WEST HIGHLAND LEAGUE: Top two survive midweek scares to maintain flawless start

In-form youngster Dylan Cameron Pic Sleat and Strath AFC


The two midweek WHAFA League matches saw Sleat & Strath and Mallaig, who have won the league between them for the last four seasons, face Kyle and Fort William reserves, who sit bottom and second-bottom of the table respectively.

Fans of the clubs could be forgiven for thinking the results would be a foregone conclusion but the favourites had poor starts in both games before asserting themselves and showing quality to overcome their opponents.


Kyle came into Tuesday’s game having been soundly beaten 6-0 by NWS at home, and their previous match with Mallaig was called off when the Lochalsh side couldn’t raise a team.

Any spectators without this prior knowledge might have thought it was the away side who were last season’s champions rather than Sleat, however, as they raced out of the traps and within three minutes had scored to take a 1-0 lead.

David Macaskill curled in a beauty from the edge of the box to give Sleat’s goalkeeper, Lachlan Micski, no chance.

Sleat remained on the ropes for the opening ten minutes but they then started to gain control of the ball and their possession eventually paid off on the half hour mark as Connaire Yoxon sent in a good delivery to the box and Dylan Cameron, a young player in fine form, headed home from the front post to make it 1-1.

The table as it stands

Kyle remained competitive in the match but the same Sleat duo combined again to make it 2-1 to the home side when Yoxon slipped a ball through the Kyle defence and Cameron got there before the keeper making it 2-1 at half time.

Sleat have a group of senior players running the team this year rather than a full time manager, and the voices of that group must have been well heard at the break.

When the second half whistle blew, the Strath side made it 3-1 almost immediately with a third Dylan Cameron goal, from a third Connaire Yoxon assist, the duo combining well once again for the player of the match’s hat-trick.

Before the hour mark, the game was over as a spectacle with Ben Yoxon firing in from the edge of the box before Kieran Harvey scored from a corner to make it 5-1 to Sleat.

Speaking on social media, the Sleat management team said: “Thanks to Kyle for the early wake up call in that game.

“You came out of the blocks flying and caught us off guard. An outstanding goal to kick the game off and you battled to the very end.

“Wishing you all the best for the rest of the season.

“Fortunately for us we switched on after that first goal. The relationship between our young players stepping into the team and the regulars is looking promising.

“Keep it up lads!”

Kyle’s captain, Cameron Godfrey, was happy with some aspects of the game.

He said: “I was very proud of how the team played against the toughest team in the league. It was a game of two halves and I think we were unlucky to come away 5-1 losers but we are optimistic looking forward to the next games.”


Mallaig’s stop-start beginning to the season has not halted them from winning, and they are yet to taste defeat this year.

In this feisty local derby on Wednesday, Fort William’s winless young reserves gave their opponents a scare before the away side took control and took three points along with it.

The home team stunned Mallaig by taking the lead through Ryan Wilson, who was assisted by Robbie Rydings to make it 1-0.

Mallaig have been in good form, and beat Portree last weekend. Pic Willie Urquhart

Fort William then doubled their lead when provider turned scorer, Robbie Rydings this time finding the back of the net himself to give an unexpected 2-0 to his team.

It’s an old football cliche, but maybe the underdogs scored too early in the match.

Mallaig had plenty of time to respond and they did so in some style, hitting their local rivals with goal after goal in what was a pleasing derby victory.

Three players bagged braces, go-to man Andrew Sneddon, Ryan MacDonald and Angus MacNaughton with Archie Gillies and Aaron McLean also scoring to turn things around and make it 8-2 in the away side’s favour.

The early goals in this match as well as their late double against Sleat show that Fort William can compete in patches. They’ll be hoping for more consistency over 90 minutes from their young players in the coming matches.

Jamie MacGregor’s Mallaig team will hope to take their form from this match forward into their next match, which will be against Auctioneers in the Highland Amateur Cup on 13th May.

Their opposition play in the Inverness & District Football Association 2nd Division and with both Sleat and NWS defeating opposition from the IDFA 1st Division in the preliminary round, the Lochaber side should go into the tie as favourites.

WEEKEND FIXTURES: Friday 5th May (all 7pm), William Wilson League, Kyleakin v Portree; NW Skye v Sleat & Strath; Kyle v Portree Juniors.

A full round up of last weekend’s football is in this week’s West Highland Free Press, out now