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Scottish Amateur Football Association Challenge Cup Competition
Oban Saints 5 – Port Glasgow 2
Oban Saints booked their place in the Scottish Amateur Cup third round draw with a 5 – 2 victory over Port Glasgow at a rain-soaked Glencruitten last Saturday.
Goals from Gavin Forgrieve, Craig MacEwan and Ross Maitland added to a brace from Fraser MacFarlane sealed the win against the Scottish Amateur Football League Premier Division outfit which, for long spells, was not nearly as comfortable as the final scoreline would suggest.
The dogged visitors twice levelled the scoring before Saints eventually pulled away much to the delight of the hardy home support who had braved the heavy rain to cheer on their favourites.
Injuries and work commitments were once again a key factor in manager Willie Gemmell’s team selection with the gaffer himself, for once, unable to juggle his shift patterns to make the squad. Coaches Ross Maitland and Peter MacCallum, assisted by secretary David Buchanan, took charge and were boosted by the return of Ruaridh Horne which is hopefully an indication Saints’ injury woes are beginning to ease.
Prior to kick-off, referee Christopher Trainer lead both camps in a period of silence in memory of Scottish Amateur Football League registration secretary Stewart Cameron who sadly died the previous weekend.
Saints lined up with Graham Douglas in goal behind a back four of Steven MacLeod, Dene Cassells, Alex Craik and Cammy Hill. Donald Campbell and Cammy Clark anchored the midfield, with Fraser MacFarlane, Gavin Forgrieve and Ross Maitland behind captain Craig MacEwan. On the bench were Jack Wright and returning injury victim Ruaridh Horne. Used substitutes – Ruaridh Horne and Jack Wright.
Saints kicked off attacking the railway line end where Donald Campbell picked out Gavin Forgrieve for a ninth minute flicked effort which beat the advancing Port Glasgow keeper but drifted agonisingly wide of target.
Campbell followed this up 60 seconds later with an attempt himself from 24 yards which flew just wide of the postage stamp corner.
Referee Trainer issued the first of a clutch of yellow cards in the 12th minute cautioning Port Glasgow striker David McClure for dissent after the award of free-kick to Saints. Donald Campbell’s delivery from the right picked out Craig MacEwan whose glancing header from 12 yards was the latest attempt not to trouble Port Glasgow keeper Stephen Kangley.
Slack passing from Saints gifted two chances to the visitors which striker David McClure firstly steered wide of Graham Douglas’ left hand post before Ciaran Murray struck the base of the same upright with the Saints number one rooted to the spot. Saints countered immediately on the left through Cammy Hill and Ross Maitland where Craig MacEwan eventually forced a corner kick. Ross Maitland’s delivery from the corner flag picked out Dene Cassells at the front post, but the big central defender’s header flew over the crossbar.
At the other end, Paul Payne found space in the Saints box to meet Bradley Anderson’s free-kick from the level with the 18-yard line on the right. Fortunately for Saints the Port Glasgow defender’s header was in keeping with all that had preceded it and failed to trouble Graham Douglas.
The Saints opener had a slice of good fortune about it, but was nonetheless a composed finish from Fraser MacFarlane. Stephen Kangley looked favourite to cut out Donald Campbell’s raking 22nd minute cross field pass intended for MacFarlane but the Port Glasgow keeper slipped on the greasy Glencruitten turf leaving him stranded 22 yards from his goal-line. MacFarlane capitalised fully on his good fortune, immediately getting the ball under control and steering it unerringly into the unguarded net.
Two minutes later Saints survived another let-off when Paul Millar’s corner kick from the right flew through the six-yard box with no takers. Breaking immediately to the other end, it was the home side’s turn to hit the woodwork when Cammy Hill cut in from the left and struck the base of Stephen Kangley’s right hand post.
There was a loud appeal for a penalty kick when Ross Maitland’s 26th minute free-kick was deflected wide by an outstretched arm in the Port Glasgow defensive wall after Craig MacEwan had been upended 22 yards from goal.
Referee Trainer was content just to award a corner kick on the right from where Cammy Hill climbed highest to head Maitland’s delivery down but into the legs of James O’Shea on the Port Glasgow goal-line.
The slippery conditions may have played a part in Anthony Clarke’s late slide into midfield counterpart Cammy Clark on the half-hour mark, but Mr Trainer still considered it worthy of yellow card.
Saints were left appealing in vain for an offside decision that didn’t come when Bradley Anderson raced onto a David McClure pass to slot past Graham Douglas for a 32 minute equaliser.
It took Saints just two minutes to regain the lead when Gavin Forgrieve’s well timed run was picked out by Ross Maitland with the young midfielder slotting a good finish under the advancing Port Glasgow keeper.
Dene Cassells pushed forward in support of a 40th minute attack and was inches away from connecting with a Fraser MacFarlane cross from the right. Gavin Forgrieve retrieved the ball and curled a shot from the corner of the 18-yard box onto the top of the Port crossbar.
Graham Douglas picked up a needless yellow card for dissent at the award of a 45th minute free-kick but redeemed himself by getting down well to his left to push away Bradley Anderson’s effort from the left edge of the 18-yard box.
The second half when just 90 seconds old when the visitors levelled for the second time. John McGachy pounced on a stray pass midway inside the Saints’ half and raced away on the left. McGachy’s tempting ball along the six-yard line was turned in by Paul Millar on the stretch who got there just ahead of Cammy Hill.
Saints responded well and Paul Payne made a vital interception to rob Craig MacEwan as he was about to pull the trigger on the corner of the six-yard box. Donald Campbell kept the pressure on the Port Glasgow defence with a 50th minute free-kick which was headed down into the path of Ross Maitland who volleyed back across the face of goal but wide of Stephen Kangley’s left hand post.
Graham Douglas produced a double save to deny firstly David McClure pushing out the striker’s shot before safely gathering Anthony Clarke’s dipping effort on the rebound.
A rampaging run up the left in the 54th minute took Cammy Hill all the way into the Port Glasgow box with the big left fullback retaining composure to pick out the supporting run of Fraser MacFarlane who completed his brace with aplomb.
Saints’ first change of the afternoon saw the introduction of Ruaridh Horne for his first appearance of the season at the expense of Cammy Clark.
Cammy Hill joined the rising card count for pulling back Paul Millar in the 62nd minute with Dene Cassells making a good interception from the resulting free-kick to turn behind for a corner kick. Ciaran Murray’s delivery from the left sparked a scramble in the Saints’ box with Gavin Forgrieve’s partial clearance arriving back at the feet of Murray who curled a shot high over the crossbar.
Steven MacLeod’s rampaging 65th minute run up the right wing won a throw-in level with the Port Glasgow 18-yard line. MacLeod took the throw quickly, finding Fraser MacFarlane who turned well in the box but fired his shot into the side netting. Stephen Kangley took route one from the goal kick finding David McClure who took the ball down well and tried to catch out Graham Douglas but sent his effort from distance over the Saints’ crossbar.
Cammy Hill did well again on the left to force a 72nd minute corner kick which Ross Maitland sent into the six-yard box. Stephen Kangley’s attempted punched clearance landed kindly at the feet of Craig MacEwan who prodded the ball goalward and through the legs of James O’Shea on the goal-line.
Steven MacLeod became the latest entry in referee Trainer’s notebook for a foul on second half substitute Brandon McCabe. MacLeod, however, fared better than Bradley Anderson who received his marching orders for an unwelcomed remark to the Stewarton based whistler. Graham Douglas got down smartly to his left to push McCabe’s free-kick behind for a corner kick with Alex Craik heading out McCabe’s delivery and sparking a Saints’ counter-attack. Cammy Hill again provided the threat on the left and found Gavin Forgrieve in support who steered his shot wide of Stephen Kangley’s right hand post.
Kyle McGuigan’s rugby tackle on Cammy Hill earned him a caution which proved to be his last contribution to the proceedings with David Strachan joining the action as his 78th minute replacement. Leaving the action for Saints was Dene Cassells with what appeared to be a groin strain giving Jack Wright his competitive debut. Ross Maitland’s free-kick picked out Donald Campbell whose on target shot from the edge of the box was deflected for a corner kick.
Gavin Forgrieve joined the list of miscreants in referee Trainer’s notebook for a late challenge on Paul Payne inside the centre circle in the 82nd minute.
Substitute Jack Wright passed up the opportunity to test Stephen Kangley in the 87th minute instead failing to tee-up Fraser MacFarlane with an over hit pass.
Another driving run from Cammy Hill won a corner kick on the left which he took quickly himself to Ross Maitland who in turn picked out skipper Craig MacEwan for a low shot wide of Stephen Kangley’s right hand post.
Rather than marking his debut with a goal, Jack Wright found a less auspicious way by clattering late into substitute Scott Payne in the Port Glasgow box and earning the final yellow card of the afternoon.
As the clock ticked into the last of the four minutes added by Mr Trainer, Ross Maitland burst through the inside right channel onto a Craig MacEwan lay off. The Saints evergreen rounded Stephen Kangley and held off the challenge of James O’Shea before lifting the ball into the unguarded net to round off the scoring.
Referee Trainer sounded the final whistle immediately after the re-start bringing to an end a keenly contested encounter which kept the home crowd well entertained throughout.
This Saturday, Ocotber 9, Saints are back on league duty when they welcome much fancied Wishaw High School Former Pupils to Glencruitten in the Central Scottish Amateur Football League Premier Division.