Pupils come and park the bus but Saints still take all three points

‘ We played some ex­cel­lent foot­ball to­day, pass­ing the ball out from the back which meant we kept pos­ses­sion for long pe­ri­ods in the game’

The Oban Times - - Sport -

Oban Saints 2 Camp­bel­town Pupils 0

SAFL Pre­mier Di­vi­sion

PA­TIENCE was the name of the game at Glen­cruit­ten last Satur­day as Saints were made to work hard to break down a de­ter­mined and well- drilled Camp­bel­town Pupils de­fen­sive set-up in the first Ar­gyll derby of the sea­son.

The visi­tors came with cau­tion very much in mind and set Saints a dif­fi­cult task to find a way through their solid five-man de­fence.

Wil­lie Gem­mell had Saints’ first ef­fort on goal with a long range shot from the edge of the cen­tre cir­cle which flew high and wide, pos­ing no threat to the Camp­bel­town goal.

Saints mid­field tri­umvi­rate of Wil­lie Gem­mell, Paul Kerr and Don­ald Camp­bell were get­ting plenty of the ball in the cen­tre of the park but, faced with a wall of red shirts, were find­ing it hard to thread the passes through to the front three of Ross Mait­land, Dean Smith and Craig MacEwan.

Wil­lie Gem­mell was first to find the key to un­lock the Pupils de­fence when he clipped a de­light­ful cross from the right pick­ing out Don­ald Camp­bell’s late run into the box. Don­ald won a good loop­ing header against Keith Mitchell which the back ped­dling Reid An­der­son did well to tip over his cross bar for a cor­ner kick.

Just one minute later Don­ald Camp­bell threaded a ter­rific pass through to Ross Mait­land, who timed his run well to get in be­hind the Pupils de­fence. Reid An­der­son was quickly off his line to nar­row the an­gle and made a good save div­ing to his left to parry Mait­land’s curl­ing shot to safety.

A cheaply- con­ceded free kick by Dene Cas­sells on the edge of his own box lead to a scare for Saints in the 19th minute. Wil­lie Gem­mell headed the free kick wide for a throw in from which Pupils forced a cor­ner kick on their right. John McCal­lum glanced a header from the six yard line to­wards the top cor­ner which Thomas McCul­loch, at full stretch, man­aged to claw onto the post and be­hind for an­other cor­ner.

Saints cleared the dan­ger from the sec­ond cor­ner and broke up the left wing with Scott Mait­land de­liv­er­ing a low cross to Ross Mait­land 12 yards out and di­rectly in front of goal. Ross didn't con­nect as well as he would have liked with his left foot but nonethe­less Reid An­der­son pro­duced an­other ex­cel­lent save to foil the wee man for the sec­ond time.

An­der­son was in ac­tion again in the 26th-minute ac­ro­bat­i­cally tip­ping over a dip­ping David McArthur vol­ley from the edge of the box af­ter Pupils had failed to fully clear their lines from a Ross Mait­land cor­ner.

David was first to the sec­ond cor­ner but his down­ward header un­der lit­tle pres­sure bounced high and wide of tar­get.

As the first half drew to a close the rel­a­tively un­trou­bled Saints cen­tral de­fen­sive pair­ing of Dene Cas­sells and Jamie Gra­ham got them­selves into a fan­kle and gifted an op­por­tu­nity to lone Pupils striker John McCal­lum.

For­tu­nately for Saints, Thomas McCul­loch was equal to McCal­lum’s shot on goal and pro­duced a good save div­ing full length to his right.

Saints man­ager Alex Craik sent out the same 11 to start the sec­ond half ad­vis­ing them to keep play­ing their pass­ing game and the scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties would come.

Saints first at­tack of the sec­ond half was a rare gal­lop­ing Wil­lie Gem­mell run from deep in­side his own half. Un­for­tu­nately Wil­lie didn’t quite have the pace to out­strip the chas­ing pack and was dis­pos­sessed by a slid­ing in­ter­cep­tion by Grant Grant who re­cov­ered his ground well.

The long-awaited break­through fi­nally came in the 56th-minute and owed much to a pow­er­ful run from the back by Dene Cas­sells. He made good progress through the mid­field but was stopped 25 yards out by a per­fectly- ex­e­cuted slid­ing chal­lenge from John McCal­lum. Paul Kerr picked up the loose ball and played the ball to Don­ald Camp­bell on the edge of the box, who turned well and cut into the box only to be faced by the ad­vanc­ing Reid An­der­son.

An­der­son spread him­self well forc­ing Don­ald wide where, from the tight­est of an­gles, he tucked the ball, left-footed, in­side the near post beat­ing the de­spair­ing lunge of Lorne Robert­son on the goal line.

Ter­rific ball

Saints’ sec­ond came six min­utes later af­ter the im­pres­sive Reid An­der­son had made an­other good save to deny Don­ald Camp­bell fol­low­ing a ter­rific ball over the top of the Pupils de­fence from Wil­lie Gem­mell.

An­der­son forced the ball be­hind for a cor­ner kick on the Saints’ left from which Ross Mait­land curled a wicked in-swinger to­wards the postage stamp cor­ner that Fraser Wylie, guard­ing the far post, could only head into the roof of his own net, pos­si­bly from be­hind his own goal-line. The cross from Ross may also have taken a nick off a Camp­bel­town de­fender’s head en-route to goal but the wee man will cer­tainly be claim­ing the goal for him­self.

Saints were well on top now and went in search of a third and were de­nied by an­other ter­rific save from An­der­son div­ing to his left to fin­ger­tip a Dean Smith shot onto the post with Keith Mitchell re­cov­er­ing to clear the dan­ger.

An­der­son pro­duced more hero­ics in the 73rd minute to deny Dean Smith at close range af­ter Smith had chested down well in the box but didn’t quite make the con­nec­tion he was hop­ing for giv­ing An­der­son the chance to make the save.

Saints sur­vived a ma­jor scare in the 76th minute when Wil­lie Gem­mell was caught in pos­ses­sion on the edge of his own box by Pupils sub­sti­tute El­lis Robert­son.

Robert­son broke into the box, rounded the ad­vanc­ing Thomas McCul­loch, but much to the relief of Wil­lie and the Saints faith­ful, just as he was about to stroke the ball into the un­guarded net, he lost his foot­ing and the ball broke loose and into the grate­ful arms of the Saints keeper.

The fi­nal op­por­tu­nity of the match came for Pupils in the clos­ing min­utes when Keith Mitchell out­paced David McArthur on the left wing and cut in­side where he was stopped in his tracks by a heavy Dene Cas­sells chal­lenge.

Mitchell and Ryan Deans both hov­ered over the ball and it was Deans who elected to strike, curl­ing the ball high and wide of tar­get.

Ref­eree Lit­ster brought to an end an en­ter­tain­ing derby match which he had han­dled well with­out the need to pro­duce a card send­ing the good crowd of spec­ta­tors home happy. The win sees Saints ex­tend their win­ning streak to six games in all com­pe­ti­tions with the added bonus of a first clean sheet since the open­ing day of the sea­son.

Man­ager Alex Craik was de­lighted with the per­for­mance of his team. He said: ‘ We played some ex­cel­lent foot­ball to­day, pass­ing the ball out from the back which meant we kept pos­ses­sion for long pe­ri­ods in the game.

‘Pupils made it very dif­fi­cult for us to break them down with their de­fen­sive set-up but in the end we got what we de­served. We were the bet­ter team and fully de­served all three points.’

This Satur­day Saints are at home again in the third round of the West of Scot­land Cup against La­nark­shire Pre­mier Di­vi­sion side Springhill.

The game is sched­uled for Glen­cruit­ten with a 1.30pm kick­off but as the weather fore­cast is not good for the week­end the game could be trans­ferred to the 3G pitch with a 3pm kick- off.

Pic­ture and match re­port: Derek Black

OWN GOAL: In at­tempt­ing to clear Ross Mait­land’s cor­ner Fraser Wylie can only help the ball into his own net which gave Saints a 2- 0 lead

in the Ar­gyll derby played at Glen­cruit­ten Park last Satur­day.

15_t46­saints01

SAVE: Camp­bel­town Pupils keeper Reid An­der­son pulled off a string of great saves dur­ing the game,

this one from Ross Mait­land.

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