Lochcarron’s Strathdearn Cup semifinal ended in disappointment when they were beaten 3-1 by Fort William at An Aird last Saturday.
The away side were under pressure from the first throw up. Fort William’s young and pacy forward line, supported by the experienced Bobby MacMillan, were creating numerous opportunities in the opening minutes of the game. Wayward shooting and last ditch defending was the only thing keeping the scoreline all square.
The breakthrough was eventually made with little over 15 minutes played, when Alexander MacMillan’s powerful run from half forward took him past two defenders, and from fully 30 yards his effort flew high into the roof of the net, leaving Peter MacKenzie in goal with no chance.
Only five minutes later, Lochcarron managed to get themselves back on level terms. Good passing play from one end of the pitch to the other was finished off by Matthew Brady. After a melee on the edge of the ‘D’ his shot was fired past Mark Fraser in the Fort goal to make the scoreline, 1-1.
From the resulting throw up though, Fort William restored their lead. Some slick link up play between the Fort forwards saw Greig Kelly’s pass into Alex MacMillan finished off with a clinical strike from 15 yards, making the score 2-1 after 20 minutes. Lochcarron were struggling to create any clear chances of their own in the first half, the home sides defence not giving an inch. As the match approached half time, Fort William would increase their lead further, this time from the penalty spot. MacKenzie in the Lochcarron goal made a fine save initially, but he slipped and made the clearance from the ground, the referee deeming it enough to give the penalty. Greig Kelly stepped up to the spot and dispatched the strike firmly into the bottom corner to make the scoreline 3-1 going into the interval.
Lochcarron made a number of changes at the interval. Sean MacCuish and Fraser Frost were replaced by David Bauermeister and Gregor Cushnie in the forward line. The experienced Cushnie almost made an immediate impact in with only minutes of the half played when he unleashed a powerful goal-bound strike. But Fraser in the home net pulled of an outstanding save to deny the visitors.
Lochcarron began to take control of the game and were creating numerous chances, though nothing that was troubling the opposition goal. With sixty minutes on the clock though, it looked like the visitors had managed to pull a goal back, the ball fell to Bauermeister at the penalty spot and his shot was buried into the bottom corner to make it 3-2. However, his strike was ruled out for a contentious offside decision.
Lochcarron dominated much of the second half, but Fort William still had their opportunities, Jack Kearney with the best of the chances, but he sent his shot wide when clean through on goal. With the game approaching full time, Lochcarron threw everything they had at the Fort side, but their defence stood strong, limiting the visitors to shots from distance, George Murphy came closest with an effort from 40 yards, but Fraser smartly palmed the ball away and with that clearance came the final whistle.