Camanachd Cup Second Round
Beauly 0, Kinlochshiel 1
With a 1-0 away win over Beauly on Saturday, Kinlochshiel booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Camanachd Cup — and a home tie against 2010 cup winners Fort William.
Shiel manager Colin Fraser made a couple of changes to the side which went down to Lovat in the MacTavish Cup the previous weekend, Graham Morrison starting at full centre in place of John MacRae who dropped to the bench alongside Jordan Fraser and Ali “Dooncie” MacRae.
While the west-coast side started strongly the Beauly defence were in uncharitable mood, and Conor Cormack at half back was outstanding at turning defence into attack. But although Beauly enjoyed their fair share of first-half possession they created little in the final third of the pitch and Shiel keeper Scott Kennedy was largely idle.
Beauly’s best early chance came after around 20 minutes but Jack Macdonald drove the ball wide of Kennedy’s right-hand post. Up at the other end five minutes later Keith MacRae forced a fine save from young Beauly keeper Josh Grant. The closest thing to a goal in a keenly-contested first half came around 10 minutes before the interval when a Neil Fraser shot came off the face of the crossbar and the ball was scrambled clear by the home defence.
After the break John MacRae came off the bench to take over from Graham Morrison at full centre, and Jordan Fraser replaced Duncan “Ach” MacRae in the forward line. These changes had an immediate effect and, with John MacRae snuffing out Conor Cormack’s dominance, Shiel began to take control of the game.
Around 10 minutes into the second half a Jordan Fraser shot went narrowly wide, and five minutes later a goal-bound effort from Keith MacRae was cut out by a defender.
Although Grant in the Beauly goal had few direct saves to make, he proved adept at coming out to clear his lines at key moments and cutting down the angles to frustrate the opposition forwards.
The breakthrough finally came for Kinlochshiel with 14 minutes remaining when a through ball from John MacRae was kicked inside the area by a Beauly defender under pressure.
Jordan Fraser stepped up confidently to take the resulting penalty and drove the ball home hard and low to the keeper’s left. This allowed Shiel to relax a little and press forward in a bid to put the tie beyond Beauly.
In the 80th minute John MacRae was unlucky to see a shot cleared off the line by a defender with Grant beaten, and five minutes later a net-bound drive from Keith MacRae struck a defender and the ball went behind for a corner.
Jordan Fraser then came within a whisker of doubling his tally but was foiled by a fine save from the keeper. There was one last chance for Beauly to salvage the tie with a shot from Jack MacDonald, but Scott Kennedy made the save with his feet.