In the end
the Glen made it over the line to Premiership safety with a fine 3-1 home win
over Kingussie, a hard fought 2-2 draw in the pouring rain down in Lochaber and
a just about worth it 0-0 even stevens of a game at home against Kyles. It was
a close run thing - but then it was a close run thing for every other team in
the league apart from the top four. At all times during the last few nervous
weeks despite the many siren voices saying “You’ll be all right now” this writer
never really believed the Glen were totally safe until the Skyemen having
beaten Kingussie 2-1 at home uncharacteristically shipped a pile of goals away
to Kinlochshiel. It dented their goal difference but made it certain that the
Glen who had at that stage a pretty poor goal differential themselves were no
So what’s to
remember from these last few horrible weeks? For one thing Conor Golabeck put
in a tremendous display against Kingussie to snatch two of the three goals that
His first half strike through a crowd of players put the Glen ahead
but after Thomas Borthwick equalised before the break the game could have got away
from the Glen at any point until Golabeck got a second 13 mins from time. Neale
Reid banged in a final one just on the full time whistle and it has to be said
that was a crucial game in which to pick up both points ,given the way both
were chucked away in the earlier fixture at the Dell.
game was however the one which was most closely contested. On that particular
Saturday, the Glen had been hit by the perfect storm. Stuart Mackintosh and David
Smart injured and out for the season; James Hurwood injured; Lewis Maclennan on
the Isle of Muck and John Barr somewhere between Texas and Norway - it was a
wonder the Glen were able to field a worthwhile squad. However into the breach
stepped Ross MacAulay, James “Frosty” Macpherson and Rory Maclean.
happened? Neale Reid put the Glen ahead early in the match only for Kevin
Ferguson to equalise with a fortunate goal which hit keeper Iain Macleod on the
chest and flew up into the roof of the net. Then we were in a dog-fight of an
old fashioned kind but the main ingredient in our success is that Andrew
Corrigan having put in some training was just about able to match Shaun
Nicholson for pace and that made a huge difference and the game reached half
time at 1-1.
started the stronger after the break and went in front after 53 minutes with a good
finish from Stuart Callison, however our poor marking had allowed the
opportunity. Glen responded in the right fashion with an excellent equaliser a
minute later. A long ball down the wing was gathered by Corrigan at pace and he
fired the ball into the middle to be met by Frosty Macpherson who cracked a
great shot first time into the roof of the net. The boy can certainly finish.
There was no further scoring and the
game finished 2-2. Glen certainly needed something from the game and in the end
got a most valuable point and could perhaps have left with both although a draw
was probably a fair result. The quality of shinty was patchy, but the game was
played in torrential conditions at times so some allowance can be made. In
terms of effort and commitment and bearing in mind the absence of key personnel
it was one of the Glen’s better performances against a side that showed its
quality earlier in the season by taking Newtonmore all the way in the MacTavish
The last game of the season and the
first game of October was the Kyles game and the Glen were still not safe. The
list of injured absentees remained the same as before, though this week at
least John Barr returned to the fold.
On the down side however Mike Brady was
working and unavailable while Andrew Corrigan was called off shore on the
morning of the game and Euan Lloyd was still suffering with a leg injury from
the Lochaber game and was only fit to be on the bench.
The managers had tried using Fraser Heath as a
man marker on Roddy MacDonald down in Kyles earlier in the season but as Roddy
scored four goals that day, it could reasonably be assumed to be an
unsuccessful tactic. The decision was made therefore to use Connor Golabeck at
half back in this game, albeit conscious of the fact that with Corrigan also
being absent there was bound to be a lack of pace in the forward line. Fraser
Heath was moved to wing centre to play against Robbie MacLeod, who had also caused
us problems away from home while Ally Mackintosh dropped back to wing back and
Billy Urquhart and Frosty Macpherson started up front.
This was a game short in highlights though Kyles
had the better of the first half but the Glen defence played very well indeed.
Kyles had negated the man marking tactic by neglecting to bring Roddy MacDonald
with them, which may have been just as well although Golabeck certainly had a
very effective game. However the Glen struggled to create many meaningful
chances up front and replaced Billy Urquhart who had been struggling with the
pace of the game, with Finlay Ralston after 25 minutes. The youngster did fine
but didn’t get many opportunities against a strong defence with Donald Irvine
at full back and Callum Miller at half back giving little away.
At half time it was 0-0
In the second half Finlay was replaced with Euan
Lloyd coming on at wing centre and Fraser Heath moving to full forward to try
and increase our goal threat. This did cause a reasonable amount of ball up
front and all the forwards worked hard but it is doubtful if the Kyles keeper had
a save of note. There were periods in the 2nd half when we were
under pressure and both the centre line and our forwards were dropping too deep
to try and win the ball. The defence played well throughout: keeper Iain Macleod
was tidy and cleared his lines smartly. John Barr was his usual effective self,
Ally Mackintosh and Conor Golabeck also played well while Lachie Smith had a
great game, fearless in the tackle and capable of great hitting. The centre
line, apart from dropping too deep, worked hard but truthfully the Glen were exposed
by a lack of pace up front which definitely blunted any goal threat. The game
Afterwards there was disappointment that two
points had been passed up though the single gained could have been a vital
requirement for continued Premier status. The Glen were however in no way
completely safe from the threat of relegation especially since Skye had beaten
Kingussie 2-1 on the same afternoon. In the end it worked out all right though
when Sandy Mackenzie knocked the ball home for Kyles late in the second half it
was just as well for the Glen that he had strayed off-side.
Nothing however will make up for the loss of
the Strathdearn. How on earth did that happen? Having come through to the final
after a difficult game with Kingussie - Cameron Maclennan had an excellent
afternoon and Kevin Thain missed a late penalty - we should have been better on
the day than we were.
The lads had a great deal of pressure in the
first half having given away a silly opening goal and when Frosty Macpherson
snatched an equaliser before the break that should have been our ticket back into the game.
A speculative shot from distance gave the Caranachs
the lead and while the Glen were still in confusion two more goals followed.
Bitter disappointment all round- and to rub salt in the wounds Lochcarron were
unable to field a team for their last home match. They missed out on their
final match too but that was due to Lochaber.
After that loss the Glen defaulted to a 7-0
defeat at Newtonmore - about five goals too many but then bounced back with a
4-0 home win over Beauly. There we got off to a lucky start when a ball which
was going wide was deflected in by Beauly veteran Sandy Tulloch. It was cruel
on Sandy who played well for the rest of the match- and if his side had taken
their chances then they could have been in the frame for an away win. However
that honour lay with the Glen largely thanks to some delicate stick play by Jed
Stoddard. He bravely went into the danger zone and took the hit to nick home
his first counter – and then with the most delicate of touches picked up a second.
The fourth goal however was the best of the afternoon. A neat bit of interplay
saw Calum Miller blast home the best –struck goal he has scored since the
rasper he struck against ‘Shiel in our promotion winning season. There may have
been others but that is the one the Wing Centre remembers. The other moment of
note in the Beauly game was the appearance of Hazel Hunter on the right wing. She
did what was required and showed good movement and the ability to move the ball
quickly which is all that is needed in any player at any time.
Next up were Fort William- and they were
defeated 1-0 thanks to a little error by their keeper “Ginge” Walker who allowed
youngster Finlay Ralston to nick a first half goal.
That apart the game was
very even with Mr Walker redeeming himself courtesy of several excellent saves
while at the other end Cameron Maclennan pulled off an excellent stop from
Victor Smith (jun).
The game also saw Zoe Smith put in a nice performance on
the wing for Fort while Paul Bamber also made a return in the Gearasdan colours.
Best for the Glen by a mile however was buckshee back Lachie Smith whose timing
and long hitting was second to none.
So both teams ended up mid-table with no cups
to show for a hard season’s work. After what the Glen have become used to
recently it has to go down as a disappointing season - but then again some
youngsters have come into the squads - and some have shown the character to
progress and there is always next season. Can hardly wait!!
For the pictures thanks go to Sheena Lloyd and
for some of the Fort snaps, to Ian Cochrane. Particularly love the one of the “subs”
bench and of the crowd.