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Caithness News Bulletins October 2003

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Match report - Thurso F.C 6 V Halkirk United 1 - North Caledonian League-
Saturday 11th October 2003

Thurso line-up - B.Mackay, B.Gray (Campbell 53), Farmer, A.Sutherland, R.Sutherland, G.Bremner, I.Coghill, Warner (Chessor 61), P.Makhouli (Begg 73), Morris, MacDougall.

Halkirk Line-up  -Henderson, Fearns, Gunn, Forbes, Sinclair, Martin, M.Bremner, G.Coghill, D.Munro, Murray, Steven. Subs Used - M.Munro, G.Mackay and A.Farquhar.

Thurso were forced to make changes again with several key players missing including Willie Inrig, Alan Murray, Nigel MacKenzie and Jamie MacKenzie. In came Stuart Campbell and Jocky Begg taking a place on the bench along with Gavin Chessor with Kevin Warner given a starting place making good progress after his come back from injury. Kevin Morris continued up front with Phil Makhouli.

Halkirk started brightly and forced two corners in the first minute with Sinclair and Martin missing great chances to take the lead as they came out of the blocks quickly forcing Thurso on the back foot for the first 4 minutes.

Thurso then started making inroads into the Halkirk back line and they won a corner on the right, which was taken by Gavin Bremner and headed over by Gray. Three minutes later Thurso took the lead as they won a corner on the right and when Lee MacDougall swung in the ball to the penalty spot on to the head of Kevin Morris who powerfully headed via the underside of the cross bar and into the net with Henderson helpless.

After 11 minutes Thurso almost extended their lead when a free kick from Lee MacDougall was headed over by Kevin Morris who was starting to win his fair share of balls in the air.

A minute later a dangerous cross by Steven was collected by Warner in the six-yard box with no Halkirk attacker there to take advantage.

Then after 13 minutes Halkirk got a real let off when Ian Coghill broke down the right and passed to Ross Sutherland who squared the ball which was cleared from one yard out with Morris waiting to pounce at the back post.

Then the game went into a midfield battle with no chances created at both ends. Then after 22 minutes Henderson fluffed a clearance, which was headed by Makhouli into the path of Morris and before he could pull the trigger the ball was cleared for a corner.

Halkirk almost equalised after 23 minutes when Steven found Derek Munro with a cross from the right, he beat two players then Brian Mackay came out of his goal to smother the ball and retain the one-goal lead for the home side.

A minute later Martin had a shot from long range, which went wide of Mackay's goal. After 26 minutes gone Halkirk rued their missed chances when Thurso extended their lead. Ross Sutherland played a brilliant pass into the right channel for Makhouli to break free and drive a low shot from an acute angle past Henderson into the far corner.

Two minutes later Derek Munro almost pulled back a goal for Halkirk as he shot from 6 yards, which was saved again by Mackay, looking solid between the sticks.

On the half hour mark Gavin Bremner played a lofted ball over the top to Morris who burst down the left and shot just wide of Henderson's left hand post from 18 yards.

With nine minutes to go to half time the ball broke to Ian Coghill and he shot wildly wild from 20 yards.

After 38 minutes Thurso virtually finished the game as a contest as Phil Makhouli broke free again down the right who then squared to Lee MacDougall who finished from an acute angle from six yards.

With five minutes to the half-time whistle Fearns played in a dangerous free kick to the back post, which was cleared by Coghill.

In the 44th minute Thurso conceded a free kick on the edge of the box, however Steven shot over the bar and Thurso went into the break with a three-goal cushion.

Half-time - Thurso 3 V Halkirk 0

Derek Munro came on for Halkirk for the second half.

Two minutes into the second half, Lee MacDougall tried to double his tally with a blistering effort from 25 yards, which was tipped over by Henderson for a corner. The resultant corner also taken by MacDougall was on the head of Alan Sutherland who extended the home side's lead with a powerful downward header past Henderson.

After 49 minutes Halkirk tried again in vain to reduce the Thurso lead when Graham Gunn headed wide from a corner. Then after 53 minutes Gray took a sore one and went over his ankle and had to be replaced after lengthy treatment by Stuart Campbell.

After 55 minutes Thurso took a five goal lead when a Bremner corner was flicked on by Ross Sutherland then took a wicked deflection off a Halkirk defender into the net at the front post. The frustration was clearly getting to Halkirk as Sinclair was finally booked for persistent fouling.

Two minutes later Thurso were in easy street as Ross Sutherland doubled his tally with a header from a Gavin Bremner free kick from the right.

In the 58th minute Munro brought out another fine stop from Mackay as the away team tried desperately to claw back the six goal lead Thurso had built up.

On the hour mark, youngster Gavin Chessor replaced a tiring Warner going up front with Morris reverting to a place in the defence.

After 62 minutes Halkirk used the remainder of their subs as Gavin Mackay and Alan Farquhar came into the fray.

After 70 minutes Derek Munro, who had been the main threat for Halkirk shot wide from 18 yards.

In the 73rd minute veteran Jocky Begg replaced Phil Makhouli who had again put in a tireless shift up front and should be happy with his contribution in recent weeks replacing Alan Murray who has been unavailable for selection and scoring four goal in two games for Thurso.

In the 75th and 76th minutes Derek Munro and Alan Farquhar both had shots at the Thurso goal with the first effort wide and the second saved by Mackay.

With twelve minutes remaining Jocky Begg played in a dangerous ball to Bremner who had his close range effort saved by Henderson.

With five minutes remaining Derek Munro had another effort off target from 30 yards then a minute later we were to be treated to the best goal of the match when Halkirk finally pulled a goal back when Sinclair played a one two with Munro and then unleashed a powerful curling effort into the top left hand corner of the net with Mackay left helpless.

In the final minute Thurso almost regained their six-goal lead when Lee MacDougall crossed from the right to Campbell 8 yards out who headed wide with a diving header.

Thurso will be happy with their efforts in this match and gain a valuable three points in their quest to retain their league title and now draw level with Alness and Golspie on twelve points just behind leaders Balintore on the fifteen-point mark.

Other results on the day saw Alness defeat Tain St.Duthus 4-0 at home, Golspie Sutherland receive a shock 2-1 home defeat to Bunillidh Thistle and Dornoch come away from Bonar with a 2-1 win.