Happy haircut as Lewis bags a superb hat-trick
A hat-trick from leading goalscorer Lewis Cameron, sporting a new haircut, saw Oban Saints safely through to the fourth round of the Scottish Amateur Cup at a windswept Forfar Community Campus last Saturday afternoon. Despite once again not firing on all cylinders Saints had more than enough in their armoury to see off the challenge of their Midlands Amateur Football Association Premier Division opponents.
Management duo Donald Campbell and Willie Gemmell had to contend with injuries to Ruaridh Horne, and Fraser MacFarlane, plus Craig MacEwan was a late withdrawal due to work commitments but they were able to bring Matthew Kelly and Shaun MacIver back into the squad after long lay-offs. Also making the long journey to Forfar, although not yet fit enough to play a part, was long-term injury victim Myles MacAulay.
Coach Jamie Graham resumed his place at rightback alongside Steven MacLeod, captain Dene Cassells and Scott Maitland. Kerr Newbigging and Daniel Croarkin continued their partnership in the middle of the park, while ahead of them, Lewis Cameron was flanked by James Ford and David Beaton. Donald Campbell led the line, while Graham Douglas retained the number one jersey. Making up a strong substitutes bench were Willie Gemmell, Dougal Graham, Matthew Kelly and Shaun MacIver.
Thankfully the heavy rain which had followed Saints for most of the long journey from the West Coast disappeared by the time the travelling party had reached Angus. However there was still a strong wind to contend with which would make life difficult for both sets of players.
Saints had the benefit of the wind in the first half and had an early opportunity to test Fraser Reid in the Lowson goal when the big keeper sclaffed a clearance straight to Kerr Newbigging on the edge of the centre circle. Newbigging threaded the ball through to Lewis Cameron whose snatched low shot was easily gathered by the grateful Reid.
Fraser Reid produced the first of a number of good saves in the 10th minute to deny David Beaton. Scott Maitland won a throw-in on the left which Donald Campbell took down and laid off to Beaton on the six-yard line. Reid stood up well to block Beaton’s left foot effort and was happy to see Jamie Graham blaze the rebound over the crossbar from 12 yards.
A perfectly weighted 14th minute pass from Donald Campbell sent David Beaton racing through the inside left channel only for Lowson captain Cameron Howie to halt Beaton’s run with an excellent sliding interception at the expense of a corner kick.
Beaton’s strong run through the middle six minutes later earned Saints a free-kick in a dangerous area when Dean Fletcher’s challenge from behind sent the wee man crashing to the ground.
Lewis Cameron staked his claim to Willie Gemmell’s free-kick expert throne with a viciously dipping effort from 22 yards which left the Lowson keeper clawing at thin air and gave Saints a deserved lead.
The strong wind gave the Saints defence problems in the 23rd minute causing Dene Cassells to misjudge a header in the centre circle, with Dean Fletcher knocking the loose ball in behind Jamie Graham on the Saints right. Graham recovered well to track the run of Liam Hely and concede a corner kick on the left. Dean Fletcher was left unmarked on the six yard line fortunately, however, his header from Scott Fullerton’s delivery lacked the power to beat Graham Douglas who gathered at his near post.
Saints played their way out from the back with Scott Maitland and Donald Campbell combining to win a corner kick on the left. Kerr Newbigging was beaten to Lewis Cameron’s in-swinger by Mark Godfrey who headed the ball back in the direction it had come from. Cameron took the ball down inside the box and fired in a right foot shot from 14 yards which Fraser Reid saved well at his near post.
Lewis Cameron had another opportunity to put his new found dead-ball prowess to good use in the 31st minute, however his effort from 22 yards and left of centre failed to find it’s intended destination of the postage stamp corner and sailed high and wide of target.
Scott Maitland continued to push forward on the left and won a corner kick in the 34th minute. Lewis Cameron’s delivery once again caused problems and James Ford was sent sprawling as he attempted to get the bouncing ball under control. There was a loud Saints appeal for a penalty kick, however referee Derek Folganan from Aberdeen, who handled proceedings well, was unmoved and signalled play-on. Saints co-manager Willie Gemmell had too much to say on the matter and was spoken to by Mr Folganan who made it perfectly clear he wasn’t
prepared to tolerate his continued protests.
Kerr Newbigging, who turned in another impressive midfield performance, won the ball well in the centre circle and sent Jamie Graham off on a run up the right wing. Graham’s deep cross on the run looked set to pick out Donald Campbell until Fraser Reid came off his line well to make a clean catch.
Reid was in action again in the 42nd minute dropping smartly to his left to gather a low shot from Lewis Cameron after a neat turn on the 18 yard line.
Mr Folganan issued his first caution of the afternoon on the stroke of half-time flashing his yellow card in the direction of Lowson’s Rory Crighton for dissent.
Saints kicked off the second half playing into the wind and made a good start keeping the home side pinned back in their own half. Cameron Howie made another excellent interception to thwart David Beaton racing through on the end of a Donald Campbell pass as the Lowson captain continued to inspire those around him.
The hosts equalised from deep inside their own half from a position of seemingly no danger. Left full back Mark Godfrey launched a wind assisted throw-in one yard from the touchline almost to the halfway line. Liam Hely hooked a diagonal ball over the head of Scott Maitland, who slipped, allowing Rory Crighton to race in behind and fire an unstoppable shot across Graham Douglas and into the corner of the net.
With the wind at their backs this should have been the cue for the home side to seize the initiative, however, it was Saints who showed the greater resolve and kicked on to record their 10th successive victory of what has been a satisfying start to the season.
Despite enjoying the lion’s share of second half possession Saints initially failed to threaten the Lowson goal with James Ford and Daniel Croarkin passing up the best of the opportunities. Croarkin made way for Matthew Kelly in the 62nd minute who was making his first appearance since picking up an injury in the league win at Cowan Park, Barrhead ten weeks previously.
Lowson also made changes withdrawing wide men Liam Hely and Rory Crighton replacing them with Straun Doherty and Mark McIntosh.
A rash 66th minute challenge by Jamie Graham on Doherty earned the Saints fullback the games second yellow card with Graham Douglas commanding his area well to claim the resulting in-swinging free-kick from Scott Fullerton.
Saints regained the lead in the 71st minute with Scott Maitland providing the assist to make up for his earlier indiscretion for the Lowson equaliser. After making an excellent driving run up the left, Maitland hit the touchline and cutback perfectly for Lewis Cameron arriving at the near post to knock home from four yards.
Straight from the restart Saints stormed forward on the left once again and Donald Campbell was unfortunate to see a delicate chip from the corner of the 18-yard box clip the outside of Fraser Reid’s left hand post and bounce behind for a goal kick.
Saints had their tails up now and put some daylight between themselves and their hosts in the 75th minute. James Ford and Matthew Kelly combined well to teeup Lewis Cameron for a shot from the left of the Lowson penalty area which flew across Fraser Reid and into the bottom corner to seal a first hat-trick of the season for Saints leading goalscorer.
Another of Saints long term injury victims, Shaun Maciver, made his first appearance of the season coming on as a 78th minute replacement for David Beaton.
The hosts made two further changes giving run outs to Ross Sievwright and Mark McDonald, and rallied briefly forcing a succession of corners which the Saints back line, with Steven MacLeod and captain Dene Cassells at its heart, dealt with comfortably.
As the clock ticked down Fraser Reid made a fingertip save diving to his left to deny Lewis Cameron a fourth goal after good build up play involving Donald Campbell, Matthew Kelly and Shaun MacIver.
Saints kept pressing forward and it was Reid to the rescue again in the 88th minute, acrobatically tipping a fierce Kerr Newbigging strike from a Matthew Kelly lay-off over his crossbar.
Mr Folganan allowed a generous amount of stoppage time before bringing proceedings to a close confirming a deserved Saints win over a good Lowson United side.
The victory sees Saints through to the fourth round the draw for which will take place this Wednesday morning.
Saints have no fixture this weekend and will resume on November 17 with a West of Scotland Cup third round visit to Kilsyth of the Caledonian League.
Determination written all over the face of Kerr Newbigging as he wins this aerial challenge with Kieran Crichton.
Celebrations after Lewis Cameron’s third goal.
Lowson goalkeeper Fraser Reid saves from Lewis Cameron.
Cameron Howie makes a a good block on David Beaton’s attempted cross.
Lewis Cameron, No 10, knocks home Scott Maitland’s cut back to put Saints 2-1 in front. Match report and photos: Derek Black