Campbeltown Pupils rue the one that got away

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Port Glasgow 4

Campbeltown Pupils 3

SAFL Premier Division One

The McFadyen-sponsored Campbeltown Pupils left Port Glasgow with a distinct feeling of injustice after 90 minutes on the narrowest of parks against a side intent on playing route-one football.

It is obviously a tactic that works well for the home side as they lead the first division going into the final quarter of the season, but the scoreline doesn’t come close to telling the truth as it was a match in which the visitors dominated possession for most of a frustrating afternoon.

The game began badly for the visitors when they fell behind within five minutes, an unwelcome habit that has dogged Campbeltown for much of the current season.

The home winger worked space on the flank and sent a shot across goal from the dead ball line.

It slipped through the grasp of the Pupils’ goalkeeper and landed at the back post for a simple tap-in.

The Pupils recovered well from this early setback, piecing together some fine possession football, with the midfield, in particular, playing their part in the recovery.

The equaliser arrived just before the half hour when a scramble in the box led to a fine half-volley by Fraser MacBrayne. This was his first goal for the Pupils and just reward for his perseverance.

It was good to see two teenagers making their mark for the club, with Ross Brown joining his academy teammate MacBrayne in a fine first half performance on opposite flanks of midfield.

Nevertheless, the home side ‘stole’ into the lead in the 61st minute, a comic-cut situation that saw Ellis Robertson unbelievably penalised for stumbling over his own heels.

The resultant free kick was delivered with venom and a headed deflection thundered into the net to restore the home side’s lead.

The setback was short-lived as almost immediately the in-form Donald McCallum cut inside past two defenders to drive the ball high into the roof of the net for a superb equaliser.

This heralded the Pupils’ best spell of the match, with Ross Brown ending a great move with a volley that left the keeper rooted to the spot.

But the goal, arguably the best of the match, was ruled out for offside.

Ryan McConnachie was next to try his luck with an audacious overhead kick that just cleared the bar.

Lady luck deserted the cause when the referee awarded a soft penalty kick to home club.

The visitors were a goal behind despite dominating most of the second half.

With 10 minutes remaining the league leaders looked to have sealed the points when a tactical long throw was forced home to give ‘the Port’ a two goal advantage.

However, in an exciting end to another close fought match, Lee Allen scored a towering header from a Donald McCallum corner to make the score 4-3.

Despite a great effort in the closing minutes, the Pupils couldn’t score to get their just reward.

Having played well and given everything, the visitors returned home with nothing to show for their efforts.

Tomorrow (Saturday March 2) Campbeltown Pupils return to home action with another difficult match against third-placed Hillington at Kintyre Park with a 2pm kick off.  See social media and posters for confirmation of venue.

Fraser MacBrayne in action earlier this season at Kintyre Park. 50_c47pupils04