Tain Thistle captain Paul Cowie held the Homecoming Cup on behalf of his team as the Jags ran out 5-1 winners against the visiting HMS Sutherland FC. HMS Sutherland representative and player Jamie Ross also presented a plaque to the Thistle captain, in rememberance of the recent passing of a member of their crew.
The Naval men looked sharp and fit from the outset but struggled early on to deal with the pace of Thistle's forward line; strikers Daniel Christie and Mark Reid both missing clear cut chances in front of goal within the opening minutes. The Sutherland keeper finally picked the ball out of the net for the opener on the 8th minute however when a pacey Liam Rostock cut inside to curl the ball into the far corner.
Thistle's lead was shortlived however as Sutherland found an equaliser on the quarter hour mark; Tain keeper Stevie Martin unable to prevent the opposition effort drifiting to the side of him.
If Thistle were armed with a banjo, they would have struggled to connect with the rear of any bovine animal in the first half, as Christie, Rostock and Mark Reid all squandered excellent chances to reinstate their lead. Even when awarded a penalty for a poor challenge on the edge of the box, Thistle failed to score; Darran Goller rattling the crossbar with a powerful yet inaccurate penalty. Thistle's pressure finally paid off ten minutes before the break however, when Daniel Christie did well to bundle a shot past the Sutherland keeper from a tight angle, making it 2-1 at half time.
The second half saw a number of changes, with goalkeeper Martin being replaced by David Crombie, and Bob Swann and Andy Durrand on for Paul Cowie and Darran Goller. The changes heralded an immediate impact, with Swann playing in Mark Reid for Thistle's third.
Nobody could have seen the fourth coming as player manager Arron Christie stunned the crowd with a beautiful solo effort, driving the ball 40 yards through the midfield before launching a looping 35 yard shot past the Sutherland substitute keeper to make it 4-1. The goal will take some beating throughout the summer season!
It was game set and match with 10 minutes to go when referee Brian Patullo awarded a second penalty to Tain; Liam Rostock being mauled down by the Sutherland keeper. Daniel Christie made no mistake with the penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way to make it 5-1 on the day.
Railway Hotel manager Alan Nimmons was on hand to present the Homecoming Cup to the victors, as well as the Ship's Plaque.
Martin (Crombie), Austin, Murray, A Christie, Dingwall, Cowie (Durrand), Goller (Swann), D Christie, Oliver, Rostock, Reid
Rostock 8, D Christie 35, pen 80, Reid 48, A Christie 61