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Whitletts Match Report


This match was played in horrendous conditions with gale force winds and rain doing its’ upmost to make it near impossible to play football. And although the Ayr side may consider this an opportunity lost to close the gap at the top of the league, in the end they could consider themselves fortunate to take a point after twice squandering the lead, with former striker Mathew Santos denying his old side all three points.

The Home side were first to threaten and Jim Catterson in the Saltcoats goal had to be alert to dive at the feet of Michael O’Connor to deny the Whitletts striker.

With a strong wind, it was proving difficult for both sides to adapt early on but in the 13th minute  Mathew Santos had a chance for the visitors but fires wide from 20 yards.

The home side were carrying the greater threat however and look set to take a 16th minute lead after Catterson could only parry a Tony Balfour shot and O’Connor was first to react but from 12 yards fired wide with the goal at his mercy.

That only delayed the opening goal by a few minutes as in the 19th minute, Whitletts took the lead. The Saltcoats defence failed to clear their lines from an O’Connor corner and Shaun Allan was on hand to drill the ball home from 12 yards to register his first goal for the club.

Saltcoats responded well and Callum Davidson squandered a great chance to level when he failed to connect properly with a deep  cross into the box.

Santos then had a great chance when, despite looking well offised, he ran onto a through ball but the alert Callaghan raced off his line to save. From the resultant corner, Connor Simpson cleared a Hercus header off the line as the visitors exerted some pressure.

With the wind at their backs, Saltcoats were seeking to make that advantage count and they almost took advantage of a fortunate break of the ball from a Sean Forde shot that fell kindly for Michael Hart but the strikers effort came back off the base of the right post.

It was not all one way traffic however and the home side had their moments and Allan went close with diving header but three minutes before the interval Saltcoats got their equaliser. From a Whitletts corner, Saltcoats broke upfield and despite again looking suspiciously offside, Santos raced clear to fire past Callaghan at his near post.

In the opening minute of the second period Balfour ran onto a through ball but his first time effort slipped just wide.

Still it was the visitors who were adapting better to the conditions and having the better of the play. When Santos skipped round Raymond Buchanan it was only the alert goalkeeping of Callaghan racing from his line that save the day and moments later it was Buchanan who cleared off the line after a Ferris shot beat the home keeper. O’Connor then.went close with a free kick from the edge of the box that flew just over but in the 66th minute, against the run of play, the home side regained the lead. Some great individual play by O’Connor saw the little striker waltz his way through the visitors defence to fire low past Catterson from 12 yards.

A last ditch tackle from Hercus denied Balfour from adding a third while at the other end Davidson fired his angled shot wide of the far post.

In the 73rd minute Whitletts were reduced to 10 men when Lee Holland was shown a straight red card and the actions of the big defender immediately cost his club dear as from the resultant free kick, Callaghan was caught out by the deep cross into the box and the ball broke off a Saltcoats player across goal for Santos to fire home from close range.
Santos almost grabbed his hat trick moments later when he scooped the ball over the bar from 10 yards when he should have at least got his shot on target.

Only a last ditch tackle from Martin Lawrie prevented Steven Gibson as the Saltcoats substitute bore in on goal and with 10 minutes left Santos was again in the clear but could only fire straight at Callaghan.

The Ayr side had a great chance to win the points as O’Connor beat the offside trap but Catterson raced from his line to block but Allan’s follow up attempt from 40 yards slipped past.

Whitletts were struggling to make any kind of headway although O’Connor was denied by a last ditch tackle as he raced through on goal.

It was 10 v 10 for the last few minutes after Saltcoats goal hero Santos saw red in an incident with Lawrie and within seconds only another last ditch tackle from Davidson prevented O’Connor as again he bore in on goal.

In the end both sides can take credit for serving up an entertaining match in very difficult conditions that certainly didn’t merit a game of football. But for Whitletts there will be little consolation in extending their unbeaten lead run

Whitletts Victoria
1. Callaghan 2. Kerr (Cameron 60) 3.Holland 4. McCulloch 5. Buchanan 6. Boyle (Davidson 70) 7. Simpson 8. Allan 9. O’Connor 10. Balfour 11. Lawrie
Subs (not used)  15. Longair 16. Patterson 17. Barr

Saltcoats Victoria
1. Catterson 2. Forde 3. Easdon 4. Hercus 5. Patrick 6. Smith 7. Ferris (Gibson 73) 8. Davidson 9. Monan 10.Hart 11. Santos
Subs (not used) 12. Cunningham 14. Knight 16. Lundy 17 Ryland

Referee: Nicolle Andrews