Wick High Football Heroics at Gordonstoun!

Our Senior Football team recorded a famous away victory in the Scottish School’s Cup last week as they won over prestigious private school, Gordonstoun. S6 Leader and goalkeeper of the side, Archie Budge, very kindly wrote a match report for this website to give us a superb perspective on this famous victory for our school…

The victorious Wick High School team at Gordonstoun.

The draw for Scottish Schools Football Cup can often throw up unexpected pairings. Wick High’s win against Fortrose in the previous round secured their place in the new draw. Wick’s name was pulled out with Gordonstoun. The private school, based just outside Elgin, was to be the venue for this mouthwatering clash. Gordonstoun, the school attended by Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were now to take on the mighty Wick High, which no members of the Royal family have yet attended. 

The team made the trip by mini bus accompanied by our reliable driver Sandy Mackay and our tactical maestro and team manager Mr Ross. Following the trip down from Wick we turned in to the grounds of the internationally renowned Gordonstoun School. The long drive way and the impressive main school building looked very special. We were greeted at the school by very friendly and welcoming staff. We visited the dining room for an enjoyable lunch before being shown around some of the school facilities. Following the game, we returned to the dining room for a complimentary dinner. Gordonstoun are to be congratulated for the excellent way they welcomed and provided for the Wick High school pupils and staff. 

The long walk to the football pitch from the sports campus had both a sense of excitement and nervousness. The pitch came into sight. If it was not for the freshly lined football pitch markings, the area could easily be mistaken for a bowling green. 

There was just enough time for the Wick boys to settle into a warm up. For a final time, Mr Ross was able to go through the complex, intricate tactics in his playbook. He fielded a strong versatile team with good attacking options. 

The referee’s whistle blew and we were off. Gordonstoun started well, trying to play a possession game. The aggressive pressure by the Wick forwards, Lewis Shepherd, Alan Mathieson and Mark Macadie, made this very difficult for them. This high press tactic gave the Gordonstoun players very little time on the ball before a tackle was made. The battling midfielders, Sam Barclay and Michael Sutherland, also made it very hard for Gordonstoun to play it out through the middle of the park. Any long balls or last ditch clearances out of their defence  were quickly thwarted by the alert defending of Joe Anderson, Ross Mackay and Owen Mathieson.

Wick began to emerge as the stronger side with a majority of the first 45 minutes being played in the Gordonstoun half. It was not long before the Wick side “came knocking.” Sam Barclay broke through the defensive line and let off a powerful shot. The goalkeeper pulled off a fine save by tipping it onto the top of the bar. Lewis Shepherd continued to make a nuisance of himself on the left wing, with his agile, fast feet often beating a man and creating a chance on the edge of the box. Mark Macadie and Ross Mackay also exploited the wing well with some fancy overlapping play.

This constant pressure on the Gordonstoun players led to frustration which was displayed in some of their defensive tackles. The set piece specialist, Connor Farquhar, made sure these opportunities were not wasted. The dipping set pieces played into the box were very hard to defend against.

A mix up in the Gordonstoun defensive six-yard box, led to an indirect free kick. Conor Farquhar tee’d up Mark Macadie who cleverly smashed the ball beyond the keeper’s outstretched arm. Wick were a deserved goal ahead. A few minutes later, Wick doubled their lead when Ross Mackay’s header, from Conor Farquhar’s cross, rocketed into the bottom corner.

The second half saw a more determined Gordonstoun team who began to put pressure on the Wick side. The Wick boys showed a strong defence and stayed compact. Joe Anderson and Scott Macdonald worked well together when defending high crosses and through balls, as well as some acrobatic goal saving blocks from steady full back, Owen Mathieson. Sam Barclay and Michael Sutherland continued to physically dominate play in the centre of the park, making some crucial tackles and interceptions. Gordonstoun came quite close at one point, forcing goalkeeper Archie Budge in to a fine save. However Wick also remained a threat on the counter attack with the fresh legs of Ross Steven, James Thain and Lee Oman, injecting pace into the team. Sam Barclay came close to getting on the scoresheet when a well struck free kick, just strayed wide of the top corner. Alan Mathieson continued to threaten from long range and was unlucky not to see some of his efforts hit the back of the net.

However, the second half produced no more goals and the final whistle saw Wick win, 2-0. The trip to Gordonstoun had been very enjoyable and offered the team a glimpse into another world. Perhaps more  importantly it also gave us a win. The Gordonstoun school motto, which is displayed in large letters in the dining hall, is Plus est en vous meaning ‘more is in you’. Hopefully the Wick side can also show this when they meet a side from Dunfermline in the next round of the Scottish Schools’ Cup.