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Brora Rangers end three-match losing streak with 1-0 derby victory over Wick Academy

Andy Macrae.
Andy Macrae.

Brora Rangers advanced to the last four of the North of Scotland Cup courtesy of a 1-0 derby victory over rivals Wick Academy.

Cattachs interim boss Craig Campbell claimed his first victory since temporarily replacing Steven Mackay, with the hard-fought result enough to set up a semi final tie at home to Lossiemouth.

Brora handed a first start to Josh Meekings who took his place in the heart of midfield, while on-loan Ross County forward Matthew Wright continued to lead the line.

Craig Campbell.

The Scorries had Brandon Sinclair, Steven Anderson and Jack Henry back in the starting line-up, with the home side showing some decent early build up play but unable to test Joe Malin.

It was the visitors who took a slick lead on 14 minutes, with Gregor MacDonald’s deep cross nodded across goal by Tom Kelly into the path of Wright, and his lay-off set up Andy Macrae to fire home from close range.

The Cattachs took a big lift from the opener having come into the game on the back of three straight defeats. They caused Wick more problems on 19 minutes when a long ball forward by Ally MacDonald was misjudged by the home defence to allow Tom Kelly to run at goal, however he lifted his attempt over.

Brora continued their push for a second goal, with Wright dragging a low effort wide, while Dale Gillespie saw a free kick from a wide left position touched on to the crossbar by goalkeeper Graeme Williamson.

Dale Gillespie.

The visitors were forced to reshuffle on 33 minutes however, with left back MacDonald withdrawing through injury and replaced by Millar Gamble.

The Scorries finished the first half on top, with Sean Campbell seeing an effort drift narrowly wide, while David Allan hammered an effort over from close-range after being set up by Ross Allan’s cross on the stroke of half-time.

Both sides threatened from long-range in the early stages of the second half, with Gillespie seeing a powerful strike held by Williamson before Ross Allan struck a free-kick narrowly wide.

Academy continued to search for a leveller, with MacNab sending an effort wide from the edge of the box.

Williamson had to be alert on 55 minutes, with the goalkeeper getting down well to beat away another Gillespie free-kick.

Brora were twice thwarted in the space of 60 seconds on the hour mark, with Sinclair getting back to scramble Macrae’s effort off the line, before Colin Williamson saw his effort blocked from the resulting corner.

Macrae got into a decent crossing position before delivering for Wright who could not connect with his effort, while the attacker also teed up Gregor MacDonald who was thwarted by Williamson.

Wick were denied on 73 minutes when a last-ditch tackle by Meekings denied David Allan, however it proved to be the Englishman’s final act as he indicated a strain which forced him to be replaced by Jordan MacRae.

Brora were dealt another late blow when Wright hobbled off to be replaced by Aly Riddle, however it proved to be an ultimately successful night for the Sutherland outfit.

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