Historic first home match for Isles’ Lionesses

The teams line up before kick-off.
The teams line up before kick-off.

Lewis and Harris 5

Inverness Caley Thistle 0

The unbeaten, unstoppable, relentless, free scoring and superbly talented Lewis and Harris WFC continued their 100 per cent record in the Highlands and Islands league while picking up their biggest scalp to date in the process.

Inverness Caley Thistle became the first team to cross the Minch for the Lewis and Harris ‘home’ tie with all the other sides - to date - playing our women on their adopted ‘home’ site of Ullapool across the water.

So history was being made with the first competitive match on home soil for the newly formed Lewis and Harris WFC and they ensured they would remember this day on and off the pitch with a result and performance to cherish.

All five goals were scored by two of Lewis and Harris most effective offensive players with teen talents Mary Macleod (2) and Shana Macphail (3) helping dismantle an Inverness Caley defence which I doubt have had much more trying footballing afternoons.

From the outset the jet heeled Mary Macleod her the ICT left-back rocking on her heels and teetering and wobbling like a new born foal in a Hebridean gale.

She had the ball in the net inside two minutes only to see the goal chalked off after a mix up between the match officials.

The linesmen had been told only to flag for throw ins and not offside calls but as Mary raced onto a through ball and knocked the ball into the net the nearside linesman flagged.

Overuled by the referee he gave the goal but the Inverness Caley Thistle team coach protested that his defenders had seen the linesman flagged and stopped.

The golden rule of football is always play to the whistle but showing great sportsmanship the LHWFC managements offered to forfeit the goal and instead contest a drop ball near the touchline.

Mary wasn’t to be kept at bay for long as she netted again moments later with another classy finish.

Again a ball behind the ICT left-back set Mary away and her pace and power took her gliding towards the box where she sent a shot arrowing across goal and into the opposite top corner from 18-yards.

Lewis and Harris lost Sian Ferguson to a first-half injury with the coaches keeping their fingers crossed the teen will be fit for the Western Isles Island Games Association trip to Ynys Mon this weekend.

Shana Macphail found herself in shooting distance at the edge of the box but she was quickly crowded out by a trio of black shirts and the ball was hacked away.

Lewis and Harris did add a second with a similar goal to their first. Mary’s direct running and power was too much for the ICT defence and she burst through again before rifling the ball in with another impressive finish.

Two became three within minutes as Inverness threatened to sink without a trace.

This time Macphail got onto the scoresheet as she cut in from the left flank, shifting the ball between her feet to skip between a series of half hearted challenges and poking the ball in at the near post.

Shana made it 4-0 before the break after a goal mouth stramash saw the ball thud the post, be knocked off the line before Shana floated the ball in from 12-yards out.

Inverness improved in the second half while Lewis and Harris - job done with four goal lead at the break - naturally eased off but the hosts continued to created chances.

Mary had a goal chalked off for offside while she fired another chance straight at the keeper before smacking the outside of the post too as her search for a hat-trick ended in vain.

But Macphail wasn’t going to be denied her historic hat-trick on a big day for women’s football in the isles as she wrapped up the scoring before the end to send a healthy crowd of supporters home with a smile after a five-star display by our impressive Lionesses.