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Helmsdale United stun Lairg Rovers to blow title race wide open

By Niall Harkiss

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The race for the North West Sutherland Amateur League title was blown wide open in blustery conditions at Couper Park on Saturday, as Helmsdale United beat league leaders Lairg Rovers 2–0.

Helmsdale United and Golspie Stafford in action when last the teams met in 2019. Photo: Niall Harkiss
Helmsdale United and Golspie Stafford in action when last the teams met in 2019. Photo: Niall Harkiss

The deadlock was broken in the first half by Dari Lamborena, who pounced on a poor clearance and clipped the ball over the advancing goalkeeper.

A resilient performance from United kept Lairg at bay, and the visitors’ frustration started to show with Ewan Ross saw red for a second bookable offence midway through the second half.

Lairg were down to nine men soon after when the opposite full back Joe Sutherland was given his marching orders for an altercation with Sam Barclay.

The win was secured with the last kick of the ball and it came via the striker Barclay, who capitalised on a chance to lob the goalkeeper from 30 yards out.

Helmsdale United co-manager Colin Macrae, who is serving a playing suspension, was full of praise for his side’s fighting spirit.

He said: “It was a big three points for us against the current league leaders and it was good to get a clean sheet too in front of our supporters. It opens the title race right up but there’s no point in getting carried away with the result. We need to carry on playing well and we’ll see where it gets us.

“It was a wee bit frustrating for me not being on the park and helping the team due to injury and suspension, but it was also a lot easier to see when things needed to be changed from the sideline rather than on the pitch. I’m delighted the boys managed to get the job done.”

Dornoch were left feeling frustrated with just a point taken from Melvich, as they passed up the opportunity to go within two points of league leaders Lairg Rovers in a 2–2 draw.

Melvich broke the deadlock through Michael Smith to take the lead.

Dornoch’s equalised when winger Adrian Voigt grabbed his fourth goal of the season

Dornoch took the lead through Finn As-Chainey

But just a few minutes later though, Melvich were awarded a second penalty which Connor Mackintosh converted.

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