North Caledonian League trio Fort William, Invergordon and Golspie Sutherland withdraw from Scottish Cup

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The three teams of the North Caledonian League in the Scottish Cup were eliminated in the preliminary phase on Saturday.

Fort William, who moved from the Highland League to the NCL last season, lost 4-0 at home to West of Scotland Premier League opponents Benburb Juniors.

Grant Lynch Brennan gave the Glasgow side an early lead and Aaron Black doubled it in the 19th minute.

Fort, which is mostly a newly formed side under new manager Chris Baffour, ensured no further damage in the first half.

However, Black added Benburb’s third goal in the 58th minute before Lewis McTaggart completed the scoring at Claggan Park.

NCL champions Invergordon, playing their first-ever draw in the competition, lost 5-1 to Newtongrange Star at Global Energy Stadium in Ross County.

A brace from Chris Robertson and a goal from Liam McIntosh took the East of Scotland Premier Division visitors 3-0 up in 21 minutes.

Jacob Lockett brought Invergordon back to the tie soon after, but second-half goals from McIntosh and Robertson put the result beyond the reach of the NCL league winners and Star booked their place in the first round.

Golspie Sutherland made a 10-hour round trip to the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie to take on Second Division opponents West of Scotland at the University of Glasgow.

However, they lost 2-0 after also being reduced to 10 men with a red card in the first half.

Orkney stunned by athletic recovery

Inverness Athletic are the first leaders of the North Caledonian League after claiming an impressive 3-2 victory against Orkney.

The Islanders looked set for a straightforward afternoon as debutants Jason Scott and Owen Rendall fired them 2-0 ahead in the opening 17 minutes.

The visitors had a goal disallowed in the first half, so they were trailing by those two goals at the break.

Danni Bruce headed Inverness into the game in the 50th minute and a curling shot from Harry Shewan shortly after made it 2-2.

The drama ended in stoppage time when Luke Mackay hit the winner of Athletic’s first-ever win over Orkney to put them top of the table after the opening two matches.

Loch Ness hit the goal at Clach

Last season’s runners-up Loch Ness are second again thanks to their emotional 7-1 win over newcomers Clachnacuddin A.

Mark Kennedy opened the scoring for Loch Ness but Clach’s Thomas Lewis quickly responded to make it 1-1.

Fortrose-based Loch Ness stepped up their action against Lilywhite Youngsters and Phil MacDonald’s brace and goals from Allan MacPhee and Mark Kennedy gave them a 5-1 half-time lead.

Ryan Walker was shown a red card for Clach in the second half before goals from Scott Morrison and Dean Boyce added to the scoring.

It was a tough 90 minutes for the young and talented Lilywhites, who won the Amateur League Division Two away from Inverness in the summer.

Balfour goal knocks Nairn off the mark

County Nairn A picked up their first win of the season as they beat visitors Bonar Bridge 1-0 in their first game of the new campaign.

Liam Balfour’s 73rd-minute strike earned victory for the home side, who responded well to their opening matchday loss to Thurso.

Vikings and Saints advance in cup

There were also two Football Times Cup first round matches this weekend.

In a repeat of last year’s final, Thurso won a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw. He went the distance last season between these rivals and it was still the same.

Jonah Martens gave the hosts Halkirk an early lead but Marc Macgregor’s penalty made it 1-1 after 21 minutes.

Martens restored Halkirk’s lead just before the hour mark, but James McLean equalized for the holders, who tied the game 4-3 on penalties.

St Duthus got off to a good start in the competition, scoring five unanswered goals at Alness United.

First-half goals from Kyle Mackenzie and Finn As-Chainey put Alan Geegan’s side in control.

As-Chainey added a third just after the break before Ben Bruce and Shaun Marshall added more shine.

Saturday fixtures – Football Times Cup First Round – Golspie Sutherland v Inverness Athletic (1.30pm); North Caledonian League – Orkney v Bonar Bridge (12.45pm), Loch Ness v Invergordon (2pm), Thurso v Fort William (2pm), Alness United v Halkirk United (2pm), St Duthus v Nairn County A.

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[North Caledonian League trio Fort William, Invergordon and Golspie Sutherland bow out of Scottish Cup]

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