Brave Lewis comeback falls short of the mark

Kilmallie 5

Leòdhas 2

Camanachd Leòdhais visits to Lochaber have become legendary for beautiful weather in this usually wet and windy corner of Scotland.

However the results and performances have always been gloomy affairs.

That changed to an extent on Saturday, whilst it was overcast, it did not rain, and whilst Lewis were defeated, there were an incredible a count of positives, including a second half fightback to warm the heart.

Iain Sinclair was missing Al Reed and Will Church, so the forward line had an unfamiliar look.

Lewis had the best of the early pressure, but it was Kilmallie who took the lead through young skipper Aaron Sandison on quarter of an hour.

Lewis battled into the wind, and Seumas Charity worked hard to make the ball stick up front but both teams effectively cancelled each other out.

However, as the game approached halftime, Kilmallie gained the ascendancy and were due their second although Lewis had hoped to hold out.

Sandison’s second on 42 minutes seemingly awoke Lewis and they had their best pressure in the moments before halftime.

Sinclair made no changes at the interval and Lewis started the second half brightly.

Stamper made an incredible save moments into the half to keep Kilmallie out, but then Lewis went strangely flat.

Sandison was at the business end of a run of fine Mallie passes which went unchallenged and resulted in a sloppy third from an island view, but a deserved hat-trick for the youngster.

Donald Lamont rose immediately to the challenge and slammed home yet another fine backhand to grab his third goal of the season and catapult the Leòdhasaich straight back into the mixer.

Sinclair made changes whilst the momentum was with his charges, making a radical double sustitution, placing Eoghan Stewart and Andrew Murray Macdonald on for Charity and Conor Macdonald. Straightaway, Stewart caused chaos in the Kilmallie backline and this gave Macdonald and the two Lamonts the space to the exploit.

A few balls flashed wide, before Paddy Sinclair had a shot from 20 yards which this keeper stopped, but the custodian could not clear and Stewart bundled the ball over the line for his first goal in three years on 65 minutes.

Lewis kept the pressure on, and Kilmallie stafted to creak, but then a break away from Sandison on 80 minutes saw the score jump to 4-2.

Goalkeeper Euan Gilmour came on for a rare outfield appearance and did not look out of place but sadly the present incumbent Stamper, who had a fine game between the sticks, made an error which allowed Brian Mackinnon to give Kilmallie a fifth.

There was still intrigue to be had, as the Kilmallie keeper was tested from range again by Sinclair Jr.

The Glasgow University student forced him to kick the ball and a penalty was rewarded.

Having scored a penalty during the week at the Littlejohn University Championships, Sinclair was right to be confident, but the keeper redeemed himself with a miraculous hand save to turn the ball round the post.

Captain Kenny Murray reflected on a brave performance: “The result was not a true reflection of the performance and effort from the whole squad If we continue with the same dermination and skill we will have a great season.”

“To come back the way we did showed character and spirit allied with some excellent shinty.”

Lewis now have a break until Strathspey away on the 18th of April.