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Campbell pleased with another clean sheet as Brora go safely through in Highland League Cup


By Alan Hendry

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Jordan MacRae turns away to celebrate after giving Brora Rangers an early lead in Saturday's Highland League Cup tie at Wick. Picture: Mel Roger
Jordan MacRae turns away to celebrate after giving Brora Rangers an early lead in Saturday's Highland League Cup tie at Wick. Picture: Mel Roger

Brora manager Craig Campbell was satisfied to see his team go safely through to the last eight of the Highland League Cup on Saturday – although he felt there were some “sloppy” elements to his team's performance against Wick Academy.

Speaking after the 3-0 win at Harmsworth Park, where all the goals came inside the opening half-hour, Campbell said: “If you break down the game, Wick created three good chances as well and if they'd taken them it was a different game.

“Obviously we did take our chances, so that was pleasing, and it's pleasing to get a clean sheet again – albeit I thought we were a bit sloppy at times.

“At Brora you want to be winning trophies and we want to go as far as we can, obviously. We're delighted to be into the next round with a 3-0 victory.”

The Cattachs are on a strong run in the title race and are among a clutch of teams looking to make up ground on leaders Fraserburgh, who suffered their first league loss of the campaign earlier this month.

“People were saying the league was over, but if you know the Highland League it's never over before Christmas," Campbell said.

“There's still a lot of football to be played, a lot of difficult games coming up for us in December and over the Christmas period as well, so we'll just keep taking each game as it comes and see where it gets us.”

Wick carved out a decent chance in the first minute as Ryan Campbell delivered the ball into the path of Steven Anderson, but the striker pulled his shot just wide of Joe Malin's left-hand post.

Brora opened the scoring with four minutes gone. Mark Nicolson rose highest to meet a corner from the right and headed it down into the six-yard box where Jordan MacRae was waiting to poke the ball into the net.

Referee Lee Robertson awarded Brora a penalty on 18 minutes after Wick keeper Graeme Williamson collided with MacRae as they raced to meet a through ball. Dale Gillespie blasted the spot-kick into the net to Williamson's right.

Straight from the kick-off, Davie Allan carved out another opportunity for Anderson but again the striker was marginally off target.

Academy then had three attempts on goal within a few seconds as efforts from Jack Halliday and Anderson were blocked before Allan fired the ball over the top.

Brora's Jordan MacRae in between Wick midfielders Jack Henry (left) and Jack Halliday in the cup clash at Harmsworth Park. Picture: Mel Roger
Brora's Jordan MacRae in between Wick midfielders Jack Henry (left) and Jack Halliday in the cup clash at Harmsworth Park. Picture: Mel Roger

Brora showed how clinical they can be when they extended their lead on 28 minutes. Ali Sutherland combined with MacRae to slice open the defence, and Wright – who hit a hat-trick in the Cattachs' 4-1 league win at Harmsworth Park last month – calmly slid it past Williamson.

Wick Academy manager Gary Manson said: “We had three really good chances in that first half. On another day we could have scored two or three goals and we would have been in it, but at 3-0 down again at half-time we're just giving ourselves mountains to climb in nearly every game now.”

Manson also described the penalty decision as "debatable”.

He added: “We never created much going forward in the second half, but we looked comfortable at the back which is a positive to take.”

Wick Academy: Williamson, Hughes, R Allan, Mackay, J Anderson (Bain 85), Henry, Halliday, R Campbell, D Allan (MacNab 73), S Anderson, M Macadie. Subs not used: Manson, C Farquhar, Mathieson, More.

Brora Rangers: Malin, Pickles, Macdonald, Nicolson, Gillespie, Mackinnon (Meekings 53), Williamson, Wright (Maclean 77), Sutherland, MacRae, Ewan (Hennem 53). Sub not used: Stephen.

Referee: Lee Robertson.

Ross Allan of Wick Academy wins the ball in a challenge with Brora's Ali Sutherland. Picture: Mel Roger
Ross Allan of Wick Academy wins the ball in a challenge with Brora's Ali Sutherland. Picture: Mel Roger

Brechin City were the biggest winners in Saturday's Highland League Cup ties, beating Formartine United 5-0 at Pitmedden.

Buckie Thistle eased through to the last eight with a 3-0 home win against Nairn County.

Rothes began their defence of the trophy with a 4-2 victory against Deveronvale in Banff. Inverurie Locos saw off Huntly 1-0, Clach beat Strathspey Thistle by the same score, and Fraserburgh were 4-1 winners at Keith.

Charlie Rowley’s final game in charge of Forres Mechanics was a 2-1 victory over Turriff United. The Can-Cans have announced former Wick Academy boss Gordon Connelly as their new manager.


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