Martin McCallum marches in as Pupils battle for a point

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SAFL Premier Division one

Campbeltown Pupils 2

Ferguslie Thistle 2

A much-improved Pupils’ performance made a match that really had everything the spectator could wish for; great goals, fantastic saves and end-to-end football throughout the 90 minutes.

The McFadyens’-sponsored side regained a sense of urgency and the promotion chasing Ferguslie, with only one defeat to their name this season, were eventually forced to defend desperately to protect what was a well-earned point.

This was an extremely good contest, but having settled quickly to the task the home side drew first blood.

Martin McCallum, returning to the team after a short absence, forged forward down the right flank and sent a dangerous first time ball across the box.

His pinpoint cross was met on the half-volley by Ryan Deans, but the striker’s first time shot was well saved, Deans reacted quickest to the loose ball and drove it over the line.

Minutes later, Donald McCallum released the quick silver Sary Rama in on goal, but the strikers angled shot sped wide of the far post.

Ferguslie played their part in an exciting first half, and a wonderful through ball split the home defence wide open.

As the striker prepared to shoot, Paul Grumoli appeared from nowhere to make as good a saving tackle as you are likely to see anywhere.

It only delayed the equaliser, a terrific strike from a free kick on the edge of the box helping the visitors gain parity as half time loomed.

The home side failed to read the script and, to their credit, returned to the attack with great vigour.

It was the Pupil’s turn to gain the advantage of a free kick on the edge of the box, and Martin McCallum stepped forward to return the gesture by driving the ball home to give his side a narrow advantage at the break.

The Pupils looked more settled in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the back four of Allan, Robertson, Grumoli and Mitchell, playing solidly throughout.

Liam Renton in a midfield screening role was most effective, and the return of Kenny Galbraith as substitute for the last twenty minutes was a real plus.

There were no failures in this performance and  Donald McCallum had his best game in a Pupils shirt for a number of games.

It seemed destined to end in a draw – although the equaliser came in strangely cruel way.

Ferguslie broke down the attacking left and a speculative cross-cum-shot was caught by the following wind and ended perfectly in the bottom corner of the net.

Two fantastic saves from the visiting goalkeeper denied the Pupils’ victory, first from Scott Souden and from Jamie Burns on the rebound.

Probably the same could be said of Reid Anderson on his return to first team duty, as he too pulled off a great save with minutes left to deny Ferguslie.

Man of the match: Martin McCallum.

The management will be in a happier frame of mind after this performance, but the Pupils are still chasing their first win in six when they meet Rutherglen at home tomorrow. Please see posters for the venue.

Martin McCallum moments before the cross to Ryan Deans. 25_05pupils05

Ryan Deans swoops on the loose ball to hammer it home. 25_05pupils02

A great strike from Donald McCallum. 25_05pupils03

Scott Souden was in the thick of the action. 25_05pupils10