Pupils prove a point in spirited draw

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Kilsyth Athletic 3-3 Campbeltown Pupils
West of Scotland FL Division Four

Report by Michael McKinlay in Kilsyth

Campbeltown Pupils showed plenty of guts amidst the gusts last Saturday as they
blew away league leaders Kilsyth’s perfect home record.

The McFadyens-sponsored Pupils won the coin toss and opted to go with the strong
south-westerly wind for the first half, and a fairly even end-to-end opening played out with both teams adapting to conditions.

The visitors’ defence worked well to deny any clear opportunities for Kilsyth, while an impressive volleyed effort from Ryan Deans at the edge of the box in the early stages flew over the bar by a few inches.

The Kintyre Park side’s goal arrived through a good spell of pressure and possession,
with Keith Mitchell in midfield working the ball out to Liam Renton at right back.

His looping cross from deep into six-yard box allowed midfielder Deans to outmuscle a Kilsyth defender and force the ball home.

Kilsyth’s equaliser came through a thwarted Pupils counter attack.

The Kilsyth midfield quickly sent the ball out to their right winger who found considerable time and space to send a low cross into the box.

The hosts’ striker moved well to find himself free and direct the ball into the net from close range.

The Feathers-Inn sponsored Pupils made it 2-1 when Kilsyth, always keen to play out
from the back, were undone by a coordinated press from both Deans, and Scott Souden
on the left wing, which allowed the former to pinch the ball at edge of Kilsyth box before
shifting the ball onto his right foot and sending a curling effort into the far corner.

The Pupils doubled their advantage before the half-time interval when a set piece from
the right hand side was picked up by Deans on the far side of the penalty.

A defender tripped the Pupils man after he cleverly feinted onto his right side to try create space to shoot.

Central defender Ross Souden stepped up and opted to go low to the keeper’s right, only to be denied by the post, possibly with a touch from the goalkeeper, but young striker Conner McMurchy, making his first start for the Pupils, reacted well to pounce on the rebound and finished centrally beyond the recovering keeper, despite his best efforts.

Into the second half, Kilsyth came out desperate to reduce the deficit now with wind at
their backs, and enjoyed large spells of possession, but the Pupils pressed well from the
front and kept opportunities reasonably limited, while seeing a chance to make it 4-1 go
abegging at the other end.

The Pupils were forced into a 50th -minute substitution with Stuart Crossan, operating well in holding midfield, suffering after a knock in the latter stages of the first half, seeing the welcome return of the Pupils’ versatile left-footer Fraser Wylie.

This was followed by the introduction of young Calum Ellis, who replaced McMurchy and continued the visitors’ high work rate up front.

Kilsyth pulled a goal back after a sustained period of pressure, a pass from deep
midfield breaching the heart of the Pupils’ reasonably high defensive line.

A well-timed run from a Kilsyth striker put him one-on-one with keeper Alasdair Ferguson – who was otherwise rarely tested due to an impressive collective work rate off the ball from the Pupils – and the striker slotted home clinically to make it 2-3.

The hosts secured an equaliser in the 76th minute, after a set piece was headed clear, and a home midfielder picked up the loose ball with considerable space to thunder a half volley through the pack of Pupils defenders and straight into the bottom left-hand corner.

Pressure continued from the hosts in search of a winner but the Pupils coped well to
mostly deny any attempts on goal.

One notable goalmouth scramble near end of regulation time was cleared off the Pupils’ goal line following good awareness from Liam Renton.

A couple of late free kick attempts from Kilsyth failed to trouble Ferguson in goal, who showed good concentration to hold onto one final headed effort before the full time whistle, to end Kilsyth’s 100 per cent home record.

It was an impressive feat for the Pupils, who counted seven teenagers in their 14-strong squad.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the Pupils are at home to BSC Glasgow, who have been in
impressive form, winning their past two matches without conceding a goal.

Kick off is 2pm at Kintyre Park. For more information, find @PupilsAFC on Twitter or Campbeltown Football on Facebook.

The Pupils would also like to thank everyone who entered the club’s Last Person
Standing fundraiser, a rolling ‘guess the result’ competition which attracted more than
100 entries and will help the team to purchase new tracksuits for match-day wear.