Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Glen make a point at Kilmallie-Just!

Glenurquhart 2 Kilmallie 2

This past weekend saw many of   GUSC's most faithful supporters drafted away to Kintail to dodge the midges and distribute wrist bands and water to the hardy souls who for some reason wish to go the long way to Strathglass and thus take part i n the Highland Cross. All in a good cause you understand as our GUSC members were doing their bit for the community to ensure funding for The Glen Urquhart Care Centre and their much needed new minibus. This only left a few worthies to make their way down the A82 to Caol.
 With the ever patient Mrs Reid choosing to remain at home, Dod MacDonald was the unlucky individual charged with directing Mr Reid to Canal Park. Kilmallie’s home ground is one of those places that no matter how many times you have been to it, you are never 100% sure on which of the many streets to venture down in the hope you have chosen wisely enough to make it first time.
 Dod as it turned out was  reliable enough but Mr Reid’s ability to listen to others is  not his strongest  talent and it was only on arriving at Black Parks, Fort William that the bodach admitted his mistake!
 Meanwhile the game was getting under way in Caol with a strong wind blowing across the park which only added to the uncomfortable tension of the fixture. With both teams  capable of beating each other in every premier fixture this year, every game from here on in is that clichéd cup final but with Kilmallie being the closest to the Glen at the wrong end of the table, the feeling in the Glen camp was that they had to get something from the game.

 The Glen started strongly and looked dangerous in the opening phases as they usually do and with Ali Mackintosh drafted back in to defence to assist Mr Barr,Mr Corrigan and young  Master Heath the Glen looked solid at the back. At this stage a disgruntled Dod appeared with the said Plonker just in time to watch a GUSC corner. Training ground routines have been an area of frustration for the management team but -hold the back page- this one worked. David Smart made his move and stroked the ball neatly into the net.
 “That is the first time that corner has worked this season" explaimed Glen goalie Smack in an apologetic tone to the interested spectators who admired the skill its execution.

 This brought a sense of early relief to The Glen camp but Kilmallie are never a team to go down easy. The Glen dominated the opening 20-25 minutes with strong play across the middle from Arran Macdonald, Dixie Maclennan and E.J. Tembo. However The Glen centre line at times this season seem to be partial to dipping in periods of the game where they need to be at their strongest. When this combined with a forward line that at times appear allergic to blocking and cleeking and fundamentally defending from the front there can be trouble aheadt. The inability of the Glen  to hold the ball up front and play it into the corners made life difficult  and  let Kilmallie back into the game. A tricky Kilmallie corner saw Stuart MacKintosh scrambling towards his back post to push the ball up onto the cross bar and away. Kilmallie were playing a high line and trying to draw Barr away from his full back position which eventually paid off when a long ball through saw Smack getting caught in possession on the edge of The D – an uncharacteristic mistake which allowed John Stewart to stick the ball past him into the net.

 Frustration is an understatement in terms of watching the Glen  this year – at times they can be  brilliant against the best shinty has to offer and then they don't  have that self belief to stick to the game plan in more difficult games which is a hurdle they must cross to stay in the premier league. This frustration made its way to the touch line and for a brief period the strong wind was blown back in the opposite direction by a  hair dryer team talk at half time.

 Kilmallie started the stronger in the 2nd half and a contentious decision on the edge of The D gave them the break the needed. This time their training ground routines came to fruition when a goal was scored from the resulting free hit.

  Glen were now up against it and various personnel changes were made with Andew MacDonald coming on to release Fraser Heath in to the centreline.  At full centre. Liam Girvan came on to replace Lewis MacLennan and in a last throw of the dice Stuart Reid came on at full back to allow John Barr to venture up front. James MacPherson saw a couple of chances go past the post in the latter stages but it was Barr who in the 90th minute turned his man at 20 yards and struck the ball low past keeper Kevin Toye.
 The sighs of relief could have been heard at Blairbeg Park as Deek Cameron blew his whistle at the following throw up. Modern shinty is based on a series of fine margins and who  knows just how valuable this point will be in the weeks ahead but the players need to  take positives from it and move on  to the games ahead.
The photos are courtesy of Neil Paterson -many thanks to him. Drew's expression just about sums up Glenners feelings about shinty matters this season.
 The words come from the Chairman who can write and even talk in the style of the D without prompting and many thanks to him.
There was another match on with Glen interest involved and manager Iain Macleod provided an excellent report on what happened there- a fine 3-1 victory over Kinlochshiel in the Strathdearn thanks to goals from Ben and Jack Hosie plus a super strike (allied to an excellent performance) by Euan Lloyd.

No game in the premier on Saturday but the youngsters face Newtonmore in a semi at the Bught. All the best ,lads

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