While Saturday’s home victory over Fort William may not have been as comfortable as the Harmsworth Park faithful would have hoped for, Academy did what was necessary and have now put themselves in a position to launch an unlikely title challenge.
The highs of our 2012-13 campaign, where some scintillating attacking play took us to the verge of winning the Highland League for the first time, were followed by a very disappointing campaign last year.
Despite making a strong start, we faded badly in the second half of the season leaving expectations for this year a lot lower and many pundits writing us off as just another member of the mid-table pack.
But after adding some much needed depth to the squad in the summer, the Scorries are now on a fantastic 12 game unbeaten run in the league, with the only dropped points in that time coming in a creditable draw away to Nairn.
Twenty goals in the space of three games against Keith, Strathspey and Rothes and some more regular clean sheets (we’ve now gone four games without conceding) means the feelgood factor has well and truly returned to the Harmsworth.
One of the key factors in this resurgence has been a vast improvement in our away form. Inconsistency on the road cost us dearly in 2012-13 but it’s been a different story this time around where some hugely impressive performances have rewarded us with victories at the likes of Cove and Formartine. Indeed our solitary defeat away from home came against Turriff, and that was only after conceding twice in the final two minutes, having had two players sent off.
With new captain Alan Farquhar leading the back four superbly, Davie Allan’s ability to tear any defence to shreds and the emergence of James Pickles as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the league, the foundations are in place for us to build on our recent successes. But with a tough run of fixtures coming up and the annual Christmas double header against them looming, the players know they can’t afford to allow any complacency to enter their games. Bring it on!
If you are interested in writing about your Highland League club, email firstname.lastname@example.org