Thistle reach Cordiner Cup final
A superb second half performance from the Jags saw off Alness United at the Links on Friday night, as they booked their place in next Saturday's Cordiner Cup Final in Inver.
It looked as though Tain may continue to run riot the way they have in recent games, when, after just eight minutes, Neil MacDonald shot Thistle into the lead with a 30 yard drive that flew past Jodie Campbell into the net. Just moments later, Arron Christie had been unlucky not to score with a right foot volley at the far post after a sweeping cross from Neil MacDonald.
Liam Rostock should have scored on the quarter hour mark after yet another great ball from MacDonald, but the makeshift wing back's first touch could only send the ball trickling wide.
A series of contentious decisions left the Tain men riled, despite their lead, and before long the game became disjointed with neither side able to gain a foothold. Dave Murray was first to see yellow, collecting a booking midway through the first half. A headed chance for Evan Murray flew just over Johnny Allan's crossbar in Alness's best chance to equalize.
A second half regroup saw Thistle come out a different side, and within five minutes they had doubled their lead. Fouled just inside the box after cutting along the byline, Mark Lamont converted the spot kick awarded by referee Mike Stainke to make it 2-0. Three minutes later it was 3-0 and Lamont scored again, this time at the second time of asking after battling to send the ball into the Alness net following a rebound from a Liam Rostock shot.
Despite all of Thistle's work to put the game to bed, it seemed amidst all the heat in the game that a red card was inevitable and for a challenge from behind, Thistle's scorer Neil MacDonald was dismissed.
The Jags continued undeterred and just five minutes later it was 4-0. Collecting a ball just inside the eighteen yard box, Arron Christie spun a right foot shot towards the far post and the midfielder's shot curled beyond the reach of Campbell.
Just under fifteen minutes later, substitute John Maclellan was next to score, as he completed a superb move, converting a Lamont cross by heading home at the far post for his fifth goal of the season. Capping off a man of the match performance, Lamont secured his hat-trick seven minutes later with a tremendous solo effort, retaining the ball under pressure from several Alness defenders before guiding the ball into the box and beating Campbell in style. The goal sealed Lamont's fifth hat-trick of the season and his 27th goal in just 14 games for Thistle.
Three minutes later, Lamont was provider again, this time working well to cut back for Cammy Mackintosh to net from close range, bundling the ball past Campbell.
The victory sends Thistle into the final of the Inver Inn Cordiner Cup - a trophy which the Tain side have won just once before in 2009. In the other semi final, played today, Dingwall recorded a comfortable 4-0 victory over Fortrose Union, setting up an Inver final between Tain and Dingwall. The game will be played next Saturday, August 1st with a 3pm kick off.
Allan, M Farquhar, Dunnett, Murray (Smith 77), MacDonald, Munro (Mackintosh 61), A Christie, Macgruer, Rostock (Maclellan 64), D Christie, Lamont
Subs not used:
T Farquhar, D Ross
MacDonald 8, Lamont pen 50, 53, 81, Maclellan 74, Mackintosh 84
Article written on 25 Jul 2015 | Link to article
Tain Thistle 4 Dingwall 0
Having secured the Ross-shire Welfare league championship last week with a 3-0 win in Alness, the Jags welcomed Dingwall to the Links for the very first time last night, in what turned out to be a game played in friendly spirits, with Tain running out 4-0 winners.
Robert Ross made a number of changes to his side with Friday's Cordiner Cup semi final tie in mind. Michael Dunnett returned to action for the first time since his ankle injury in the League Cup Final in May, slotting into the back three in place of Dave Murray, who dropped to the bench. Neil MacDonald was reinstated in the middle of the back line while Arron Christie reassumed the role in between the midfield and attack, and in place of the USA bound Alan Duff, Cammy Mackintosh returned to the midfield. Liam Rostock also returned to the starting eleven, in place of Daniel Christie.
Liam Rostock made it a scoring return after eleven minutes when he turned the ball into the net with his first touch following some excellent persistence from Mark Lamont, who battled past several defenders before sending a low cross into the path of Thistle's all-time scorer.
Lamont himself got on the score sheet just four minutes later with a similar goal. Neil MacDonald sent a looping cross into the way of the onrushing Arron Christie who broke down the left side to rifle the ball into the six yard box for Lamont to direct it home. A second for Lamont arrived after 26 minutes, the prolific forward foxing Ali Smith in the Dingwall goal with a standing header which flew over his head and into the net at the back post.
Dingwall replaced Smith with Reece Reid at half time, and the stand in keeper Craig Morrison did well to keep Thistle at bay during the second half, blocking shots from John Maclellan on two occasions and thwarting Dave MacGruer who directed a curling effort towards the top corner. Mark Lamont was denied his third hat-trick in as many games on a couple of occasions, most notably rocking the cross bar with a cross come shot on the hour mark.
Celebrating his 33rd birthday, Chippie Mailley added the fourth and final goal of the evening when he collected a ball over the top of the defence before twisting and turning the goalkeeper a handful of times and calmly slotting the ball into the net with his less familiar right foot.
Allan, M Farquhar, MacDonald, Dunnett, Munro, Mackintosh (T Farquhar), A Christie, Mailley, Macgruer (D Ross), Lamont, Rostock (Maclellan)
Subs not used:
Murray, R Ross
Rostock 11, Lamont 15, 26, Mailley 73
Article written on 23 Jul 2015 | Link to article
Balintore forfeit Cordiner Cup tie
Balintore have forfeited their Cordiner Cup first round tie with Tain Thistle, which was scheduled to be played this afternoon, Saturday, July 18th. Tain Thistle will automatically advance to the semi final, awaiting the result of Alness United v Contin to determine their opposition.
The Graham Jardine Memorial Quaich, which would have been awarded to the winners of today's game, will now be contested in a friendly match in September.
Article written on 18 Jul 2015 | Link to article
Remembering Graham Jardine
Ahead of tomorrow's Cordiner Cup first round tie, to be played between Tain Thistle and Balintore for the Graham Jardine Memorial Quaich, Tain club secretary Niall Harkiss looks at Graham's footballing days, speaking to a number of his former team mates, family and friends. Link: K & N Publishing - Remembering Graham Jardine
Article written on 17 Jul 2015 | Link to article
Tain Thistle clinch league title in Alness
For the second time in three years last night, Tain Thistle were crowned Ross-shire Welfare League champions on Alness turf. A commanding 3-0 victory saw the season long league leaders secure enough points in the Ross-shire Welfare League to ensure that they can no longer be caught, confirming their place as Champions.
Dave Murray, Daniel Cormack and Liam Rostock were the only absences from the past weekend's cup winning squad, as Ian Ross, Martin Smith and Neil MacDonald were added. Cammy Mackintosh dropped to the bench with a hamstring concern, ending a run of eighteen consecutive starts for the Jags.
Results against this young Alness United team have been mixed this season. Thistle set out to make no mistakes this time around, though, as they carried their Seaboard Cup final form into this fixture, testing Ali Shanks early on with a couple of chances. The best came after 22 minutes when Mark Lamont dribbled past two defenders before squaring to John Maclellan who forced Shanks to turn the ball wide.
The opening goal arrived after 23 minutes and it was thanks to the persistence of Dave Macgruer who battled to retain the ball before setting up Mark Lamont for a shot on goal. His first effort didn't hit the net, but the rebound came straight back off him and beat Shanks for something of a fortunate lead. Any doubt over Thistle's authority was quickly quelled when Lamont scored a second. Rising above Shanks to reach a long ball along with Maclellan, he headed over the outstretched hands of the Alness 'keeper to make it 2-0.
Frustration set in amongst the Alness ranks soon after and Chris Graham was booked for dissent. Alness weren't without chances at the other end, however, forcing a series of corners, but failed to hit the target during a half which ultimately belonged to Tain.
The second half turned firmly in the favour of Tain Thistle when Daniel Lowe was shown a straight red for a kick on Nellie MacDonald. Adding to United's plight, referee Barry Stuart awarded the Jags a penalty just after the hour mark, after John Maclellan was fouled in the area. Making no mistake, Mark Lamont rifled the ball high into the net from the spot kick. His goal was his 22nd this season for Thistle - a staggering goal tally in only twelve appearances - and it was a new record for a Tain Thistle player, beating the previous records of Calum Macdonald and Liam Rostock, who had both scored 21 goals in one season.
The 3-0 win was more than the Jags needed on a night that they knew could crown them Ross-shire Welfare League champions for the third time in their eighteen year history. With 11 wins and just 1 loss, Robert Ross, along with his coaching team Scott Drylie, Arron Christie and Ian Christie can take great pride in a league campaign which has been fought as though each game was a cup final.
Allan, Farquhar, A Christie, MacDonald, Munro, Mailley, Duff, Macgruer (Scott), Lamont (I Ross), D Christie, Maclellan (Smith)
Subs not used:
D Ross, Mackintosh
Lamont 23, 28, pen 62
Article written on 16 Jul 2015 | Link to article
Jags win Seaboard Cup
Tain Thistle lifted their first silverware of 2015 yesterday with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Balintore, on the Seaboard side's home turf. A hat-trick for Mark Lamont, two for Dave MacGruer and a goal of the season candidate from Daniel Christie secured the win, while James Metcalfe offered a late reply for Balintore.
From the team who defeated Balintore in midweek, Neil MacDonald dropped out of the starting eleven, making way for Dave Murray, as Robert Ross returned to the more familiar 4-5-1 formation. Balintore recalled first team regulars Steven Friel, Will Ross, Ryan Ross and Adam Macdonald, who had been rested for the league game four days ago.
Any early nerves were quickly quashed thanks to a Mark Lamont goal after just eight minutes. The prolific striker got on the end of a looping cross to head the ball into the far corner, past Steven Friel, to score his 17th goal of the season in just 11 games. Just three minutes later, Lamont made it 2-0 as Thistle threatened to run rampant, this time slotting the ball home from a one on one position.
The Jags dominated throughout the first half, looking determined and confident on the ball, showing much greater experience than their younger opponents. Balintore were not without chances in the first half though, testing John Allan on a couple of occasions, most notable from a corner when the Tain 'keeper was forced to tip a Stephen Mcgaw header over the bar from close range.
Any likelihood that Balintore may sneak a first half goal was put to bed when Daniel Christie netted just before half time. Turning with the ball on the left wing, the testimonial year forward struck the ball from 30 yards and watched as his effort flew beyond Friel and into the far top corner. An outstanding goal fitting of any cup final.
Daniel Christie's goal appeared to knock the stuffing out of the Seaboard side as Thistle quickly took control once again. Ten minutes into the second half, a quickfire double put Tain 5-0 up. Dave Macgruer was first to strike, slotting home from 12 yards before "Lammy" completed his hat-trick, lobbing Friel from a Macgruer flick, to all but kill the game.
Macgruer added a sixth eight minutes later, and several substitutions followed as Tain saw out the remainder of the game. Substitute James Metcalfe notched a consolation goal for Balintore with six minutes left on the clock, but the game had been won a good while before that and with no further goals, the game finished 6-1 to Thistle.
Post-match, the Jags gathered as the only team on the park to accept the trophy from one of the joint sponsors, Jimmy Oman of Highland Heatsave, who presented the cup to team captain Daniel Christie. At the Commercial Hotel, the players collected their winners medals as the club celebrated winning the Seaboard Cup for the second time in four years.
Allan, Farquhar, A Christie, Murray, Munro, Mackintosh, Mailley, Duff (Rostock 65), Macgruer (D Ross 85), Lamont (Maclellan 71), D Christie
Subs not used:
Lamont 8, 11, 57, D Christie 45, Macgruer 56, 64
Article written on 12 Jul 2015 | Link to article
Farewell to Keith
After over 30 years of refereeing, Keith Middleton bid farewell to his hometown ground of the Links in Tain as he took charge of a Jags home game for the final time last night, fittingly in charge of the Balintore derby.
A former goalkeeper, Keith took up officiating after losing his last game as a player 22-0 in the late 1970s, opting for a whistle instead of the gloves. At the start of this season, he announced his plan to call time on his refereeing days. His final game will be the Cordiner Cup Final in Inver.
Everyone at Tain Thistle wishes Keith all the best for the future.
Article written on 09 Jul 2015 | Link to article
Tain Thistle 5 Balintore 2
The Jags secured a further three points in the Ross-shire Welfare league while making it two wins out of two in the league over local rivals Balintore with a 5-2 win last night. Tain were without Liam Rostock, Dave Murray and Brian Cameron for the game, as manager Robert Ross went with the same starting eleven named on Saturday for the 5-0 win over Invergordon Social Club. Balintore manager Mark McAuley rested a handful of his first team regulars, presumably with one eye on this weekend's Seaboard Cup Final.
The Jags wasted no time in taking the lead, scoring after eight minutes through Mark Lamont, who tucked the ball into the net at the far post on the end of an Arron Christie cross. Chippie Mailley double the lead just two minutes later with a left foot strike from the edge of the box. Lamont scored his second and Thistle's third after eighteen minutes with a near carbon copy of his opener, albeit from a tighter angle. Dave MacGruer rounded the first half scoring off with four minutes remaining when he tapped the ball into James Metcalfe's gaping net from 12 yards, following a defensive mixup.
In goal for Tain, John Allan was sporting a protective face mask as he continues to recover from a nose break. But the Jags' stopper had little to do in the first half and was largely untested while wearing the contraption.
The second half continued in the same vein and the threat of Lamont paid dividends for Tain once again when he crossed to MacGruer, and the latter lobbed Metcalfe with a first time shot to make it 5-0. As Thistle rested on their lead, Balintore came back into the game, introducing prolific forward Ryan Ross into the game and in the 77th minute they pulled a goal back. Pouncing on a loose ball, former Tain defender Stephen Mcgaw struck the ball past Allan into the far corner. With five minutes remaining, Balintore were able to further reduce the deficit from the penalty spot after Neil MacDonald was adjudged to have fouled Ryan Ross, the striker slotting the spot kick just past the outstretched arm of a diving Allan.
The teams now move on to Saturday's cup final when we can expect an entirely different affair on Seaboard soil.
Allan, Farquhar, MacDonald, Duff, Munro, Mackintosh, Mailley, MacGruer, Lamont (Smith), D Christie (D Ross), A Christie (Maclellan)
Subs not used:
R Ross, Scott
Lamont 8, 18, Mailley 10, MacGruer 41, 58
Article written on 09 Jul 2015 | Link to article
Social Club 0 Tain Thistle 5
The Jags bounced back from last week's defeat with a disciplined performance to ease past Invergordon Social Club this afternoon, earning a place in the final of the Seaboard Cup.
Several changes were made to the side, including the formation, the manager adopting a 3-4-1-2 instead of the usual 3-5-2 which has been the most used this season. Alan Duff, Neil MacDonald and Martyn Farquhar made up the back line while Cammy Mackintosh was positioned on the right of a four man midfield with Dave MacGruer on the left and Craig Munro and Chippie Mailley in the middle. Daniel Christie and Mark Lamont continued as the front pairing, with Arron Christie sitting just behind the strikers.
Tain never looked like conceding throughout the game and set out as they meant to go on after just five minutes with their first goal of five. Alan Duff received the praise for the opener as he rifled the ball goalward, however it was later confirmed the final touch, or touches, belonged to Daniel Christie who directed the ball past Brannen on its way into the net.
Five minutes later, Mark Lamont scored his first of the afternoon, taking a couple of touches before slotting the ball home after receiving it from Arron Christie. Lamont had created a number of chances in the early going, playing a number of chances across the face of goal following good work along the by line.
The third goal arrived after half an hour and it was Lamont again who netted after Arron Christie had forced Brannen to block an effort with his chest, the former rattling the ball into the top corner. Lamont secured the first half hat-trick after a series of neat one twos, getting on the end of the piece of play to cooly slot home and make it 4-0.
The second half started in the same fashion, with Thistle far and away the better side and rarely troubled. A couple of chances eventually fell to Social's Ali Mackinnon towards the hour mark but the striker shot well over, as Johnny Allan continued to enjoy a quiet afternoon, in his first game since breaking his nose. But Thistle remained in command. Alan Duff nearly got his name on the scoresheet with a speculative effort but his shot rattled the crossbar and bounced over.
The fifth and final goal eventually came from Chippie Mailley after some clever play by Daniel Christie and Mark Lamont, the Dornoch man tapping the ball home after Lamont cut it back across the face of Brannen's goal.
Late substitute Robbie Ross was unlucky not to make it six with the last touch of the game as he got the final nod on a goalmouth skirmish, but the legendary Jags marksman could only head over.
Allan, Farquhar, MacDonald, Duff, Munro, Mackintosh, Mailley (Ross), MacGruer (Scott), Lamont, D Christie, A Christie (Maclellan)
Subs not used:
D Christie 5, Lamont 10, 30, 38, Mailley 66
Article written on 04 Jul 2015 | Link to article
Contin 6 Tain Thistle 3
The Jags suffered their first league defeat of the season tonight following a calamitous first half. 6-3 down at half time, Thistle finished the match with ten men, as a young but disciplined Contin team saw the result out with ease.
Missing Arron Christie at the back, Chippie Mailley stepped into the centre half role for the first time since Thistle's 4-0 win over Alness. Daniel Christie also returned to the side.
On the tight pitch of Munro Park, Tain's five man midfield struggled to move the ball and overall Contin showed greater determination in the early stages. Top marksman Ryan Dow opened the scoring for the home team, pouncing on a chance after seven minutes. Tain fired back though and after forcing a save from Alisdair Maclean, Cammy Mackintosh turned a Neil MacDonald corner into the net to make it 1-1.
Within two minutes, Contin had restored their lead. Connor Ross, dribbling through the Tain defence with ease, placed the ball to Cormack's left to score. Six minutes later it was 3-1, Jack Mitchell powering the ball through the grasp of Cormack. Tain were all at sea and powerless to every Contin counter and on 24 minutes and 27 minutes, Contin added to their tally, leaving Thistle stunned. Thistle were not without chances, as Mark Lamont twice cut the ball across the face of goal to no avail. Lamont pulled a goal back for the Jags with a volley at the far post and Alan Duff forced the ball home a few minutes later. At 5-3, Tain were in with a chance of getting back into the game, but a calamitous sixth goal for Contin all but killed their chances minutes before the break.
The second half was one of Tain fighting against their own frustrations and Contin playing out 45 minutes and doing enough to retain their lead. For a bad challenge on Ryan Dow, Dave Murray was dismissed in what was the only noteworthy moment during a stuffy second period. Late substitutions for both sides saw the game stop and start towards the end, despite Thistle's best efforts to reduce the scoreline and time eventually ran out.
The defeat leaves Thistle eleven ahead of both Social Club and Fortrose Union in the Ross-shire Welfare League who also lost, while Contin leapfrog both to go third. Alness United closed the gap to eight points with an 8-1 win over Eastern Rose, moving second, looking the likeliest to challenge Tain for the title as we move into the final four games.
Cormack, Farquhar, Mailley, Murray, Munro (Smith), Mackintosh (Scott), MacDonald, Macgruer, Duff, Lamont (Maclellan), D Christie
Subs not used:
Rostock, D Ross
Mackintosh 9, Lamont 27, Duff 35
Article written on 01 Jul 2015 | Link to article
Jags set for stormy visit to Contin
The weather forecast for this Wednesday's trip to Munro Park to play Contin predicts 26 degree temperatures, along with unwelcome thunder storms, as the Jags look to continue their 100% record in the Ross-shire Welfare league this season.
Thistle travel to Contin on competitive business for only the second time in history, the first game coming last season, ending in a 2-1 win for Darren Mackay's Tain side.
Article written on 29 Jun 2015 | Link to article
Dingwall match called off
For the second time this season, Tain Thistle have been declared winners via forfeit after their opponents, Dingwall, failed to raise a team.
New to the league this season, Dingwall forfeited their home game against Tain in the league earlier this season, citing a lack of players, and this weekend, they did the same in the first round of the Seaboard Cup, leaving Tain with a pass into the semi final.
Invergordon Social Club disposed of Contin in the only other game to take place on Saturday, and shall be the semi final opponents of Thistle, in Invergordon next Saturday.
Article written on 27 Jun 2015 | Link to article
Tain Thistle 4 Fortrose Union 3
The Jags were pegged back three times tonight as they battled to a 4-3 victory over nearest rivals Fortrose Union in week nine of the Ross-shire Welfare league campaign. Eight points separated the sides before kick off in the league table as Thistle aimed to create an eleven point divide, and a last minute goal from Chippie Mailley secured it.
Thistle made two changes to the team who played against Eastern Rose last week, with the returning Dave MacGruer replacing Daniel Christie and Brian Cameron stepping aside for Chippie Mailley.
Chances fell to both sides in the early going. Mark Lamont teased the Fortrose defence after five minutes before sending a ball across the face of goal and at the other end Cammy Mackintosh blocked a shot towards goal that seemed destined for the back of the net. The opener was scored by Thistle though, on eighteen minutes, when Chippie Mailley sent a stinging ball into the box, but his cross-come-shot curled into the far corner, deceiving goalkeeper Martin Smith to hand Tain the lead. Fortrose were quick to retaliate however, and from a corner, Iain Mackay scored at the far post after some poor defending. It took Thistle just two further minutes to restore their first half lead when they scored from a corner of their own. Taking the corner short, Mark Lamont laid the ball off to Craig Munro who sent a perfect cross into the box for Alan Duff to power the ball into the net with a header.
Arron Christie was unlucky with a free kick moments later when his shot flew just over the crossbar and shortly after, Craig Munro curled a set piece bound for the top corner into the hands of Smith. The score remained at 2-1 as the first half drew to a close.
A fault with the home net delayed the restart before Thistle kicked the second half off and the game quickly descended into a one sided affair, with Thistle doing everything but scoring over a period of half an hour. Mark Lamont cut the ball back perfectly for John Maclellan with one of the best chances of the game, but clever defending denied the striker. As the half went on, Lamont also hit the post and shot just over with another chance. It seemed almost inevitable that Fortrose would hit Thistle on the break, and that they did, as a ball from the right wing made it's way into the box via Stuart Gammie and Rhys Shewan stuck the ball past Daniel Cormack to make it 2-2.
The tide didn't immediately turn, and the Jags pushed on to take the lead once again, Mark Lamont finally getting his reward for some persistent forward play with a leaping header, getting on the end of a Chippie Mailley ball to make it 3-2.
A calamity in goal followed, as Fortrose capitalised on the needless concession of a free kick three minutes later. From the kick, Rhys Shewan launched the ball over the wall and through the arms of Daniel Cormack, as the ball trundled in. It looked at that point that two points may have been dropped, and things seemed to go from bad to worse for Thistle when manager Robert Ross was ordered back to the pavilion. But the finale was left for Chippie Mailley. In the last minute, the midfielder sent the ball past Smith with a left foot strike from outside of the box to hand the Jags a deserved 4-3 victory in the most dramatic of fashions.
The win puts Thistle eleven points clear at the top of the Ross-shire Welfare league. Next week, the team travel to Contin for the first time this season.
Cormack, Murray, A Christie, Farquhar, Munro, Mackintosh, Mailley, Duff, MacGruer, Lamont, Maclellan (Rostock)
Subs not used:
Smith, Scott, D Ross, Cameron
Mailley 16, 90, Duff 20, Lamont 82
Article written on 24 Jun 2015 | Link to article
Jags break records with Eastern Rose destruction
Scoring fifteen times, Tain Thistle recorded their highest ever winning margin as members of the Ross-shire Welfare league against strugglers Eastern Rose in Portmahomack tonight.
John Maclellan scored twice in the opening ten minutes to kick things off. He netted a third on 15 minutes but the goal was chalked off for offside. Mark Lamont netted Thistle's third. A bizarre lapse in concentration saw the scoreline reduced when Martyn Farquhar inexplicably passed the ball into his own net under no pressure from the opposition attack, but it wasn't long before Tain reaffirmed their lead, Maclellan finally completing his hat-trick, scoring after 23 minutes to make it 4-1. A stunning strike from Craig Munro shortly after, hitting the top corner after a square ball from Lamont made it 5-1 and Alan Duff completed the first half scoring to net a sixth from just outside the box.
A laboured start to the second half saw no further scoring until just before the hour mark, when Alan Mair turned the ball into his own net, and Mark Lamont scored one minute later to make it 7-1. Arron Christie and Dean Ross both scored for the Jags either side of further goals for Lamont, as the striker went on to net seven times to etch his name in the Tain Thistle record books for most goals scored in a game.
The 15-1 win narrowly beats the Jags' previous record win of 15-2 (recorded against Social Club in 2010) and earned them three points in the league, as they continue to dominate proceedings, staying eight points of clear of nearest rivals Fortrose Union, who were awarded a forfeit win tonight against Social Club.
Cormack, Cameron, M Farquhar, A Christie, Murray, Mackintosh, Munro, Duff (Scott), D Christie (D Ross), Lamont, Maclellan (Rostock)
Subs not used:
I Ross, R Ross
Maclellan 2, 10, 23, Lamont 12, 60, 71, 72, 77, 84, pen 86, Munro 27, Duff 42, Mair o.g. 59, A Christie 69, D Ross 80
Article written on 17 Jun 2015 | Link to article
Jags out of Coronation Cup
In today's Coronation Cup ties, Tain Thistle crashed out at the semi final stage once again thanks to defeat at the hands of Alness United, losing to a last minute goal at the Links.
Missing a number of key players including Dave MacGruer, John Allan and Craig Munro, Thistle handed a first eleven debut to Sean Scott, while messrs Brian Cameron and Daniel Cormack were recalled to the starting lineup. John Maclellan replaced Tony Farquhar on the bench, and Liam Rostock, returning for the first time since suffering injury in the League Cup final, was also called into reserve.
Neither side gained an early foothold in the game, despite chances for both sides. Thistle had a goal disallowed when Mark Lamont set up Daniel Christie, but the net bound effort was chalked off for offside. At the other end, Alness failed to capitalise on a spilled free kick. Mark Lamont shot over from distance for Tain in the only other significant Jags' chance in the first half, before Alness eventually took the lead, through Chris Graham, after 41 minutes.
It took Tain until the hour mark to equalise and the goal came from a Neil MacDonald free kick. The Alness men were quick in going after a retaliatory goal, and were unsuccessful when they too had a goal disallowed for offside. With 15 minutes left on the clock, Tain believed they should have had a penalty kick, but referee Mike Stainke waved play on. A late chance for Liam Rostock was saved by Andrew Maitland and in the dying minutes, Michael Mckenzie scored the winner for the visitors, sending them through to the final, and Thistle out of the cup.
Cormack, Cameron, A Christie, Murray, Mackintosh, M Farquhar, Duff (Smith), MacDonald (Maclellan), Lamont, D Christie, Scott (Rostock)
Subs not used:
D Ross, R Ross
Mackintosh, MacDonald, Cameron, Duff, Lamont
Article written on 13 Jun 2015 | Link to article
Tain Thistle 3 Social Club 0
Thistle did all the work in the first half of their league match with Invergordon Social Club this evening, winning 3-0 before a lacklustre second period saw goalkeeper Johnny Allan leave the field with a broken nose.
An early free kick for the visitors offered the first shot on target as John Allan easily gathered, but the action was quickly transferred to the Social Club end. Mark Lamont terrorised the "Club" back line in the early stages, dancing past several defenders to set up the opening goal for Daniel Christie who forced the ball past Allan Campbell after seven minutes. Four minutes later, Lamont dropped the shoulder to beat his man and direct a low cross into the path of Christie, who sent the second into the net with authority. It looked as though the Jags' latest forward pairing were set to run rampant.
An injury to Dave MacGruer on twenty minutes saw Tony Farquhar introduced, as Daniel Christie dropped into the midfield, but the Jags were to wait just a quarter hour for their next goal - from a free kick. Fouled just outside the area, Craig Munro took the set piece after a neat Neil MacDonald dummy, curling the ball round the wall and into the net. At 3-0, Tain had made easy work of their opposition in this first half.
The second half stated off with a booking for Dave Murray, following a late tackle, and the game deteriorated from there as neither side gained a foothold - Tain seeming to lack the motivation to add to their tally, and Social somewhat resigned to defeat. The limited highlights included a looping effort for Daniel Christie and a long range left footed strike for Arron Christie, and for the opposition, Rob Patullo shooting high and wide for the visitors.
With seven minutes remaining, the game took an ugly turn when an encounter in the Thistle area left goalkeeper John Allan with a broken nose, forcing Tain into yet another substitution due to injury. With five minutes to go for Social, the pacy Ali Mackinnon will have been disappointed not to net a consolation late on when he beat sub 'keeper Cormack to a through ball before rifling his effort across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
The disappointment of the second half aside, the win more pleasingly sends Thistle eight points clear at the top of the table, following defeats for Contin and Alness United. The Jags are now on 21 points, tailed by both Social Club and Fortrose on 13.
Allan (Cormack 83), M Farquhar, A Christie, Murray (Scott 70), Munro, Mackintosh, MacDonald, MacGruer (T Farquhar 20), Duff, D Christie, Lamont
Subs not used:
Smith, D Ross
D Christie 7, 11, Munro 34
Article written on 10 Jun 2015 | Link to article
Links hosts Pattisons' Cup Final
The final of the Pattisons' Challenge Cup will be held at Tain Links today, played between Alness United and Fortrose Union. The game kicks off at 3pm and teas, coffees and snacks will be available for sale via the Tain Thistle pavilion tea hut.
For more information on the 120 year old trophy, please read this blog by Tain Thistle secretary Niall Harkiss:
Article written on 06 Jun 2015 | Link to article
Tain will meet Alness in Coronation semi
While Tain sat out due to Dingwall withdrawing from their league fixture, Alness cruised to a 7-0 win over Balintore in their rescheduled first round cup match at Seaboard Park tonight. The win for United means that Tain Thistle and Alness will meet next Saturday, June 13th in the semi final of the Mallard Bar Coronation Cup, Tain having beaten Social Club 6-2 this past Saturday.
Article written on 03 Jun 2015 | Link to article
Thistle handed Dingwall points
Tain Thistle will not be made to work this Wednesday for another three points, following Dingwall's forfeiture of this week's league encounter. Andrew O'Connor's side failed to raise a team, citing injuries and other absences. As a result, the Jags have been awarded a 1-0 win and three points.
Article written on 02 Jun 2015 | Link to article
Jags advance to Coronation Cup semi final
For the third time this season, Tain Thistle pushed on to the next round of a cup at the expense of Invergordon Social Club, winning their Mallard Bar Coronation Cup 1st Round tie 6-2 at the Links yesterday. Three changes were made to Wednesday's starting eleven. Arron Christie and Neil MacDonald both returned to the side in place of Chippie Mailley and Daniel Christie, while John Maclellan stepped in for Tony Farquhar up front. Dean Ross also returned to the club and took up a place on the bench.
Netting his first goal for the club, Mark Lamont opened the scoring for the Jags after 12 minutes. Running onto a long kick out by John Allan, the former Alness striker hit a side foot volley over the top of Social stopper Jodie Campbell to make it 1-0 to Tain. Lamont could very well have double the lead moments later when a looping cross from Alan Duff met his head, but he directed the ball over the bar. On the half hour mark Tain went 2-0 up, when an Arron Christie corner kick was knocked on to Cammy Mackintosh who rose above Campbell to nod the ball into the net. Just before before the interval, Lamont doubled his tally to make it 3-0 when he slotted home from close range after a low cross from Alan Duff.
At half time, injuries forced both teams into making a change, Brian Kennedy replacing Jodie Campbell in goal for Social Club and Martin Smith replacing Neil MacDonald in the Tain midfield. The second half started as the first had ended with Tain in command, and substitute goalkeeper Kennedy was called into action on a couple of occasions, saving from Mark Lamont to prevent the striker's hat-trick. The next goal of the game came for Social Club when Donald Sutherland snuck in behind the Tain defence to dribble round John Allan and slide the ball into the net. Thistle hit back straight away though, scoring within 60 seconds of the restart. From a Cammy Mackintosh cross, John Maclellan headed the ball over Kennedy from close range to make it 4-1. Five minutes later, Alan Duff got his name on the scoresheet with a well placed effort to make it 5-1 before Social hit back again through Ali MacKinnon. The final goal came right on the final whistle as the Jags rounded the scoring off; Sean Scott picking up a neat layoff from Dean Ross to cross for the head of Dave MacGruer, who netted his tenth for the season.
The win puts Tain into the semi final of the Coronation Cup, which will be played on Saturday, June 13th. Tain will have to wait to discover who their semi final opponents will be following the postponement of the Alness v Balintore first round match which will now be played on Wednesday.
Allan, M Farquhar, A Christie, Cameron, Munro (Scott 75), Mackintosh, MacDonald (Smith 46), MacGruer, Duff, Lamont, Maclellan (D Ross 81)
Subs not used:
Cormack, D Christie
Lamont 12, 45, Mackintosh 30, Maclellan 75, Duff 80, MacGruer 90
Article written on 31 May 2015 | Link to article
Tain Thistle 4 Alness United 0
A very much changed Jags' eleven made amends for their weekend cup exit tonight, as they welcomed Alness United back to the Links for the second time in five days, this time on league business, and a workmanlike performance saw them run out 4-0 winners.
Returning from suspension, John Allan returned between the sticks with Daniel Cormack feeling under the weather. Chippie Mailley stood in for the suspended Arron Christie in the middle of the back three, while Tony Farquhar stepped into the starting lineup in place of Gus Mcdonald. Mark Lamont made his first start, in place of the late arriving Darran Goller, who took up a place on the bench.
In the Alness goal, Andrew Maitland was tested a number of times during the first half with the wet conditions causing the ball to spin from his grasp once or twice, but the Jags attack could not capitalise on the corners that followed. Cammy Mackintosh nearly scored from close range with ten minutes of the half left, and with a sizzling drive from 30 yards, Daniel Christie shot wide. The opener came from a set piece two minutes before the break. Capping off an expert first half performance, Craig Munro sent a free kick past Maitland into the top left hand corner of the net to give Tain a 1-0 lead at the interval.
Tain continued the second half in the same vein, bossing the game and dictating the pace and after eleven minutes, any fears of a repeat of Saturday's mistakes were put to bed when Craig Munro scored again, with another free kick, this time curling the ball over the Alness wall to deceive the 'keeper in the most stylish of fashions. Soon after, Dave MacGruer made sure of Tain's command with an authoritative strike, powering an effort into the far corner from the edge of the 18 yard box to score his ninth of the season and take his place as the club's top scorer this season. Alan Duff sealed the win with a fourth for the club and his second of the season when he curled a shot over Maitland after a period of sustained pressure which continued into the final twenty minutes.
Thistle never looked like relinquishing their four goal lead, and they saw the match out to record their first clean sheet in seven games - a pleasing result - considering tonight's back three were an entirely different trio to those who last kept their opposition out on May 2nd.
The win for Thistle puts them in an excellent position at the top of the Ross-shire Welfare league, now 5 points clear of their nearest rivals with 15 points, ahead of Contin, Alness and Invergordon Social Club, who are all jointly placed on 10 points.
Allan, M Farquhar, Mailley, Cameron, Munro (Maclellan 73), Mackintosh, D Christie (Goller 73), Duff, MacGruer, T Farquhar (Scott 77), Lamont
Subs not used:
Munro 43, 56, MacGruer 63, Duff 68
Article written on 27 May 2015 | Link to article
Alness overcome Tain on penalties
A young Alness United reached their first final of the season yesterday, with a penalty shoot out win over a Tain Thistle side who had run out of ideas after 120 minutes of play in the semi final of the Pattisons' Challenge Cup.
Tain took the lead after seventeen minutes. Calum Greenlees scored his first goal for the Jags with a half volley on the edge of the eighteen yard box and moments later Darren Goller hit the post. Tain took their goal advantage in to the second half, but it took the visitors just eight minutes to equalise. Capitalising on a defensive error from a cross, Johnny Bremner pushed the ball home to make it 1-1. Just ten minutes later, substitute James McGroarty twisted and turned before beating Daniel Cormack with a great goal to make it 2-1 to Alness, as Thistle looked all at sea.
Some changes towards the end gave Thistle hope as they stemmed the tide and bringing himself on for the last five minutes of normal time, manager Robert Ross nodded a corner on to the back post where prolific scorer Dave MacGruer was on hand to beat Andrew Maitland.
A scuffle between Mikey Rae and Arron Christie saw both men dismissed in the 90th minute leaving both teams to play 30 minutes of additional time with ten men. No further goals were scored and the game was settled on penalties. After sixteen kicks, the game finished 5-4 to Alness.
The final takes place at the home of Thistle on the Links on June 6th and will be contested between Alness United and Fortrose Union, the latter side having beaten Contin 5-4 in the other semi final.
Cormack, M Farquhar, A Christie, Cameron (R Ross 85), Munro (Scott 110), Mackintosh, Mailley, Greenlees (Duff 70), MacGruer, D Christie, Goller
Sub not used:
Greenlees 17, MacGruer 89
Article written on 24 May 2015 | Link to article
Pattisons' Cup Final returns to Tain
Following the Inver Inn's withdrawal of sponsorship for this season's Pattisons' Challenge Cup, the Railway Hotel, originally set to sponsor the Cordiner Cup, have agreed to move their sponsorship to the coveted 120 year old Pattisons' Challenge Cup trophy. The final is scheduled to be contested on Saturday, June 6th and will now be held at the home of Tain Thistle FC, The Links.
The Pattisons' Cup was originally donated by brothers Walter and Robert Pattison to The Crown Hotel in 1895. The Crown was a public house in Tain which was the then home of St Duthus Football Club. St Duthus were the first winners of the trophy in 1896, beating Dingwall Victoria United (later known as Ross County) in a cup final replay at the Links. The competition final was contested at the Links every year for many decades thereafter, before the trophy fell into abeyance following the Second World War. It was revived some years later and has been played at Inver under the auspices of the Ross-shire Welfare league for several years.
Article written on 21 May 2015 | Link to article
Balintore 1 Tain Thistle 2
Hard battling saw Thistle win through with only ten men against a Balintore side full of energy tonight. In a game that the Jags may have been happy with just a point, given the 20th minute sending off of their goalkeeper, they took all three points to go two clear at the top of the Maclean Electrical Ross-shire Welfare League table.
Balintore started as they meant to go on, winning a corner in the opening minute to put the Thistle rearguard under pressure, but the chance was safely handled by the Tain defence. There were clear signs that the Balintore forward line, in particular Ryan Ross and Terence Brady, were likely to be a threat and a couple of times the pace of Brady caught the visitors by surprise. Tain's persistence in possession saw them test the home side at the other end though, with Gus Mcdonald heading wide at the far post from a corner and Chippie Mailley firing over the bar.
The game changed significantly in the 20th minute when John Allan fouled Ryan Ross outside the box. Referee Keith Middleton promptly dismissed the Tain custodian, and substitute goalkeeper Daniel Cormack came on for the unlucky Darran Goller, who was selected to make way for the replacement stopper. With ten men, Thistle's approach changed and up front, Gus Mcdonald was left on his own. The former Balintore forward played the role expertly, holding the ball up and allowing Tain to create several scoring opportunities. Chances fell for both sides as the game raged on, Balintore continuing to run at the Thistle defence and Tain trying their best to counter with the long ball. The opening goal finally came on 44 minutes, when a long Chippie Mailley pass found Gus Mcdonald allowing the tall striker to bear down on goal before cooly slotting the ball past Steven Friel to make 1-0.
The look of relief on the face of manager Robert Ross turned to disgust just a minute later when the talented Ryan Ross pounced on a loose ball following a block from Martyn Farquhar before running the by line and slotting the ball across the goal line and in at the far post to beat Daniel Cormack, leaving the scores level at half time.
Thistle re-emerged for the second half and quickly asserted their authority, passing the ball better and, while still having to cope with pressure from a tireless Balintore forward line, they assumed control of the match. Daniel Christie and Chippie Mailley both came close with chances and on at least two occasions Friel was forced into a save, first blocking a shot on goal with his legs then tipping another chance onto the bar and over, while at the other end, Daniel Cormack was forced into a save destined for the top corner.
A frenetic second half served as great entertainment for those watching the game, however, as time ran out it seemed as though the game may end in a draw. Substitute Mark Lamont made his debut in place of Mcdonald as Thistle tried for a winner, and on 85 minutes the goal finally arrived, thanks to a thumping Dave MacGruer drive sent into the far corner.
Tony Farquhar replaced a fatigued Daniel Christie and took up a spot at centre half as Thistle looked to close the game out. Fantastic running and defensive play from Dave Murray in the latter stages was a particular highlight as Thistle held on for win.
A draw between Alness United and Contin was enough for Thistle to take a two point lead at the top of the league table, a week ahead of their first league meeting with United. Thistle now face two games in five days against the Alness side, first in the Pattisons' Cup semi final then at home in the league.
Team: Allan, M Farquhar, MacDonald, Murray, Munro, Mackintosh, Mailley, Goller (Cormack 21), MacGruer, Mcdonald (Lamont 59), D Christie (T Farquhar 86)
Subs not used:
Mcdonald 44, MacGruer 85
Article written on 21 May 2015 | Link to article
Injury time winner for Tain in the Pattisons' first round
Thistle advanced to the semi final of the Pattisons' Cup at the Links yesterday, thanks to an injury time winner in a game that the Jags will be very relieved is now behind them.
Coping with a number of injuries and absences due to wedding and birthday commitments, manager Robert Ross called a handful of players into the side for their first start of the season, Tony Farquhar, Stephen Campbell and Brian Cameron among them. Ross also named himself on the bench while Kiki Dingwall was also recalled.
After a back and forth start, it was Thistle who got the ball down and settled better, scoring the opener after just five minutes when Tony Farquhar cleverly beat his man on the left wing to send an excellent cross into the box. Dave MacGruer met the chance and after forcing a fumble from Social 'keeper Jodie Campbell, he forced the ball home at the far post.
Social Club forced stand-in goalkeeper Stephen Campbell into the action in the Tain goal, holding a couple of shots from distance as the Invergordon sought out an equaliser. It should have been 2-0 on 20 minutes though the Farquhar-MacGruer combination worked well again, this time the taller striker nodding into the path of MacGruer, but he could only shoot wide.
The best chance of the half fell to Cammy Mackintosh when some quick passing play left him clean through on Campbell, but the Social stopper saved Mackintosh's shot.
Having taken a ball to the side of the face during the first half, Dave Murray was forced to withdraw with vision problems at half time, and was replaced by Kiki Dingwall.
Injuries began to take their toll on the Jags as the second half began, with Neil MacDonald and Craig Munro both struggling with movement. Social asserted their authority throughout the second half and their domination told after 70 minutes when Donald Sutherland found himself in enough space to turn a shot towards goal past Stephen Campbell to make it 1-1.
Penalty shouts for both sides, first a foul on Tony Farquhar then an exchange between Gordy Oman and Neil MacDonald in the Tain area, were both turned down by referee Keith Middleton. It seemed as though if anyone was to score a winner it would be the Social Club but the Jags' clever defending continued to be enough, Calum Greenlees a particular highlight at left back.
Many thought Kiki Dingwall had put Thistle into the lead with a header during the final five minutes of the game, but the defender's effort was adjudged to have not crossed the line. Battling through the pain barrier for the last few minutes, Tain were able to survive a series of Social corners and stem the flow of attacks from the visitors, before they succeeded in hitting them on the counter during injury time when Martyn Farquhar squared the ball for Gus Mcdonald who tapped the ball home.
The win comes with a sense of relief for a Thistle side who perhaps didn't have the better of the game, but certainly did enough to secure the win in the end, thanks to perseverance and some solid defending. The Jags now meet Alness United in the semi final, next Saturday, May 23rd.
Campbell, M Farquhar, MacDonald, Murray (Dingwall 46), Munro (McGaw 90+1), Cameron, Mackintosh, Greenlees, MacGruer, Mcdonald, T Farquhar
Subs not used:
MacGruer 5, Mcdonald 90+1
Article written on 17 May 2015 | Link to article
Tain Thistle 3 Contin 2
The Jags bounced back from their League Cup final disappointment with a victory tonight against league rivals Contin in what was to be the first "top of the table" clash of the season.
With a number of players missing through injury, Sean Scott, Stephen McGaw, Keith Dingwall, Chippie Mailley and the re-signed Brian Cameron were called into the squad. Kick off was delayed by seven minutes as several of the Contin players were late in arriving for the match.
It became clear early on that Thistle were set to dictate the pace, playing short passes and weaving their way through the midfield, heaping pressure on the Contin defence. Dave MacGruer should have made it 1-0 after 6 minutes, getting on the end of a superb Craig Munro cross to head towards goal, leaving goalkeeper Shaun Carson standing as he watched the ball sail over. MacGruer headed off target again moments later from a Munro corner, putting the chance just wide of the post.
Fifteen minutes in, the game was sent into disarray. Calum Greenlees, breaching the Contin defence pushed the ball past Carson, and as it was seemingly about to cross the line, the ball was cleared. Referee Keith Middleton, however, pointed to the half way line, awarding a goal to Tain. The Contin players were up in arms, and after a minute's pause, the referee reversed his decision! A stunned Tain Thistle touchline had no idea what was going on until the whistler decided to hold a "drop ball" on the six yard line. Completely bemused by the decision, the Tain players elected to pass the ball back to Carson and play on, drawing applause from the Contin sideline, but any real inclination as to what just happened is still a puzzlement!
Nevertheless, Tain maintained their pressure and just a minute later, Dave Murray sent a shot wide. At the other end, Contin won their first corner on 22 minutes and from the ball in, Kraig Vass met it with a powerful header. His effort though, flew just over the bar.
Craig Munro was next to test Carson with a free kick, and again the stopper could just watch as the ball flew past him, but it cannoned off the crossbar and was ultimately sent out for a corner kick. A Calum Greenlees chance at the far post was sent wide after a flurry of attacks.
Carson was called into action on the half hour mark when a quick Greenlees throw caught Contin on the hop and a cross into the box was met by Gus Mcdonald who bulleted a header towards goal. The Contin 'keeper, however, tipped the chance over the bar. It seemed as though the goal may never come, but it finally did on 37 minutes when Chippie Mailley, having danced through the Contin back line, forced a save with his left foot before turning the ball into the net with his right to make it 1-0.
Tain's celebrations were short lived. From the restart, Contin went on the attack and a neat ball across the face of goal was met by the prolific Ryan Dow for his fifth goal of the season, sending the ball past Daniel Cormack from close range. A final chance for Dave MacGruer in the first half forced a top drawer save from Carson once again, as the score at the break remained 1-1.
Calum Greenlees continued to impress in the early stages of the second half, giving the Contin defence a torrid time of it before getting into the box himself to head over the bar. His clever work in midfield set up Chippie Mailley for a long range effort but the Dornoch man's strike was saved by Carson.
With twelve minutes of the second half played, Tain took the lead. Shoving Cammy Mackintosh to the ground, Contin's Kraig Vass conceded a penalty, and from the spot, Arron Christie coolly placed the ball hard into the bottom right corner to score his first goal for the club since August 7th, 2013. A chance for Mcdonald just a minute later forced Carson into yet another superb save, however from the resultant corner, the Jags extended their lead as Christie, this time the provider, sent a corner into the box to be met by the head of Gus Mcdonald. This time the Contin man could not prevent it.
The score now at 3-1, Tain held a commanding lead. Cammy Mackintosh missed out on putting Thistle 4-1 up with twenty minutes remaining after a series of short passing moves played the midfielder in on goal, but he fired just wide. Dave MacGruer was next to shoot wide after another good spell of play, but a lapse in concentration at the back left Thistle stunned as Contin were able to reduce the deficit to one goal, Ryan Dow again the finisher, capitalising on a loose ball to beat Cormack.
The last fifteen minutes were nervy for Tain, as they hurriedly looked to prevent an equaliser, but also had an eye on extending their lead to put the game out of sight, offering many parallels between their League Cup first round meeting just three weeks prior. There was to be no fourth goal though, despite the best efforts of MacGruer and Greenlees, who both had late chances, and the Jags held out for the win.
The victory puts three points between the sides, who before tonight were joined in 1st place alongside Alness United. United scored a last minute winner to beat Eastern Rose at Portmahomack to ensure that the league table still has shared leaders, Tain and Alness both on 9 points from 9.
Cormack, M Farquhar, A Christie, Murray, Munro, Mackintosh, Mailley, Greenlees, MacGruer, D Christie (Goller 67), Mcdonald
Subs not used:
Cameron, Scott, Dingwall, McGaw
Mailley 37, A Christie pen 58, Mcdonald 60
Article written on 13 May 2015 | Link to article
Latest News (12/5)
Thistle get back to league business tomorrow evening with a home game against Contin. The game kicks off at 7.15pm at the Links and offers the earliest top of the table clash of the season, with Tain and Contin both having taken six points from their first two league games. It isn't the first time the teams have met at Tain this year, though, having played in the first round of the League Cup just three weeks ago. Manager Robert Ross will be hoping for a repeat of the result from that day.
Brian Cameron is set to make a return to the Jags this week following his release from Inverness Premier side Hilton AFC, as the squad looks to plug some gaps in an effort to cope with long term injuries to Liam Rostock (hamstring) and Mikey Dunnett (ankle) sustained during the weekend's cup final. Neil MacDonald is also amongst those sidelined with injury this week.
A date has been set or the Graham Jardine Memorial Quaich this year. Tain Thistle and Balintore, drawn together in the first round of the Cordiner Cup on Saturday, July 18th, will also contest the Quaich on that day - with extra time and penalties to be played if required. Tain Thistle will hold a raffle at the game and the proceeds will be donated to a charity to be chosen by Graham's parents, Jim and Jean Jardine.
Article written on 12 May 2015 | Link to article
Thistle fall short in League Cup Final
It was not to be for Robert Ross's free scoring Tain Thistle side as they lost by the narrowest of margins to a Fortrose & Rosemarkie Union team filled with fight and determination, in the Union Tavern League Cup Final yesterday. Having played a big part during the first round and semi final matches, Chippie Mailley missed out through injury, while the league's top goalscorer Gus Mcdonald was also noted as absent for Thistle. Nevertheless, Tain named a strong sixteen and hopes were high among the travelling Jags support that they could secure their first League Cup trophy since 2011.
The teams had met just four days prior in the Ross-shire Welfare League, and on that evening, Tain ran out 3-1 winners following a tightly contested game. The MET Office had forecast clear skies and some sun, but frequent showers before the game were leaving those who forgot to bring a satisfactory jacket to the game ruing their decision!
Neither side gained a foothold during the early stages of the first half, as both teams looked as though they were content to have a repeat of Wednesday's league game with plenty of challenges in the midfield keeping referee Barry Stuart busy.
Liam Rostock had the first shot on goal after fifteen minutes with an effort on the turn which Fortrose custodian Martin Smith held with ease. Jordan Knight was first to offer a shot for Fortrose when he bore down on Daniel Cormack, but the Tain stopper closed the angle and blocked the Union forward's attempt on goal. Neither defence looked to give up any ground in the moments that followed though, and the chances were few and far between during the first half hour.
A poorly defended corner kick led to the opener on 35 minutes, and it was for the hosts. Lewis Graizer, a consistent threat at set pieces, sent the ball into the box and Aaron Henderson met the chance, sending it past Daniel Cormack.
At half time, Ross took his side into the King George V pavilion to regroup, while the Fortrose men gathered at their touchline. It took Tain just five minutes of the second half to show that the half time talk had worked. From an Arron Christie corner kick, his fifth of the game, Liam Rostock headed down towards goal and approaching the goal line, Daniel Christie turned the ball past Smith and into the net.
It looked as though Tain had fired themselves into the lead with a free kick just moments later. Neil MacDonald beat Smith with his curling effort but the ball careered off the underside of the bar down towards goal, and unfortunately for Thistle, it was cleared to safety by an alert Fortrose defence. Minutes later, Robert Ross was calling for a red card to be issued when it appeared that Dave MacGruer was denied a goal scoring opportunity by the last defender, but no card was shown, despite the free kick award.
It all went wrong for Tain just after the hour mark. Taking a wrong turn on an already unforgiving surface, Mikey Dunnett went down with an ankle injury on the edge of his own eighteen yard box. Play was stopped so that he could leave the field for treatment, but on attempting a return it became obvious he couldn't continue. Just two minutes later, after bursting up the right wing, Liam Rostock pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring problem. The two enforced substitutions had Thistle all over the place and just two minutes later, a Lewis Graizer free kick was powered past Daniel Cormack by Rhys Shewan with a header to put his side back in front. A game that was beginning to look as though it was turning in the Jags' favour now presented them with an uphill task.
Both teams were forced to compete with less than consistent weather, as players and supporters were offered rain, sleet and a hail shower during the latter part of the second half. Fortrose were containing well as Thistle pushed for an equaliser, but the plaudits were left for their goalkeeper, Martin Smith. A flurry of corner kicks for the Jags heaped pressure on a backs-to-the-wall Union defence, and with each effort, Smith was up to the task, collecting high balls and organising.
Neil MacDonald had no better luck with another free kick with a quarter hour left, this time sending his 20 yard effort over the bar. Dave MacGruer then came close with ten minutes left when a long MacDonald pass found the left midfield man, but his shot rolled wide.
With five minutes remaining, Smith's defence were left standing, as Alan Duff headed towards goal from close range with the type of chance that would normally have been net bound. Were it not for the heroics of Smith, who produced a tremendous save, the game could have been headed for extra time. A last attack for Tain, deep into stoppage time, saw Daniel Cormack almost notch as he cantered a hundred yards forward for another Tain corner, but again Smith was up to the challenge, and Fortrose Union held out to win their second League Cup trophy in three years.
Team: Cormack, Dunnett (M Farquhar 61), A Christie, Murray, MacDonald, Munro, Mackintosh, MacGruer, Duff, Rostock (Goller 63), D Christie
Subs not used: T Farquhar, Greenlees, Smith
Goal: D Christie 50
Article written on 10 May 2015 | Link to article
Fortrose Union 1 Tain Thistle 3
Tain Thistle showed great resolve in Fortrose to come back from a goal down to record a 3-1 victory and three points in the league, thanks largely to a fantastic second half performance. The game also served as something of a dress rehearsal for the League Cup Final this Saturday, to be played on the same ground, against the same opposition. With Chippie Mailley missing through injury, Martyn Farquhar returned to the side on the bench for his first appearance of the season. Also returning from injury was Darran Goller.
After several days of rain, it was anticipated that the poor conditions may continue into the evening, but the weather let up just before kick off, with only a slight wind remaining. The Jags failed to get going in the early stages, despite nearly taking a lead in the fifth minute, when Neil MacDonald's shot rifled off the upright and out for a goal kick. The opener was reserved for Kieran Fitzpatrick, who, with Fortrose's first chance of the game, powered a ball past Daniel Cormack to make it 1-0 for the home side after eighteen minutes. Despite enjoying most of the possession, Thistle struggled to do anything with the ball and it appeared as though an equaliser would not be forthcoming. A couple of tasty challenges saw yellow cards issued to both sides as the contest heated up, and for Tain, Neil MacDonald was forced to leave the field with a bloodied nose.
The equaliser came ten minutes before the break thanks to Thistle's only shining light of the first period, Cammy Mackintosh. Pouncing on a loose ball, the young midfielder rifled the ball past Martin Smith with authority from 12 yards out. Dave MacGruer nearly scored soon after with a shot destined for the far corner, but the ball was cleared to safety. Neither keeper was tested as the first half came to a close, and manager Robert Ross retired with the players to the King George V pavilion to regroup.
The second half commenced in excellent fashion for Tain just two minutes after the restart. From a free kick for a collision a few yards outside the eighteen yard box, Arron Christie sent a low looping shot across the face of Smith's goal and Neil MacDonald met it with purpose, sending the ball into the net to make it 2-1. It's unclear just which part of his lower extremities was used to push the ball home, but arrive in the net it did.
Now in the driving seat, Tain began to use their savvy and experience to assume full control of the match. It came as no surprise when Jordan Black, for Fortrose, was issued a yellow for dissent, with frustration setting in amongst the Fortrose ranks. Replacing Liam Rostock, Martyn Farquhar made his first appearance in what will be his Testimonial season for the club, taking up a position in the back three. A third goal arrived on 72 minutes when MacDonald, firing towards goal for what would have been his second, saw his shot deflected, and Alan Duff was on hand to nod the ball into the net.
The Jags strolled to victory in the dying stages as Smith in the Fortrose goal thwarted attempts from both Daniel Christie and Tony Farquhar. The 3-1 win makes it 6 points out of 6 for Thistle after Week 2 of the Ross-shire Welfare league campaign. Fortrose has always been a tough place to come - Thistle's one win in three visits had made that clear before the game - but this win in a fixture that would have always been earmarked as a difficult trip will give manager Robbie Ross many reasons to be cheerful.
Team: Cormack, Duff, A Christie, Dunnett, Munro, MacDonald, Mackintosh, MacGruer, Rostock (M Farquhar), D Christie (Goller), Mcdonald (T Farquhar)
Subs not used: Scott
Goals: Mackintosh 34, MacDonald 48, Duff 72
Bookings: Dunnett 28 (foul), Duff 68 (dissent)
Article written on 07 May 2015 | Link to article
Thistle faced with Fortrose double fixture
Tain Thistle will meet Fortrose & Rosemarkie Union twice in four days this coming week. The teams' scheduled league meeting at Fortrose will take place on Wednesday, May 6th, before the exact same fixture will be repeated in the Final of the Union Tavern Ross-shire Welfare League Cup on Saturday, May 9th.
Wednesday's match will only be the tenth meeting between the sides, and just the fourth to be played in Fortrose. Tain's one and only victory against Fortrose on the Black Isle's sides home turf came during their league winning season in 2013, finishing victorious by 4 goals to 2.
Despite having played each other so few times, Saturday's final will actually be the third final in as many years in which the teams have met. Their first meeting was in Maryburgh for the Coronation Cup Final in 2013, and the second in Tain, at the end of the same season in the Cordiner Cup Final.
View the Tain/Fortrose head to head here.
Article written on 04 May 2015 | Link to article
Jags hit Social for seven
Tain Thistle put seven goals past Invergordon Social Club this afternoon in the semi final of the Union Tavern League Cup. A hat-trick for Liam Rostock was the highlight as the Invergordon men struggled to cope with the strength of a Thistle side in a rich vein of form.
Alan Duff, freshly released from SPFL Playoff bound Brora Rangers, signed for Tain just in time to make his season debut while Ben Brown, Keith Dingwall and Stephen McGaw were recalled to the squad in the absence of Craig Munro, Gus Mcdonald, Marc Munro and Martin Smith.
Thistle asserted themselves in this match from the get go and in the eleventh minute they scored. A long ball from goalkeeper Daniel Cormack reached Liam Rostock in an advanced position and the Jags record goalscorer sent the ball over Jodie Campbell to net the all important opener. Thistle were relentless in their pursuit of a second, and Daniel Christie and Rostock were both unlucky not to score soon after with chances; Campbell up to the task on a couple of occasions.
Liam Rostock eventually notched the second after the half hour mark when Christie hit a lay off and the former finished the chance. The Jags' dominance in a very one sided first half was summed up with a goal at the near post for Mikey Dunnett four minutes before time, in what was his first for the club.
The second half allowed Social no respite as Cammy Mackintosh also notched his first for Tain, making it 4-0 eight minutes after the restart. Liam Rostock completed his hat-trick soon after an hour's play, before leaving the field to be replaced by debutant, Tony Farquhar.
Dave MacGruer's eye for goal that he has shown so far this season continued with two goals in the second half within six minutes of each other, the latter the better of the two, finishing excellently in a one on one with Campbell.
The win finished in a comprehensive 7-0 victory for Thistle, but in truth the score line could have been much heavier, were it not for some good goalkeeping, the woodwork and some impulsive finishing in the six yard box towards the end of the second half.
The Jags now go on to meet Fortrose Union in the final of the Union Tavern League Cup on the Black Isle side's home turf of King George V Park. The final takes place next Saturday, May 9th.
Team: Cormack, Dunnett, Murray, A Christie, Mailley, MacDonald (Brown), Mackintosh, Duff (Greenlees), MacGruer, Rostock (Farquhar), D Christie
Subs not used: Dingwall, McGaw
Goals: Rostock 11, 35, 62, Dunnett 41, Mackintosh 53, MacGruer 74, 80
Article written on 02 May 2015 | Link to article
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