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Last Saturday Oban Saints and Motherwell Thistle shunned the traditional Scottish Amateur Football League ‘September weekend’ fixture holiday to go head-to-head in a Premier Division clash.
Both sides had made 100 per cent starts to the season so something had to give in a fixture where Thistle have taken maximum points on their two previous visits, but it wasn’t to be this time as Saints turned in a top-level performance to win 3-0.
The home side started strongly and took the game to Thistle with Lewis Cameron testing the keeper on two occasions but failed to get any power into his shots.
It was no surprise when Saints took the lead on the 15-minute mark when Donald Campbell got on the end of a Fraser MacFarlane corner to flick the ball into the net.
The home side were playing excellent football, playing the ball out from the back.
Scott Maitland and James Ford were combing well on the left with Ford being a thorn in the flesh of the Thistle defence all afternoon.
Despite having the majority of possession, the visitors looked dangerous on the break and the Saints defence, well marshalled by skipper Dene Cassells, had to be on their toes.
The D & K Lafferty-sponsored home side increased their lead in the 52nd minute when Daniel Croarkin got on the end of a Willie Gemmell free kick to steer the ball past Jags keeper Nathan Wharton.
Saints replaced Fraser MacFarlane, Willie Gemmell and Daniel Croarkin with Craig MacEwan and Kerr Newbigging and it was MacEwan who was instrumental in setting up the third goal when he combined with Donald Campbell on the left before the co-manager slammed the ball past a helpless keeper to make the score 3-0. To their credit Thistle never gave up and it took a great sliding tackle from Ruaridh Horne to deny Declan Wedlock a clear run in on goal.
The Oban side then replaced both full backs with the Graham brothers Jamie and Dougal taking over from Ruaridh Horne and the impressive Scott Maitland.
Saints thought they had scored another goal but the Thistle keeper made a great diving save to turn a Craig MacEwan net-bound effort round the post for a corner kick. The Oban side played out time to record a well-deserved 3-0 win and keep them top of the league with a 100 per cent record with five wins from five.
The game was well handled by referee Peter Laing from Lochgilphead.
Saints have no match this weekend but return to action the following Saturday with a tough home game against St Johns from Perth in the second round of the Scottish Amateur Cup.
The game will be played at Glencruitten with a 2pm kick-off. Referee in charge is Raymond Patterson.