TAIN Thistle made it a hat-trick of cup wins this season in the Ross-shire Welfare League after they survived a spirited fightback from fellow Seaboard Cup finalists Invergordon Social Club to win 4-2 at Seaboard Park last Saturday.
Thistle made a strong start to the final and Cammy MacKintosh, Paul Cowie and Liam Rostock all came close in the opening minutes.
But it took an own goal to open the scoring, when a mix up at the back in the 13th minute led to Social Club full back Liam Creighton knocking the ball past his own keeper.
Thistle doubled their lead nine minutes later when Rostock got on the end of a Gordon MacKay cross to steer a shot into the far corner of the net.
It looked ominous for Social Club but the underdogs battled their way back into the tie and substitute David Shivas got the final touch in front of goal following a goalmouth scramble in first half stoppage time.
There were chances at either end before Social Club centre back Cammy Bell glanced home a Stuart Michael free kick in the 63rd minute to square matters.
But Thistle were back in front a couple of minutes later when substitute Graham Noble beat Social keeper Charlie Walker with a vicious shot from 25 yards.
The game was still in the balance but another own goal in the 82nd minute, again from the unfortunate Creighton, ended the tie as a contest as Thistle won the trophy for the third year in succession.
Thistle winger Adam MacDonald was voted man of the match.
Balintore FC’s Gordy Lowe, representing sponsors Highland Heatsave Ltd, presented the cup to the winning captain Alan Duff.
Tain Thistle – Allan, Duff, Durrand, D MacKay, Cowie, Mailley, G MacKay, C MacKintosh, Rostock, Smillie, MacDonald. Subs – A MacKintosh, Noble, Farquhar.
Invergordon Social Club – Walker, Skinner, Creighton, Bell, Innes, Michael, Sweeney, Horsfield, Nicholson, Keith, Munro. Subs – Patullo, Shivas, Muir.
Referee – B Stuart.
n EASTERN Rose won their first ever league match in welfare football with a 3-1 victory over Balintore at Portmahomack last Wednesday.
Now in their third season, a Jaimzi Nolan double and a David Purvis goal secured an historic win for Rose.
Kieran Ross netted for Balintore.
Alness United lost ground at the top of the table after they were held to a 1-1 draw by near-neighbours Invergordon Social Club at Dalmore Park.
Mark Lamont gave United the lead on the half hour mark when he converted a penalty.
But Social’s top scorer, Liam Muir grabbed an equaliser 10 minutes into the second half with a deflected shot.
Tain Thistle are a win away from clinching a third title in a row after an emphatic 5-1 win over Fortrose and Rosemarkie Union at King George V Park.
The goals were shared about with Darran Goller, Daniel Christie, Cammy MacKintosh, Chris Mailley and an own-goal accounting for Thistle’s tally.
Fair Play League: 1 Tain Thistle (2.22 penalty points per game); 2 Fortrose Union (3.23); 3 Invergordon Social Club (4.28); 4 Eastern Rose (4.78); 5 Alness United (4.82); 6 Balintore (5.0).
Top goalscorers: 27 goals Darran Goller (Tain Thistle); 19 Liam Muir (Invergordon Social Club); 12 Mark Lamont (Alness United); 11 Gregor Paterson (Fortrose Union); 10 Aaron Henderson (Fortrose Union), Jordan Hailes (Balintore).
Fixtures – Saturday, July 29 – Pattison Cup semi-finals (Sponsored by Railway Hotel, Tain) – 3pm –Balintore v Alness United; Invergordon Social Club v Tain Thistle.