Crucial win keeps Newtonmore in Division One title hunt
NEWTONMORE supersub Glen Mackintosh believes that the Eilan's future is in good hands after helping the second team keep their North Division One title hopes alive.
The veteran hitman came on at half-time on Saturday as 'More beat Glengarry to maintain their hopes of holding onto the league title.
The forward, who is still recovering from a knee injury, made an instant impact, and ended up scoring twice in the 6-2 win over the league leaders.
Glengarry had gone into the top of the table game knowing that just a single point would be enough to secure them the title.
But victory for Newtonmore means the destination of the title remains very much in their own hands with two home games left to play – a tough fixture against Glenurquhart this Saturday and then Aberdeen University.
Retaining the crown would be a remarkable achievement for Orsten Gardner's side given the number of players promoted through-out the season from the seconds to help with the first team's long list of injuries.
Another feature has been the large number of under sixteen year olds playing for the second string.
Mackintosh was impressed by what he saw on Saturday.
"It would be great if they can go on and win the league," he said. "There have been a large number of young lads playing for them especially in defence – in fact it has been most of the juvenile team.
"They have done incredibly well."
He said that Charlie Ferguson was one of the prospects that stood out. "I thought he had an excellent game on Saturday," said Mackintosh.
Mackintosh said this weekend was the biggest remaining obstacle when Glenurquhart come calling on the back of a win over Fort William who put Newtonmore to the sword the previous week.
As it turned out at the weekend, manager Gardner on Saturday could call on players who have featured through the year at first team level but not in the 'named pool'.
With one or two of his own regulars unavailable, Gardner started the match with Fraser MacKintosh up front.
The first few minutes saw 'Garry tigerish in claiming the ball and pushing forward.
But MacKintosh's experience told in just the sixth minute when a well worked move in from the left wing saw him slot home the opening goal.
Glengarry were in no mood to lie down, and their speed and determination up front told just five minutes later.
Nick Dalgety struck after a move in from the right wing saw the ball loose inside the Newtonmore D, and he just beat the advancing Calum Grover in goal to flick the ball home.
Newtonmore had a glorious chance to go 2-1 up in the 24th minute when Fraser MacKintosh turned his man to make time and space square in front of goal but he shot over the bar.
Glengarry continued to threaten and in the 33rd minute after a scramble in the 'More area, a close range shot came in and was well saved by Grover.
However, the rebound came out at a nice height for Dalgety to volley home to give 'Garry the lead.
This gave 'Garry a boost and they continued to press hard.
But a minute before the turn, a break down the Blue and White's right wing saw a cross come to Andrew Buchan square in front of goal and he lashed home to make it 2-2 at the turn.
After the interval, with Calum Stewart a late call-off, manager Gardner brought his deadly secret weapon – Glen Mackintosh, complete with strapped up left knee.
The impact was almost instant as Mackintosh first hit the post with a fierce shot from a tight angle, then, four minutes into the second period, blasted a rising pile driver from 20 yard out for 3-2.
Just a minute later, Drew MacDonald lashed a goal home from just outside the D at an impossibly tight angle to make it 4-2.
From then on, Newtonmore were very much in control. Had it not been for some outstanding saves by 'Garry keeper Gordon MacDonald, Glen Mackintosh could have had four or five goals on his own.
In the end, though, Glengarry were ground down and three minutes from time, Craig MacLeod got in on the act to fire home Newtonmore's fifth.
Mackintosh finally registered a deserved second strike a minute from time to leave the result at 6-2.
Six teenagers – Calum Grover, James Ross, Charlie Ferguson, Declan Brannan, Sorley Thomson and Andrew Buchan – played most of the game for Newtonmore.
* Fort William, who had played with such determination the week before to dent Newtonmore's title hopes themselves lost out at An Aird to the Glen, David MacLennan's solitary strike proving decisive.