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WATCH: Inverness Athletic lose grip on top spot with defeat to Rothes

By Niall Harkiss

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AT Bught Park, Inverness Athletic under-18s surrendered their lead at the top of the Highland Football League North table in a 4–3 defeat to Rothes.

Rothes punished the city side for a slow start by racing into a three-goal lead, Jake Greenhorn netting after just three minutes.

On the half hour mark, Kenzie Shepherd doubled the Speysiders' lead, and just minutes later Conaire Bowie made it three with a goal from the penalty spot.

To their credit, Inverness battled back and on 42 minutes, Max Morrison chipped Wilson Diack in the Rothes goal to reduce the deficit.

On the stroke of half time, Liam Golabek produced a fine finish from an angle to further close the gap.

Capping off a fine comeback, Athletic restored parity on 51 minutes through Kieran Goddard, but a winning goal ultimately proved to be a bridge too far.

Following a series of chances for both sides, it was Rothes who grabbed the decider with five minutes remaining, Shepherd netting his second to claim all three points for his side.

To compound Athletic's disappointment, Marc Elsey was shown red in the dying moments for dissent.

Elsewhere, champions Clachnacuddin were soundly beaten by Keith at Simpson Park.

Robbie Macgregor had given the Lilywhites the lead after 11 minutes, but their control of the game proved to be short lived as Shayne Gordon and Aedan Gray scored to put things in Keith's favour at the break.

A Scott Macdonald own goal and a strike from defender Nathan Scott completed the victory for the Maroons.

Alness United moved into first place with a 4–1 win away to Buckie Thistle.

At a blustery Buckie High School, Arran Thain opened the scoring ten minutes into the game with a shot slipped past Lucas Farquhar. Playing against the wind, United created chances but didn't add further to their tally until the second period.

But it was Buckie who scored next, levelling the scores against the run of play through Logan Mill. The home side also hit the crossbar.

But United's persistence paid off and Alex Stevenson grabbed a second for Alness with a powerful strike from the edge of the box.

Aaron Skinner bagged a third for the visitors with a shot from close range.

The win was rounded off with a goal from substitute Struan Ramsay, who cut in from the right wing and found the net with a shot across goal.

The games between St Duthus and Forres Mechanics, and Wick Academy and Lossiemouth were postponed.

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