Ac­cies re­tain D & K Cup

The Oban Times - - Sport -

OBAN Saints got their prepa­ra­tions for the 2017-18 sea­son un­der way last Satur­day in tra­di­tional style with the 24th play­ing of their an­nual tour­na­ment kindly spon­sored by D&K Laf­ferty Con­trac­tors Ltd. Once again the tour­na­ment at­tracted top qual­ity par­tic­i­pants in the form of reg­u­lars Al­loa Ath­letic, Dundee United and tro­phy hold­ers Hamil­ton Aca­dem­i­cal who, to­gether with hosts Oban Saints and tour­na­ment debu­tants South Lochaber This­tle, en­ter­tained the large crowd of spec­ta­tors to a feast of foot­ball in pleas­ant weather con­di­tions.

Due mainly to their early in­volve­ment in the new style SPFL League Cup Al­loa Ath­letic, Dundee United and Hamil­ton Aca­dem­i­cal were rep­re­sented by their un­der-20s de­vel­op­ment league teams, with Saints get­ting in on the act with the in­clu­sion of young­sters Ken­neth Black, Jay Cooper, Gavin For­grieve and Ruar­idh Horne, who would all go on to ac­quit them­selves well in con­sid­er­ably more ex­pe­ri­enced com­pany.

The- eleventh hour with­drawal of Ber­wick Rangers left event or­gan­iser David Buchanan with a ma­jor headache so Oban Saints ex­tend their grate­ful thanks to Kin­lochleven-based South Lochaber This­tle who stepped in at ex­tremely short no­tice to fill the void.

Dundee United and Hamil­ton Aca­dem­i­cal got pro­ceed­ings un­der way at Moss­field with Ac­cies claim­ing a com­fort­able vic­tory to get their tro­phy de­fence off to the best pos­si­ble start. Af­ter a goal­less first half, Ac­cies made the break­through when United keeper Josh Don­ald­son par­ried a Conor Scul­lion free-kick over his cross­bar for a cor­ner kick. The in-swinger from the Ac­cies left was headed home by player of the tour­na­ment Lewis Fer­gu­son. Fer­gu­son, son of Glasgow Rangers leg­end Derek, ghosted in at the back post and sent a down­ward header through the legs of the help­less Don­ald­son, giv­ing the United keeper no chance from such close range. Lewis Smith com­pleted the scor­ing with an ex­cel­lent run through the in­side right chan­nel, hold­ing off the close at­ten­tions of Scott Reekie to fire a low fin­ish across Don­ald­son and into the bot­tom cor­ner.

The first match at Glen­cruit­ten was con­tested by South Lochaber This­tle and Al­loa Ath­letic and saw the Al­loa young­sters edge out the tour­na­ment’s late stand-ins thanks to the only goal of the game, and Al­loa’s only goal of the day, from Scott Sin­clair.

Saints en­tered the fray at Moss­field against Al­loa Ath- letic. The Oban side started in pos­i­tive fash­ion with Don­ald Camp­bell test­ing Al­loa keeper Christopher Smith with a left­foot shot from 22 yards. Smith pushed Camp­bell’s sting­ing shot over his cross­bar with Paul Carmichael head­ing the re­sult­ing cor­ner wide of tar­get at the back post. The bright start for Saints was re­warded in the third minute af­ter a good move on the left. Craig MacEwan sent Paul Carmichael through the in­side left chan­nel where he was forced to the bye-line by Ivan Ben­gono. The Saints striker got the bet­ter of the Al­loa cen­tral de­fender to cut the ball back to Scott Mait­land who flicked a left-footed fin­ish across the face of goal and in­side Christopher Smith’s left hand post.

Saints con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate and reached half-time well in charge and a goal to the good.

With four min­utes re­main­ing, Craig MacEwan rat­tled the Al­loa cross­bar from a Kerr New­big­ging cross af­ter Don­ald Camp­bell and Fraser MacFarlane had linked up well on the right.

At Glen­cruit­ten, Hamil­ton Aca­dem­i­cal recorded the big­gest win­ning mar­gin of the day against a rusty South Lochaber This­tle side who hadn’t trained since win­ning the West of Scot­land Am­a­teur Foot­ball League Iain Thom­son Memo­rial Tro­phy at the end of last sea­son. Tour­na­ment joint top scorer Lewis Smith bagged a brace to help see off an al­ready tir­ing Lochaber side with three fur­ther goals be­ing added by two of Ac­cies’ six tri­al­lists.

Saints re­mained on Moss­field for their sec­ond match which saw a com­fort­able vic­tory over the tir­ing South Lochaber This­tle. Man­ager Alex Craik made six changes, which in­cluded de­buts for young­sters Ken­neth Black, Gavin For­grieve and Ruar­idh Horne. Saints opened the scor­ing af­ter five min­utes when Don­ald Camp­bell col­lected a pin-point Wil­lie Gem­mell pass on the edge of the This­tle box. Don­ald turned away from his marker and fired a low shot on tar­get which keeper Bradley Cameron got a hand to but couldn’t pre­vent from find­ing the bot­tom cor­ner.

An in-swing­ing Fraser MacFarlane cor­ner from the Saints left dipped ag­o­nis­ingly over the out­stretched foot of Jay Cooper at the back post be­fore the early Saints pres­sure bore fruit once more. Last sea­son’s top scorer and player of the year Craig MacEwan turned in the box and lashed a right-foot shot into the postage stamp cor­ner giv­ing Bradley Cameron no chance.

Saints made it three just be­fore the in­ter­val when Don­ald Camp­bell hooked a left-foot fin­ish into the roof of the net af­ter good build up play on the right from Jay Cooper and Craig MacEwan.

Man­ager Alex Craik shuf­fled the pack once again at half-time re­plac­ing Paul Carmichael, Wil­lie Gem­mell and Craig MacEwan with Matthew Kelly, Fraser MacFarlane and Scott Mait­land. The pace dropped slightly in the sec­ond half with Saints main­tain­ing the up­per hand but fail­ing to add to the scor­ing.

Dundee United put the dis­ap­point­ment of los­ing their open­ing match be­hind them edg­ing out Al­loa Ath­letic at Glen­cruit­ten with Lo­gan Chalmers net­ting the only goal of the match, send­ing him on his way to be­com­ing the tour­na­ment’s joint top scorer.

South Lochaber This­tle, who have joined the Greater Glasgow Pre­mier Am­a­teur Foot­ball League for the com­ing sea­son fol­low­ing the demise of the West of Scot­land Am­a­teur Foot­ball League, com­pleted their gru­elling four con­sec­u­tive match sched­ule at Moss­field against a Dundee United side who were now hit­ting their stride. The Ter­rors com­pletely dom­i­nated the match, tak­ing the lead through a Louis Ap­pere header from a first-half set piece. This­tle had noth­ing left in the tank by this stage and the Tan­nadice Park men ran out com­fort­able win­ners with fur­ther goals added by De­clan Glass and Scott Reekie.

With both sides on max­i­mum points, the Saints ver­sus Hamil­ton Ac­cies en­counter at Glen­cruit­ten was al­ready look­ing like the tour­na­ment de­cider. Un­for­tu­nately for Saints, who have yet to get their pre-sea­son train­ing prop­erly un­der way, the su­pe­rior fit­ness of Hamil­ton’s young pro­fes­sion­als was to prove too hot to han­dle.

A de­flected 15th-minute shot from yet an­other of the Ac­cies tri­al­lists com­pletely de­ceived Gra­ham Dou­glas in the Saints goal with the Saints keeper only able to parry the ball into his own net.

Two min­utes later a swift at­tack on the left turned the Saints de­fence with Ac­cies skip­per Marc Kelly pok­ing home a low Rico Quitongo cross at the near post to dou­ble the ad­van­tage for his side.

Still reel­ing from this quick­fire dou­ble, Saints con­ceded again on the stroke of half-time. Kerr New­big­ging was pe­nalised by ref­eree Pat O’Don­nell for a shirt pull in the box with Marc Kelly stepping up to send Gra­ham Dou­glas the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Saints stead­ied the ship and coped with ev­ery­thing that Ac­cies could throw at them un­til eight min­utes from full time when Lewis Smith found space on the left of the Saints box to turn and drill a low shot into the bot­tom cor­ner past the right hand of Gra­ham Dou­glas. The 4- 0 vic­tory placed Ac­cies firmly in pole po­si­tion need­ing only to avoid a heavy de­feat in their fi­nal fix­ture to re­tain the tro­phy.

Saints fi­nal match against Dundee United was to prove the sec­ond place de­cider. Saints started strongly and were de­nied by United keeper Fraser Cur­rid who made three ex­cel­lent saves in the open­ing min­utes of the match to deny Saints.

Some­what against the run of play United opened the scor­ing af­ter 12 min­utes when Lo­gan Chalmers sent a loop­ing header back across goal which eluded the de­spair­ing dive of Gra­ham Dou­glas and nes­tled in the bot­tom cor­ner.

United dou­bled their ad­van­tage in the 15th minute when Dy­lan Henry turned the ball in at the back post af­ter a good move on the right had opened up the Saints de­fence.

Jay Cooper and Scott Mait­land made way for Paul Carmichael and David McPhee for the sec­ond half which got off to the worst pos­si­ble start when a Keith Mil­lar clear­ance took a wicked de­flec­tion and ended up in the Saints net.

Ken­neth Black, Don­ald Camp­bell and Paul Carmichael com­bined well on the Saints left, set­ting up a shoot­ing chance for Fraser MacFarlane who was foiled by a smart save from Fraser Cur­rid.

Paul Carmichael burst through the mid­dle onto a Don­ald Camp­bell pass in the 29th minute and, with the United de­fence ap­peal­ing in vain for an off­side de­ci­sion, knocked the ball past Fraser Cur­rid only for the United keeper to haul him down. Ref­eree John Stobo pointed to the penalty spot from where Don­ald Camp­bell sent Cur­rid the wrong way to give Saints re­stored hope.

The Saints fight­back was ex­tin­guished five min­utes later when Lo­gan Chalmers curled a de­light­ful left-foot fin­ish into the top cor­ner, leav­ing Gra­ham Dou­glas rooted to the spot.

The agony was com­pleted for the tir­ing Saints when a 36th-minute Lo­gan Chalmers cross from the right was slammed into the net from close range by Gra­ham Taylor.

In the fi­nal match at Moss­field, cup hold­ers Hamil­ton Aca­dem­i­cal, who needed only to avoid a heavy de­feat at the hands of Al­loa Ath­letic to clinch a fourth tour­na­ment suc­cess, cruised over the line with two more tri­al­lists net­ting in a 2- 0 vic­tory.

Tour­na­ment or­gan­iser David Buchanan thanked the vis­it­ing teams for their con­tin­ued sup­port for the tour­na­ment and con­grat­u­lated win­ners Hamil­ton Aca­dem­i­cal and player of the tour­na­ment Lewis Fer­gu­son on their suc­cess. David also thanked the spon­sors, the spec­ta­tors, many of whom had trav­elled con­sid­er­able dis­tances to be there, the Argyll and Bute Coun­cil grounds staff who had pre­pared the two pitches per­fectly, and, fi­nally, the match of­fi­cials Jimmy Lit­ster, Pat O’Don­nell, Jim Pear­son and John Stobo with­out whom the event couldn’t take place. David then called upon Coun­cil­lor Jim Lynch to present the win­ning team with their in­di­vid­ual tro­phies and the win­ning cap­tain Marc Kelly with the D&K Laf­ferty Cup.

Tour­na­ment re­port Derek Black. Pho­tos: Kevin McG­lynn and Derek Black

Hamil­ton Ac­cies re­tained the D & K Cup with some su­perb foot­ball.

The Oban Saints squad pic­tured be­fore the tour­na­ment.

Craig MacEwan turns away af­ter net­ting the sec­ond goal against South Lochaber.

Saints new sign­ing David McPhee heads clear dur­ing the 1- 0 win over Al­loa.

Player of the tour­na­ment was Lewis Fer­gu­son.

Hamil­ton Ac­cies cap­tain Marc Kelly re­ceives the D & K Cup from Coun­cil­lor Jim Lynch.

South Lochaber This­tle’s David Forbes in ac­tion against Dundee United.

An­other debu­tant was 15-year- old Kenny Black.

16-year- old Ruairidh Horne in ac­tion against South Lochaber This­tle.

14-year- old Gavin For­grieve showed up well in his first out­ing with the Saints’ se­nior squad.

Don­ald Camp­bell heads for goal dur­ing the game against Al­loa Ath­letic.

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