Tuesday night saw some tense last chance action as Newtonmore juveniles faced off against local rivals Kingussie in Group B of the London shield. The match finished 3-2 to Newtonmore and saw some very exciting end to end shinty with some fantastic goals scored by both sides.
Newtonmore were battling to tie Kingussie on 6 points for first place in the group after they had been dealt a defeat by Kingussie earlier in the season. With both teams having also won all of their games since then, this was a must win game for Newtonmore to put them back in contention for qualification to the knockout stages. ‘More were also looking for some revenge after losing to Kingussie a few weeks earlier in the Mactavish Juveniles final at the Bught park.
The depleted Kingussie side were the first to strike in the 28 minute as Michael Slimon slotted the ball in past Newtonmore keeper Xavio Vastano, after taking on most of the Newtonmore’s defence. Newtonmore’s worries were worsened shortly after as reliable wing-back Dylan Rendall was replaced by Rasmus Cheyne after a back injury had resurfaced from a previous game.
But Newtonmore weren’t going to be beaten so easily. Just minutes later Somhairle Thomson caught a ball at the back post after being played through by Struan Ross and forced the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. Newtonmore again made their intentions clear and just seconds before half time Thomson found the space and struck the ball across the face of goal and high into the right hand side of the net in the 39 minute.
‘More started the second half with confidence and again began to assert their dominance with some strong play from the midfield mounting the pressure onto the Kingussie defence. After some great saves from Kingussie goalkeeper George Taylor-Ramsay, to keep it close, Angus Grant finally broke him down in the 68 minute. After nearly having to be taken off moments earlier, he then rifled the ball into the top right hand corner of the goals from 30 yards out. The ball finally nestled in the bottom corner, after bouncing off of the inner side of the post making it almost impossible for the keeper to have saved. This critical goal made the game 3-1 and gave Newtonmore some much needed breathing room for the first time in the match.
However, Kingussie were determined to get back in the match, reestablished their strength in midfield and began testing the Newtonmore defence. Their pressure again payed off in the 72 minute when a good turn from full forward Ewan Baker allowed him the space to hit a clean strike from just beyond the penalty spot, leaving the ‘More keeper with no chance and making the match a 3-2 thriller.
From here Kingussie mounted the pressure for the last five and came close to equalising. However, Newtonmore keeper Xavio Vastano held the relentless attack at bay with a brilliant save to deny Kepa Salazar-Roy’s attempt for the top right corner. Despite Kingussie’s best efforts, Newtonmore saw the game till finish and secured the teams spot in a playoff match to decide which of the two teams will progress to the next stage of the London Shield.
Although Newtonmore were the victors, the match saw some great shinty being played on both sides and kept it’s excitement right until the final whistle. The date for the decisive playoff is yet to be confirmed, but if it is anything near as entertaining as this match spectators have a lot to look forward to.