Lewis and Harris welcome SPL side to island
Innes Iain Morrison now has a goal against Ross County on his footballing CV after the Lewis and Harris Select welcomed an U23 side across the Minch from Dingwall.
The SPL side did run out 4-1 winners on the night, built upon the foundation stone of a 3-0 first-half lead but there were still positives to take from the performance for Lewis and Harris boss Kevin Anderson.
The squad was named without several of the league champions-elect Carloway including Dan Crossley and Domhnall Mackay who took no chances ahead of Monday night’s league decided against Point - both of whom would be likely first team regulars if they were available - and it shows that there is more depth to this Select pool than people may think.
The first-half ended with Lewis and Harris picking the ball out of their own net three times and while the young County side did move the ball well and were clinical in the final third there wasn’t such a visible gulf between the teams in general play. And fans on the Goathill touchline will have been excited by the performance of several of their players including Micheil Smith, Innes Iain Morrison and DI Maclennan.
Max Ashmore opened the scoring for County with a strike he will struggle to better this season or in any season as he caught a bouncing ball on the half-volley with the outside of his left boot. The ball looked to be flying wide until it arced back like a banana and kissed the inside of the post on the way in leaving James Macleod - who was on the books of County himself a couple of years ago - with no chance.
The second goal came via an unfortunate deflection as Lewis and Harris stopper Elliot Ruddal’s sliding attempt to block a shot saw the ball cannon off his legs and loop over Macleod and into the net.
Tom Kelly added a third following a free flowing move from left to right and clever near post finish.
Lewis and Harris had not been without their own moments. Innes Iain forced a double palmed stop by Ross Munro while Ruddal rippled the side netting with a header from a free kick which was delivered to the back post.
Anderson had a stacked bench made up of Andrew and Hugh Morrison, Lewis Robinson, Alasdair ‘Wally’ Maciver, Jack Dunlop, Robert Shirkie and James ‘Titch’ Morrison and all were given the chance to stretch their legs in the second-half.
After the break Lewis and Harris did have to rely on keeper Macleod with a couple of excellent stops to keep County at bay but they were a tighter unit and deservedly got on the scoresheet themselves through West Side man Innes Iain Morrison.
Lewis and Harris Select manager Kevin Anderson commented: “I thought Ross County started the game very well putting us under a lot of pressure.
“I was very impressed with their passing and movement it was sharp and precise. It took us a while to settle and create anything ourselves.
“After a dubious foul they scored a very good goal, the finish was sublime.
“The first half was tough but we played well in spells and defended well at times so there were some positives to take from that.
“We started the second half very brightly and the lads worked really hard and made a game of it and we were unlucky not steal another goal or two although I’m sure Ross County can say the same.
“Big James made a few terrific saves.”
He continued: “All in all a very good experience to play against a very good side with lots of talent and I hope some of those lads can progress on to the senior team.
“Credit to both Ross County and Lewis and Harris for conducting themselves in such a great manner and for an entertaining game.
“I would personally like to thank Tyson and The Lewis and Harris for their time and effort as I know everyone has been busy this summer which meant we entered the game with very little preparation but in doing so can hold our heads high with the performance.”
Lewis and Harris Select: James Macleod, DI Maclennan, Elliot Ruddal, Donnie Smith, Duncan Maclean, Micheil Smith, David Macmillan, Chris Macleod, Innes Iain Morrison, Rob Jones, Jim O’Donnell. Subs: Andrew Morrison, Hugh Morrison, Lewis Robinson, James ‘Titch’ Morrison, Jack Dunlop, Robert Shirkie.