In a game of two halves, Camanachd Leòdhais will feel aggrieved to have gone down 1-0 to visitors Strathspey on Saturday after another top performance from the opposing goalkeeper.
Lewis called on a squad of fourteen for the game. Paddy Sinclair was unavailable due to work commitments, leaving Peter Gomez to move into wingback and Ally Lamont to start at wing centre. Strathspey were firmly in control in the first half and had the lead after only six minutes. A cracking low effort caromed off the post, the ball falling kindly to Donald Colville who was able to run onto the ball and open the scoring.
There was little in the way of chances in the opening thirty minutes but it was ‘Spey that were pushing the action, their best chance in that period coming when Lewis keeper Graham Cay tipped a shot onto the bar.
Lewis came a little more into it in the latter portion of the first half with Donald Lamont working the goalkeeper and both Will Church and Connor Chalmers going close.
Strathspey were still the better side though and had the ball in the net for a second time. The goal was chalked off however as a Strathspey forward was in an offside position.
The second half was a different proposition as Lewis emerged with a fire in it’s belly and took the game to Strathspey.
Kenny ‘Duffy’ Murray uncorked three shots in the space of the opening five minutes without success. With Lewis now pressuring the Strathspey goal relentlessly, ‘Spey decided to try and slow the game down by becoming more physical and pushing the boundaries of what was deemed acceptable. Chalmers was the first victim of the day, as a high caman to the face led to the half-forward being substituted and taken to hospital for stitches. Euan Gilmour was his replacement.
As challenges continued to rain in, Lewis deserved credit as they showed restraint and focused on equalizing rather than retaliating. A Scott MacLeod shot was stopped before Murray had an effort very well saved by Steven Shand.
Paul Duke was giving his counterpart fits at full centre, ‘Spey’s Jonathan Gray initially being let off twice for striking Duke in the head with caman, finally going into the book after he cynically rapped the Newtonmore man across the knees, drawing blood.
Gomez was then struck across the head.
The injury drew blood and needed treatment but Gomez finished game before he too headed to the hospital for stitches. Scott MacLeod, who required attention after suffering a gash to the shin, joined him there.
Despite the heavy-handed treatment, Lewis remained undeterred and continued their onslaught on the goal. In the 88th minute, it looked like their efforts would pay off as Will Church rushed through on goal. His shot beat the keeper but also flew inches over the bar.
With approximately ten minutes of the second half spent on treatment to Lewis players, the home sideline was surprised when the referee chose to play no injury time, citing the dangerous play on show as the reason to end the game on ninety minutes.
Whilst Lewis were lucky to only be 1-0 down at half-time, they created enough chances in the second half to win the game and will be disappointed to have come away empty-handed. Lewis will feel that on another day and with a more experienced referee, they could well have come away with the win.
Lewis’ final league match of the season will take place on Saturday 3rd September. Inverness will be the opponents and throw up will be at 2:30pm. Live updates can be found on Twitter @lewiscamanachd