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3 is NOT the magic number!!
08 June 2012
Marine Harvest South Division One
Oban Camanachd 3-0 Glenorchy
The 'Super South Saturday' of shinty took place at Mossfield in Oban last weekend as Oban Celtic beat local rivals' Taynuilt 4-3 in a 12 noon throw-up and this was followed at 3pm with a top of the table clash between Oban Camanachd and Glenorchy.
With both sides level on 10 points and Glen having played one game more the scene was set for a fascinating tussle on a sun-kissed day which would require more than the odd stoppage for water as temperatures soared. The home side were missing several players and also made a managerial change prior to throw up after ugly scenes at the end of their tie with Lochaber the previous weekend, Peter MacCuish and Gussy Campbell assumed the reins for this fixture. In turn, Glen were short too with Kieran MacKay unavailable due to work commitments and injuries to Duncan MacDougall, Kenny MacDougall, John Sartain. Iain Livingstone and Graham Morrice were also missing for differing reasons. Glen's influential skipper Findlay Ross also made it despite receiving a ball full on the face during Camanachd's warm-up which he brushed off as 'just a wee nick'.
Glenorchy's management team of Allan MacKechnie and John MacPherson emphasised to the players the need to keep it tight early on and not to get intimidated or overpowered by the physical Oban outfit. The game started at a furious pace with both sides crafting out early opportunities with Oban going close when Lorne Dickie found space on the left after just 3 minutes and rattled a long range drive against the post to wake up a shell shocked Glen.
Glen's first chance fell to Sandy Leiper after he beat his man on the wing after a shy from John McNulty and fired just over the bar from 20 yards. Lorne Brown then shot just past as Glen began to build up some pressure after their early indifferent start.
Camanachd were always looking dangerous going forward though and Aidan MacIntyre shot just wide after good work in midfield from Robert Alexander. The Glen forwardline of Duncan Smith, Leiper, James Livingstone and Brown were linking up well in this period of the game though just not finding that killer touch.
Oban Camanachd hit the front after 19 minutes however with a wonderfully crafted goal with one touch passing which led to Andrew MacCuish bearing down on Andrew Smith in the Glen goal and he slipped the ball high into the net to make it 1-0 to the home side.
This goal seemed to settle Camanachd down and they threatened to get a quick second with MacCuish slipping the ball just over and then Gussy Campbell bringing out a fantastic reaction save from Smith with his hand as the home side looked to capitalise on the superiority they were now enjoying.
The Glen centreline of Scott Livingstone, Findlay Ross and McNulty were finding themselves dragged further and further back as ball didn't seem to stick up front. Glen then made their first switch of the afternoon with Scott Livingstone being replaced on the wing by Ewan Murray who had missed the start due to working.
Full centre Garry Lord, who had recovered from a foot injury, fired a long distance drive wide and MacCuish again brought Smith into action with his feet. The Glenorchy backline of Grant MacPherson, Scott McKillop, Alec MacPherson and Fulton Ronald were having their work cut out stemming the stream of pressure.
The visitors created one or two half chances towards the end of the opening period but Duncan Smith and Livingstone both saw their shots blocked by Oban's influential full back, Daniel Cameron. Malcolm Clark had the last chance of the half when he shot just past from the angle and the game entered the half time interval with the hosts holding a slender 1-0 advantage.
Although the possession was probably 50/50 it was Camanachd who had created the better chances and the Glen's management team insisted that the forwards start shooting more when the chance arises and cut out the extra pass as the hard, bouncy pitch may prove troublesome for keepers.
Referee, Robert Baxter got the second period underway with a boisterous home crowd now in full voice with the sunshine and obviously a few beverages meaning an increase in volume. The home side again started quicker with Dickie and MacCuish both going close to extending the lead but just being unable to find the target.
The second goal wasn't long in coming however as it arrived after 56 minutes when Aidan MacIntyre collected a cut back from MacCuish and shot low past Smith into the net to make the scoreline 2-0 to Camanachd.
Glen knew they were certainly up against it now and having created so little in the opening stages of this second period, any chances would have to be taken as the next goal in the game would be very crucial. Brown turned his man excellently out wide but there was just no takers for his cut back.
This was Brown's last involvement as his place was taken by the returning Scott Livingstone and Steven 'JT' Turner mananged to put his fledgling romance out his thoughts for 25 minutes to take his place at wing centre with Sandy Leiper leaving the action. Murray dropping back to defence meant Grant MacPherson was moved to full forward as Glen seeked a way back into the match.
Craig MacDougall and MacIntyre had chances which Smith dealt with before Glen's Grant MacPherson brought out a good save from Robert Dunnings in the Oban goal with his foot. Duncan Smith then pushed an effort on target which Dunnings again dealt with as the clock ticked down and the searing heat and big pitch meant stamina was well and truly being tested now.
Fulton Ronald found his way into the referee's notebook for hitting the ball away then Oban were awarded a very controversial penalty after 80 minutes when Alec MacPherson was adjudged to have 'hacked' MacCuish as he made his way towards goal but MacCuish carried on after the whistle and scored. Robert Baxter brought play back for a penalty though and booked MacPherson, who was adamant that the offence was yards outside the box and he was backed up by his defensive colleagues who were raging with the decision. MacCuish himself took the resulting spot-hit and he sent it low past Smith to make it 3-0 to the hosts and game over.
Neither side really had any further chances to add to the scoring as the heat seemed to take its toll and with the outcome in no doubt the game petered out thereafter. The final score ended 3-0 to Oban Camanachd which means they maintain their 100% start and moved two points clear of Glen having played a game less.
Glenorchy will be pleased with their showing in the first half but in the second period the early second goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the side and they will need to regroup for this weekend's home league tie against Kilmory. Next up for Camanachd is trip to bottom side Aberdour in the league.
Glenorchy: Andrew Smith, Grant MacPherson, Alec MacPherson, Scott McKillop, Fulton Ronald, Scott Livingstone, Findlay Ross, John McNulty, Duncan Smith, Sandy Leiper, James Livingstone, Lorne Brown. Subs Used: Steven Turner, Ewan Murray. Unused: Scott MacIntyre, Andy MacLean.