Bute’s first team salvaged some pride at the end of a decidedly forgettable 2012 by battling back from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw at home to Kinlochshiel in thier final Orion Group Premiership fixture on Saturday.
Despite the islanders’ relegation having been signed and sealed some weeks ago, Bute’s players - some of whom may have been playing their last match at this level of the game - put in a stirring performance, fighting back after Keith MacRae’s double left Kinlochshiel apparently sitting pretty with half an hour to play.
The visitors led at the break courtesy of MacRae’s strike in the ninth minute, but Bute had had the best of the first half chances, with Jamesie Dunn twice coming close within the space of 60 seconds and Tam McMillan seeing his back post shot well stopped by ‘Shiel keeper Scott Kennedy.
Kennedy was at his best to deny Bute captain Robert Walker just after the break, and the visitors landed what looked like a killer blow to Bute’s hopes when MacRae was set up by John MacRae for his second in 56 minutes.
But a well-worked move four minutes later set up Roberto Zavaroni for a sweet strike low into the corner to haul Bute back into the match, and the hosts drew level with quarter of an hour to go when Hector Whitelaw drilled home a penalty after a Kinlochshiel defender was penalised for kicking the ball inside the D.
Both sides had chances to win the game in the closing stages but at the end the honours were shared, and it was Bute who left the field at full time the more disappointed of the two teams, feeling that with a little more luck in front of goal they might have taken maximum points.