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South Lochaber Thistle 0
Oban Saints 4
After Storm Aiden had wiped out the previous Saturday’s attempt to play this friendly fixture Oban Saints and South Lochaber Thistle were finally able to get the valuable game time desired under their respective belts at Kinlochleven High School last Saturday afternoon.
Weather conditions were good however the low autumn sun failed to rise high enough above the Mamore hills to reach the 3G surface located on the Kinlochmore side of the village with the West Highland Way passing just a few yards away.
Referee Martin Rae ensured strict matchday protocols, including no changing facilities or supporters, were followed by both sides where a brace from captain for the day Craig MacEwan together with strikes from Lewis Cameron and Aaron McKay gave Saints a comfortable victory over their Greater Glasgow Premier League Division One hosts.
Despite holding the upper hand in the early exchanges Saints were unable to break through the Thistle defence well marshalled by Kieran Lopez and test keeper Andrew Brown.
The Jags keeper was finally tested after 15 minutes when Scott Johnston sent Craig MacEwan in behind the home defence from where, from the left of the box, he turned onto his right foot and shot straight into the keeper’s midriff.
Further Andrew Brown saves followed from Lewis Cameron, Craig MacEwan and Gavin Forgrieve efforts before Cameron found the side netting from a tight angle after good work on the left by MacEwan and Cammy Hill.
The deadlock was broken in the 32nd minute immediately following another Andrew Brown save.
The Jags keeper comfortably held a Gavin Forgrieve shot from 18 yards after Forgrieve and Aaron McKay had combined to good effect through the middle.
In a massive slice of bad fortune for Brown his attempted clearance hit Lewis Cameron with the ball falling kindly for Craig MacEwan, who slotted the ball low to Brown’s right to open the scoring.
Just two second half minutes had elapsed when Lewis Cameron and Craig MacEwan combined to find the supporting run of Gavin Forgrieve only for Andrew Brown to save bravely at the young midfielder’s feet.
It was Brown’s right boot to the rescue in the 64th minute stopping another Lewis Cameron free-kick this time after Scott Johnston had been felled 20 yards out.
The pressure on the home goal eventually told in the 65th minute when Craig MacEwan made a near-post run to connect perfectly with Lewis Cameron’s corner kick from the right to make the score 2-0.
The home side looked comfortable on the ball and played some good football at times, but were finding it difficult against a hard-working Saints’ outfit.
Saints Gaffer Willie Gemmell had a hand in the third goal racing back from the edge of the Jags box to snuff out a counter attack and win a throw-in on the halfway line.
Gemmell’s quickly taken throw up the left to Lewis Cameron saw the Scottish Amateur Internationalist spin away from his marker and lift a cheeky lob over the advancing Andrew Brown and into the unguarded net.
Saints’ young striker Aaron McKay rattled the crossbar with a 28-yard shot in the 70th minute.
The visitors struck the woodwork again 110 minutes later when Craig MacEwan found the outside of Andrew Brown’s left hand post from inside the D after another swashbuckling run from James Ford.
The home side brought on club captain Martin Munro for the closing stages easing the skipper back into action following his recent hamstring injury.
The introduction of Munro increased the home side’s attacking threat but the Saints back three remained in control to secure a highly prized clean sheet.
Saints turned defence quickly into attack to bag the fourth and final goal with six minutes remaining. Gavin Forgrieve won possession on the edge of the Saints box and played the ball up to Lewis Cameron in the centre circle.
Cameron picked out Craig MacEwan’s galloping run on the left which took him all the way to the Jags bye-line. Support for the skipper was on hand from young Aaron McKay who gleefully knocked home MacEwan’s cutback from close range.
Referee Martin Rae, who handled the good natured encounter well brought proceedings to an end with both sides happy to get another 90 minutes in the tank while their respective leagues remain unable to schedule competitive fixtures.
(Match Report: Derek Black – Photographs: Abrightside Photography)