pass and strode on before drilling a low shot from the edge of the box which eluded Young on his nearside.
It was midway through the half before the visitors manufactured their first attack of any note with Chris Stone setting up Ian Innes whose intelligent, curling effort snaked past the left-hand post.
That proved a brief respite for Golspie's hard-pressed defence with Young earning their plaudits after 27 minutes with a glorious diving save, high to his right to deny
MacDougall who rose to meet an inch-perfect cross from Jamie MacKenzie.
Ten minutes later, MacDougall's protest at not winning a penalty after being felled in the box saw ref Fraser brandish the first yellow card of the afternoon.
It was no surprise when the pressure yielded a third goal for Thurso after 42 minutes when a corner was played back to Bremner whose return ball was headed at the far post by Jamie MacKenzie on to Alan Sutherland who finished with a sweet half-volley.
Half-time – Thurso 3 V Golspie 0
Golspie's dressing room at the interval was not for the faint-hearted as manager Stuart Sutherland gave his side a real earful.
His remonstrations appeared to pay seem dividends as the visitors made a spirited start to the resumption though David Niven's showed too much of a combative streak when he was booked after 52 minutes for a crude lunge on Bremner.
The best move of the match two minutes later saw Bremner and MacDougall combine to send Nigel MacKenzie racing down the left. He beat several defenders before squaring for Bremner to thunder a shot just over the bar.
Thurso keeper Brian Mackay paced around his box to keep warm and it was not until the 58 minutes that he saw active service and even then Gavin Nicolson -- a two goal stand-out in the league victory -- failed to make decent enough contact with his shot to force a decent save.
Bremner and Nigel MacKenzie saw long rangers veer just off target before the two MacKenzies made a bid for some sort of league notoriety when they were both booked
within three minutes.
Jamie was carded for a tackle and Nigel for dissent to spark off debate as to whether other brothers have had a quicker 'crime' double.
Thurso forged further ahead after 76 minutes when the brothers combined in a positive fashion with Jamie capitalising on good work from Makhouli to cross for Nigel to net from close range.
Nigel MacKenzie had a chance for a second two minutes later when Ross Sutherland sent him clear on goal only for Young to spint out to block his shot.
Golspie were undone again on 80 minutes when Makhouli was rewarded for some bright play following his introduction when he raced down the right and smashed the ball past Young for goal number five.
A bad day for Golspie got even worse four minutes from the end when Steven MacLean was red-carded for lashing out at Ross Sutherland as the later was lying on the ground.
Manager Stuart Sutherland had no excuses for his side's sub-par display.
"We were a few short but we just didn't play well and don't deserve anything from the game. We weren't at the races and got a good old-fashioned thumping..
"Once they got the second goal, there was only going to be one winner. The second half was about damage limitation."
He added: "Thurso were up for it. They wanted it more than we did."
Saturday's game was sponsored by BT Global Services with Thurso-based BT operations manager Steve Webster presenting the Vikings' first ever man-on-the-match award to Ross Sutherland.
The manner and margin of the win delighted Thurso manager Duncan Gray who is hoping it can spur them on to a strong challenge for honours.
He said: "They were one or two short and they certainly badly missed Darren (Pullen) who is a key player for them.
"But we were also missing a couple of players and I was happy with how we performed. Hopefully, it can kick-start our season."
Thurso have a big challenge on Saturday when they head south in a bid to spike the long, unbeaten run of title-chasing Alness.
An away win, combined with Balintore defeating Golspie, would put the Vikings on the fringe of the championship race.
Kevin Morris returns from suspension while Alan Murray and Luke Cassidy should be available to add to the striking options.
Mackay, A. Sutherland, Warner, Gray, Moar. Bremner, Inrig, R. Sutherland, J.
MacKenzie, MacDougall (Makhouli 67), N.
MacKenzie (Angus 80).
Saturday the 20th of December 2003
North Caledonian League
Halkirk United 0 V Thurso F.C 1
Thurso F.C Line-up - J.Mackay, A. Sutherland, Morris, B.Gray, Warner, G.Bremner, Inrig, R. Sutherland,
Murray (MacDougall 78), J. MacKenzie (Cassidy 65), N. MacKenzie (P.Makhouli 80).
Goalscorer - Allan Sutherland
At Recreation Park, Halkirk - 1.30 p.m kick-off
Halkirk United 0 V Thurso 1 – Saturday the 20th of December 2003 – MSIS North Caledonian League – Report by Iain Grant
United's wait for that elusive first derby victory goes on after Saturday's MSIS North Caley League clash at
Alan Sutherland's smartly taken goal midway through the first half proved decisive and ensured it was his side who go into the festive break in better fettle.
The Vikings exploited a stuttering start to the game by United to take a firm grip of proceedings and they should have led by two or three before the breakthrough.
The village side was hit when young midfielder Alan Farquhar pulled out after aggravating a toe injury during the warm-up while at least a couple of their players looked the worse for wear for their excesses at pre-Xmas works dos the previous day.
The feeling that the visitors might rue their run of wasted opportunities intensified as the second half wore on and they found themselves increasingly on the back foot.
Halkirk, who looked vulnerable at the back and punch-less up front before the interval, gained in purpose and potency and a grandstand finish saw them go close to grabbing an equaliser.
The finale was in stark contrast to the opening quarter when the Vikings threatened to run riot -- helped in no small part by some woeful defending.
Slipshod passes and breakdowns in communication meant play was seldom far from home keeper Marc Swanson.
Swanson was to the fore in the third minute when he did well to hold Alan Murray's firmly struck shot after the striker had skipped past John Martin and tried his luck from just inside the penalty box.
After 12 minutes, Nigel MacKenzie jinked down the left before teeing up Ross Sutherland whose flick with the side of his foot from six yards had Swanson stretching high to his right to grasp.
United responded the following minute with a raid down the left which ended with Gordie Steven sending a 30 yard howitzer narrowly over the bar.
This was just about the only effort of any consequence of the first half for his side who too easily surrendered possession with hopeful punts upfield or passes which put team-mates under intense pressure.
continued to dominate with a slick move in the 15th minute seeing Ross
Sutherland carve out a golden chance for
Eight yards out, with Swanson just off his goal-line, the striker blazed a left-foot shot marginally wide.
The chances were coming thick and fast with Swanson in trouble after 16 minutes when he lost possession on the right side of the box.
profited and United had Keith Blair to thank for an acrobatic clearance from
MacKenzie's cross which was heading for the unmarked
The pressure was unrelenting with Jamie MacKenzie looking set to break the deadlock on 18 minutes only to see his well-struck effort from
minutes, Murray looked a couple of yards offside as he bore in on goal, with
Swanson saving the day for United in smothering the ball at the striker's feet
as he sought to round the big keeper.
Thurso went ahead two minutes later when Kevin Morris's curling free-kick from wide out on the left was met by Alan Sutherland who neatly flicked the ball over the advancing Swanson.
Morris shortly afterwards became the first booking of the afternoon for dissent.
United were fortunate to escape unscathed after 37 minutes when Swanson mishandled a hanging corner from Gavin Bremner and John Martin survived a hand-ball appeal after Brian Gray had driven the ball toward goal.
Alan Sutherland almost grabbed his second four minutes from the interval when his well-controlled effort from 30 yards whizzed just wide.
Halkirk underlined their new-found ambition in the opening minutes of the second half with Neil Fearns rising well but missing the target with a header from a Stevens free-kick and Murray Coghill threatening with a long-distance shot.
Swanson had to look likely to race from his goal to foil
Stuart Sinclair almost undid United's good work with a piece of stupidity after 57 minutes.
His side were in possession on the edge of their own box when he unleashed a verbal volley towards referee Willie Sinclair.
The defender was not only booked but he was lucky his side did not have to pay a double penalty with Alan Sutherland's delivery from the resultant free-kick making Swanson scramble as the ball flew just past his right-hand post
United were pushing forward at every opportunity though their efforts were mainly confined to outside the penalty box.
Derek Munro was unlucky to see a dipping long-ranger clear the bar after 59 minutes.
There were a couple of scares at the other end with Swanson doing well to first pouch a tester from Bremner and then to block another run from
Derek Munro had a clear opening on 73 minutes after Ross Sutherland slipped on the greasy surface but the striker sought to beat another opponent rather than opt for a pot-shot.
The heightened tempo of the game had its downside in bookings for Luke Cassidy, for a foul; and Ross Sutherland, for dissent.
The closing 15 minutes saw Thurso defending ever deeper as United pressed for the equaliser.
Stand-in keeper Jack Mackay was generally coping well though he was fortunate to get away with an unconvincing punched clearance from Michael Bremner free-kick after 79 minutes.
The Thurso goal had a real let-off two minutes later when Murray Coghill's looping back-post header was going on before it struck Gray's heel and bounced over the bar.
Four minutes from time, Derek Munro created space for himself in the box before firing in a measured shot which Jack Mackay did well to save.
Bremner's crack from 18 yards which drifted just wide a minute later was to be his side's last throw of the dice.
Gray's injury time booking for a foul completed the crime count.
Thurso manager Duncan Gray said his side almost paid the price for their profligacy.
"For some reason, Halkirk weren't at the races early on and the game should really have been over by half-time.
"I think if we had got a second goal, it would have killed the game.
"Because we haven't put away our chances, we started sitting too deep in the second half. Our midfield were sitting on top of the defence and that ensured we were put under pressure."
Mr Gray singled out goal-scorer Alan Sutherland and goal-keeper Mackay, who was recruited only a couple of hours before the game.
United manager Ian MacDonald bemoaned his side's poor start and agreed they rode their luck to be only one down at the break.
He was pleased with the spirit they showed after the interval when he believes they did enough to deserve a draw.
Halkirk: Swanson, G.Mackay, Martin, Blair (Gunn 38), Sinclair, Fearns (M. Munro 68), M.Bremner, M. Coghill, G. Coghill, G.Steven, D. Munro. Sub (unused) -- Forbes.
Thurso: J.Mackay, A. Sutherland, Morris, B.Gray, Warner, Bremner, Inrig, R. Sutherland, Murray (MacDougall 78), J. MacKenzie (Cassidy 65), N. MacKenzie (P.Makhouli 80).
Ref -- Mr W. Sinclair.
Saturday the 13th of December 2003
North Caledonian League
Thurso F.C 5 V Tain St.Duthus 2
Goalscorers - Gavin Bremner (2 pens), Willie Inrig (2) and Ross Sutherland
At The Dammies, Thurso - 1.30 p.m kick-off
Thurso 5 V Tain 2 – Saturday the 13th of December 2003 – MSIS North Caledonian League - Match report by Iain Grant
The Vikings recovered from the shock of conceding a 25 second goal to end the day three in front of their Easter Ross visitors.
The final score-line was emphatic enough but the manner of its achievement was less than convincing with Tain seriously discomfiting their hosts during a 10 minute spell midway through the second half.
After Neil MacDonald levelled the scores at 2-2, there were several further scares around Alan Bokas's goal before a Gavin Bremner penalty restored Thurso's lead which was stretched by two late strikes by Ross Sutherland and WIllie Inrig's second.
A cold, wet
afternoon for the MSIS North Caledonian League tussle saw Tain, making their
second trip in a row to
From the kick-off, a straightforward move played in Kenny Fraser who took full advantage even though his finish was a less than clean strike.
Inrig went close twice from a shot and than a header before his side restored equality from the penalty spot after seven minutes.
Andrew Sutherland upended Alan Murray as he charged into the box and Bremner made a neat job of the conversion.
Thurso went on to dominate the first half which was a tale of spurned opportunities.
After 17 minutes, Andrew Sutherland was again the villain of the peace when he crudely chopped down Luke Cassidy after the latter had executed a deft flick on to Bremner.
Bremner had a clear run on goal but referee David Anderson pulled play back to caution the Tain wing-back.
Thurso danger man Nigel MacKenzie was not seeing enough ball in the first half as his side laid siege to the visiting goal without seeing any reward for their efforts.
minutes, Cassidy was then just unable to get a touch to the winger's inswinging
cross shortly before Tain keeper Ally MacLeod did well to block
continued to come thick and fast with Lee MacDougall marginally off target with
a low angled strike and
Cassidy did have the ball in the net after 29 minutes only to be ruled offside with the striker again denied shortly after MacLeod palmed away his powerful effort.
The pressure was temporarily relieved after 34 minutes when a rapid counter saw Fraser and Jamie Morrison exchange passes before the latter sent a header just over.
template of the game was soon restored with a minute later Macleod doing well
to use his legs to again frustrate
After the series of let-offs, the goal which put Thurso ahead at the interval came right out of the blue.
MacLeod made his only boob of the game when he flapped at Ross Sutherland's high, arching cross made from the shadow of the left corner flag two minutes from the break.
keeper's frantic efforts to reclaim the loose ball as it grounded on the line
beside the near post were foiled when Inrig slid in to net.
With Nigel MacKenzie more gainfully employed after the interval, Thurso looked set to run up a score.
After 58 minutes, a Bremner corner whipped in from the left went straight into the net but the effort was disallowed after Mr Anderson spotted Cassidy having a fly shove at an opponent.
Two minutes later, a Ross Sutherland head-flick put Cassidy in with MacLeod spreading himself to deflect the shot past for a corner.
Tain showed they were not a spent force attacking-wise after 63 minutes when Morrison foray down the right saw him cut in and discharge an angled shot.
Bokas did well to parry but the ball broke up kindly into the path of Fraser.
The veteran mistimed his header, which was blocked, but Morrison followed up to score from two yards.
This presaged a dodgy period for the home side with Bokas having to look sharp to keep out Kenny MacNab's long-ranger and the keeper then excelling with a dive to his left to get to a low, stinging shot from Fraser.
In between these efforts, Bremner charged through on to a though-ball only for a poor touch to allow Macleod to come out to gather on the edge of his box.
Thurso regrouped and Nigel MacKenzie was inches away from restoring the lead after 69 minutes.
He bamboozled two opponents before fizzing a ball across goal which ended with Andrew Sutherland having keeper MacLeod to thank for not adding an OG to his earlier booking.
A minute later, Nigel MacKenzie was to the fore again as he sent Murray in on goal with the striker this time being chopped down by Martin Ross, who had earlier been booked for a foul on Nigel MacKenzie.
Bremner stepped up to hammer the spot-kick high past MacLeod.
One of a treble substitution, Phil Makhouli produced a good save from MacLeod after 72 minutes while fellow sub Jamie MacKenzie also went close six minutes later with a flashing header.
Trialist Jocky Urquhart was booked for a nasty challenge on Makhouli after 84 minutes, with the resultant free-kick resulting in Jamie MacKenzie's neat turn and measured cross from the edge of the box being headed powerfully into the net by Ross Sutherland.
Jamie MacKenzie and Kevin Morris were denied before Thurso grabbed a fifth two minutes from time when Makhouli headed on for Ross Sutherland to back-heel against the post and Inrig on hand to force home the rebound.
Tain's player manager Mark Ford had no complaints in defeat though he though the margin of the defeat was unkind on his troops.
He said: "We didn't really capitalise on the superb start we got.
"Thurso came back well and we rode our luck though the second goal we lost was a bad one.
"We competed well in the second half up until the last 10 minutes when we lost our shape."
Thurso manager Duncan Gray believed his side could have had made the game safe well before Tain got their second goal.
He said: "We seemed to show a bit of nerves which was perhaps as a result of losing the early goal.
"We were well on top for the rest of the first half and early in the second half when we missed four of five really good chances.
"You could then almost see the equaliser coming but once we went ahead for the second time, there was no way back for them."
Thurso: Bokas, A. Sutherland, Warner, Morris, R. Sutherland, Bremner, Inrig, Murray (Gray 72), Cassidy (Makhouli 72), N. MacKenzie, MacDougall (J. MacKenzie 72).
Ref: Mr D.
Saturday the 6th of December 2003
North Caledonian League
Thurso F.C 6 V Dornoch 0
Goalscorers - Gavin Bremner, Alan Sutherland, Alan Murray, Nigel Mackenzie (2) and Phillip Makhouli
At The Dammies, Thurso - 1.30 p.m kick-off
Match report – Thurso F.C 6 V Dornoch 0 – MSIS North Caledonian League - Saturday 6th December 2003 – 1.30 k.o
Thurso line-up – Richards, A.Sutherland, Morris (P.Makhouli 62), Moar, Warner (B.Gray 76), Bremner, Inrig, R.Sutherland, Murray (Angus 76), Cassidy and N.MacKenzie.
Dornoch Line-up – Morrison, Beaton, R.MacLean, Kennedy, Anderson, Redmond, S.MacLean, Walls, MacBean, A.Geegan, Burry. Subs Used – MacKinnon and Corrigan (both 72nd minute)
It was a bright chilly day at The Dammies for this re-arranged North Caledonian League fixture. Thurso manager Duncan Gray rung the changes again after last week’s disappointing defeat against Golspie with keeper Alan Bokas, Jamie MacKenzie, Martin Baker and Lee MacDougall unavailable with Keiss keeper James Richards, Alan Sutherland returning to the back four, Phil Makhouli and Brian Gray returning also from injury problems. Thurso started with a back four of Warner, Moar, Morris and A.Sutherland a midfield of Nigel MacKenzie, Bremner, Inrig and R.Sutherland, with Cassidy and Murray up front.
Thurso who started brightly and Nigel MacKenzie make some good runs down the
left wing causing the Dornoch defence some problems. The first real chance of
the game came for the visitors as Geegan shot from 20 yards over the bar. A
minute later this spurred Thurso into action as Alan Sutherland had a header
from a Bremner corner well saved by Morrison and the rebound from
After 12 minutes a Nigel MacKenzie cross to Inrig was well cut out by Morrison, then 5 minutes later Inrig had a shot saved by the keeper.
By the 22nd minute, the game had now lulled into a series of disjointed play for both sides struggling to put two or three passes together, however Thurso’s offside trap was working well catching Dornoch offside on several occasions.
A minute later Nigel MacKenzie tried to bring Thurso out of this bad spell as he had a dangerous run and cross cleared from under the cross bar by a Dornoch defender, but the resultant corner was cleared. Then in the 26th minute Burry found space in the Thurso box and was thwarted by an excellent blocking save by Richards in the nets for Thurso.
Then in the 27th minute Ross Sutherland almost brought Thurso the lead as he was put through on Morrison and prodded at the ball, which was blocked by the advancing keeper. The game was now going end to end and in the 28th minute Burry shot from the edge of the box but his effort went wide of the target. In the 32nd minute Alan Murray had his first real sight of goal as he advanced into the right hand side of the Dornoch area but Morrison saved his angled effort.
The game then went into a lull for another 10 minutes with both teams struggling to get any decent spell of pressure, then in the 42nd minute Thurso took the lead when Nigel MacKenzie made a mazy run down the left and played the ball in field to Gavin Bremner who’s powerful low drive found the bottom corner.
Then right on half-time Thurso took a flattering two-goal cushion into the interval when Alan Sutherland headed home from an inswinging Nigel MacKenzie corner.
Half-time – Thurso 2 v Dornoch 0
Thurso started strongly in the second half determined to put behind them their disjointed first half and almost extended their lead when Cassidy turned on the edge of the box, shot from an angel which was parried by Morrison, the rebound picked up by Murray who found Morris, now playing up front who turned and hit a powerful drive, which Morrison finger tipped over the bar for a corner.
Thurso were making regular inroads into the Dornoch box and it took until the 56th minute before they extended their lead when Alan Murray picked the ball up on the left channel, cut inside and hit a powerful drive past Morrison into the corner of the net.
Then in the 62nd minute Nigel MacKenzie got the goal he deserved when instead of providing for a Thurso goal he scored the goal of the game. He was brought down 20 yards out and got up to curl a beauty, in off the right hand post past a stranded Morrison. Then Philip Makhouli took a place up front as he replaced Kevin Morris.
A minute later Nigel MacKenzie almost doubled his tally when he was set clear through on goal, then slotted the ball past Morrison but hit the left hand post then into the grateful arms of the hard pushed Morrison.
now attacking at will with The Dornoch rearguard having major problems coping
with the pace of Cassidy, Murray and MacKenzie and after a flick on
With 19 minutes to go Thurso went five up when Phil Makhouli latched onto a through ball to slot the ball past Morrison from 12 yards. A minute later Dornoch tried to get a consolation as Geegan had an effort saved by Richards. Then MacKinnon and Corrigan came on for Dornoch. A minute later Makhouli almost scored again but he was again thwarted by Morrison who had saved Dornoch on the day from losing by double figures.
With 15 minutes to go Nigel MacKenzie was sent through in an identical position as he was some ten minutes earlier but this time he made no mistake as he placed the ball past Morrison from 6 yards.
A minute later young Caithness United product Graham Angus replaced Alan Murray and Brian Gray making his comeback replaced Kevin Warner.
The game petered out as the sun set behind Safeway’s and the temperature dropped markedly and the only real effort of note was from Geegan who shot well over from 18 yards.
– Thurso 6 V Dornoch 0
Saturday the 29th of November 2003
North Caledonian League
Thurso F.C 1 V Golspie Sutherland 3
Goalscorer - Willie Inrig
At The Dammies, Thurso - 1.30 p.m kick-off
Match report – Thurso F.C 1 V Golspie 3 – Saturday 27th November 2003
This reverse effectively kills off Thurso's MSIS North Caley title defence with Golspie now entering the second half of the campaign 14 points ahead of their Caithness rivals.
For the majority of Saturday's game at Sir Georges Park, a home success looked very much on the cards.
Having enjoyed the better of the first half, the Vikings drew first blood six minutes after the break thanks to a superb long-range strike from Willie Inrig.
But the adrenalin rush prompted by the breakthrough all too soon ebbed away as Golspie drew level through Chris Stone.
The equaliser was a telling blow and encouraged the visitors to press forward more often.
The deadly finishing of Gavin Nicolson proved decisive as he converted two incisive counter-attacks to wrap up all three points for the Sutherland outfit.
A sparse crowd of largely diehard fans turned up on a dreich day to see Golspie force the first corner of the match after good interplay between Nicolson nand Ian Innes.
The cross-ball was met by Darren Pullen whose mishit, looping shot had keeper Adam Bokas back-tracking furiously and happy to see the effort clear his bar.
Thurso dominated the first 45 minutes and should have enjoyed the confidence-booster of an early goal.
After five minutes, Inrig foxed the Golspie rearguard with a killer pass which had Alan Murray running through on goal.
The striker opted for an early shot which came back off the legs of keeper Ian Young.
The striker was over-stretching and just failed to get what would have surely have been a scoring touch.
The welcome return of defender Shaun Moar gave Thurso a composure which had been lacking in their back three and he was soon prominent with several trademark interceptions.
Most of the danger to Golspie came down their right flank with Nigel MacKenzie featuring with some powerful surges downfield.
The game was surprisingly well-tempered with Cassidy the only booking after 25 minutes for dissent after Martin Baker had been fouled.
Bokas was largely a spectator though he did have to look sharpy after 26 minutes to sprint from his line and grab the ball on the edge of his box to thwart the inrushing Innes.
Thurso's downfall throughout the afternoon was in the poor to mediocre quality of cross-balls which all too often were comfortably pouched by Young in his six yard box.
Referee Sinclair gave Young the benefit of the doubt five minutes from the interval when the keeper spilled a far-post cross from Jamie MacKenzie.
If anything, he seemed to collide with a defender but the whistle prevented Thurso seizing on the loose ball which landed invitingly in front of the unguarded net.
Golspie almost took a shock lead on the stroke of half-time when a corner drew a header from Stone which flashed across goal before being hacked to safety a yard from the line.
A low-key restart to the game was transformed by Inrig's goal.
The midfielder gained possession 30 yards out, took aim and let fly with a shot which rocketed low between Young and his right-hand post.
their tails up and three minutes later,
The game was turned on itsd head on 55 minutes when Golspie sub Jamie Macleod made an immediate impact with a clever pass to Nicolson.
Nicolson weaved his way to the bye-line before squaring to Stone who side-footed home from two yards.
almost reclaimed the lead a minute later when a crisp move saw
The game was starting to drift away from the home outfit and Baker was lucky he did not find himself on the scoring sheet after 64 minutes.
The defender, under pressure, bulleted a header towards his own goal with Bokas doing extremely well to beat the ball out to Stone, who blazed over.
A minute later, Golspie took the lead when a counter, led by Gary Reid, ended with Nicolson passing the ball past Bokas into the far corner of the net.
Thurso regrouped after 70 minutes when Phil Makhouli's introduction led to Jamie MacKenzie dropping back to the defence.
Golspie went two in front after 79 minutes with Nicolson again profiting from space he was given on the left side of the penalty box.
Nicolson's turns and feints allowed him to break free from Moar before he unleashed a glorious strike which went in off the right-hand upright.
Thurso again almost scored from the kick-off with Nigel MacKenzie exchanging passes with Ross Sutherland and firing in a netbound shot which produced a brave block from Pullen.
After 82 minutes, Jamie MacKenzie's cross saw Kevin Miller emulate Baker with his would-be clearance header bound for the top left-hand corner of the net before Young somehow got finger-tips to push the ball over the bar.
Three minutes later, Young was again to the fore in saving an angled header from Makhouli.
Golspie continued to menace on the break and after 86 minutes, Nicolson would have had his hat-trick had Bokas not pawed away his fierce shot.
last chance fell to
Thurso v Golspie: Bokas, Baker (Makhouli 70), Moar, Morris, J. MacKenzie, Bremner, Inrig, Sutherland, N. MacKenzie, Cassidy (MacDougall 62), Murray. Sub (unused) -- Coghill.
Ref: Mr W. Sinclair.
Saturday the 22nd of November 2003
PCT Cup Second Round
Invergordon 2 V Thurso F.C 3
Goalscorers - Nigel MacKenzie, Alan Murray and Gavin Bremner
Match report from Invergordon 2 V Thurso 3 – Saturday 22nd of November 2003 - PCT Cup Second Round
Invergordon –Campbell, Cooper, Smith, McCaskill, Innes, MacDonald,
Dinwoodie, Sinclair, Scobbie, Whitelaw (Mills 73), Hutchison. Sub Not Used -
Thurso –Bokas, A.Sutherland, Baker (Coghill 76), Farmer, Bremner, R.Sutherland,
Cassidy (MacDougall 71), J.MacKenzie (Angus 86), Murray, Morris, N.MacKenzie.
A frosty day in Invergordon greeted the Thurso squad from the long trip from the North on a semi-frozen, bumpy playing surface. Thurso manager Duncan Gray added Alan Sutherland and Kevin Morris to the starting line up with Kevin Warner and Willie Inrig unavailable, starting with a back four of A.Sutherland, Morris and Farmer with Baker and Nigel MacKenzie providing the width, Murray and Cassidy started up front with R.Sutherland, Bremner and Jamie MacKenzie in the midfield. MacDougall, Coghill and Angus took their places on the bench.
Thurso opened brightly on the treacherous surface and were close the taking the lead after 2 minutes when Murray was put through on goal and mis controlled the ball into the grateful arms on Invergordon keeper Campbell, then after six minutes Thurso contrived a great move started by Cassidy who passed to Nigel MacKenzie on the left hand channel who made for the bye line and squared for Baker at the back post who shaved the outside of the post from 3 yards out. Then after 11 minutes Invergordon made their first steps into The Thurso last third with a drive by Hutchison from 18 yards which went well wide of Bokas' right hand post.
Five minutes later Morris found
The next nine minutes was all Thurso possession with Invergordon having problems establishing a foothold in the match and it was Thurso who were to cause the home defence problems in the 26th minute as Nigel MacKenzie found Alan Murray on the edge of the box and his effort was blocked by the advancing Invergordon rearguard.
After 32 minutes Gavin Bremner found himself free in the box but sent an effort wide from 10 yards. Then three minutes later Thurso shot themselves in the foot as has happened on a few occasions so far this season. Alan Sutherland won the ball 20 yards out and played the ball back to keeper Alan Bokas, who managed to scuff the ball along the ground straight to striker Brian Scobbie who gleefully chipped the stranded Helmsdale based keeper from 12 yards to level the score.
With two minutes to half time Luke Cassidy tried to get the lead back for Thurso as he turned neatly and shot powerfully which was saved brilliantly by
Half-time – Invergordon 1 V Thurso 1
It was up to manager Duncan Gray to motivate the side again after disappointing at the end of the first half after taking the lead and letting it slip with a sloppy goal and it was a different Thurso side who came out of the blocks and attacked the Invergordon defence with wave upon wave of attack in an attempt to regain the lead.
Two minutes into the second half it was Nigel MacKenzie causing havoc down the wing as he was again released on the left but this time pulled his shot wide when a cut back looked to be the best option with Thurso players waiting in the middle.
Then the Thurso attack switched to the right after 50 minutes when Alan Sutherland raced down the wing and released Baker who squared to Ross Sutherland who's close range effort was blocked by the keeper's legs when it looked easier to score.
Then a minute later Cassidy's shot from a Nigel MacKenzie pass was deflected wide for a corner. Four minutes later Cassidy almost got the goal he deserved as he sent a looping header from a Bremner cross over the cross bar.
After 56 minutes Nigel MacKenzie had a shot deflected over as Thurso were pushing the home side to the limit. Then on the hour mark Thurso got the goal their play merited as Alan Murray ran on to a through ball and scored simply from 18 yards with keeper Campbell advancing.
After 71 minutes a tiring Cassidy was replaced by Lee MacDougall who went into his usual place on the wing. Two minutes later Youngster Ashley Mills replaced Whitelaw for the home side and then MacDonald shot wide of goal from 15 yards.
The chances were now coming thick and fast and three minutes later Martin Baker shot wide of goal from 18 yards as Thurso threatened to extend their lead and put the cup tie out of sight. Then a minute later Ian Coghill replaced Baker who had put in a good shift down the right hand wing supplying several dangerous crosses for the Thurso strike force.
In the 78th minute Whitelaw had a shot blocked and then Bokas had to punch the ball clear from a dangerous cross and flick on.
Invergordon were starting to look dangerous again and Sinclair hit a powerful drive from 25 yards, which was gathered well by Bokas. Then a minute later Thurso put the result beyond doubt when an Alan Murray run down the left was squared across the box to Gavin Bremner in the centre of the goal who shot high into the net past Campbell from 6 yards.
With six minutes to go Bokas had to come off his line for a dangerous cross ball and punched clear under severe pressure. Then with four minutes to go Graeme Angus got a run out replacing Jamie MacKenzie, playing up front with Alan Murray.
Then with almost the last kick of the game Nigel MacKenzie lost the race for the ball and young Ashley Mills stole in ahead of Bokas to score high into the top corner of the net to pull a goal back for the home side. Thurso held on for the remaining few seconds to book a home semi-final against either Bunillidh Thistle or Golspie Sutherland.
Saturday the 8th of November 2003
PCT Cup First Round
Thurso F.C 3 V Bonar Bridge 1
Goalscorers - Lee MacDougall, Alan Murray and Ross Sutherland
At The Dammies - 1.30 p.m kick-off
Match report - Thurso F.C 3 V Bonar Bridge 1 - PCT Cup First Round - Saturday 8th November 2003 - Report by Iain Grant
The Vikings made heavy weather of seeing off Bonar to progress to the second round of the PCT Cup. What looked a relatively undemanding assignment against the league's bottom side on Saturday turned into a hard slog. Bonar belied their lowly status, with their strikeforce in particular posing no shortage of problems for the out-of-sorts home rearguard.
When the Sutherland side took the lead midway through the first half, they nurtured hopes of repeating their shock opening league defeat over their hosts. But a freak goal from Lee MacDougall made it 1-1 at the break and Thurso pulled clear with goals from Ross Sutherland and Alan Murray to grind out a hard-earned win.
Bonar's dimunitive young frontman Garry Macleod impressed with some good touches and movement early on. He fashioned the first opening of the day after nine minutes when a lighting fast turn took him clear down the left with his cross inviting a diving header from Gordon McRae which just cleared the cross-bar. Thurso, who had five changes from the previous week, struggled to get any flow to their game, with overhit passes a common source of breakdowns.
It was 15 minutes before they had a strike on goal with Alan Murray's effort blocked. After 16 minutes, Macleod's angled pass for Steve Doogan required Adam Bokas to race from his box and arrive fractionally ahead of the Bonar player to hoof clear. Two minutes later, Thurso had a penalty when Luke Cassidy was sent crashing to the ground by Scott Clark after the young striker prepared to shoot from eight yards out after a pinpoint through-ball from Martin Baker.
There seemed no immediate danger when Macleod picked up a loose ball 25 yards but he took aim and unleashed a cracking low shot which finished in the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Bonar had their tails up and Bokas did well to get to a wicked 27th minute free-kick from McRae. Referee Donald Anderson had another big call to make after 28 minutes when
The free-kick came to nothing but Thurso did level two minutes later when Lee MacDougall's driven cross from wide out on the right eluded everbody and sneaked in at the far post.
The home side looked to have gone ahead a minute later when
Bokas almost gifted Bonar the lead again after 35 minutes when he fluffed a clearance into the path of Macleod. The youngster opted for an early chip-shot which looked a winner all the way only for Bokas's blushes to be spared when the ball clipped the outside of his left-hand post.
The last chance of the half came two minutes from the interval when Lannon did well to deflect a MacDougall piledriver past the post.
Half-time - Thurso 1 V Bonar Bridge 1
The game was lost for the visitors in the third quarter when they were starved of ball as Thurso started to play to their potential. Several half-chances came and went before the home men forged into the lead after 53 minutes when Sutherland rose ahead of Lannon to net Cassidy's chipped cross from the right corner of the penalty box.
Even then, Bonar threatened on the counter with Macleod again showing good pace and control as he surged down the right to set up Doogan. As Doogan primed to shoot, the back-tracking Baker pulled off a superbly timed blocking challenge which took the sting out of the finish and allowed Bokas to make a comfortable save.
Bonar's frustration at being denied possession for long spells was vented in some rash challenges which led to bookings for Paul McLaren and Stephen MacLeod. MacDougall's neat flick from Bremner's free-kick after 65 minutes produced a fine stop from Lannon who a minute later could only watch and pray as team-mate Kevin Munro's rushed clearance cracked off the right post and out for a corner.
The third goal arrived on 67 minutes when Bremner sent
The Vikings appeared to turn on the collective snooze button for the rest of the game during which Bonar were presented with a hatful of decent chances. A lazy clearance from Kevin Warner after 68 minutes tee-ed up Kevin Munro for a shot which whistled just wide.
Bonar substitute Shane Sutherland could have bagged a hat-trick despite being on the pitch for only the last 20 minutes. He was denied by a brave block from Bokas after 78 minutes and within five minutes had two powerful shots which both missed the target by inches, with the keeper beaten.
Another late sub, Jocky Begg also showed up well with some classic wing play. The last action right at the death saw Thurso debutant Graham Angus set up Murray who made a hash of his attempted finish from the six yard line.
Thurso have no game on Saturday with their next match away to Invergordon in the second round of the cup.
J.MacKenzie (Angus 83), Cassidy (Coghill 67), A.Murray, L.MacDougall (J.Begg 83).
Ref: Mr D. Anderson.
Saturday the 1st of November 2003
Port Services Cup Final
Alness United 1 V Thurso F.C 1 (Alness won 4-3 on pens a.e.t)
Goalscorer - Jamie MacKenzie
At Dudgeon Park, Brora - 3.00 p.m kick-off
Match report – Port Services Cup Final - Alness United V Thurso F.C – Saturday 1st November 2003
Alness United line-up – Campbell, Murray, Buntain, Docherty, R.MacDougall, Stewart, McLean, C.Jack, R.Jack, Chapman, Doull. Subs – Sinclair, Davidson and Houston.
Thurso line-up – Bokas, A.Sutherland, Warner, Inrig (Coghill 115), R.Sutherland, J.MacKenzie, N.MacKenzie, Cassidy (Baker 72), P.Makhouli (Reid 17), Morris and MacDougall.
Cold and damp conditions welcomed both sides for the first cup final of the season at
Thurso again were forced to make changes to the squad with Gavin Bremner, Ryan Farmer, Russell Beattie, Martin Macgregor and Mark Nicholl dropping out in place of Luke Cassidy, Gordie Reid and Willie Inrig. Baker and Coghill took a place on the bench along with Gordie Reid.
Alness came out of the blocks the faster of the two sides and Thurso were on the back foot for the opening five minutes with Thurso keeper Bokas looking nervous and shaky, but eventually settled and had a steady match. Alness United were using their physical presence with long high balls troubling the Thurso defence with Morris and Alan Sutherland doing well under pressure on several occasions.
Thurso took their first steps in an attacking sense after 6 minutes when Makhouli ran on to a lofted ball over the Alness defence. The ball was just too high for the striker to stretch to which resulted in the striker falling and twisting his knee. He did recover temporarily and was replaced by Gordie Reid on the 17th minute.
Thurso were starting to get a foothold in the game and after 10 minutes Nigel MacKenzie crossed to brother Jamie who's headed drifted past Jodi Campbell's far post.
Then after 12 minutes Thurso were handed what was to be one of several slices of luck throughout the afternoon when a 20 yard free kick from Chapman beat Thurso keeper Alan Bokas, struck the underside of the cross bar and bounced on the line. Alness claimed the ball was over the line but the referee played on and the play continued.
A minute later Thurso broke clear while Alness were still claiming the goal and Nigel MacKenzie crossed from the right to Phil Makhouli who fired over the bar from 8 yards out. This was to be Makhouli's last action in the game as he limped off to be replaced by Reid.
After 25 minutes Alness threatened the Thurso goal again as a free kick was played into the box from the right, headed out by Morris to Doull, who's powerful shot from 18 yards was blocked by The Thurso defence.
Alness were making most of the opportunities in the game and were awarded a corner kick.
After 37 minutes Thurso had a chance to take the lead as Kevin Morris blasted a free kick wide with the aid of a deflection off a Thurso player.
A minute later Buntain headed over from an Alness corner then with a minute to go to half-time Gordie Reid almost scored when he hit a 30 yarder wide of
Half-time – Alness 0 V Thurso 0
Alness United started the second half the stronger again and were awarded a series of corners with the best opportunity falling to Docherty who headed over the bar from 10 yards.
The game went into a lull and after 55 minutes the stand-side linesman failed to raise his flag with an Alness striker 10 yards clear of The Thurso defence. It looked like a certain goal until Bokas forced the striker wide of the goal who failed to score for a tight angle with the ball scraping past the far post and relief for Thurso.
The game was going end to end with both sides intent on winning the Port Services Cup and after 56 minutes man of the match Jamie MacKenzie was sent clear by Reid in on The Alness goal but
Thurso were piling men forward and after 57 minutes Nigel MacKenzie crossed to Luke Cassidy who's close range effort was blocked by the legs of
After 63 minute Thurso had another great opportunity to take the lead as another great Nigel MacKenzie cross from the right was met in the middle of the goal by Lee MacDougall who's left footed flick went wide of the target from 6 yards. Then a minute later the same player had a free kick from 25 yards saved.
After 66 minutes
Then after 70 minutes Reid hit a powerful effort wide of the target from 25 yards. Then a minute later Alness broke down the right and a lofted ball was played over Bokas to the far post and was scrambled for a corner when several Alness attackers were poised to open the scoring.
A minute later Martin Baker replaced a tiring Luke Cassidy who had a hard working shift up front in his first game back after returning from a spell with Highland League side Brora Rangers.
With ten minutes to go the ball fell kindly in the box for Nigel MacKenzie and his powerful effort was on target but smacked off the side of an Alness defender's head and wide for a corner. Then two minutes later Thurso were awarded a free kick about 30 yards out. The ball was touched to the side and Lee MacDougall's effort screwed wide of the post.
In the closing moments of the game it got nasty as Morris was given a straight red card for a tackle of Jack. Several players got involved in pushing a shoving and Ross Sutherland received a kick on the inside of his thigh as the officials had difficulty controlling the players as the atmosphere got heated.
There were no other chances as the referee blew the whistle for full time with no goals to show for both teams' efforts and the players faced 30 minutes of extra time.
Full-time – Alness 0 V Thurso 0
The start of the extra time was frantic as the previous 90 minutes with both teams going at it hammer and tongs and Thurso were finally to take the lead as Nigel MacKenzie was sent clear on goal. He was held up by the Alness defence as they managed to get numbers back, however he squared the ball to brother Jamie who calmly slotted the ball past Jodi Campbell for 6 yards.
Five minutes later Alness almost squared the game as Carl Jack headed over the bar from another high ball into the box. Alness did eventually break the Thurso defence in the 112th minute when Carl Jack received a square pass and curled the ball high into the net past Bokas from 10 yards.
Six minutes later Ian Coghill replaced the tiring Willie Inrig who had put in a brave display in the tough midfield battle. One more chance to win the match was from a Lee MacDougall shot from 20 yards saved down low by
Full-time after extra time – Alness United 1 v Thurso 1
In the penalty shoot-out Thurso decided to go first and took the lead 1-0 through Nigel MacKenzie who calmly slotted the penalty past Campbell, Alness tied the shoot-out then Alan Sutherland made it 2-1 to Thurso, which again was matched by Alness. Then Gordie Reid hit the bar from his effort and Alness took a 3-2 lead from their effort. Ross Sutherland then tied the shoot-out at 3-3. Alness substitute
Saturday the 25th of October 2003
MSIS North Caledonian League
Tain St.Duthus 1 V Thurso F.C 1
Goalscorer - Phil Makhouli
At Tain - 3.00 p.m kick-off
Saturday the 11th of October 2003
MSIS North Caledonian League
Thurso F.C 6 V Halkirk United 1
Goalscorers - Kevin Morris, Phil Makhouli, Lee MacDougall, Alan Sutherland and Ross Sutherland (2)
At The Dammies, Thurso - 1.00 p.m kick-off
Match report - Thurso F.C 6 V Halkirk United 1 - North Caledonian League - Saturday 11th October 2003 - 1.00 k.o
Thurso line-up - B.Mackay, B.Gray (Campbell 53), Farmer, A.Sutherland, R.Sutherland, G.Bremner,
I.Coghill, Warner (Chessor 61), P.Makhouli (Begg 73), Morris, MacDougall.
Halkirk Line-up -Henderson, Fearns, Gunn, Forbes, Sinclair, Martin, M.Bremner, G.Coghill,
D.Munro, Murray, Steven. Subs Used - M.Munro, G.Mackay and A.Farquhar.
Thurso were forced to make changes again with several key players missing including Willie Inrig, Alan Murray, Nigel MacKenzie and Jamie MacKenzie. In came Stuart Campbell and Jocky Begg taking a place on the bench along with Gavin Chessor with Kevin Warner given a starting place making good progress after his come back from injury. Kevin Morris continued up front with Phil Makhouli.
Halkirk started brightly and forced two corners in the first minute with Sinclair and Martin missing great chances to take the lead as they came out of the blocks quickly forcing Thurso on the back foot for the first 4 minutes.
Thurso then started making inroads into the Halkirk back line and they won a corner on the right, which was taken by Gavin Bremner and headed over by Gray. Three minutes later Thurso took the lead as they won a corner on the right and when Lee MacDougall swung in the ball to the penalty spot on to the head of Kevin Morris who powerfully headed via the underside of the cross bar and into the net with
After 11 minutes Thurso almost extended their lead when a free kick from Lee MacDougall was headed over by Kevin Morris who was starting to win his fair share of balls in the air.
A minute later a dangerous cross by Steven was collected by Warner in the six-yard box with no Halkirk attacker there to take advantage.
Then after 13 minutes Halkirk got a real let off when Ian Coghill broke down the right and passed to Ross Sutherland who squared the ball which was cleared from one yard out with Morris waiting to pounce at the back post.
Then the game went into a midfield battle with no chances created at both ends. Then after 22 minutes
Halkirk almost equalised after 23 minutes when Steven found Derek Munro with a cross from the right, he beat two players then Brian Mackay came out of his goal to smother the ball and retain the one-goal lead for the home side.
A minute later Martin had a shot from long range, which went wide of Mackay' s goal. After 26 minutes gone Halkirk rued their missed chances when Thurso extended their lead. Ross Sutherland played a brilliant pass into the right channel for Makhouli to break free and drive a low shot from an acute angle past Henderson into the far corner.
Two minutes later Derek Munro almost pulled back a goal for Halkirk as he shot from 6 yards, which was saved again by Mackay, looking solid between the sticks.
On the half hour mark Gavin Bremner played a lofted ball over the top to Morris who burst down the left and shot just wide of
With nine minutes to go to half time the ball broke to Ian Coghill and he shot wildly wild from 20 yards.
After 38 minutes Thurso virtually finished the game as a contest as Phil Makhouli broke free again down the right who then squared to Lee MacDougall who finished from an acute angle from six yards.
With five minutes to the half-time whistle Fearns played in a dangerous free kick to the back post, which was cleared by Coghill.
In the 44th minute Thurso conceded a free kick on the edge of the box, however Steven shot over the bar and Thurso went into the break with a three-goal cushion.
Half-time - Thurso 3 V Halkirk 0
Derek Munro came on for Halkirk for the second half.
Two minutes into the second half, Lee MacDougall tried to double his tally with a blistering effort from 25 yards, which was tipped over by
After 49 minutes Halkirk tried again in vain to reduce the Thurso lead when Graham Gunn headed wide from a corner. Then after 53 minutes Gray took a sore one and went over his ankle and had to be replaced after lengthy treatment by Stuart Campbell.
After 55 minutes Thurso took a five goal lead when a Bremner corner was flicked on by Ross Sutherland then took a wicked deflection off a Halkirk defender into the net at the front post. The frustration was clearly getting to Halkirk as Sinclair was finally booked for persistent fouling.
Two minutes later Thurso were in easy street as Ross Sutherland doubled his tally with a header from a Gavin Bremner free kick from the right.
In the 58th minute Munro brought out another fine stop from Mackay as the away team tried desperately to claw back the six goal lead Thurso had built up.
On the hour mark, youngster Gavin Chessor replaced a tiring Warner going up front with Morris reverting to a place in the defence.
After 62 minutes Halkirk used the remainder of their subs as Gavin Mackay and Alan Farquhar came into the fray.
After 70 minutes Derek Munro, who had been the main threat for Halkirk shot wide from 18 yards.
In the 73rd minute veteran Jocky Begg replaced Phil Makhouli who had again put in a tireless shift up front and should be happy with his contribution in recent weeks replacing Alan Murray who has been unavailable for selection and scoring four goal in two games for Thurso.
In the 75th and 76th minutes Derek Munro and Alan Farquhar both had shots at the Thurso goal with the first effort wide and the second saved by Mackay.
With twelve minutes remaining Jocky Begg played in a dangerous ball to Bremner who had his close range effort saved by
With five minutes remaining Derek Munro had another effort off target from 30 yards then a minute later we were to be treated to the best goal of the match when Halkirk finally pulled a goal back when Sinclair played a one two with Munro and then unleashed a powerful curling effort into the top left hand corner of the net with Mackay left helpless.
In the final minute Thurso almost regained their six-goal lead when Lee MacDougall crossed from the right to
Thurso will be happy with their efforts in this match and gain a valuable three points in their quest to retain their league title and now draw level with Alness and Golspie on twelve points just behind leaders Balintore on the fifteen-point mark.
Other results on the day saw Alness defeat Tain St.Duthus 4-0 at home, Golspie Sutherland receive a shock 2-1 home defeat to Bunillidh Thistle and Dornoch come away from Bonar with a 2-1 win.
Saturday the 4th of October 2003
Port Services Cup Semi-Final
Thurso F.C 5 V Invergordon 0
Goalscorers - Phil Makhouli (3), Nigel MacKenzie and Kevin Morris
At The Dammies, Thurso - 2.30 p.m kick-off
report – Thurso F.C 5 V Invergordon 0 – Port Services Cup Semi-Final - Saturday
4th October 2003 – 14.30 k.o
Thurso line-up – Mackay, Gray (Warner 73), Farmer, A.Sutherland, R.Sutherland,
Bremner, N.MacKenzie, J.MacKenzie, P.Makhouli, Morris (Chessor 78), MacDougall (Coghill 70).
Invergordon Line-up - Campbell, Sinclair, Smith, Cooper, Innes, MacDonald Ogilvie,
Dinwoodie, Scobbie, Whitelaw, Ross (
Thurso again made changes from last week's poor showing at Balintore with young Brora keeper Ridgers making way for Brian Mackay in goals, Coghill taking a place on the bench with Jamie MacKenzie taking up a midfield berth plus Alan Sutherland returning to the defence allowing Kevin Morris to take a position up front with Phil Makhouli with Alan Murray on holiday, Thurso had a more familiar line-up for this Port Services Cup Semi-Final played on a wet and windy afternoon.
Thurso came out of the blocks strongly with the strong wind blowing across the pitch from the river and a combination of rain then hailstones making it difficult for the players. It was Thurso who settled quicker to the conditions with Bremner and Nigel MacKenzie making some dangerous runs and crosses into the box and it was no surprise when Thurso took the lead after 2 minutes.
Nigel MacKenzie won a corner on the right and when the corner was played in by Bremner, Invergordon failed to clear the dangerous ball and after several attempts to beat keeper Campbell it finally kicked up to Makhouli and from a few yards out he headed the ball into the net.
In the fifth minute Lee MacDougall broke down the left and had a powerful effort saved low down at
After 8 minutes Invergordon had their first effort on goal as Dinwoodie had a 20 yard effort blocked by Gray, then a minute later Thurso almost doubled their lead when Kevin Morris knocked down a cross ball into the path of Ross Sutherland who was destined to score from 5 yards until the intervention of Campbell who blocked the net bound effort with his legs.
Nigel MacKenzie was again causing great problems in the Invergordon defence when he put in a dangerous cross from the right to Kevin Morris which was cleared for a corner then after 19 minutes he ran on to a 40 yard cross field pass from Ross Sutherland into the right hand channel then ran on another 30 yards and beat the keeper with an angled drive into the bottom corner of the net.
Invergordon replied with the second effort of the game when Ogilvie picked up the ball on the right of the penalty box and unleashed an angled drive, which brought out an excellent acrobatic save from Brian Mackay.
After 21 minutes Nigel MacKenzie played in yet another dangerous cross ball from the right to Phil Makhouli who brought out another save from
A minute later Thurso conceded a free kick on the edge of the box, however MacDonald's effort deflected wide for a corner. Five minutes later the same player was shown the yellow card for a bad tackle.
On the 30th Minute Lee MacDougall came to the fore in this match as Thurso switched their attacking to the left hand side of the pitch when he raced down the left and played in a ball to Nigel MacKenzie who had an audacious flick with the outside of his right foot brilliantly saved by Campbell for a corner. Then Lee MacDougall wanted to get in of the scoring when he had a 25-yard effort go wide after 32 minutes.
Then Lee MacDougall played in a free kick from the left, which was headed over by Kevin Morris. MacDougall was again causing havoc down the left but this time it was to bear fruit as he broke free down the wing and played a square ball to Morris who easily beat the keeper with a low shot from 6 yards.
With five minutes to go to half time Phil Makhouli went on a mazy run through the middle and at the last minute when he looked like scoring an Invergordon boot found Campbell, which was surely a pass-back, but the referee played on.
Then two minutes later Kevin Morris turned neatly in the box and shot from 6 yards but was blocked and the ball fell to Ross Sutherland who was unlucky again as his powerful strike shaved the top of the cross bar from 25 yards.
In the 44th minute Thurso took an unassailable 4 goal lead when Nigel MacKenzie crossed from the right to Ross Sutherland who had his header saved from point blank range, however Phil Makhouli followed up to score and double his tally for the game with a simple finish from 6 yards.
Half-time – Thurso 4 V Invergordon 0
Holding a four-goal lead Thurso continued in the same vain with pacy attacks from the right with Nigel MacKenzie and on the left with Lee MacDougall causing Invergordon more problems.
In the 50th Minute Nigel MacKenzie played in a cross from the right to Kevin Morris but the big striker put the ball wide from 10 yards. Two minutes later Ross Sutherland played in Nigel MacKenzie who shot wide from 15 yards. In the 55th minute Thurso almost extended their lead again as efforts from Gavin Bremner and Ross Sutherland were blocked by the Invergordon back line.
After 60 minutes Invergordon replaced Ross with
In 77 minutes Gavin Bremner was booked for a late challenge, then a minute later Thurso used the last of their subs as Gavin Chessor took a position on the right wing replacing veteran striker Kevin Morris. The game had now lulled slightly with Thurso happy with their four-goal lead and a place in The Port Services Cup Final and Invergordon happy to keep the score down.
Then Thurso put the icing on the cake as Phil Makhouli scored from a Jamie MacKenzie pass and complete his hat trick and Thurso's passage to the final in style.
Other scores on the day saw Alness United book a place in the final against Thurso with a 4-0 win away in Helmsdale against Bunillidh Thistle.
In the league championship Balintore took advantage of Alness and Thurso playing in cup-ties as they opened a gap at the top with a 6-0 win away in Dornoch. Golspie Sutherland continued their early season form with 3-1 home win against Bonar Bridge and finally Tain St.Duthus moved on to the 9 point mark with Alness and Thurso with a 2-0 home win against Halkirk United.
August and September 2003 results and reports
Saturday the 28th of September 2003
MSIS North Caledonian League
Balintore 4 V Thurso F.C 2
Goalscorers - Nigel MacKenzie and o.g.John Skinner
At Seaboard Park, Balintore, Ross-Shire - 3.00 p.m kick-off
Match report from Balintore 4 V Thurso 2 – Saturday 27th of September 2003
Balintore – Shearer, McGruer, S.Skinner (Stainke 73), John Skinner, Calderwood, P.Skinner, James Skinner, McEwan, Dance, Farquhar (MacLennan 83), Ross (S.Warner 83).
Thurso –Ridgers, B.Gray, Farmer, Baker (K.Warner 81), R.Sutherland, Bremner, N.MacKenzie, Coghill (J.MacKenzie 52), Murray, Morris, MacDougall (P.Makhouli 81)
A warm sunny day in Balintore greeted the Thurso squad from the long trip from the North on a dry, bumpy playing surface. Thurso manager Duncan Gray added Kevin Warner, Martin Baker, Phil Makhouli and young Brora Rangers keeper Willie Ridgers to last week's squad as .Michael Gray returned to Brora and Alan Sutherland, Niall Murray and Willie Inrig unavailable. Kevin Morris continued with a role in the defence alongside Baker, Gray and Farmer with Alan Murray the lone striker in an unfamiliar formation.
Thurso were on the back foot from the start as Balintore started the game strongly as expected from a well motivated side playing at home. In the first minute young Thurso keeper Ridgers had to be sharp as he blocked a powerful strike from Tony Farquhar. This fired a warning for what was to come, however in the 3rd minute Nigel MacKenzie played in a dangerous cross which looped over the bar by inches with keeper Shearer back pedalling.
Then five minutes later Balintore took the lead as Lewis Ross forced himself through several challenges on the right hand side of the box and scored with a finish from an acute angle.
After ten minutes Lee MacDougall had a chance to draw level but his header into the ground never troubled Shearer. Then five minutes later Alan Murray failed to connect with a Bremner through ball into the box and the ball squeezed wide of the left hand post. After 23 and 30 minutes Nigel MacKenzie had some good runs on the right and his crosses were both collected by Shearer as the game went into a bit of a lull.
After 31 minutes Thurso conceded a free kick on the edge of the box and Lewis Ross shot just over the cross bar.
After 35 minutes Thurso almost equalised as a Gavin Bremner corner was headed dangerously across the goal. It was collected by Morris on the right who played a ball square to Ian Coghill who fired in a powerful shot from 25 yards which was palmed away by keeper Shearer. The ball luckily fell to a Balintore defender who cleared desperately and the chance was gone.
Five minutes from half time it looked like Thurso had finally equalised as a close range Morris finish was chalked off for offside. Two minutes later Morris was booked for dissent as The Thurso players and staff were loosing patience with the eccentric referee who seemed to be keen to take centre stage instead of letting the game flow.
Half-time – Balintore 1 V Thurso 0
With Manager Duncan Gray's comments ringing in their ears the Thurso players came out determined to pull back the deficit from the first half but were dealt a lethal blow when young keeper Willie Ridgers miss kicked a pass back straight at Balintore striker Lewis Ross who placed the ball into the empty net for his own and his team's second and put Thurso in deeper trouble.
After 52 minutes Duncan Gray decided to change things and Jamie MacKenzie came on for Ian Coghill. Thurso were starting to play better and get a foot hold in the game playing better passing moves and looking more threatening but then after 62 minutes Balintore played a long ball up field which Farmer looked to run out at the corner flag, however the Balintore player stole the ball and played it into the six yard box for Ewan Dance to score with a header with keeper Ridgers having no chance of saving.
Three minutes later Thurso played a brilliant four man move involving
The corner was cleared and a ball was played up field which was missed by Farmer leaving Ewan Dance the simplest of tasks straight through on keeper Ridgers to score Balintore's fourth.
With twenty minutes to go Thurso were still fighting hard, trying not for the heads to drop and Jamie MacKenzie set up Ross Sutherland in the box but his shot was blocked for a corner and then a minute later Jamie MacKenzie was to test the keeper himself with a looping header from 10 yards collected under his cross bar by Shearer.
Two minutes later Thurso did finally pull a goal back when Nigel MacKenzie scored with a powerful shot from fifteen yards past Shearer who had no chance.
Straight after the Thurso goal Balintore used the first of their substitutes as Stainke replaced Stuart Skinner who had taken a knock and was struggling to continue.
With nine minutes remaining Thurso used the last of their two subs as Kevin Warner replaced Baker and Phil Makhouli came on for MacDougall.
Thurso were again playing some good passing football and looking like pulling more goals back. Then in the 83rd minute Balintore completed their set of three substitutions as MacLennan and S.Warner came on for two goal Ross and Tony Farquhar.
In the final minute of play Ryan Farmer tried to make up for the mistakes he made with a powerful shot which went wide as did Kevin Morris as Thurso tried to pull goals back.
Then in the 92nd minute Thurso did pull it back to 4-2 as a harmless long ball was headed past his own keeper by John Skinner.
Final score – Balintore 4 V Thurso 2
Saturday the 20th of September 2003
Port Services Cup Second Round
Thurso F.C 6 V Halkirk United 2
Goalscorers - Alan Murray (2), Willie Inrig, Brian Gray (pen), Alan Sutherland and Gavin Bremner
At The Dammies - 2.30 p.m kick-off
Match report - Thurso 6 V Halkirk United 2 at The Dammies on Saturday the 20th September 2003
Thurso – M.Gray, B.Gray, Farmer, A.Sutherland(Chessor 84), R.Sutherland, Bremner(N.Murray 84), A.Murray(I.Coghill 70), Inrig, J.MacKenzie, Morris, MacDougall.
Halkirk – Swanson, G.Coghill, Martin, L.Mackay, S.Sinclair, G.Mackay, M.Bremner, G.Steven(MacLeod), Henstridge, M.Murray, M.Munro(G.Gunn). Other sub – D.Munro
Thurso took the lead after 39 minutes of the first half when Jamie MacKenzie released Alan Murray through on Swanson in goal for Halkirk and the striker beat the big keeper low down to his right with an angled shot from 12 yards into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Thurso held this lead in the interval and increased their lead in the 61st minute with an excellent move involving Alan Murray who held play up and played a ball down the left wing to Lee MacDougall who made his way to the by line and whipped in a great ball to Willie Inrig who thumped the ball high into the net from close range.
This started a scoring burst of 4 goals in six minutes. Thurso increased their lead again after 63 minutes as Lee MacDougall was once again the provider with a left wing cross which was headed home from six yards by Alan Murray.
The two minutes later Inrig was brought crashing down in the box and Brian Gray stepped up to lash the ball past Swanson to make it 4-0 to Thurso.
After 67 minutes Halkirk pulled a goal back when a
With twelve minutes to go Thurso made it 5-1 when Alan Sutherland forced the ball over the line as a Gavin Bremner corner was headed across goal by Ryan Farmer.
In the 83rd minute Thurso made it 6-1 when Lee MacDougall bizarrely miss timed a header in front of goal heading the ball back out towards Gavin Bremner who flighted the ball into the top right hand corner of the net with Swanson back peddling but was beaten all ends up.
Halkirk pulled another consolation goal back in the 86th minute when Martin Murray headed a Des MacLeod cross from the right past Michael Gray to make the final score Thurso 6 V Halkirk 2 and book Thurso's place in the semi-finals of the Port Services Cup at home to Invergordon in two weeks time.
Saturday the 13th of September 2003
Thurso F.C 3 V Invergordon 2
Goalscorers - Alan Murray, Brian Gray (pen) and Nigel MacKenzie
At The Dammies - 3 p.m kick-off
Match report – Thurso F.C 3 V Invergordon 2 – Saturday 13th September 2003
Thurso line-up – MaGee, Gray, Farmer, A.Sutherland, R.Sutherland (Coghill 81), Bremner, N.MacKenzie, Inrig (Green 86), Murray, J.MacKenzie, MacDougall (Chessor 86).
Invergordon Line-up - Campbell, Sinclair, Wilson, Mackay, Duncanson, Morrison, Ogilvie, MacDonald, Scobbie, Dunwoodie, Ross. Subs Used – Whitelaw and Martin. Unused – Cooper.
On a bright sunny day with a strong breeze blowing down the pitch towards The Orkney Islands, this was always going to be a difficult game for both clubs. Thurso made some changes to the squad from last week's 3-0 away win in Dornoch with striker Alan Murray, young Wick Thistle goalkeeper Kevin MaGee and Gavin Chessor coming in with Brian Mackay having to play in goals for Bettyhill, Mark Makhouli away back to Uni and Martin Rutherford.
In the opening minutes both teams were having problems coping with the wind. Thurso kicking with the wind were over-shooting passes to the front players and Invergordon having difficulty clearing their lines.
After 2 minutes Alan Murray made a run down the left and crossed to Jamie MacKenzie but The Invergordon defender beat him to the ball and it went out for a throw. In the next 5 minutes both teams were toiling with the wind with Thurso forcing 2 corners in succession but bearing no fruit. After 7 minutes Lee MacDougall swung in a brilliant cross to the far post but it was just too high for two Thurso forwards as the wind played a part in proceedings once again.
After 10 minutes Invergordon took their first steps in an attacking sense when Keith Dunwoodie tested young Thurso keeper Kevin MaGee who saved well down to his right, then the resultant corner was cleared under great pressure.
Then after 14 minutes Thurso missed one of the easiest chances you will ever see after Nigel MacKenzie beat several players down the left and crossed for Lee MacDougall at the back post who headed again the upright from a few yards out. The same player then tried to make amends for his miss when he lashed the ball from 35 yards over the cross bar.
Then a three-man move between Nigel and Jamie MacKenzie saw Alan Murray shoot straight at the keeper.
Invergordon responded with a shot from Scobbie over MaGee's cross bar, then a free kick on the edge of the box collected by MaGee, who was playing very well in his Thurso debut. After seven minutes of scrappy football Thurso forced two corners which were collected by keeper Stewart Campbell, then Nigel set up brother Jamie from about 5 yards, who lost control of the ball and the chance was gone.
Thurso were to pay for the series of missed chances in the thirtieth minute when Invergordon broke dangerously in the box on the right and the ball was fired cross the 6 yard box to Keith Dunwoodie who couldn't miss as he swept the ball beyond MaGee to open the scoring.
Three minutes later MacDonald got a yellow card for a crude challenge on Inrig. Inrig then made an attacking run on the right and drove in a dangerous cross at the back post to
On the 37th minute
Half-time – Thurso 0 V Invergordon 1
With Manager Duncan Gray's comments fresh in their minds, Thurso came out in the second half a different team and after 2 minutes were level in the match when a throw-in from the left was headed across the goal by Jamie MacKenzie to Alan Murray who dispatched the ball past Campbell from six yards.
With six minutes gone in the second half Thurso were to take the lead in the match for the first time when Murray was upended in the box by Sinclair, who was booked when a red card should have been more fitting, however Brian Gray stepped up to smash the penalty kick home for Thurso.
In 53 minutes Lee MacDougall drove in a free kick to Jamie MacKenzie, who headed across goal to Inrig, whose shot was saved at close range by
Two minutes later a Lee MacDougall cross was missed at the back post by Alan Murray. Then the same player crossed the ball to Jamie MacKenzie two minutes later who headed wide of goal.
In the 62nd minute Inrig shot over the bar from distance then a minute later put a through ball to Murray who shot straight at the keeper from an acute angle.
Five minutes later Inrig had a header saved, as Thurso looked more threatening to try and put the match beyond Invergordon.
Then with 19 minutes remaining Thurso did eventually extend their lead as a Nigel MacKenzie cross ball was palmed on the line with Alan Sutherland in attendance to make sure the ball crossed the line.
A minute later Thurso almost went three goals ahead as Ross Sutherland had an effort deflected over the bar for a corner from 10 yards.
Invergordon almost got back into the game in the 75th minute as David Ogilvie tested MaGee but the young keeper was again up to the task with a good save. With nine minutes to go Ian Coghill replaced Ross Sutherland and four minutes later Morrison tested MaGee who saved the Invergordon midfielder's free kick.
With four minutes remaining Gavin Bremner tested the keeper Stewart Campbell from 30 yards who saved well to his left. Then Thurso made two changes with Green and Chessor replacing Inrig and MacDougall.
Then with two minutes remaining Invergordon pulled a goal back with Brian Scobbie scoring with an angled shot from the left, past MaGee into the far right hand corner of the net.
Thurso held out for the remaining minutes to secure the 3-2 win and maintain their place at the top of the league table.
Saturday the 6th of September 2003
Dornoch 0 V Thurso F.C 3
Goalscorers - Nigel MacKenzie, Jamie MacKenzie and Mark Makhouli
At Dornoch - 3 p.m kick-off
Match report - Dornoch 0 V Thurso F.C 3 - 6/9/03
Dornoch – Masterton, Beaton, Horsburgh, S.Geegan, Anderson, Graham, Gow(A.Geegan 45), Emerson, MacBean, Burry, McLean.
Thurso – Mackay, A.Sutherland, Gray, Farmer,R.Sutherland, Bremner, N.MacKenzie, Inrig(Rutherford 83), J.MacKenzie, MacDougall(M.Makhouli 64), Coghill(Green 61).
A warm sunny day in Dornoch greeted the Thurso squad from the long trip from The North on a dry, hard and bumpy playing surface. Thurso added Martin Rutherford to the squad from last week, who took a place on the bench alongside Green and Makhouli. They also welcomed back Ross Sutherland and Brian Gray from suspension.
Thurso started brightly with Nigel MacKenzie again being the inspiration going forward with several dangerous runs and cross balls from the wing. After two minutes a deep cross from Nigel almost found his brother Jamie at the back post but the ball was cleared for a corner.
After five minutes a dangerous corner from Dornoch was cleared in the six-yard box by Inrig. After seven minutes Nigel MacKenzie was involved again when a poor clearance from the keeper was picked up by the winger and his shot from 6 yards was saved by Masterton in goal for Dornoch.
But after 10 minutes Nigel was not to be denied as he beat a couple of players on the edge of the box then from an acute angel brilliantly flicked the ball past the keeper to open the scoring for Thurso.
Thurso almost doubled their lead after 12 minutes when Jamie MacKenzie won a corner, which was headed just wide by Gray from Bremner's kick. Jamie MacKenzie then had a chance, which was blocked for a corner by the hard-pressed Dornoch defence. On the 20th minute Gavin Bremner had a powerful effort parried by Masterton, however the rebound went over the bar from Lee MacDougall from all of six yards.
After 22 minutes, Dornoch finally came back into the match and
After half an hour Gavin Bremner had an effort from 25 yards over the cross bar.
McLean who was Dornoch's best hope of a goal on the day again tested Mackay but the ball went over the cross bar after Thurso had given away possession on the edge of their own box and again after 35 minutes from a free-kick also over the cross bar. With five minutes to the interval Gow put in a dangerous cross from the right which was collected by Mackay, then Nigel MacKenzie trying to break free on the right got a yellow card for speaking out of turn to the referee.
Half-time – Dornoch 0 V Thurso 1
At half-time Gow was replaced by A.Geegan for Dornoch. The second half started very scrappily with hardly any incidents of note until the 52nd minute a dangerous corner from Dornoch was headed clear by The Thurso defence, followed by a shot from MacBean saved by Mackay.
Two minutes later Lee MacDougall had a powerful shot saved by Masterton from ten yards. In the 57th minute Brian Gray had to be on his toes as he cleared a dangerous ball off the line to safety as Dornoch looked increasingly dangerous as the game went on.
On the hour mark Nigel MacKenzie gave his defence respite as he went on a run down the right then chipped a sot just over the cross bar and a minute later Philip Green replaced the tiring Coghill for Thurso.
On the 62nd minute The Dornoch sub A. Geegan was booked for a crude challenge on keeper Brian Mackay as he came off his line to collect a dangerous through ball.
In the 64th minute Mark Makhouli, soon to be back at University in
In the 69th minute Horsburgh brought Nigel MacKenzie down right through the centre of the goal but was only shown a yellow card when surely a red was the obvious option with the big Dornoch defender being last man. Nigel MacKenzie put the resultant free kick on the edge of the box well over the cross bar.
With 13 minutes remaining Nigel MacKenzie almost doubled his tally with a shot well saved by Masterton from 18 yards. A minute later Makhouli almost scored with his first touch with a shot saved from 6 yards out, then again two minutes later but the striker put the second effort wide of the target.
With nine minutes to go Thurso put the game beyond Dornoch as Makhouli broke into the box on the right and squared the ball to Jamie MacKenzie who guided the ball past Masterton from six yards.
With seven minutes to go new signing Martin Rutherford replaced Willie Inrig and took a position on the right of the midfield.
With six minutes to go Thurso extended their lead as Jamie MacKenzie returned the compliment to Mark Makhouli who scored from almost an identical position to the second goal as he side footed home a cut back from the right.
The final whistle was welcome for the players and supporters as there was torrential rain in the last ten minutes.
Final score – Dornoch 0 V Thurso 3
Saturday the 30th of August 2003
Thurso F.C 3 V Bunillidh Thistle 0
Goalscorers - Alan Murray (2) and Kevin Morris (1)
At Castletown - 3 p.m kick-off
Match report - Thurso F.C 3 V Bunillidh Thistle 0 - 30/8/03
Thurso line-up - Mackay, A.Sutherland, Farmer, Morris, Coghill (Green 64), Bremner, N.Mackenzie,
Inrig (Chessor 82), Murray, J.MacKenzie, MacDougall (M.Makhouli 64).
Bunillidh Line-up - Munro, McAuley (Reid 74), Willby, Rizza, McLeod, M.Cowie, Dunoon,
R.Cowie, Hendry, Adamson, Wilson (Potter 64). Sub Not Used - Hossack
A switch to the excellent Castletown venue for Thurso's first home league game of the season on a cold drizzly afternoon. More changes to the squad with Ross Sutherland and Brian Gray being suspended after their red cards against Bonar last week. In came Alan Sutherland, veteran striker Kevin Morris playing in defence and the county league's top scorer Alan Murray returned to the fold. Bunillidh drafted in three
Thurso started the game in determined mood after the disappointing defeat away to Bonar last week with winger Nigel MacKenzie playing a prominent role putting in several dangerous crosses. In the first minute Nigel crossed to brother Jamie MacKenzie who shot wide of the target, then again in the fourth minute but this time headed wide by the same player.
Then in the fifth minute Kevin Morris playing in a defensive role had a powerful shot blocked by the hard-pressed Bunillidh defence.
In the seventh minute of play there was a scare for Thurso as a dangerous cross by McAuley brushed the head of one a striker and Brian Mackay in goal for Thurso fumbled the ball then gathered at the second attempt just before the ball crossed the line.
This was the only real scare for the home side and midfielder Willie Inrig tried his luck from 20 yards with a powerful low shot excellently saved by Munro.
After 15 minutes Adamson forced a save from Brian Mackay with a low effort, which lacked any power.
Thurso should have taken the lead in the 16th minute when efforts from Jamie Mackenzie and Alan Murray were blocked leading to a corner kick. The resultant corner was cleared by the Bunillidh defence.
In the 18th minute Hendry had a shot well over the cross bar. This was followed by a goal by Jamie MacKenzie chopped off for offside from a pass by
The deadlock was finally broken for the home side after twenty-four minutes when another cross from Nigel MacKenzie was volleyed in by
The game went into a lull with Bunillidh fighting hard to get a foothold in the match. They conceded a free kick in the 35th minute but it was weakly at the keeper by Nigel MacKenzie.
Leading up to the half time break, Bunillidh almost forced a shock equaliser in the 38th minute when there was an almighty scramble in the box which The Thurso defence failed to clear and eventually miss kicked wide by R.Cowie. This gave Bunillidh heart and the same player then headed wide from a corner.
This was the only incident of note at the end of the half and the referee blew with Thurso holding a narrow one-goal advantage.
Thurso started the second half the same way as the start of the first with
After 47 minutes a long free kick from McLeod was cleared by the much-improved Thurso defence, then two minutes later a heavy challenge from the rear by McAuley on
In the 53rd minute Jamie MacKenzie won a corner on the right, which was powered in by Kevin Morris to double Thurso's lead. Kevin Morris was in the mood to double his tally when he had a powerful shot blocked by the Bunillidh defence.
Bunillidh were still fighting and after 61 minutes Willby headed wide from close range from a cross from the left.
After 64 minutes both sides rang the changes With Thurso taking on Green and Makhouli for Coghill and MacDougall and Bunillidh taking Sid Potter on for
Two minutes later Thurso keeper Mackay took the pressure off his defence when he collected a dangerous long ball from McLeod.
In the 67th minute Jamie MacKenzie missed another chance heading a Phil Green corner kick over the bar and five minutes later Alan Sutherland ran from the half way line and blasted a shot just wide on Munro's right hand post.
In the 73rd Minute Inrig was booked for talking back to the referee after the Thurso midfielder had floored a Bunillidh player.
A minute later Bunillidh introduced another
With 13 minutes to go Jamie MacKenzie had another effort on goal heading wide from a Philip Green cross from the right, then Makhouli had a shot blocked for a corner.
In the 79th minute
With nine minutes remaining another dangerous cross from Green was headed to safety by McLeod and a minute later Thurso made their final substitution with Gavin Chessor replacing Inrig.
In the 85th minute Bunillidh's McLeod shot a free kick over. This was followed by two further efforts from
Then in the second minute of stoppage time Alan Sutherland was bizarrely booked when it looked as though a Bunillidh player went down with cramp with minimal contact from the Thurso defender.
Final score - Thurso 3 V Bunillidh 0
Saturday the 23rd of August 2003
Bonar Bridge 5 V Thurso F.C 2
At Migdale Park, Bonar Bridge - 3 p.m kick-off
Match report - Bonar Bridge 5 V Thurso F.C 2 - 23/8/03
Bright, sunny and warm conditions welcomed The Thurso Squad from their long trip down The A9 to Bonar Bridge in The opening fixture of The MSIS North Caledonian League season.
New additions to the squad who defeated Castletown 5-0 in a friendly on Wednesday night were Castletown players Iain Begg in goals and Chris Dunnett plus Philip Green.
Early pressure from
Then the opening goal of the game came in the eight minute with some excellent passing involving Jamie MacKenzie, Gavin Bremner and Nigel MacKenzie saw Willie Inrig join in the move where he played a 1-2 with Jamie MacKenzie and strode on into the box and dispatched a left foot shot low in the right hand corner of the Bonar net past Lannon.
This gave Thurso a huge boost after starting the game so poorly and they increased the lead in the eleventh minute with a Jamie MacKenzie header from a Lee MacDougall free kick from the right.
Next to test the Bonar keeper was Nigel MacKenzie who drifted in to the centre of the pitch and finished with a curling effort just over the cross bar.
Thurso then missed a golden opportunity to put the game out of sight after eighteen minutes when Jamie MacKenzie brilliantly turned a Bonar defender and crossed for Lee MacDougall to glance a header straight at Lannon from six yards.
This seemed to be the turning point of the game and Bonar started to cause a threat on The Thurso goal with their formation and were missing out the midfield and playing long balls up field putting the inexperienced Thurso defence under pressure.
This was underlined when a long free kick into the box was headed down into the ground over Begg in The Thurso goal after twenty one minutes by Shane Sutherland which put Bonar right back into a game they should have been three or four goals down in.
The pressure from the home side was building and Brian Gray brought down Bonar striker Mcleod right on the edge of the box after 23 minutes. The resultant free kick was deflected over the bar by a Thurso defender and the corner kick cleared easily by Ryan Farmer.
Bonar's come back was complete after 28 minutes when Walter Mackay equalised for the home side after some awful defending from Thurso not able to get the ball clear ending up with Mackay scoring from close range.
With then minutes to go to half time Munro for Bonar had a free kick over Iain Begg's cross bar and Ross Sutherland had an 18-yard effort saved by Lannon.
Thurso almost regained their lead in the 39th minute from a Jamie MacKenzie header which looked to be creeping in the far post but for a brilliant tip round from Lannon for a Thurso corner. The resultant corner went out for a goal kick after Gray failed to connect at the far post.
Half-time – Bonar 2 V Thurso 2
Thurso started the second half on the attack with an Inrig shot from distance saved by Lannon after 46 minutes, then a minute later a Lee MacDougall cross saw Jamie MacKenzie shoot over the bar from six yards when it looked easier to score.
Then Begg came out to block a McVicar effort as he broke free of The Thurso defence in the 50th minute.
Disaster for Thurso when Gray upended a Bonar player in the box and Walter Mackay stepped up to score from the spot and put Bonar three two up.
Gray then tried to make up for conceding a penalty when he received the ball on the left and unleashed a cracking drive off the face of the cross bar with Lannon helpless. Then Gray spoke out of turn to the official and was shown a straight red card. The game was getting more physical and players were loosing control, as was the referee.
In the 59th minute Bonar made a change and Argyle came on for Grant. A minute later Bonar increased their lead with a second goal of the match from Shane Sutherland. In the 61st minute Thurso tried to make their way back into the match as Chris Dunnett had a shot saved by Lannon.
A minute later Philip Green replaced Mark Makhouli who was tiring in the warm conditions as both sets of players started to feel the heat.
With twenty minutes to go Jamie MacKenzie headed a Lee MacDougall cross over Lannon's bar, then a minute later Nigel MacKenzie had a brilliant shot tipped round the post by Lannon.
Thurso were now putting on constant pressure to the Bonar goal which was leading a charmed life and after a threaded ball from Inrig to Nigel MacKenzie on the left wing, his cross was put wide from six yards by Lee MacDougall with the goal gaping.
The Thurso squad and supporters started to realise it was not going to be their day as further efforts on goal by Bremner and Lee MacDougall were blocked and went just off target with ten minutes remaining.
Then in the 82nd minute a blatant offence on Jamie MacKenzie by a Bonar player was only punished with a yellow card when the red card should have been brandished by the referee who had lost control of the game.
With five minutes to go Lee MacDougall had a shot just past the post with a brilliant angled shot from outside the box, then two minutes later David Argyle headed past Begg from a corner to put the result well beyond ten man Thurso and complete the scoring.
Final score - Bonar Bridge 5 V Thurso 2
Thurso line-up – Begg, Gray, Farmer, Dunnett, Ross Sutherland, Inrig, N.Mackenzie, Bremner, M.Makhouli (Green 62),
J.MacKenzie, MacDougall. Subs not used – Chessor and Coghill
Thurso's day of misery was complete after the match, in the changing rooms as Thurso midfielder Ross Sutherland was shown the red card for comments made towards the officials and Sutherland and manager Duncan Gray were called into the referees room to be informed their comments would be added to the referee's report.