Poor performance as Saints lose to ’Clyde
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.
DEFLECTION: This Willie Gemmell free kick was deflected for a