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Late goal brings end to long losing run for Strathspey Thistle

By Gavin Musgrove

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Kris Duncan (left) netted late at home to Deveronvale to grab a point for the Jags.
Kris Duncan (left) netted late at home to Deveronvale to grab a point for the Jags.

A late goal salvaged a point for Strathspey Thistle and finally put an end to their long losing run in the Highland League stretching back to early October.

Jags boss Charlie Brown was naturally delighted with the draw after Kris Duncan pounced on slack defending to crash in an 88th minute leveller at home to mid-table Deveronvale.

The Grantown side had lost the previous eight games going back to a 7-3 win over Fort William more than three months ago.

Jags manager Charlie Brown told the Strathy afterwards: “I was so delighted for the boys as they had put so much effort into the game and until the goal went in it seemed like they were not going to get any reward.

“Obviously everyone was delighted but we had to get the players focused again for the last five minutes of the game and we managed to see it out for a deserved draw.

“Deveronvale did not have many opportunities after our equaliser it was more a case of keeping them at arm’s length and trying to create something at the other end.”

Brown added: “We were forced into some late changes in personnel due to injuries so it was great that we were able to hold on.”

James Fraser came on late on for the injured Shane Harkness with young loanee Dylan Lawrence moving up front and Craig Mackenzie going out wide with Fraser deputising for him in central midfield.

Brown hopes that his team can now build on that point. He was pleased that they have shrugged off their run of defeats.

“I told the players that point could make a big difference come the end of the season but there is no thinking that the job is done,” he said. “They have to remain focussed and keep performing to this same level.”

A shake-up in personnel and shape paid off for the Jags. Brown said: “We made a few changes to the starting 11 and these boys are in possession of the jersey now and need to keep this momentum going.”

He brought in Harkness and Joe Cuthbert who have been on the bench mostly this season with Robbie Donaldson back in nets after his one-match suspension.

James McShane moved back from midfield to centre half to accommodate the switches.

Brown said: “The boys one to 11 did extremely well and those that came on played their part as well. It was a pleasing performance all round.”

The Jags have a tough local derby when they are away to Rothes tomorrow. The Thistle boss said: “We will go in fully focused on doing as much attacking as possible. Hopefully if we can defend as well as we did on Saturday then we can come away with something.”

The Seafield Park side lost at home to Rothes in mid-September 4-1

Deveronvale’s latest recruit was almost celebrating a winning goal – until Duncan struck the late equaliser on Saturday.

Kyle MacKillop-Hall had netted as a trialist sub in Vale’s 4-3 defeat to Wick a week earlier, earning himself a two-and-a-half year deal at the club.

The ex-Aldershot Town and Huntly player repeated the feat on Saturday. Vale boss Craig Stewart said his team paid the penalty for not adding to the lead given to them by their 19-year-old new addition.

“If you don’t get that second goal and kill the game off there’s always the chance of that happening,” he said. “The boy took a shot from
25 yards out and it wasn’t going anywhere but instead it went direct to their man and he slotted it away.

“In a way we got what we deserved, one for the slack defending and two for not killing the game off.”

The Jags are in 16th place and now nine points above basement side Fort William with just one solitary point, and relegation being introduced in the Highland League from this season.

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