Saints GG blown away in Lochgilphead

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Lochgilphead Red Star 5, Oban Saints GG 1

After going down 5-0 to Oban Saints Central Scottish AFL team two weeks ago, Lochgilphead Red Star played host to Saints’ Greater Glasgow Premier AFL side, who braved Storm Aiden to journey down the A816 for a friendly encounter at Lochgilphead Joint Campus.

In gale force wind and driving rain both sides battled the elements manfully where, despite the atrocious weather conditions, they were the envy of many thousands of Scottish amateur footballers who remained sidelined due to government restrictions.

Strict match day protocols, including no changing facilities or supporters, were followed by both sides where four second-half goals gave the hosts a heavily wind-assisted, but nonetheless deserved, victory.

Significantly, Red Star skipper Aaron Moore won the toss of referee Jimmy Litster’s coin and elected to play into the strong wind in the first half. Saints, however, failed to harness the wind advantage and it was the home side who looked the more threatening in the early stages.

Skipper Lewis Buchanan registered Saints first effort on goal in the 26th minute, cutting in from the right to send a well-struck shot just wide of the postage stamp corner.

Saints manager Donald Black made early use of the agreed rolling substitutes policy, sending on Fraser MacFarlane in the 29th minute to replace Alan Buchanan in the centre forward’s role.

It didn’t take MacFarlane long to make an impact and his neat turn on the edge of the D created the space for a right foot volley which arced away from the Red Star keeper’s right hand to nestle in the bottom corner and give Saints a 31st minute lead.

Red Star cancelled out the Saints advantage on the stroke of half-time after good work on the right from Chris Hart took him all the way to the bye-line from where his cutback picked out Stuart MacLean on the six-yard line for an easy finish.

With the wind gathering pace, a long second half was in prospect for Saints and it took the hosts just four minutes to capitalise on their controlled first half performance when central defender Ben Forbes poked home an Andy Weir right wing corner through a sea of legs.

After Lewis Buchanan had headed a 58th minute Andy Weir left wing corner off the line, Weir’s follow up delivery from the opposite flank picked out right full back Coll McCallum eight yards out for the home side’s third goal.

Red Star stretched their advantage still further on the hour mark when Ben Forbes whipped a wind assisted free-kick from the halfway line into the postage stamp corner giving Murdo MacKenzie no chance.

After keeping the hosts at bay for 35 minutes, Saints conceded a fifth goal with almost the last kick of the ball. Murdo MacKenzie did well to parry a dipping 40-yard Aaron Moore shot, but luck deserted the Saints keeper when the ball broke to Ewan Litster, who chipped over the stranded keeper into the unguarded net.

With the rain coming horizontally, both sets of players were delighted to hear referee Jimmy Litster’s final whistle immediately after the restart signalling a stampede for the sanctuary of the various cars and vans in the school car park.