Bute came into Saturday’s Macaulay Cup match against Oban Celtic looking to build from last Saturday’s encouraging performance against Inverness in the Camanachd Cup.
South Division One side Oban Celtic have 100 per cent record in the league and proved a tough nut to crack for Bute last season so the home side were under no illusion about the task in hand.
Bute continued to play Iain MacDonald in an advanced role at full forward ably supported by Ben Clarke, Duncan Davidson and Craig MacKay. The quartet were combining well and moving the ball quickly on the bumpy surface creating space and shooting opportunities without ever seriously testing the visiting keeper however.
The game evened itself out as the first half wore on with the Bute midfield of Adam Stirling, Franco Devlin and in particular Jambo Craig working hard to retain and regain possession and provide the ball to the forward line.
Oban finished the first half the stronger of the sides but the Bute defence of Chrissy Lawrence, Ryan Craig, John MacCallum and Arran Dunn snuffed out any danger with Kevin Queen not having any meaningful saves to make.
The second half began with the game flowing from end to end but Oban appeared to be edging the play slightly in terms of chances created. Bute suffered a blow when Lawrence was injured when he blocked a swing with his knee. Donnie McDermid came on and his crisp hitting provided some go forward momentum for the home side.
However it was Oban took the lead with around 15 minutes to play. Daniel Madej’s first touch from a drilled cross from the left took him clear of the home defence and he managed negotiate the bouncing ball to spoon an effort past Queen to put the visitors in front.
Bute came to life and began an assault on the away goal for the remainder of the 90 minutes. MacDonald saw an effort glance of both posts as the Red army began to despair. Just when time looked to be slipping away a MacDonald pass out to the right wing found Scott Harvey in space and the youngster’s rifled shot from an acute angle found the roof of the net to drag islanders back into the tie and the competition. This was an excellent finish from Harvey and his first senior goal for the club.
Extra time brought lots of pressure from Bute, however yielded no winning goal despite a crashing McDonald shot off the crossbar and the game moved to penalties.
Once again Queen was the hero for Bute and saved every penalty that came his way. Duncan Davidson and Iain MacDonald scored for the home side to put them through to the quarter finals of the competition. There was some controversy about MacDonald’s penalty as his initial effort was saved by the Oban keeper however he had dropped his stick before the penalty had been taken and referee Mitchell demanded a retake which was dispatched to give Bute a lead they did not relinquish.
Bute undertake another odyssey this Saturday travelling north to face Beauly in the first round proper of the Camanachd Cup.