Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Glen fail to hold the Fort

Glenurquhart 1 Fort William 3
This was a game of two halves – sort of - except that the Glen put in no sort of performance in the first one and in the second one played well enough to cause Fort hearts to skip a beat or two. That was before they lost out to a late Gary Innes strike which was at that stage a little against the run of play. You have to hand it to Gary Innes though; not only is the boy almost as good on the accordion as Stuart Mack but every goal he scores really matters. Last week he hit the net against Oban: this week he managed to hypnotise three Glen defenders who let him fire the ball into the net in the 82nd minute. Where was he at the time? Out beyond the penalty spot, that’s where, so it seems not unreasonable to ask what wasn’t he closed down?
He is an athlete though and he ran tirelessly for the whole ninety minutes which was something no-one in the Glen side could manage. Eventually if you keep up that sort of activity you will make an impact. It is not as though he looks so much better than the other players on the field: it’s just that he is driven to perform and he has a sweet touch when it comes to goals. If you are going to stop him you will need to have him man marked but given that on this occasion he was playing in the centreline, that’s what was done anyway and it still made no difference.
Cards on the table; Glen performed so poorly in the first half that if he had not had a blog to write the Wing Centre would have gone off to Lovat to watch the seconds. He might have just as well gone there anyway because Hendo’s little tribe won 5-3 there thanks to a hat-trick from “Chips” Smart , and singles from Kelvin Mackenzie and Ewan Brady.
The opening few minutes however promised better. Indeed Calum “Jock” Fraser drove a powerful shot on the goal in the opening attack which was well stopped by young Fort keeper Paul Mackay but the rebound ball was not picked up by the Glen wing forwards who were too slow to follow up. Glen continued for a further ten minutes but something about the Fort defence including veteran Adam Robertson and the masterly Duncan Rodger who came back to pick up the loose balls gave a notion to the spectators that, for this period at least the Fort were a superior side.
Fort then began to turn the screw and within a short period had won two free hits and three corners which the Glen more or less dealt with - and truth to tell, James Clark made nothing of John Barr throughout the whole course of the game. Barr mastered him, blocked him and even out muscled him on a number of occasions- though perhaps this actual occasion wasn’t important enough for big Jim to really lift his game. He really does seem to need TV cameras to be present before he hits the target, though he had one whizzer of a shot which fortunately flew wide of the Glen keeper ‘s Stuart Mackintosh’s right hand post in the 16th minute.
Keeper Mackintosh (Smack to his friends and admirers like Gary innes) meanwhile pulled off a series of top class clearances and tidying up manoeuvres. It’s not that he had actual saves to make- just that messy clearing up, bread and butter work which few can do better and which is certainly the test of a true Premier keeper. It might be early days but young Mackay also proved he could do that task just as well as his counterpart at the other end, although perhaps he was not subjected to the same intensity of pressure.
The opening goal came about by a mixture of luck and careless Glen play. In 19 minutes a Glen defender missed a through ball and it fell to Bryan Simpson who fired it powerfully from distance in on goal where it took a sharp twist off the uneven ground and deceived Mackintosh. Two minutes later things got even grimmer for Glen when Victor Smith profited from yet another missed clearance and slipped the ball home from inside the D. You can never get tired of admiring Smith’s skill. Portlier now and the familiar scuttling run is less fluent, but he finishes with the deft touch of the true goal artist ; there is simply no one else who has that sort of quick precision with the caman in front of goal.
So that was it for the first half which continued in the same dire manner. DP went off home but the rest of the crowd stayed- and when the Glen management switched things about in the course of the second period things began to look better. Lewis Maclennan took over at full centre and Stuart Reid moved forward. Calum “Rhino “ Miller came on and finally when the guys went two and two, the Glen worked a number of chances one of which was buried in the 65th minute by Neal Reid. Reid who had tried hard with little result in the first half, found more space when he dropped deeper and this began to make a difference to the sort of threat the Glen posed.
Reid’s goal came after a nice patch of play which brought some good saves out of Mackay but he was helpless to stop the goal scoring shot which first flew past him and then flew back out off the back stanchion. The fact that this goal was actually given caused extreme displeasure to Fort full-back Adam Robertson who seemed to take it as a personal insult that his team had lost a goal. Now Adam is ageing and his visual acuity is probably not what it once was , even though his will to win is still to be admired.
He was massively less than impressed when the Treasurer who was on his money collecting rounds offered Adam the use of his specs. It is fair to say that Adam refused the offer and then one of the Fort defenders suggested that the Treasurer being “an old man” should go away and “calm down” which on the face of it was a reasonable request.
“Very polite chap, that Fort defender,” said the Treasurer afterwards.”He did not swear or threaten violence like some of our north neighbours would have done-but I got the impression from his tone that he really did mean me to go away. He was probably being insincere about the calming down bit though”
“Who was it that spoke?” asked Whitey
“Don’t know” said the Treasurer. “ I could not make him out. After all, I had my specs off to offer them to Adam”
Whitey exchanged glances with the Manager. The Manager spoke. “Now look Treasurer. You are responsible for taking the collection: you are not authorised to have any communication with Fort William. All offers of specs to Adam or anyone else will have to go through Committee and the correspondence concerning them should be handled by the Secretary. Is that clear?”
The Treasurer agreed that it was, but in his heart he could not see the point of the Secretary writing to offer to buy Adam some specs because he suspected that Adam probably wore them anyway in real life. Nobody could have actually missed that Glen goal could they?
It’s just a pity Gary Innes didn’t miss his shot at goal.

The two good pics are courtesy of Neil Paterson (http://www.neilgpaterson.com/)They are quirky and worth a peek as is his website.
In the other, the boys are putting their siege weapons back in the shed-think about it!

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