The Siarachs tightened their grip on top spot and continued to fix their gaze on what would be a first ever Lewis and Harris league championship with a hard fought 2-0 win over Stornoway Athletic.
Aths were much depleted after losing chief striker Scott Maciver to a fractured ankle two days earlier, Elliot Rudall was also missing while DJ and Steven Clinton could each miss the rest of the season.
Dan Macphail volleyed West Side into a first-half lead with a back post rocket as he arrived on cue to smash a Martainn Shields cross past Colin Macritchie.
From there West had plenty of possession but they couldn’t add to their lead with Aths threatening on the break primarily through the energetic Stuart ‘Bubble’ Macdonald and Paul Afrin.
West Side finally added a second deep into the second-half when the unfortunate Scott Morgan headed past his own keeper for an own goal to seal the points for the leaders.
“This hurts more than losing 11-goals to the West Side,” reflected a devastated Gordon Greenhowe after the match.
The Harris manager had watched his side take a 40-second lead through recent recruit Callum Masson and defend it for more than an hour.
And even after seeing their lead pegged back he was utterly convinced his side were destined for at least a draw and a first league point in years until a stoppage time suckerpunch floored his side.
“I really felt like we were good for a point and to lose the game with what was practically the last kick of the match is hard to take and it is a very down beat dressing room now,” he explained.
Kevin ‘Bloxy’ Murray and David Maclean scored the goals for Back who took all three-points with their late smash and grab.
“Maybe there is such a thing as scoring too early,” reflected Greenhowe, “but then we had further chances to make it 2-0, with a two-on-one break which we unfortunately didn’t make the most of.
“Gutted not to have taken a point for the board but it’s not been a bad week for us with winning the Bethesda 7s then taking Back so close.”
Ness and Stornoway United played out a goalless draw at Fivepenny on a night where home assistant manager Stephen Macritchie was left frustrated at not working the United keeper enough.
The Niseachs took on struggling United on the back of an excellent win over Point but they were unable to keep their momentum going with another three points.
“We just didn’t test their keeper enough,” admitted Macritchie.
“I would estimate we had four glaring misses and we missed the target more often than not so I’m disappointed not to have won.
“Even at the end United came into the match more and could have nicked a late goal. We could have done more but at the end of the day football is all about putting the ball in the net and if you don’t score goals you don’t deserve to win matches.”
United boss Grant Hunter commented: “In the first we restricted Ness pretty much to two long range efforts and it was pretty even. In the second-half they perhaps shaded it but a draw was certainly a fair result and it is another point on the board for us.”
Carloway’s impressive run of recent form continued with a demolition of Point at Cnoc a’Choillich.
Jack Buchanan added another two strikes to his ever-growing tally while Kevin ‘Gochan’ Macleod and skipper Domnhall Mackay were also on target.
The ‘Way have hit top gear and top form at exactly the right time – the business end of the season.
After reaching both the Highland Amateur Cup final and the Co-op Cup final in the past fortnight the blues took their winning run into the league by ruthlessly disposing of Point.
Carloway boss Graeme Miller said: “It was a good performance tonight especially after such a hard game on Saturday. Our football was excellent and was capped off by a couple of cracking goals.
“It was pleasing to see Kevin ‘Gochan’ back on the scoresheet for us and we are thrilled with three points and another clean sheet.”
Point boss Angus Mackay bemoaned his side’s defending. He added: “We are missing a lot of players, especially defenders and it showed. All six goals we have lost in our last two games have been the result of schoolboy defending. Very simple errors are costing us and we are almost giving teams a two-goal start.”
(Carloway win 3-0 on penalties)
Penalty shoot-outs are often described as a lottery, as luck of the draw and something in which anything can happen.
While this is often true, Carloway this week showed that steely eyed determination, cool heads and strong wrists are also important factors in a shoot-out.
After the two sides played out a thrilling 0-0 draw in Carloway the two sides met in a battle of nerves from 12-yards.
And it was the hosts who prevailed in stunning fashion, winning the shoot-out 3-0.
Gary Macleod was on the spot forst for Aths and his well struck penalty was saved at full-stretch by David Beaton who flung himself low to his left.
Domhnall Mackay took the first kick for Carloway and he lashed his straight down the centre with Colin Macritchie diving left.
Next was Robert Shirkie who went right, as did Beaton, but this time the penalty cannoned clear off the upright.
Kenny ‘Dokus’ Macdonald was sent from the centre circle for Carloway and although Macritchie guessed the right way the ball was in the corner enough to squeeze into the net.
Nicholas Davies took Aths’ third penalty kick and he chose to go to the keeper’s left again and once again Beaton made a tremendous save, diving low to claw the ball away.
So the pressure fell on Dan Crossley’s slender shoulders but he was the coolest man on the park as he clipped in a ‘Panenka’ spot-kick - so named after Czech footballer Antonin Panenka who scored the winning kick in the 1976 European Championship shoot-out with a softly chipped kick down the middle as the keeper dives away - to win the tie for his side.
West Side made the Co-op Cup final and set up a re-run of the ABC Final where they will meet their traditional neighbours and rivals Carloway for the silverware.
Innes Iain Morrison scored the opener which was cancelled out before half-time by Barra. But after the interval Duncan Maclean and Ally Williamson each netted to drive the Siarachs on towards yet more possible glory.