Written by Graeme MacLeod December 30th 2022

After league defeats to Loch Ness, St Duthus and Bonar Bridge at the start of the year, we progressed to the semi finals of the North Caledonian Cup with a penalty shootout win at Thurso. The match had finished 1-1 with Robbie Lean’s opener cancelled out before we won on spotkicks.

The semi final ended in a narrow home defeat to St Duthus who led 2-0 but hung on for the win after Grant Hogg had halved the deficit for us.

Goals from Sam Gordon and Kieran Duffty saw us sink Alness United 2-0 at Station Park on March 16th and the season ended with a narrow 1-0 home defeat to eventual champions Invergordon, whose victory proved crucial in their title success. It meant that we finished eighth in the 11-team division.

The final match of the Highland League season saw Duffty make his First Team debut as he came on as a substitute in the 5-3 home win over Turriff United. It was a match in which Nathan Grant also made his first start for the club.

Grant was promoted to the First Team squad over the close season with Robbie Mackenzie, Callum Morrison and Dean Calderwood leaving the club and Jamie Young only appearing three times in the new season before relocating for work.

Robbie Lean and Reid Peterkin were promoted from the Under-18s while Kyle Torrie and Kieran Munro were added to the squad along with the returning Tyler Eadie, Ryan Moodie and Kieran Thompson.

John Grant was called up to the First Team and made five consecutive appearances in August and September, with the last four being from the start, although the defender’s run in the team was cut short by a knee ligament injury sustained against Drumchapel United in the Scottish Cup. He has now undergone surgery and is aiming to be back training by the end of next year.

After an opening day 4-2 defeat to Thurso in which Kyle MacDonald and Duffty found the net, we got off the mark the following week when Liam Balfour scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 home win over Bonar Bridge.

Duffty’s early opener had us ahead at Golspie Sutherland in September but the hosts battled back late on to win it by the odd goal in three.

Ciaran Young netted a double with Ross Peters on target in between as we battled out a 3-3 home draw with Inverness Athletic then Duffty, Hogg and Eadie all netted in a 3-2 home win over Alness United in November. Later the same month, Sam Gordon notched a brace with Calum Howarth and an own goal also contributing to a 4-3 home success over Halkirk United.

Grant Hogg was called up for First Team duty for the Highland League (Morganti) Cup tie at Lossiemouth playing from the start and keeping his place in the team for the final three matches of the year.

In the final match of the year, Murray Wilson notched a late equaliser to make it 3-3 away at Alness United with Rory Williamson and Callum Maclean also on target. But the hosts grabbed an an even later winner to gain revenge for defeat in the reverse fixture.

The Reserves recommence their season away at Halkirk United on January 7th. They play their home fixtures at Nairn Academy Astro.

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