Maciver magic tips epic title tussle in Aths’ favour with last gasp winner

The goal which broke Lochs' hearts. Scott Maciver rolls the ball past Cammy Houston in time added on after running the length of the field to help Aths beat Lochs 3-2 in a crunch league clash. SGD24272.
The goal which broke Lochs' hearts. Scott Maciver rolls the ball past Cammy Houston in time added on after running the length of the field to help Aths beat Lochs 3-2 in a crunch league clash. SGD24272.

League

Aths 3

Lochs 2

SCOTT MACIVER has made a habit out of making and breaking records. The goal king has also fashioned a local football career out of dramatic moments and cup and league title winning strikes.

But this season, and specifically the past few days, has seen the 30-year-old cement his status as goal king with a Roy of the Rovers style week.

Just last Friday he netted the winner in the Eilean an Fhraoich Cup final for West Side before returning to parent club Athletic on Monday and scoring a winning goal – in stunning solo style – with literally the last kick of the game.

It wasn’t just any game he helped win on Monday either. It was a game against title rivals Lochs and a game in which they had trailed by two-goals with just 20-minutes left to play.

But when Maciver picked the ball up on the edge of his own box deep into stoppage time he had only one thought in his mind. The stands at Goathill seemed to lift when he picked up the ball and tore off through the centre of the park.

Lochs, in search of a winning goal of their own, had over committed at a stoppage time corner kick and left themselves with just one man at the back.

Maciver hared forward, had team mate Murdo ‘Mojo’ Maclean keeping pace to his left in support, but elected to go alone. He skipped past Lochs’ last man in Graeme Mackenzie on the half-way line before bearing down on Cammy Houston and slotting the ball under the keeper for a dramatic winner.

Lochs had led after goals from Jim O’Donnell and David Macmillan with the travelling Maroons dreaming of a title triumph with them having home advantage against Back on the final night of the season.

But Aths refused to give up the ghost and Elliott Rudall and Scott Macaulay, six minutes from time, hauled the hosts level.

A draw suited neither and handed the third title hopeful Back FC the initiative so both sides went for broke in the final minutes which opened up the opportunity for Maciver to make the headlines.

The game itself had been contested in a pendulum fashion with the balance of play swinging from one camp to the next.

Lochs had the best of the first-half with O’Donnell smashing a ferocious left-foot swinger off the outside of the post before the same player rose bravely between a forest of Aths shirts to head into the top corner just before the break.

Although Aths had more of the ball in the second period they failed to create any clear chances to work Houston in the Lochs goal. Again it was at the opposite end where the better openings were being carved out.

A teasing cross from Donald ‘Nomie’ Macdonald looked to be zeroing in on Don ‘Lava’ Macleod’s forehead before the faintest of touches from Steven Clinton’s boot took the ball away.

Then with 20-minutes to play Lochs doubled their advantage when a mishit shot from Peter Mackenzie was controlled by Macmillan before scooping home on the half volley.

The celebrations in the away stand were still going by the time Aths pulled a goal back as they roared forward immediately from the restart with Ruddall heading a Gary Macleod cross inside the far post.

Aths drew level after another cross from the right which Houston could only palm down into the middle of the penalty area where the lurking Macaulay smashed hard and low into the net.

A share of the points suited neither and Lochs pushed forward in search of winner which nearly came through ‘Nomie’ who sent a low drive less than a foot past the post

But the visitors overcommitted when the match headed into stoppage time, sending everyone forward for a corner kick which backfired when the ball broke to Maciver, who with referee Robert Mackay, whistle in mouth, poised to blow for full-time, cranked through more gears than a season of Top Gear, to win it in late, great style.

Back 12

Harris 0

WHILE Aths and Lochs were duking it out in the battle of two of the title hopefuls, the third with eyes on the top prize were cruising to a home hammering of bottom club Harris.

Two goals inside the opening five minutes, and five by the break, ended this match as a contest long before full-time.

Star man for the Blues was frontman Fraser Macleod who scored eight goals himself. The others came via Kevin ‘Bloxy’ Murray, Davie ‘Ox’ Macleod, Colin Maclean and Murdo ‘Gress’ Maclennan.

Back manager Iain Maclennan said: “It was a very comfortable win to be honest and it was a terrific performance from Fraser - he was excellent for us. I don’t think our goalkeeper had much to do, if anything at all, and although it was a bit unfortunate for Harris we were delighted with how we played.

“The league is now in our own hands and we don’t need to rely on anyone else. If we win our remaining two matches then we will retain our title. We will just have to do what we always do and take it each game at a time and keep playing the way we are.

“It will be a difficult game against Ness for us in the league next and there’s no doubt it’s going to be a tight end to the season.”