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Match Report : Whitletts Vics

Lugar kept up their promotion challenge at the expense of Vics’ who will feel the margin of victory for the Rosebank Park side didn’t reflect a true picture of the afternoon’s events.
For long spells in this match Whitletts were the better side, having the greater territorial advantage and possession but against a Lugar side that defended in numbers but the visitors struggled to make any real headway and were undone by the home side on the counter attack.
In the early stages play raged from end to end with Steven Shankland failing to convert a Stuart Wark cross for Lugar while for the visitors efforts from outside the area from Ricky Hanvey and Alan Love were off target.
Whitletts began to take a grip on the game, forcing Lugar to defend deep inside their own half but the visitors failed to create any chances of note and paid the penalty when Lugar opened the scoring in the 21st minute against the run of play. Stuart Wark latched onto a long ball down the right and although Graham Longair got his head to the strikers cross the ball fell kindly to Graeme Bain whose half volley gave Ally McInnes no chance.
McInnes then saved an Alan Orr free kick but while Whitletts had the majority of the play they struggled in the final third to make the breakthrough their play at that time deserved. Ian McCreadie had a shot saved by McInnes while for Vics Tony Balfour’s drive from the edge of the box slipped wide while a Longair drive was saved by Stephen Mather.
The second half started in similar fashion with Lugar hitting Vics’ on the counter attack and ten minutes after the restart, despite looking well offside, Stuart Wark raced clear but his angled drive slipped inches past.
But within two minutes Lugar did double their advantage. Allan Paterson broke into the box and found Orr on his own but the midfielders shot was blocked by McInnes but as Vics’ struggled to clear their defensive lines the ball broke to Orr again at the edge of the area this time he made no mistake as he drilled the ball into the net.
Vics’ tried to get back into the game. Balfour worked his way past three defenders but his shot was parried by Mathers and James Cuthbertson did well to block not just Jim Wilson’s follow up strike but two others as well. Then Raymond Buchanan’s shot from a Love corner was saved by the big keeper.
But any chance the visitors had to get back into the game was ended in the 71st minute in controversial circumstances. As McInnes collected a ball under pressure from a Bain challenge, the Lugar midfielder appeared to kick out at the Vics keeper as McInnes stepped over him but referee Colin Pensom saw the incident differently and showed the Vics keeper a straight red card and awarded the home side a penalty kick. With no back up keeper, defender Lee Holland came off the bench to pull on the keepers jersey but and the first thing he had to do was pick Paterson’s penalty out the net.
From that moment on the game was over as a contest and Wark almost made it four when, from what was a clear offside position, he raced clear but again his angled shot slipped wide as the game petered out to the inevitable home win.
A tough result for Vics’ to take. There could be no doubting the effort and commitment of the visiting players and with a bit of luck at key moments, the outcome could have been very different.
1. Mathers 2. Toss 3. Peck 4. Cuthbertson 5. Muir 6. Bain (Watt 78) 7. Paterson 8.McCreadie 9. Wark (Patterson 83)10. Shankland 11. Orr (Boyd 87)
Subs (not used) 15. Mathieson GK. Kelly
1. McInnes 2. Longair 3. Ewart 4. Buchanan 5. Wallace 6. O’Conner 7. Kerr 8. Love (Holland 71) 9. Balfour 10. Hanvey 11. Wilson
Sub (not used) 14. Vance
Referee: Colin Pensom