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McKay doubles up as Glen hit form!
27 March 2012
Marine Harvest South Division One
Taynuilt 1-3 Glenorchy
Glenorchy made the short trip down the road to take on local rivals Taynuilt on Saturday in a game which meant a lot to both sets of players and fans alike. The sun was splitting the sky and conditions could not have been more perfect for the game. Although Taynuilt went into the match having yet to notch a point and Glen had taken maximum from their two outings, this was expected to be a close affair.
The Glen made two alterations from last weekend's starting 12 against Strachur with John Sartain and James Livingstone both returning to the side at the expense of Sandy Leiper who was on the bench and Lorne Brown who was otherwise engaged in a beer or two at a stag weekend.
Manager Allan MacKechnie had demanded a much improved showing from his side in the press after an unconvincing performance last weekend but the first 10 minutes was to prove one way traffic in the opposite direction with Willie Neilson and David 'Keebo' Campbell forcing Glenorchy's famous goalkeeper Andrew Smith into action. At one point Smith took a backwards tumble onto the ground and with legs flailing in the air was relieved to see Grant MacPherson come to the rescue and clear the danger. Indeed, Taynuilt suffered the loss of half back, Neil Gillies, after just 2 minutes with a nasty knock and his place was taken by Duncan Gillies.
This start seemed to take Glen by surprise and they were stung into action with Sartain displaying some neat touches at half forward setting up Alec MacPherson to fire a couple of efforts just past the upright. Momentum was now beginning to swing in favour of the visitors with the midfield of Scott Livingstone, Findlay Ross and Fulton Ronald starting to win the loose balls and fifty-fifty's more often than not.
As the pressure began to build, Glen felt they were denied 2 penalties within a matter of minutes. Firstly a shot from MacPherson was saved by Andrew Servant in the Taynuilt goal but he failed to clear the danger and Duncan Smith seized control only to lose out to the backtracking Ewan Neilson in what could be described as a dubious challenge. Then, a scramble ensued in the Taynuilt box and with Kieran McKay battling for the ball the keeper appeared to stand on the ball but the officials gave the free hit the other way for a push in the back.
This galvanised Glenorchy and a fired up side went in pursuit of the opener before half time. Sartain and MacPherson both coming agonisingly close before the opening goal finally came. A long range shot from Kieran McKay forced Servant into action with his hand but he could only parry it down into the path of Smith who slipped it into the net to make it 1-0 to Glenorchy.
Taynuilt had very little time to respond to that 38th minute opener but Stuart Scott whistled a drive just off target and Alec MacPherson drove a blistering strike on target which brought a great stick save from Servant before the referee, Iain Kennedy blew for half time with Glenorchy leading 1-0.
The Glen management team were pleased with the performance overall but wanted another quick goal to kill the contest and then maybe add a few more.
However, just 5 minutes into the second half Scott escaped the attentions of Glen half back James Livingstone, who was having an outstanding game with his reading of the ball, and shot from 30 yards towards Smith who went with his hand but just misjudged it and the ball ended up in the net to make the score 1-1.
Taynuilt were certainly fired up after this and straight away Willie Gillies fired a shot from distance on target which Smith read better this time and turned the ball behind for a corner. The Glen backline of Grant MacPherson, James Livingstone, Duncan MacDougall and Ewan Murray were forced into their first real testing period of the match.
Then came another moment of controversy but it was the correct decision as a shot from McKay was saved by Servant and Duncan Smith ran in on it but it was knocked out to Sartain who took a touch then fired low and hard into the net but the goal was chalked off as Smith had failed to escape the box. The goal judge being none other than his own dad, John Smith brought some comedy to the moment and dispelled the myth that all shinty goal judges are biased to an extent.
With only 20 minutes remaining Glen were now the dominant team by far and when Alec MacPherson rattled the crossbar from a McKay free hit some maybe felt it was destined to be Taynuilt's day. But, just a minute later Duncan Smith's shot was saved again by Servant and Kieran McKay was quickest to react and he half volleyed the ball home to make the scoreline 2-1 to Glenorchy.
Kieran McKay is congratulated by Duncan Smith, Findlay Ross and John Sartain after firing the 'Glen 2-1 up.
Amazingly, from the resultant throw up Glenorchy made it 3-1. Ross winning the ball and it ran into the path of McKay again who took a touch and rattled a 25 yard drive into the roof of the net. This cushion was much needed as it gave the Glen more freedom and confidence to move the ball about with Sartain now enjoying the full forward role.
James Livingstone picked up an injury and he had to be replaced by Leiper, who took up a place in the forward line with Alec MacPherson dropping back to half back. Taynuilt did have time to carve out a couple of good chances with sub Stuart Gillies firing wide when unmarked and then Andrew Smith performed some heroics for his admirers across the globe with a double stop from Stuart Scott and Daniel MacDonald.
With time running out and both teams visibly feeling the effects of a hot afternoon, Glenorchy introduced Steven Turner into the action in place of Sartain. There was no further action after that change however and the game finished in a 3-1 success for Glenorchy.
Aside from a rocky opening 10 or 15 minutes it was indeed a much better all round performace from Glenorchy and one which should give the players a lot of confidence and belief in their own ability.
Next up for Taynuilt is a trip to Lochgilphead to take on Kilmory in the league whilst Glenorchy have a home game against Premier League side Bute in the first round of the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup.
Glenorchy: Andrew Smith, Grant MacPherson, Ewan Murray, Duncan MacDougall, James Livingstone, Scott Livingstone, Findlay Ross, Fulton Ronald, Kieran McKay, John Sartain, Duncan Smith, Alec MacPherson. Subs used: Sandy Leiper, Steven Turner. Unused: Iain Livingstone, Scott MacIntyre.