Saints pick up first three points of the sea­son

‘ We were very slug­gish to start off with but came more into things as the game wore on’

The Oban Times - - Sport -

Oban Saints Alba This­tle SAFL Premier Di­vi­sion SAINTS re­turned to win­ning ways against an im­pres­sive Alba This­tle side at Glen­cruit­ten last Satur­day to lift them­selves off the foot of the Scot­tish Am­a­teur Football League Premier Di­vi­sion.

Man­ager, Alex Craik, had his plans thrown into dis­ar­ray when goal­keeper, Thomas McCul­loch, called off with a badly cut fin­ger. Vet­eran net min­der, David Dun­lop, an­swered the call and it was a re­as­sur­ing sight for the Saints faith­ful to see the vastly ex­pe­ri­enced keeper tak­ing care of busi­ness be­tween the posts once again.

Saints didn’t get the start they would have liked and, due to a lack of ur­gency, it was Alba who had the first clear- cut chance.

This­tle striker, Gor­don Mered­ith, edged his way in on goals and man­aged to get a shot away with­out a tackle be­ing made, but just as well for Saints his shot trick­led wide.

This might have been the wakeup call the Oban side needed.

Craig MacEwan al­most opened the scor­ing in the 11th minute af­ter get­ting on the end of a Lewis Cameron cross, but he couldn’t keep his header down and the ball drifted over the bar.

Saints then had the best chance of the game when David McArthur pow­ered down the right -hand side, beat his man to the by­line and drilled in a teas­ing low cross that found Craig MacEwan, who was at full stretch, but he couldn’t get enough on the ball to di­rect it into the net.

Alba striker, Gor­don Mered­ith, who was a thorn in the flesh all af­ter­noon, found him­self with only David Dun­lop to beat af­ter a di­ag­o­nal cross caught the Oban de­fence by sur­prise, but it too caught the Alba front man by sur­prise as the ball de­flected off his thigh for a goal kick.

Saints com­posed them­selves and cre­ated a chance of their own. Some good pass­ing play and a daz­zling run from Lewis Cameron al­lowed the Saints striker to get a shot on goal.

At the other end, David Dun­lop was forced into mak­ing a fine div­ing save from a 25-yard shot from Jonathan McKay

Lewis Cameron then tested the Alba keeper from a sim­i­lar dis­tance, but his free kick was struck down the mid­dle and the keeper was able to punch the ball to safety.

The D & K Laf­ferty-spon­sored Saints started to take the game to Alba and were pass­ing the ball about well and cre­ated a cou­ple of rea­son­able chances.

The pres­sure even­tu­ally paid off with Saints open­ing the scor­ing five min­utes be­fore half-time through Craig MacEwan.

The Saints man hit a shot from just out­side the box which flew into the cor­ner of the net leav­ing keeper, Craig Thom­son, with no chance.

How­ever, the lead didn’t last long and Alba equalised just be­fore half-time af­ter Saints strug­gled to clear their lines.

Marc Mac­Cal­lum tried to head clear from deep in­side his own box, but his clear­ance landed at the feet of Gor­don Mered­ith who was on hand to toe the ball into the back of the net - a bad goal for Saints to lose.

The first half ended 1-1, but it was a de­ter­mined-look­ing Saints out­fit that took the field in the sec­ond half and, af­ter some good play on the right-hand side, Lewis Cameron whipped in a great cross for Craig MacEwan to head the ball home for his sec­ond goal of the day to make the score 2-1.

History nearly re­peated it­self and Alba al­most equalised straight away, hit­ting the cross­bar from a long-range shot.

Alba then had another op­por- tu­nity to level the score when a free kick was whipped into the box and made its way through a sea of bod­ies, land­ing in front of the un­marked Iain Milne, but he couldn’t di­rect his shot on tar­get and the ball went wide.

Saints were start­ing to get back on top af­ter a good spell from the visi­tors and thought they had scored a third goal when Don­nie Camp­bell rose at the back post to head the ball home. But ref­eree, John Stobo, who had a good game, ruled the goal out for a bit of push­ing from the Saints midfielder

Saints killed the game off in the 79th minute when Craig MacEwan and Scott Mait­land com­bined on the left-hand side to send Marc Mac­Cal­lum pow­er­ing his way to the by­line. The Saints skip­per then cut the ball back for Myles McAu­ley, who calmly slot­ted the ball into the bot­tom cor­ner of the net to make the fi­nal score 3-1.

Oban Saints man­ager, Alex Craik, said: ‘ We were very slug­gish to start off with but came more into things as the game wore on. Alba were a good side, but I think we prob­a­bly just about edged it and fully de­served the three points in the end.’

Due to West Cup ties, Saints have no game this Satur­day. The Oban side re­ceived a bye into the sec­ond round where they will take on the win­ners of East Kil­bride RR or Cly­de­bank.

Saints side have been drawn at home to Mill­beg Villa in the sec­ond round of the Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup.

Craig MacEwan, No 8, is con­grat­u­alated by his team­mates af­ter open­ing the scor­ing for Saints against

Alba This­tle at Glen­cruit­ten last Satur­day

Don­nie Camp­bell takes on an

Alba This­tle de­fender

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