St Andrews United: Manager Robbie Raeside praises his players after fifth league win in a row in 2-0 success at Oakley United

St Andrews United manager Robbie Raeside has hailed his team after first half goals by Lewis Sawers and Lewis Payne gave Saints a fifth straight league win via a 2-0 success at Oakley United last weekend.
Robbie Raeside has plenty to smile about after St Andrews United's fine recent run (Library pic by John Stevenson)Robbie Raeside has plenty to smile about after St Andrews United's fine recent run (Library pic by John Stevenson)
Robbie Raeside has plenty to smile about after St Andrews United's fine recent run (Library pic by John Stevenson)

Second-placed Saints – for whom goalkeeper Calum Brodie made a second half penalty save from Oakley’s Ryan Cowie – are well on course for occupying one of the top three promotion slots come the end of the season as they sit on 48 points from 21 matches, just three points behind leaders Dunipace with a game in hand.

"It’s been a great run,” Raeside told the Herald and Citizen. “But one we were always capable of doing.

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"Oakley were a difficult team to play against. Second half they had the breeze behind them and they were launching long throws and high balls into the box.

"I didn’t think they should have had a penalty. Their dugout were almost embarrassed. They looked at me laughing when the referee gave the penalty. I thought Rochey made a great tackle and none of their players claimed for a penalty, it was a corner.

"But the ref gave it and it was a great save from Calum. It might have been a much more nervy last 20 minutes of he hadn’t saved that.

"I still think we had chances second half as well and a two-goal deficit for us was probably a fair result. Oakley are no mugs and the pitch was really poor, really soft, bumpy and slow.

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"It was a real leveller and their dugout was as frustrated as me. Oakley couldn’t pass the ball either.

"Boys were trying to pass the ball and it would bobble six or seven times in a ten-yard pass.

"They’ve just had a lot of rain and they’ve not been able to do any work on the pitch.

"I can see why Camelon went there a couple of weeks ago and only scraped a draw.

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"We managed to get the goals at good times, ten, 15 minutes before the break and we were professional for the rest of the game.

"It was a fantastic three points and a great effort from all the players. Everybody contributed, from the goalie, all the way through the team to the substitutes.”

Raeside said that his team having a steady run of fixtures recently, without being blighted by the postponements of earlier in the campaign, had contributed to Saints’ recent success.

“Our boys have been able to get in a rhythm,” he added. “To win five in a row in this league is a great achievement and we want to keep it going.

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"The last five have all been won in different ways. That’s the sign of a good team.

"We have put ourselves in a great position but we have not achieved anything. There are seven games to go which is still a quarter of the season, which is incredible to think about.

"So although the table’s looking great, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to really take one game at a time and try and beat the next team in front of you.”

United get a break from league duties in their next two games, as they play a third round King Cup tie at Ormiston Primrose this Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm, before a second round League Cup encounter at home to Kirkcaldy & Dysart on Wednesday, April 3, kick-off 7.30pm.

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"There’s a bit of me would have wanted the league games to keep going,” Raeside added.

"But actually it’s maybe a blessing in disguise because we’ve got some players that have been playing with knocks and injuries and we’re going to use these two cup games to give some of the promising under-20s a wee opportunity as there’s not an under-20s game on Friday.”

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