Published: 10/08/2007 00:00 - Updated: 30/11/2011 12:08

Avoch march on to final of Amateur Cup

AVOCH reached their fourth successive MacLeod IFA Highland Amateur Cup final after a 2-1 victory over Lochs in a hard fought semi-final clash at Contin on Saturday. The holders deserved their victory but they had to endure a nerve-racking last few minutes as Lochs threw everything at them in an attempt to force extra-time. Donald Normie MacDonald came close with a flying header in the third minute as the Avoch defence was opened up. But it was Avoch who almost snatched the lead seven minutes later when Bruce McCraw turned in the box and his shot cannoned off the crossbar. McCraw lost his striking partner Robbie MacDougall a couple of minutes later when he limped off to be replaced by Alan Moir. It looked ominous for Avoch but Moir slotted in well at the back in Avoch's reshuffled line-up and the big defender was to play an important role in the tie later on. McCraw was proving a handful for the Lochs defence and only good goalkeeping from Davie Black kept his goalbound shot out in the 25th minute. But the pressure paid off and an Ian Wilson cross caught the Lochs defence flat-footed three minutes later and Colin Mason squeezed the ball into the net at the second attempt. Lochs rallied before the break and Barry McCraw did well to touch over a close range header from MacDonald. But it was Avoch who finished the half on top. A McCraw shot was scrambled away by the Lochs keeper before Gordy Morrison could take advantage. Avoch started the second half at a blistering pace and Black had to be alert in dealing with a couple of raids. Strong claims for a penalty were ignored when McCraw went flying inside the area in the 47th minute and Mason was denied by a point blank save from Black. Avoch were using the Lochs goal for shooting practice at this stage and it was no surprise when they doubled their lead in the 70th minute when the Lochs defence failed to clear a corner kick and Moir fired the ball high into the net from 15 yards. It looked all over for the Western Isles side. But then they succeeded in pulling a goal back a couple of minutes later. A David MacMillan free kick rebounded off the underside of the crossbar and full back David Martin forced the ball over the line from close range. Roared on by a sizeable travelling support Lochs piled on the pressure and the woodwork came to Avoch's rescue on a couple of occasions. The upright came to Avoch's rescue after a goalmouth scramble and MacMillan was unlucky when his 25 yard shot hit the crossbar as Avoch hung on. Avoch now play another western isles side, Point, who last won the final back in 1994. The date and venue for the final has now been confirmed. It will be held at Grant Street Park, Inverness on Saturday, August 18, with kick-off for the big match at 12.15pm. Ross-shire Amateur League results: Saturday, August 4 League Gairloch/Aultbea United 5, Fortrose Union 3. Monday, August 6 League Avoch 'walk-over' Mid Lairgs United. Munro Cup second round Cromarty 3, Culbokie 4. Contin v Dingwall Thistle (match postponed, waterlogged pitch). Fixtures: Thursday, August 9 MacLean Cup semi-final 7pm - Culbokie v Gairloch Aultbea United. Munro Cup second round Contin v Dingwall Thistle. Saturday, August 11 MacLean Cup final 7pm - Avoch v Culbokie or Gairloch Aultbea United (at Maryburgh). League (provisional) Gairloch Aultbea United v Maryburgh. Monday, League 7.30pm - Contin v Dingwall Thistle; Cromarty v Fortrose Union; Avoch v Culbokie.

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