Mackay hits 300 mark in cup win
BRORA Rangers won 5-2 at Keith on Saturday to advance to the quarter-finals of the Highland League Cup where they will meet Buckie Thistle at Victoria Park – their third consecutive away draw in this competition.
Brora's normally well oiled back four – missing the suspended Mark Nicholson – was creaking in the early stages at Kynoch Park and the home side might well have gone ahead from the kick-off when keeper Joe Malin brilliantly tipped Marc Young's goal-bound effort over at full stretch.
Although Brora still posed an attacking threat – Kyle MacLeod should have converted a left-wing corner but headed over the bar from six yards – their unfamiliar back four struggled to clear their lines when Keith pressed.
The Maroons went ahead on eight minutes when John Pickles, playing out of position, failed to cut out a cross from the left and Bradley Manson shot home low from 12 yards.
Brora retaliated by forcing a series of corners that came to nothing. Keith had several chances to double their lead, the best of which saw captain Malin make another excellent save to push Michael Sefridge's low shot round the post.
Just after the half-hour, Brora player/manager Steven Mackay had a header cleared off the line from a left-wing cross and a couple of minutes later, in a carbon copy move, he thought he had equalised when heading home, only for referee Greg Soutar to disallow the effort for climbing on the shoulders of an opponent.
However, the Dudgeon Park men did equalise five minutes from the interval with a top-notch individual goal. Paul Brindle collected a Mackay pass wide on the left just over halfway and outstripped the Keith defence, cut inside and buried a shot from the edge of the box that nestled in the far corner of the net.
The visitors changed their shape in the second half, going to three at the back, and the five-man midfield started dictating the attacking flow of the match.
A minute after play had resumed, Dale Gillespie put the Cattachs ahead, driving home the loose ball from 15 yards after Kyle MacLeod's shot had been parried.
Back came Keith and on 50 minutes they levelled after the Brora defence messed about with a display of "after you, Claude" as Manson bagged his second of the afternoon, driving into the roof of the net at the near post from 15 yards. Shortly after Keith's equaliser, Brora scored a couple of quick-fire goals that sank the home side.
Number three was set up by Brindle with another great left wing-run and cross for Gillespie to sweep home for his brace and three minutes later Mackay headed home a right-wing corner.
This was more than just a decisive fourth goal or Sid's 16th of the season. It was his 300th goal in Highland League football, his 199th for Brora Rangers, and richly deserved for such a dedicated man and model professional.
A quarter of an hour from the end Kyle MacLeod headed home Gavin Morrison's free kick at the far post for Brora's nap hand.
Both sides knew that was that and in the final 10 minutes Brora gave a run out to Niall Docherty, on for James Ross, and David Calder, who replaced Paul Brindle.
This Saturday Brora travel to Cowdenbeath for their eagerly awaited Scottish Cup third-round tie.