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Match Report : Darvel v Whitletts


Manager Neil Duffy was looking for a reaction from his players after last weeks Ardagh Cup defeat at home to Maybole and he certainly got it as injury ravaged Vics opened their league campaign by sweeping aside the challenge of promotion hopefuls Darvel at Recreation Park.

The Dam Park side lined up without the spine of their team due to long term injuries to striker Tony Balfour, Midfielders Louis Kerr and Sam McFall and central defender Raymond Buchanan but that didn’t hinder this Whitletts side as they hit Darvel for six to record their first win in the Irvine Valley for eight years.

Whitletts intention was clear from the kick off and within six minutes they were in front as Josh Sloan rose to head home from a long throw in by Blair Anderson.

Three minutes later the home side were level after hesitation in the visitors defence allowed Jordan Ryan in on goal and referee Chris Trainer adjudged that Vics keeper Ally McInnes tripped the striker at the edge of the six yard box and Alan Moodie drilled home the equaliser from the spot.

The visitors were soon back on the ascendancy and Sean Ewart was unlucky as his downward header bounced over Allan Tipping in the Darvel goal only to crash back off the face of the crossbar. But midway through the half Vics regained the lead. Jordan Boyd released Niall Kennedy and the big striker brushed aside the challenge of Moodie to fire low past Tipping to restore Vics advantage.

Vics should have had a spot kick of their own when Martin Findlay clearly pulled the jersey of Ewart as the Vics’ youngster broke into the box looking to get on the end of a cross but the home side had their moments too and Alisdair Gaw was unlucky as his header flashed inches wide from a Fraser Gall corner.

But it was the visitors who were in control of the game and they increased their lead eight minutes from the interval when from a free kick out on the left Paul Cameron rolled the ball to Chris Black to hammered the ball past Tipping from 22 yards.

Darvel almost reduced the leeway just before the break as Jamie Henderson got on the end of an Ian McCreadie free kick but McInnes saved the skippers’ effort.

The woodwork came to Darvel’s rescue five minutes after the restart when Tipping thought Paul Cameron’s free kick was going wide and he was relieved to see the ball crash back off the post to spare his blushes.

The keeper was beaten again in the 63rd minute when Ross Campbell beat a defender before drilling the ball home from 22 yards. It should have been five two minutes later when Kennedy set up Cameron with only the keeper the beat but somehow Tipping managed to block the midfielders attempt but within sixty seconds Vics were 5-1 up. This time Campbell released Kennedy who bore into the box to fire high past the keeper.

The scoring was completed in the 75th minute when Black rose to head home an Anderson cross after some neat Vics play around the box and in the final minute Cameron almost go this name on the scoresheet as he attempted to lift the ball over the advancing keeper but Tipping got his finger tips to the ball to deny the Vics midfielder.

Now the benchmark has been set, the challenge for the Whitletts players now is to maintain that level of performance, starting with the visit of Annbank United to Dam Park on league duty next Saturday.

21. Tipping 2. Findlay 3. Moodie 4. Gaw 5. Walsh 6. McCreadie (Wales 75) 7. Armour (Caldow 75) 8. Henderson 9. Ryan 10. Parris 11. Gall (Johnston 66)
Subs (not used) 12. Marshall 17 Orr

Whitletts Victoria
1. McInnes 2. Anderson 3. Campbell 4. Mullen 5. Cunningham 6. Sloan 7. Boyd (Mathieson 79) 8. Black 9. Cameron 10. Kennedy (Kerr 79) 11. Ewart (McGinn 72)
Sub (not used) 21. Dorigo

Referee: Christopher Trainer