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Whitletts Vics : Match Report


Michael O’Connor scored a hat trick for the second successive week as Whitletts Victoria ended their West of Scotland Cup jinx with a comfortable victory over Ardeer Thistle at Dam Park.

It had been SIX years since Ayr’s junior club had recorded a win in the competition, a 2-1 victory at St.Roch’s in 2009 but from the moment they went in front in this game the outcome was rarely in doubt.

With manager Rikki Ryland absent due to illness, Graham Longair and Mark Ferris took charge of the side for this match and it took Whitletts only two minutes to opening the scoring. From Tony Balfour’s corner kick, Michael O’Connor left his marker to head past John Colligan into the corner of the net. Moments later O’Connor had the chance to add a second but failed to connect properly with Balfour’s cross and his volley drifted wide.

Thistle soon settled and a lastditch challenge from Jordan Mullen denied Ryan Morrow. The visitors did have the ball in the net in the 16th minute when Stephen Reid touched home a Morrow drive from an offside position which referee Drew Kirkland correctly ruled out for offside.

It was Vics who were still having the better of the play and Balfour had a great chance when through on the keeper but couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet. But in the 16th minute the Whitletts striker did get his name on the scoresheet. From a short free kick taken by the Thistle keeper was intercepted by an alert Balfour who rounded Colligan before rolling the ball into the empty net.

Balfour had a great chance to increase Vics advantage in the 33rd minute when he raced clear from the halfway line but as he tried to round the keeper, Colligan managed to get a vital hand on the ball to save at the second attempt.
Moments later from a McFall cross, Chris Black headed against the post with the keeper beaten but ten minutes before the interval Ardeer made the breakthrough they badly needed. A long ball forward found Ryan Morrow who ran clear to fire low past Ally McInnes.

An Eddie Graham shot was deflected and blocked by Colligan and Black fired wildly across the face of goal as Vics looked to restore their two goal advantage. The goal gave Ardeer some confidence and they began to threaten the home defence but on the stroke of half time Whitletts had a great chance to go in two goals ahead at the break but as Balfour raced in on goal, he tried to set up the unmarked Sam McFall in front of goal but Paul McKay got back to block the cross to keep Vics lead to just one at the interval.

Vics were forced into a change at half time with Blair Anderson replacing Eddie Graham and not long after the restart it was O’Connor who went close for the home side with a shot from the edge of the area that found the side netting.

But in the 57th minute Whitletts went 3-1 ahead courtesy of a penalty kick after O’Connor was pushed inside the box going for a high ball. Referee Kirkland pointed to the spot and O’Connor dusted himself down to fire high past Colligan from 12 yards.

The Ayr side were still having the better of the play but Ardeer issued a reminder of their threat when a Reid shot from distance landed on the top of the net.

With seven minutes remaining Ardeer had a great chance to reduce the leeway as Vics failed to clear their lines properly and as Kevin Ramsay returned the ball into the area, with two players looking to be in a clear offside position but the whistle never sounded and McInnes reacted well to block Jordan Bruce’s point blank shot. From the resultant corner Ramsay headed over but with six minutes remaining Vics finally put the tie to bed. Tony Balfour got the break of the ball and turned inside a defender before firing past Colligan from 15 yards.

Blair Anderson saw his thumping drive from the edge of the box tipped over the bar by Colligan and from the resulting corner Louis Kerr’s header was blocked on the line but in the 90th minute Vics secured their place in the next round.
Tony Balfour broke into the box from the right and evaded two challenges before being brought down by the keeper giving referee Kirkland no option but to point to the spot. A yellow card for Colligan and Michael O’Connor stepped forward to fire home Vics’ fifth of the afternoon. In the aftermath of the penalty Thistle keeper Colligan spoke out of turn to referee Kirkland and was shown a second yellow card.

Another great result for Whitletts in preparation of their return to league action next Saturday and a trip to league leaders Irvine Victoria.

Whitletts Victoria
1. McInnes 2. Mathieson 3. Ewart 4. Buchanan 5. Mullen 6. Black (Sloan 54) 7. S.Kerr 8. Graham (Anderson HT) 9. McFall (L. Kerr 81) 10. Balfour 11. O’Connor
Subs (not used) 16. McCarrison 17. L.Kerr 21. Masterson
Ardeer Thistle
1. Colligan 2. Ramsay 3. Nugent 4. McKay 5. Donnelly 6. Hogan (Kean 67)7. Tan 8. Bruce 9. S.Reid 10. Maxwell (Blair 72)11. Morrow
Subs (not used) 15. J.Reid 16. Armstrong 17. Gemmell
Referee: Drew Kirkland