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Match Report - Thurso F.C 5 V Invergordon 0 - Port Services Cup Semi-Final -
Saturday 4th October 2003

Thurso line-up - Mackay, Gray (Warner 73), Farmer, A.Sutherland, R.Sutherland, Bremner, N.MacKenzie, J.MacKenzie, P.Makhouli, Morris (Chessor 78), MacDougall (Coghill 70).

Invergordon Line-up  - Campbell, Sinclair, Smith, Cooper, Innes, MacDonald Ogilvie, Dinwoodie, Scobbie, Whitelaw, Ross (Oman 60). Subs Note Used - Ross and Stewart.

Thurso again made changes from last week's poor showing at Balintore with young Brora keeper Ridgers making way for Brian Mackay in goals, Coghill taking a place on the bench with Jamie MacKenzie taking up a midfield berth plus Alan Sutherland returning to the defence allowing Kevin Morris to take a position up front with Phil Makhouli with Alan Murray on holiday, Thurso had a more familiar line-up for this Port Services Cup Semi-Final played on a wet and windy afternoon.

Thurso came out of the blocks strongly with the strong wind blowing across the pitch from the river and a combination of rain then hailstones making it difficult for the players. It was Thurso who settled quicker to the conditions with Bremner and Nigel MacKenzie making some dangerous runs and crosses into the box and it was no surprise when Thurso took the lead after 2 minutes.

Nigel MacKenzie won a corner on the right and when the corner was played in by Bremner, Invergordon failed to clear the dangerous ball and after several attempts to beat keeper Campbell it finally kicked up to Makhouli and from a few yards out he headed the ball into the net.

In the fifth minute Lee MacDougall broke down the left and had a powerful effort saved low down at Campbell's right post, then two minutes later Morris had a strike from 20 yards blocked by the hard pushed Invergordon rearguard.

After 8 minutes Invergordon had their first effort on goal as Dinwoodie had a 20 yard effort blocked by Gray, then a minute later Thurso almost doubled their lead when Kevin Morris knocked down a cross ball into the patch of Ross Sutherland who was destined to score from 5 yards until the intervention of Campbell who blocked the net bound effort with his legs.

Nigel MacKenzie was again causing great problems in the Invergordon defence when he put in a dangerous cross from the right to Kevin Morris which was cleared for a corner then after 19 minutes he ran on to a 40 yard cross field pass from Ross Sutherland into the right hand channel then ran on another 30 yards and beat the keeper with an angled drive into the bottom corner of the net.

Invergordon replied with the second effort of the game when Ogilvie picked up the ball on the right of the penalty box and unleashed an angled drive, which brought out an excellent acrobatic save from Brian Mackay.

After 21 minutes Nigel MacKenzie played in yet another dangerous cross ball from the right to Phil Makhouli who brought out another save from Campbell.

In the 23rd Minute Smith and Innes were booked for Invergordon as frustration was getting to them.

A minute later Thurso conceded a free kick on the edge of the box, however MacDonald's effort deflected wide for a corner. Five minutes later the same player was shown the yellow card for a bad tackle.

On the 30th Minute Lee MacDougall came to the fore in this match as Thurso switched their attacking to the left hand side of the pitch when he raced down the left and played in a ball to Nigel MacKenzie who had an audacious flick with the outside of his right foot brilliantly saved by Campbell for a corner. Then Lee MacDougall wanted to get in of the scoring when he had a 25-yard effort go wide after 32 minutes.

Then Lee MacDougall played in a free kick from the left, which was headed over by Kevin Morris. MacDougall was again causing havoc down the left but this time it was to bear fruit as he broke free down the wing and played a square ball to Morris who easily beat the keeper with a low shot from 6 yards.

With five minutes to go to half time Phil Makhouli went on a mazy run through the middle and at the last minute when he looked like scoring an Invergordon boot found Campbell, which was surely a pass-back, but the referee played on.

Then two minutes later Kevin Morris turned neatly in the box and shot from 6 yards but was blocked and the ball fell to Ross Sutherland who was unlucky again as his powerful strike shaved the top of the cross bar from 25 yards.

In the 44th minute Thurso took an unassailable 4 goal lead when Nigel MacKenzie crossed from the right to Ross Sutherland who had his header saved from point blank range, however Phil Makhouli followed up to score and double his tally for the game with a simple finish from 6 yards.

Half-time - Thurso 4 V Invergordon 0

Holding a four-goal lead Thurso continued in the same vain with pacy attacks from the right with Nigel MacKenzie and on the left with Lee MacDougall causing Invergordon more problems.

In the 50th Minute Nigel MacKenzie played in a cross from the right to Kevin Morris but the big striker put the ball wide from 10 yards.

Two minutes later Ross Sutherland played in Nigel MacKenzie who shot wide from 15 yards.

In the 55th minute Thurso almost extended their lead again as efforts from Gavin Bremner and Ross Sutherland were blocked by the Invergordon back line.

After 60 minutes Invergordon replaced Ross with Oman. Then after 70 minutes Ian Coghill replaced Lee MacDougall who had put in a hard working shift on the left wing and three minutes later Kevin Warner mad another step in his comeback from serious injury when he was given a run out and replaced Gray in the defence.

In 77 minutes Gavin Bremner was booked for a late challenge, then a minute later Thurso used the last of their subs as Gavin Chessor took a position on the right wing replacing veteran striker Kevin Morris.

The game had now lulled slightly with Thurso happy with their four-goal lead and a place in The Port Services Cup Final and Invergordon happy to keep the score down.

Then Thurso put the icing on the cake as Phil Makhouli scored from a Jamie MacKenzie pass and complete his hat trick and Thurso's passage to the final in style.

Other scores on the day saw Alness United book a place in the final against Thurso with a 4-0 win away in Helmsdale against Bunillidh Thistle.  In the league championship Balintore took advantage of Alness and Thurso playing in cup-ties as they opened a gap at the top with a 6-0 win away in Dornoch.  Golspie Sutherland continued their early season form with 3-1 home win against Bonar Bridge and finally Tain St.Duthus moved on to the 9 point mark with Alness and Thurso with a 2-0 home win against Halkirk United.

Brian Mackay
TFC website editor - www.thursofc.co.uk