Oban Saints bag three vital league points

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Two goals from teenage striker Cammy Hill helped Oban Saints to three vital away points against Rutherglen at a windswept Toryglen Regional Football Centre last Saturday.

As the race for this season’s Scottish Amateur Football League Premier Division title hots up, the win keeps Saints in second place behind leaders St Joseph’s FP and just ahead of Scottish Amateur Cup semi-finalists Alba Thistle.

Work and holiday commitments deprived manager Donald Campbell of the services of co-manager Willie Gemmell, Lewis Cameron, Matt Rippon and Keir MacLean creating space in the match day squad for youngsters Cammy Hill and Aaron McKay and the returning Daniel Croarkin and Jamie Graham.
Saints kicked off defending the Prospecthill Road end playing into the strong icy wind blowing diagonally across the newly-laid 4G surface.

Saints opened the scoring in the 11th minute after a good run on the right by Ruaridh Horne won a corner kick off the back tracking Liam McLaughlin. James Ford took over corner kick duties from the absent Lewis Cameron and picked out the near post run of Craig MacEwan who held off the challenge of Kevin McBride to prod the ball home off his left foot from five yards.

MacEwan doubled his and Saints tally 60 seconds later firing a delicious left foot volley from a Donald Campbell diagonal pass across Ross Yuille and into the bottom corner.

The hosts rallied after this double set-back and were disappointed not to take advantage of a gilt edged opportunity presented to them by the Saints defence. To sharp intakes of breath, a stray pass while trying to play out from the back fell kindly to the feet of Scott Crawford whose first time effort slipped wide of the right hand upright, much to the relief of the Saints contingent on the sidelines.

Eyes on the ball: Scott Maitland, Donald Campbell, Daniel Croarkin and Rutherglen’s James McDougall.

Craig Montgomery found his way into referee Jim Loudon’s note book for pulling back Craig MacEwan in the 35th minute. From the resulting free-kick, Donald Campbell rolled the ball up to the edge of the Rutherglen box for Craig MacEwan who held the ball up well and played in Matthew Kelly. Kelly wriggled his was through but, with only the keeper to beat, lost his footing at the vital moment.

Saints kept probing for openings in the home defence, with another good David Beaton run and cross from the left being cut out by Andy Winter before it could reach Matthew Kelly.

The hosts remained a threat on the counter attack and Graham Douglas was forced to make a brave save at Steven Bell’s feet after a patient 44th minute Saints move had broken down on the edge of the Rutherglen box. Saints began the second half brightly with Matthew Kelly twice making good ground on the left before narrowly failing to pick out Daniel Croarkin in the middle.

James Ford’s troublesome right ankle forced him off after 53 minutes, paving the way for youngster Cammy Hill to make an instant impact on proceedings.

With his first touch, Hill controlled a diagonal pass from Craig MacEwan, glided into the Rutherglen box and calmly lifted the ball over the advancing Ross Yuille for his first senior Saints goal.

Saints suffered another injury blow when Steven MacLeod picked up a calf strain giving Dougal Graham a run-out in central defence for the final third of the match.

David Beaton’s running in the wide areas was replaced in the 68th minute with the fresh legs of Fraser MacFarlane.

Young striker Cammy Hill doubled his tally in the 73rd minute with another cool finish from a Craig MacEwan assist. After good work on the right from Fraser MacFarlane and Ruaridh Horne, Craig MacEwan again picked out Hill in the box who rounded Ross Yuille and clipped the ball left footed into the unguarded net.

Saints made another instant impact substitution before the restart replacing Daniel Croarkin with another of the club’s promising youngsters Aaron McKay. The teenager took up position wide on the right and within 60 seconds of coming on, fired a dangerous low ball across the face of goal which was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Craig Montgomery for Saints fifth goal.

McKay’s eventful introduction to the match continued when he was harshly penalised for a 77th minute challenge on the edge of his own box. Scott Crawford demonstrated his prowess with the dead ball lifting the ball over the Saints wall, beating Graham Douglas to his right hand side for a consolation goal which was the least Rutherglen deserved for their afternoon’s work.

Cammy Hill is congratulated by his teammates after netting the first of his two goals against Rutherglen on Saturday.
Match report and photos: Derek Black.

Overlapping fullback Ruaridh Horne continued to enjoy a productive spell on the right, latching onto a Craig MacEwan lay off and sending a cutback to Aaron McKay whose first time effort from 14 yards flew just wide of Ross Yuille’s right hand post.

Craig MacEwan was denied a hat-trick when, after turning away from Gary Hughes, his left foot shot from 15 yards was partially blocked by a vital interception from Craig Montgomery.

Referee Loudon, who had a good game, brought the match to an end after three added minutes, but not before Rutherglen striker Steven Bell blazed a terrific opportunity wide and keeper Yuille pulled off a good save to deny Cammy Hill a hat-trick with the last attempt of the match.

This Saturday, Saints welcome old foes Cambria to Glencruitten in the quarter finals of the West of Scotland Amateur Cup. Central Scottish Amateur Football League referee Stephen Payne takes charge of proceedings which kick off at 1.30pm.