North Caledonian League, SWL Cup Semi-Final
Halkirk United 2 Golspie Sutherland 2, 7-6 on penalties (att 40)
I'm not sure how sensible it was to head from a Wednesday night game in Cornwall to a Saturday afternoon match in the far north of Scotland, but in my defence I had a night at home in between, and the trip of Caithness was part of a long weekend away.
Halkirk United's move to their new Morrison Park, next door to their former base at Recreation Park, presented a logistical headache. Getting this far north in time for a Saturday afternoon game is a challenge, so having spent Friday night in Inverness it made sense (to me at least) to drive up to Halkirk.
The new venue is very well equipped for this level of football. Players still change in the pavilion next to the old pitch, but Morrison Park is railed off, floodlit, and has two substantial covered standing areas. A portable building in a corner near the entrance houses a snack bar.
A preview of this tie in Friday's Press and Journal newspaper suggested Golspie would be without 12 of their regular players. If that was correct they did well to take Halkirk, top of the league, to a penalty decider.
The home side had the better of the 90 minutes, but clear goalscoring chances were rare until the game's final quarter. Halkirk finally went ahead after 73 minutes, but Golspie struck back to level just three minutes later.
Within a minute or so Halkirk were back in front, but once again a doggedly-determined Golspie equalised. No extra time in this cup, so straight a penalty shootout won, eventually, by the home side, although all 20 outfield players took kicks before Halkirk triumphed 7-6.