Lewis & Harris League
Lochs welcomed back Don Lava, Robert Jones and Graeme Mackenzie to the starting line up for this one.
All three had missed the previous battle against Westside. But they were unable to scribble the name of the magical Andy Murray on the team sheet for a game many thought would be a formality.
United, who were surely boosted in confidence after taking their first point of the season on their previous outing in the derby against Aths, fielded a strong looking team with good numbers on the bench, not something they have always managed to do this season.
The game kicked off and straight away, as expected, the home side were on the ball and taking the game to United. There was plenty of action in the United half but it took until 12 minutes for the first real chance at goal. This came when engine man, Robert Mackenzie had a great drive through the heart of the United midfield, who then played in Rob Jones who laid it on a plate for Don Lava, whose strike was bottom corner bound until United keeper Jack Maclennan got a slight touch on it, to put it out for a corner. Nice football and an equally good save.
14 minutes saw David Macmillan have the next opportunity, hitting a strike from 40 yards out, but goalkeeper Jack, who had been for a wander, managed to get himself back on his line to save it.
The next Maroon chance came on 20 minutes after great link up play between Jim O’donnell and Peter Mackenzie. Peter’s cross was met by a Don Lava header which flew past the post! Not sure how he missed that one? Lochs were knocking the door, but nobody was answering.
United meanwhile, were restricted to playing long balls from deep, as possession on the ball was very limited.
33 minutes and Lochs continued to search for that all important first goal to settle them down. A David Macmillan free kick from 20 yards out went just past the post. Close one but the United keeper maybe had it covered.
United then had a bit of pressure on the Lochs back line in the 35th minute, but it was quickly diminished and it was back up the other end for more of the same. Lochs then won themselves another corner where the end result was another Don Lava header powered over the bar. Another wasted chance by his standards.
38 minutes and a mistake from Donald Nomie Macdonald let Raslann Pascevics through on goal, a good chance but he didn’t test James Macleod between the Lochs sticks. A missed opportunity for the away side.
United then won two free kicks on the stroke of halftime. Both of which came to nothing. This brought the first half to an end.
Lochs must have been deeply frustrated in the dressing room at halftime. While next door, United who were well organised and defending well as a team would have been happy to still be in the game and have something to play for.
United got off to a great start in the second half, and in the 49th minute they took a shock lead, a crisp strike from Hamish Macdonald which flew in off the bar giving the Lochs’ keeper no chance!
It all started from a mistake on the halfway line, followed by Nomie slipping on the edge of the 18 yard box, which allowed Kalou to lay it off to Hamish. His second goal in as many games for the target man.
1-0 United, unreal!
It was then straight back to Lochs having the majority of the possession again, and they created another decent chance on 52 minutes. This time through Jonny Smith who placed his effort past the post. More poor finishing. This was to carry on being the theme which saw Lochs have more decent chances through Jim O’donnell and Don Lava headers. None of which troubled the keeper.
Jim O’donnell then had another header on 58 minutes, this time bringing out a good save from Jack.
United then had another counter attack in the 70th minute catching Lochs on he break quickly, Andrew Morrison setting up Kalou, it was a good chance but it was saved well by James. It could easily have been 2-0.
Craig Maclean was next to try his luck for the Maroons who were starting to get desperate by this stage, but seen his strike go straight down the gunnels of Jack.
73 minutes, and after some good work down the right wing, a Donald Nomie cross resulted in yet another Don Lava header fizzing past the wrong side of the post. How he hadn’t scored tonight was unreal. Sometime it’s just not your night.
A minute later and United went and did the unthinkable and made it 2-0. This time Michael John getting on the end of it. He managed to find the net from 6 yards out, after a scramble in the box. Unreal scenes and 2-0 United. This was not in the script!
It then took Lochs just 3 minutes to finally respond when a David Macmillan corner was met by a Jim O’donnell header in the six yard box.
2-1 and a big 15 minutes or so left to play.
There was almost an equaliser straight away when Rob Jones found himself clean through one on one with the keeper, but somehow Jack managed to touch it onto the post and out for a corner. Good save, again.
81st minute and another mistake from Lochs, allowed Andrew “Brownie” Morrison to break clear and find himself one on one with the keeper. He was calmness personified and had the audacity to lob James Macleod, to put the ball in the back of the net. What a finish! 3-1 United, cue scenes of celebration.
United were starting to find more space in the Lochs final third as the home team pushed for goals. United broke free again and had the ball in the net for a 4th time on 84 minutes, but Raslann Pascevics was deemed to be offside.
Andrew Morrison, boosted by his glorious finish, managed to offload another good strike on 85 minutes, which required a good save from the keeper. United were making the most of their pace up front catching out Lochs who were committing men forward to try and get back into the game.
Lochs final flurry came in the 91st minute with Darren Wilson almost breaking through, only to be thwarted in his tracks by a good tackle in the box by Seumas Maciver, who alongside Chris Dempster played a good solid game at centre back.
The ref then brought the match to a halt, resulting in celebration from the the United young team. An amazing achievement on the night, in a match many thought would be a formality for Lochs in their quest for the title. But as we all know in football, if you don’t take your chances...
n Monday’s other league games saw Carloway and Ness battle out a 1-1 draw. Domhnall Mackay equalising for the “way” from the penalty spot after Micheil Russell Smith had given Ness a 1-0 lead, also from the penalty spot.
In Upper Coll, Back found themselves on the wrong end of a ten goal thriller, losing to Westside 8-2. The home team’s goals were scored by Gordon Maciver and Kenny Macsween. The Westside haul came via Iness Ian (5) Ali Barvas (2) and Colin George.