Welcome return to EF Cup action
Tolsta FC made a welcome if unsuccessful return to the Eilean an Fhraoich competition after an absence of five years, but were unlucky to draw Lochs, then the form team in the Western Isles, in the first round.
An aggregate score of 18-0 for them over two legs had the statisticians running for cover. The first leg at Creagan Dubh in Lochs was played in a quagmire but unfortunately for Tolsta, 'conditions were not a great leveller'. It was one way traffic throughout and only stout defending kept the score at 2-0 at half time. Lochs added two more to their tally mid-way through the second half and a further four goals were conceded by Tolsta in a late collapse. Tolsta did not manage one shot at goal in this game.
The second leg in Tolsta was more or less a 'friendly' as the referee failed to show up and neither did quite a number of the Tolsta players, no doubt discouraged by the quality of the opposition and the first leg debacle. Apparently, there were some pressing engagements elsewhere.
Tolsta barely managed to muster a team and the halves were (mercifully) reduced to 35 minutes each way. The boys who did turn out competed well in the first half in particular, with Donnie 'DA' Murray playing superbly, and could actually have scored a few goals but for some poor finishing. As in the first leg, Lochs' superior fitness was more evident in the second half and they scored a barrage of goals late on, although some intermittent linesmanship allowed a number of offside goals.
All in all then, not a happy return for the hoops, but it was a useful exercise in that it proved that Tolsta are some way off a return to senior competition in terms of player pool, ability and commitment. Lochs on the other hand were at that time an excellent young team, most of whom had played together through the age groups.
However, before we get too disheartened, a delve into the Stornoway Gazette's archive revealed the following headline from 22 years ago -"Humiliating Drubbing for Lochs" - Tolsta had beaten them on a 10-1 aggregate and went on to win the competition. Perhaps these things are cyclical!