Marshall Cup Friday night final for Saints
‘ There will be no complacency on our part and Easthall will be given the respect they deserve’
Oban Saints travel to Glasgow’s east end this Friday evening, May 26, to face Easthall Star in the final of the Scottish Amateur Football League Jimmy Marshall Trophy.
The Premier Division One basement boys clinched their place in the Fullarton Park, Tollcross, final with an emphatic 5 - 0 win over current Argyll and Bute Cup holders Dunoon just along the road at Stepford Football Centre last Saturday afternoon.
Easthall Star’s run to the final has provided a welcome distraction for their young team which has recorded just one league win in a difficult season which sees them relegated for the first time in the club’s 26 year history.
After a first round bye, Star kicked off their Jimmy Marshall Trophy campaign with a second round comfortable 3 -1 home win against Premier Division 2A team Castlemilk.
It was Premier Division 2A opposition again in round three where Star returned home victorious from a potentially tricky trip to Greenock after an emphatic 7 - 2 rout of Broomhill.
Star’s name came out of the hat first for the quarter finals with Premier Division 2A yet again providing the opposition. A battling 3 -1 win over Hou- ston secured a home semi-final against Dunoon with whom Star had shared eight league goals five weeks earlier.
Despite the final 5- 0 score, the semi-final would also prove to be a close affair with a red card for Dunoon and a man of the match performance from the Star goalkeeper being major factors in the home side’s victory.
Saints journey to the Scottish Amateur Football League Jimmy Marshall Trophy Final also started at the second round stage where they travelled to Port Glasgow to face old acquaintances Port Glasgow OBU which resulted in a comfortable 6 - 0 win thanks to a hat-trick from Craig MacEwan, a brace from Paul Carmichael and Donald Campbell getting on the scoresheet.
Eventual Premier Division 2B champions Arkleston Barrhead proved a tougher nut to crack in the third round with the Oban side eventually winning 3-1 with goals from Craig MacEwan (2) and Donald Campbell. The quarter-final brought Saints solitary home tie in this season’s competition with Port Glasgow, also of Premier Division 2B, providing the opposition. Saints won 4-1 with goals from Craig MacEwan, Dene Cassells, Donald Campbell and Fraser MacFarlane.
In a break with tradition, this season’s Jimmy Marshall Trophy semi-finals were not played at neutral venues but rather were subject to a draw which gave Hillington home advantage. The Oban side marched into the final thanks to another hat-trick from Craig MacEwan and an own goal in a 4-1 win.
The only previous meeting between Saints and Friday’s opponents also came in the Jimmy Marshall Trophy in a first round tie at Stepford Football Centre on St Valentine’s Day 2015. The Oban side eventually won 4-1 but were made to fight all the way for the hard-fought win.
Friday’s final at the home of three time Scottish Junior Cup winners Vale of Clyde must be played to a finish on the night with penalty kicks to decide the winners if the sides cannot be separated after 90 minutes.
Referee in charge is Jimmy Litster from Lochgilphead.
Saints manager Alex Craik is looking forward to the game and should have a full squad to choose from. He said: ‘As the premier division team, we are obviously being made favourites to retain the trophy we won last year, but we won’t be taking anything for granted.
‘ We’ve been favourites before in two cup finals and lost both of them so there will be no complacency on our part and Easthall will be given the respect they deserve.’
Goldenhill 2 Oban Saints 3
Last Wednesday evening, Saints travelled to the Donald Dewar Centre, Drumchapel, to take on Goldenhill in a league match and the squad returned home with a hard-fought 3-2 win under their belts.
Scott Maitland opened the scoring on the half hour mark to give Saints a deserved 1- 0 lead at the break.
Damon Gray equalised with a superb strike before Paul Carmichael put the visitors ahead again with a well-taken goal in the 67th minute.
The home side equalised again through Gray, but Paul Carmichael netted the winner with 14 minutes remaining when he turned his marker before curling a great shot past the helpless Goldenhill keeper.
Saints had to play the last 12 minutes with 10 men after Dene Cassells received his second yellow card of the match.
East Kilbride 4 Oban Saints 1
The Oban side played their third game in eight days when they travelled to take on East Kilbride last Saturday.
With several players unavailable, Saints struggled to cope with a slick-moving home side and found themsleves 2- 0 down
early in the game. Willie Gemmel lost possession at the edge of his own box allowing David Hepburn to slot the ball home for the first goal.
The Saints players were claiming for a foul on goalkeeper Thomas McCulloch for the second goal, but the referee waved away the protests and allowed Stuart McMillan’s goal to stand.
Manager Alex Craik changed the formation which brought the visitors back into the game and Craig MacEwan reduced the deficit with a superb curling shot to make the half time score 2-1.
Saints were playing good football in the second half but wayward finishing and poor defending cost them dear with East Kilbride scoring two more goals in the second half to make the final score 4-1 - a game to forget for the visitors.
Reports and photographs: Derek Black. Goldenhill keeper Ross Clark saves from Paul Carmichael, but the Saints’ striker went on to net a double in a 3-2 win for Saints.
The Jimmy Marshall Cup.