St Duthus 3 Thurso 1

St. Duthus bounced back from defeat to Orkney with an impressive 3-1 victory over Thurso on Saturday. It was another first for Geegan's charges, Saints never having recorded a home league win over the Vikings as Will Ross got them off the mark in the first half with a header.

Thurso did manage to level in the second half, but a brace from Jake Lockett secured the points as the Tain side wrapped the game up in dominant fashion.

There were a couple of absences to add to the long term injuries to Adam Allan and Stuart Mackay, with Ross Tokely, Duncan Davidson and John Allan all unavailable. Barry Kenny, making his final appearance for the club before his retirement from playing, took a place at centre half and captained the side.

A tepid first half saw little in the way of chances created for either side, with opportunities restricted mainly to set pieces and corners.

Thurso were first to test Gillan in the Saints nets with a low drive from Innes Mackintosh, which was easily held. Moments later at the other end, trialist goalkeeper Ryan Bain could only watch on as a Paul Gair corner grazed his crossbar and flew out to safety.

The first real chance of the game came as a result of persistence from Jake Lockett who won the ball and played a superb through pass to a sprinting Daniel Christie. The midfielder opted to lay the ball off to his right instead of attempting a left foot strike, and from the pass, As-Chainey sidefooted just wide of goal.

The opener arrived for St Duthus on 22 minutes from a corner kick. Superb delivery from Christie found the head of Will Ross who nodded over Bain and into the net to score his first of the season.

The ball was in the net again ten minutes later when a Gair free kick was flicked beyond Bain by As-Chainey, but the wide man was deemed to be in an offside position when the ball was fed in.

Thurso's best chance of the first half fell to David Hale on 35 minutes when he was played in on goal for a one on one with Gillan, but the Saints stopper was up to the challenge and palmed the ball away.

Lockett was unlucky not to hit the target with a screwed shot shortly before the interval after good work from Ben Bruce to play the striker in on goal; his shot steering just wide of the upright.

Thurso came out of the traps a lot hungrier for the second half, and forcing a couple of corners early on they should have done better.

Saints had the ball in the net only to be denied by the referee's whistle yet again, this time Barry Kenny finding the net with a good finish on the end of a Christie free kick before being called back for offside.

Just a few minutes later, the referee's whistle was heard again, this time Bruce finding the net with a superb header after a curling cross from Will Ross found the striker. Again, the Saints player was deemed to be in an offside position.

Saints were beginning to turn on the style now, and Bruce should have doubled their advantage on the hour mark after James Mackay cut the ball back across goal. Christie with the follow up saw his chance blocked as Thurso scrambled the ball away.

Somewhat against the run of play, Thurso did level the scores on 65 minutes, and the goal came in spectacular fashion with an overhead kick from team captain James McLean. Gillan did well to save a header from Conor Trueman, but couldn't prevent the eventual finish from McLean.

Saints were undeterred though and could have immediately retaken the lead with a couple of set piece chances. First, a Gair free kick found the head of Will Ross and Bain had to be on his toes to save well. Moments later, Lockett rattled the crossbar with a free kick from 20 yards.

Introducing Kyle Mackenzie for Bruce, Saints found a new energy up front and the pressure paid off on 83 minutes when Lockett found the net with a downward header, connecting with another well delivered Christie corner.

Mackenzie missed a close range chance five minutes later, but turned creator as the game moved into stoppage time. The striker played a superb through ball to find Lockett who finished well to net his second and Saints' third.

Team: Danny Gillan, Will Ross, Sam Ross (Gary Millard 60), John Skinner, Barry Kenny, Paul Gair, James MacKay, Daniel Christie, Ben Bruce (Kyle Mackenzie 72), Jake Lockett, Finn As-Chainey (Lewis Smith 87)
Subs not used: Adrian Voigt, Caillean Eaglesham

Referee: Ivan Leslie

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