NEWTONMORE took another step towards winning their sixth title in a row on Saturday after grinding out a 2-0 home win over Kingussie in the Marine Harvest Premier League.

In a derby match which was never less than competitive, Newtonmore got off to the best possible start when veteran full forward Glen Mackintosh fired his side into an early lead with a powerful shot which left Kingussie keeper Craig Dawson helpless.

At the other end Newtonmore’s Mike Ritchie was having more success between the sticks, pulling off a number of fine stops to thwart the Kingussie frontmen though an injury to forward Ryan Borthwick –he took a nasty blow to the face from a caman – meant that the Kingussie attack lost some of its early focus.

After the early goal the game settled down into a tight affair with the teams evenly matched for the most part, though the powerful Newtonmore centreline, in which Paul MacArthur stood out, never really lost control of the midfield.

The Newtonmore forwards, however, could not add to their lead thanks to fine defensive play by Kingussie full back James Hutchison and excellent work by Dawson between the posts.

In the last quarter, Kingussie manager Russell Jones, mindful of the fact that his side needed at least one point from the match to ease their relegation worries, decided to chase the game. He pushed Hutchison up front and while this did created some opportunities; the gap left at the back allowed Norman Campbell to grab a second goal for Newtonmore in injury time.

Despite the fact that this result takes his side two points closer to the championship, ‘More manager PJ Mackintosh was more than a little frustrated by his side’s performance on the day. “While we never really looked in trouble at the back, we do need to do better up front. The forwards were not getting their shots away quickly enough and while the result went for us in the end we need to be better at taking our chances. It is as simple as that. ”

For Kingussie, defeat means that they remain third-bottom in the Premiership but with a real possibility now that they may find themselves having to avoid relegation by means of a play-off against National League side Kilmallie. Whether this scenario comes about of course depends on how Oban Camanachd – the side immediately below Kingussie in the Premiership – perform in their remaining matches.

Oban have an advantage in that they have four games in hand and this Saturday they posted their intentions when they defeated last week’s Camanachd Cup winners Lovat 2-1 at Mossfield to reduce the gap between themselves and Kingussie to a mere two points.

In a game that was every bit as close as the Badenoch derby, Oban’s early lead through Daniel Cameron was quickly cancelled out by a strike from Lovat’s Calum Macaulay.

In the second half however Oban were more purposeful in attack and got their reward when Cameron scored his side’s winner 10 minutes from time.

Oban’s challenge for points continues next week at Kinlochshiel but it will not be until October 31that they face Kingussie in what could be for both sides the game of the season.

In the remaining Premier matches, Glenurquhart remain third in the table after a 3-1 home win over Fort William while Inveraray, after losing 4-0 away to Lochaber, look pretty much reconciled to retaining the automatic relegation berth as bottom club in the Premiership.

Meanwhile Tayforth Camanachd won the Bullough Cup – the trophy reserved for teams playing in South Division 2 – with a 4-2 victory over Kyles Athletic reserves at Yoker.