Sunday, June 30, 2013

So Far…………………………. so gutted……….!!

What is it about the Glen and MacTavish penalty shoot-outs?  Last year the team lost out on pens in the semi-final to Newtonmore: this year the shoot-out was another heart breaker. The Wing Centre has exercised restraint in as much as he did not rush to print until he had a week or two to master his disappointment and to re- engage his brain. He recommends the procedure to all other commentators.
So what is the verdict? Time has not really healed. His view has not really changed. Glen should have won the game in the first half; Lovat’s Stuart Macdonald is an excellent goal-keeper and BBC Alba need to smarten up their camera work. One is almost tempted to say the real BBC would have done a better job if it was not for the fact that that without Alba the game would probably not have been on the telly at all.
Never mind the pre-match spin that Lovat were favourites. They weren’t really. They are certainly younger but with Glen’s management team and the fact they have a good number of more experienced players the red and blacks really should have had the edge on the big occasion. Never mind the fact that Lovat won both the earlier matches in the season-Glen have had constantly changing personnel and have not seemed to be really focused in the league.
However, for this , the big one, Glen put in a great deal of preparation and effort and it was certainly there to be won in the first half when they had the wind advantage – and a Lovat team without, let’s be fair, both Lorne Mackay and Michael Mackenzie at first gave the impression of being overawed by the big occasion. Glen should have won it then but didn’t.
Glen started well and bossed the early proceedings with the Lovat defenders finding themselves giving away early fouls which allowed the Glen the opportunity on several occasions to put their free hit routines into practice. However though chances were created both David Smart and Fraser Heath were unable to make keeper Stuart Macdonald work.
Eventually in 17 minutes Glen did find the net when Eddie Tembo released Neale Reid out on the right. He slipped the ball across and youngster Fraser Heath was on hand to slam it home for the opener.
At the other end Glen keeper Stuart Mackintosh had to produce a reflex save above his head to deny a powerful strike from Greg Matheson
The Glen were still pushing forward however and eventually referee Deke Cameron pulled up Lovat full back Drew Howie and booked him for persistent fouling on 24 minutes.
Glen youngster Euan Lloyd then came on for Liam Girvan and almost his first action was to force Lovat keeper Macdonald to make a quick save with his feet shot on 26 minutes after Lloyd had latched on to a Fraser Heath knock-down.
Stuart MacDonald was again called into action this time making an excellent save from a Fraser Heath rocket shot on 28 minutes following determined lead up play by Neale Reid.  
Lovat again had to scramble the ball away on the half hour mark after a skilful forward run from Euan Lloyd put their back-line under pressure and then Fraser Heath fired his shot over from a tight angle just before the half drew to a close.
The second half eventually turned out to be a different story though the early part still belonged to the Glen simply because their forwards kept completely on top of the Lovat front men with Greg Matheson being particularly well controlled by Ali Mackintosh. Lewis Maclennan and John Barr were also on top form and then at the other end Fraser Heath found himself being fouled by Craig Mainland as he ran in on goal. Again the chance was missed.
Lovat manager Allan Macrae took off Martin Mainland and replaced him with ex-Glen under 17 player Graeme MacMillan on 57 minutes and ironically he it was who brought Lovat back into the game in 62 minutes. At that point Kevin Bartlett collected the ball wide on the right from Owen Ferguson and though Greg Matheson was unable to get on the end of Bartlett’s cross MacMillan managed to lose his marker and found enough space to fire the ball into the net to make it 1-1.   
Glen then replaced Euan Lloyd with Ruaraidh Cameron and Dave Maclennan with Arran Macdonald but by this stage Lovat were on top, though it appeared they were unable to penetrate the Glen backline with any conviction.
Lovat remained on top as the game entered the final 10 minutes of regulation time but the Glen defence, with Lewis MacLennan in superb form, stayed firm.
For a time Glen were backs to the wall and in that period Andrew Corrigan was booked for bringing down Kevin Bartlett  but at the other end Ewan Brady volleyed a Ruaraidh Cameron corner wide following a late Glen attack.
Four minutes of injury time failed to produce a winning goal so the final went into extra time. Once again the ascendancy went with the wind advantage and Glen had chances to seal the match.
One of the best came when Neale Reid gathered a pass from Ruaraidh Cameron but he pulled his shot wide of the post. Not long afterwards another chance came Glen’s way when Ewan Brady picked out Ruaraidh Cameron with a free hit on 103 minutes but Cameron’s shot went wide.
Lovat had the wind advantage for the second half of extra time and they began to move forward and Glen keeper Stuart Mackintosh was alert enough to save an Owen Ferguson drive on 111 minutes and then tip away a drive from Duncan Davidson which appeared to be dipping in below his crossbar.
At the other end however, Lovat’s Callum Cruden did well to turn a Ruaraidh Cameron cross from the right away for a corner the second minute of injury time.
Then came the penalty lottery which Lovat won thanks to Stuart Macdonald. By way of consolation Glen’s Lewis MacLennan was named the BBC Alba man of the match.
When Glenners sat down at the evening function to break bread with the Lovateers from over the hill, they had a couple of thoughts:
1)    A second goal in the first half would have definitely placed black and red ribbons on the cup.
2)    On the other hand, there are a lot of really nice folk of the Wing Centre’s generation who deserve something more than the annual Lovat Cup to cheer about- so well done to Mary Ann, Ronnie Millican, Finlay Macrae, Ally Macrae, Don Neil and Jimmy Gallagher and heaps more. Linda and Graham Bell should also take a bow: they kept on willingly turning out wee players from Tomnacross over the decades while the ancient sport was merely tolerated in some other communities. Good on them all!
The pictures are courtesy of Neil Paterson. One is of Ewen Brady another of man of the match Lewis Maclennan  while the other is of the lads after the match managing to smile. Funnily enough Neil down sized this one so that even if you try to big it up you can't see the tears in their eyes as they bravely try to smile. Anyway to check his stuff out , have a look at
Of course the final picture is one of G in his Drum strip (he ain't so wee now) and if his Mum would send  a pic with him in action on the big day with a Glen player in the same frame then perhaps this one would be altered. But then again perhaps not. After all, he did play for Drum and he did save Lovat's bacon.

Anyway, that is all good fun but the question is where now?  It can only be the Camanachd-we enter it to win it. Besides the Premier League is beyond everyone except Newtonmore.



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