Hard-fought win for Saints in pre-sea­son friendly

The Oban Times - - Sport -

Oban Saints Lochgilp­head Red Star Pre- sea­son fiendly

OBAN Saints and close neigh­bours Lochgilp­head Red Star warmed up for the Ar­gyll and Bute Cup tour­na­ment with a keenly con­tested friendly at Glen­cruit­ten last Wed­nes­day evening.

De­spite not fir­ing on all cylin­ders, Saints raced into an early lead notch­ing three goals in­side the open­ing 30 min­utes.

A lofted 10th minute Wil­lie Gem­mell free-kick from the Saints picked out the back post run of Paul Carmichael who from four yards headed back across Ben Pol­lock in the Red Star goal and into the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

Two min­utes later a smart turn in the box gave last sea­son’s top scorer Craig MacEwan the space to crash a left foot shot into the roof of the net and dou­ble the home side’s ad­van­tage.

Saints also came close through Paul Carmichael, Gem­mell, Fraser MacFar­lane and Dean Smith be­fore MacEwan dou­bled his tally for the evening.

A Matthew Kelly free-kick from the Saints right on the half hour mark was flicked on by Carmichael to MacEwan on the left of the box who ri­fled a sim­i­lar fin­ish to his ear­lier strike past keeper Pol­lock to make the half time score 3- 0.

Red Star started the sec­ond half the more pos­i­tive of the two and within five min­utes of the re-start hauled them­selves back into con­tention with a smart Ciaran Mc­Phie fin­ish af­ter good work on the right by Rab Docherty.

The re­vi­talised vis­i­tors ap­peared a far bet­ter propo­si­tion now, with Saints strug­gling to shake off the lethargy which had set in towards the end of the first half.

In the 55th minute Marc Maccal­lum and Carmichael made way for Craig Camp­bell, who was mak­ing a wel­come re­turn af­ter a lengthy spell on the side­lines, and young Keir Ma­cLean mak­ing his de­but for the se­nior Saints team.

Saints Gaf­fer Alex Craik handed de­buts to Cameron Kerr, an­other of Saints promis­ing young­sters, and for­mer Saints youth player David Smith who re­turns to club to make a long over­due se­nior de­but. Mak­ing way for the new ar­rivals were Wil­lie Gem­mell and Dean Smith.

The hosts were still ad­just­ing to the changes when Red Star carved out an­other op­por­tu­nity on the left which this time they con­verted, with Mc­Phie slid­ing in at the near post to knock the ball past Gra­ham Douglas.

The prospect of los­ing a three-goal lead to their clos­est neigh­bours fi­nally gen­er­ated a pos­i­tive re­sponse from Saints who struck again in the 75th minute.

Scott Mait­land’s tenac­ity won back pos­ses­sion deep in­side the Red Star half and wide on the right. Mait­land linked up well with MacEwan and Keir Ma­cLean, and swung in a cross towards the back post. The un­marked Fraser MacFar­lane headed back across the face of goal for Ma­cLean to nod home a de­but goal from one yard out to make the fi­nal score 4-2 for the Oban side.

It was a long and tir­ing day for the play­ers as Jamie Gra­ham, Scott Mait­land and Matty Kelly have a wee snooze be­tween games.

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