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‘We were devastating’ — Lochbroom boss Bruce lauds young side after long awaited home win

By Niall Harkiss

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Lochbroom played their first home game of the season on Saturday. Picture: Angus Bruce Photography
Lochbroom played their first home game of the season on Saturday. Picture: Angus Bruce Photography

Victory over North-west Sutherland rivals Inver last weekend will prove “massive” for Lochbroom ahead of another run of away games, the club’s manager, Ben Bruce, has said.

The luck of the draw has seen the Ullapool side on the road for the majority of its season so far — with away ties in both the Stafford Cup and Highland Amateur Cup.


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But the Wester Ross men bounced back from their recent run of misfortune with a confident performance against Inver on Saturday, at their familiar home of Ullapool High School.

Bruce said: “We have had a tricky first four games of the season, all away from home, so it has been difficult for the squad. It’s a young squad this year, with quite a few 15-16 year olds involved, so to get the win is massive for us. If you keep on losing games, it’s hard to keep the guys motivated and to keep going.

“There’s been some really impressive performances. Our three young lads who were starting, all sixteen, Calvin Butrym, Hamish Loftus and Skip Buckthorp have all been fantastic for us over the past couple of games. Nobody put a foot wrong on Saturday, and I felt that we were solid all the way through.

“We gave them a lot of time on the ball but we kept our shape and hit on the counter with our pace which was devastating. I thought we could have had more than four. It was a great performance all round and it’s been coming for us.

“We now have three away games on the bounce, so we know things are not going to get any easier, so it was important to get those points now to give us the boost we need going into that stretch.”

Lochbroom raced into the lead early on after a penalty was awarded for a foul on Calvin Butrym, which teed up player-boss Bruce to convert from 12 yards.

Moments later, Kyle Mackenzie doubled the lead after being played in on goal by Bruce.

The Mackenzie-Bruce partnership paid dividends again for the Ullapool side ten minutes into the second half, when the former grabbed his second of the afternoon to make it 3-0.

Inver reduced the deficit from a set piece on the hour mark — Alex Mackenzie finding the net directly from a free kick — but the hosts’ advantage was restored immediately when Shaun Marshall latched on to a ball over the back of the defence to break clear and score.

Inver netted a late consolation from a corner kick, turned in by Jack Corbett.

A total of three red cards were issued as Tain Thistle beat Lairg Rovers 2-0 at the Links.

The tone was set for a fiery affair after just 20 minutes when referee Ian Ross gave Jack Gilliland his marching orders, reacting to some choice phrasing from the Lairg man.

It took until midway through the second half for the deadlock to be broken though, and the goal came for Tain through Finn As-Chainey, who hit a low shot into the bottom corner after making an impressive solo run through the defence.

A second yellow card for Adrian Voigt evened up the numbers on the park moments later, but it did not prevent Thistle from doubling their count as Sam Ross collected the ball from Liam Rostock and struck the ball past the goalkeeper with ten minutes to go.

Compounding Lairg’s misery, Ryan Dryburgh was dismissed in the dying moments after receiving a second booking for a rash tackle.

Elsewhere, Golspie Stafford moved into top spot on goal difference with a six goal thrashing of Melvich. A Robbie Murray hat-trick was complemented by goals from Adam Sutherland, Jamie Macdonald and a Reece Edwards own goal.

Embo recorded their first win of the season with a 3-2 win away to Brora Wanderers. Ethan Bews was the star of the show with a hat-trick for Embo, while Cal White netted twice in reply.

At Culag Park, Lochinver surged back from 3-0 down to beat Helmsdale United 4-3.

Kevin Cairns, Billy Cairns and Alfie Mackay had the east Sutherland side ahead at half-time, but goals from Owen Halcrow, Jay Ritchie, Jake Lockett and James Macleod turned the game on its head in spectacular fashion.

Fixtures this weekend:

Friday, May 24

Golspie Stafford v Brora Wanderers (7.30pm)

Saturday, May 25

Embo v Tain Thistle (midday)

Helmsdale United v Melvich (1pm)

Inver v Lochinver (TBC)

Lairg Rovers v Lochbroom (midday)

Kick off is 3pm unless otherwise stated.

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