Inverness Athletic got back to winning ways today in the Macleod & MacCallum Ness Cup League with a hard-fought victory over a much improved Bonar Bridge side.
It was a beautiful day for football in Muir of Ord this afternoon, with the rain and wind from last weekend’s Inverness derby thankfully not making another appearance. Athletic came out of the block firing and were putting their visitors under some very early pressure. This pressure told as early as the 3rd minute when Athletic would go in front. A fantastic free kick in from the right by Michael Grant was met but Clach loanee Connor Bunce who powered a header low into the corner past Scott Macgruer in the Bonar Bridge goal.
Athletic continued to play some nice football and create chances but it would be the visitors who would have the next clear opportunity. A cross into the box was not dealt with by the home defence and Stan Keith was there to head it goalward before it was scrambled off the line by Ryan Macleod in the Inverness goal. A ley off for Golabek’s men.
That Stan Keith effort for Bonar Bridge seemed to wake Inverness up again and they began to take control of the game again. Jack Davidson called Macgruer into a fine save just after the half hour mark as he cut in from the left and unleashed a stinging strike, only for Macgruer to tip it over the bar.
Athletic did not have long to wait to double their lead. With 32 minutes on the clock Connor Bunce drove into the box and after some neat footwork dinked a delightful ball across the six yard box where Luke Mackay was waiting to nod in his 4th goal of the campaign and send his side in two goals to the good.
Half Time – Inverness Ath 2-0 Bonar Bridge
The start of the second half quickly turned into a scrappy affair, with neither side really taking control of the game.
Luke Mackay had the chance to double his tally for the afternoon just on the hour mark. A corner into the box flew to the back post where skipper Liam Symonds headed it back across the 6 yard line to Mackay who would see his glancing header slip by the far post.
Bonar Bridge were starting to grow into the second half and had a brilliant chance to get back into the game, only to be denied by Ryan Macleod once again. Bonar Bridge sprung the offside trap and with only Macleod to beat the Bonar Bridge striker looked certain to score, but Macleod pulled off a stunning save to tip the ball over the bar and deny the Sutherland outfit a way back into the game.
Athletic would find themselves three up with 20 minutes left on the clock. A corner into the box from the right from Kyle Taylor was not dealt with by the Bonar defence and after a scramble Matty Shewan would fire the ball high into the roof of the net to give the second half substitute his first goal of the season.
Not to be outdone by his brother, Harry Shewan would add a fourth for Athletic on the 85th minute. A cross come shot into the Bonar Bridge box was not dealt with by Macgruer in the Bonar Bridge goal and the box would end up in the back of the net to round off a hard working display from Jason Golabek’s men.
The manager spoke to us after the game, “Delighted to get our first home win of the season. It was not an easy afternoon against a very much improved Bonar Bridge side but its three points. We were scrappy at times today but at the end of the day we scored four goals and kept a clean sheet, which is always pleasing. I felt we controlled large parts of the game but when Bonar did attack us we dealt with most things very well. I was really happy to see some of the lads that have not had a great deal of game time so far this season come on a play well which gives us a headache for next weekend, which is always a nice thing to have as a manger. We move onto next week now as we try to continue this mini run we are on.”
League 2 Standings