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Defending champions Golspie climb to second in North Caledonian League

Golspie Sutherland manager Sam Mackay.
Golspie Sutherland manager Sam Mackay.

Golspie Sutherland cashed in on call-offs to keep alive their title retention bid in the North Caledonian League on Saturday.

Sam Mackay’s team were on their travels for the sixth time in seven games, but left Bonar Bridge with a 3-1 win, which hauls them to within six points of leaders Loch Ness.

The pacesetters’ match against Halkirk United was postponed due to the Anglers having multiple players isolating, while Covid issues led to Nairn County reserves game against Invergordon being postponed.

Golspie, therefore, knew they had to win to keep alive any hope they harbour of being in the chase for the championship again.

Bonar, who are ninth in the table, surged into the lead with a goal in the opening minute from Adam Mackay.

Miller Mackay equalised for Golspie eight minutes before half-time and a penalty from Liam Bremner on the hour mark gave the visitors the lead.

Nine minutes later, Shaun Urquhart put the contest out of reach to secure a 3-1 victory for the current champions.

Alness United strike back for draw

Elsewhere, two late goals led to Inverness Athletic and Alness United drawing 1-1 at Inverness Royal Academy.

It looked like basement side Athletic were going to earn their second victory of the season when Craig Morrison crashed home a 30-yarder with just seven minutes to go.

However, seventh-placed Alness dug in, battled back and earned their share of the points thanks to an Andy MacLean goal.

Orkney made to dig deep for victory

An entertaining contest between two teams also going toe-to-toe ended in a 3-1 home win for Orkney against Thurso.

Toby MacLeod broke the deadlock for Orkney on 31 minutes and Liam Delday bagged his 12th goal of the season early in the second half to double the hosts’ advantage.

Thurso were always in it though and pulled one back through Jack McKechnie on 58 minutes.

The Vikings pressed for an equaliser, but Orkney stood strong before rounding off the scoring in stoppage time with a goal from Aiden Drever.

After the frustration of seeing their match called off last week only on arrival at Alness, this was a great boost for Orkney, who are fifth but only three points behind Golspie in second.

Thurso, who won the Football Times Cup last month, remain second-bottom, although should start to rise if they capitalise on the games on hand they have on rivals above them.

Teams return after festive break

The NCL takes a mini-break before returning on Saturday, January 8 with the following fixtures – Orkney v Alness United, Nairn County reserves v Loch Ness, Golspie Sutherland v St Duthus, Halkirk United v Invergordon, Bonar Bridge v Thurso.

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