By Ross Lafferty


Scorer: McGaughey (55)

THE latest of the summer friendlies for Andy McFadyen’s Arthurlie side, saw last season’s WoSFL Conference A opponents, Irvine Victoria, visit Barrhead on a sunny Wednesday evening.

While the two teams finished a massive 76 points apart in the last campaign, there wasn’t much between them in their league matches, ‘Lie running out the victors both times, by scores of 3-1 and 2-0.

And so this match was to prove another tight encounter, the away team being quickest out the blocks and dominating most of the first half at Dunterlie Park.

The first real chance of the game came in the 7th minute, James Maxwell nipped in ahead of Calum Nolan to reach a ball over the top, but Garry Black was quick off his line and blocked the forward’s effort.

2 minutes later Black was called into action again, tipping a spectacular overhead kick from Kevin Adam past the post.

It was a busy start to the match for the Arthurlie goalie and he had to be sharp once more to push a Chris Jackson shot over after an enterprising run from the Vics full-back.

It was a while before the home side made any inroads into the game as an attacking threat, 23 minutes having passed before a nice sequence of passing led to a Conor Bradley cross bouncing off the crossbar.

Just a couple of minutes later Gary Carroll came close, but his header from a Dale Simeon free kick drifted narrowly wide.

Carroll came close again on the half hour mark, putting a drilled cross from Tam McGaughey wide of the target at the back post.

The captain was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet at the third time of asking though, first hitting the post then seeing his attempt from the rebound brilliantly saved by Owen McCallum on 38 minutes.

After a disappointing opening 45, ‘Lie looked more alert at the start of the second half and McGaughey gave them the lead on 55 minutes, picking up the ball at the edge of the box before picking his spot and curling past McCallum.

McGaughey almost turned provider, dinking a lovely ball over the defence and into the path of Simeon, but the winger’s left-foot shot was always creeping over the bar.

Irvine hadn’t quite matched first half performance after the break but did come close to leveling on 73, Steven Gaffney just failing to get enough of a connection a Brian Maneely free kick to divert it goalwards.

As the game drew to a close, Andy McLaughlin was playing a part at both ends, first denying Vics a certain goal with a great block, and then forcing McCallum into action with a drive from 25 yards that required a smart save from the ‘keeper.

McCallum again kept the home side out in injury time, parrying an effort from David Mackay wide of his left hand post.

It was the last meaningful action of what had been a worthwhile pre-season exercise for both sides, and an entertaining 90 minutes for those watching from the terraces.

Arthurlie team: Black, Pearce, Bradley (McLachlan 57), Nolan (Dunsmore 65 (Mackay 80)), Shields (Mackay 72), McLaughlin, Roulston (Warnock 49), Leyden, Carroll (c) (Healy 65), Simeon, McGaughey (Ross 75)

Subs not used: Scott (GK)