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A SLOW start to this crucial fixture cost the McFadyen-sponsored Pupils dearly.
The home favourites never got out of second gear and although dominating the second half possession were unable to turn territorial advantage into goals.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, as the game had been targeted as a possible three-pointer, a golden chance to narrow the gap on their nearest rivals in the race for premier league survival.
Inverclyde opted to book the advantage of the following breeze and started the game much the brighter of the two sides.
It is hard to understand why the Pupils were so far off the pace in such an
important match, but with the lion’s share of possession the visitors took full advantage by scoring a cracker in the 12th minute. It certainly was a goal of real quality, a strike from all of 30 yards that ripped past Coffield into the roof of the net.
Worse followed when the Pupils’ defence inexplicably surrendered possession in their own half, a mistake that gave the Inverclyde striker time and space to craft a skilful finish.
As the keeper raced from his line, the striker’s deft lob found the empty net to leave the home side with a mountain to climb.
Things weren’t going to script with just 20 minutes on the clock, but there was still plenty of time to organise a comeback.
Roared on by the partisan support, the home side crafted their first real chance of the game when new signing Sary Rahma lashed the ball high and wide of the near upright.
The tide should have turned when Ryan Deans burst into the box, but as he raced in on goal he became the filling in the sandwich of two despairing defenders.
‘Penalty’, roared the crowd as he hit the ground – but the referee thought otherwise and the game raged on.
Seconds later a magnificent run by Keith Mitchell shared a similar fate, the gifted Pupils fullback ‘ghosted’ past a number of heavy challenges only to be taken from behind.
Claims for a spot kick were loudly heard, but quickly waved away as the home side’s spirited attempts to retrieve the situation came to nothing.
The second half became one-way traffic as the home side pushed on, but Inverclyde defended stoutly and chances were limited.
The best move of the match saw the visitors’ defence outstripped down the attacking right, the cut-back met by Gary Grumoli, whose parting shot was smothered by a grateful if fortuitous goalkeeper.
A goal for the home side was long overdue; but it arrived too late to make any difference to the outcome of the match.
Typically, it came just three minutes from the end of a frustrating match for the home side, a lofted cross into the box exposing the visiting goalkeeper’s lack of height and the ball was bundled home from close range by Gary Grumoli to reduce the leeway.
As expected, the final minutes were hectic as the Pupils tried desperately for an equaliser, but it was just one of those days when nothing went right for the home side. As we all know – football is like that sometimes.