Monday, February 20, 2012

Glen hit Ten!

Glenurquhart 10 Lochcarron 1

All things considered it was an interesting result at the weekend for Drew’s D-Dodgers. A win in any pre-season practice match is undoubtedly better than a loss and while it is tempting to say you cannot read anything into such a large win over a Lochcarron side who were undoubtedly a player or two short, it is also correct to be fair to the Glen. They popped in 10 goals on top of 5 last week. Something must be going right- and once again Glen were under strength being without Eddie Tembo for a second week. Absent also were Fraser Heath, Liam Girvan and Stuart Reid. Arran Macdonald switched into full back while Ali Mackintosh came back from injury to take up a position at wing back.
The pitch which had seemed to dry out somewhat over the course of the week, softened up considerably under the influence of early morning snow- and while the persistence of white stuff on the upper slopes of the Glen as the afternoon wore on might have caused the Lochcarron lads some concern about their possibilities of getting home via Garve and Achnasheen, it did not materially affect the game. The spectators though -young and old- bitterly complained about the cold and it is to their credit that they stuck things out to the end which was anything but bitter.
If truth be told the Glen front men carrying on from their performance last week combined with each other well , put in a great deal of running and got the goals some of them excellent. It has to be said that their visitors certainly gave them at times too much room. The centreline held well enough with David “Dixon” Maclennan, a new face in the middle, putting in for the second week in a row a tireless and honest performance while the defence, apart from a little spell in the middle of the first half when they let Lochcarron back into the game, were well on top.
Glen opened the scoring within five minutes after full forward John Barr slipped the ball home from close range- and with that early score the pattern of the match was set. A second quickly followed when Ruaraidh Cameron who had been especially influential the previous week sent Neale Reid free and he fired the ball fiercely past Kenny Ross in the Lochcarron goal. Glen’s pace was beginning to tell at this early period in the match especially that of Reid who was just too strong and quick for the Lochcarron defence to hold. However over-elaboration from the front men put a stop for a spell to Glen scoring and then carelessness at the back allowed Lochcarron to notch up a score of their own- and a particularly nice strike it was.
A drive from Lochcarron which was going wide was needlessly blocked by Glen keeper Mackintosh but it slipped over the by-line after he touched it. From the resulting corner Lochcarron full forward Kenny Murray first timed the ball in the air for his side’s only score - and for a time with the Glen midfield and defence a little shocked it looked as if the West Coasters would get back into the match.
It was not to be though and within a few minutes Neale Reid had added two more via fiercely struck drives from relatively near which Ross had no chance of stopping. Reid was on song at this point and his power on the sprint took him away from a Lochcarron defence which was suffering in as much as key defender Angus Mackay clearly had a problem with a hamstring.
Ross was however having a tremendous game in goals and he went on to underline that in the second half with a string of tremendous saves. For all that he was on form however the Glen pushed forward relentlessly with Barr adding a fifth. Billy Urquhart, who had replaced Ruaraidh Cameron as manager drew MacNeill rang the changes, then came close before Reid brought his personal tally to four. Lewis Maclennan then scored with an excellent strike beating Ross for sheer pace.
Reid got his fifth goal and his sides eighth when he whipped the ball home though Ross will be disappointed that he let that particular strike past him. Reid and Barr both came off for the last fifteen minutes as the manager juggled with his line up but by this stage, Lochcarron with the exception of Ross were too demoralised to offer more that token resistance and Andrew Corrigan who had played soundly in the centreline took the chance to push forward and help himself to a goal when he was played in by David Maclennan. The final goal just before full time went to Lewis Maclennan with a trademark drive high into the roof of the net- and that brought the score to double figures - 10-1- a score which has not been hit by a Glen side since a decade or more.
What does it tell us?
Not a lot really although it will have helped the confidence of the Glen forwards. The last time they have moved so freely and hit goals with such profusion was against Kilmallie last season or further back at home against Kyles in bird-flu days. At other times goals have been hard to come by. However while some of the front play was exceptional and creative- and there were patches of that on view last season-on occasions there was a tendency to be over-elaborate and chances to shoot were passed up. However without Kenny Ross between the posts 15 or 16 goals were very much on the cards. Lochcarron will no doubt regroup: it was clear they did not have their top 12 out on the field and the conditions- it was bitterly cold- were not conducive to maintaining morale once the team had slipped behind by a margin.
Glen have trained hard this session and the forwards have had a chance to show what they can do. They have been superb. The rest of the side looks solid-it was good to see Dave Girvan make his first appearance in nearly a year-but so far they have not been tested in the heat of battle. Neither Strathglass nor Lochcarron provided the kind of pressure that will come every week in the Premier.
The complete squad is not yet available: that will come in the fullness of time. The test will of course arrive further down the line and there will be tight games with serious teams. If the Glen are finally to win a serious trophy after having been gallant losers for two decades then there couldn’t be a better time to start than this season for all sorts of reasons.
Can we do it? It will depend on whether the guys have the character. It certainly looks so far as if they have the ability. And then of course there is always luck. Still it looks as if it’s going to be an interesting season.

The goal scorers are pictured. The other pic? DP chats up the Cheerleaders.

Scottish Blogs