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A win at long last!
03 March 2012

Marine Harvest South Division One

Oban Celtic 1-2 Glenorchy

The first Saturday in March signals the beginning of the shinty season across the country and for Glenorchy it was the very beginning as they went into the opener without any pre-season frendlies under their belt.

After the torment and despair of 18 consecutive league defeats last season and without a win since defeating Lochside Rovers 6-1 at the end of the 2010 season, Glenorchy were desperate to get the season off and running with 2 points away to local rivals Oban Celtic.

Boosted by the return to action of John Sartain and Steven Turner after both missed last season and the signing of Lorne Brown from Ballachullish, there was a quiet optimism within the camp that a victory could be recorded. The game begun at Mossfield in awful conditions with a swirling wind and rain making life difficult for both sets of players.

Perhaps unexpectadly, it was Glen who were quickest out the traps with the forwardline of Duncan Smith, Sandy Leiper, John Sartain and Alec MacPherson linking up to create chances for MacPherson and Sartain which failed to force the Oban Celtic keeper into action but was very encouraging all the same.

In the ever worsening conditions the home side created a glaring chance of their own when Alan MacInnes found himself free just outside the box but he fired high over the bar much to the relief of the visitors. This warning went unheeded though when Celtic did break the deadlock after 19 minutes after Glen keeper Andrew Smith did well to save a low drive with his feet but just failed to turn the ball behind for a corner quick enough and Kenny Wotherspoon nipped in to prod the ball over the line to make it 1-0 to the hosts.

After the run of results Glenorchy have endured this may well have resulted in heads' dropping but the exact opposite was the case as good link-up play between Sartain and Smith resulted in a stramash in the box and the ball broke for MacPherson who beat the keeper before slotting into an empty net to make it 1-1 just 2 minutes later.

Glen frontman Alec MacPherson celebrates his equaliser with fellow forwards Duncan Smith and John Sartain.

Chances for the rest of the half were few and far between for both sides with neither keeper really being forced into action and seemingly both sides were happy to get in at the interval on level terms. Glen did lose influential forward Sartain 10 minutes before half time with a hamstring injury and his place was taken by Steven Turner in a straight switch.

Glenorchy would have the wind advantage in the second period and many felt this would prove decisive in the final outcome. Manager Allan MacKechnie made a tactical move at the break swapping wing centre Scott Livingstone with Leiper.

The second half began with Glen once more piling the early pressure on and MacPherson was appearing increasingly dangerous. The influence and intelligence in the middle of the park of Findlay Ross and Kieran MacKay was now beginning to tell with the home side struggling to get out of their own half as the pressure became unrelenting.

Smith and MacPherson both forced the keeper into action while Turner fired just past as the chances began to come regularly. It appeared only a matter of time until Glenorchy went ahead and this they did just shy of the hour mark. Gary MacKerracher of Oban Celtic was booked for giving away a free hit and Ross tapped the ball to MacPherson who fired low and hard towards the far post and Celtic's keeper seemed to leave the ball thinking it was going wide but it crept inside the post to make it 2-1 to Glenorchy.

Glen then introduced Lorne Brown for his debut at full forward in place of the injured Leiper. More chances continued to fall the visitors way with Brown showing some neat touches and just failing to find the finish that he deserved.

However, as long as their was only one goal in it then Celtic would inevitably have a chance of rescuing a point as the game entered the closing minutes.

Celtic flung MacKerracher forward in search of the elusive equaliser and went with 5 forwards but this seemed to limit the space they had to work in and they failed to really trouble Smith in the Glen goal. Grant MacPherson at full back was outstanding in repelling threat after threat and aided by fellow defenders Ewan Murray, Duncan MacDougall and James Livingstone limited Celtic to very little opportunities at all.

Referee, Iain Kennedy brought the game to a conclusion after 4 minutes of added time and Glenorchy held on to win 2-1. It was a massive relief for Glen and one which should give them much needed confidence for their championship challenge this season.

Next weekend Oban Celtic visit newly promoted Strachur whilst Glenorchy host Kilmory at Dalmally.




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