Big effort from Brown but Saints edge win

Youngsters Aaron McKay and Lewis Moran in close contact at a Saints corner along with SLT star keeper Andrew Brown. Photograph: Derek Black.

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Oban Saints 1 South Lochaber Thistle 0

Oban Saints emerged victorious in this friendly encounter at Oban Community Sports Field, despite a positive performance from a youthful South Lochaber Thistle side.

Held under Covid-safe conditions, carefully handled by referee Martin Rae, both teams were looking to play exciting attacking football.

It was the home side which made the best start to the game. Jags’ keeper Andrew Brown made the first of a string of fine saves in a man-of-the-match performance.

Early on, Brown first had to power through a pile of bodies from an Oban freekick and then be alert again to deny Matt Kelly, who had got in behind the Thistle defence.

An injury to an Oban player saw Myles McAuley come on in the home side’s midfield. It was the substitute who made the breakthrough with what proved to be the winning goal.

A shot from Gavin Forgrieve forced Brown into a save and the concession of a corner. His ball went to the penalty spot and McAuley powered his header into the roof of the net to open and – as it turned out – conclude the scoring.

Both sides played tight, attacking football for the rest of the game. Brown was called upon again and made several fine stops.

Saints pressed for the second goal as the second half was well underway but the Kinlochleven outfit had chances of their own.

Impish skipper Martin Munro scampered away from the defence and was only denied by some fine defending from Steven MacLeod and soon after by Martin Bonar, who cleared off the line.

Brown had several more stops to his name – one, a flying palm over the bar, out of the  top draw.

However, the one goal deficit remained and that was how the match ended.

South Lochaber Thistle manager Alan Gray said: ‘This was another fine performance from the lads and, on a different day, we could have got a better result.

‘Oban had some chances and Andrew Brown had to be in outstanding form, but we looked threatening ourselves on a number of occasions.

‘Thanks to Willie Gemmell and the Oban lads for an excellent game, played in a good competitive spirit.’