The Uist and Barra Football League
North Uist United 0 Barra 4
– Defeat compounded by late injury for home side
– Three second half goals gloss over a largely even contest
Ali MacInnes leading the charge for Barra
By Adam Gordon
League leaders Barra left North Uist licking their wounds in a bruising encounter on Saturday 4th July. The home team endured two heavy injuries and eventually ran out of steam, as the away side took their chances aided by a portion of good luck.
A brace from James Davidson and goals from Craig Ferguson and Angus MacLean (Butch) earned Barra all three points and extended their lead at the top of the league to six points, albeit having played three games more than Iochdar Saints.
The first half of the match gave little notice of the margin that would separate the teams by the full-time whistle, as North Uist more than held their own against the visitors.
The home team showed a willingness to take the game to Barra, and were successful in forcing the leaders to concede several corners as they looked to unsettle the visitors. Indeed, North Uist’s best chance of the half came from a cross into the box and fell to Andy Currie, who went close with a header 6-yards out.
The positive rhythm North Uist had established through their promising early play was halted for nearly ten minutes as Fraser MacDonald had to leave the field to receive treatment after sustaining a head injury. Much to the relief of his team and everyone involved for that matter, MacDonald return to the fray, with his head bandaged, ala Terry Butcher, to resume playing.
Unfortunately for North Uist, despite their early momentum, it was Barra that made the breakthrough with 25 minutes gone. The visitors bypassed the North Uist wall from a freekick, and although their initial attempt was blocked, the ball fell into the path of Angus MacLean (Butch) who fired his shot into the bottom corner to open the scoring. The goal was Butch’s first goal for Barra and it again highlighted his team’s ability to take their chances, irrespective of how well they are playing
North Uist (on the ball) more than held their own against Barra in the first half.
At the other end, Dave D’Arcy was presented with a half chance for North Uist, but the ball bounced off his shin as he attempted a shot on goal.
The second half began with flourish from Barra, and it was Craig Ferguson who was at the heart of most of their early attacks. Stuart Menzies twice foiled the playmaker, whose free role enabled him to drift between attack and midfield, making it difficult for North Uist to marked him effectively. The second of those attempts brought out an especially good save from Menzies, who reacted quickly to Ferguson’s strike, following a neat turn by the Barra player who had his back to goal.
North Uist enjoyed good periods of play within the midfield area, with Fraser MacDonald showing an admirable desire to bring the ball forward from his own half to orchestrate attacks.
Ross Frew, introduced as a second half substitute, assumed some good positions on the left-hand side for the home team, but was forced to bring the ball deep as Barra quickly crowded out any attacks from the wide areas.
Although most of North Uist’s approach play came down the right-hand side, it was a similar story, as the visitors pressed them into crossing from deep positions. This proved to be an effective tactic from a Barra perspective, as they easily dealt with the majority of balls played towards their goal.
Tempers flared between the sides in the 62nd minute, when Ali MacInnes of Barra was booked after appearing to elbow North Uist’s John McDonald in the face. The home team were left incensed that MacInnes was not shown a straight red card.
As North Uist became more frustrated, Barra grew in confidence and doubled their lead five minutes later. Ferguson, who was now running the game for his team, got the goal, with a forceful strike from the end of the box. What at first appeared to be an attempted to win the ball soon turned into a goal, as Ferguson’s strike went unopposed and looped over Menzies to make it 2-0.
The pace and trickery of Michael Davidson presented North Uist with even more problems, as the game began to drift away from the home team. The winger hit two efforts wide, but was soon involved in the build-up to Barra’s third goal of the game.
With 13 minutes left to go, Barra broke down the right through Michael Davidson, and with a great amount of good luck, his shot after initially deflecting off the post, landed at the feet of Caliean MacQuarrie whose attempted clearance rebounded off of the back of Menzies and into the path of James Davidson. The striker simply tapped the ball into goal to give his side a commanding lead.
North Uist, to their credit, pushed forward, however, a lack of composure in their passing coupled with the close attentions of the Barra defence, prevented their attacks from testing Caliean MacArthur in the opposing goal.
With two minutes remaining Barra scored their fourth goal of the game, which again came about more through accident than design. A freekick taken by Ewan Campbell (Wowi) deflected off of the North Uist goalkeeper via the right-hand post to the feet of James Davidson, who had the easy task of putting the ball into the net to seal the win for Barra.
North Uist’s John Cameron endured a painful injury towards the end of the game
The game ended with a painful injury for North Uist’s John Cameron, who damaged the meniscus fibrocartilage in his knee and was carried off by his teammates.
Barra yet again took their chances to record a comfortable win, with the scoreline perhaps unfair on North Uist, who had been competitive for most of the game, but were ultimately lacking in creativity and ruthlessness in front of goal.
Man of the match: Craig Ferguson, Barra
Ferguson once again proved to be a thorn in the side of his opponents with an energetic performance, especially in the second half. His goal, which made the score 2-0 to Barra, was probably the turning point in what had been an even contest. Thereafter, his knack for finding space between the defensive and midfield lines of the North Uist team, enabled Barra to break down the home team’s resistance and run out comfortable winners.
North Uist United: S Menzies, C MacQuarrie, M MacInnes, A MacQuarrie, D Macllwarith, J Cameron, F MacDonald, J MacDonald, S MacDonald, A Currie, And D D’Arcy
Substitutions: J MacDonald for A Currie, R Frew for S MacDonald, F MacDonald ‘Ginge’ on for D’Arcy
Barra: M MacArthur, D Nicholson, M MacInnes, I Beggs, E Campbell, M Davidson, A MacLean, A MacInnes, S Davidson, C Ferguson, J Davidson
Substitutions: L Davidson on for D Nicholson, S MacNeil on for A MacInnes, A MacNeil on for A MacLean