Iochdar Saints and Barra comfortably swept aside their opponents last weekend, as both teams recorded wins in imperious attacking performances.
With just a point separating the sides at the top of the table – and with their fellow title contenders Southend not in action – both teams knew that a win could be pivotal to their hopes of silverware with just four games left.
Saints welcomed Benbecula to Liniclate, looking to avenge their 5-3 loss in the last match between the teams. Barra, meanwhile, travelled to beleaguered Eriskay, who had held them to a drew in their previous encounter.
Benbecula’s win in their clash with Saints last month was their first of the campaign and had arrested a run of five defeats in a row. That victory had also kick-started their best period of the season so far, as Iain MacDonald’s team went on to record 10 points from a possible 12, scoring 14 goals in the process.
The visitors hopes of repeating such a result were to be crushed, however, as Saints went on to record their most emphatic victory of the season. Four goals from Joseph MacInnes, a hat-trick from Archie MacDonald, a brace from Angus Campbell, a goal apiece from Harry Luney, Taylor Linch, and Richard Johnson, and an own goal contributed to an incredible 13-2 scoreline in Saints’ favour.
Joseph MacInnes’ double brace moved him to the top of the league goalscoring chart with 14 goals, while Saints’ own tally now stands at 55 goals from 12 games played.
Although Barra could not equal their rivals’ goalscoring exploits, they did manage to retain top spot by racking up an impressive tally of their own in the local derby at Eriskay. Back in July, Martin MacPhee’s team had to settle for a share of the points and the goals, as the teams drew 4-4. This time, however, it was a case of one-way traffic as Eriskay were routed 8-0.
Neil Sinclair, one of the outstanding performers in the league this season, led the way with a hat-trick, while Craig Ferguson helped himself to a brace. Barra captain, James Davidson, strengthened his own quest to finish as the league’s top marksmen with another goal, while an own goal added further to Eriskay’s woes.
Those victories mean that Barra leads Saints by one point going into the third last round of games, while Southend is five points behind the Iochdar side in third-place, albeit having played one game fewer.
In this weekend’s fixtures, Benbecula travels to Eriskay, with both teams looking to restore some pride after heavy defeats, while leaders Barra host North Uist United. In the game of the weekend, second play third as surprise package Southend host Iochdar Saints.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Saints captain Angus Campbell said a win would be important for his side’s own title chances, and also paid credit to Southend for their level of improvement this season: “Southend have shown a lot of improvement which is why they are challenging for the title once again. It’s all very close at the top, but we know we need a win to keep ourselves in the title race. It won’t be easy as Southend themselves are still in with a shot of the title, but hopefully, we will have enough in our locker to get the three points.”