The Nicolson Institute 3
The Nicolson Institute senior boys team recently faced off against Fortrose Academy in the North of Scotland Cup Quarter Final. It was another away day trip for the lads from Lewis. The game was played in excellent mid-winter conditions, a crisp day with plenty of sunshine. The Nicolson started the match with an orthodox 4-4-2 formation and Fortrose playing a 4-5-1 formation.
The game started and both teams settled very quickly. It was a tight first few minutes and the first clear sight of goal was gifted to the Nicolson forward James Murray. In what was literally schoolboy defending, a ball was played through the centre of the Fortrose defence and looked like it should have been cleared but the defender misjudged the flight of the ball and James Murray latched onto it quicker than a toupee in a hurricane and proceeded to go round the stranded keeper and calmly roll the ball into the empty net to put The Nicolson team 1-0 ahead after 8 minutes. The Fortrose defender may have nightmares about that for years.
The next ten minutes saw Fortrose apply the pressure to The Nicolson team and their centre forward fired over the bar from inside the area and their centre-half also hit the crossbar with a header from a corner. It was clear that the Fortrose team were a very capable outfit and that they liked to play football.
After 20 minutes The Nicolson hit Fortrose with a sucker punch on the counter attack. Alex John Morrison went down the left wing at pace and was scythed down by the Fortrose right back earning a free kick in a dangerous area on the corner of the Fortrose penalty box. Alex John took the free kick himself and played a beautiful ball into the box which was then knocked into his own net by a Fortrose defender for an own goal putting The Nicolson 2-0 ahead. It was a good time to score after a period of Fortrose pressure.
Both teams had another half-chance each before half time came with the score remaining 2-0 to The Nicolson.
At half time The Nicolson team utilised the rolling subs rule and made 2 changes to freshen things up and at the same time asked one of the forwards to drop into midfield when Fortrose had the ball. The second half kicked off, Fortrose were playing better football overall but The Nicolson were more comfortable with the extra man in midfield and were able to play some better football themselves than in the first half. The first 20 minutes of the second half were very evenly balanced with Fortrose searching for a crucial goal to start a comeback and The Nicolson team hunting for the killer third.
It was The Nicolson team that struck next. After 73 minutes Luke Mackay was played through the centre of the pitch, he picked the ball up about 40 yards from goal and out ran the chasing defender and fired the ball into the roof of the net to all but clinch the match. Luke was waiting for this opportunity the whole game and, when given the opportunity, he showed that he has genuine pace and that he knows where the goal is.
The rest of the match was played out The Nicolson emerging victorious at the final whistle.
It was a great performance by The Nicolson team. Every player in the squad on the day played an important part in securing the victory. The goalkeeper was reliable when called into action. The defence were rock solid once again, as they were in the previous round. The midfield put in a great shift going forward and defensively. The forwards scored goals and worked hard. The team as a whole showed a lot of desire and put in 110% against a good Fortrose team who were very comfortable on the ball. Goals win games, and The Nicolson clinically scored their goals at crucial times in the match. The Nicolson boys can are capable of playing better football but their effort could not be questioned on this occasion.
The Nicolson Boys are now through to the semi final in what will be a home tie against either Elgin Academy or Inverness High School.
Team: Ali Murray, Euan Shirkie, Angus Macdonald, Ruaraidh Macmillan, Lewis Macdonald, Alexander Macdonald, Eachainn Miller, Callum Mackay, Alex John Morrison, Luke Mackay, James Murray, Andrew Mackay, Colin Morrison, Ruaraidh Graham