Uist and Barra Football League
North Uist 5 Eriskay 3
– Home team too strong for visitors in high scoring affair
– Eriskay concede five goals despite taking an early lead
Keith MacDonald was a towering presence for North Uist (Blue)
North Uist United recovered from the concession of an early goal to earn all three points after a stylish and stubborn performance against Eriskay.
Both sides came into the game on a poor run of results, with North Uist looking for their first victory since the middle of June, while Eriskay where hoping to add to their one solitary win against Benbecula at the end of May.
The hosts, who were fifth going into the game, were looking to extend their six-point lead over bottom side Eriskay, with a victory in front of their own fans.
That plan, however, looked to be in jeopardy from as early as the 6th minute, when the visitors opened the scoring with a fantastic volleyed effort from Ali MacDonald. North Uist protested vigorously that the goal was offside, but the officials were unconvinced by their pleas and awarded the goal.
Despite their obvious anger at the decision, the hosts managed to hone their sense of injustice into positive action with a couple of chances they should have equalised from. Angus MacIntosh spurned a decent chance to test the Eriskay goalkeeper following pass from Peter Shaw, before Keith MacDonald put his header over the bar.
John MacIssac of Eriskay trying to evade the attentions of the North Uist players
Stuart Menzies made a spectacular save at the opposite end to thwart MacDonald from doubling his and Eriskay’s tally, as the away team looked to exploit the pace and trickery of Jack Walker and Dominic Macaulay on the break.
Sensing that his team was lacking a sense of urgency and punch in attack, North Uist’s manager, John Docherty, reshuffled his pack to move Angus MacIntosh up front alongside Peter Shaw, with Sam MacDonald moving to wide right of midfield.
The move appeared to make a difference as MacIntosh tested Duncan MacKinnon soon after with an effort on goal.
With 27 minutes on the clock, North Uist’s revamped approach found its rewards. The equaliser, however, originated from the more unorthodox route of Menzies in the home goal. The goalkeeper’s forceful goal kick caught his opposite number off guard and the ball looped over MacKinnon to leave Shaw with an easy tap-in to draw his team level at 1-1.
North Uist, now galvanised by their goal, grew in confidence and the partnership between Shaw and MacIntosh in attack seemed to give them a greater threat going forward. Indeed, Shaw should have put his team ahead after some intelligent build-up play. Keith MacDonald, found the now revitalised MacIntosh on the left, who flicked the ball around his marker and played a fantastic pass towards the back post, but Shaw placed his effort over the bar.
At the other end, Eriskay’s tidy passing game was enabling them to pick passes through the home team’s defence and they almost regained the lead. John MacIssac was just shy of connecting to a cross, as the visitors continued to exhibit an aesthetically pleasing brand of football.
Both teams challenging for the ball in an action-packed encounter
With half-time approaching it was North Uist who made the breakthrough. Donnie MacLean found room inside the Eriskay box and placed his header beyond the reach of MacKinnon, following a free-kick from Peter Shaw
Shaw was involved a minute later, as United grabbed a third before the break. The striker found Dave Darcy, who played a fine pass over the Eriskay defence to pick out the run of Keith MacDonald, who then flicked the ball over MacKinnon and into the net to make it 3-1.
The match was placed firmly in North Uist’s favour just a few minutes after the restart, as the home team added a fourth. Substitute Kevin Gregory, on for Angus MacIntosh, showed great skill to flick the ball into his stride, after Shaw played a pass slightly behind him, enabling the striker time to pick his spot to further increase his team’s lead.
Eriskay’s showed tenacity to reduce the deficit with a goal shortly after. Neil MacDonald side-stepped his way past the North Uist defence to hit a fine shot from a tight angle past Menzies.
Callum Campbell went on a good run and shot wide as the away team looked to further reduced the difference between the sides.
It was North Uist, however, that found the net as Peter Shaw scored his second of the game. The forward, who had displayed great close control and strength in attack throughout the game, scored a fantastic curled effort effort to make the score 5-2 to the home team.
Eriskay hit back from the penalty spot just as North Uist looked to be in control of the game. Menzies received and yellow card for a late challenge and Neil MacDonald put the spot kick away to claw back another goal for the visitors.
Morrison and Macaulay worked hard to test Menzies for Eriskay, with the away team still keen to attack the home goal.
North Uist enjoyed the bulk of the ball in latter stages, as the visitors fought hard to get back into the game. In the end though the home team proved too strong. North Uist combination of strong determined play and well-worked attacks earned them a valuable win. Eriskay are very much a work in progress, Martin Macaulay has instilled an attacking ethos in his side, and while this year has proven a tough season, his side showed great promise once more despite their defeat.
Man of the match: Peter Shaw
The striker put in a solid, skillful and hardworking performance and was a reliable outlet for his team. His brace and assists made the difference for his team.
John Docherty, North Uist manager: ‘We are always a bit sluggish in the start, once we made a change in midfield we dominated the game. It is all a confidence thing, North Uist have a lot of good players, we have been underperforming, the guys know that. Peter Shaw was outstanding, we wished we had him every week, he lives away, but when he comes home he is a great addition to the squad.
‘The guys, once they got a hold of the game they played really well. We work really hard on that, the guys that come in know that we try to get the ball down the flanks, the guys on the ball in the middle of the park, we try to play football, we try to play it the right way.
‘We have to bring young boys through, you have to be brave enough to play them. I was really pleased with the result today, I think in previous weeks, our play hasn’t merited the results we have had.’
Martin Macaulay, Eriskay manager: ‘The first half hour I thought we played really good football, I thought we were very good actually. That was our game, to keep everything on the deck, because we know North Uist are a big, physical team. I thought keep the ball out wide and get it into the box early, it worked for the first half hour and it worked again in the last twenty minutes of the game, we are getting there.
‘We had three boys home from the mainland, they steadied the ship for us. It is good for them, it is good for the young boys, when they come home they can learn from them.
‘It is very frustrating for me, but the young boys are keeping me going, we have some players who would walk into any of the other teams in the Uist and Barra League.
‘I think we are playing very nice football, the team need time to develop. It is a team effort, we win, we lose and we celebrate together.’
North Uist: S Menzies, S Brady, A MacQuarrie, D MacLean, D Macilwraith, S MacDonald, J MacDonald, K MacDonald, A MacIntosh, D Darcy, P Shaw
Eriskay: D MacKinnon, M Campbell, S Macpherson, N MacDonald, J MacIssac, J Walker, S Campbell, A MacDonald, C Campbell, D Macaulay, N Revol
Referee: J MacIssac