Marine Harvest Premiership
Oban Camanachd 1 Kyles Athletic 0
Oban Camanachd continued their impressive league form with a hard-fought victory over Argyll rivals Kyles Athletic. which moves the Oban side up to joint second place in the Premiership.
The Oban side were without Scott MacKillop, Andrew ‘Papa’ MacCuish and Daniel MacVicar for the game but included recent signing Marc MacCallum who started on the bench.
Both teams started the game in determined fashion although the play was scrappy at times on the fiery Mossfield pitch with little to choose between the sides. The expansive game that has served the teams so well this season was not apparent as both sides struggled with the conditions.
The goal that eventually decided the game was itself a scrappy one from a long midfield strike from Scott MacMillan which eluded the Kyles defence and goalkeeper.
Daniel Cameron, for so long an isolated figure up front for the home side, had a simple tap-in to put his team 1- 0 up, a lead they held on to as referee David Mitchell blew for halftime.
The second half, as expected, saw Kyles move up a gear but lacking a cutting edge up front.
Camanachd, for their part, used the wide open spaces to good effect with sound link-up play between midfield and the forward line with Aidan MacIntyre, David Lafferty and Scott MacMillan prominent.
Kyles pressed for the equaliser in the last quarter of the game but the defensive unit of Gary Lord, Gary MacKerracher, James MacMillan and Ross MacMillan held firm although keeper Gavin Stobbart made a couple of good saves to keep the home side ahead.
Camanachd had a chance to ease the pressure after good interplay from Connor Howe, Malcolm Clark and sub Ian ‘Gussie’ Campbell but to no avail and in the end it was a relieved home side who picked up the two points when the final whistle sounded.
Commented manager Ian Hay: ‘ We were not at our best today. However, this result moves us into second place in the league as we approach the half-way point. We have put ourselves in a position to offer a serious challenge in both the league as well as the Scottish Cup.’
Glenurquhart 2 Lovat 5
Lovat took the points thanks to a 5-2 win over Glenurquhart in their 1pm throw up at Blairbeg.
Glenurquhart suffered a blow going into the game when John Barr and Andrew Corrigan were stranded in Norway where they work. Arran MacDonald and Eddie Tembo were also missing from the squad while Michael Brady started at full forward. Iain MacLeod was on the bench.
Lovat were still without captain Drew Howie, who was still sidelined with a broken collar-bone. Martin Mainland was still out with a broken foot while Greg Matheson, still not fully fit, was an unused substitute. Callum Cruden was back in the side at full centre whilst Kevin Bartlett returned in attack. Former Scotland boss Fraser MacKenzie is also now involved with the Balgate side. The former Glenurquhart co-manager was on the touchline along with boss John MacRitchie.
The Glen were quick out of the blocks and Neale Reid tested Lovat keeper Stuart MacDonald after just 20 seconds.
However, it was Lovat who took the lead after four minutes when Kevin Bartlett, with his back to goal, wheeled round and he shot low into the net to make it 1- 0.
Glen’s Fraser Heath turned his marker on 13 minutes but his shot scraped the top of the crossbar.
Lovat’s long injury list got worse on 24 minutes. Michael MacKenzie and Fraser Heath were challenging for a ball and Craig Mainland moved in to tackle but fell awkwardly. He was in obvious discomfort and referee Evan MacRae held the match up for 40 minutes until an ambulance arrived and it was later confirmed that Mainland had suffered a dislocated shoulder and broken collar bone and so faces a period on the sidelines. Scott MacKenzie came on in attack with Lorne MacKay going to full centre and Callum Cruden slotting back into defence.
Shortly after the game restarted, Kevin Bartlett brought a good save with his caman out of Glen goalie Stuart MacKintosh.
A Calum MacAulay corner on 27 minutes fell for Kevin Bartlett and his shot clipped the top of the crossbar.
The home side drew level on 39 minutes. Stuart MacDonald saved a Connor Golabeck shot and Michael Brady sent the rebound goalwards with Fraser Heath getting the final touch to knock the ball over the line to make it 1-1.
The first action of the second half saw Ally MacKintosh stride forward from the Glen full centre position and his shot from the edge of the D went just over the top.
Lovat regained the lead on 51 minutes. Lorne MacKay got his stick to an attempted clearance out of the Glen defence and the ball fell kindly for Graeme MacMillan and, with only the keeper to beat, he fired the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-1.
The visitors extended their lead on 53 minutes when Calum MacAulay ran out to the Lovat right wing to get onto a long ball from the centre line and his first-time shot nestled into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
Stuart MacDonald made a superb save with his feet on 58 minutes to keep out a Neale Reid strike from close range.
Glenurquhart introduced Michael Fraser in place of David MacLennan on 67 minutes. Ally MacKintosh went to wing centre, Fraser Heath dropped back to full centre and substitute Fraser joined the attack.
When Lorne MacKay was fouled a couple of minutes later, he took the free-hit himself and found Kevin Bartlett in space on the Lovat left. Bartlett had time to tee the ball up before sending a blistering shot past a helpless Stuart MacKintosh to make it 4-1.
Glenurquhart made another change with youth player Finlay Ralston replacing Michael Brady on 72 minutes.
A minute later, Calum MacAulay was first onto a ball across the edge of the D and his powerful first-time shot flew into the net to make it 5-1.
Lovat made a switch on 76 minutes with Euan Ferguson coming on for Graeme MacMillan.
With 10 minutes remaining, a long ball into the goalmouth wasn’t dealt with by the Lovat defence and Neale Reid tapped the ball home from close-in.
Connor Golabeck was good for Glenurquhart while Lewis Tawse and Michael MacKenzie, who was tasked with shadowing Fraser Heath, shone for Lovat.
The win lifts Lovat to fourth in the league and they only trail second placed Newtonmore and third placed Kyles Athletic on goal difference. Glenurquhart are in ninth place. They are only a point behind Skye Camanachd but they have played two matches more.