Grantown United round off title-winning season in style with victory over Aviemore Thistle
Grantown Utd 4-0 Aviemore Thistle
The Jags fielded a depleted side, unable to muster any substitutes, and United took full advantage of the situation.
In the 19th minute United were awarded a free kick down in the far corner after Fraser Greenlees was taken down. From the resulting set piece Tolga Dagtas whipped in a great ball to the six-yard line, and Iain Brooks jumped highest to head the ball into the corner of the Thistle net.
Five minutes later it was 2-0 when United midfielder Fraser Munro lobbed Aviemore keeper Benn Bremner from just inside the box to put his side well on the way to victory.
On the hour mark, quick thinking from Gary McHendry lofted a throw-in which sent Graham Murray scampering down the wing, and his subsequent cross into the box was met on the volley by Brooks to drill home.
The Jags were offering bouts of resistance, but United were in dominant form, and a fourth goal was on the cards.
And it finally arrived when striker Tolga Dagtas turned the Thistle centre half inside out before striking home from 14 yards to seal the points.
After the game United were presented with the league shield by Brian Ritchie from league sponsor David Ritchie & Sons Ltd, bringing the 2019 campaign to a close.
One game remains however, as the two sides meet for the last time this year in the MacLean Cup Final. This will be held tomorrow (Friday) at Strathspey Thistle’s Seafield Park with a 7:15pm kick off.
Boat of Garten Ospreys 3-6 Kingussie
Kingussie began their first half route early on when a tremendous free kick from Sam Nield hit the post and fell sweetly to Ben Mitchell to smash into the net.
It was a double for Mitchell soon after when a poor Boat clearance found his chest just outside the box, and he controlled the ball well before powering a volley beyond the keeper.
Kingussie were rampant now and good pressing from Darrin Fowler caused the Boat defence to gift the ball to Stuart Mitchell on the wing, and his inch perfect cross into the back post was met by Finlay McBain to tap in.
The Ospreys pulled one back through Kalen Clark after a square ball from Connor Macleod found his feet 25 yards out. He settled himself, sidestepped a challenge and sent a brilliant effort into the far corner.
Kingussie got their fourth when a good over-the-top ball from Douglas Guy found Mitchell one-on-one with the keeper and he smashed the ball through the stopper’s legs to complete his hat-trick.
Clearly dissatisfied with only three, Mitchell then grabbed his fourth of the game when a good run from Cameron McNiven led to him finding Mitchell inside the box who drilled it hard and low into far corner.
Kings extended their lead early in the second half when Neild drilled a low free kick at the keeper who palmed the ball away, but it fell to Stuart Mitchell to tap into an empty net for 6-1.
However Boat were far from down, and a second goal came after a brilliant defence-splitting through ball from Macleod found Stefan Ritchie. He then made a sizzling run between the full back and centre back to hold off his man and send a cool finish into the bottom corner.
And it was game on as Kalen Clark got on the score sheet again with another sumptuous finish from 25 yards after Xavier Flamand won the ball in his own half and made a surging run, playing a 1-2 with Clark the whole way up the field before Clark let rip from 25 yards again and sent a left footed drive right into the top bin.
Sadly for the Ospreys they had nothing left in the tank and their comeback spluttered out as Kings held on to secure the points.
Boat of Garten Ospreys 2 – 4 Aviemore Thistle
Thistle booked their own cup final berth with a win over the Ospreys at ‘Ze Nest’.
It was a brutal introduction for Boat’s Cairn White as he opened the scoring for the Jags in the first minute of the game. Thistle’s Damian Paluga swung an innocuous ball into the penalty area, but a failure in communication between stand-in keeper Gavin MacKinnon and his defence ended with White powering a diving header into his own net.
Boat levelled after Liam Grant went on a brilliant run down the flank, skipping past challenge after challenge before finally being brought down in the box for a penalty. The same man stepped up and smashed a rocket finish into the roof of the net.
Boat continued to have the better of the chances forcing some nice saves from the Aviemore keeper, whilst his opposite number remained relatively untested for the remainder of the half.
However the Ospreys fell behind again following the restart when Xaier Flamand was robbed of the ball on the edge of his own penalty area by Damian Paluga. He then went on a mazy run inside the area and fired a shot from close range which was parried by keeper MacKinnon, but the rebound landed neatly at Paluga’s feet to slot home.
David Robertson then made it 3-1 to Thistle after another penalty before extending their lead further in somewhat controversial style.
A cross into the area found Brian Minard attempting a header on goal from a David Robertson cross, however the ball missed his head but appeared to strike his hand before crossing the line. The Boat players cried foul but the referee was unsighted and awarded the goal.
It was a night for penalties though, and Boat grabbed a late consolation from the spot. Callum Mackenzie was felled by Thistle keeper Benn Bremner just inside the area, and Connor MacLeod drilled home the spot kick into the bottom right corner.