Poor per­for­mance as Saints lose to ’Clyde

The Oban Times - - Sport -

In­ver­clyde Oban Saints SAFL Premier Di­vi­sion ANX­IOUS to im­prove upon their open­ing day show­ing against East Kil­bride, Saints made their first away trip of the sea­son last Satur­day with the nor­mally happy hunt­ing ground Bat­tery Park, Greenock the des­ti­na­tion. Ly­ing in wait were newly pro­moted In­ver­clyde, them­selves smart­ing from a 4- 0 open­ing day de­feat by Shaw­lands FP and anx­ious to get their first points on the board. Work and fam­ily com­mit­ments de­prived Saints of the ser­vices of Ross Mait­land, Myles McAu­ley and Allan MacKay for this match.

Prior to kick- off, the play­ers ob­served a one minute’s si­lence for for­mer Scot­tish Am­a­teur Football League sec­re­tary and ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber, Jack McCon­nell, who had sadly passed away dur­ing the week.

Both sides started slowly with the open­ing 15 min­utes played out al­most en­tirely in the mid­dle third and no chances of note for ei­ther side.

Saints had a great op­por­tu­nity when Lewis Cameron’s in­swing­ing cor­ner from the left was met by a good run to the near post by Craig MacEwan who made good con­tact, but sent his pow­er­ful header over the cross­bar when it looked eas­ier to score.

Saints best chance of the half came al­most ex­actly at the mid­way point. Wil­lie Gem­mell found a gap in the ' Clyde back four and played an ex­cel­lent pass send­ing Craig MacEwan through one- on- one with keeper, Michael Ptolomey, but Craig miss-hit his shot and the keeper saved easily with his legs.

In the 28th minute, Saints skip­per, Marc Mac­Cal­lum, made a hash of an at­tempted clear­ance al­low­ing Dar­ren McGre­gor the chance to run in be­hind the Saints back line. The ’Clyde cen­tre for­ward was through on goal, but with the Saints de­fence re­gain­ing their ground, Marc pre­vented a shot by pulling back his man just out­side the penalty box. The foul earned the ’Clyde striker a free kick and the Saints skip­per a yel­low card.

For­tu­nately for Saints, McGre­gor sent the free kick high over the cross­bar, but the re­lief was short­lived. Barely two min­utes later, McGre­gor made a ter­rific run up the right wing beat­ing the static look­ing Saints de­fence be­fore cut­ting in­side and tuck­ing a neat left foot fin­ish just in­side Thomas McCul­loch's left hand post.

With five min­utes of the first half re­main­ing, Don­nie Camp­bell was brought down twenty eight yards from goal and slightly left of cen­tre. Wil­lie Gem­mell who al­ready had a free kick from a sim­i­lar po­si­tion, charged down by the ’Clyde de­fen­sive wall. This time he al­most cleared the wall, but a ric­o­chet off two ' Clyde heads sent the ball through for Ptolomey to gather safely.

At­tack­ing the Gourock end in the sec­ond half, Saints went in search of a quick equaliser but, de­spite a bright open­ing five min­utes, the break­through failed to ma­te­ri­alise and the frus­tra­tions of the first half con­tin­ued.

On the hour mark, Lewis Cameron made a jink­ing run across the face of the box pick­ing out David McArthur in the in­side left chan­nel. David's goal bound shot was charged down bounc­ing ag­o­nis­ingly out of reach of Craig MacEwan in front of goal.

Two min­utes later, Don­nie Camp­bell got on the end of another Wil­lie Gem­mell pass and, mak­ing a good run on the right, sent over a low cross frac­tion­ally too close to keeper Ptolomey and out of reach a Craig MacEwan.

The hosts in­creased their lead when sub­sti­tute, Bren­dan Gil­lan’s, long-range free­kick dipped just in front of Thomas McCul­loch which the big Saints keeper did well to stop. Un­for­tu­nately, Craig El­lis re­acted quicker than the Saints de­fence and the keeper was left cru­elly ex­posed as the 'Clyde midfielder slot­ted home the re­bound from close range to dou­ble the home side’s ad­van­tage.

Saints fell fur­ther be­hind in the 86th minute switch­ing off com­pletely at a ’Clyde throw-in on the Saints right. The ball was played to Bren­dan Gil­lan on the op­po­site wing who cut in­side Scott Mait­land and tucked a neat left foot fin­ish in­side Thomas McCul­loch's left hand post.

Saints got their scarcely de­served con­so­la­tion goal in the 93rd minute when Don­nie Camp­bell flicked on a Wil­lie Gem­mell pass into the path of David Beaton run­ning through the in­side right chan­nel. The young­ster easily out­paced cen­tral de­fender, Ste­vie Docherty, be­fore lift­ing the ball over Michael Ptolomey and into the net.

There was barely enough time left to restart the match be­fore ref­eree, John McQuil­ter, who han­dled the match well, blew for full-time bring­ing a very dis­ap­point­ing af­ter­noon for Saints to an end. The Oban side can have no com­plaints about the re­sult against an In­ver­clyde team who worked harder through­out and took their chances well.

A dra­mat­i­cally im­proved per­for­mance is nec­es­sary if Saints are to record their first win of the new sea­son in next Satur­day's Ar­gyll derby at home to Camp­bel­town Pupils. Kick- off is 2pm at Glen 2. Ref­eree Jimmy Lit­ster.

Photo and re­port: Derek Black

DE­FLEC­TION: This Wil­lie Gem­mell free kick was de­flected for a

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