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THE MARINE Harvest Premiership title race took another twist and the Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup Final between Lochside Rovers and Kingussie’s second team was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch on Saturday July 29.
Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup Final
Lochside Rovers P Kingussie P There was disappointment for Lochside Rovers and the Kingussie second team as the Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup was postponed at 11am on the morning of the game as An Aird was waterlogged.
Despite a major effort from Fort William ground staff, heavy rain over the previous 24 hours left too much water on the surface.
Marine Harvest Premiership
Kyles Athletic 2 Kinlochshiel 2 Title hopefuls Kinlochshiel and Kyles Athletic were scheduled to meet at Kirkton and a Friday evening pitch inspection ruled the game on. However, heavy overnight rain left the field unplayable on Saturday morning so the match was reversed to Tighnabruaich with a 4pm start.
Injury continued to rule out Kyles’ Innes MacDonald, whilst Dunkie Kerr was on holiday. Cammy Keith returned to the bench after injury and came on in the second half.
Kinlochshiel’s Colin MacDiarmid sat out the final match of his five-game suspension.
Gordy MacDonald’s knee injury means he will struggle to play again this season, but Oliver MacRae returned.
Kinlochshiel took the lead after five minutes. John MacRae collected the ball in a lot of space and drilled a shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Having scored early in the first half, Kinlochshiel started the second period in a similar fashion. John MacRae played in a good through-ball and Jordan Fraser slipped it past keeper John Whyte to make it 2- 0 with 48 minutes played.
Kinlochshiel claimed for a penalty soon after when John MacRae went down inside the ‘D’ but referee Lachie Wood turned away their pleas.
Kyles Athletic talisman Roddy MacDonald started the match in defence but moved up front as the hosts attempted to mount a comeback.
Grant Irvine halved the deficit on 82 minutes. Kinlochshiel keeper Scott Kennedy made a good, low save and the ball bounced through a few players to Grant Irvine around the penalty spot. He struck it low and hard, through a ruck of players, into the bottom right corner of the net.
Kyles continued to press, forcing a series of corners, and Scott Kennedy had to come off his line twice to foil Roddy MacDonald and Scott MacDonald in one- on- one situations.
Kennedy came to the rescue again as the match moved into injury time when he saved from Robbie MacLeod, but the ball found its way to an unmarked Sandy MacKenzie at the edge of the ‘D’ and he smashed a shot into the bottom right corner of the net to make it 2-2.
The share of the spoils means Kinlochshiel stay two points clear of Kyles at the top of the table, but the Tighnabruaich men have a game in hand. Newtonmore, now just three points behind Kyles, are also very much in the mix.
Kinlochshiel and Kyles Athletic look forward to home games this weekend with Kinlochshiel hosting Kilmallie at Kirkton and Kyles welcoming Lochaber to Tighnabruaich. Newtonmore 6 Kilmallie 0 Newtonmore extended their winning run to seven matches by beating bottom side Kilmallie 6- 0 at The Eilan.
The venue was switched on Saturday morning after heavy rain left Canal Parks unplayable.
Injury deprived Newtonmore of Drew MacDonald and Chris Sellar and Evan Menzies served the second game of his twomatch ban. Paul MacArthur and David MacLean were on the substitutes’ bench.
Kilmallie defender Peter Carmichael returned after suspension and Steven Stewart was back after injury. Stephen McAlister was still out injured.
Although the outcome of this match was never in doubt, Kilmallie started well, man-marking Newtonmore’s dangermen to good effect.
Newtonmore took the lead on 13 minutes. Innes Blackhall gave away a needless free-hit on the half way line when he was penalised for a reckless swing after slipping to the ground. Michael Russell played the free-hit into the Kilmallie goal area where Glen MacKintosh turned his man and unleashed a powerful shot, beating Kilmallie keeper Shane Gillies at his right-hand post.
Newtonmore started to dominate the centre line and referee John Angus Gillies played advantage following a dangerous swing and, with the ball played up to the home forward line, Jamie Robinson scored his third goal in two games to make it 2- 0 with 24 minutes on the clock.
Newtonmore started the second half as they finished the first period and the game was won on 47 minutes when Glen MacKintosh got past a defender and drilled a shot inside the keeper’s left-hand post.
Scotland U17 captain Iain Robinson scored the goal of the match on 58 minutes. Newtonmore played the ball out from defence to substitute David MacLean on the right wing. MacLean sent the ball down the line to Fraser MacKintosh who found Glen MacKintosh. He chipped the ball to the back post where the on-rushing Iain Robinson took the ball down, then took it round the keeper and slotted it home to make it 4- 0.
Fraser MacKintosh notched a well- deserved goal on 71 minutes. He put in a tremendous amount of work in the forward line and his efforts were rewarded when he rifled a 20 -yard screamer past the helpless Shane Gillies to make it 5- 0.
Kilmallie’s day went from bad to worse with four minutes remaining when defender Peter Carmichael stretched out at a Newtonmore ball into the goal area and inadvertently deflected it past keeper Shane Gillies into the net.
There were a number of good Newtonmore performances. Steven MacDonald and Rory Kennedy were solid at the back, whilst Michael Russell and Iain Richardson were excellent in the centre line. International recognition will surely follow for Russell if he maintains his levels of performance since his switch to full centre. Fraser Mackintosh and Iain Robinson caused the Kilmallie defence problems throughout the match.
Steven Stewart and Martin Stewart were Kilmallie’s top players on the day.
The match was played in good spirits with referee John Angus Gillies keeping his cards in his pockets.
Next up for Newtonmore is this Friday night’s Badenoch derby against Kingussie at The Dell. The 6pm throw-up will be broadcast live on BBC Alba. Glasgow Mid Argyll 2 Lochaber 4 Lochaber came out on top against Glasgow Mid Argyll, winning 4-2 in their relegation four-pointer at Peterson Park, Yoker.
GMA’s Mark Bain was free to play but will miss this coming weekend’s home match with Oban Camanachd through suspension.
Lochaber’s Stuart Callison collected a one-game ban for a disciplinary points accumulation.
It was a wet afternoon in Glasgow with a fairly strong wind but the pitch was in good condition.
Lochaber started against the wind but took the lead after two minutes with Connor Sweeney taking on the wing back before coolly slotting the ball past the keeper to make it 1- 0.
That was the only goal of the first half. Neil MacDonald made it 2- 0 10 minutes after the re-start when he held off the GMA full back before sending a reverse angled drive past Robert Dunnings in the GMA goal.
Brian Slattery pulled a goal back with a shot from deep on the hour mark and an even spell of play followed
It was a tough, fair and competitive match with strong tackling from both sides and it was only in the final 15 minutes that Lochaber put the game away.
Iain Fyfe made it 3-1 10 minutes from time when he collected a reverse pass from Neil MacDonald before smashing the ball home.
A second from Connor Sweeney made it 4-1 when he latched onto a long Ryan Johnstone shy before cracking the ball home past a helpless keeper.
GMA’s Ewan Murray netted a minute later when his high ball forward looked to be going wide but, with shouts from visiting defenders to leave it, the wind caught the ball and curled it into the net.
Lochaber deserved the win but at no point during the 90 minutes did GMA let their heads drop with visiting keeper Callum MacDonald tested more than once.
At the end of the match, a happy Lochaber manager Ally Ferguson said: ‘ We played well with good team work and effort from all the boys against tough opponents who played some great shinty at times. We’ve gained another two points in what is a very tight league. I’m very pleased with how we played and the final result.’
Lochaber now go above Glenurquhart to seventh in the table, level on points with sixth-placed Oban Camanachd, although they have played five games more. Glasgow Mid Argyll welcome Oban Camanachd to Yoker this Saturday whilst Lochaber head south again, this time to Tighnabruaich to play title challengers Kyles Athletic. Lovat 4 Glenurquhart 3 Lovat twice came from behind to beat local rivals Glenurquhart 4-3 in their 1pm throw-up at Balgate.
This was the fifth meeting between the sides this season and Lovat’s only victory was a 3- 0 success in the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup.
Lovat boss Fraser Gallacher was back from holiday so took up his customary position in the dug- out. He resisted the temptation to include new signings Marc MacLachlan and Duncan Davidson from Beauly and Bute respectively. Lovat youngster Scott MacKenzie faces a period on the sidelines after suffering a broken wrist and a broken bone in his arm against Newtonmore seven days earlier. Calum MacAulay was also unavailable so Bailey MacKay started with Craig Mainland at full centre.
Glenurquhart’s Ally MacKintosh was back after suspension but manager Iain MacLeod was without Fraser Heath, Connor Golabeck, Michael Fraser and James Hurwood.
Glenurquhart made a bright start with Oliver Black and James MacPherson both forcing good saves from Lovat goalie Stuart MacDonald.
It was Lovat who went in front on nine minutes though when an unmarked Greg Matheson crashed a powerful shot through the keeper’s legs and into the net.
With wind blowing across the park, neither team was able to grab the upper-hand so it was no surprise when Glenurquhart levelled on 28 minutes. The ball was deflected into the air following a Glenurquhart corner and Oliver Black volleyed the dropping ball into the net to make it 1-1.
There were a number of stoppages during the first half which didn’t allow the game to get into a rhythm. Referee Innes Wood kept a tight grip of proceedings with Andrew Corrigan and John Barr collecting early bookings.
The end-to- end nature of the contest continued and James MacPherson gave Glenurquhart the lead on 33 minutes. A freehit close to the penalty spot was played wide to James MacPher- son who sent a first-time shot low past Stuart MacDonald to make it 2-1.
Lovat pushed for a leveller and when Greg Matheson found just enough space to get a shot away on 41 minutes, his effort was expertly saved with his right foot by Glenurquhart goalie Stuart MacKintosh.
Lovat had a great chance to draw level a minute before the break when referee Innes Wood awarded them a penalty after consulting with goal judge Billy MacLeod. Stuart MacKintosh got his hand to Greg Matheson’s spot-hit but couldn’t keep the ball out. However, referee Wood, who had signalled for the penalty to be taken, blew again before the ball was hit and booked Lovat’s Lorne MacKay for something he said. Matheson lined up the retake, but keeper MacKintosh saved above his head, just to his left, with his stick.
Lovat found an equaliser on 51 minutes. Greg Matheson’s shot was cleared as far as Danny Kelly, who started at buckshee forward, and he tucked the ball low into the net from around the penalty spot.
Glenurquhart regained the lead on 58 minutes with James MacPherson getting his second goal of the game.
The ball deflected high into the air and, as it fell, MacPherson caught it on the volley from a central position 25 yards from goal. The former Lovat player’s cracking finish beat keeper MacDonald to make it 3-2.
Glenurquhart were reduced to 11 players on 63 minutes when John Barr was penalised for a challenge, although the second yellow card may have been for persistent fouling.
Lovat struggled to take advantage of the extra player; at times bunching around the Glenurquhart goal.
They were almost caught out with 15 minutes remaining when Glenurquhart broke forward and James MacPherson’s shot produced an excellent Stuart MacDonald save.
Just as it looked as if there would be no way through, Lovat found a leveller with just a minute remaining. Glenurquhart had pressed forward, holding the ball up front, but a long Thomas Fraser clearance out of defence put the home side on the attack.
They took advantage of the space as Lewis Tawse fed Greg Matheson and he beat his marker before running in to touch the ball past keeper MacKintosh to make it 3-3.
The goal set up an explosive finish. With the match a couple of minutes into stoppage time, a long, high ball from the Lovat midfield dropped into the Glenurquhart defence. A visiting defender went to shy the ball away in the air but was challenged by Greg Matheson. Glenurquhart claimed the Scotland forward had played the defender’s stick, forcing him to miss the ball. Matheson didn’t stop to debate the matter and, as he turned, found himself in a 50-50 challenge with Stuart MacKintosh to win the ball. Matheson got there first and he knocked the ball home to make it 4-3.
Both camps were spoken to following some feisty exchanges as the referee tried to calm things down and it probably helped there were just seconds remaining.
Had it not been for some dropped points earlier in the season, Lovat could have been part of the title race. Drew Howie did a thorough job at full back, Craig Mainland won a lot of ball in midfield and Greg Matheson’s goals would make a difference to any side.
Five successive league defeats have sucked Glenurquhart into the relegation battle. They drop to eighth place, just three points above the relegation zone, and they have played more games than both Glasgow Mid Argyll and Kilmallie. Their youngsters Finlay Robertson and Oliver Black give them hope for the future.
Marine Harvest National Division
Oban Celtic 1 Caberfeidh 6 Caberfeidh on top of the Marine Harvest National Division, but they had to come from a goal before beating Oban Celtic 6-1 at Mossfield.
This was always going to be an uphill battle for Oban Celtic against a team sitting unbeaten at the top of the table. To make matters worse for home boss Kenny Wotherspoon, he had 11 players, including keeper Stephen Davidson, defenders Fulton Ronald, David MacInnes, David Hill and John Hill, midfielder Andy Hunt and forwards Neil Carmichael, Lee Askew and Connor Howe, unavailable.
Caberfeidh’s Ryan MacKay was free of his three-game ban, whilst manager Jodi Gorski gave a place to former Lovat player Jamie Matheson after free-scoring performances for the Caberfeidh seconds.
Celtic quickly settled into the game and were unlucky not to take the lead in the first minute when Iain MacKechnie’s 30yard drive was heading for the top corner only to be brilliantly saved by Caberfeidh keeper Ewan Pilcher.
Celtic didn’t have to wait too long to take the lead and the goal came when a Daniel Madej through ball found Daniel MacMillan who shot past the keeper to make it 1- 0 with 18 minutes played.
Caberfeidh didn’t offer much in attack until 32 minutes when a mistake in the home defence allowed Craig Morrison to rifle home from a narrow angle.
Caberfeidh took the lead three minutes later when Jamie Matheson justified his inclusion by making it 2-1 at the break.
Any plans of a Celtic comeback went out the window within 90 seconds of the re-start as Martin MacDonald made it 3-1.
A glimmer of hope followed for the home side when Caberfeidh’s Martin MacDonald was sent off by referee Calum Girvan, reducing the visitors to 11 men.
Lovat’s Daniel Grieve and Martin Mainland close in on Glenurquhart’s James Macpherson during last Saturday’s Marine Harvest Premiership match at Kiltarlity which the home side won by the odd goal in seven.
Skye’s James Pringle takes the high road as he attempts to block Beauly’s Andrew Morrison during last Saturday’s National Division match at Braeview Park which the islanders won 4-2.