The first round of the RBL Cup took place on Friday night with Raigbeg, Tomatin being the venue for thrills. Even at this early stage in the calendar Tomatin Utd and Cromdale served up a cracker which must be in contention for match of the season.
It was Tomatin who started the better team and went ahead after just 9 minutes when Murray Fraser unleashed an unstoppable drive from 22 yards high past Bruce Sellars in the Cromdale goal. The visitors then began to create some chances of their own but found Garry Stuart in fine form in the home goal as he denied them an equaliser. Tomatin then extended their lead on the half hour when Callum Ferguson sent in a good cross ball which was met on the volley and flicked in by Finlay MacLeod off the outside of his boot.
As the half time whistle was approaching a long kick out from Sellars was collected by (Cromdale No: 9 - Connon??) who slid the ball easily past Stuart.
The second half started well for the visitors and they leveled matters in the 48th minute when a MacConichie free kick was parried by Stuart but (Unknown scorer??) reacted quickest to turn the ball home from close range. Tomatin hit back within 4 minutes to restore their lead in this incredible match. This time Andy Buchan took on the away defence and his cross come shot was met at the back post by young Lewis Mackay. The goals continued to come and on the hour mark Cromdale once again got back on level terms when their striker (Connon No: 9) ran onto a through ball and tucked it neatly under the advancing Stuart for his second of the night.
The match was now finally balanced at 3 - 3 and with only 30 minutes left of normal play you would think both teams may have taken a breather but not tonight. Cromdale shocked the home team by taken the lead for the first time on 70 minutes with a great curling effort from (Unknown No : 11) which left Stuart with no chance. Time was running out but in the 85th minute Tomatin were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box and Andy Buchan bent his shot round the wall and past Sellars for a great equaliser.
Extra time looked inevitable now but more drama was to unveil in the 87th minute when Jason MacDonald pulled down his opponent inside the box for a definite penalty kick. Cromdale youngster (No: 11) showed real composure to slot the spot kick away. The home team and their supporters on the touch line were devastated and feared the worse however in the dying minute they won a corner. The home support shouted at "Big Gar" to get forward and bizarrely enough the ball fell to the goalie at the far post and he laid it back to his Player Manager Kennedy whose cross was met at the near post by reserve keeper young James Duncan on as a substitute for his first outfield game and he finished it well from close range.
The youngster was mobbed by the home support as he ran away to celebrate. Their was hardly time for the restart as referee Mac Millan blew the final whistle.
There was enough daylight left for 10 minutes each way of extra time and the drama kept flowing throughout this period. It was Tomatin who pushed ahead after 95 minutes when Murray Fraser struck from 9 yards through a ruck of players into the net for what everyone thought was surely the winning goal.
Into the last part of the extra time period and with only 5 minutes left Cromdale struck a killer blow by making it 6 - 6 with the home defenders tiring their striker (Connon) completed his hat trick and with everyone now waiting on penalties the visitors raced forward to seal victory when Ryan Mc Conichie went clear and finished really well by curling the ball round Stuart.
There was to be no way back for Tomatin this time as Cromdale came out victors by 7 goals to 6. The home team were left gutted and devastated at the final whistle but also at the same time both sets of players showed great sportsmanship by acknowledging each other and the efforts put in by all during this incredible cup tie.