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Shooting boots on in North Caledonian League as Loch Ness widen gap at top

Action from Orkney v Inverness Athletic.
Action from Orkney v Inverness Athletic.

After a weekend wipe-out, the North Caledonian League returned with 24 goals scored over four enthralling fixtures.

Loch Ness took advantage of Invergordon having no game as they opened up a four-point advantage at the top thanks to a 6-1 win over Nairn County reserves.

The match was switched from their base at Fortrose, which was waterlogged, to the astro pitch at Inverness Royal Academy.

Josh Race was the star of the show with a hat-trick, with Martin Mainland, Luke Seago and Ryan Ingram also scoring for Shane Carling’s team.

Nathan Grant got Nairn’s goal when they were 5-0 down with 20 minutes remaining.

It was a sore score for the young County side, who trailed only 2-0 at the break, and they sit in eighth position.

A latest examples of the club gaining from now competing at NCL level came last week in the shape of midfielder Scott Mutch and forward Kyle MacDonald earning Highland League debuts for the first-team.

Orkney made to battle to earn win

Mid-table Orkney emerged as 5-3 winners at home to basement side Inverness Athletic in a see-saw game which was a credit to both teams.

Dominic Macaulay gave Athletic an early lead, which was cancelled out by Aiden Drever’s penalty just before half-time.

Macaulay restored the visitors’ lead before three goals from Liam Delday and one from Connan Rendall pushed the contest away from Inverness, who got a second goal through their own hat-trick ace Macaulay with 10 minutes left.

 

Dornoch venue for score draw

Bonar Bridge’s home match against Alness United was moved on Saturday morning to Dornoch due to a waterlogged pitch at the Migdale Playing Fields.

Bruce Urquhart’s strike 10 minutes into the second half had second-bottom Bonar on course for victory, but Alness levelled with four minutes left through Ryan McFee to keep them sitting in seventh spot.

Friday goal feast under the lights

The weekend’s NCL action began on Friday under the new floodlights at Golspie’s King George V Park.

Defending champions Golspie Sutherland were in sizzling form as they defeated recent Football Times Cup winners Thurso 7-2.

Liam Bremner bagged a treble for Sam Mackay’s Golspie, whose other goals came from Daniel Coghill, Robbie Murray, Shaun Urquhart and Miller Mackay.

Alan Larnach had made it 1-1 after 17 minutes before the home team ran riot, with Thurso’s Grant Aitkenhead netting the visitors’ second goal late on.

The result takes Golspie third, seven points behind leaders Loch Ness, while Thurso are ninth.

This Saturday, the fixtures are – Alness United v Orkney, St Duthus v Bonar Bridge, Nairn County reserves v Halkirk United, Invergordon v Golspie Sutherland, Loch Ness v Inverness Athletic.

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