Match Report: Carloway 3 – 3 Back
At Cnoc a’ Choilich, Carloway.
Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 15.00.
Carloway secured European football after a thrilling comeback against a strong Back side. The blues found themselves 3-0 down with Back’s young talent getting the better of the first half, the seemingly crucial third goal looked to put an end to Carloway’s Highland Amateur Cup hopes. However, just as they did against Point, the boys stuck together and fought back, producing a brilliant second half performance.
The Carloway crowd once again did not disappoint with many adjusting to the Saturday kick off in order to support the boys. Back were also strongly represented. The support from both sides showcased the importance of this match. It was a tense wait till kick off and both teams started brightly. The opening exchanges were much like a boxing match and round one saw the two teams trying to get a foothold in the game, neither side could land a punch as the defences stood strong.
The first real moment of quality in the match came from Carloway winger Joe Armstrong, under pressure from Euan Anderson he allowed the ball to run through Anderson’s legs before powering down the wing. The resulting cross to Dan Crossley was snuffed out by back centre half Craig Macleod who battled hard throughout.
Then it was Euan Anderson’s turn to shine skilfully nutmegging Armstrong before driving down the wing to earn Back’s first corner of the match. Back then went on to have a good spell which culminated in the game’s first goal. Anderson was once again involved in the lead up to the goal using his body to turn Euan Shirkie before unselfishly squaring to Louie Macdonald who managed to squeeze the ball past Domhnall Mackay and David Beaton on the goal line. (0-1)
Carloway responded well with a clear-cut chance of their own. This time Dan Crossley was able to escape Macleod and slide a well-timed ball into Fraser Macleod who on this occasion could not find the target.
Almost immediately after Carloway’s first chance, Back were back up the other end of the pitch and managed to win a corner. From the corner they extended their lead to 2-0, a great whipped delivery from Anderson found Louie Macdonald who was tightly marked by Euan Shirkie the powerful back striker challenged with Beaton and Shirkie for the ball and forced it into the net. (0-2)
Following their second goal, Back looked to protect their lead from the Carloway response, Fraser Macleod was really starting to look in the mood becoming much more involved in the game and forcing a great save from “Titch” Macritchie after he had been sent through on goal by “D.I.” Maclennan. Carloway were knocking on the door and as we approached half time Cameron Macarthur powered in a great cross which was met by the head of Macleod he connected well and missed by a matter of inches.
Half Time: Carloway 0 Back 2
A disappointing first half for the boys who had created a number of chances and suffered from Back’s clinical finishing at the other end. Billy Anderson responded by making a tactical substitution, replacing Armstrong with Murdo “Squegg” Macleod and switching to a 3-5-2 formation, a decision which was to prove vital in the resulting comeback.
Despite a promising start to the second half it was once again Back who hit the net. Joel Martin this time cut inside from the left before smashing the ball through David Beaton and giving Back a three goal lead. (0-3)
However, Carloway were not willing to accept their fate and just past the hour mark pulled one back through Domhnall Mackay, heading in at the back post from a dangerous Callum “Beag” Mackay delivery. (1-3)
This goal was the catalyst the home side needed, and they found their second wind after a period of pressure. On 72 minutes, Dan Crossley rose to flick on a throw in toward the dangerous Macleod who lashed the ball into the net. (2-3)
With a remarkable comeback now in sight Carloway continued to attack the now weary Back defence but were reminded of Back’s talented strikers when Stevie Mutch weaved his way through the Carloway defence only to be denied by good reactions from David Beaton.
Despite that scare, Carloway continued to attack and on 80 minutes they won a free kick 25 yards from goal. Fraser Macleod stepped and slotted the ball past the keeper and into the side netting, a brilliant finish from Carloway’s front man. (3-3)
The last ten minutes were cagey with neither side willing to risk losing out before extra time.
Full Time: Carloway 3 Back 3
The first period of extra time saw both times re-energised by the break and Back’s front two of Macdonald and Anderson continued to cause bother despite being unable to seriously test Beaton. Carloway did manage to create a clear-cut opportunity in the second period with Callum “Beag” Mackay finding the feet of Fraser Macleod who took a great touch before testing Colin “Titch” Macritchie. Carloway also had to contend with both of the Shirkie brothers departing during extra time due to work commitments.
As the game went on it became increasingly clear that this game was destined for penalties. Love them or hate them they are always the source of excitement and having fought back from 3-0 down Carloway now had to rely on the cool heads of the eleven still on the pitch.
Full Time after Extra Time: Carloway 3 Back 3
Back were first to take through Joel Martin who was denied by a Dave Beaton diving expertly to his right to deny the young winger. Carloway converted through Fraser Macleod finding the side netting. Carloway were given a further boost when Stevie Mutch sent his penalty flying over the bar and into the croft. Carloway cemented their lead through “D.I.” Maclennan who slotted him to make it 2-0 in the shootout. Louie ensured Back got one back, firing home. However, Domhnall Mackay made it 3-1 confidently finding the corner.
Dave Maciver made it three-two and ensured Dan Crossley would have to score his pen to win the shoot-out. Crossley made no mistake and completed Carloway’s comeback to send the Blues into the third round of the highland Amateur where they will now face Shetland side Whitedale FC.
Well….that was eventful! A great game of football with many twists and turns but it was Carloway who came out on top. A sore one for a young Back side who will certainly reach the latter stages of the competition in the future but for now it was not to be. Carloway now look ahead to a tie against Whitedale FC, 2017 champions of the Shetland league.
Carloway man of the match – Callum “Beag” Mackay.
Back man of the match – Louie Macdonald
Cameron “Tiger” Macarthur ¦ Domhnall Mackay (capt.) Euan Shirkie ¦ Donald “D.I.” Maclennan
Callum “Beag” Mackay Duncan Shirkie Stuart “Bubble” Macdonald Joe Armstrong
Fraser “Fraz” Macleod Dan Crossley
Subs. used: Murdo “Squegg” Macleod (Joe Armstrong) 45; Andy “Bernera” Morrison (Euan Shirkie) 105; Kenny “Dokus” MacDonald (Duncan Shirkie) 105.
Subs. not used: Andrew “Lanky” Macdonald; Gordon Craigie
Yellow cards: Euan Shirkie 77; Cameron “Tiger” Macarthur 84.
Manager: Billy Anderson.
Asst. Manager: Iain Angus “Gus” Maciver.
Louis Macdonald Euan Anderson
Joel Martin Chris Mackay Chris Macleod ¦ ¦ Steven Mutch
Craig Macleod Jamie Mackinnon Campbell Macdonald (capt.) Calum Maclennan ¦
Colin “Titch” Macritchie
Subs. used: David Maciver (Chris Mackay) 79; Ross Maciver (Jamie Mackinnon) 88.
Subs. not used: Michael Maciver; Scot Macleod.
Yellow cards: Chris Macleod 27; Calum Maclennan 64.
Red cards: Chris Macleod 120.
Manager: James “Bomie” Macarthur
Asst. Manager: Donald “Dano” Macdonald.