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Match Report : Whitletts Vics


Whitletts promotion ambitions were dealt a severe blow as Ardeer completed the league double over the Ayr side this season. Having defeated Vics at their Dam Park home a fortnight ago, Ardeer repeated the dose on their own patch and showing the desire and team spirit, deserved to take the spoils.

However despite this setback, Whitletts promotion hopes are still very much in their own hands but now they have to show npt only the ability but the desire to achieve this goal by winning their last 5 league fixtures, including home games against promotion rivals Ardrossan and Kello. There is no more room for error in what is proving to be the tightest promotion race in the Ayrshire District League for years.

The game was very open from the kick off with Darren Baird getting on the end of Munya Mbanje’s cross but his header flew over. At the other end Lee Munro had the opportunity to give the home side a third minute lead only to be denied by Allu McInnes.

For the first half hour, Whitletts were having the better of the play and should have been in front. Baird curled a shot wide from the edge of the box and there was a similar fate for Chris Black’s header from a Paul Cameron cross.

Black was then denied again by a last ditch challenge inside the box as the midfielder seemed set to score while with 20 minutes on the clock, Baird got on the end of a Mbanje through ball but lofted the ball over the bar. Tony Balfour was denied as another last ditch clearance prevented him getting on the end of a Black cut back from the byeline.

Impressive Thistle striker David Henry created an opening for the home side when he turned Danny Cunningham inside the box but could only shoot straight at McInnes while for Vics, Mbanje’s shot from the edge of the area flew just past the angle.

At this point as if the visitors were the more likely to make the breakthrough but the game was turned on its’ head in the 36th minute as the Vics’ defence failed to deal with a free kick into the box and as Lee Munro looked to take advantage he was tripped by Black and referee Liam Butler pointed to the spot from which Ryan Morrow took the responsibility to fire past McInnes.

Before Vics could regroup they were two down as Morrow took advantage of some slack play and drilled a low shot past McInnes from 20 yards.

Whitletts were rocked but reduced the leeway in the 41st minute. After Louis Kerr was brought down by Scott Reid inside the area, Balfour stepped forward to dispatch the penalty past Paul McCann.

But right on half time, Ardeer restored their two goal advantage. As Black dallied with a clearance, the ball broke kindly for Munro to fire past McInnes from close range.

Whitletts had it all to do in the second half and in the opening minute Balfour laid a Mbanje cross off for Cameron who fired inches wide.

But any hopes Whitletts had of getting back into the game were ended in the 54th minute. A superb move down the right was started and ended by Henry who bulleted a header past McInnes into the top corner.

Ardeer now had their tails up and were looking for more and when Munro tried to capitalise on a defensive mix up involving Cunningham and McInnes, it took a fine save from the Vics keeper to deny the home side a fifth.

Munro was then unlucky with a cheeky backheel after some good work by Henry who left Sean Ewart in his wake on the byeline and then after McInnes tipped a drive from the edge of the area round the post, from the resulting corner the Whitletts number one tipped Henry’s header onto the crossbar before the danger was cleared.

Jordan Bruce then headed a Munro cross into the side netting but it wasn’t all one way traffic although the best they could muster was a couple of long range efforts from Black and Niall Kennedy that were dealt with by McCann.

Vics were given some late hope six minutes from time after theyw ere a awarded a controversial second penalty after the referee adjudged a handball by Bruce just inside the area to be deliberate. Kennedy scoring the rebound after McCann had save his initial spot kick.

The game erupted right on full time when Vics trialist Mbanje retaliated to a scything challenge from Thistle’s Archie Sewell. In the melee that followed, Mbanje was shown a straight red card for his retaliation, while amazingly Sewell received no punishment for his initial challenge.

However there can be no doubt about the outcome of the match. Ardeer thoroughly deserved their victory and now Whitletts have five cup finals that they must win if they are to achieve their ambitions of playing Superleague football next season.

Ardeer Thistle 1. McCann 2. McKay 3. Campbell 4. Donnelly 5. Robertson (Wilson 72) 6. Bruce 7. Morrow 8. Reid 9. Munro 10. Henry (Smith 90 min) 17. Maxwell (Sewell 87) Subs (not used) 16. McCann 18. McIntyre

Whitletts Victoria 1. McInnes 2. Anderson 3. Ewart 4. Kirkland 5. Cunningham 6. L.Kerr (K.Kerr 67) 7. Mbanje 8. Black 9. Baird (Kennedy 57) 10. Cameron 11. Balfour (Boyd 81) Subs (not used) 15. Boyle 16. Buchanan

Referee: Liam Butler