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More improvement for the Glen!
29 July 2011
Scottish Hydro Premier Division
Newtonmore 2-0 Glenorchy
The next match for Glenorchy was labelled by gaffer Allan MacKechnie as the 'toughest game of the season' away to reigning champions Newtonmore. After a good showing against Fort William last week the visitors were hoping to keep that level of performance going and maybe, just maybe, pull off a major shock and take their first point of the season.
As the rain caused havoc to the nearby Barclays Scottish Open golf, with landslides included, the sun scorched down on the Eilean for this 3pm throw up. Glenorchy made a couple of enforced changes to the team and goalkeeper Andrew Smith was given his now regular outfield runout at Newtonmore whilst Scott MacIntyre came out of self-imposed exile to make his comeback from the bench as an early substitute for the injured Kenny MacDougall.
The game started off in the fashion most folk would have expected as the hosts began to find their feet with a Steven MacDonald shot being superbly saved with his hand by Glenorchy keeper Greame MacKechnie. The opener didn't take very long to arrive and it was the favourites who got it after 9 minutes courtesy of a long distance strike which evaded MacKechnie's clutches from ex-Oban Camanachd player John MacKenzie.
The home support may have expected the floodgates to open from this point on but that proved not to be the case at all. Glenorchy came more and more into the game and were extremley unlucky to be denied a penalty after 22 minutes when Findlay Ross jinked his way into the box and was denied a shot at goal only by a Newtonmore player on the deck. Referee, Graham Cameron deemed it not dangerous play from the defender and play was waved on. Just 3 minutes later, more great play by Alec MacPherson in the centre line released Findlay Ross who played the ball across the box for Duncan Smith who decided to take a touch and this narrowed the angle and the side netting was all he could hit.
The positives though, far outweighed the negatives for Glenorchy and although Newtonmore probably edged the first half on chances created , it was not the one-way contest many had thought.
The second half started off in a similar fashion to the first with Newtonmore quickest to state their intentions with a few efforts from Glen MacKintosh and 'Ackie' MacRae forcing MacKechnie into action. The visiting backline of Scott MacKillop, Grant MacPherson, Duncan MacDougall and Ewan Murray were playing fantastic and every second ball or 50/50 seemed to be going the south side's way.
Glenorchy struggled to create any chance of an equaliser though and it seemed only a matter of time until Newtonmore added to their tally. But as the minutes ticked past there was always a chance that the Glen could snatch something the longer it stayed only 1-0.
The home side introduced top goalscorer and only half-fit Danny MacRae for the last 20 minutes in a bid to put the seal on 2 crucial points in their title bid. This second goal they craved finally arrived 11 minutes from the end when Fraser MacKintosh reacted quickest to a save by MacKechnie and slotted home the rebound.
This ended the game as a contest but the away side fought to the end in an effort not to concede any more goals and make sure the result reflected their efforts on the day. The game ended 2-0 to Newtonmore but, Glenorchy can be very pleased with their efforts and performance against arguably the best side in shinty and hopefully take heart from it for the remaining games this season.
The whole defence had a great game but it was Grant MacPherson at half-back who really caught the eye and had an outstanding game. Next up for the Glen is the final away fixture of the season at Canal Parks against Kilmallie. A game in which they will hope to take something from after this showing. Here's hoping that first point is coming!!