|ended on 07 Aug 2012|
|Wick Groats win by better head to head.|
HFC Leagues, Results & Reports - Season 2004
ALL reports are being compiled by Liam Bremner.
Good season Halkirk and one more season in Division 2 will do the young team, and older heads, no harm as they are more than impressing a number of county football stalwarts with the stylish, controlling and experienced play.
Thanks to Duck for all his report writing and hopefully he will continue with his press reports, next season.
Player of the Year Presentation/Buffet - 23/10/04
Graham & Martin lift POTY trophies
Steven Cup Final - 06/08/04
Lybster 2 - 3 Halkirk - (after golden goal)
In the first half both goalkeepers were proving their worth with some excellent stops from a rampant bunch of strikers, and if it wasn't them, the stanchions and crossbar got a good shaving of leather, aswell. But, this deadlock had to be broken before the break and Halkirk snatched it with a good penetrating run and finish from the ever improving Steven Campbell. And, with everyone ready to go into the tunnel, one of Halkirk's top goalscorers, Spike - netted from a fine cross by another youngster Russell Bain.
A scrappy start to the second half gave a couple of players from each side a caution but Lybster were starting to pile on the pressure. Due to this they left gaps on the park for Halkirk to penetrate and, Luke Sawyer thought he had sealed the match with a third for eBIGH but linesman, Bob Gunn had other ideas and gave offside.
With 20 minutes to go things started to get a bit hectic in the Halkirk area and the inevitable happened, not once but twice, by Jimmy Budge, within the space of 10 minutes. And, more-or-less on the final whistle, Lybster struck the bar but Halkirk cleared the ball to safety and allowed the game to go into extra time and a golden goal.
With the managers running out of ideas, it was entirely up to the players to produce the goods and take the trophy home. Halkirk having previous experience in this situation from the last round would've placed themselves as being favourites - and, this is how it turned out. Andy Bain lofted one of his trademark left-footed crosses into the box, only for it to strike the bar and it was first come, first served from then on. To Halkirk's delight, Steven Campbell was first there and blasted the ball into the onion bag, to allow 'eBIGH entourage to explode with delight.
A great end to the season and a good pick me up for the Halkirk bhoys after just loosing out to Lybster, in the final league game for promotion.
Congratulations Lockie and Ella in the Dom Pub.....
report by DZ
pictures by John Baikie of Caithness Photographic - click here for website
League Division 2 - 04/08/04
Lybster 2 - 1 Halkirk
Halkirk were missing a few of their key players in this vital match, namely, Liam 'Duck' Bremner, Paul 'Kylie' Lockhart and Blocks and with their top goalscorer, Spike, suspended a batch of ex-Halkirk players had to be recruited into the fold.
The new squad came at just the wrong time of the season for bonding and two early goals from Lybster stung the Halkirk bhoys, proving to be a tough task to get back into the match.
A late consolation goal by Gunny did nothing to boost the Halkirk side with seconds to go and Lybster propelled themselves into the high lives of division one.
Keep Going Wildcats.....
report by DZ
Steven Cup Semi Final - 21/07/04
Halkirk 5 - 4 Swifts - (after golden goal)
The holders progressed into the final of the Steven Cup, but only after an unbelievable comeback from the Thurso side.
The visitors came out and started brightly and it was very much against the run of play when Halkirk took the lead. Martin Bain sprung the very high up the pitch offside trap and ran through for a one on one against the keeper. His first effort was well saved but he was very composed in finishing the rebound from a very acute angle. Not long after it was two with an almost carbon copy goal. Again, the offside trap was breached, Martin was clean through but this time he buried his first opportunity into the bottom corner. 2 - 0. It remained this scoreline until the break, with the rest of the first half an even contest.
The wildcat's came out with a lot more vigour and two excellent quickfire goals had them 4 goals up. The first was a poachers finish from Luke and the second was a cool finish from Russell Bain after great ball winning in the midfield from captain Crispy.
Four nil up and cruising but then the home team switched off and became increasingly casual all over the pitch. It still seemed no more than a consolation when Harper latched onto a punt over the top to neatly tuck the ball into the bottom corner. Slack defending then led to a second goal for the visitors, with the final touch looking to come off Gunny for an OG. Then, with ten minutes to go, a dangerous ball across the six yard box was unfortunately turned into his own net by Spike for 4-3 (I hope Gunny and Spike realise that OG's don't count towards the top scorers charts!!).
This third goal led to Nige having kittens on the touchline and turning an incredibly dark shade of crimson! The home side tried to keep the visitors at bay but there was confusion at a corner kick, and although it looked like Poop was fouled, the ball landed at Harper's feet and he kept calm to make it 4 - 4. Amazingly, 'eBigH' were then hanging on and Harper almost snatched his hat-trick but his effort hit the post.
The referee blew for full time with the scores tied at 4 - 4.
One or two tactical changes from Nige at the interval led to a more solid looking home side and they looked slightly the better team in extra time but the Swifts were always a threat with their young players showing up very well. We reached half time in extra time with no-one really threatening the goalkeepers and it looked increasingly likely that the game was going to be decided by penalty kicks.
Then, about four minutes into the second period, Luke showed some quick feet on the edge of the box to make space for a shot, his well hit effort through the bodies was only parried by the keeper and the rebound was thundered into the back of the net by Gunny for the decisive Golden Goal.
The red & blacks make it through to the final for what is almost becoming their annual trip to Lybster, on a Friday night, in early August - although they made extremely hard work of it in the end. Hats off to the Swifts for an inspired comeback and they must have been gutted to lose the way they did.
Still, to look at the bigger picture, if you forget about the last 20 minutes of regulation time, where everybody appeared to switch off, this was another good performance by Halkirk. The young boys are all playing well and the experienced lads are always steady.
We now have two games left in the season, one to decide if we are to be promoted, the other to try and win the Steven Cup for the third year in a row!
Steven Cup Quarter Final - 19/07/04
Halkirk 5 - 2 Mid County
The Wildcat's progressed comfortably into the Semi-final's, as they once again look to successfully retain the Steven Cup.
The victory was more convincing than the scoreline suggests, as like the previous match, we missed a barrowload of chances!
Gunny, who is now right behind Spike in the top scorers' table, had us two up in the first ten minutes. The first, a brave header and the second a reward for persistence. We started to let them back into it and they quickly pulled one back through veteran Michael Macintosh. Order was soon restored as, first, Martin Bain and then Luke scored to make it 4-1, at the break.
It was 5 early in the second half, Tom Sawyer doubling his tally for the evening with another nice finish. This led to the introduction of Andy Bain, who made a welcome return to the side. That man foxy got another one and this proved to be the end of the scoring at 5-2, with the rest of the game being played mainly in the MidCounty defensive third, and the home team missing chance after chance.
One bright spot, was the link play up front between the two subs who entered the fray late on. Spike and a young trialist, who I think Neilly is keen to see more of in attack!!
Overall, a good win for the red & blacks but the performance
will need to be improved upon when we face stronger opposition!
League Division 2 - 14/07/04
Halkirk 9 - 0 Keiss
The Wildcat's concluded their home league campaign with an overwhelming victory against a short handed Keiss team.
With a strong wind blowing, the visitors won the toss and turned us round resulting in the first 45 being played into the wind. This did not really have an adverse effect though and we went in at the break 2 nil up, although it really should've been at least eight! The deadlock was broken inside the first five minutes with good build up play between Spike and Gunny saw the Carsgoe man's cross expertly tucked away by Luke. The young Sawyer soon doubled his tally when he again scored with a composed finish. The remainder of the first half was a bit of a stampede towards the visitors goal but due to a combination of poor crossing, wasteful chance taking and some fortunate goal keeping, the score remained the same at the interval.
The second half was very much the same story, although it did take an excellent goal five minutes in from Martin Bain to settle us down. Almost instantly the lead was extended with the goal of the night - Russell Bain expertly volleying into the top corner of the net after a corner kick found its way through to him. Gunny then scored the fifth when he tucked away what would've been his tenth chance of the match! It was soon six nil when Spike again showed his goal scoring prowess with a super finish. The hard working Steven Campbell then made it seven and the eighth goal was a composed finish from the skipper, Crispy - scoring his first goal in almost two seasons. Not long left but still time for another. Keithy Foub smashed home a rebound after the keeper failed to hold a shot.
Final Score 9 - 0.
At last the Red & Blacks scored a comprehensive victory but to be honest it could've quite easily been double. Impressive that the goals were spread about the team with eight players getting on the scoresheet. A two week break in the league campaign before we play our last match, in Lybster, which could be the crunch match in the promotion race.
League Division 2 - 05/07/04
Halkirk 1 - 0 Swifts
A crucial three points for the wildcat's, as they secured a vital win over one of their nearest challengers. Nige, was given a boost for such a big game when a full squad turned up and he was able to select an un-changed line up from the previous victory over Thurso Thistle.
In what was, a must-not-lose, game for Halkirk and a must-win game for Swifts - it was no real surprise that the visitors started the brighter and appeared to have more urgency about them. Although they had most of the possession, Swifts were unable to make a breakthrough, with Poop not really troubled except for crossballs and long range efforts. The red & blacks started to settle after 20minutes and got more of a grip on the midfield and created one or two goal-scoring chances. Halkirk suffered a blow about 10 minutes before the break when 'Blocksy' had to be carried off with a nasty looking knee injury, which appeared to be an accidental clash. This appeared to knock the home team off their stride, again but they were able to get to half time with the score level.
After a half time pep talk from 'Nige', the Wildcat's came out with a bit more purpose in the second period and as the Swifts pushed more and more forward, the defence seemed to cope quite comfortably and the counter attacking threat was evident with Luke, Russell and Spike all looking dangerous up front. As the match went on, the more heated it became, although the referee did appear to get a little 'card happy' towards the home team as they accumulated a few cautions in the space of 5 minutes, with Spike extremely unlucky to see yellow for a cracking tackle!
Then, just as it appeared the game was heading for a goal-less draw, the visitors almost drew first blood when a shot rebounded of the crossbar following a set piece. This again got their tails up, and as they continued to try and get the winner, desperately needed, they were hit with the sucker punch. Young Steven Campbell did brilliantly to win a challenge in the midfield and release Spike, who somehow got a burst of energy to leave his marker for dead and expertly despatch his shot past the despairing keeper.
Five minutes to go and one nil up - Halkirk looked safe. Again, the Swifts had possession and although they had a few more set pieces, they never really threatened and the home team claimed all three points.
A tremendous, hard-fought victory for the wildcat's, which was about the whole squad and not just the players on the park. An excellent display from everybody wearing a red & black jersey. They now have to carry this form on for the remainder of the season, with the promotion race looking like it's going down to the wire.
League Division 2 - 28/06/04
Halkirk 5 - 0 Thurso Thistle
After last weeks disappointment in Wick, we returned to winning ways with a victory over 'Thurso Jags', which was a lot more comprehensive than the scoreline suggests.
Nige changed the formation to a 3-5-2 and this seemed to help us a great deal. We played some tremendous passing football in the first 45 minutes and went in at the break with a 3 goal advantage.
The first came in ten minutes, when a flowing move ended with Gunny tapping in 'Blocksy's' cutback. The lead was soon doubled when 'Eyersy' rose, 'like a salmon' to bullet a header past the keeper from 'Blocksy's' corner kick. Shortly before the break our 'old stalwart' constructed the third goal. We were actually defending a corner when Crispy, revelling in a new midfield role, broke up their attack and launched a long pass downfield to 'Blocksy', who skinned the defender before despatching the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Half Time, 3 - 0.
It was a slow start in the second half and Thistle managed to dominate slightly but normal service was resumed and we again started to take control. 'Eyresy' converted another headed chance from a corner, this time from Gunny's centre - putting us 4 up. From another corner ten minutes later it was 5. Again, 'Eyresy' caused havoc and his knockdown was powerfully despatched into the roof of the net by young Steven Campbell.
The game was finished with no further goals, although we did create plenty of chances with Luke performing very well up front.
A great win for the Red & Blacks, but if I was to be a bit critical, it probably should've been double figures - especially, as goal difference may prove to be crucial at the end of the season. A thoroughly deserved victory and we have to continue this fine form for the remainder of the season.
League Division 2 - 23/06/04
Wick Groats 5 - 1 Halkirk
After receiving the great news that we had been awarded the three points from our defeat by Mid County earlier in the season, things all went flat when we were soundly beaten by Groats. The loss of the toss proved crucial as they played the first half with the wind at their backs and used it to great effect to lead at the interval 3 - 0.
We started the second period positively and had a steady spell of pressure and it looked only a matter of time before we would score. However, the homeside won a corner from which they scored again and killed the match. They then scored a fifth before we finally got one back when Spike converted a spot kick.
Overall, a poor performance all round and a severe blow to our
promotion chances although we can still get second place. Three
home games in a row now and we have to concentrate on taking
maximum points and hope that one or two of our main challengers
League Division 2 - 16/06/04
Top Joes 0 - 2 Halkirk
The Wildcat's kept their place at the top of the table with a victory that was slightly uncomfortable at times. Another day of heavy rain meant that we had to play on a heavy pitch for the second time in two days.
Halkirk started the game very brightly, playing some good football with crisp passing and taking advantage of the width we had in our team layout. Chances were missed though. The most notable being when Martin Bain's shot went through the legs of the TJ's keeper and was heading in until it was stopped by the puddle on the goal line. This also deceived Spike who came running in but failed to get a touch. Things started to go downhill a bit then, we started to get dragged down to their level and stopped playing football.
Nil - Nil at half time.
The lads got a bit of a rocket from 'Nige' in the dressing room and this seemed to do the trick as we were soon 1 up. A free kick into the box found Spike and he neatly tucked away his chance. We relaxed slightly and settled down but still couldn't get the second goal, and the home team would've equalised had it not been for a couple of fine stops from Poop. The three points were wrapped up when Luke, not long on the pitch, went on a run and beat two or three men but just as he was about to pull the trigger he was tackled by a defender, but the ball still found its way into the bottom corner.
The rest of the game was uneventful and we were quite happy to claim all three points to keep us in front of the chasing pack.
A week's rest now before the top of the table clash against Wick Groats.
EM Cup - Quarter Final - 14/06/04
J 'O' G 3 - 2 Halkirk - (after golden goal)
The Wildcat's hopes of a run to Macca's cup final were destroyed after a devastating defeat in tourist country.
A terrible night for football with wind, rain, a pitch in terrible condition with lumps of cut grass scattered all over the pitch and, a referee who once again proved he is a John 'O' Groats man and very much a 'home' boy!!
We got off to a disastrous start when we got caught with too many forward and fell behind to a breakaway in the 2nd minute. The rest of the first half was quite an even game which was credit to us as we were playing up the hill and into the driving wind. It was a good result to go in one down at the break.
We started the second half brightly and realised that the game was there for winning. Not long into the second period we got back on level terms when a corner was cleared to the edge of the box and bounced up nicely for Duck, who expertly volleyed the ball into the top corner. This gave us the lift needed and we piled on the pressure and soon took the lead from another set piece. The ball was never properly cleared and fell to 'Eyresy' who picked out Spike at the back stick and he buried a header into the bottom corner.
2-1 up and in control.....
The home team came back, put more and more pressure on us as the game wore on and just when it looked like we had weathered the storm, a bad decision by Duck gave them a chance and they equalised right at the death. The final whistle blew soon after and, again, had to go into extra time. The first period wasn't too old when we lost possession during a promising attack. The long ball was chased by a very offside looking attacker and he found the bottom corner of the net to finish the tie and send the home team through to the semi final.
Overall, a reasonable performance in terrible conditions which probably deserved more but we just couldn't hold on. I think it is time though that CAFA looked into the condition of the pitch at John 'O' Groats and also which ref is placed in charge of their games!!
We have now got to concentrate on the league and go for promotion.
EM Cup Round 2 - 07/06/04
Halkirk 2 - 1 Ashes - (after golden goal)
We moved into the next round of Maca's cup with a well deserved victory against the first division team. One or two players missing meant we were down to just a squad of 13again but dominated the whole match and looked the much fresher team.
eBIGH started the game strongly, keeping good possession and playing good football. We created a few chances and once again let the visitors off the hook by failing to convert. Then, just after the half hour, Ashes hit us on the counterattack with too many up front and one early long ball was seized upon and they went one up. We lost our way slightly up to the break but managed to regroup and came back out for the second 45.
The second half was very much a similar story and absolutely pummelled them but it didn't look as if it was going to be our night. Then with about 20 minutes to go, after some good build up play, Blocksy's cross was converted by Gunny and we were back on level terms. After continuing to pile the pressure on for the rest of the game, we ran out of time and the ref blew up for the end of the regulation 90.
Extra time then and quite an open game.
We were doing most of the attacking but the Ashes should've won
the game when one of their men sneaked clear in the box for a free
kick but could only put his header wide when it looked easier
to score. This gave us a kick in the arse, went on the
attack and Gunny's cross was expertly volleyed home by Luke for a
well deserved golden goal for him and the team.
A great win for the Red & Black's with the only criticism being that the game should've been over well inside the 90 minutes and we are still not clinical enough. Bring on the next round though!
League Division 2 - 02/06/04
Halkirk 2 - 0 FSC
Another three points for the red and blacks with a comfortable victory that really should have produced more goals!
Although it was maybe a bit warm, it was a good night for football with the pitch presented in excellent condition by head groundsman, Johnnie Mouse. We started positively and it was really no surprise when we scored early. Young Plonk cutting in from the flank and finding the bottom corner. We continued to dominate and create chances but had to wait until almost the half hour mark before doubling our advantage. A long through ball from Crispy was seized upon by 'Blocksy' and he composed himself before expertly volleying home from the edge of the box - not a bad way to notch his first of the season!
Two up at half time.
After such a good first half, the second half turned out to be
a bit of a non-event as we failed to produce the same level of
football as the first half although we were never threatened at
the back and again were guilty of missing chances. The one
notable moment in the second 45 was from an opposing player who
produced a piece of skill not seen since 'Ossie Ardiles in Escape
A good win for the Wildcat's that keeps the momentum going in the challenge for promotion.
Steady performances from everyone with Martin Bain, Luke and 'Blocksy', on top form.
Highland Amateur Cup - 29/05/04
Lybster 4 - 0 Halkirk
The Wildcat's crashed out of the HA cup at the first time of asking in a game that wasn't quite as one-sided as the scoreline suggests. We should have gone one up almost immediately, when Gunny was clean through but he delayed his shot and the defender was able to get back and block his effort. We then had a slightly 'nervy' ten minutes before we settled down and the match turned into a pretty even contest. The home side went in front however, when they were awarded a penalty, although from my position it very much looked like 'simulation' on their attackers part. Crispy found the net with a free kick soon after but it was disallowed as the ref had indicated that it was an indirect free kick and the ball sailed straight in.
One down at half time and unfortunately the deficit was soon doubled when they scored thanks to some poor defending at a corner kick. After their second goal, 'Nige' went for broke with three up top but we never really created any clear chances and it was in fact the home team who scored twice in the last ten minutes to put a somewhat unfair reflection on the final scoreline.
A disappointing day down the coast but we were never really at
We will just have to forget about the Highland Amateur for this year and concentrate on promotion instead!
League Division 2 - 24/05/04
Mid County 0 - 2 Halkirk
Another victory and a taste of revenge for the boys from
Scotland's first planned village against Foxy's battlers.
After a good start to the game, it was no surprise when we went in front through Gunny (the only surprise being that it was Steam Jets who got the assist!). Steam's tremendous through ball released Gunny in the inside left position and he beat the keeper to the ball to break the deadlock. We doubled our advantage before the break after superb play from Blocksy, as he skinned four defenders before squaring the ball to Spike who was left with a tap in to the empty net. Two nil up at half time and comfortable. Unfortunately, after the break we decided that it was too easy and we would all try and score and we lost a little bit of shape although Russell was unlucky to hit the bar with a sweet lob and the highlight of the match coming from Lockie's sprint down the touchline. A good three points to keep us in contention at the top of the table - we have got to keep on winning though!
League Division 2 - 20/05/04
Swifts 0 - 1 Halkirk
We got back to winning ways with a good win against one of our
nearest rivals. A full squad for such an important match meant
that Nige had to make some tough decisions when picking the team
due to the return of Eyresy and young Plonk!
We were a bit slow at the start and never really got going in the first 20 minutes with the pace and movement of the Swifts attack causing us some problems. They never really created too many chances though and it was actually us who should have went in ahead at half time but Fouby missed a great chance when clean through. We came out after the break with more determination about us and were the better team although it wasn't a night for good passing football due to the terrible condition of the Dammies (you could nearly make crop circles in the grass its that long!!).
We went in front midway through the second half when Fouby
ignored an easy pass to Blocksy to go for goal himself and he was
rewarded when his pile driver from the edge of the box found the
bottom corner. We could have added to our tally but never made our
possession pay and in the end were indebted to Poop for making a
couple of good saves late on. A good win for the Red & Blacks to
get us back into contention for promotion although it does make
the Mid County defeat all the more frustrating!
League Division 2 - 17/05/04
Halkirk 2 - 3 Mid County
Halkirk later awarded the FULL 3 points due to Mid County fielding un-signed and illegal players.
We were dealt a serious blow to our promotion hopes but have
no-one to blame but ourselves with defensive errors leading to all
the visitors goals and a catalogue of missed chances at the other
We started the match reasonably brightly but amazingly found ourselves 2 behind after 10 minutes with two very similar goals - a defensive mistake was seized upon and the goalkeeper was lobbed. This triggered us into action and we finally realised that this team is no longer the dummy's they used to be. We started to pass the ball about and create chances and pulled one back when Spike's cross come shot ended in the back of the net. We were soon level when Spike got his second of the night but unfortunately he then had to leave the pitch after sustaining a nasty head knock.
2 - 2 at half time.
The second half was mainly one way traffic and we were very dominant in possession but stopped playing clever football and never really opened up a defence that was well marshalled by Foxy. Chance after chance was passed up with several players being guilty of not scoring, although Luke was very unlucky to hit the post with a downward header after good work by Martin Bain. Then, with two minutes to go, the sucker punch! The ball was again needlessly given away in defence and they were left with a man over who had an easy task to find the net.
Game over, and with no disrespect to Mid County a game that should have been won convincingly was lost and our promotion hopes now look pretty slim. We have now got to go on a long unbeaten run starting with promotion favourites Swifts on Thursday night.
League Division 2 - 12/05/04
Keiss 1 - 2 Halkirk
Another three points for the Wildcat's as we make it three wins on the spin!
It took us a while to get going on the sloping pitch, possibly
due to the fact that our pre match preparations were interrupted
by a kit mix-up and a double booking of the Keiss hall with the
WRI or something which meant we got kicked out of our dressing
room and was left with no proper changing facilities - an absolute
disgrace!! Although we started the game quite brightly, we failed
to get an early goal, and the first half turned into a battle with
the little football that was played coming from us, without making
any real clear-cut chances although we really should have scored
one or two before the break.
Nil - nil at half time.
We had a little bit more urgency after the break but still never really looked like scoring until, Nige - made a couple of changes and put on Spike and Lockie. Then, after having an earlier stonewall penalty appeal rejected, we were awarded a spot kick after Luke was deemed to be fouled going for Blocksy's crossball. Spike made no mistake in tucking away the pen. It was then the old bus story, as the second one came almost at once! Luke scored a great solo goal, picking the ball up out wide, beating a couple of men and drilling the ball into the bottom corner! Two nil up and looking comfortable. We then created a few more chances but it was the home team that scored next as the defence were caught out by a long ball over the top. This lead to a nervous final ten minutes and they nearly snatched a draw right at the death but Poop made sure that we got all three points with a fantastic point blank save after a defensive mix-up!
Overall, a great win and another three points. It was a battle but it had to be on a terrible pitch in terrible condition. We should now be looking a bit healthier in the league table but there is still a lot of work to do and a lot of improvement to be made on this performance.
League Division 2 - 10/05/04
Halkirk 3 - 0 Wick Groats
Another win and another clean sheet for the wildcat's as we claim a good three points from the early league pace-setters despite finishing the match with 9 men!!
The home team came flying out the traps and played some really good football, one touch passing, running off the ball - great play at a high tempo. One or two chances were missed before a great passing move carved the visitors' defence wide open and Gunny found space on the left, he cut in and played a dangerous ball across the six yard line and with a couple of attackers waiting to pounce, the ball was turned into his own net by an unfortunate defender. We continued to play well and were unlucky to be only one up at the break with Groats rarely threatening our goal.
Although the start of the second half was a bit flat, we soon got back in our stride and upped the tempo and put them under pressure. We soon doubled our lead, when after good work by Foub, Spike did brilliantly to lay the ball off for Russell Bain who superbly volleyed the ball home. The game then turned sour when after yet another poor tackle on Spike, and then some afters, he finally snapped and got involved in a bit of handbags with their big centre half and they both saw red! However, from the resultant free kick, we scored again as Crispy's excellent delivery was met by 'Eyresy' just before the keeper and he was able to guide the ball home with a great finish. The game was now over as a contest although we could have added to our advantage had we been a little less gung-ho! The match ended on a sour note though as Lockie harshly picked up a second yellow from the referee and took the walk for the early shower!
A great win for the guys from 'e BIG 'H' that will hopefully get us back into contention after the disappointment of a couple of early defeats, although we have to make sure to continue our good form in Keiss, on Wednesday night, and hope that too many suspensions do not harm our chances.
League Division 2 - 03/05/04
Halkirk 5 - 0 Top Joes
We returned to winning ways with a win that was not as comfortable as the scoreline suggests. With new manager Neillie Mackay still trying to see what players are at his disposal, he decided to make a few changes which resulted in Duck being handed the linesman's flag and Steam Jets not even stripped for action! The first half was of a poor standard with nothing much in the way of goalmouth action and the teams went in level.
A quick start to the second half resulted in the home team
taking the early lead through a neat poacher's goal from
Russell Bain after Spike's
shot was saved. We continued to put pressure on, with TJ's
being restricted to the odd breakaway attack on the
Poopster's net. I am not really sure what happened next cos
I went for a shower to make the most of being an unused
substitute and enjoyed the abundance of hot water, but when
the teams came in I was told that we won five nil, with
Gunny scoring two goals, one from the spot and Russell
notched a hat-trick.
Back to winning ways and a good three points -although we are going to have to improve our performance if we are to upset title favourites Wick Groats at Recreation Park next week. I am sure it is not beyond us though.
League Division 2 - 28/04/04
Halkirk 1 - 3 Lybster
After a good performance against the Acks, the Wildcat's
got a reality check in the league when their old foe's from
the coast claimed all three
A terrible night and tricky conditions meant that good football was at a premium and this seemed to suit the visitors. They took an early lead when a speculative shot from 30 yards slipped through Poop's grasp. Their advantage was quickly doubled following confusion at a corner led to a tap in for the striker. We did battle a bit then and after Gunny was scythed down in the area, Spike calmly converted the spot kick to get us back in contention. Unfortunately, all the hard work was undone when another long range effort deceived Stewpot and Phoenix went in at the break 3 - 1 up. Although we were on top for most of the second half, we never really threatened the young goalkeeper in the away net and the game somewhat peetered out without any major incident.
A poor result for the home team who now seem to be up against it for promotion after only three league games. We now have to look to go on an unbeaten run to try and get back in contention at the top.
David Allan Shield - 26/04/04
Thurso Acks 4 - 2 Halkirk
The wildcat's went into this game under the temporary management of Neilly Mackay after Josimar felt he had to resign due to some unrest in the camp. I would like to thank Josy for his efforts over the last couple of years.
We started the match with a slight change to the system and struggled a bit at the start. Just as we thought we had weathered the early storm, we fell a goal behind after Jamie Mackenzie found space inside the box and finished well. We came back at the Acks then and started to compete more and were rewarded when Keithy Foub netted with a neat finish after a great run by Martin Bain. Unfortunately, we couldn't hold out until half time and conceded just before the break when Lesby scored a good goal.
After a good display in the first half, we came out positively
second period and played some good stuff but again fell further
behind after another good finish by Lesby. Spike missed a good
chance after good
work between himself and blocks and then we were dealt a killer
blow when the referee refused the linesman's flag and allowed
Lesby to complete his hat-trick and make the score 4-1. We never
gave up however, and after a break from Lockie and Duck, Lockie's
deflected effort fell nicely for Duck to head the pall past the
despairing dive of Marc Swanson. There was no further action and
the game finished in a 4-2 win for the
first division leaders but the guys in Red & Black can take
plenty positives from a promising display as every player played
League Division 2 - 19/04/04
FSC 4 - 1 Halkirk
A very disappointing night in Wick for the wildcat's as they taste defeat in a game that was much closer than the scoreline suggests.
The match was played in tricky conditions with a strong wind blowing and the grass so long it was verging on ridiculous!
We made a good steady start and played some good football with several good chances created but missed. We then had a very strong shout for a penalty when Gunny was chopped down for what looked like a stone-waller but amazingly the ref waved play on indicating a dive but yet he failed to book the wing back. We then fell behind after a bit of a mix-up by Poop led to an indirect free kick in the box and they took the chance easily.
League Division 2 - 15/04/04
Thurso Thistle 1 - 2 Halkirk
The Wildcat's got their league campaign of to a winning start in very tricky conditions. The game only just got the go ahead with the referee very concerned about the waterlogged Ormlie pitch. After consulting both teams he agreed to the match being played. We started well and passed the ball about pretty good considering the underfoot conditions. One or two good chances were spurned and then disaster struck about 20mins when the home side went in front when they scored with their first attack. A long free kick caused confusion in the Halkirk box and with Poop stranded, Robbie Bell drove the ball home despite Duck's diving effort to stop his shot. To our credit, we never really panicked and continued to play our passing game and was finally rewarded when Gunny broke from defending a corner to set up Martin Bain, and although his shot was saved, the rebound fell to Luke Sawyer who tapped the ball into the empty net.
1-1 at half time.
We started the second half brightly and continued to create chances. Josimar tinkered with his line up at the break and switched Jets and Foub, with the new man going up front alongside Luke. Foub's hard work and battling qualities led to him getting what proved to be the winner as he charged down an attempted clearance by the goalkeeper and despatched what looked like a difficult chance with ease. With more chances squandered, we then found ourselves under a bit of unnecessary pressure for the last 10 as Thistle got a bit more possession but with the defence strong and Poop displaying a safe pair of hands from crossballs, they never looked like scoring.
A good display from everyone in a red and black jersey, with a special mention to the two young lads, Martin Bain and Luke Sawyer, who were both outstanding. A good win and a well deserved three points to start us of on our battle for promotion.
Rural League - 08/04/04
Halkirk 1 - 4 Pentland Utd
Another night of terrible footballing conditions meant the recreation park was bordering on waterlogged but it didn't stop the Wildcat's giving the Stab-eaters a good game. The stabs came flying out the traps and deservedly went in front about halfway through the first half. They then doubled their lead through an extremely offside looking goal, although the referee decided it was Ok and refused the linesman's flag. This seemed to inspire the wildcat's and they started to turn it round and put some pressure on the opposing defence and their hard work was rewarded when Lockie's 20 yard thunderbolt flew past Michael Gray. Shortly afterwards, Luke Sawyer had a brilliant run before being cynically brought down to win a freekick. Steam Jets tried his luck and his wonder strike hit the bar and rebounded to safety with the goalie beaten!
The second half was a great game
with the home team competing well with their more illustrious
opponents resorting to a counter attacking game, hitting us on the
break with their pace. Their attacking threat through Nigel
Mackenzie was evident throughout the second period, and their
extra fitness told as they scored two late goals.
A very encouraging display against the county champions prior to the second division kicking off net week.
Rural League - 04/04/04
Halkirk 0 - 1 John 'O' Groats
A much better day for football but unfortunately nobody told the players! A warm afternoon meant that the game was not played at a quick tempo although the hosts were mainly on top and played some good stuff in bits. They threatened in the first half with several long range efforts, notably from new midfield dynamo Foub and new free kick specialist Gunny!
All square at the break and it was a slightly more even second period although the wildcat's were still playing the better football. After squandering more chances, we then fell behind after some poor defending, notably from yours truly! We then finished strongly and were on top again but were denied by some great goalkeeping from Shaun Henderson.
Rural League - 01/04/04
Halkirk 0 - 2 Castletown
The Wildcat's went into this match missing a few familiar faces following a bit of a player exodus from Recreation Park over the close season. As well as a few departures, Josimar also had to make do without the suspended pairing of Spike and Blocksy. Prior to the match kicking off, the team received a new kit from new team sponsor, PRECISION BLINDS. (Cheers Nige!)
A very competitive match was played in good spirit but was unfortunately spoiled by a very strong wind blowing throughout the 90 minutes which didn't really help the wildcat's passing game. Castletown took the lead before half time when slack marking allowed a guy in samba's to rise unchallenged to head home from a corner kick. The second half started with Castletown bringing on their new big-name signing 'Judas Elder' although he played in an unfamiliar wing back role.
A pretty even second half ended with the visitors doubling their advantage after the home defence got in a bit of a mess due to the wind. Overall, a promising start to the season in very tough conditions with a word of praise to strike force Sawyer and Bain who battled well and a special mention to young debutants Shane Sutherland and Gavin Swanson!