Uist and Barra League Preview
Iochdar Saints and Barra meet for the fourth and final time in the league this season in what could be a decisive match in the race for the Uist and Barra League Championship. Meanwhile, Eriskay on Saturday will be hoping to pick up only their second win, of what has been a challenging season, against a Southend team that has designs on finishing in the top three.
Iochdar Saints (1st) v Barra (2nd) – Saturday at Liniclate (Kick-off 12.00pm)
Saturday’s game at Liniclate could decide the title, as the reigning champions Iochdar Saints welcome title challengers Barra.
Both teams have been in fantastic form of late, with Saints winning five of their last six matches, while Barra has an even better recent record with five wins and a draw from their last six games.
The last meeting between the sides saw Barra come out on top with a 1-0 win at home, their first victory over Saints this season. That victory was the first time this season that Saints had failed to score in a league game, and also marked Barra first clean sheet of the campaign.
Barra’s defence has improved considerably since the Saints game with four clean sheets from their last six games. That said, Martin MacPhee’s side, who will no doubt still be on a high following their historic Co-op Cup win over Point last Saturday, will have their work cut out for them against the current champions, who have scored an incredible tally of 25 goals in their last six matches.
Only two points separate the teams with two games remaining, so a win for Saints would bring them their fifth successive title, which would be quite a feat for Stephen Macaulay’s side.
Barra, however, also has a great team spirit, with last Saturday’s cup success indicative of the belief and mental strength within the side. Both teams have strong squads to choose from, and with goals throughout the team, it is anyone’s guess whether Saints will indeed seal the title, or if Barra will continue their winning streak to take the championship fight to the final game of the season.
Angus Campbell, Iochdar Saints: There’s pressure on every game when you’re defending champions. Everyone wants to beat the champions, but we have been in this situation before a few years ago, so we know what it takes to get the job done.
James Davidson, Barra: This is a big game for both teams, but we feel we have no pressure and all the pressure is on Saints as they have home advantage and a two point lead in the title race, it’s theirs to lose. We are just going to go and enjoy ourselves and hope that we come away with the three points.
Iochdar Saints – W – W – W – W – L – W P6 W5 D0 L1 F25 A5 Top scorer – Angus Campbell – 16
Barra – W – W – W – W – D – W P6 W5 D1 L0 F19 A5 Top scorer – James Davidson – 15
Eriskay (6th) v Southend (5th) – Saturday at Cnoc na Monadh (Kick-off 4.00pm)
A long hard season for Eriskay nears its end as they host Southend this Saturday. Martin Macaulay’s team have endured a torrid campaign so far, with just one solitary win in the league so far.
A lack of experience and physicality have rendered Eriskay unable to transfer their neat brand of football into points this year. There is no doubt, however, the team can develop next season with the addition of a few more seasoned players.
Macaulay can take heart from recent performances against Benbecula and Barra, as an indication of his side’s ability to compete against some of the best teams in the league. The problem, however, lies with the defence, which has been far too porous this season to enable the team to put more points on the board.
DA Lindsay’s team will look to arrest a run of five consecutive defeats, against the team they recorded their most recent league win against.
Southend will have a full squad to choose from for the trip, and despite their poor run of form of late, the opportunity to finish third will be an added incentive for the team if one was needed.
The postponement of North Uist’s match against Benbecula, means that Southend can move to within three points of Iain MacDonald’s team with a win on Saturday.
They will hope that a victory on Saturday can springboard them to finish the season in good form and pip both North Uist and Benbecula to third spot.
Martin Macaulay, Eriskay manager: Southend always seem to have a good turnout, it will be very tough and a very hard game for us. Southend has a few players back from injury, big Duncan MacQuarrie is a handful with his height. It is good to see our young players coming through though, and they are improving in every game.
Andrew MacIssac, Southend: I always think a game away to Eriskay is a battle, no matter where both teams are in the league. On finishing third, it looks like being tough, but with three games left we want to finish as strong as we can. With the young lads all coming on a lot again this year, big performances in the last few games will give them confidence for next season.
Eriskay – L – L – L – L – L – L P6 W0 D0 L6 F8 A28 Top scorer – Jack Walker & Callum Campbell – 5
Southend – L – L – L – L – L – W P6 W1 D0 L5 F8 A22 Top scorer – Andrew MacIssac – 6
By Adam Gordon