The Summer Cup First Round: Benbecula 7 Eriskay 0
-Inexperienced Eriskay side succumb to late onslaught
– Benbecula make experience tell to progress to the semi-finals
Benbecula on the attack against Eriskay in what would prove to be a comfortable win
Benbecula showed a keen appetite for goals as they swept aside Eriskay in a late second half flurry to seal their place in the semi-finals of this season’s Summer Cup.
A hat trick from Sean MacInnes and a brace each from Andrew Macsween and David MacInnes gave the home side a commanding win over a very inexperienced Eriskay side.
Benbecula raced into a two-goal lead in the opening half hour, as Sean MacInnes and Andrew Macsween took advantage of some slack defending. MacInnes reacted quickest to a flick on and timed his run into the box perfectly, to simply slot his shot past Thomas Steel in the Eriskay goal, with just 11 minutes on the clock.
Macsween doubled their lead in the 28th minute, when again unmarked inside the Eriskay box, he had the easy task of picking his spot and placed the ball into the bottom-left corner of the goal to make it 2-0 to the blues.
Niko Revol did his best to lead the fightback for Eriskay as the first half progressed. The striker turned well, rolling the challenge of his marker, but his attempt, although accurate, failed to seriously test the Benbecula goalkeeper John MacLeod.
Michael Iain MacInnes, who started his first full game for Eriskay, looked to stretch the Benbecula defence at will, and his speed and close control was proving to be an increasingly useful outlet, as the visitors tried to carve out a way back into the match.
As the first half drew to a close, Benbecula started to threaten the Eriskay goal and twice wasted opportunities to increase their lead. First, Sean MacInnes and then Hector Macphee, looked to give their side a 3-0 cushion going into the interval, however both players’ shots were off target in the end.
A stern half-time team talk from their manager Martin Macaulay, seemed to energise Eriskay into action and they wasted little time in taking the game to home side at the beginning of the second half. Revol, who had scurried about the Benbecula back-line so industriously in the first half, brought out a fine save from MacLeod at close range, as Eriskay intensified their hunt for a goal.
Eriskay came out fighting at the start of the second half
Calum Macmillan and Dominic Macaulay were the chief protagonists as Eriskay forcefully imposed themselves on the Benbecula defence. Macaulay’s pace and trickery was fast becoming a real source of worry for Benbecula, as his side started to sense some vulnerability within the home team’s defence. Indeed, ten minutes into the second half, Macaulay was instrumental in a fantastic move for the visitors, causing panic in the opposing half. The youngster, collecting a pass from Macmillan just inside the Benbecula half, played a superb through ball back to his teammate, Macmillan then found Revol whose shot was blocked, bringing an excellent passing move by Eriskay to a frustrating end.
The visitors continued to put Benbecula under pressure, and Calum Campbell’s fine attempt with the outside of his right foot, much to his dismay, was met by an equally good save from MacLeod, as the hosts just about kept the underdogs at bay.
Regretfully for Eriskay, their chance to reduce the margin had come and gone, and while the home team’s backline stood firm amid a series of attacks, the visitors defence was not so much a dam, but more of a false wall, a porous facade soon to be exposed.
Hector Macphee began to pull the strings for Benbecula as gaps became apparent within the Eriskay rearguard. Macphee had an attempt blocked and then David MacInnes placed his effort over the bar, as the momentum was now with the home team, as they chased a third goal.
In the 67th minute, Macphee was presented with a good opportunity to kill off the game, but he directed his header well over the bar. That reprieve for Eriskay, was to be short lived and three minutes later Benbecula scored a goal owed in large part to fortune. David MacInnes was granted too much time on the right-wing and his cross, deviating from the winger’s intended target of a teammate, looped over Steel at the back post and into the net, to give Benbecula a 3-0 lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Scott Mackay of Benbecula, under close attention from Michael Iain MacInnes of Eriskay
With the margin between the two teams now greater and the time left to play ever decreasing, Eriskay knew that a goal was imperative to any chance they had of progressing beyond the first round of the Summer Cup. Calum Campbell showed great skill and drive to burst down the right wing, evading three Benbecula defenders on the way, but his composure was found wanting as he directed his shot over the bar from a close but acute angle to the goal.
The game as a contest was put beyond doubt with just over ten minutes left on the clock, after some well-worked link-up play resulted in Benbecula’s fourth goal of the game. Macphee brought down a pass and played the ball into the path of his teammate David MacInnes, all within one neat layoff, leaving MacInnes with a clear path to beat Steel once more from around 10-yards out.
Eriskay’s resistance was now futile, as Benbecula sought to take full advantage of their tired and demoralised opponents. And so it proved, as a fifth goal followed just a minute later. Macsween positioned himself free from the attentions of a now flagging Eriskay defence to head home at the near post, to score his second of the game and make it 5-0 to the home team.
Although the match was quickly approaching full-time, there was still enough time for Benbecula to score a further two goals, as the Eriskay defence well and truly went to pieces in the closing stages. A poorly judged kick out by Steel only succeeded in finding the feet of an opposing player, and despite a good save by the Eriskay goalkeeper to make amends for his mistake, Sean MacInnes was on hand to put away the rebound to give his side their sixth goal of the game.
With just a minute left of the ninety, a great through-ball by Macphee found Sean MacInnes, and the midfielder had the easy task of picking his spot beyond Steel, to score his hat-trick and Benbecula’s seventh, to seal a place in the semi-finals for his side.
Iain MacDonald, Benbecula manager: ‘I thought we played quite well in the first half, we had a decent shape, and we passed the ball about well. However, we missed a lot of chances to be honest, especially in the first half. In the second half, I thought the standard of football was terrible, perhaps it was due to the fact that this was our third game within in a week, including the game against Saints, but the second half tonight was night and day compared with our performance against Saints.
‘I wasn’t happy with the second half, I thought it was poor, even though we scored five goals, I was more happy with the first half than the second half. I think Eriskay tired, they had a lot of young players who done well for them.
‘We were very slow out of the blocks, I don’t know if you heard me shouting there, I was very annoyed. I thought our passing was very sloppy and it wasn’t to feet. At the end of the day, if you win 7-0 you should be happy, but I wasn’t happy at all.’
Martin Macaulay, Eriskay manager: ‘It was a very disappointing result right enough, but at the start of the second half it shows that all we wanted to do was play football on the deck all the time, it’s young boys we have in the team basically. If we had taken our chances, it would have been a different matter. If we got a goal, we would have got back into it big time, if you take your chances though, that is it.
‘We were getting bullied, that was what I was saying at half-time, make sure you get a foot in, because we were getting pushed off the ball, we were too light in the first half.
‘Michael Iain MacInnes, did well for us in his first full game. The team is looking promising, if we keep a hold of our players, but we lose players every year. Our oldest player is 24 years old, so hopefully good times are still to come.
‘The signs were there that we can play football; all these young boys are very skilful. Benbecula were just too good on the night, a lot stronger, so it was a well deserved win for them. You can’t be too hard on the young boys, I can’t slag them off, they have been doing well for us.’
Man of the match: Hector Macphee, Benbecula
A notable mention must of course go to Sean MacInnes for scoring a hat trick, however it was Macphee who stepped up and took control of the game just as Eriskay threatened to make the breakthrough at the other end. His long-range passing and quick one-touch exchanges with his teammates, helped to stretch the visitors defence and give Benbecula more purpose in attack after a sluggish start to the second half.
Benbecula: John A McLeod, Scott Mackay, John A Skinner, Donnie MacLeod, Neil Macmillan, Sean MacInnes, Mark MacRury, Donald MacPherson, Hector Macphee, David MacInnes, Andrew Macsween.
Subs: Jordan Macpherson, Colin MacLennan
Eriskay: Thomas Steel, Michael Campbell, Paul Morrison, Calum MacDonald, Neil MacDonald, Calum Campbell, Calum Macmillan, Jack Walker, Dominic Macaulay, Michael Iain MacInnes, Niko Revol.
Subs: Stephen MacDonald