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Manager took off 'pensioners' to help Clachnacauddin come back from three goals down and salvage draw against Strathspey Thistle to stay off bottom of Highland League

By Will Clark

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Clachnacuddin v Strathspey Thistle. Picture: Callum Mackay..
Clachnacuddin v Strathspey Thistle. Picture: Callum Mackay..

Highland League

Clachnacuddin 4

Strathspey Thistle 4

Manager Conor Gethins says he was unhappy Clachnacuddin found themselves 3-0 down at half time against bottom of the table Strathspey Thistle before producing an incredible comeback to salvage a point.

He says he made the decision to take himself and Martin Callum off at half time and replace them with younger legs in the second half after Strathspey had threatened to run riot.

Only an injury time goal from Connor Bunce prevented Clach from falling to the bottom of the league in an eight-goal thriller at Grant Street Park.

The Lilywhites still haven't won in the Highland League all season with no victory in any of their 14 matches. But thanks to the late equaliser, they remain one point ahead of Strathspey Thistle at the bottom of the table.

Gethins though was unhappy that Clachnacuddin put themselves in that position, but also pleased they produced a response in the second half.

Gethins, who was appointed manager last month, said: "I am not happy at all, 3-0 down at half time is unacceptable in a relegation battle.

"We made the decision at half time to take myself and Martin Callum off because we are pensioners. We needed younger legs to come in and change the shape and accommodate and help out the midfield.

"From the first minute of the second half, we were on it and I was loving see it.

"3-0 down to 3-3 each was great, but then we threw away a stupid fourth goal, if we didn't do that we could have gone on to win the game."

"We showed a lack of guile and game management more than anything. I went in at half time and I thought we were gone. I looked about the changing room and heads were down and as the older players, we tried to rally them.

"It was difficult, but what a performance in the second half and I said that to them after the game. That is what I want and what this team is all about. We will burst our arses for 90 minutes and not give them a second."

Strathspey took the lead in the 31st minute when Liam Shewan managed to guide home a free kick into the box which resulted in a scramble before he managed to shoot home.

The Grantown outfit doubled their advantage four minutes later when Daniel Whitehorn managed to get on to a cross from Shewan on the right wing and fired home.

Just before half time, Ross Logan beat the Clachnacuddin defence in the air to nod home a cross to put Strathspey 3-0 up at half time.

But Clachnacuddin fought back in the second half to level the game.

Fergus Adams scored a close range header six minutes into the second half and own goal on the hour mark reduced the deficit to one.

Bunce then got on a cross from Lewis Mackenzie with 10 minutes remaining to level the game at 3-3.

But 60 seconds later, Jack Davison put Strathspey Thistle back in front which looked like being enough for the Jags.

But in injury time, a free kick from the edge of the box saw Bunce find the net to salvage a point for Clachnacuddin.

Elsewhere, Nairn County needed an injury time penalty to defeat Forres Mechanics 2-1 at Station Park.

Their first game since winning the North of Scotland Cup final last week, Nairn took the lead when George Robesten, on loan from Ross County, found the net in the 16th minute.

Forres looked like they had rescued a point when Craig Mackenzie scored six minutes from time. But Andrew Macleod, also on loan from Ross County, scored from the penalty spot, seven minutes into injury time, to give Nairn all three points.

Highland League results

Banks o' Dee 2 Formartine United 1

Brora Rangers 3️ Huntly 0

Buckie Thistle 5️ Wick Academy 2

Clachnacuddin 4️ Strathspey Thistle 4

Deveronvale 3 Lossiemouth 1

Keith 1️ Inverurie Locos 2

Nairn County 2️ Forres Mechanics 1

Rothes 0️ Fraserburgh 3

Turriff United 0 Brechin City 3

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