MATCH REPORT: MUIRKIRK 2-3 ARTHURLIE
By Ross Lafferty
MUIRKIRK 2-3 ARTHURLIE
IT was business as usual in the final league game of the season for Andy McFadyen’s Arthurlie side as they sealed another three points with a fine win away to Muirkirk.
In the 30th game of their Conference A championship campaign, ‘Lie grabbed a 28th win to end the season undefeated, with only four points dropped in the shape of two draws.
As has become customary in these final matches, Muirkirk sportingly applauded the champions on to the park with a guard of honour, but it was at that point that the civility was put to the side.
In an energetic start to the match the ball went from end to end with both sides having chances and the game looking like it might be a closer run thing than the league positions would suggest.
The home side were the first to seriously threaten the goal, on 8 minutes, when they had a shot deflected just wide for a corner with James Scott in the visitors’ goal rooted to the spot.
Three minutes later Arthurlie thought they had taken their first opportunity when Nad Zeb slotted home but the referee awarded a free kick to Muirkirk for a foul in the build-up.
On 15 minutes, with Muirkirk breaking clear, Tam McGaughey picked up a yellow card for a foul that broke up what was a promising attack.
Gary Carroll and Mick MacNeil both went close with headers and McGaughey shot narrowly past before Carroll forced the home keeper to turn a shot round the post on 30 minutes.
And from the corner that followed it was captain Carroll that gave ‘Lie the lead, heading home from Darren Ramsay’s kick.
On 38 minutes Carroll then added a second, rising high above the home defence to power in another header, this time from a McGaughey cross.
Dale Simeon has been on quite a run of goalscoring form and he was bearing down on goal once more just before half-time when he was crudely fouled on the edge of the box.
Darren Ramsay stepped up to take the free-kick and he beautifully curled it over the wall and into the top corner for a goal that no keeper could have got near.
After the break Arthurlie came flying out again, looking to add to the lead and see out the season in style.
But just five minutes after the second half had started the game took a twist when McGaughey was harshly shown a second yellow and ‘Lie were reduced to ten men.
With the man advantage ‘Kirk started to get on top and they pulled a goal back on 65 minutes when Jordan Leyden’s poor clearance fell straight to Nathan Gordon who made no mistake in putting the ball into the net.
But for all the home side’s pressure they rarely troubled Scott’s goal until the dying stages of the game when John Hetherton claimed their second after a long free-kick into the box.
Despite the disadvantage of being down to ten, Arthurlie saw out the game with relative comfort to complete a stunning invincible season.
Arthurlie team: Scott, Chalmers, Ramsay (McLaughlin 53), Pearce, MacNeil, Roulston, Zeb (Healy 76), Leyden, Simeon (Smith 65), McGaughey, Carroll (c)
Subs not used: Gebbie, Dunsmore, Amponsah, Black (GK)