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Sutherland derby sees Golspie and Bonar Bridge clash in cup first round

By Will Clark

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Golspie Sutherland defeated St Duthus 8-2 in the North Caledonian League.
Golspie Sutherland defeated St Duthus 8-2 in the North Caledonian League.

GOLSPIE Sutherland and Bonar Bridge will aim to keep alive their final chance of winning silverware this season when they clash in the North Caledonian Cup first round tomorrow afternoon.

The opening round of the competition has thrown up a Sutherland derby with the two teams set to go head-to-head at King George V Park in Golspie on Saturday at 1pm.

The two teams are going into the match in contrasting form.

Golspie have turned around their season winning their last seven matches in the North Caledonian League.

Meanwhile Bonar Bridge are struggling to find a win, having lost their last six matches and haven’t recorded a win in their last 14 games. They haven’t won since defeating Alness United 1-0 at Migdale on September 2.

Golspie Sutherland manager Andrew Banks praised his team for their incredible run of victories during the second half of the campaign.

But with the league title realistically out of reach, the chance of winning the North Caledonian Cup will bring a different pressure to recent matches.

“We have signed some good players and it makes a big difference when you have boys that would get into most teams in the division,“ he said.

“We are on an upward spiral at the moment.

“The plan when I came in was to get a few wins in the league and concentrate on getting a good run in the final cup of the season.

“But Bonar Bridge are a decent side and never get thumped now. They only lose by the odd goal now and it will not be an easy match for us.

“Playing in the cup will bring a different sort of pressure, whereas in the league this season, there is no pressure in the games we have played. It will be interesting to see how the players handle that.”

Bonar Bridge manager Bobby Breen says the club have achieved changing the club’s reputation of being whipping boys last season into a competitive outfit this campaign. He says the aim for the rest of the season is to try and get more points in the league in their final six matches and also go on a run in the North Caledonian Cup.

“The improvement we have seen at Bonar Bridge has been good,” said Breen.

“Some of the results still haven’t been great, but we have managed to get the team to be competitive.

“When we have a full strength team, I am confident that we are capable of competing against any team in the league. We have a really good squad, but sometimes players can be away for weeks due to their jobs.

“That has proven to be difficult and we’ve never had our strongest team together this season.

“That will change for next season, but we need to sign a couple more.

“It is easier to be competitive if they put their minds to it and put the effort in. The last time we played Golspie we lost 3-1. We scored first but then gave away really bad goals.

“We have done that in a few games where we have made mistakes and been punished for them.

“I tell the guys in the changing room that doesn’t worry me.

“If teams had been playing 20 passes through and knocking the ball into the net, I’d be worried. But if we concede goals through mistakes, we can work on that as we are not getting outplayed.

“We have six league games left and play Thurso and Clachnacuddin A twice. We can compete against those teams and get results to end the league season on a high. If we can compete and make little mistakes, we can also get a result against Golspie.”

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