St Duthus face uphill battle to claim first North Caledonian League triumph
St Duthus have been left with a mountain to climb if they are to claim their first North Caledonian League title after losing 2–0 to fellow title contenders Orkney at Grant Park.
After an enforced six-week lay-off through various postponements, the Saints were not at the races in the first half, and found themselves a goal down after the lively Zack Singh scored early on.
It could have been worse for the Saints if it had not been for width of the crossbar and some good goalkeeping from Johnny Allan in the home goal.
Saints were much better after the break but failed to carve out any real chances and they were caught on the break in the final minute when Orkney substitute Jamie Clouston burst clear to net.
There were flashes from Saints’ leading scorer Ben Bruce but in the main it was a subdued performance from the Tain outfit.
“It was our first game in six weeks which didn’t help,” said co-manager Andrew Ross.
“Fair play to Orkney, they did well, but we will need to win tight games like this if we are to do anything in this league.
“It makes if very difficult, if not impossible to win the league now.”
Leaders Invergordon also suffered a set back when they lost 3–2 to defending champions Golspie Sutherland.
That was a bit of a turnaround at King George V Park, as Invergordon were leading 2–0 at half time.
Darran Goller scored twice in a three-minute spell late in the half to give Invergordon a deserved lead.
The visitors were also denied by the woodwork on three occasions before the break.
But a change of formation helped revive Golspie, and an Adam Sutherland goal followed by a Liam Bremner double – the winner coming in the 88th minute – halted Invergordon’s title charge.
However, the Easter Ross side’s hopes of a third title in three years is still in their own hands.
Wins against Orkney, Thurso and Bunillidh Thistle will ensure that they cannot get caught.
In the North Caledonian Cup, Thurso defeated Bunillidh Thistle 4–0 at Naver Park. The Vikings now play St Duthus in the semi finals.