MATCH REPORT: ARTHURLIE 3-2 MAYBOLE
By Ross Lafferty
On a dramatic night in Barrhead, Arthurlie claimed the WoSFL Conference A title against Maybole in spectacular circumstances.
With two points from their remaining fixtures all that was needed for ‘Lie to be confirmed Champions, a bumper crowd turned out at Dunterlie Park only to see the league leaders go into the break two goals down.
But in a remarkable turnaround the spirit that has seen them go without a single league defeat all season came to the fore in the second half and saw them clinch a brilliant comeback victory.
The home team had looked up for the occasion at the start as well, wasting no time in attacking, and they could have taken the lead in the first minute but Mick MacNeil headed narrowly past from Darren Ramsay’s cross.
Jordan Leyden had a speculative shot deflected wide in the early stages and Gary Carroll also came close with a header from a Leyden cross.
Leyden was everywhere in the opening stages and he had another go on 10 minutes but his shot from distance went well wide.
Gary Smith was sent through on goal two minutes later but tried to square the ball for Dale Simeon and a Maybole defender made a well timed interception.
As the half went on, however, Arthurlie were struggling for ideas as Maybole started to creep into the game more and more.
Very little was happening in the game but Maybole were definitely the aggressors by the midway point of the half and a prolonged spell of pressure saw them take the lead on 32 minutes.
With Arthurlie appealing for handball by their number 7, the ball broke to 11 at the edge of the box and he side footed an effort into James Scott’s bottom left corner.
Andy McFadyen’s team seemed rattled and a shadow of their usual selves, but almost found a leveller on 37 minutes when Smith cracked the crossbar with a deflected free kick from 30 yards.
After a scrappy end to the first half Maybole doubled their lead with a scrambled goal from close range.
After the break, the Barrhead side were quick out the blocks, Tam McGaughey winning a corner after some nice work on the left.
From the resulting kick MacNeil rose well above the visiting defence but could only send his header over.
Smith had another free kick deflect off the wall on 48 but this time it was an easy catch for the goalkeeper.
After a couple of hopeful efforts in the first half, Leyden, having been moved into defence at half time, came a lot closer in the 51st minute, curling just over with his left foot.
On 56 minutes, however, Leyden made no mistake, an Arthurlie corner being headed out to him on the edge of the box and his volley finding the bottom right corner.
One minute later the scores were level! Smith forced the goalkeeper into a fine save from 10 yards before Roulston crashed home the rebound.
Things were certainly kicking off on the park and a high ball over the top saw substitute Aaron Healy challenge the goalkeeper only to be sent crashing to the ground by a high knee.
In the melee that followed Arthurlie assistant Craig Palmer was red carded as the home bench raged at the referee’s refusal to send off Maybole’s number one.
On 63 minutes, however, the jeers turned to cheers when the ball broke to Simeon and he gave ‘Lie the lead from 12 yards.
Healy came close 2 minutes later with a volley that went just wide as the confidence soared through the league leaders.
Roulston had another pop soon after, curling narrowly past the post from 20 yards.
Maybole were gifted a golden opportunity to equalise on 77 minutes with a soft looking penalty decision but Scott parried the number 11’s effort and the rebound was cleared for a corner.
As we approached the last five minutes a nervous hush seemed to come over Dunterlie and there were a few sighs of relief when an effort from the visitors flew just over Scott’s crossbar.
A series of corners for the South Ayrshire side had hearts fluttering further but after two minutes of injury time the referee’s closing whistle sealed a quite incredible win and promotion to the Premier League.
Arthurlie team: Scott, Zeb, Mackay, Nolan (Roulston 46), MacNeil, Ramsay (Healy 54), Carroll (c) (Pearce 81), Leyden, Smith, Simeon, McGaughey
Subs not used: Dunsmore, Bradley, Amponsah, Black(GK)