Match Report : Whitletts Vics
WHITLETTS VICTORIA 1 - DARVEL 4
As painful as it may be, sometimes you just have to accept that you come up against a better team. Darvel are a Championship club in name only. Their squad and set up is of Premiership quality and that showed as they came from behind to beat Vics in this Dam Park encounter. Yet there are positives that George Grierson can take from this match.
A stretched Vics squad carrying injuries and absentees was dealt a further blow when playmaker Louis Kerr broke down in the warm up just half an hour before kick off forcing the Vics boss to change his line up.
In dreadful conditions with strong wind and heavy rain, Darvel were quick out the traps and Aaron Black had a couple of early chances. One denied by a block by Morgan Brown and the other the striker lifted wide of the target after beating the offside trap.
Vics were dealt a further blow in the 13th minute when Blair Anderson had to limp off after injuring his ankle to be replaced by Shaun Murtagh and within two minutes the home side should have taken the lead. From a superb Sean Ewart cross makeshift striker Jordan Boyd headed over from six yards.
Darvel’s reaction saw Black squander a great chance after a defence mix up in the Vics defence that ended with the striker firing into the side netting. David Grant fired over from the corner of the box and then Black was denied by Scott Johnston as the visitors searched for the opener.
Johnston then parried a Scott Ferguson volley but with ten minutes of the half remaining it was Whitletts who took the lead. From a corner into the danger zone, the Darvel defence failed to deal with it and it fell to ex-Darvel defender Callum Walsh who drilled the ball high into the net.
The goal stung Darvel and Johnston parried a Darren Miller effort before Vics should have doubled their advantage with a superb cross by Murtagh was met by Ewart six yards out but his effort flew over the bar.
And almost immediately Vics were made to rue that miss when Danny Boyle rose unchallenged at the back post to head home the equaliser two minutes before the break. And right on half time the visitors took the lead when a simple ball through the centre of the Vics defence found Grant who fired the visitors in front.
Nine minutes after the restart Grant grabbed his second of the afternoon as he race onto a through ball to slip past Johnston.
Michael Reilly forced a fine save from Vale keeper Chris Truesdale who tipped his curling shot from the edge of the box over the bar.
But any hopes Vics had of staging a comeback were ended in the 74th minute when Eddie Ferns, just on the park as a substitute received a pass from Grant to fire past Johnston.
Grant was then denied a hat trick by the Vics keeper with a fine save from a strikers shot at the back post.
Yet, although under the cosh for large spells of the match, the home side played as a unit and kept their shape better as Grierson begins to mold the players to play the style he wants with young Callum Ogston a standout in the middle of the park. Yes they have a long way to go and are in the middle of a relegation battle to keep their Championship status but with players the quality of Robert Patterson, Louis Kerr and Thomas Donovan to come back into the side, Whitletts undoubtedly have the quality if the players have the desire, to get themselves out of the situation they currently find themselves in.
1. Johnston 2. Findlay 3. Brown 4. I.Kerr 5. Walsh 7. Ogston 8. Boyd 9. Reilly 11. Anderson (Murtagh 13) Brown 86) 15. EwartSubs (not used) 13. McColgan 14. Patterson 16. Buchanan
1. Truesdale 2. Pearce 3. Marshall 5. Meggatt 6. Muir 7. Miller (Airlie 77) 8. Robertson 9. Grant 10. Black (Ferns 74) 11. Ferguson (Devitt 77) 20. Boyle
Subs (not used) 17. Marr 21. Cowie
Referee: David Milton