Published: 05/01/2012 02:00 - Updated: 05/01/2012 02:01

Four-in-row joy for Lovat

LOVAT lifted shinty's Lovat Cup for the fourth consecutive occasion after defeating Beauly 3-1 at Balgate on Monday - with Allan MacRae getting his managerial career off to an ideal start.

With an early morning fall of snow on the day of the annual New Year derby encounter, there were concerns that the match would be called off for only the third time since 2002.

However, despite there being a covering of snow on the surface - coupled with some muddy areas around the goals which would inevitably get worse with play - the fixture was given the green light to go ahead.

The home team opened brightly and teenage striker Greg Matheson had the ball in the net in the opening minutes, however much to the anger of the Lovat support, the goal was chalked off by referee Graham Cameron and a penalty awarded for an earlier infringement inside the penalty area.

Scotland under-21 internationalist Jamie MacPherson took the spot hit - however Beauly keeper Martin Davidson had little trouble saving the poorly struck shot.

After this, Beauly seized control of proceedings and the bulk of the first half play took place in front of the Lovat goal with several chances created by the Green and Whites.

Only a couple of these opportunities forced Lovat keeper Stuart MacDonald in to making saves.

Against the run of play in the 25th minute, Matheson broke the deadlock to give Lovat a 1-0 advantage.

Referee Cameron was then forced to take action in the 36th minute when Lovat half back Callum Cruden's reckless swing connected with Beauly's Barry MacDonald, with the young Lovat defender picking up a yellow card.

Eight minutes into the second half, Matheson was again the curse of Beauly, repeating his double in last year's encounter with a low 12-yard drive to take Lovat in to a 2-0 lead.

In the 65th minute, the match was all over as a contest when Lovat added a third goal.

Matheson was causing all sorts of problems for the Beauly rearguard and a free hit was awarded for a foul on the young striker as he tried to break clear 20 yards from goal.

Owen Ferguson slipped a short pass to Euan Ferguson, whose low drive from just outside the penalty area went into the net under the feet of keeper Davidson.

The second half proved fairly even, however Lovat were much more clinical when chances arose and Beauly, just like their experience in last year's derby, were left counting the cost of passing up a series of chances through the poor finishing.

Beauly did pull a goal back, however, when Jack MacDonald's neatly finish in the 87th minute proved to be little more than a consolation for the North Division One outfit.

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