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Golspie Stafford win midweek tussle with title rivals Tain Thistle, as Helmsdale are on cloud nine

By Niall Harkiss

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Golspie Stafford proved too strong for Tain Thistle at Stafford Park last night. Picture: Justine Clark
Golspie Stafford proved too strong for Tain Thistle at Stafford Park last night. Picture: Justine Clark

Golspie Stafford remain the only unbeaten team across North-west Sutherland competitions this summer, after beating league rivals Tain Thistle 3-1 at Stafford Park last night.

Callum Murray got the Tain Jags off to a great start early on in the game, getting on the end of a knockdown from Scott MacDonald to make it 1-0.

The Golspie men thought they had levelled but their net-bound effort was disallowed for handball.

The equaliser was delayed only temporarily through as a penalty award saw Louis Macpherson convert from 12 yards to make it 1-1.

It was honours even at half-time, but the game quickly swung in the home side’s favour after the restart, James Macrae putting his side into the lead on 51 minutes.

A second penalty award for Golspie with 15 minutes remaining was saved by Steven Martin, extending Thistle’s hopes of snatching an equaliser.

With less than five minutes remaining, Golspie made sure of their victory with a well taken header from Alexander Mackay.

At Couper Park, Helmsdale United were in uncompromising form against visitors Embo, netting nine goals with one in reply.

Hat-tricks for Austin Keith and Paul Gordon were the highlight, with a penalty from Kevin Cairns extending the total.

Youngsters CJ Farrell and Ally Macrae were also among the scorers, netting their first goals for the club.

Lochbroom won the west coast derby with a 5-3 victory over neighbours Lochinver.

In front of a big crowd at Ullapool High School, visitors Lochinver took a 2-1 lead in at half-time thanks to a brace from Clarke Hutchinson, Shaun Marshall netting for the home side.

The sides exchanged further goals at the start of the second period through Skip Buckthorp (Lochbroom) and Jake Lockett (Lochinver), but the game turned on its head on the hour mark when Kyle Mackenzie brought the scores to 3-3.

Lochbroom completed the turnaround moments later when Mackenzie grabbed his second, and Marshall rounded off the scoring with a fifth.

In the other game of the evening, Inver were awarded three points and a 4-0 after Brora Wanderers failed to raise a team.

On Saturday, Brora Wanderers and Helmsdale United shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw at School Park.

A Luke Ainsworth hat-trick earned his side their first point of the side, up against goals from Danny Doogan and Kevin Cairns, who scored two.

As is customary each season, the George Cormack Memorial Trophy was contested between the sides and with the teams finishing level, a penalty shoot-out was held post-match, which Helmsdale won 4-3.

At the Links, Tain Thistle made short work of Lochbroom in a 6-1 win.

There were goals scored all round the team with Liam Rostock, Scott MacDonald, Callum Murray and Sam Ross all on the mark, and Billy Knox notching a brace.

Kyle Maclean scored the only goal for the Ullapool eleven.

Post-match, the Kenny Raigie Memorial Trophy was presented to Tain Jags captain Alan Duff.

Further north, Melvich succumbed to a 5-0 beating at the hands of Inver.

Despite a close first half which saw Inver lead 1-0 at the break, the Easter Ross men moved things up a gear in the second period.

Alex Mackenzie hit a hat-trick, while Johnie Beattie and Stuart Nicol also registered their names on the scoresheet.

League fixtures for Saturday, June 15:

Brora Wanderers v Lairg Rovers

League fixtures for Tuesday, June 18:

Tain Thistle v Lochinver

Melvich v Brora Wanderers

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