Saturday 15th September
Macleod & MacCallum North Caledonian League
Inverness Ath 2-1 Halkirk Utd
Pavilion Park, Muir of Ord
A goal in each half was enough to secure Inverness Athletic their first league points of the season today against a hard working Halkirk United side, who will wonder how they are not going back up the A9 with at least a point.
Athletic started the game strongly and had most of the early play but were unable to turn their dominance into any clear-cut chances. The early dominance eventually told on the 10-minute mark when Jack Mulgrew swung in a Corner from the left, which eluded the Halkirk defence and flew into the top corner of the net. Athletic continued to press as the half went on but a combination of poor passing along with poor decision making meant that they went in at half time only one goal to the good.
Half Time - Inverness Athletic 1-0 Halkirk United
The second half was an entirely different story. Halkirk took control of the game from the first whistle and had Inverness pegged back in their own half for long periods of the second half. The Caithness men were unlucky not to find themselves level after 55 minutes when a cross flew across the Athletic box, with two Halkirk players left unmark at the back post, but neither was able to find a finish. Manager Shane Carling began to introduce some fresh legs to provide some much-needed energy into his side, and it had a near immediate effect. After some neat play on the wing from Russell Macintyre, he was able to pick out Liam Martin with a cross who took the ball down brilliantly and riffled it into the bottom corner of the net to double Athletic lead, very much against the run of play. The game then got very open with both sides creating chances, but it was Halkirk who would find the net. After some tidy football in the middle of park, a ball over the top found the Halkirk man all alone in the box, he settled himself and hammered in a cracking finished past the helpless Ryan Hunter. Halkirk continued to push for a leveller and were unlucky not to get it when they had an effort cleared off the line with 2 minutes to go. Athletic saw the game out and secured their first league points of the season.
Full time - Inverness Athletic 2-1 Halkirk United
Manager Shane Carling said “We won today but did not deserve it. Yes, in the first half we were very good in parts, but our final ball and decision making was very poor sometimes. After Jack scored I thought we were going to push on and get another couple of goals before half time but credit to Halkirk they hung in there. The second half was a disaster from us. Halkirk controlled the game and we just could not get out of our own half at times. I’m sure the Halkirk manager will be wondering how they never got anything from the game, but saying that I am delighted with the way the players dug in and although we did not play well, we got the 3 points and that’s all that matters ”
Athletic continue Macleod and MacCallum League action next week, when they travel to Tain to face St Duthus at The Links
Saturday 15th September 2018
Macleod & MacCallum League Games:
Alness United 2-0 St.Duthus
Invergordon 5-0 Bunillidh Thistle
Inverness Athletic 2-1 Halkirk United
Thurso 0-2 Golspie Sutherland
Picture Credits - Graeme Webster