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Whitletts Vics - match report

Vics Ardagh Cup ambitions are over for another season after this crushing defeat to 10 man Maybole at Ladywell Stadium. Both sides were decimated with players injured or unavailable and the kick off was delayed 15 minutes to allow the home side to start the game with 11 players, while Vics reshuffled side didn’t include any of their two signed keepers and gave a debut for youngster Nick Neilson, drafted up from the Clubs’ under 19 squad!
Maybole had the better of the opening exchanges and Aidan Connor went close with an angled drive from the edge of the box. Then when trialist keeper David Cunningham saw his clearance strike Neilson, the youngster responded to block Roddy Paterson’s shot into an empty net.
For Vics, Eddie Graham failed to connect properly with a Tony Balfour free kick as the ball struck his shoulder and flew over the bar but the visitors were coming more into the game and in the 25th minute they took the lead. Sam McFall broke down the right and when keeper Grant Weir blocked Chris Black’s attempt, Tony Balfour was on hand to fire home from close range.
But no sooner had Vics’ celebrations died down they were dealt a huge blow when defender Jordan Mullen had to leave the field injured and was replaced by trialist Scott Johnston, with Stevie Kerr moving into central defence and in the 32nsd minute the home side drew level. Some poor defensive play allowed Andy Stevenson to pick up the ball at the edge of the area and fire past the advancing Cunningham.
The Vics’ stand in keeper then made a superb save to deny former Whitletts favourite Marc Cameron, turning his shot over the bar while at the other end Scott Johnston should have restored Vics’ advantage firing wide from close rane after Weir had parried a McFall shot.
But it was Maybole who were to snatch an interval lead right on the stroke of half time. Kerr failing to clear a Paterson cross and although Cunningham blocked Cameron’s initial shot, the ‘Bole midfielder headed home the rebound.
Two minutes after the restart Vics defensive frailities were exposed again when John Frame was given the space to volley home an Alan Love corner from close range. Moments later a Stevie Shankland drive crashed off the crossbar.
However in the 54th minute the home side were reduced to ten men with keeper Weir seeing red after bringing down Balfour in the box. Midfielder Mark Doolan went in between the sticks but couldn’t prevent Balfour firing home the resultant penalty to reduce the leeway.
At this stage it looked as if Vics would press home their advantage and missed a couple of half chances but in the 62nd minute the visitors defended a free kick too deep but Cunningham allowed a Shankland header to slip through his grasp and Stevenson was on hand to prod home his second of the game.
Balfour was denied by Doolan while McFall beat off two challenges before firing wide of the target and Vics looked to get back in the game. Raymond Buchanan even tried his luck from a 40 yard free kick to test Doolan but the ‘Bole stand in keeper was equal to the task.
Maybole were still threatening on the break but inside the closing ten minutes a Balfour corner was headed against the near post in a melee and to sum up Whitletts night, when Doolan missed a Longair free kick, the ball fell kindly to McFall but Doolan somehow managed to fall on the ball to keep his goal in tact!
McFall was then denied when his shot was saved by Doolan but it was Maybole’s night and with the final act of the game Whitletts misery was complete when Shankland powered home a Love free kick.
1. Weir 2. Peacock (Booth 80) 3. Love 4. Frame 5. McKay 6. Cameron 8. Shankland 9. Stevenson 11. Doolan 12. Connor 15. Paterson (Todd 56)
Sub (not used) 17. McLuckie
Whitletts Victoria
1. Cunningham 2. Neilson 3. Longair 4. Buchanan 5. Mullen (Johnston 28) 6. Sloan 7. Kerr 8. Graham 9. McFall 10. Black 11. Balfour
Subs (not used) 12. Ferris 14. McCarrison 16. Watson 21. Graham
Referee: Gerard Pilu