Friday, August 15, 2008

Corky Pops in a Brace for Glen

Lochcarron 0 Glenurquhart 3
Early days yet and it will continue in this vein until shinty’s fat lady gets her voice in full tune for the end of the season-but so far, so good in the Glen’s bid to amass more points than their rivals in North Division 1. This game was a more impressive performance by the Glen than the score tends to suggest and it is fair to say that, despite the return of Gregor Cushnie and Peter Mackenzie to the Lochcarron forward line the Battery Park side were less impressive than they had been in the earlier fixture at Blairbeg. Certainly they were missing Darren Coyle and Ross Matheson was suspended (that’s the trouble when you take in these boys from South West Ross; you need Macraes to control them) but then the Glen had Arran Macdonald , Paul Mackintosh and Billy Urquhart on the sidelines so it cuts both ways in the competitive world of senior shinty.
Shinty would not be shinty if there were no hitches and both teams arrived at a very wet Lochcarron pitch to find that scheduled referee John MacPhee was not available and a substitute whistler had to be agreed on with the blessing of both clubs. Local ref. Kenny Murray agreed to officiate and the match got under way in less than clement conditions. It was clear from the outset that Lochcarron, who had lost the services of manager Fraser Mackenzie the previous weekend were going to be competitive but that the Glen defence with both Stuart Reid and Dave Girvan in uncompromising form as wing backs were going to give them little scope in front of goal. What tipped the balance in the Glen’s favour was their midfield trio of Eddie Tembo, Ally Mackintosh and the superb Dave “Dixon” Maclennan at full centre. “Dixon” was player of the match for the Wing Centre’s money in that he was always on his toes , quick to the tackle and excellent in his moving of the ball up to the front men and his close attention to the ball put Lochcarron’s Michael Cooper-a fine player in his own right-on the back foot for most of the match.
The first goal which came in 22 minutes was an excellent one. A Lochcarron attacking move had fizzled out leaving the ball to run back to Glen keeper Stuart Mackintosh who drove the ball up field to Andrew Corrigan who fed Lewis Maclennan . Maclennan cleverly switched play wide left to Neale Reid who burst away from marker Angus Mackay and touched the ball inside to Corrigan who had continued his run and was on hand to tap the ball past keeper Michael MacMillan into the net for the opener.
The Glen management at this stage made a tactical switch which probably enough on its own to seal the game. Despite the early success and the fact that young Reid at left wing was getting his share of ball away from the excellent Angus Mackay, the decision was made to switch Reid in against veteran full back Alan Mackenzie where the youngsters speed would be at its most telling and the move rapidly paid off. Ally Mackintosh at wing centre played a ball in and in the defensive scramble Reid outpaced Mackenzie and tapped the ball into the net from close range. An excellent goal but the only concern for the Glen faithful was the fact that the Red -and-Blacks continued to create a series of easier chances which they scorned to take. Reid beat four men in a row on one occasion but failed to strike the net while Corrigan and Lewis Maclennan had other opportunities but fired their shots wide. Keeper Macmillan too had his part to play in thwarting the Glen when he tipped a trademark drive from distance from Lewis Maclennan over the bar in 38 minutes.
The game however was effectively sealed in 50 minutes when Reid raced on to a ball pushed up the line from Mackintosh. He pushed the ball across to Gregor McCormack who fed it back into the path of Corrigan who finished with a clinical strike from all of 20 yards. For the remainder of the match the Glen pressed on the Lochcarron goal , looking at times as if they were going to sweep the men in blue jerseys into the sea- but despite a number of chances-some more clear cut than others there were no further goals. Substitutes Calum Miller and Calum Fraser also took part in the rout but despite some nice opportunities, the Glen could not convert their dominance to goals. At the other end Lochcarron attempts to redress the balance were sporadic though Peter Mackenzie , who had always remained competitive throughout came close to scoring with a first time drive after having moved up to the sawdust for a spell. Stuart Mackintosh was quick to block the attempt with his club and the fight back was effectively over before it could begin.
The Glen now move on to the most important few weeks of their season with serious games against Sheil and Kilmallie still to come- so no real pressure then. The photo shows just how much pressure the Glenners feel. Snapped at Blairbeg though : too wet for pics in Lochcarron

Scottish Blogs