West Side keep up their momentum with win

West Side edged Point in a match which could have been very different but for the heroics of Peter Mackaskill
West Side edged Point in a match which could have been very different but for the heroics of Peter Mackaskill

The more league wins the West Side rack up the closer they inch towards turning a flirtation with a first ever Lewis and Harris League Championship into a full blown title charge.

But each heaping of points on the Siarach tally comes with a side order of pressure on the shoulders of the West Side who remain the last of all nine current clubs to have never won a league title.

It is the kind of spotlight which can cause some players to wilt and others to thrive but so far it has been the latter for the West Side who saw off a potential banana skin fixture against a rejuvenated Point side this week.

They successfully came through a rocky first-45 in which the Reds threatened to overrun the league leaders to take all three points and take another confident stride towards their target.

West Side manager Murchadh Macdonald has been thrilled with an undefeated start to the season which has taken his troops to the top of the pile and landed the first trophy of the season but he agrees there is much yet to be done.

“The pressure is building for us and every league game is now like a cup final for us which I have tried to relay to the players,” he said.

“Every club will want to be the first to beat us this season so we have to keep strong and doing our best to keep winning.”

Ally Williamson continued his new found love for goalscoring since strolling forwards from a long time centre-half position to a new midfield berth with a match winning double which was also added to by an own-goal from a Point stopper.

But it was West Side keeper Peter Mackaskill who took the plaudits from his manager after the match for a superb display between the sticks in which he made a series of wonder-stops including one at full-stretch to claw away a penalty from Alasdair ‘Wally’ Maciver.

“To be honest Peter kept us level at half-time with one excellent save sticking out just before,” explained Macdonald.

“We had a much better start to the second-half and we dominated the first 20 minutes in which we took control of the game.

“We scored after just five minutes and we were off. Peter again came to our rescue with a penalty save before Point scored late on but we were already in control by then.

“This was a big, big game for us so it is hugely pleasing to have won. This is a good Point team and they will definitely be taking plenty of points off clubs between now and the end of the season.”

Point boss Angus Mackay echoed Macdonald’s praise of young Mackaskill who kept his side at bay for long spells.

“It was very much a game of two halves – one which we dominated but couldn’t find a way past an inspired goalkeeper and a second in which West came back into it,” admitted Mackay after the match.

“Peter Mackaskill made some great saves to keep us out as we dominated the half but we couldn’t score. Then we gave away some cheap goals ourselves in the second which cost us - especially one which came from a simple long ball through the middle.

“We had a few chances of our own in the second-half too though and we had the ball cleared off the line and we had a penalty saved too but we didn’t do enough or really get going.

“We had a whole new back four starting from the weekend and a few players haven’t played a lot of football lately so there was a little lack of match fitness but that will come. We needed to score the first goal but it didn’t happen.”

And there’s much more island football news and round-ups in this week’s Stornoway Gazette – out today (Thursday, May 29th).