West Side story for club legend at EAF Final

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There are a few more tram lines on his face hinting at the many years which have passed between his own moment in the Eilean an Fhraoich Cup final sun and his touching and deserving role in this year’s showpiece final.

Donald Macdonald (Doillidh Dhonnchaidh), fit, sprightly, twinkling eyes and almost 92-years-young and the sole survivor of the West Side team which won the Eilean an Fhraoich Cup in 1938.

75-years on and on the former flying inside right, who scored one of the goals that night at Goathill to down Point, might be moving a little slower around the pitch but he remains sharp as a tack.

Perhaps fittingly, on the 80th anniversary of the first Eilean an Fhraoich final it was the West Side, who also won the first final, who were celebrating in the end while current West Side skipper Duncan Maclean made sure Macdonald took one side of the Hebrides’ oldest football trophy as they hoisted it together into the Barvas sky at the end of the match.

Although 75 years has passed between the night Macdonald first had his hands on the famous trophy his smiling face suggested he enjoyed this weekend’s one almost as much as his first as a 16-year-old Siarach starlet.

“It was so nice to be able to hold the trophy aloft again after all these years and it brought all the memories flooding back,” smiled the star of their 1938 win.

“After the game we had a little celebration to mark the event which was lovely.

“Everyone was so kind and helpful all night long and it was something I enjoyed so much that I’ve been telling everyone, and my two daughters in Seattle and Glasgow, all about it.

“I had no idea I would be asked to lift the trophy at the end with the players as I thought I would only be meeting the players before the match but it went so well and it was a really great night.”

DJ Macleod, Maclean Johnny Wallace, Scott Graham and an own-goal from Lochs’ Peter Mackenzie saw the West Side hit Lochs for five in the final but it wasn’t all one-way traffic as Johnny Smith and Calum Tom Moody (2) kept ten-man Lochs in the hunt until the final whistle.

Playing with a strong blustery wind at their backs the West Side used the conditions to their advantage to pin Lochs back in the early stages – a tactic which yielded two goals inside the opening quarter of an hour.

The first was goal inside three minutes as Macleod anticipated a dropping ball to swing a foot and lash it first time back across Gordy Mackenzie’s goal and into the far corner.

It was a stunning piece of control and finish from Macleod who ran the line expertly for the hosts.

Their lead was doubled a little over 10-minutes later as another high ball, a Maclean free kick flicked on by Dan Macphail, was deflected into his own net by Peter Mackenzie.

Despite being two goals down there was little between the two sides in general play but the Maroons were struggling to adapt to the conditions.

Craig Maclean made a purposeful drive through the West defence and past last man Gordon Campbell to fashion a chance of his own making for Lochs but his low shot was palmed away by Mackaskill.

West skipper Maclean then scored a third with a wind-assisted cross which flew inside the far post from the left flank to the delight of the home crowd.

Lochs needed a goal or a spark of some kind to give them a fighting chance in the second-half and they got one from Smith, who has been in top form in recent months, as he punched a hole in the West defence and before messrs Maclean and Gordon Campbell could blink, he was through it and in on goal.

Smith sprinted into a space just inside the penalty area before blasting an unstoppable drive past Peter Mackaskill from 18-yards.

The goal set up the second-half perfectly as the two sides headed indoors for some half-time wine gums and the chance to regroup.

But Lochs’ chances were dealt a stealth blow seven minutes after the restart when the unmarked Graham headed West 4-1 up as he rose highest to glance in via a kiss off the inside of the post.

Ali ‘Barvas’ Macleod should have added number five after arriving onto an Innes Iain Morrison pass, unmarked at the back post less than two-yards from goal, but the winger got his foot under the ball as he ballooned his effort high over the bar.

Macleod was involved again moments later as he raced clear of the chasing Lochs defence before clipping the ball over the onrushing Gordy Mackenzie.

The ball looked to drifting wide of the far post as Morrison tried to reach it but as he chased after the ball he hit the turf after colliding with Peter ‘Robbie’ Mackenzie.

Lochs were then handed a double whammy of a penalty kick for West Side and Mackenzie earned the first squeeze of the shower gel as he was sent off by whistler George Mackaskill.

Morrison took the penalty kick himself but Gordy Mackenzie made a good save low to his right before springing back to his feet to throw himself infront of the rebound which was cannoned off his body by DJ Macleod.

It was a brief reprieve for the wobbling Lochies who conceded their fifth from the resulting corner as Wallace was afforded too much room in the box to head into the net.

But the ten men reshuffled their pack and refused to accept defeat.

Moody was sent further up the field from centre-half in a bid to utilise his aerial prowess as an attacking weapon and it brought a goal for Lochs as he glanced in a David Macmillan cross.

Moody then headed home another Macmillan inswinger to make the score 5-3. In between his two-goals Moody saw another header parried away by young Mackaskill and he headed another chance over the bar.

At the other end Mackenzie made a stunning save to claw away a DJ Macleod header and Alan Farrell booted an effort from Colin George Morrison off the line.

There were zealous efforts all over the pitch for West Side, who have now contested the last SIX straight EAF finals and while DJ Macleod and Innes Iain Morrison helped earn the leads going forward, others like Campbell, Maclean and Wallace protected it and the match sponsor paid tribute to the outstanding Campbell after the match by naming him man of the match.

A display of steadfast defending included a first-half of repeated mopping up to thwart Lochs forward raids and it was evidence of the anticipation that could make him one of the island’s most improved defenders in 2013.

West Side: P Mackaskill, G Campbell, D Maclean, J Wallace, D Smith, J Campbell, D Macphail, A Macleod, I Morrison, S Graham, DJ Macleod. Subs: A Williamson, CG Morrison, T Hunter, A Matheson, S Macdonald.

Lochs: G Mackenzie, Peter ‘Robbie’ Mackenzie, P Mackenzie, G Mackenzie, C Moody, C Masson, A Farrell, D Macmillan, D Macdonald, J Smith, C Maclean. Subs: C Houston, A Nicolson, E Maclean, G Maciver, A Macdonald.