’More lift first sil­ver­ware of the sea­son

The Oban Times - - Sport -

RBS MacTav­ish Cup Fi­nal New­ton­more 2 Lochaber 1

A Glen MacK­in­tosh strike with the last hit of the ball earned New­ton­more a 2-1 vic­tory over a gal­lant Lochaber side in the 2016 RBS MacTav­ish Cup fi­nal at a wet Bught Park on Satur­day June 11.

The In­ver­ness Royal Bri­tish Le­gion Pipe Band led the teams onto a play­ing sur­face which had been well main­tained by grounds­man Mike MacLeod, who set out a pitch 150 yards long, just five yards short of the max­i­mum length.

Lochaber played with the wind ad­van­tage in the first half and there was early work for ’More keeper Owen Fraser when Shaun Ni­col­son took the ball from Zandz Fer­gu­son and cut in from the left and the goalie saved his shot with his feet be­fore clear­ing for a cor­ner.

Play switched to the other end and a Nor­man Camp­bell free­hit found Glen MacK­in­tosh on the right but he took a touch be­fore send­ing the ball over the bar.

Glen MacK­in­tosh was pe­nalised for bundling Cal­lum Mac­Don­ald over af­ter the keeper had cleared his lines but if he thought the chal­lenge would in­tim­i­date the young Lochaber goalie, he was mis­taken. Lochaber re­turned to the of­fen­sive but Stu­art Cal­li­son just couldn’t steer a shot goal­wards on nine min­utes.

New­ton­more broke the dead­lock on 27 min­utes. Iain Robin­son played the ball across from the right and Nor­man Camp­bell turned to his left, with­held a heavy chal­lenge from Lach­lan Camp­bell and he showed great strength to con­tinue to hold off the Lochaber full­back be­fore strik­ing the ball low across the keeper into the net to make it 1- 0.

There was no sign of Lochaber buck­ling though and they drew level just four min­utes later. Shaun Ni­col­son won pos­ses­sion fol­low­ing a New­ton­more shy from their left and he found Zandz Fer­gu­son, who was al­lowed too much space around 22 yards from goal. Fer­gu­son took ad­van­tage and blasted the ball high into the net to make it 1-1.

New­ton­more were stung and they went back up the park but Cal­lum Mac­Don­ald dived to his right to save with his ca­man, deny­ing Iain Robin­son, and the ball was scram­bled out for a cor­ner as Lach­lan Camp­bell and Nor­man Camp­bell clashed.

Lochaber boss Ally Fer­gu­son made the game’s first change late in the first half as Donald MacRae re­placed Shaun Ni­col­son at wing cen­tre.

With just over a minute of the first half re­main­ing, Lochaber goalie Cal­lum Mac­Don­ald dived full length to his right to palm a bounc­ing Evan Men­zies shot away fol­low­ing a Craig Ritchie cor­ner from the right and the pe­riod fin­ished all-square.

New­ton­more now had the el­e­ments in their favour in the sec­ond half with the wind, if any­thing, slightly stronger than dur­ing the first pe­riod.

New­ton­more came within a whisker of go­ing back in front on the hour when Glen MacK­in­tosh col­lected an Evan Men­zies pass in a cen­tral po­si­tion. MacK­in­tosh had his back to the goal but he turned and un­leashed a fe­ro­cious shot which can­noned off the junc­tion be­tween post and bar on the keeper’s right side.

Donald MacRae needed treat­ment af­ter get­ting a small piece of grass in the eye. Lochaber fit­ness trainer Jemma Docker car­ried out the medic du­ties, and, when the game restarted, a Nor­man Camp­bell shot was de­flected wide of Mac­Don­ald’s right post.

New­ton­more now had a grip on the game as the Lochaber de­fence worked hard to pro­tect their goal.

A rare Lochaber at­tack cul­mi­nated in a Stu­art Cal­li­son shot from the left which flashed across goal on 75 min­utes

It was be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ob­vi­ous that one goal would set­tle it and ’ More cut open Lochaber as Jamie Robin­son slipped the ball to Glen MacK­in­tosh on the edge of the D but Cal­lum Mac­Don­ald did su­perbly well to come off his line and he spread him­self to keep the ball out.

It was con­stant New­ton­more pres­sure and Lochaber made changes with Brian Mac­Don­ald limp­ing off so Barry Mac­Don­ald came on in his place with Zandz Fer­gu­son drop­ping back into de­fence.

As the game moved into stop­page time, Glen MacK­in­tosh took a Paul MacArthur pass and powered an­other swerv­ing shot off the bar and the Scot­land for­ward must have won­dered if it just wasn’t go­ing to be his day.

The fi­nal out­come swung on two chances at op­po­site ends of the park late into the four min­utes of added time.

Lochaber sur­vived a later se­ries of cor­ners and forged an at­tack of their own. Shaun Ni­col­son and Stu­art Cal­li­son worked the ball down the Lochaber right and Ben De­laney took Kevin Fer­gu­son’s pass with his back and, as New­ton­more full back Steven Mac­Don­ald slipped, De­laney turned but his shot rose ag­o­nis­ingly over the bar.

It was a chance and Lochaber were made to pay just sec­onds later as Evan Men­zies won the ball on the ’More left fol­low­ing Owen Fraser’s goal-hit. Men­zies played the ball for­ward to Nor­man Camp­bell, whose cross ran to Glen MacK­in­tosh in a cen­tral po­si­tion. MacK­in­tosh, with his back to goal, went to turn right be­fore quickly turn­ing to his left and ham­mer­ing the ball low into the cor­ner of the net, beat­ing keeper Mac­Don­ald’s out­stretched left foot, to win the cup for New­ton­more.

There wasn’t even enough time for ref­eree John An­gus Gil­lies, who had an ex­cel­lent first se­nior fi­nal, to restart the game.

In­ver­ness first team manger Drew McNeil, a match pun­dit for broad­cast­ers BBC Alba, se­lected Lochaber goalie Cal­lum Mac­Don­ald as man of the match and it was hard to ar­gue with his de­ci­sion. A de­lighted New­ton­more cap­tain Steven Mac­Don­ald was pre­sented with the MacTav­ish Cup and com­mem­o­ra­tive ca­man by spon­sors RBS.

Speak­ing af­ter the match, New­ton­more boss Paul John MacK­in­tosh said: ‘ We’re de­lighted. I thought the boys played very, very well in the sec­ond half. They put in a huge ef­fort and cre­ated lots of chances. Lochaber keeper Cal­lum Mac­Don­ald made a num­ber of good saves and, on his day, he’s as good as any­one, but I thought our boys de­served it.’

Lochaber man­ager Ally Fer­gu­son was equally pleased with his team. He said: ‘We had chances in the first half and good spells of pres­sure which, un­for­tu­nately we did not take full ad­van­tage of. De­spite the pres­sure New­ton­more put us un­der, we could have won the game at the death but it’s a team game and I am proud of the team’s ef­forts. It was a cruel end to the game and I know the play­ers are gut­ted.

‘ We can take a lot from this ex­pe­ri­ence and con­tinue to work hard and con­tinue to learn and im­prove in the ar­eas we know we can – in par­tic­u­lar, what is in our con­trol. Con­grat­u­la­tions must go to New­ton­more though. While I think even they would have thought the fi­nal was go­ing to ex­tra time, they knew they were in a game and they were re­lieved win­ners in the end. Both teams served up a great match to re­mem­ber for both sets of sup­port­ers and the neu­trals.’

A ju­bi­lant New­ton­more cel­e­brate af­ter win­ning the RBS MacTav­ish Cup. Photos: Neil Pater­son

New­ton­more cap­tain Steven Mac­Don­ald holds aloft the RBS MacTav­ish Cup af­ter this team’s nar­row 2-1 win over Lochaber.

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