Testing Times for Glen at Drum.
This past weekend has been a marginally better one for the Wing Centre and the Glen: the loss of two points to Kyles was an unnecessary self-inflicted wound but at least that was balanced up by two points from the contest against Glengarry. By all accounts that win was a little fortunate. So it all evens out in the end-doesn’t it? Let’s hope so anyway.
The game against Kyles drew a reasonable number of spectators but truth to tell the Treasurer was a little disappointed with the turn out. The thing about some Premier shinty matches is that because of the length of the journey, you don’t really get many visiting spectators. Yes it was cold-yes Lovat were playing Newtonmore over the hill-yes Ross County were playing Celtic over the river after that, but a team like Kyles, Camanachd Cup holders, needs to be a bigger draw in the village. It just wasn’t as big a deal as it should have been. The fault for that doesn’t belong to Kyles :the blame lies in this Glen.
What did the spectators get for their money? Actually a good, competitive game in which both sides more or less nullified each other. It was probably a game for the insider rather than the thrill seeking spectator though a couple of wee flare-ups can probably testify to the closeness of the encounter. Whatever- everything was more or less well handled by ref Innes Wood - and he got the time of the goal right (23 minutes) though the official calculation given implies five minutes more Kyles pressure than there was.
Kyles maintained their traditional 2-2 formation and it served them well in as much as they mounted a series of attacks at the Glen defence who held them at bay reasonably comfortably because each back stuck to his man and went with the runner. Where the difference lay at this early stage was that the Kyles wing –centres, especially Robbie Macleod, picked up the balls in midfield and played a higher percentage through than did their Glen opposite numbers. For all that early energy Kyles had only two strikes at goal-one a drive by Dunky Kerr from a wide angle and the other a superb strike from Ewan Campbell which was saved by Stuart Mackintosh. At the other end there was less energy- and the Kyles defence gave little away though Neale Reid had a couple of attempts but they did not trouble Kenny Macdonald.
The Kyles goal was nicely taken but before Ewan Campbell laid the ball across for Roddy Macdonald to score from there was more than enough time for the Glen to put it by for a corner. They did not-and so it has to go down as preventable as all three of last week’s were (all five- if you count the Glen goals)
After that goal Kyles’ attacks became fewer either as the Glen players picked up their effort in the middle or the Kyles guys lost their initial focus.
The second half saw much more Glen pressure as they pushed for an equaliser down towards the shop end- and, while some passages of play were neat enough at times, there was little end product in the shape of shots on goal. Kyles offered little in the second half though they picked up their ideas when Roddy Macdonald who had suffered a face injury came back on. In the end nothing much changed and Glen lost both points to a single goal. Frustration was the watchword for Glenners going home at the end of match.
Flare-ups? If you had a look at some of the snaps from the day you might think that but the least said soonest mended. Suffice to say both players- hurt in different incidents - came back on to the field after rest and treatment : there was nothing malicious in either, though everyone is protective of their own as is only natural.
On this showing Kyles are a good side- but Newtonmore are still the side to beat, though it is looking as if the Crofter Kids from beyond Glen Convinth are the ones to bet the “round the field” collection on this year.
Glen? They need to start scoring-but no way is this other than a very competitive league. Then it was like that last year and the sides relegated -Bute and Kilmallie – were good sides too.
In the second team outing, Glen picked up two points at Glengarry thanks to goals by Calum Miller and Iain Macleod.
To be truthful the youngsters, trained on the Drum Astro, found the ‘Garry surface hard to adapt to. It was like playing on cobbles and that affected everybody's hitting right from the off and the boys struggled to get themselves into the game. As the match went on Glengarry created the majority of the chances and if it were not for some good defending and excellent shot stopping from keeper Cameron Maclennan Glen would have been at least a couple of goals behind by half time. As it was Glen scored just before half time through Calum Miller who worked hard to create room for himself before hitting the net with a fine shot.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first with Glengarry creating the better of the chances. The Glenurquhart midfield failed to ignite and the forwards had few shots on target. Eventually Glengarry equalised half way through the second half.
They continued to pressurise the game but Cameron Maclennan pulled off several brilliant saves to keep Glen in it. David Girvan and Stuart Reid both had fine games in defence and were able to use their experience to break down play and clear their lines. James Hurwood also played well as did Ross Macdiarmid and Brad Dickson when they came on in the second half. In the end, victory came through the team’s fighting spirit which brought its reward when Iain MacLeod scored the winner after latching on to a good cross from Ross Macaulay.
The positive aspect of this game is the fact that the spirit of the side is excellent though the absence of the injured Drew Maclennan is a noticeable gap .Three wins from four puts the Glen juniors in a better position than they were last year at the same stage of the season-which cannot be bad.
As the weather improves and the pitches get firmer, performances hopefully will continue to get better. Perhaps this will be the year the Glenners will win that elusive Sutherland Cup. Definitely-maybe!
The pictures here come courtesy of Crofter snapper Neil Paterson whose website can be viewed at http://www.neilgpaterson.com .