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Golspie boss hails ‘never give up’ attitude as Stafford secure cup in eight goal thriller

By Niall Harkiss

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Stafford Cup winners Golspie Stafford came back from 2-0 down against Tain Thistle to win 5-3. Picture: Golspie Stafford AFC
Stafford Cup winners Golspie Stafford came back from 2-0 down against Tain Thistle to win 5-3. Picture: Golspie Stafford AFC

Golspie Stafford have claimed the first trophy of the north-west Sutherland amateur season, winning the Stafford Cup thanks to an uncompromising second half performance to beat Tain Thistle.

A second half goal blitz from the home side saw them run out as eventual 5-3 winners on Saturday, exemplifying a “never give up” attitude, as manager John Smith attests.

Golspie Stafford boss Smith said: “I was delighted for the boys for showing a never give up attitude after going down two goals early on in the game.

“It was our aim at start of the season to win silverware and it’s been a few years since we won Stafford Cup, so that made it a bit sweeter.

“We started dreadfully and Tain raced into a two-goal lead, and they looked good for a third but a great tackle from Louis Macpherson stopped us from going 3-0 down.

“The boys rallied together and got us back in the game, but we had a very nervy end to first half with Tain pushing us all the way.

“We probably started the second half the better team when Robbie Murray put us ahead, and then Alexander reacted first to fire a ball home to make it 4-2.

“Ten minutes later Cameron Sutherland rifled home from 20 yards out, and although Tain grabbed one back with goal of the game, we held off and took the win.”

It was Tain Thistle who flew out of the traps with two goals in the first quarter hour.

Adrian Voigt was first to net for the Jags on 12 minutes with a well struck volley, before Callum Murray doubled their advantage three minutes later with a confident finish to beat Connor Ross in the Stafford goal.

It seemed as though it might be the Jags’ day until Golspie pulled one back through Robbie Murray with 21 minutes gone.

Just five minutes later, they were level through Alexander Mackay, who tucked the ball away after a quick counter attack.

It was honours even for a long period in the match thereafter, with both sides coming close to breaking the deadlock and goalkeepers Ross and Johnny Allan both forced into making crucial saves.

But it was Golspie who eventually netted a third with 25 minutes to go, Murray again finding the net with a low drive from just inside the box.

Within a few minutes it was 4-2 as Golspie capitalised on the Tain side’s failure to clear the ball, leaving Alexander with a chance to fire the ball high into the net.

With 15 minutes remaining, Stafford made sure of the victory with an impressive shot from Cameron Sutherland, hit from outside the area to beat Allan.

A late consolation, albeit well struck by Alan Duff, was not enough for Tain to mount any sort of comeback as Golspie comfortably saw the game out to win the cup.

In the only other game of the day, Melvich were beaten 5-2 by Lochbroom.

A double for Ben Bruce and goals from Calvin Butrym, Kyle Mackenzie and Robert Macrae made sure of a commanding win for the Wester Ross side.

Netting in reply, Harvey Labour scored twice for Melvich.

Upcoming league fixtures:

Wednesday, July 3

Lairg Rovers v Lochbroom (7.45pm)

Embo v Golspie Stafford (7.30pm)

Friday, July 5

Brora Wanderers v Lochinver (7.30pm)

Saturday, July 6

Embo v Lochbroom (KO TBC)

Golspie Stafford v Lairg Rovers (1.30pm)

Helmsdale United v Inver (KO TBC)

Tain Thistle v Melvich (2.30pm)

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