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Wins for Helmsdale, Lairg and Dornoch as league campaign kicks off


By Niall Harkiss

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Paul Gordon celebrates his winning goal in the east Sutherland derby. Photo: Justine Holmes
Paul Gordon celebrates his winning goal in the east Sutherland derby. Photo: Justine Holmes

Sutherland sides Dornoch, Helmsdale and Lairg joined Easter Ross club Inver in kicking off their league campaigns in winning style on Saturday.

It was a derby day victory to savour for Helmsdale United as they defeated rivals Golspie Stafford by 2 goals to 1 at Couper Park.

Colin MacRae of Helmsdale, and Adam Sutherland and Mark Mackenzie of Golspie, each saw red for infractions during a fiery affair.

Striker Robbie Murray opened the scoring for nine-man Golspie midway through the second half, but two goals in the final ten minutes turned the match on its head.

Kevin Cairns equalised for United in the 82nd minute, and it was left to Paul Gordon to grab the spoils five minutes later, securing all three points.

It was Easter Ross side Inver who set the pace to take top spot in the league table with an impressive 6–1 win over Melvich.

Paul Connolly's side got off to the perfect start with three goals in 25 minutes, Liam Rostock scoring his first for the club before Jordan Hailes and Sam Johnston added to their side's tally.

Ryan Swan pulled one back for the north Sutherland side shortly before the break.

Inver completed the rout with three more goals in the second half, Rostock netting a penalty kick, and Aiden Stainke and Marc Munro also finding the net.

Lochinver striker Jake Lockett is thwarted by Dornoch defender Adam Allan. Photo: David Haines
Lochinver striker Jake Lockett is thwarted by Dornoch defender Adam Allan. Photo: David Haines

Spectators were served up a seven goal thriller as west met east in Lochinver's match with Dornoch at Culag Park.

The home side had taken the lead through Jake Lockett, but a first half turnaround saw the visitors go in at the interval with the advantage.

An equaliser came via a free kick which Adam Allan tucked away, and shortly after Dornoch were in the lead thanks to a Ryan Munro strike.

Following the restart, the game continued to ebb and flow as Lochinver levelled through Christopher Campbell, and the same player then put his side in front.

But a quick corner made it 3–3 when Adrian Voigt found Finn As-Chainey at the far post and the winger restored parity.

The decider was reserved for Dornoch's Cameron Hook who found the net after going on an impressive solo run.

At Lairg, the home side beat Lochbroom by a solitary goal to nil.

A Craig Ross spot kick minutes before half time was all that separated the sides as Rovers held out for the win.

Next week, teams turn their attention to the Highland Amateur Cup.

On Saturday May 14, first round matches in the north section will involve the following North West Sutherland AFA teams:

  • Dornoch v Wick Groats
  • Thurso Academicals v Golspie Stafford
  • Helmsdale United v High Ormlie Hotspurs
  • Inver v Lairg Rovers
  • Lochinver v Thurso Pentland
  • Lochbroom v John O' Groats

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