Saints’ second string spring forward in cup

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Greater Glasgow Premier Amateur Football League

Spring Cup Section 4

Oban Saints 1 – 0 Dynamo East Kilbride

A free week for Oban Saints left the club’s second string, Oban Saints GG, taking centre stage at Oban High School last Saturday afternoon.

The Greater Glasgow Premier Amateur Football League Spring Cup continued to be a welcome distraction from a difficult league campaign for manager Donald Black and his charges with a solitary Craig Livingstone strike securing a second successive home win against higher league opposition.

Ruaridh Munro, Matthew Pollock and Ollie Sharp were all unavailable, so first team players Matty Kelly, Thomas McCrindle and Fraser MacFarlane were drafted in.

Saints GG lined-up with Murdo Mackenzie in goal behind a back four of Craig Livingstone, Ryan Barclay, Kenneth Black and Lewis Campbell. Across the four man midfield were Pearce Mcbeth, captain Martin Bonar, Matty Kelly and Robert Johnstone. Up front were Stuart Twort and Lewis Buchanan. The substitutes bench consisted of Thomas McCrindle, Alan Buchanan, Fraser MacFarlane and Andrew Ritchie.

Attacking the school end in the first half, Saints made a bright start and Dynamo keeper Joe Gaughan was called into action inside the first minute to push a Lewis Buchanan shot behind after good work from Matty Kelly.

Kelly was involved again four minutes later, delivering a free-kick from the right which skipper Martin Bonar headed wide of  Gaughan’s right hand post.

The Saints defence was opened up after eight minutes when William Hastings was sent through the inside left channel to fire a low shot across Murdo MacKenzie and wide of the far post.

There was another let-off for the home side in the 13th minute when they failed to deal with a throw-in from the right. Reece Clark was allowed to nip in but sent his effort from six yards just wide of Murdo MacKenzie’s left hand post.

Pearce McBeth tried his luck with a 20-yard left foot volley but couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball and sent his effort well wide of target.

William Hastings was off target again in the 22nd minute with a near post header from a Reece Clark left wing cross as the visitors continued to stretch the home defence.

Saints responded with a Stewart Twort overhead kick from a Craig Livingstone throw-in which looped into the arms of Joe Gaughan.

Matty Kelly’s through ball sent Robert Johnstone racing through on the right and into the Dynamo box in the 34th minute where Joe Gaughan was quickly off his line to make a brave interception at the feet of the Saints’ wide man.

Murdo MacKenzie was called into action at the other end getting down well to his right to hold a Jordan Boland shot.

Martin Bonar and Matty Kelly combined well in the 36th minute sending Craig Livingstone wide on the right for a cross to the far post but it was just too deep for intended target Stewart Twort.

Twort’s attempt to reach the cross from Livingstone came at the expense of a recurrence of the hamstring injury which has plagued him in recent weeks with his place being taken by Thomas McCrindle.

The home side opened the scoring seven minutes into the second half with their best attacking move of the match. From deep in their own half, Saints worked the ball patiently up the left with Robert Johnstone eventually picking out the back post run of Craig Livingstone who steered the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

Martin Bonar had an excellent opportunity to double the lead in the 54th minute when he found himself through on goal, only to be foiled by an unorthodox save from the feet of Joe Gaughan.

The skipper was on the end of a deep Kenneth Black 46th minute free-kick from just inside his own half but couldn’t direct his back post volley on target.

Saints’ purple patch continued and, after Lewis Buchanan’s corner kick from the right was flicked on by Thomas McCrindle, Ryan Barclay’s hooked effort came crashing back off Joe Gaughan’s left hand upright.

In the 63rd minute, Ryan Barclay was penalised for a late challenge 22 yards out with Murdo MacKenzie opting to punch Callum Henderson’s free-kick which spun behind for a corner kick. Henderson trotted over to the corner flag with MacKenzie getting a telling punch ahead of  Dynamo substitute Adrian Chrichton to clear the danger.

From another Henderson corner kick on the right, Scott Ewart hooked well over from 12 yards as the visitors pushed hard for an equaliser.

Saints gaffer Donald Black brought Alan Buchanan and Fraser MacFarlane on to replace Robert Johnstone and Pearce McBeth who had both put in good shifts.

Always with a keen eye for goal, skipper Martin Bonar’s endeavour took him through on the Dynamo keeper once again in the 77th minute for a left foot shot which Joe Gaughan, at full stretch, pushed behind with a strong right hand.

Lewis Buchanan was replaced in the dying stages by Andrew Ritchie and the substitute had a good chance on the break to make the tie safe, however Dynamo keeper Gaughan anticipated the danger well, coming a long way out of his 18-yard box to make a vital interception.

The visitors kept pressing for the elusive equaliser but the Saints defence remained resolute offering good protection to keeper Murdo MacKenzie who had been an injury doubt prior to kick-off.

Saints again came close to exploiting the gaps left at the back by the visitors with an attempted 28-yard lob from Alan Buchanan which just cleared the crossbar before referee Peter Laing, who handled proceedings well throughout, brought the evenly contested cup tie to an end after five additional minutes nervously endured by the large local support.