Two Oban teams contest final of the Argyll and Bute Cup tournament
Saints defeat Athletic in final
OBAN Saints rounded off their busy pre-season schedule in the best possible style by winning the Argyll and Bute Cup in Lochgilphead last Saturday.
In what was to prove a very good day for Oban football in general, Saints defeated the tournament’s surprise package, Oban Athletic, in the final after three group section games and a semi-final.
The eight participating teams were divided into two groups of four, each playing once in matches lasting forty minutes. Group One at the Ropework Park consisted of hosts and trophy holders, Lochgilphead Red Star, Dunoon, Tarbert and a youthful St Mirren side drafted in to replace Rothesay Brandane who were unable to attend. On the allweather surface at Lochgilphead Joint Campus, Group Two was contested by Oban Saints, Campbeltown Pupils and tournament debutants, Dunoon Athletic and Oban Athletic.
Group Stages - Saints and Dunoon Athletic got things underway in Group Two where two goals from Craig MacEwan gave the Oban side a 2-1 win over their Dunoon opponents.
The opening match in Group One saw hosts Lochgilphead Red Star lose out 2 - 1 to 2006 cup winners, Dunoon. This was quickly followed by a convincing 3 - 1 win for the youngsters of St Mirren over Tarbert who were handicapped by the tournament’s only red card for a first half handball on the goal line.
Back in Group Two, Argyll and Bute Cup new boys, Oban Athletic, put in a very good performance before losing out 1 - 0 to Campbeltown Pupils.
Athletic remained on the pitch for match three where they would face Oban Saints for the very first time. With a number of former Saints players in their ranks, and managed by former Saint, Steven MacLeod, this promised to be a very interesting encounter and a mistake from Saints keeper, Thomas McCulloch, gave Athletic’s Craig Campbell the chance to send a looping header into the net to give his side a 1- 0 win.
Back at the Ropework, Red Star gained their only point of the day in a 0 - 0 draw with St Mirren while Dunoon kept up their winning start defeating Tarbert 1 - 0.
The unexpected defeat against Oban Athletic and Campbeltown Pupils 1 - 0 win over Dunoon Athletic left Saints needing to beat Pupils in their final match to maintain their chances of progressing to the knock- out stages and this they did thanks to goals from Donnie Campbell and Shaun MacIver in a close fought 2-1 win.
Oban won the battle of the Athletics 3 - 0 thanks to a hattrick from former Saints player, Colin Tindal, seeing them safely through to the semi-finals as group winners on goal difference eliminating Campbeltown Pupils into the bargain.
In Group One, Red Star’s defence of the trophy stuttered to a halt after a 3 - 0 defeat to Tarbert leaving Dunoon and St Mirren to fight it out for top spot which the young Buddies duly earned by beating the Dunoon men 2 - 0.
The third and fourth place play- offs were staged on the allweather pitch at Lochgilphead Joint Campus where, in the first match, Tarbert and Dunoon Athletic drew 1 - 1 with the sides electing not to proceed to a penalty shoot- out. Campbeltown Pupils and Lochgilphead Red Star contested the second play off which ended goalless before Pupils eventually prevailed in the penalty shoot- out.
Semi-finals - Oban Saints faced the Paisley Saints in the first semi-final with the Oban lads coming flying out of the traps to take the lead inside sixty seconds. through Allan MacKay
Oban Saints increased their lead when persistent play on the right wing from Kevin Keen won a corner which Ross Maitland placed straight onto Donald Campbell’s forehead for the Saints skipper to bullet an unstoppable header into the net to make the score 2 - 0.
The Buddies were presented with an opportunity to get back into the game when they were awarded a penalty but Saints’ keeper, Thomas McCulloch, made a fine save from the spot kick.
In the second semi-final, Oban Athletic recovered from a 1 - 0 half-time deficit to equalise through Kris Gillies in the second period sending the tie to a penalty shoot- out.
The format was to be three penalties each before sudden death.
Dunoon scored with the first penalty before Kris Gillies levelled for Athletic. Graham Douglas saved the second Dunoon kick giving Scott Johnston the chance to put Athletic ahead which he duly completed.
The third Dunoon penalty was missed sending Oban Athletic through to the final for the second Oban derby match of the day.
The Final - Saints won the toss and elected to kick up the slope in the first half. The Athletic game plan was identical to the first match. However, by this time, their legs and minds were beginning to tire and Saints had a far easier task in finding the gaps in their overworked defence.
In the sixth minute, Stephen Kelly brought down Lewis Cameron twenty five yards from goal giving Saints a free kick in a dangerous position. Allan MacKay took the kick which Graham Douglas got a hand to but couldn’t keep out of the net.
Two minutes later, Saints were two in front, Graham Douglas made an excellent save from a Lewis Cameron shot turning the ball round the post for a corner.
Lewis took the corner from the Saints right where Douglas made another good stop from a Donald Campbell header but was powerless to stop Myles McAuley from heading the rebound into the unguarded net.
Saints extended their lead on the quarter hour with a stunning Allan MacKay 25 yard strike from the corner of the box which flew past Graham Douglas into the postage stamp corner.
Saints kicked off the second half attacking the pavilion end and quickly put the result beyond any doubt when David McArthur picked out Donald Campbell’s run into the box to alllow him to lift the ball over the advancing Graham Douglas and into the net to make the score 4- 0.
Referee Jimmy Litster, who together with assistants, Jim Pearson and John Scott, handled a sporting contest between the two Oban teams well, brought proceedings to an end giving Saints their eleventh Argyll and Bute Cup success.
The participating teams retired to an after tournament reception in the Stag Hotel where on the call of Red Star chairman, Dougie Moore, both Oban clubs were presented with their winners and runners-up plaques by Ronald Sinclair and John Docherty before Saints’ captain, Donnie Campbell, was presented with the Argyll and Bute Cup. Donnie was also voted the Player of the Tournament.
Argyll and Bute Cup winners - Oban Saints
Saints’ striker, Allan MacKay, No 9, slams a 25 yard free kick past Oban Athletic goalkeeper, Graham Douglas, to open the scoring in the Argyll and Bute Cup tournament final in Lochgilphead last Saturday.
Host club Lochgilphead Red Star
Oban Saints’ captain, Donnie Campbell, pictured after being
presented with the Argyll and Bute Cup in the Stag Hotel
Donnie Campbell, No 10, heads home Saints’ second goal in the semi final win over St Mirren
John Docherty and Ronald Sinclair are presented to the Oban
Athletic team before the final
Oban Athletic goalkeeper, Graham Douglas, makes a great save in
the semi-final penalty shoot- out against Dunoon
Myles McAuley, No 18, heads home Saints’ second goal in the final
Athletic’s Scott Johnston gets a shot on target during the semi-final
Oban Saints players head out again after the half-time break during
Dunoon Athletic and Tarbert fought out a 1-1
draw in their play- off match
Action from the Red Star v Campbeltown
Saints’ striker David Beaton takes a tumble under this challenge from Athletic’s Stephen
Kelly during the final