First home win for Pupils in new league

The winning Campbeltown Pupils side with Ewan McIlroy, back left, from match sponsor AM Transport.
The winning Campbeltown Pupils side with Ewan McIlroy, back left, from match sponsor AM Transport.

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Campbeltown Pupils FC 4
Harthill Royal FC 3
WoSFL – Division Four

A healthy and extremely supportive turnout of fans helped to drive Campbeltown Pupils to their first home victory in the West of Scotland Football League.

The home side received a well-deserved three points after last Saturday’s match with Harthill Royal FC, thanks to goals from ex-Tarbert stalwarts Rhys Casci (three) and Lewis McNaughton (one).

It was a day with a north Kintyre feel to it, with fellow ‘Dooker’ Craig Johnstone slotting seamlessly into the Pupils’ back four; a steadying influence as the home side made its mark in a match that refused to be won until the final whistle.

Toiling with an unbelievable injury list, the Pupils welcomed back a few well-known faces as they seized the initiative in midfield, a collective effort in a high energy start to the game.

Without doubt the highlight of the first half was the driving runs of Casci on the left flank, his efforts ably assisted by Scott Souden whose clever hold-up play and distribution continually released the power of Casci into space.

Lewis McNaughton – once more delivering a tireless performance in midfield – was rewarded for his efforts when the ball broke to him on the edge of the box.

Finding space, he sent a thunderous drive past a despairing goalkeeper from the edge of the box to give the home side the early lead.

Dominating the early exchanges, the Pupils forged further ahead when Casci added another goal, value for his efforts, but only a prelude to the goal of the match when the same player scored his second and the team’s third with a first-time strike that took a wicked deflection as it raged into the keeper’s top right-hand corner.

The Kintyre side could reflect on an excellent first 45 minutes, the best they had played in the club’s inaugural season in senior football.

It was always going to be a major challenge playing against some of the country’s top academy sides, but one to relish, learn and embrace with enthusiasm.

The second period followed the pattern of the first, and, when a penalty kick was awarded mid-way through the half, it was an easy choice to hand the ball to Casci who converted with ease to put the home side 4-0 ahead.

All over? Well, not quite! Playing in only his second match of a comeback and having an outstanding match on the left of the defensive line, Jamie Burns was sent off for a second yellow card for handball with 15 minutes left to play.

Down to 10 men, the cat managed to get among the pigeons as the home side inexplicably allowed Harthill back into the match.

Three late goals made it an uncomfortable finish to a match the home side had dominated, but time ran out on an unlikely comeback and the Pupils deservedly moved onto double points in the league table.

Tomorrow (Saturday September 25), the Pupils are at home in the South Cup against Harmony Row, a chance to restore some pride after a chastening loss a fortnight ago.

Match is at Kintyre Park with a 2pm kick off.

West Cup draw against Scottish junior ‘giant’

Campbeltown Pupils were drawn away from home against Premier League high-fliers, Pollock Juniors, in the West of Scotland Cup, an unbelievable draw that pits the club against one of the ‘giants’ of the junior game.

It is a fairy-tale scenario and, a chance to play one of the top clubs in the country at junior level.

Everyone is looking forward to the occasion and making a little bit of history.