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After a two-year absence, Campbeltown Pupils returned to the Argyll and Bute Cup, losing out to Oban Saints in the semi-finals after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out.
Facing Tarbert at Lochgilphead’s Ropework Park in group section one, the Pupils got their campaign off to a winning start, with a single goal edging a tight match with the Dookers.
The Pupils ensured qualification for the semi-finals with another narrow 2-1 win. This time against newly promoted to the Scottish Amateur Football League Premier Division Dunoon.
The Pupils’ winner came from the deadly right foot of Martin McCallum who curled a delightful last minute free-kick beyond the left hand of the Dunoon keeper.
The Pupils’ group decider against eventual winners, Kilsyth, went the way of the North Lanarkshire men, with the pupils losing out 0-1 to finish up group one runners-up.
A change to the scheduled running order saw the Pupils contesting group two winners Oban Saints in the first semi-final.
Saints took early domination and managed one goal but were unable to take full advantage.
The break disrupted their rhythm and it was the Pupils who were looking the more likely to add to the scoring.
The Pupils came close twice in the opening minutes, of the second half, before a trip in the box handed them an opportunity to level the scoring from 12 yards which was gratefully accepted.
Despite a wake-up call, the Saints could not find a way through the Pupils’ defence.
Referee Pat O’Donnell’s final whistle signaled the need for a penalty shoot-out which Saints won 6-5.
After 200 minutes of football, plus a nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out, in mist, rain and scorching sunshine, Oban Saints emerged the overall winners of this year’s Argyll and Bute Cup.
The tournament was once again arranged by Lochgilphead Red Star, who competed alongside Campbeltown Pupils, last year’s winners Oban Saints, tournament regulars Dunoon, Neilston and Tarbert, and debutants Kilsyth and Port Glasgow.
A massed Pupils’ effort repels a Saints corner. IMGP9198-001 Pupils clear a Saints corner
Sary Rahma nutmegs Dene Cassells. IMGP9132-001 Dene Cassells and Sary Rahma
Pupils keeper catches a corner. IMGP9126-001 Pupils keeper catches a corner