Pupils denied win by late, late equaliser

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Campbeltown Pupils 2
BSC Glasgow 2
WoSFL Division Four

Campbeltown Pupils were left to rue another two points dropped last Saturday after conceding a late equaliser to second-bottom BSC Glasgow at Kintyre Park.

The visitors, who have in recent weeks made some additions to their playing squad, had leapfrogged the Kintyre Park side off the foot of the West of Scotland Football League Division Four table with two wins on the spin, and without conceding a goal.

And they capitalised on a sluggish start from the Pupils to take the lead within 15 minutes, as a shot from outside the box skidded off the slick surface past home keeper Alasdair Ferguson.

Pressing for a way back into the match, Pupils ‘false nine’ Ryan Deans turned towards the BSC box and, bursting past his marker, forced the visiting defender to commit a risky foul on the edge of the penalty area.

To both teams’ surprise, the match referee brandished a red card, admittedly harsh given Deans’ direction of travel away from goal, and given the more nuanced rules now in force around last-ditch tackles and genuine attempts to win the ball as opposed to a ‘professional foul’.

With their visitors reduced to 10 men, the Pupils were emboldened, and soon equalised when two of the team’s Tarbert contingent combined to clinical effect.

Lewis McNaughton received the ball in midfield and his forward pass put Rhys Casci towards goal at the right corner of the penalty box. After turning inside his man, he drove forward and slotted a fine left-footed finish beyond the keeper to make it 1-1.

Lewis McNaughton, one of the Pupils' Tarbert players, in action.
Lewis McNaughton, one of the Pupils’ Tarbert players, in action.

Casci had been desperately unlucky not to score in the opening minutes with the match still at 0-0, after unleashing a fantastic left-footed strike which rattled the underside of the bar and bounced back out off the goal line.

Into the second half, the McFadyens-sponsored Pupils pushed hard towards the pavilion end for the winner they felt was well within their reach given their numerical advantage, and forced the BSC keeper into a number of excellent saves.

At the other end, the match referee looked to have made another blunder when he denied BSC’s number 10 what could have easily been interpreted as a penalty kick after he went to ground after a collision with a Pupils defender.

The Pupils pressed for the vital third goal in the match, with Conner McMurchy providing fresh impetus from the bench, and the continued work of Deans, Casci and Scott Souden to probe for openings in the BSC defence.

But it was another substitute on the day who had the Feathers Inn-sponsored Pupils purring, when Sean Grady picked up a clearance from his own corner on the left flank to curl a fine effort into the far corner of the goal from a wide area beyond the grasp of the away keeper despite his efforts to get a firm hand on the shot.

However, the latest body blow for the Pupils arrived in the 91st minute of the match, when John McCallum, playing at right back, was adjudged to have foul-thrown after the ball slipped from his grasp.

According to the laws of the game, the ball did not enter the field of play so should have been retaken by the home side, but a BSC Glasgow thrown-in was awarded.

From a flick-on header which rebounded off the crossbar, the visitors snatched an equaliser to the delight of their players, staff and clutch of visiting supporters, to shift the league standings in favour of themselves and deny their hosts a much-anticipated win.

It was a tough one to take for the Pupils despite the slim consolation of arresting a poor run of form with two creditable results against in-form teams.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the Pupils are on the hunt for more league points against Govan under-21 outfit Harmony Row.

The match will be played at New Tinto Park, home of Benburb FC, with whom the home side are ground-sharing this season.