Kyles Athletic overcame a two goal deficit to rescue a point against Newtonmore in a thriller at Dunoon Stadium on Saturday, March 19.
A sizeable crowd gathered at a sunny Dunoon Stadium last Saturday, paying a £5 entry fee which will be donated to the UNICEF Ukraine fund, with the Tighnabruaich side raising a fantastic £560 on the day.
The crowd anticipated a competitive clash between two of shinty’s best sides, with the visitors winning both of their opening fixtures as they looked to continue their decent run of form.
Within the opening minute that’s exactly what was looking likely to happen, as Max Campbell opened the scoring for Newtonmore, as he slotted home from close range whilst the Kyles defence failed to deal with a long ball.
Yet Kyles wouldn’t let this phase them, as they continued to battle against a physical ‘More outfit. Andy King would dominate proceedings at half-back in the early stages, with the energetic defender seemingly everywhere, not allowing the opposing forward line any space to play.
George Thomson also made his first start after a lengthy period on the sidelines through injury, and didn’t look out of place as the wing-back got the better of his marker throughout the first-half.
Despite a positive first-half performance, the home side would find themselves two goals down after the restart, as Struan Ross rifled home Newtonmore’s second, although claims of a foul on Thomson in the build up were ruled off by referee Graham Cameron.
A John Whyte wonder-save denied the visitors their third, as the experienced keeper reacted fantastically to push a powerful volley over the bar with his stick, which would have surely secured all two points for the Badenoch side.
Instead, Kyles would find a way back in the contest with 15 minutes to go. A corner would find Ross MacRae, who fired a stunning strike off his backhand in to the top corner from around 25 yards to the delight of the home crowd.
A minute later, Kyles found their deserved equaliser. Former Newtonmore forward Sorley Thomson, who joined Kyles at the start of the season, looked like he had a point to prove as he danced his way around his former club’s defence. He eventually managed to push the ball on to the oncoming Colin MacDonald, who expertly placed a beautiful effort from distance beyond the helpless ‘More keeper.
Kyles continued to pile on the pressure, with substitute Scott Macdonald going inches away from giving his side the lead. Nonetheless, both sides would share the points in what was an excellent game of shinty, played to a very high standard.
Manager Robert Baxter was pleased with his side’s determination to come back from two goals down. He said: “It is a very good point against a top Newtonmore side, if anything we are very unlucky not to get the win in the end.
“I thought we played very well, and the team is coming along nicely. The defence were excellent, with George Thomson and Cammy Jack fitting in very nicely in the wing-back positions. Great saves from ‘Goat’ (John Whyte), and a very promising display from young Marcus Keith against an international midfielder in Michael Russell was also great to see.
“We have a big game next week away to Kingussie, but I believe the boys have what it takes to get something if we continue to play the way we are playing.”
The club would also like to thank Gary Matthews who has done an excellent job in maintaining the stadium pitch whilst Kyles temporarily moved from their Tighnabruaich home, as well as Craig from Ingrams bar who has provided fantastic post-match hospitality for the team.