KINLOCHSHIEL maintained their unbeaten record in the Marine Harvest Premier League with a 2-0 home win over Kingussie thanks to two second-half goals from wing-forward John Macrae. Kings have had little joy against ‘Shiel so far this season, having been knocked out of the MacTavish Cup by the Wester Ross outfit in a tight encounter, also at Balmacara, which was finally settled 3-2 in favour of ‘Shiel thanks to a late goal which had more than a touch of good fortune about it.

This time however the outcome was much more clear-cut though Kinlochshiel took until the second half to grind out the desired result against a Kingussie rearguard which until this loss had only conceded a single goal in their entire Premiership campaign this season. At the other end of the park the visitors, initially weakened by the absence of frontman Martin Dallas, were further depleted by an early injury to full-forward Ryan Borthwick and consequently lacked the firepower to threaten home keeper Scott Kennedy’s goal. Eventually in the 53rd minute, a long ball hit deep into the stretched Kingussie defence was flicked on by Jordan Fraser to Macrae and his powerful shot from a tight angle brought up the opener.

Almost immediately after the throw-up, ‘Shiel scored again when their next attack resulted in a goalmouth scramble with Macrae again on hand this time to push the loose ball home from close range. Indeed the same player might have completed his hat-trick shortly afterwards but for the quick reflexes of Kings’ keeper Craig Dawson who was quick to parry the strike.

Afterwards Kingussie manager Dallas Young while disappointed was realistic in his assessment of the outcome. “We never ran them as close as I would have hoped to, especially considering how we played against them last time. We were just beaten by a better team.

“‘Shiel really showed their mettle today and provided they can avoid injury to their bigger players they should be one of the sides in the mix at the end of the season.”

Another side certain to be in the mix at the end of the season is new table-toppers Kyles Athletic. They defeated Glenurquhart 4-1 at Drumnadrochit and head ‘Shiel in the pecking order by virtue of goal difference. The match was well contested in the opening phase with Martin MacFadyen’s long-range opener for Kyles being evened up by Glen’s James Macpherson who profited from a rebound off Kyles keeper John Whyte from a Daniel Mackintosh strike to score for Glenurquhart just before the break.

The second half was less competitive with Kyles always having the edge through internationalist Roddy Macdonald who proved increasingly difficult to pin down as the match progressed. Indeed his initial strike in the 61st minute was converted into Kyles’ second goal when Sandy Mackenzie also knocked home a rebound, this time off Glen keeper Garry Mackintosh.

Gordon Whyte then made it 3-1 with Kyles’ final goal of the afternoon, scored in the 88th minute by the tireless Roddy Macdonald who found space after a free hit to beat Mackintosh from close range.

Spare a thought , though for Glenurquhart keeper Mackintosh however – he had earlier managed to save two penalty attempts by Kyles.

In the other Premiership encounters, two goals from Greg Matheson saw home side Lovat bounce back from last week’s poor result at Glenurquhart to record a 2-1 win over Oban Camanachd. Meanwhile, Newtonmore kept themselves on track with a 3-0 home win against Lochaber, while a Gary Luke goal at Yoker saw Glasgow Mid Argyll win 1-0 versus a Kilmallie side which had both Aaron Sandison and Liam Cameron sent off.