Four points on the road for improving Pupils

The Pupils' squad, management and supporters after the club's historic first senior win, away to Harthill Royal.
The Pupils' squad, management and supporters after the club's historic first senior win, away to Harthill Royal.

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An impressive win and a valuable draw away from home, in less than 72 hours, saw the Kintyre side pick up their first WoSFL points

Harmony Row 2
Campbeltown Pupils 2
West of Scotland Football League – Division Four

Campbeltown Pupils look to have found their feet in their new league after impressive results on the road in the West of Scotland Football League.

The McFadyens-sponsored Pupils firs travelled to Govan last Wednesday to face Harmony Row, at their temporary home of New Tinto Park.

With the M8 motorway traffic whizzing by the ground, it was the hosts who started in the fast lane, creating a host of chances including hitting the crossbar twice, before taking the lead within 15 minutes after an intelligent header across goal was touched home.

But minutes later, Donald McCallum, returning to the Pupils’ fold after a season at semi-professional side Drumchapel United, equalised for the visitors, intercepting a lateral pass in the Harmony Row defence, before covering 40 yards, rounding the home keeper and slotting into an empty net.

McCallum scored the Pupils’ last goal in competitive amateur football with a strike against Neilston AFC in March 2020 and the team’s first in its new WoSFL home with his team’s equaliser.

The hosts, who count Govan son Sir Alex Ferguson as perhaps their most famous supporter, might have got the ‘hairdryer treatment’ at half time but it was the Feathers Inn-sponsored Pupils who showed renewed drive to snatch a winner, taking time on the ball to build patient attacks in midfield and seeing an effort cleared off the line.

However, Harmony Row made it 2-1 around the hour mark when a cleared cross was cut back and finished with a low first-time shot.

The Pupils were rattled for five minutes and could have gone further behind but, having scored their first goal at ‘senior’ level, settled down again and sensed the opportunity for a first league point, delivering just that when Lee Allen pounced on an inviting Stuart Crossan corner to head powerfully home and complete the scoring at 2-2.

Donald McCallum had a chance to win the match for the visitors but his curling free kick was superbly saved by the Harmony Row keeper.

Match highlights are available on Harmony Row FC’s Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Harthill Royal JFC 1
Campbeltown Pupils 3

Less than 72 hours later, the Pupils were back on the road for a Division Four fixture against West Lothian ex-Junior side Harthill Royal.

Lining up in a 3-5-2 formation, the Pupils performed brilliantly to post their first win in the WoSFL, largely thanks to a bright start that saw them 2-0 up within 25 minutes.

First, Scott Souden latched on to Stuart Crossan’s low defence-splitting pass before side-footing calmly past the Harthill keeper.

Then Pupils’ captain Keith Mitchell, slotting in for the injured Kenny Kerr at left back, weaved his way past a couple of Harthill defenders inside the penalty box before slotting a low shot home to double the lead, before being swarmed by his team-mates in celebration.

Backed by a clutch of away fans, the Pupils were causing their hosts no end of first-half problems with hardy channel running by striker Sean Grady and neat passing in midfield between Donald McCallum, Crossan and Gregor McFadyen.

Disappointingly, the Pupils’ lead was halved on 38 minutes when a scramble in the box from a Harthill corner saw a home central defender stab the ball into the net from eight yards.

After the interval, the Pupils recomposed themselves and made it 3-1 on 50 minutes when forward Grady finished off a wonderful counter-attack.

Grady, also a taekwondo fighter and trainer, showed his quick reactions to dive at Scott Souden’s curling cross and power a header into the net, after Souden was found by holding midfielder Ellis Robertson’s neat pass out of defence.

Two goals up again, a containment strategy became the order of the day for the Pupils as the back three of Lee Allen, John McCallum and Ross Souden were asked to clear the danger from Harthill’s more direct approaches as the final whistle neared, with the three points eventually sealed after a fantastic team effort.

After the Pupils’ first 180 minutes in senior football proved a pointless exercise, the past two matches have seen the Pupils evidently build match sharpness and gain the confidence that comes with strong results and performances.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the Pupils welcome Glenvale FC to Kintyre Park. Kick off 2pm.