Match Report: Carloway 3-2 Athletic

At Cnoc a Choilich, Carloway.

Saturday, 23rd April 2022, 18.00.

After last Wednesday’s disappointing result and performance against West Side, tonight’s HAC fixture allowed Carloway the opportunity to make amends. Manager “Windy” selected the experienced David Beaton between the sticks and retained three of the back four in Cameron “Tiger” Macarthur, DI MacLennan and Euan Shirkie. Callum “Beag” Mackay came in at right back, replacing John A Bain (who has returned to University).

The midfield five saw the welcome return of inspirational captain, Domhnall Mackay in centre midfield making his first appearance of the season. As Stuart “Bubble” Macdonald was unavailable and both James Mackinnon and Callum Masson were named on the bench. The other four players selected in midfield to join Domhnall were Ben Smith, Duncan Shirkie, Neil Sinclair and on the left-hand side of midfield Kenny “Dokus” Macdonald, another veteran of many campaigns. After his cameo appearance as a substitute against Back, Dan Crossley was selected as the lone striker making his first Carloway appearance since he came on as a sub against Back in the EAF Cup on 24th June 2019.

The substitutes for the night were James Mackinnon, Callum Masson, Owen “Tiger” Macarthur and making their first appearances of the season, Andy “Bernera” Morrison and new signing, Hamish Macdonald (ex-Stornoway United)

It was probably fair to say the Carloway faithful approached this fixture with some trepidation after the poor performance on the previous Wednesday evening and especially on seeing the Stornoway Athletic line up, which reflected how seriously they were taking this competition, as they fielded all their new signings, namely John “Uig” Morrison and Peter Mackenzie (ex Lochs) together with Neil Morrison (ex Ness and Back ). Also joining them in the line up was Fraser “Frazmac” Macleod who had spent last season at Back FC but for many years wore the “Carloway blue” and is Carloway FC’s most prolific goal scorer in relation to goals per game ratio with 113 goals in 78 appearances.

Incidentally, there were other “Carloway connections” in that also on the Aths team sheet was the veteran Ross Macrae (who played for Carloway 37 times during 2006 and 2008) and also appearing was young James Cunningham whose grandmother was “Nan Thurag”, originally from 28 Knock Carloway, and who is also the nephew of one of our own diehard supporters Willie Cunningham who now resides in the family home. However, there were no signs of any divided loyalties as far as Willie was concerned.

On a blustery and bitterly cold but dry evening at Cnoc a’ Choilich, Carloway kicked off with the wind behind them and it did not take long for the Carloway support’s worst fears to be realised when on the second minute an innocuous Aths cross, from the right, failed to be cleared by the Carloway defence and it was volleyed into the net by Fraser Macleod from six yards out. (0-1)

However, although Carloway heads went down, momentarily, they soon got a foothold in the game and on the 8th minute from a corner by Duncan Shirkie, Dan Crossley found himself unmarked in the box, six yards from the goal line, and with a powerful flick of his head he guided the ball into the bottom of the right hand corner of the Aths goal. (1-1)

On the 24th minute Carloway won the ball high up the park and the ball found its way to Kenny “Dokus” but his effort went just wide. Despite the strong wind having an impact on the game Carloway did play some dangerous balls into the Aths box, but they were well defended by the Aths defence

 

Then shortly before the end of the first half Carloway squandered a good opportunity to take the lead when Kenny “Dokus” (who had been moved to the right flank) picked up the ball and ran across the 18 yard line with the ball at his feet and when he was  in centre of the goal unleashed a shot with his left foot but it went high and well wide of the post when it appeared that with a bit more composure he had sufficient time to guide the ball into the Aths right hand corner of the net despite all the players in front of him in the 18 yard box .

Half Time: Carloway 1 Athletic 1

The second half followed the pattern of the first half in that there was not much between the teams but nevertheless it was an engrossing half. However, neither team could make the breakthrough so the tie went into extra time

Full Time: Carloway 1 Athletic 1

The end of the 90 mins saw many of the crowd leave the ground not because of the quality of the play between the teams but because it just got so cold that it was not bearable to stand about. However, they arguably missed the most exciting period of the match.

Within a minute of the ET kick off Fraser Macleod had a goal bound shot spectacularly saved by Beaton as he dived to his left and clutched the ball out of the air about four feet off the ground. Then in the 94th minute Duncan Shirkie floated a free kick into the box which found his brother Euan at the back post, and he fired home a volley from six yards out into the Aths net (2-1)

Seven minutes later Neil Sinclair sent the Carloway support into raptures when he picked up the ball in the centre circle in the Carloway half, looked up and saw goalkeeper Montgomery standing just inside his 18 yard line, then sent a thundering shot over the keeper into the empty net. A spectacular finish, worthy of goal of the season and reminiscent of Wayne Rooney’s effort for Everton against West Ham in November 2017. (3-1)

Half Time after Extra Time: Carloway 3 Athletic 1

The game continued to ebb and flow in the second period of ET with Aths showing more urgency, led by Peter Mackenzie, and in the dying minutes of the game Domhnall Mackay was adjudged to have committed a foul in the box and Aths were awarded a penalty. John “Uig” Morrison stepped up to take the kick and slotted it home with some power past Beaton. (3-2).

That was the last action of the match as the ref blew for full time as the ball landed in the net.

Full Time after Extra Time: Carloway 3 Athletic 2

Although the wind, possibly, made it difficult at times for both teams it was nevertheless an enthralling cup tie, but on the balance of play, this writer felt that Carloway were the better team on the night, creating the better chances and deserved their victory.

Both the Carloway management and support will be happy that not only did they win and record their first win of the campaign but that they will also be delighted by the performance to beat an Aths side that were, on recent form, favourites to win the tie with most neutrals. Aths and their supporters at the finish, naturally, looked despondent as they were probably quietly confident of going through but on the night, unfortunately for them, they just did not do enough.

All the Carloway players can be happy with how they performed individually and as a team but in my opinion both Duncan Shirkie and Neil Sinclair (who will forget his spectacular strike?) played well, together with Domhnall Mackay who had a major impact on his return with his tenacity, tackling and leadership qualities. However, my Carloway man of the match for his calm and composed performance at the back goes to Cameron Macarthur.

For Aths Harry Bray and James Cunningham looked lively but, with some input from Aths, I think the MOM award should go Luke Morrison

Carloway man of the match: Cameron “Tiger” Macarthur

Athletic man of the match: Luke Morrison

Line Ups:

CARLOWAY: 4-4-1-1.

Manager: Graeme “Windy” Miller.

Asst. Managers: Domhnall Mackay; Calum Tom Moody

 

                                                          David Beaton

Callum “Beag” Mackay   Donald “D.I.” Maclennan   Cameron “Tiger” Macarthur   Euan Shirkie

Ben Smith   Duncan Shirkie   Domhnall Mackay (capt.)   Kenny “Dokus” MacDonald

                                                         Neil Sinclair

                                                       Dan Crossley

 

Subs. used: Hamish MacDonald (Dan Crossley) 57; Callum Masson (Callum “Beag” Mackay) 68; James Mackinnon (Kenny “Dokus” MacDonald) 105; Andy “Bernera” Morrison (Hamish MacDonald) 118; Owen “Tiger” Macarthur (Euan Shirkie) 120+2.

Subs. not used: None.

Yellow cards: Ben Smith 120.

 

 

ATHLETIC: 3-5-2.

Manager: Eric “Strada” Macleod

 

                                             Connor Maciver   Fraser “Fraz” Macleod

          Luke Morrison   John “Uig” Morrison   James Cunningham   Mike Stone   Ross Macrae (capt.)

                             Leo Swanson   Neil Morrison   Peter Mackenzie

                                                    Reece Montgomery

 

Subs. used: Harry Bray (Leo Swanson) 36; Gregor Finlayson (Mike Stone) 71; Darren Morrison (Connor Maciver) 87 Euan Murray (Ross Macrae) 87.

Subs. not used: None.

Yellow cards: Fraser “Fraz” Macleod 61; James Cunningham 110.