Heath on fire
Glenurquhart 3 Kinlochshiel 2 (MacTavish Cup)
Glen posted a win in this MacTavish Cup home tie thanks to the predatory skills of youngster Fraser Heath. The young man has missed a game or two this season due to work commitments and the nature of the Glen’s season so far has meant that the home supporters have not seen him on home soil in the form that won him man of the match in last season’s MacAulay Cup final.
Glen have never had the same team on the pitch two weeks in succession and this week Eddie Tembo , who had sliced his thumb open at work earlier in the week missed out. Neale Reid was back however – and after an initial burst from ‘Shiel he it was who put pressure on the ‘Shiel defence by rattling in a shot which was not cleared. The ball fell into the path of Fraser Heath who rammed it past ‘Shiel keeper Scott Kennedy for the opener. Glen turned on the pressure and created a series of opportunities to shoot which the front men refused to take, though ‘Shiel defender Donald Nixon had a lot to do with thwarting them. However some more confusion in the visitors’ defence saw Heath rap in number two – and a few minutes later it took a superb stop by Kennedy to deny Heath his hat-trick.
Finlay Macrae, who had started on the bench, came on at full-back, and from that point on ‘Shiel began to play a little better but Glen still had strikes from Reid and David Smart that kept ‘Shiel on notice they were in a severe game.
Oliver Macrae brought ‘Shiel back into the match with a fine strike early in the second half. Glen pushed on however and after a free hit, confusion in the visitors defence allowed Neale Reid to restore the Glen’s two goal lead- and that should have been it. Glen were well on top and they should have gone further ahead via David Smart and Fraser Heath once again but, as the old fellow said “ if the ball did not go in the net, it cannot be a goal “
Then disaster- poor work in the Glen centreline allowed ‘Shiel’s Gordy Macdonald to get on to a through ball from Oliver Macrae and he had the presence of mind to dink it over keeper Stuart Mackintosh who had found himself stranded at the edge of the “D”.
Glen frantically pushed to secure a convincing victory with strikes from Reid and Heath going wide and finally Scott Kennedy had his second wonder save of the day from a fierce drive from Reid.
In the end Glen were too strong for ‘Shiel on the day- and by a greater margin than the score suggests- and Glen now have the dubious pleasure of facing up to Newtonmore in the semi. Thanks for that, ‘Shiel!!
The question this also throws up is – where do the Glen play Fraser Heath. They need him in the middle, they need him in defence and he usually scores when he’s up front. Pity he wasn’t a twin.
Lovat 2 Glen 1 (ND2)
If one young man was a success in the first match, it was another who caught the eye in the Lovat game. Euan Lloyd stepped up to the mark in a match in which the Glen faced up to a tough Lovat squad despite the red and blacks being at very much less than full strength. Jack Hosie, Calum Smith, David Girvan, David MacFadyen, Cameron Maclennan, Drew Maclennan, Calum Fraser, Gary Mackintosh, Daniel Mackintosh, Donald Fraser, Ross Macdiarmid and Liam Girvan were all out of this game for various reasons. Indeed four of the call-offs happened on the Saturday morning- and that was a blow from which the side struggled to recover from but on the plus side it perhaps shows the depth of squad Glen possess when they were still able to put out team strong enough to compete for the full 90 minutes.The opening period was the most even and Glen should have gone one up when Euan Lloyd hit the cross bar with a brilliant strike. Unfortunately Bradley Dickson took a knee knock and had to go off after five minutes so the side were forced to pull Euan Lloyd out of the forward line and into half back.
Paul Mackintosh who had come along at very short notice went into goals and for this period in the game kept Glen in it in it with some fine saves. Glen then went one nil up through a good strong piece of play and a fine strike from Calum Miller.
The defence line up of Stuart Reid, James Hurwood, Euan Lloyd and Duncan Fraser were outstanding throughout with both Hurwood and Lloyd showing great attitude when asked to drop back into defence.
The Centre line of Ross Macaulay, Ewan Fraser and Iain MacLeod worked extremely hard to provide service for the forwards but for the remainder of the first half Lovat were on top and they scored just on half time to equalise through a close range strike from Fraser Gallagher
In the second half, to add to their troubles Glen had to play into a strong wind- and though Lovat were on top territorially the only time they looked like scoring was when they were awarded a penalty, but Fraser Gallagher mishit his shot and the threat was gone.
The black and whites however continued to press and they did eventually score through a really good strike from Euan Ferguson five minutes from the end. Glen then moved Euan Lloyd up front as he was struggling with cramp and once again he nearly scored when he was through on goal but was fouled in the box. The referee did not award the penalty so game ended 2-1
Despite the result and the fact that Glen were short, there was some comfort to be had from the fact that there were some excellent individual performances on the day.
Apart from those already mentioned such as Stuart Reid and James Hurwood, Euan Lloyd was clearly the pick of the bunch. He has already had representative honours at his age group and it is only a matter of time before he and one or two of his team mates - make the permanent step up to the top squad.
The pictures are from Tina Marshall who also provided some information about how the game went, though as always, the black and red specs the Wing Centre habitually wears allows him as always to put his own “gleans” on it.
You can check out her pics and blog at http://tinamarshall.co.uk/