In a campaign which had seen them ship over 100 goals, lose 14 games in a row and have six points deducted for rule breaches, Glenelg FC finally had reason to celebrate last Tuesday night when they pulled off one of the shock results of the season by beating Portree 3-2.
Few would have given the mainlanders much hope as they travelled north to face a Portree team which had put five past them in the corresponding fixture earlier in the year. But despite the Maroons being able to call on a near full-strength squad, Glenelg battled their way to a famous victory.
As expected the hosts dominated possession and chances, but Glenelg showed superb battling spirit to restrict their lacklustre hosts. And on the night the mainland side made the most of the few chances that came their way to clinch a smash-and-grab victory to savour.
Ally Nixon with a double and Seamus Lane got the goals for Glenelg to cap a sterling night’s work by the entire squad, all of whom can now take some satisfaction from a season of struggles.
Yet in spite of Tuesday’s victory Glenelg have minus two points due to a six-point deduction incurred for fielding ineligible players on three occasions earlier in the year.
At the weekend Portree bounced back into third spot thanks to a 4-1 win at Plockton — a result which almost certainly condemns the mainland side to a bottom-five finish and a spot in the Ross Cup. Chris Rose (2), Jamie Gannon and Euan Forrest got the goals for a much-improved Portree.
Portree Juniors made certain of second place with a hard-earned 1-0 win at home to Gairloch Aultbea United. A late Dean MacLeod penalty was all that separated the sides.
Kyleakin’s hopes of a top-three finish, meanwhile, suffered a blow despite a decent home performance against champions Sleat. For the third time in four meetings between the two south-end teams this year Sleat triumphed by a 3-1 scoreline.
Three goals in the space of 20 first-half minutes set Sleat on the way as Kyleakin, despite playing well, were ruthlessly exposed on the break. In 15 minutes the hosts’ defence was stretched on the right flank, and Ben Yoxon’s driven cross was diverted into his own net by Euan Park. Ten minutes later Calum MacRae, whose runs down the right were causing much of the trouble, made it 2-0 with a left-foot strike into the top corner from 20 yards. And 10 minutes before half time Ben Yoxon burst through and slotted home a third.
Kyleakin had two efforts cleared off the line, and Sleat keeper John Davie made some good saves, before the home side did eventually pull a goal back through a measured lob from Neil Campbell with 20 minutes left.
IN THE weekend’s other fixture Struan took the honours in the north-west Skye derby thanks to a 3-0 win at Dunvegan.
The home side started well and were unlucky when John MacInnes fired in a shot only to see it come back off the post. But after 20 minutes Struan broke upfield and veteran Iain Macphie shrugged off his marker to drill in a low shot from a tight angle. Despite the hectic pace of the game, it remained 1-0 at the interval.
Ten minutes into the second half Struan doubled their lead. Iain Beaton’s fiercely-hit strike from the edge of the box took a deflection that left the keeper stranded as the ball spun into the net. It was a goal that all but killed off Dunvegan. On the 65-minute mark Struan were awarded an indirect free kick just inside the box. Pete Munro coolly rolled the ball back to Iain MacCusbic who curled a great shot over the crowded penalty box into the top corner.
Shortly afterwards Dunvegan were awarded a penalty for handball. However, young Ben Nicolson pulled his spot kick just wide of the post, and with that any lingering hopes of a Dunvegan comeback disappeared. Struan had several chances to increase their lead and young Ewen Gillies in the Dunvegan goal pulled off a great save in the dying minutes to deny Iain MacCusbic. All in all it was a deserved victory for Struan, to complete the double over their local rivals for the first time in several seasons.
Saturday’s match between Kyle and Glenelg was postponed due to a bereavement.
RESULTS William Wilson Skye and Lochalsh League Plockton 1, Portree 4; Kyleakin 1, Sleat and Strath 3; Dunvegan 0, Struan 3; Portree Juniors 1, GA United 0; Portree 2, Glenelg 2. FIXTURES Saturday 30th August (6pm, unless otherwise stated), League GA United v Kyleakin (2.45pm); Glenelg v Sleat and Strath; Kyle v Plockton; Portree v Dunvegan; Struan v Portree Juniors.