Thursday, April 24, 2008

Could this side put the Great back in Glen?

Inverness 0 Glenurquhart 5
If there is one thing to say about this game it is that the Glen forwards -all four of them - played with passion and for them to play with passion the midfield were on hand to provide the service. If the side continues to perform like this - and this is to take nothing away from Inverness who were down a couple of players - then the red and black faithful will have some pleasant afternoons to look forward to. Let’s put it no higher than that at this early stage.
Looking at the side overall, the balance seems right and the lads on the bench who came on are every bit as capable of a performance as those who were included in the starting line up.
The new ingredient this week was the presence of Gregor McCormack up as front man : it may have been tried before but Gregor’s experience and mobility on the inside Bught was the component that seemed to make the rest of the front men tick.
Inverness started off with a flourish- it is not for nothing that they won their two openers - and The Goalie had to be lively to push aside an early opportunity that fell to the City Slickers . It soon become clear however that Eddie Tembo -especially in the early stages -was not going to be baulked and he began to drive balls forward up the line , a feat matched on the other side by Dave Maclennan. It was a long ball from full centre Arran Macdonald -his hitting was immense throughout the afternoon -that was flicked on to Gregor McCormack in the full forward position. He knocked the ball back and Neale Reid -who gave wing back Daniel Polombo a torrid time throughout the afternoon -was on hand to fire it in to the net.
Sustained Glen pressure kept Inverness pinned back for the next period despite the efforts of Davie Glass and Drew Howie to stem the tide. However they could do nothing about Reid’s second goal which came in 15 minutes. The youngster picked up the ball and ran through the Inverness defence only to be blocked by home keeper Stuart Macrae ,who had a much more successful afternoon than the final score suggests. The ball broke wide but Reid was first to react. Sprinting back out he retrieved the loose ball and volleyed an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net.
The third Glen goal was a delight: Eddie Tembo broke on the right after running on to a lovely through ball from Lewis Maclennan. The big wing centre rode two heavy tackles on the side and fired the ball across the D where Maclennan , at full stretch caught the ball on his stick and guided it past the helpless keeper. It was as near to the perfect goal as the Glen usually gets .
Maclennan might have been given another goal a few minutes after that when he pounced on a ball across the D and dinked it in over the line just in time for referee Calum Duff to mark it down as offside. The decision from the stand looked marginal but by definition margins can lead either way. Sadly this time the decision went with the home side.
A few minutes later Maclennan again caused Inverness to feel the pressure when he won the ball about 15 yards out and fired a rocket shot on goal only to see his effort blocked by Inverness keeper Macrae.
The second half began with the Glen under more pressure than they had experienced in the first half because this time they were playing into the wind which turned out to be stronger than first realised. The result was the Inverness began to gain more possession and it was only the fact that the Glen defence is of top quality that kept out the home side. The main handful was David Neilson and but for the fact that the Slickers were missing Gordy Gray the suspicion is that they may have pulled something back. Steve Munro was up as front man and he never gives up and it was his persistence which saw him embroiled in a clash with full back John Barr that almost brought the home side back into the match. Barr won the ball but in the process Munro was knocked to the ground and the incident was judged by referee Duff to be a penalty.
Inverness’s new signing Neilson steeped up to take the strike but Stuart Mackintosh was up for it and pulled off a magnificent stop at his left hand side. Not for nothing does the Goalie hold the record for under 21 appearances in the national jersey and it is only a shame that the absence of the Glen from the top division means that the likelihood of senior international honours is liable to be denied to him.
Having lost that chance Inverness fell away and though the Glen had to replace the injured Dave Maclennan and Andrew Corrigan who had taken a nasty blow to the leg in the first half the side if anything grew stronger.
The fourth goal was another top drawer affair when Eddie Tembo worked a long ball forward to McCormack who sprinted wide on the right before cutting the ball back into the path of Lewis Maclennan who blasted it past Macrae ,who was fortunate enough not to have been struck by accident with Maclennan’s phenomenal strike.
The final Glen goal came right on the final whistle and was enough to grant Neale Reid a well deserved hat-trick. Having closed down keeper Macrae at pace Reid was struck on the back by the keeper’s clearance but still had the presence of mind in front of the sticks to steer the ball home through a ruck of defending bodies on the line. That act alone means that he merits the coveted headline pic of the week. Well done young man! Look who you are upstaging! Behind you-no not Peter.
Anyway, there we have it- a comprehensive win for the top side though the Wing Centre will not be counting chickens before they actually hatch. Saturday’s game against Skye will be a big test. The Islanders will be keen to do well and if rumour is to be believed they will have a full side out at Blairbeg to contest the quarter final MacTavish match. The forwards will have to be right on their game if a semi place is to be gained.
If euphoria was the order of the day at the Bught, the afternoon match against Boleskine was a disappointment. Suffice to say that the Glen should have won out of sight, despite the absence of a number of players and injuries to Dave Smart and latterly Calum Miller.
In the end Boleskine pinched the points in the last five minutes.
Glen took the lead early though a nice Bradley Dickson finish but ironically Glen native Raymond Robertson pulled one back for the boys from the bad side of the loch. Neat combination between Ali Mackintosh -who was called on to replace David Smart-and Calum Miller restored the Glen lead but a long hopeful drive by Ben Taylor-Macpherson (they don’t make names like that on this side of the loch) eluded Glen keeper Dave Emery and the sides were level. Lewis Smith put Boleskine in the lead for the first time in 70 minutes but Ross MacAulay who had moved up from the centreline equalised in 75 before things finally turned bad for the Glen.
For the second time in the afternoon, referee Duff awarded a penalty against the Glen ( the Wing Centre can feel a quiz question coming on) but this time his decision was judged by the spectators to be correct. The Wing Centre can hardly bring himself to admit it -since by nature he feels that all penalties given against the Glen are unjust - but CD was correct. Lewis Smith stepped up to take it and promptly had his shot saved by keeper Emery but the rebound fell to David Fraser and he made no mistake from severe close range.
All in all a disappointing result and made all the more so in the knowledge that the game should have been well and truly won before half time.

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