ST ANDREWS MEN’S 1STS                    4     –        1            EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY 4THS

ST ANDREWS MEN’S 2NDS                  0     –        3           SCOTTISH AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE 1STS

MIDFIELD GENERAL: Saints' superior ball retention won them the day Photo: Celeste Sloman

By Richard Browne
Saints Men’s 1sts got their BUCS league season off to a victorious start, winning with something to spare against Edinburgh 4ths.
Saints won this fixture last season 3-2 and it looked like it was going to be another tightgame when Edinburgh took the lead despite the hosts’ bright start. Seven minutes in, a corner was swung in from the right and a back-post header across goal was bundled in from close range – a messy goal, but a great start for the away side.
The home team looked to hit back immediately, with captain Andreas Andersen’s determined run down the right wing leading to strike-partner James Kettlewell having two shots on goal, both well blocked.
Saints continued to press and Andersen and right winger Robert Purves linked up well in the final third but couldn’t break through the resolute Edinburgh defence. The hosts were dominating but the final ball was always just off finding its target. The visitors, for their part, did remain a threat, particularly on the counter-attack.
The three minutes before half time, however, saw two goals that changed the whole outlook of the game. First, Andersen collected a long ball forward, skipped past some lax defending, left the stranded goalkeeper on his backside and casually rolled the ball home. It was a merited equaliser for the Saints, for it was they who had shown the more adventure going forward.
Two minutes later, the home side were in front. The ball was worked through the midfield and out to the left, where Gregor Smith was waiting to deliver the cross. His first attempt was blocked, but his second was met by a brave header from Kettlewell, who leapt above a static defence to nod past the despairing ‘keeper’s dive.
Edinburgh upped their tempo after the restart, but Saints remained solid at the back and maintained their offensive threat down the flanks. Purves got his head to a well-delivered cross, only to see the goalkeeper gather well. Just after, the visitors gave a reminder of their threat from set-pieces, as a corner was whipped in and the header flashed across the face of goal and just past the far post.
As the half progressed, the home side demonstrated greater fighting spirit in midfield. That brought its reward in the 73rd minute, as Kettlewell bagged his second goal. Andersen drove powerfully from midfield and, with the defenders backing off, laid the ball to Kettlewell, who calmly slotted past the ‘keeper.
At 3-1 Saints were comfortable. Then with nine minutes left on the clock, they wrapped the game up with a superb goal. After some fine midfield build-up, Purves played it across to Smith, who cut inside and placed a sweetly-struck shot into the top corner.
The final whistle marked a well-merited and professional win for the team – a tight first half was followed by 45 minutes of control, composure and clinical finishing. A great start to the season, with plenty of positives to take from both the result and the performance.

Saints Men’s 2nds, on the other hand, were given a rude awakening by the visitors from the Scottish Agricultural College. The away side had the lead from an early penalty, then doubled their advantage with a long-range shot that crashed in off Saints’ crossbar. A well-taken third goal completed the win, though the hosts were very nearly rewarded for an industrious display when a freekick from just outside the box rattled the visitors’ bar. Saints ‘keeper then kept out a second Agricultural College penalty, diving to his right to push the ball to safety.

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