Saints out of North Caley Cup

Both sides finished with just ten men on the park on Saturday, as holders St Duthus were knocked out of the North Caledonian Cup by Loch Ness yesterday.

It was the first time the Tain side had lost at Grant Park in almost eleventh month - and it took a compendium of setbacks to do it.

An injury to centre half John Skinner after only four minutes sent Alan Geegan's plans awry, forcing the introduction of substitute John Maclellan. 

Loch Ness immediately capitalised on the period of readjustment, netting on 7 minutes through Liam Taylor. The former St Duthus striker, who looked in a suspiciously offside position, nodded a looped ball past William Godding to make it 1-0.

Taylor tested Godding with another header minutes later, which the keeper held, and at the other end, Adrian Voigt put Michael Miele under pressure with a shot from distance.

On the 20 minute mark, a speculative effort from 30 yards out from Jake Lockett almost foxed Miele, but the ball sailed just wide of the upright.

Lockett tested the keeper from distance again shortly after, and on the half hour mark a free kick from the same player reached Finn As-Chainey who found the target at close range forcing Miele to tip round the post.

Lockett continued to threaten and on 35 minutes he did well to hold off a defender before shooting into the side netting. The Saints striker continued to stay in the thick of the action, and two minutes later he found the target with a free kick from outside of the box.

Despite the Saints pressure it was Loch Ness who scored the next goal, doubling their advantage five minutes before the break. A ball across goal was well tipped away by Godding, but he could do nothing to prevent Phil Macdonald from slotting into the far corner on the rebound.

In poor weather, Godding did well early in the second half to prevent Loch Ness from extending their lead.

Then the game changed on 65 minutes. A blatant swipe from Allan MacPhee on James Mackay was spotted by referee Colin MacDonald who made no mistake in brandishing a red card.

Miele and his defence twice had come up with last ditch saves to prevent Adrian Voigt from finding the net as St Duthus looked to get back in the game.

They finally converted their pressure into a goal just before the 70 minute mark. A well taken corner from Lockett met As-Chainey inside the area and with quick reactions, the winger turned the ball into the net. At 1-2, Saints were back in the tie.

Their momentary lift turned out to be temporary, however, as a moment of controversy followed. Conor MacPhee, bursting with pace down the left side, was brought down in a coming together with Will Ross and Jake Lockett and immediately, the referee dismissed Ross for was percieved to be an elbow.

Ross protested his innocence but Saints were reduced to ten men, losing their second centre half of the afternoon, and the wind ultimately came out of their sails, leaving the score at 1-2.

Team: Godding, J Skinner, A Allan, JW Skinner (Maclellan 4), W Ross, Gair (K Mackenzie 64), Hulme, Mackay, Voigt (Marshall 84), Lockett, As-Chainey

Pic credit: David Jefferson

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