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South Lochaber Thistle began their Spring Cup campaign with a rousing midweek victory over frequent opponents Oban Saints 2s.
Travelling to Argyll, the Kinlochleven outfit took the lead through seasoned campaigner and founder member David Forbes.
A headed clearance dropped to the club Treasurer and Vice Captain on the edge of the box where the midfielder unleashed a stunning volley reminiscent of Zinedine Zidane’s legendary Champions’ League final bullet leaving Murdo MacKenzie with too much to do in the Saints’ goal.
Both teams then proceeded to fashion chances but could not alter the scoreline. David Wilson, the young SLT keeper was in particularly inspired form, belying his youth to deny at least two seemingly certain goals.
Manager Alan Gray had been forced into an appearance and the Jags very own Methuselah obviously listened closely to the wise council of Assistant Manager Albie Robertson at half time.
Gray drove forward as the second half started before laying the ball into the midfield. Eventually, talisman Martin Munro lofted a ball into the box, met by the lolloping run of Andrew MacLean for an inevitable header. The Jags 2-0 to the good.
Soon after, the skipper reminded people of his prowess as finisher as he fired Thistle’s third into the net from edge of box.
The visitors’ fourth goal was the pick of the second half flurry. Left back John Ferguson had pushed forward into an unaccustomed attacking role and, deciding that caution could safely be thrown to the wind, curled a spectacular effort from edge of box into the top right hand corner.
A stunning finish in both the sense that no one saw it coming and that it was Ferguson’s maiden goal for the club in only his 3000th appearance.
Victory looked assured for SLT but this youthful Saints team were not to be downheartened. Alex Craik headed home a Gavin Forgrieve corner to move them to 4-1 before Ferguson turned from hero to villain.
His poor challenge was adjudged to be a trip in the box by referee Martin Rae and Fraser MacFarlane made no mistake to bury the spot kick.
South Lochaber then put the tie out of sight. The team’s fifth goal seeing good teamwork and interlinking before the ball was swept home by MacLean for his brace.
Keir Maclean nabbed a third for Oban to ignite a glimmer of hope for the hosts. He latched onto a Forgrieve through ball and lobbed Wilson from some considerable distance but this late flurry was not enough to affect the final 3-5 result.
Manager Alan Gray said, “It was great to get a side out on the park again after what feels like forever.
‘We played really well in patches and the result sets us up well for progressing in the Spring Cup. However, the real win is to get boys out on the pitch and working these lockdowns out of our system.’
Gray thanked Oban for hosting the match and gave a special mention to SLT players Lewis Moran and David Wilson.
‘Two very fine young players with bright futures ahead of them who look set to herald the next generation of SLT coming through which is brilliant for local football and the local community,’ he added.