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North Caledonian League: Storming four-goal recovery shows Bonar Bridge have quality, says co-boss Robert Mitchell

Bonar Bridge will be looking to build on their opening point with a positive result against St Duthus.
Bonar Bridge will be looking to build on their opening point with a positive result against St Duthus.

Bonar Bridge co-boss Robert Mitchell reckons his side’s stirring four-goal comeback at Alness United is a sharp reminder his club are on an upward curve.

After finishing second bottom of League Two last term, the players are eager to kick on up the now 11-club league, which suffered the loss of Scourie, who withdrew.

Bonar Bridge’s start to the season on Saturday looked like being a nightmare as they folded against their rampant Alness hosts.

Goals from Michael McKenzie (penalty), Taylor Sutherland, Connor Ross and Iain Ross had the League Two champions coasting in under half an hour.

However, the visitors, who showed up well in a warm-up match against champions Golspie Sutherland last midweek, stormed back in style.

Bruce Urquhart got them on the scoresheet before the break and added to that on 74 minutes.

That added belief and Jack Mitchell and Andrew Gow hauled Bonar Bridge level for a stunning share of the spoils in a 4-4 draw.

Now, ahead of Saturday’s home clash against St Duthus, Mitchell said: “We’ll welcome Saints to Migdale Park. We’ve got to be confident against all these teams. If not, there’s no point in us being there.

“I think there will have been a wee shock for people having seen us come back from 4-0 down so early and maybe expecting double figures on Saturday.

“It will change people’s perceptions of us a wee bit and that’s warranted because we’ve got plenty of attacking players who will cause problems for most defences in the league. We will need to also defend better than we did on Saturday.”

Players never gave up hope

Mitchell praised his players for believing in themselves and giving themselves a chance to even take all three points in Alness.

He added: “We didn’t defend well early on and the boys know that themselves. Alness have good players and they took their chances.

“We had half chances and one or two clear-cut chances and didn’t take them, but we got a goal back before half-time. It was quite an easy team talk – ‘defend better and take our chances’.

“We got it back to 4-4 and, if I’m being greedy, we could have won it – that would have been some story.

“Our opening fixture last season was also against Alness and we lost 9-0, so I’m sure it looked like a repeat was on the cards, but it was good for the guys.

“They are a good group who work hard. They’ll take a lot from that, while knowing we need to be tighter defensively.”

Minute’s silence for ex-vice-chairman

That eight-goal thriller follows tough times at the Migdale Park club following the death just a few weeks ago of former vice-chairman Tony Sergeant, who lost his battle with blood cancer.

Mitchell, who manages the team with Scott Macgruer, paid tribute to him.

Tony Sergeant, ex-vice chairman of Bonar Bridge FC.

He added: “I only knew Tony briefly since I came into the club last year, but he was involved in the talks before we agreed to go to Bonar Bridge.

“Tony was a really nice guy and he has clearly left his mark on the club, the committee and everyone here. He was really highly respected and highly thought of.

“It was an emotional minute’s silence for the guys on the park. He will be missed.”

Will Halkirk United remain first?

Elsewhere this weekend in the NCL, early table-toppers Halkirk United host Nairn County reserves, who would leapfrog them should they win.

Golspie Sutherland return to action, after knocking out Hawick Royal Albert in the Scottish Cup preliminary round, with a home cracker against Invergordon, who edged out Alness 3-2 on the opening afternoon and were idle last Saturday.

Loch Ness, who began their term with a 3-1 victory at Thurso, have a home derby against Inverness Athletic, who will be out to respond to their 3-2 loss to Orkney at their new home of Ardersier.

The Orkney v Alness United game is postponed due to Covid-related issues.

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