Nicolson Institute under 14s reach North of Scotland final

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The Nicolson U14 boys team won through to the final of the North of Scotland Cup with a comprehensive 4-1 beating of Millburn Academy last Wednesday. Goals came from Matthew Wright (2), Stevie Mutch and Ruairidh Maclennan. In the final they will play Fraserburgh who beat Thurso in the other semi final.

The Millburn group had come over the previous evening on a bumpy ferry journey, but the Nicolson lads were in no mood for sympathy as they tore into their Inverness counterparts from the outset. Time and again they found room down the left and good combinations between Calum Maclennan and Mikey Jones were giving the visitors problems. The Nicolson’s first good chance was hit over the bar by Mikey before he hit the crossbar from close range following a nice combination between Ross Maciver and Matthew Wright. The visitors could hardly get out of their half as the Yellows poured forward. The first goal eventually came after 15 mins when Matthew was sent through in the inside left channel. He took one look and hammered the ball left footed across the keeper into the far corner. Great finish! Nicolson 1 v 0 Millburn. The Mums and Dads celebrated and began to dream of a trip to “the Mainland”. Nice. There was no let up from the lads and chances came and went until eventually the 2nd goal came. Ruairidh Maclennan got the ball 10 yards out, did a wee highland dance around the ball, and passed it nicely into the corner. Nicolson 2 v 0 Millburn. (32 mins). Millburn were looking forward to their half time cuppa but Stevie Mutch wasn’t going to let them off that easy. The midfielder, who had already gone close with a couple of long shots, found his range perfectly and hit a cracker in off the underside of the bar to make it 3 v 0 just before half time.

In truth it had been one way traffic and the biggest problem the lads would have in the 2nd half was to maintain focus and workrate. The boys were told this at half time. There was one change as Joseph Stewart replaced Sean Macmillan, who had done well to play through a slight injury in the first half.

Into the second half and Millburn started to come in to the game a bit more now they had the wind at their backs. The Nicolson still had the bulk of the play and Sam Mackay was dominating the ball in centre midfield, switching the play from side to side and showing great skills too. Not to be outdone, Stevie Mutch played a lovely pass through to Matthew Wright who passed the ball coolly beyond the Millburn keeper. Great goal. Nicolson 4 v 0 Millburn. (55 mins). To be fair to the Invernesians, they were missing a few players who are at Caley and so weren’t allowed to play (which would really annoy me as a schools coach, it did theirs). However, they continued to battle away and following a high cross into the box, the ball was allowed to bounce up invitingly for the centre forward to shoot high beyond Daniel Macdonald in goal. It was a disappointing goal for the Nicolson to lose but hopefully will teach the Iads a wee lesson. Concentrate for the whole game! Nicolson 4 v 1 Millburn (60 mins). The game got a bit scrappy as both teams made a few substitutions and a freezing cold rain/snow shower didn’t help matters. Its nearly May! The Nicolson were able to hold out comfortably, sending the fans home happy. Well done lads.

A big thanks to Bugsy for reffing the game at short notice and in the wrong footwear! The U14s are an excellent team with a lot of very good individuals. If they continue to work hard and play as a team then they should have an excellent chance of winning some trophies as they move through school. Hopefully the first one will be in a few weeks, Come on Nicci!