Oban Saints sealed their place in the fourth round of the Scottish Youth FA Cup on Saturday with a hard fought victory over Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts.
Two goals from Craig Millar either side of an Aaron McKay strike were enough to take the visitors through, after Blair Chalmers free kick had given the hosts brief hope of a comeback.
The first half did little to separate the two sides, with both sets of players looking more concerned with being tight at the back than they were about venturing forward.
Even so, there were still plenty of chances for either side to break the deadlock early on; and it was the visitors who had the best of the opening exchanges.
Aiden McPhee had the game’s first chance, firing a right footed shot just wide of the post before a missed clearance allowed Jamie Forgrieve to get a shot away, but the effort was well blocked by the Swifts defence.
Daniel Sloss then went closer still, rising highest in the area to meet a corner he sent a looping header towards the top corner, only to be denied by a wonderful one handed save at full stretch by Swift’s keeper Lewis Sinclair.
Oban continued to look the more dangerous of the two teams, and Jude Bain was next to try his luck, firing in a shot from close range straight at Sinclair who was able to parry the ball away to safety.
After weathering an early storm, Inverkeithing now looked to get forward themselves with a good move working the ball out to a wide position, but as Kyler Harrison sent a ball into the box, Jamie Turner was able to come out and collect comfortably.
Oban were also finding joy on the flanks, and after a McKay cross from the right had evaded everyone in the area, the ball fell to Millar who could only smash the ball against a defender.
As the half went on it was the visitors who continued to look the more threatening, but for all their possession they couldn’t find a way through a stubborn Swifts defence.
The lively Millar beat his marker before firing in a left footed shot from distance, but Sinclair was able to save and hold onto the ball.
Some more good play in a wide position from McPhee found him room for a cross, but the ball was played just out of reach for the waiting Jamie Forgrieve.
As the half drew to a close Millar again tried his luck from distance, but Sinclair was equal to it and saved comfortably.
There was one last chance on the stroke of half time for the hosts, as Kieran Young sent a hooked volley towards goal from the corner of the area, but the ball went high and wide as the sides went in level at the break.