James Pringle of Juniors and Ben Yoxon of Sleat and Strath, respectively, could hold the key to their sides’ chances of a victory in tonight’s match.
Skye and Lochalsh Football Championship run-in
Portree Juniors v Sleat and Strath
Wednesday 5th September
Portree High School – 7.30 pm kick-off
The enthralling battle for the 2018 Skye and Lochalsh Football League Championship resumes this evening as two of the title contenders – Portree Juniors, and Sleat and Strath – lock horns in an eagerly-anticipated encounter in Portree.
The teams go into tonight’s clash separated by just a point in what is the sides’ penultimate match of the season. Moreover, any result other than a win for Sleat and Strath would mean that both clubs along with Mallaig and Kyleakin would go into the final round of fixtures with a chance of winning the title in a four-team showdown on Saturday.
The final round of games would then see Sleat host Mallaig in what could be a defining match for the championship, while Juniors travelled to the south of the island to face Kyleakin in what could effectively be a straight battle for the title.
Although the prospect of a title win is sure to have crossed the minds of both sets of players, there is little chance that either side will be looking further ahead than tonight’s game which will be the second meeting between the teams this season.
There was nothing to separate the sides in their previous match which ended all square in a 2-2 draw in what was a breathless encounter in Broadford back in June.
Connaire Yoxon opened the scoring with a contender for goal of the season when he curled a fantastic strike past Juniors’ debutant goalkeeper Nick Flanagan from outside the box before James Pringle went on to draw the visitors level 10 minutes before the break.
Sleat restored their lead courtesy of Connaire Yoxon to make it a 2-1 after the break, but Juniors weren’t to be denied after an impressive performance as substitute Davie Potter popped up with a late equaliser to earn his side a share of the spoils.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s clash, Sleat and Strath Manager, DL MacKinnon told the Free Press: “I’m buzzing for this game tonight! It’s a game either of us could win and still not be enough to win the league. Both teams have been on top form, so it’s going to take one hell of an effort to win it. If we do it, having played four games in 10 days it will be some achievement!”
With the match too difficult to call for the Free Press, we decided to enlist the help of a someone who knows what it’s like to face both sides in full flow.
Graham Campbell, Northwest Skye manager: “Both teams are very strong and have given us our toughest games of the season and the two blips in our scores, a 7-0 loss to Juniors in July and 7-1 to Sleat last weekend. Sleat have the stronger squad with good strength in depth, but Juniors have a very strong team when they can draw on their best 11 or so. Juniors are a more physical team, but Sleat can overpower teams with their speed and movement. I think it will be a close game with contrasting styles.”
Article and second image by Adam Gordon
Main photographs by Willie Urquhart.
Match result: Portree Juniors 4 Sleat and Strath 2