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Campbeltown Pupils FC 3
Eglinton FC 1
WOSFL – Division Four
Campbeltown Pupils got their second season in the Scottish football pyramid off to the perfect start with a 3-1 win over league newcomers Eglinton.
In front of a healthy home crowd of more than 150, including a smattering of away fans amongst the Kintyre Park faithful, the Pupils laid down the perfect marker for the season with an authoritative win against the far-travelled team from Kilwinning, Ayrshire.
Nicknamed ‘The Jousters’, Eglinton are named after a former junior side from the town, but it was the Pupils who struck a body blow first, inside two minutes of play.
Ryan Deans delivered an excellent curling ball from the left-hand side, on his favoured right foot, found Scott Souden, who showed excellent composure to control the ball and slide the ball past the goalkeeper low and into the net to make it 1-0.
Much of the remainder of the first half was busy, but attritional; the Pupils didn’t create many other chances of note, while Eglinton, shocked at the loss of an early goal, steadied themselves and went close when an effort from the edge of the box whizzed just over the bar.
The Pupils’ back four of captain Keith Mitchell, centre-half pairing of Ross Souden and Craig Johnstone, with John McCallum at right back, had to be alert to a number of crosses from wide areas but, as throughout the game, they provided good cover for keeper Alasdair Ferguson.
On 38 minutes, the McFadyens Contractors-sponsored Pupils doubled their lead, when Stuart Crossan latched on to a through-ball from young striker Callum Ellis, and drove into the Eglinton box, doing well to adjust his footing while off-balance, and flicked an effort over the grasp of the diving keeper to give the Pupils a more comfortable cushion going into half time.
The Pupils’ task in the second half was a mirror image of the Kintyre Park side’s last game of last season: win the match from a two-goal half-time lead and, just as against Glenvale in early April, the Pupils saw out the match in determined fashion, denying their visitors sustained pressure, or any glaring chances.
Inevitably, though, some opportunities occurred for the Ayrshire team, and Eglinton had their best of the second half with around 15 minutes to go when a loose ball from a corner was picked up by their number 15 – but he could only fire a left-footed shot into the side netting from 10 yards out.
Then, the decisive moment in the match arrived as injury time approached.
Rhys Casci drove into the box, taking over after S Souden’s touch forwards, and the wide player from Tarbert drove into the box and side-footed an assured left-foot effort past the visiting keeper to all but ensure the points for the Pupils.
Hero then turned villain – if only slightly – some 90 seconds later when Casci bundled over an Eglinton player in the box, and a penalty was awarded.
Sean Davis of Eglinton sent Ferguson the wrong way to pull back what was an eventual consolation for the Ayrshire men, with the referee sounding the full-time whistle two minutes later to seal the win for the Pupils.
The Feathers Inn-sponsored Pupils look to have grown from the varied experiences of last season in their own inaugural West of Scotland Football League campaign, and this performance was notable for its calmness, especially in managing a two-goal lead before adding to it, and ensuring any late concession would not harm their prospects of three welcome league points to start off their 2022-23 season.
The match was sponsored by Scottish Fishing.
Tomorrow (Saturday), the Pupils are going a ‘ferry’ long way for a game as they travel to Castle Douglas in Galloway to take on another WOSFL newcomer in Threave Rovers.
A well-known name from the South of Scotland league, Threave have competed in the senior Scottish Cup in recent decades and were part of the Lowland League, the joint-fifth tier in Scotland, for three seasons.
At 218 miles by road, it’s the longest league journey in the Scottish football pyramid this season.
Luckily, the Pupils will start the outward leg by ferry to Ardrossan, before carrying on to Galloway by road.
Match information can be found on the WOSFL site, by following @PupilsAFC on Twitter, and Campbeltown Football on Facebook.