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North Caledonian League: Holders Saints bow out of cup as Loch Ness move top of table

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St Duthus’ poor start to the season continued as they instantly lost their grip of the Football Times Cup in a 4-0 home defeat against Halkirk United.

The Saints, who continued to be hampered by unavailable players, just need to find that first victory to kick-start their campaign.

However, the visitors were worthy winners as first half goals from Grant MacNab, Kyle Henderson, Jonah Martens and Andy Mackay shot them into the second round.

Over the four first round ties, a whopping 22 goals were scored and it went all the way to penalties between Golspie Sutherland and Inverness Athletic.

Athletic raced into a three-goal lead before the hour mark thanks to a brace from Luke Mackay and one from Dominic Macaulay.

League champions Golspie powered back into the tie though and a Liam Bremner double, one of which was a penalty, followed a goal from Miller Mackay to secure a thrilling 3-3 draw.

In the shoot-out, the Inverness side edged through 4-3 to take their place in round two.

Alness clinch seven-goal thriller

Alness United were 4-3 winners in their end-to-end tussle away to Invergordon.

Ryan McFee’s opener was cancelled out by a Cammy Mackintosh spot-kick before goals from Mikey Rae and another from McFee had Alness 3-1 ahead with 16 minutes to go.

Kyle Maclean pulled one back for Invergordon before Alexander Mackay took the tie out of reach for United.

An Arron Christie penalty with two minutes remain made for a nail-biting ending, but Alness got through.

Macgregor’s treble joy for Thurso

Marc Macgregor’s hat-trick was the highlight for Thurso as they surged to an impressive 4-1 home victory against Bonar Bridge.

Bruce Urquhart’s counter hauled Bonar back into it at 2-1 early in the second half, but Macgregor’s third goal was added to late on by Grant Aitkenhead to wrap up a fine afternoon for the Vikings.

Three of the second round ties are confirmed so far and they will take place on Saturday, October 2.

They are: Alness United v Halkirk United, Lewis and Harris v Thurso and Loch Ness v Inverness Athletic.

In the only North Caledonian League fixture, Loch Ness moved top of the table thanks to a 2-0 victory over Orkney at Bught Park.

A Phil Macdonald penalty and Ryan Ingram goal saw off the visitors as the Inverness Amateur Premier Division champions made it three wins from three to replace Halkirk United in first spot.

Next Saturday’s headline league fixture sees Halkirk take on third-placed Bonar Bridge.

The other matches are: Alness United v Thurso, Invergordon v Loch Ness, Orkney v Nairn County reserves and St Duthus v Inverness Athletic.

Golspie Sutherland’s attention switches to the first round of the Scottish Cup as they host Civil Service Strollers.

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