Westside continued their dominance of the Eilean an Fhraoich Cup competition by lifting the trophy for the fifth time in seven years – their third in succession – with a 2-1 win over Carloway at Upper Coll on Friday.
The final itself will not be remembered for the quality of play — it proved to be a tame affair with little in the way of goalmouth action. That the only save of note came midway through the second half when Carloway’s Jack Maclennan made a spectacular dive to tip over Dan Macphail’s flying header says a lot about the match. As it turned out, Macphail’s effort would not have counted anyway as the assistant referee had raised his flag for offside.
After a scrappy opening Westside settled quicker and winger Ali “Barvas” Macleod was prominent with some good deliveries from the right flank, but Carloway managed to clear their lines or there were no Westside forwards to take advantage.
The Siarachs broke the deadlock in 18 minutes and inevitably Macleod was involved. This time he drifted over to the opposite wing and sent a looping cross into the six-yard box where the unmarked Ally Williamson had the simple task of nodding past Maclennan.
Carloway up until then had been limited to a couple of long-range efforts from Scott Macaulay which had not troubled Peter Macaskill in the Westside goal, but the stopper had to look on anxiously when Gordon “Tago” Macdonald curled a free kick round the wall and just wide of the upright.
Just after the half-hour mark Macaulay’s persistence resulted in a corner for Carloway which Kenny “Dokus” Macdonald swung into the danger area for Stuart “Bubble” Macdonald to leap and send a downward header inside Macaskill’s left-hand post for the equaliser.
Westside almost regained the lead immediately when they broke down the right and centred for Angie Campbell whose attempt at goal deflected off Murdo “Squegg” Macleod for a corner. From the set piece Campbell sent his header high and wide of goal.
There was little goalmouth action in the remainder of the first half but within 30 seconds of the restart Westside had retaken the lead. Carloway were caught napping as Ali “Barvas” Macleod slipped the ball through to full back Gordon Campbell and his accurate cutback across the face of goal was hammered home by Innes Iain Morrison.
Macleod then came to his side’s rescue when he cleared a Kevin “Barra” Macneil cross over his own crossbar as a couple of Carloway forwards waited to pounce. Thereafter the game appeared to be littered with stoppages for innocuous free kicks and neither side was able to take control and dominate, which suited Westside more than their opponents.
Substitute Ross Maciver had a good opportunity for Carloway when he arrived at the far post to meet a low centre from the right flank but his shot at goal found the side netting with the aid of a slight deflection. At the other end Dan Macphail could have killed off the match but he snatched at the ball and from three yards out hit it the wrong side of the post.
Carloway striker Jack Buchanan had been isolated for much of the match but got sight of goal late on when breaking down the left side only to be stopped by a timely intervention from Gordon Campbell.
Deep into injury time there was a bizarre scramble in the Westside box. Macaskill missed a high ball and as it dropped two yards from goal a Carloway player attempted to back-heel it into the unguarded net but sliced it wide of goal. And with it went their last chance, as the final whistle blew shortly after.
Before skipper Duncan Maclean lifted the famous trophy the man-of-the-match award was presented to Westside full back Gordon Campbell who performed his defensive duties when required and was also willing to join in the attack as was illustrated when setting up the winning goal. Ali “Baravs” Macleod and Angie Campbell also performed well for the winners whilst for Carloway Domhnall Mackay led by example and was the pick of their side.