A late rally was not enough for Lewis Camanachd to break their Inverlael hoodoo as Lochbroom overcame the islanders 4-3 in Ullapool.
After the agony of an extra-time golden goal in the Minch Cup, Lewis were out to avenge that February defeat. Lochbroom were smarting themselves from a 11-0 thrashing by Lochcarron the previous week in the Sutherland Cup.
Lewis got off to the worst possible start after a mix-up in defence allowed Steven Bellshaw to fire in off the post from a tight angle to beat Conor MacDonald in the first minute.
The loss of this goal was a psychological blow but the islanders battled gamely and when Will Church stretched to put the ball past the Broom keeper on the quarter of the hour mark it was well deserved.
The match was finely balanced and Lewis were having the better of the play, although the midfield was not having its best performance of the season. However, Donald Lamont and Seumas Charity were putting in a great shift of work up front and Lewis were unlucky not to add to their total.
Then James Rolfe, who had a fine game for Broom at buckshee forward snuck the ball through a pack of defenders, blindsiding Conor MacDonald as it slid into the net. A fortunate goal but one which gave Broom the impetus to hold on to a one goal lead until the interval.
In the second half, the game lost a great deal of momentum but Lochbroom had the best of the play but after twenty minutes a quick one two sucker punch with Rolfe and Bellshaw both adding to their totals with fine goals made it 4-1 and Lewis were rocking.
The resilience of the islanders was there to be seen however as Will Church replied five minutes later with a fine flick into the net. The introduction of Ally Lamont, which brought the compliment of Lamont brothers on the park to three, including Donald and left back Innes, almost had an instant effect, the athletic young forward just failing to volley the ball into the net.
Time was running out for the islanders when Scott Murray picked up the ball in his own half, swiftly carried it past 5 players and ironically with his worst hit of the day spooned the ball over the keeper to cut the deficit to one. Murray had a quiet day by his standards but he fought gamely until the end.
Lewis had a couple more opportunities but these came to nothing as Broom also fought manly until the end. The final whistle again was a relief for na Braoinich but Lewis will surely one day get their reward at Inverlael.
Daniel Gallagher was immense as always and it was a sign of his quality that Neil Fraser did not get amongst the goals in the second half, although the diminutive ex-Kinlochshiel man’s late inclusion was a source for confusion due to a snafu involving the Broom teamlines not being ready for the commencement of the match.
Lochbroom’s Facebook page paid tribute to the fact Lewis are growing in strength but also delight at moving on from their performance against Lochbroom.
Iain ‘Diablo’ Sinclair was positive about his team’s resilience saying: “I’ll say well doen to the boys despite the defeat. We’re very sore that we were beaten but we pushed them to the very last hit of the ball.”
There is no game this Saturday but youth training will recommence on Saturdays now that the Easter Holidays are past, youth players should also make the effort to attend first team training. Next up is a veritable 4-pointer against Inverness.