James and the Giant Reach
Point 0 v 3 Lochs
(league 5) 19/5/15
Point’s excellent start to the league campaign came to a shuddering halt at the hands of league favourites and Acres Cup winners Lochs. The 3-0 scoreline was a bit harsh on the Reds who created plenty of chances but couldn’t find a way past James Macleod in the Lochs goal.
The game was switched from Lochs to Point after an afternoon deluge left the Creagan Dubh unplayable. Hopes were high in the Rudhach camp after scoring 17 goals in the past week, but it was to prove an incredibly frustrating night for players, management and fans alike.
After 4 mins Stu Munro played the ball to Wally but his shot was just over the bar. Stephen “Ronaldo” Campbell was next to shoot over after 7mins as the Reds sought an early breakthrough. After 17 mins the Reds had a big penalty shout turned down when Stu Flower appeared to be barged in the back by Rob Mackenzie. A wise (unbiased) man standing beside me, obviously not Coach Stoodie (!), said ” that would have been given anywhere else on the pitch”. Classic football banter! But he was right. After 19 mins Sam won a free kick on the right, Wally swung it in and there was Sam to head it beyond James, but no, the former Ross County man sprung acrobatically to his left and tipped over. So close!
The Lochies slowly began to grow into the game and the Reds were getting overun in the middle of the pitch for a time. Andy “Gazette” Murray ( he’s in it more than the Bethesda guy!), set off on a trademark dribble for the Lochies. “Close him down!” we screamed, but it was too late. Andy’s shot cannoned off the bar with Wrighty watching on. Alas it was to be a short repreive for the Reds as just a minute later the Maroons took the lead. A mishit corner from the Lochs left bounced through the Rudhach defence and Jim O’Donnell had the simplest of tap ins. That’s the second time we’ve lost a goal like that this year and it’s so disappointing. Aaaagh! Point 0 v 1 Lochs (33 mins)
The goal seemed to affect the Reds as passes were being misplaced and clearances rushed for the next 5 mins. Indeed, 4 mins later the Lochies doubled their lead when a shot from Robert Mackenzie took the cruelest of deflections off Ali G and flew over Wrighty and into the net. What a bummer! Point 0 v 2 Lochs
We needed a response and almost got it after 37 mins when Stephen Ronaldo had a great chance from 7 yards out on the volley. Stephen hit it hard and true and the fans waited for the net to bulge. Unfortunately for the Reds, Lochs midfielder Angie Campbell had got back to defend and the ball hit him square in the hooter! Awwwww, he fairly took one for the team there! Annoyingly, if Stephen had sclaffed his volley it would have probably gone in, could have done with that one. As it was Lochs had the chance to make it 3 but Dave Macmillan’s free kick went over the bar.
It was a fairly subdued and angry dressing room at half time. The lads had started well but had tailed off as the half wore on. After sorting out a few tactical issues we told them they had plenty of time and that we would create lots of chances in the second half. Just needed to take a couple. C’MON REDS!
The Reds began the half well and after a flowing move from right to left, Stephen Ronaldo crossed the ball to Stu Munro, who controlled brilliantly and fired back toward the left corner of goal. James flung across the goal and palmed the ball round the post. What a save! Stu Munro beat the ground in frustration.
From the resultant corner Lochs broke well and following some nice passing, Daniel “Nipper” Mackenzie crossed from the left and Craig Maclean was waiting at the back post to head beyond Wrighty! Point 0 v 3 Lochs.(48 mins) Noooooo! The Reds needed a goal, and fast. Stu M showed great strength and skill to set up Wally who whistled one just wide of the far post a couple of mins later. One of these nights…..
After 54 mins Wally hit the post direct from a corner, yet again the ball didn’t break to a Red jersey in the box. Point must have had about 15 corners throughout the match which is an average of one every 6 minutes (….I think). This gives an idea of the flow of the game! The Lochies were winning though so they could afford to defend a bit deeper and play on the break, though the Reds continued to make chances. Stephen Ronaldo had another volley blocked by a Maroon as the Grumblies shook their heads in disbelief, not too hard though as they were a bit delicate still from Benbecula! Surely we’ll get one goal!
Lochs then had a good chance on the break but Wrighty blocked Craig Maclean’s shot as he threatened to score again. After 68 minutes Dave Macmillan was booked for an obvious trip on Elliot. The Lochs fans went mental as Red’s stopper, Alex “Chopper” Lamb, had escaped a caution minutes earlier for a similar tackle. After 74 mins Craig Maclean had another shot but Wrighty saved easily. The Reds were running out of time.
Lochs’ defender Graham Mackenzie almost scored an own goal when attempting to head clear an Ali G free kick. It looked like it was up and over James and into the top corner, but James used his Giant Reach to pluck the ball out of the air. Next to try his luck was Wally who flicked the ball over Nomies’ head and shot low but straight at James. Elliot then had a good headed chance but he couldn’t get the direction right and it went straight to the keeper (86 mins). Point’s final chance fell to Sam who leapt like a Salmon to meet Elliot’s cross, but his header bounced agonisingly wide. Unlucky Sam and unlucky Reds. Fulltime.
Well the score probably flattered Lochs but they made the most of their chances, whilst the Reds couldn’t find a way past an inspired keeper. Strange to say this, but it was a good performance from the Reds and the fact we had most of the play against the Lochies shows how far we have come. Our young team should take confidence from this performance. The lads must lift themselves now for two big games against Westside in the Highland Amateur on Saturday and Lochs again next Wednesday in the Jock Stein semi. C’MON THE REDS! !
Point man of the match: Ali G. Showed good composure and read the game well throughout.
Moment of match: James’ early flying save from Salmon Sam prevented the Lochies from going behind for the first time this season. Would have been interesting.
Moan of the match: We have 5 or 6 good headers of the ball but couldn’t get a goal from any of our 15 corners – To the training ground!!