Uist and Barra Football League Preview
– Saints and Barra both have home fixtures as title race heats up
– Southend will go third with a win, while Eriskay will be aiming for a derby win
By Adam Gordon
A 1-0 win for Barra over Iochdar Saints on Wednesday 5th August means that the top two are separated by just two points going into the final six games of the season. Barra’s victory, which was their first over Saints this season, leaves the battle for the Uist and Barra League Championship wide open, with both teams still to play each other once more.
The championship rivals are both in action again this weekend, in home fixtures against Southend and Eriskay respectively.
Will Barra take the spoils in their local derby against Eriskay and reclaim top spot? Will Saints sweep aside Southend to increase their lead? Or will both teams drop points? All will be revealed this weekend, as the race for the title heats up.
Friday 7th August
Iochdar Saints (1st) v Southend (4th) – Liniclate, kick-off (6.30pm)
Southend has the unenviable task of taking on the reigning champions, after Saints suffered only their second league defeat of the season against Barra. The league leaders will be keen to get back on track against a Southend team that has its sights firmly set on a third-place finish.
Sitting just a point below Benbecula in third, and with three games in hand, DA Lindsay’s side will fancy their chances of overtaking Iain MacDonald’s team to finish behind the top two.
Southend, despite enduring two heavy defeats against Saints earlier in the campaign, will be hopeful of adding to their three away wins and will look to the likes of their top-scorer Andrew MacIssac and Duncan MacQuarrie to unsettled the Saints defence.
The visitors’ narrow loss against Barra in the Summer Cup semi-final proved that they have what it takes to compete with the best teams in the league, however they will have to be at their best against what will be a wounded animal in Saints.
With the fight for the title now on again, the current league champions will be eager to return to winning ways, and Saints’ manager Stephen Macaulay will no doubt have faith in his side’s ability to bounce back following their defeat. Southend might like to take note that the last time Saints lost a league match, they went on to defeat Eriskay 10-1 in their next game.
Iochdar Saints – L, W, W, W, W, W
Southend – W, L, L, W, W, W
Southend: Andrew MacIssac – 6 goals
Iochdar Saints: Angus Campbell, Joseph MacInnes, Ally Downie – (All have 11 goals each)
Iochdar Saints 10 – 2 Southend – 27/6/15
Southend 2 – 5 Iochdar Saints – 10/4/15
Saturday 8th August
Barra (2nd) v Eriskay (6th) – Castlebay, kick-off (12.30pm)
Barra’s victory against Iochdar Saints in midweek, was not only impressive on account of it being just the second loss in the league for the defending champions so far in this campaign, but it was also the first time Saints had failed to score in the league this season.
Martin MacPhee will be especially happy with the nature of the win, given Barra’s patchy defensive performance in their recent Co-op Cup win against Carloway. The victory, Barra will hope, could prove to be a turning point in the race for the title, with only two points between the two teams with six matches left to play.
The result will imbue Barra with confidence, after the race for the championship looked to be firmly in Saints’ favour, following their 3-3 draw with Benbecula last week, that also happened to be first match drawn in the league this season.
For Eriskay, Martin MacAulay must take encouragement from the style and enthusiasm which his side has exhibited in their play this season, despite their position at the bottom of the league. With just one win this season, Eriskay will seek to tighten things up at the back, while also retaining their flare for attacking.
With exciting young players such as Dominic MacAulay, Callum Campbell and Jack Walker, to name but a few, Barra’s defence would be foolish to rest on their laurels.
Eriskay will be hoping to put a spanner in their works in a derby match that should prove to be a lot more competitive than current form suggests.
Barra – W, D, W, W, W, L
Eriskay – L, L, L, L, L, L
Barra – James Davidson – 13 goals
Eriskay – Jack Walker and Callum Campbell (Both on 5 goals)
Eriskay w/o Barra – Barra were awarded a 3-0 win after Eriskay failed to field a team – 18/7/15
Eriskay 3-5 Barra – 18/6/15