Mallaig title defence gets off to perfect start

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Mallaig 9
Gairloch/Aultbea United Football Club 0
Skye & Lochalsh Amateur Football Association 

Mallaig’s league title defence got off to a perfect start on Saturday as the blues hammered Gairloch in the opening fixture of the new season.

The home side took an early lead through Ross Douglas after getting on the end of a squared Andrew Sneddon cross which set the tone for the match. They continued to look lively in the opening exchanges as Douglas and Andy Cunningham both went close before Gairloch were reduced to 10 men for a deliberate handball on the line. Cunningham made no mistake from the spot to double Mallaig’s lead.

The blues maintained the high intensity that they had started the game with and were soon three goals up  thanks to Tom Benfield who finished low past the GA goalkeeper.

The visitors deployed a long throw-in tactic by launching the ball into the Mallaig box at every opportunity, which almost paid off for them when debutant Fraser Davis had to clear a header off the home goal line. Davis, who has had an excellent season for the Mallaig under 18’s, played a role in the fourth goal after he ran the length of the pitch with the ball, exchanging passes with the midfield, before squaring to Andrew Sneddon who calmly finished to make it four.

Cunningham, last season’s player of the year, made it 5-0 soon after with a headed finish from close range.

Man of the match Scott Maclean who, despite playing the majority of his football for Mallaig at full back, slotted in at centre midfield controlled the match and was the catalyst for the Mallaig onslaught in attack.

The goals kept coming for Mallaig after the half-time break as Cunningham who completed his hat-trick with an easy tap-in.

The seventh came immediately from the restart as Scott Maclean won the ball in the middle of the park and found Sneddon who unleashed a beauty of a long range strike to double his goal tally for the day.

Andy Cunningham got his fourth of the game as he took a short corner to Sneddon who gave it back to the Englishman who hit a low shot towards goal that missed everyone and went in at the front post.

The scoring was rounded off by Benfield who raced in on goal and finished cooly in to the bottom left corner as he sealed a brace.

The win means Mallaig sit top of the William Wilson league, having been awarded three points when Portree failed to raise a team in the preivous week’s scheduled fixture.

Mallaig are away to North West Skye this Saturday.