Pupils al­most pay for lapse in con­cen­tra­tion

Campbeltown Courier - - SPORT -

A TOR­RID 90 min­utes of foot­ball last Satur­day en­thralled a large Kin­tyre Park crowd.

A roller­coaster of a game, it was al­most thrown away in the clos­ing stages by a com­bi­na­tion of com­pla­cency and poor de­ci­sion mak­ing from the home side.

Ev­ery­thing started so brightly for the McFadyen-spon­sored Pupils, as the home favourites raced to what looked an unas­sail­able three-goal lead, only to be left hang­ing on for dear life as Clare­mont bat­tled for a share of the points in the clos­ing min­utes.

The Pupils once more dom­i­nated the early ex­changes, with the di­rect run­ning of Sary Rahma, Don­ald McCal­lum and Gre­gor McFadyen caus­ing the vis­i­tors all sorts of bother as the home side searched for the open­ing goal.

Nev­er­the­less, it was not till the 20th minute be­fore the cru­cial break­through ar­rived - a per­fectly flighted cor­ner kick from Ryan Deans reach­ing Jamie Burns who sent a pow­er­ful header into the net.

The home side were in dream­land when cen­tre for­ward Sary Rahma turned on a six­pence in­side the box, only to be un­cer­mo­niously up­ended af­ter some close attention from a stal­wart de­fender and the goalie.

Pros­trate on the ground, the Pupils quick-sil­ver cen­tre for­ward re­acted quickly to steer the ball home while still on the ground, a great piece of skill to put the home side two goals ahead on the half hour mark.

Clare­mont roared back into the match with 15 min­utes of the first half left, but scorned a num­ber of chances to nar­row the deficit as the clock ticked down.

Home goal­keep- er Coffield was forced to make a point-blank save with his legs, this be­fore the vis­i­tors were de­nied by the cross­bar’s un­der­side, and there­after by some last gasp de­fend­ing from Rhys Blair and El­lis Robert­son.

Re­gain­ing their com­po­sure, the Pupils looked to have se­cured full points when a goal­bound shot from Ryan McCon­nachie was fisted clear by a Clare­mont out­field player.

The penalty kick was driven home by a grate­ful Sary Rahma to give his side a three­goal cush­ion with 20 min­utes of the match re­main­ing.

That should have been game, set and match, but the home side con­trived to make it hard for them­selves through a com­bi­na­tion of com­pla­cency and some sui­ci­dal pos­ses­sion on the edge of their own box.

Clare­mont scored twice in the 71st and 84th minute, both goals of the gift-wrapped va­ri­ety as the home side seemed ready to im­plode.

Broth­ers Paul Knotts and Mark Knotts brought on as subs at half time gave the vis­i­tors a fight­ing chance.

The first came for Paul as his brother broke through and played the ball square let­ting him slot it home from 10 yards. Mark told the Courier: ‘The Pupils’ keeper ran out and I chipped it past him with a side­foot shot.’

It was a ner­vous end to a game in which the Pupils played well in stages, only to al­most throw valu­able points away with some un­char­ac­ter­is­tic de­fend­ing at the 11th hour.

Scott Camp­bell ex­celled for the vis­i­tors, with his op­po­site num­ber Keith Mitchell hav­ing an ex­cel­lent game in the home colours.

It was a per­sonal con­fronta­tion en­joyed through­out, not only by the two play­ers, but also a large and ap­pre­cia­tive au­di­ence.

With nine points from three matches, the Pupils have made the per­fect start to the sea­son and sit proudly at the top of the di­vi­sion.

Time will tell if they have the tenac­ity to stay the course.

This Satur­day the Pupils travel to play Rose­hill Star.

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Jamie Burns’ header is firmly in the back of the net.

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Mer­cu­rial Sary Rahma on the way to his first goal.

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Coffield’s great first half save left him in agony.

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Scott Souden had some great early chances.

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