Bounce Game. December 19th 2020
Oban Saints GG Blues 3 – Oban Saints GG Reds 5.
Oban Community Sports Field (3G)
Soroba Road, Oban, Argyll
Referee: Mr Alex Craik
Oban Saints GG Manager Donald Black could have had no idea that his hastily arranged bounce game at Oban High School last Saturday afternoon would be the last football action his charges would enjoy before Argyll & Bute’s newly acquired level one Covid-19 status would be cruelly snatched away. The shock announcement from the Scottish Government on Saturday evening that the entire country would be subject the level four restriction from 26th December saw the First Minister put the ball firmly on the slates ruling amateur football strictly off the agenda for several weeks.
Despite the frustration of the unexpected football shutdown Saints GG can at least console themselves that they were able to keep playing until the last gasp.
Manager Black and Coaches Brian Forgrieve and Scott Buchanan called on the services of some of the younger members of the first team squad as well as calling up some rising stars from the Club’s youth set-up to assemble two evenly matched sides for an entertaining encounter.
Keir MacLean opened the scoring for the Blues in the 5th minute tucking a good finish under young Innes Horne in the Reds goal after good work on the right from Lewis Buchanan and Craig Livingstone.
Reds midfielder Martin Bonar drew a good save from Murdo MacKenzie with a crisply struck 28 yard shot in the 8th minute before Daniel MacCuish curled a left foot shot inches wide of Mackenzie’s right-hand post sixty seconds later.
MacCuish set his sights on goal again in the 11th minute with young Lewis MacFarlane, who impressed at the heart of the Blues defence, getting a vital touch to deflect MacCuish’s effort wide for a corner kick. Influential Reds midfielder MacCuish trotted over and found the head of central defender Lewis McPhee from the corner flag. Unfortunately,, McPhee’s header failed to trouble Murdo MacKenzie and landed on the school roof giving Saints Coach and School Janitor Peter MacCallum an extra task to retrieve the ball on Monday morning.
MacCuish produced another excellent delivery from a twentieth minute corner kick after Cammy Clark had blocked a Fraser MacFarlane shot behind. On the end of MacCuish’s in-swinger from the right was midfield partner Martin Bonar who steered his header the wrong side of Murdo MacKenzie’s left hand post.
The Blues doubled their advantage in the twenty second minute with an excellent left foot finish from the corner of the 18-yard box by young Lewis Campbell son of Saints legend Colin “Shuggie” Campbell.
The Reds were off target once again when Kyle Cooper cut in from the right and angled a low shot across Murdo MacKenzie but wide of the far post.
Martin Bonar was once again the target for a Daniel MacCuish corner kick and finally found the target for the Reds sending a header looping just out of Murdo MacKenzie’s reach and into the net to halve the deficit in the 25th minute.
Inside the first minute of the second of the three 30-minute periods Lewis McPhee hauled down Rory Dowd with newly qualified Referee Alex Craik correctly spotting that the challenge was made fractionally outside of the Reds 18-yard box. The Reds defensive wall however did its job and stood firm to block Dowd’s free-kick.
The Blues re-established their two-goal cushion in the 35th minute after good work on the right by Gavin Forgrieve and Lewis Buchanan. Forgrieve found Garry McIvor on the edge of the D who rolled the ball into the path of Kenneth Black. The Blues Skipper showed good strength to hold off the challenge of Ruaridh Horne and poke the ball left footed under Reds goalkeeper Innes Horne.
Two minutes later the Reds began would be a stirring comeback with Cammy Hill finding the net after young Ruaridh Buchanan cut in from the right and found Ruaridh Horne in support inside the 18 yard box. Horne turned away from Cammy Clark and picked out Cammy Hill who slammed the ball into the roof of the net from 8 yards.
The Reds equaliser in the 47th minute owed much to the endeavour of Daniel MacCuish on the left. MacCuish evaded three challenges on his way to the bye-line from where his cutback arrived nicely into the stride of Ruaridh Buchanan. Buchanan beat the dive of Murdo MacKenzie but not the crossbar however fortune favoured the attacking side and Cammy Hill got to the rebound ahead of Lewis MacFarlane to complete his brace.
One minute into the final thirty minutes Daniel MacCuish worked a one-two with young Zander Craik which took him into the box where Murdo MacKenzie was at full stretch to push MacCuish’s left foot shot round the post for a corner kick.
The Reds got their noses in front for the first time in the match in the 69 th minute through Zander Craik. The young striker was sent through the inside right channel by Daniel MacCuish and held off the challenge of Cammy Clark to fire a low shot across Murdo MacKenzie and into the far corner of the net.
MacCuish and Craik combined again for the final goal of the afternoon. With youngster Andrew Nicol also involved on the left the Reds worked the ball into Craik who picked out strike partner Kyle Cooper who fired high into the net to complete the scoring.
Referee Craik, who acquitted himself well on his debut, brought an entertaining encounter to an end leaving Oban Saints GG Manager Donald Black encouraged by the work rate of his players and impressed by the contribution of the youth players.
FULL CREDIT TO DEREK BLACK BOTH REPORT AND PHOTOGRAPHS.