Pupils left to rue late league defeat

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Parkhall Ams 3
Campbeltown Pupils 1
SAFL Premier Division One

Campbeltown Pupils stumbled to defeat in the league last Saturday in a tightly contested match away to Parkhall.

Travelling to the Scotstoun Stadium, the home of professional rugby union side Glasgow Warriors, the Pupils competed well in the opening stages, in their first outing for three weeks since their league win away to Neilston.

Personnel changes from that game saw John McCallum slot in to central defence beside Ross Souden, while Ryan Gilchrist replaced Gregor Croll as the Pupils’ lone striker, and Craig Lamont pulled on the gloves in place of Alasdair Ferguson, with the team playing a 4-2-3-1 formation.

The Pupils’ first sight at goal saw Gregor McFadyen cut in from left midfield to find a central position, but his shot drifted wide of target. Then, from left back, Pupils’ captain Keith Mitchell wove a path between several Parkhall defenders and was unlucky to see his effort diverted wide by the hosts’ keeper, amidst mounting pressure from the McFadyens-sponsored Pupils.

Disappointingly, though, the visitors conceded a goal from a simple throw-in routine which undid their good work in the previous half hour, Parkhall midfielder Dougherty running off his marker and unleashing a sweet strike beyond Lamont to put Parkhall in front.

Minutes later, Lamont, who was between the sticks for the team’s consecutive league titles in 2013 and 2014, then pulled off a wonder save to deny Parkhall a second.

The Feathers Inn-sponsored Pupils then produced another attacking spell of their own before the half-time whistle, with Liam Renton having two efforts on goal tipped round the post in the space of a minute by the Parkhall keeper.

From the second save, the Pupils made the most of the resultant corner kick, when Renton delivered a swerving ball which found right winger Scott Souden, who guided a firm downward header into the Parkhall net to make it 1-1.

Into the second half, the Pupils had to weather a storm from their hosts, but found composure again and began to create excellent chances for themselves. Renton went close again from a free kick 25 yards out, but was denied by another fingertip save from Parkhall’s impressive keeper.

Scott Souden had a chance to put the Pupils in front, after being put through on goal by a cutting through pass from Ryan Deans, but a loose touch gave the home keeper a chance to make a diving save and divert the ball wide.

Then, the Pupils were pegged back for the second time when a corner from the hosts’ left-hand side was side-footed home by Parkhall’s Cannin, beyond Lamont’s clutches.

Pushing hard for another equaliser, the Pupils had a lot of the play around Parkhall’s penalty area, and Donald McCallum, introduced as a substitute, pounced on a loose ball in the box from a Pupils free-kick but saw his effort blocked in the six-yard box.

Into injury time, Parkhall, who had defended their lead resolutely in the closing stages, broke forward against the tide of Pupils pressure and made it 3-1 through striker Kevin Williams, who tucked a low effort into the Pupils’ net.

The Pupils must now regroup for more league action tomorrow (Saturday) with the visit of Neilston AFC. Kick-off is 2pm with Kintyre Park the expected venue. For more details see Campbeltown Football on Facebook or @PupilsAFC on Twitter.

Campbeltown Pupils’ squad v Parkhall: Craig Lamont, Keith Mitchell (captain), John McCallum, Ross Souden, Stuart Crossan, Gregor McFadyen, Liam Renton, Ryan Deans, Ellis Robertson, Scott Souden, Ryan Gilchrist. Subs (both used): Donald McCallum, Michael McKinlay.

Lastly, the Pupils would like to thank individuals, groups and fellow amateur clubs from Kintyre and beyond for their kind messages, after the club was featured on BBC’s Scottish football programme View from the Terrace, last Friday, February 28.