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Whitletts Vics : Match Report


Vics chalked up their first competitive victory of the season in the rain at Dalmellington as they overcame a Craigmark side that battled to the very end in this Ardagh Cup clash at Station Park.

Whitletts got off to the best possible start as they raced into a two goal lea inside the first five minutes but only secured the points thanks to a late striker from Tony Balfour.

It took Whitletts only 3 minutes to make the breakthough when young Kris Kerr sidestepped two challenges inside the area before firing low past Jamie Brotherston for his first goal for the club.

Two minutes later Whitletts doubled their lead as Tony Balfour’s free kick caught a wicked deflection of the defensive wall to send Brotherston the wrong way.

It looked as at that point as if this would turn into a comfortable victory for Neil Duffy’s side but Craigmark had other ideas. With ten minutes on the clock an attempted cross from ‘Mark’s Marc Dyer came off the outside of the post with Jordan Mullen clearing behind. And from the resulting corner kick only a quite superb TRIPLE save from Ally McInnes denied the home side. First at full stretch the Vics’ keeper got a hand to a netbound Dyer shot and in the melee that followed, somehow managed to push another effort onto the crossbar before reacting to block another netbound shot on the line.

McInnes was at it again moments later with another full length save to deny Dyer’s 25 yard shot as the home side looked to get themselves back into the game.

Vics regained their composure however and had the better of the first half from then on, controlling the play which was mostly in the ‘Mark half of the park. Balfour had the chance to ad to their tally when he got on the end of a Fraser Smith pass by although his shot beat the advancing Brotherston it rolled agonisingly wide of the far post. The Whitletts striker went close with a free kick from 22 yards as the Ayr side went in with a two goal advantage at the break.

The second period started in a similar fashion, with Vics having most of the possession but in the 61st minute they had to rely on McInnes again as young Graham Swailes was allowed to race onto a long ball forward despite looking well offside but as he tried to lob the ball over McInnes, the Vics keeper got up to push the ball behind for a corner.

Suddenly Craigmark had a belief about them again and they began to put the pressure on the visitors and in the 67th minute they got their reward. With his only error of an impressive match, McInnes mistimed his challenge on Dyer as the former Ayr youngster raced in on goal, leaving referee Jamie Shepherd not option but to point to the spot from which Dyer duly netted.

Now it was game on with the impressive Dyer at the centre of everything the home side did. It was from his strike from outside the area that McInnes tipped over the bar and then the ‘Mark midfielder should have done better when from the resulting corner kick he headed wide from six yards out.

With 14 minutes remaining Whitletts should have sealed the points when Balfour was released by Kris Kerr but with only Brotherston to beat blasted the ball over the crossbar. Vics’ were nearly made to pay for that miss two minutes later when after a neat one-two inside the area Paul McCambley blasted the ball off the outside of the post from six yards when he looked set to score but with eight minutes remaining Whitletts finally secured a hard fought victory with a third. In a near carbon copy of the chance missed moments earlier. It came from a craigmark free kick that Ryan McCubbin inexplicably past straight to Paul Cameron who in turn released Balfour in on goal and this time the hitman took the ball past the advancing keeper before rolling the ball into the net.

Whitletts almost added a fourth in the final minute when Chris Black set up Cameron but the midfielder fired narrowly past the post.

Craigmark Burntonians
1. Brotherston 2. McCubbin 3. Steele 4. Kirkwood 5. R. McKay 6. Hainey (Dawson HT) 7. McCambley 8. Dyer 9. Graham (Hopewell HT) 10. Reid (McCrorie 88) 11. Swailes Subs (not used) 12. Higgins 16. Uppal

Whitlets Victoria
1. McInnes 2. Anderson (Boyd 70) 3. Smith 4. Mullen 5. Cunningham 6. Sloan 7. Kennedy (Black 70) 8. K. Kerr 9. Cameron 10. L. Kerr 11, Balfour Subs (not used) 12. Longair 16. Buchanan 21. Dorigo

Referee: Jamie Shepherd