Brora Rangers go eleven points clear at the top of the Highland League
Written by Eddie Macrae
Brora Rangers took another stride towards the Highland League title with a convincing win over Strathspey Thistle in atrocious conditions at Seafield Park on Saturday.
There are now just nine more games to play this season for the league leaders.
This victory saw the Cattachs hold an 11-point lead over second placed Inverurie and a 14-point lead over Fraserburgh but the Broch, who didn’t play on Saturday, have three games in hand, which, if they win all three, would reduce the deficit to five.
They face third-placed Rothes away tomorrow, while Brora are at home to Keith before they meet the following week at Bellslea Park in a match that will go a long way to deciding the destiny of the title.
Storm Ciara brought a day of raw cold and an increasingly strong, capricious wind that swirled unpredictably, making controlled football extremely difficult so great credit must go to the visitors for producing many good passages of play.
Jags manager Gordon Nicolson said: “Brora’s movement was very good and they were very slick on the ball, so we just couldn’t get a grip on the game,”
Brora boss Steven Mackay was pleased with his side’s day’s work. He said: “I thought we put on a really professional display in very challenging conditions.
“We made some changes to freshen things up and the boys that came in performed very well.”
The Cattachs started on the front foot and after both full backs had efforts on goal, they took the lead on 10 minutes when Paul Brindle went on a mazy run on the left, cut into the box and set up Jordan MacRae to apply the finishing touch.
Brora were dominating possession and after Greg Morrison’s header from James Wallace’s cross was held by Jags keeper Michael MacCallum, Bjorn Wagenaar unleashed an absolute screamer of a shot into the roof of the net from 35 yards.
Four minutes later, the visitors went further ahead when Morrison squared toWallace whose low effort was steered home by Jordan MacRae to put Brora three up after half an hour.
Andy MacRae came on for Morrison at the start of the second half and he was soon at the heart of the action. In the 57th minute, he jinked his way into the box and dinked it in to lay goal number four on a plate for Martin MacLean on the six-yard line.
A minute later, there was a flowing move involving Andy MacRae and Wallace, who rounded the keeper and squared for Jordan MacRae to claim his hat trick and Brora’s fifth.
The final half hour was absolutely dominated by Brora who somehow failed to add to their tally, although they came mighty close when Wallace’s drive was beaten away by keeper MacCallum.
However, the goal when it came went to Strathspey in the 70th minute when a punt upfield by Scott Morrison from inside his own half got caught on the strengthening wind and sailed high over the frantically back-pedalling Joe Malin and dropped just under the bar and into the net for a freak consolation goal for the hosts.