In a match of fine margins, a Camanachd Leòdhais team missing several players wondered what might have been as they fell 1-0 to a Strathspey team that had drafted in a couple of experienced players who were making their debuts for the team.
Several late call offs meant Lewis travelled with 14 players to Grantown-on-Spey. A re-shuffled team had Michael MacLeod at full back & a returning Steven Morrison at wingback. Donny Murray started his first match at the age of fifteen, with usual defender Owen MacKenzie at full forward.
Strathspey boasted a strong centre-line, consisting of Alex Williamson, Cal MacKintosh & Tommy Stewart. Calum Stewart, who has scored a rake of goals for Newtonmore’s second team for the past decade, made his debut at full forward.
In what was a closely-contested affair, the first half saw both backlines on top. Both teams were able to move the ball into dangerous areas but were unable to penetrate either defence & good chances were kept to a minimum. Lewis goalkeeper Stuart ‘Tyson’ Campbell did make one very good save with his hand.
The best action could be found in the middle of the park where full centre Scott MacLeod & wing centres Paddy & Ronan Sinclair were giving as good as they got with both centre-lines playing very well.
The game opened up a little more in the second half. Strathspey’s Stewart was seeing plenty of the ball but Michael MacLeod’s phenomenal defending was keeping him from nothing more than half chances.
At the other end, MacKenzie had a couple of chances whilst Paul Duke twice hit shots that went just past the post.
The only goal of the game came in the 72nd minute & was worthy of winning a game of such quality. MacKintosh managed to find a rare pocket of space and from nearly 40 yards, arrowed a shot that found the top right corner. It was a special goal & it was going to take something out of the top drawer to beat a Lewis defence that was playing at the top of it’s game.
Lewis nearly responded immediately but Strathspey keeper Rory Mellis did well to keep out MacKenzie’s shot. Lewis continued to look for an equaliser but their efforts were in vain.