Point paint the town Red with first trophy of 2017

Point skipper Ali Gilles with the trophy.Point skipper Ali Gilles with the trophy.
Point skipper Ali Gilles with the trophy.
It was far from a classic final as the league's two most fancied teams - this season at least - almost wrestled each other to a standstill.

Point and West Side went forehead to forehead and shin to shin for Lewis and Harris football’s first chunk ofsilverware and to be honest the medals could have gone to the large crowd, hardy souls, who braved a wind with more bite than a starving Luis Suarez to watch what was mostly a poor game.

Not that it mattered at 9pm to anyone of a red persuasion as the Rubhachs were making so much racket in the dressing room that the Goathill stand was rocking.

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Alexander Macdonald marked his first appearance of the season in a red shirt - due to his mainland studies - with the game’s only goal.

It tipped a tight affair in his side’s direction but both sides had their keepers to thank for a number of smart stopswhile the West Side will rue a pair of golden opportunites which fell to their most potent pair in the final minutes but neither Luke Mackay or Innes Iain Morrison even forced a save from the Point keeper with their late clear sights of the whites of Gordy Mackenzie’s eyes.

It was almost half an hour till the first real,clear cut chance was created as Luke Mackay’s pace took him clear of the galloping Point back line but while the teenager did clip the ball over Mackenzie it drifted wide of the post.

At the other end Alasdair ‘Wally’ Maciver - later named as sponsors man of the match - thudded the ball off the crossbar from a freekick.

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The second-half saw Point begin to dominate the ball against a West Side team who had won every single match they have played so far this season - including an away day win over Point on league duty.

Elliot Ruddal forced a superbly athletic save from ‘Lurch’ in the West goal with a curling shot from distance which for all on the opposite end of the park looked destined for the top bin.

Elliot had his side’s next effort as he rose highest to thunder a header down into the turf where it bounced into ‘Lurchs’ shins before being booted up the field.

Gordon Mackenzie too was earning his corn and he made an acrobatic stop to fling himself low to the ground to block and claw away a free kick from Innes Iain Morrison.

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There were more chances now being created as the hands of time on the referee’s wrist watch began to hurtle down like an avalanche.

‘Wally’ was next to have a go but much like Ruddal he found ‘Lurch’ in ‘thou shalt not pass’ form. He made another flying save.

Point weren’t to be denied for long though as Macdonald prodded home from close range with the ball kissing the inside of the post and nestling in the side netting for the lead.

The goal brought cheers from the large Point continegent who had crossed the Braighe for the ABC Cup final but there was plenty time for West to hit back.

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Unfortunately for the Siarachs they showed little urgency until the final eight or nine minutes when the natural gung-ho and go for broke mentality took over.

With three minutes to play Innes Iain and Duncan Maclean combined to send Alex John Morrison clear on the left. He twisted one way, feinted the other, made room to whip a cross into the box where Luke Mackay threw himself horizontally but his header darted past the post.

Within 60 seconds West carved open another chance as Mackay bravely won a header to send the ball bouncing into Innes Iain Morrison’s stride but like his team mate he couldn’t hit the target and it flew marginally wide.

With West pouring forward in a desperate bid to snatch a leveller it naturally left them exposed in defence and Point had a late, great chance to slap the red ribbons on the trophy when Andrew Morrison - a pacey buzzbomb of frenetic energy all night - stomped on the turbo boosters and raced clear on the counter.

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The tiring West defence couldn’t catch the teenager who raced one on one with Lurch.

He took his time and tried to curl it to the keeper’s left but much like he had for most of the night, Lurch guessed correctly and made an excellent save to keep the tie going momentarily at least.

Within seconds the skies above Goathill were filled with the sound of the final whistle and the Reds were painting the town red.

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