Thursday, March 25, 2010

Glen Second String certainly not second best

Glenurquhart 1 Kingussie 0
A 65th minute strike from Ewan Brady gave Glen both points in this tight clash at Blairbeg but if the truth be told the Heroes had more than a few rocky moments both before and after the youngsters welcome strike . Both sides were extremely evenly matched and that doesn’t only mean that to the untrained eye both sets of jerseys seemed closer in pattern and colour that they strictly ought to have been.
Despite the presence of three “greats” in the Kingussie line up-Rory Fraser, David Borthwick and Michael Clarke - it was the Glen who opened the stronger with Stuart Morrison up on the D and youngster Kelvin Mackenzie on the left wing causing a great deal of bother in the King’s defence. Morrison in particular saw a lot of the ball in the early minutes and his duel in the weak March sun with Fraser had a retro feel to it in that the skills were real enough but the pace was not. It was left to young Kelvin to supply the pace and on numerous occasions he came deep to pick up the ball before his back and move it through quickly, avoiding the temptation to get caught in possession. However the old fox Morrison still has the ability to get the ball on target – almost. Within 15 minutes he had hit both bar and post while at other times his attempts were blocked by the Kingussie keeper.
It was not all one way traffic however for at the other end, Garry Smith had his hands full trying to prevent David Borthwick hitting the net. He was ultimately successful, though not before Glen had undergone a few scary moments.
One feature of the game though was the massive hitting of Glen keeper Garry Mackintosh, whose by-hits regularly put the ball up to and beyond the buckshee back, converting what was a simple hit out into an attacking opportunity.
In 15 minutes, Centreman Ross MacAulay who faced a tough opponent in the experienced Greg Macrae , fired a long ball from midway which the King’s keeper sneaked away for a corner. There then followed a spell in which it appeared that Glen were determined not to score at all with both Morrison and young Mackenzie contrived to miss.
The Glen defence up at “Sandy Whyte’s” end put their backs into their work with Calum Smith and Donald Fraser delighting the crowd with the length of their clearances. Smith on one memorable occasion fired the ball from his own by line to the far side of the pavilion while Fraser regularly lifted the ball from his wing back position diagonally over to the wing forward. The other defender was Iain Macleod and his ability to read the game and inspire the players around him kept Glen focused even when Michal Clarke was mortar -bombing the defence with his characteristically long shies.
Glen finished the half on top however though shots from Morrison and Dave Smart who was playing up to his name in midfield failed to count. Ewan Menzies who was growing as a threatening presence in the Glen attack also had an attempt but he fired his shot past the post.
The same pattern pertained in the second half and as always was built on the back of sound midfield performances from the Glen trio of Ross MacAulay, Ewan Fraser and Ewan Brady. The problem was the Glen just lacked the killer punch up front and fears began to grow amongst the black and red faithful that one more Kingussie attack and all the good work would be undone. Time for a Hendo master stroke: Ewan Brady was moved up to the front, the positions were shuffled and bingo - Glen scored the vital strike.
The goal was exceptionally well worked beginning when youngster Ewan Menzies picked a loose ball up about the halfway line. He hit it long upfield where Morrison brought it down and drew the attention of Rory Fraser before playing the ball into the path of young Brady who blasted it home with composure.
Kingussie responded by pushing their big three up front and Hendo replied by bringing on the final three Glen youngsters Sam Cumming and Daniel Mackintosh and he shifted Ross MacDiarmid so that the front four for the last 25 minutes consisted of last season’s under 17s, a move which was certainly brave considering that the opposition was an experienced Kingussie side. Kings then had a series of chances but Keeper Mackintosh and his defenders kept the Badenoch stags at bay for the final quarter and thus, when the final whistle blew the points were bagged for the Glen.
As the sign boards for Mardon were being taken down and stored in the shed the news came through that the top team had beaten Bute. It was not until later in the week that a clear picture of the game emerged and here, courtesy of “The Buteman” is the whole story.

Bute 1, Glenurquhart 3
BUTE'S unbeaten start to their Premier League campaign was brought to a grinding halt at the Meadows on Saturday as a well-drilled Glenurquhart side deservedly recorded their own first win of the season.
Stewart Strathie's strike 20 minutes from time gave the islanders a fighting chance of taking something from the game after first-half goals by Calum Miller and Ali Mackintosh put Glenurquhart in control - but the visitors refused to be rattled and tied up the points when Neale Reid added a third late on.

Bute knew they faced a much sterner test than in either of their opening games, against Glasgow Mid Argyll and Lovat, and the home side's hopes weren't helped when Iain MacDonald was sidelined by a work-related injury, joining his namesake David on the sidelines.

Also absent from the Bute ranks were two more first choice picks in David Whitelaw and Graham Fisher, which meant the island team could have been forgiven for hoping for a quiet start.

But Glenurquhart, who had begun their campaign with two home games, a draw with Newtonmore and a defeat to Fort William, were in no mood to allow the hosts any such luxury, and the visitors gave notice of their intentions in only the third minute when Miller forced Bute keeper Kevin Queen into a good block from a Reid cutback.

Calum Fraser was next to try his luck for the Glen when he seized on a mishit clearance by Brian Liddle, but Queen was again equal to the shot.

Reid brought out a third good stop from Queen in the seventh minute, the keeper palming the ball out for a corner after a quick Eddie Tembo free hit, but the visitors' early pressure paid off from the corner, when Tembo found Miller with more than enough time and space at the back post to pick his spot and slot the ball into the net.

Tembo sent a powerful drive whizzing just over the bar as Glenurquhart went in search of a second, but Bute gradually weathered the storm, and Leighton Reid had the hosts' first serious attempt on goal of the afternoon, shooting just over the top.

Glenurquhart keeper Lewis MacLennan was called into action for the first time in the 22nd minute, knocking away Robert Walker's 25-yard shot through a crowd of players; the resulting corner led to an almighty scramble inside the D, though referee Graham Cameron waved away Bute's loud claims for a penalty.

Tembo was a real danger man for the visitors and again had Queen stretching on 29 minutes with a ferocious drive from 30 yards which was only just off target; at the other end Walker did well to get a shot away as he fell to the ground following John McCallum's free hit, but his effort was a foot or so wide of the target.

But Glenurquhart still looked the more dangerous of the two teams going forward, and five minutes from half time they doubled their advantage, again from a corner, Mackintosh firing an angled drive into the roof of the net from Reid's knock-down to leave Bute trailing by two at the interval.

Bute coach Barry Martin made his first change of the day in only the third minute of the second half, Gordon McMillan replacing Reid, but Glenurquhart continued to hold the upper hand and David MacLennan saw an ambitious lob from 30 yards fall only just wide of goal as the visitors looked for a third.

Bute, though, could not be faulted for effort, and captain James Craig was unlucky to see his good work go a-begging after an hour when he gave Drew MacLennan the slip but over-hit his final ball into the danger area.

Reid came close for the visitors as the game entered its final quarter, shaking off his marker before getting in a decent strike from 25 yards which flew just wide.

But with 20 minutes to play Bute suddenly gained the foothold they so desperately needed when a nice ball in from the right wing found Strathie with the time and space he required to send a well-placed shot flying past MacLennan and into the corner of the net.

Glenurquhart's Stuart Reid was booked for obstruction on 75 minutes when he blocked Walker's path after losing his stick as the two players tangled, but Bute were unable to make use of the set-piece - and the visitors sealed the points with 11 minutes remaining when Fraser's cross into the danger zone wasn't properly cleared and Reid thumped home the loose ball for the goal his individual performance richly deserved.
(With thanks to the Buteman
And there we have an example of how a local newspaper ought to report the indigenous sport. The Inverness Courier should take serious note.
The pic shows the Young Guns who finished up front for the Glen against Kingussie. They are Ewan Brady, Daniel Mackintosh ,Ross MacDiarmid and Sam Cumming

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