Thurso boss Stevie Reid believes a strong second half display against Loch Ness last week gives them hope for their semi-final against the same opponents in the Football Times Cup on Saturday.
This clash is a repeat of the North Caledonian League match at Fortrose, won 2-0 last weekend by Shane Carling’s title contenders.
Seven league positions and nine points separate the teams as they prepare for this mouth-watering showdown.
Next match is away to Loch Ness in The Football Times cup semi final on Saturday 23rd of October 2021 with a 2 p.m kick-off at King George V Park, Fortrose. Photo from https://t.co/al4bOFgByW @ Fortrose https://t.co/ciuaQuSsJH
— Thurso Football Club (@ThursoFC) October 19, 2021
Defeats against Orkney and Loch Ness over the past fortnight should not detract from four successive wins in all competitions for Thurso before then.
Thurso ready for Loch Ness again
Reid is keen for his players to strike back to winning ways, taking heart from aspects of last week’s efforts.
He said: “Our start to the season was horrific (with losses against Halkirk and Loch Ness), but then we had four wins in a row and were moving in the right direction.
“We’ve had a few call-offs in recent weeks. There seems to be a nasty chest infection going around, which seems to have affected us. With one thing and another, it has depleted our squad a bit.
Football Times Cup Semi Final at home to @ThursoFC. We welcome the vikings back down the road for the second week in a row.
📍King George V Park
— Loch Ness Football Club (@LochNessFC) October 20, 2021
“The 4-0 defeat to Orkney earlier this month was a really bad day at the office, then last week against Loch Ness we had a few players missing.
“In the first half, we conceded a goal through a misunderstanding, but the second half was much more positive going forward. We’ll build from that, because we were probably the better team.
“We never closed down a corner and the lad (Conor Macphee) miss-hit it and it went in. On another day, it would have gone wide.
“We were decent in the second half, without creating any clear-cut chances. However, the performance was better than it was in the first half and in our game against Orkney.
“I’m not sure if meeting Loch Ness just a week on makes a difference, but, with it being a semi-final, it adds something extra to it. We just need to knuckle down and give it a go.”
Loch Ness have lots of quality – Reid
The Vikings manager knows his side will have to play to their full potential to reach the final, because he’s been impressed with Loch Ness this term.
He added: “We lost to Loch Ness on the first day of the season, which was another bad day for us when we had a few missing.
“They have started the season well, they have good movement up front, they fight for one another and cause your problems.
— Thurso Football Club (@ThursoFC) October 16, 2021
“You can see how they are doing so well. It’s another tough one, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Mark MacGregor and Rob Maclean are expected to return for Orkney this weekend.
Nairn reserves face leaders in semi
The other semi-final pitches Nairn County reserves against league leaders Halkirk United.
Nairn, who only joined the NCL set-up last year, are going along comfortably enough in the league with three wins and three defeats.
They will be looking to strike back from their last-gasp 3-2 defeat at Invergordon, while Halkirk will be seeking to build upon their sparkling 4-1 home win over league champions Golspie Sutherland.
In the North Caledonian League, the game of the day sees Golspie look to return to winning ways when they are home to the division’s only unbeaten side, Invergordon.
— Golspie Sutherland (@GolspieSuthFC) October 20, 2021
An away win would push Invergordon seven points clear of their opponents by Saturday night, albeit having played one match more.
New era for Saints, as Bonar need lift
Alan Geegan takes charges of St Duthus for the first time since becoming the permanent boss and he’s wanting to carry on the team’s revival when they travel to Ardersier to take on basement side Inverness Athletic.
Second-bottom Bonar Bridge have been on the slide and are six games without a win and they’ll be out for revenge against visitors Orkney in their 12.30pm showdown after last week’s 4-1 defeat put the victors into fifth spot.