Scorers – Irvine: Graham (65), Boyd (78, 87)

By Ross Lafferty

AFTER last week’s record league win against Petershill, it was cup action for Arthurlie this Saturday as Irvine Meadow visited Dunterlie in the South Challenge Cup.

In wet and windy conditions the home side understandably failed to reach the heights of the previous fixture but both teams served up an entertaining match with the Ayrshire side ultimately making their way into the third round.

It was the visitors who were the first to threaten a goal, on 4 minutes, winning a corner after a shot from distance was deflected wide.

From the set piece, Louis Kerr worked it well to get into a shooting position and his dipping shot forced an excellent save from James Scott in the home goal.

On 9 minutes Connor Boyd was the next to threaten, stinging Scott’s palms with a drive from the corner of the box.

It was all Medda in the opening quarter hour and Callum Graham also tried his luck from range but put a powerful effort just past the post.

On 21 minutes, however, ‘Lie put together their first decent move of the game, Gary Smith showing nifty footwork on the right before rolling the ball into the box for Aaron Healy, and his left-foot shot on the turn cannoned back off the right-hand upright.

The game was certainly brightening up as both teams pushed forward, Healy coming close after beating two defenders on the left only to see his shot saved by Marc Waters on the half-hour.

Medda immediately broke up the park, Ross Urquhart volleying narrowly over from 20 yards.

Smith then saw Waters deny him from close range as the home side started to make it a more even match after a sluggish start.

Graham again came close for the visitors on 40 minutes, but sent his effort high over the bar with only Scott to beat, before Smith was stopped by Waters once more following good work by Healy on the left.

The second-half started exactly where the first had ended, with both teams pushing on in search of that elusive opener.

After Alan Dunsmore had got into an advanced position to cross into the hands of Waters on 49 minutes, Medda quickly countered and Scott did well to block from Graham.

On 58 minutes the visitors tried to change things with the introduction of some fresh legs, Conor O’Donnell and Jamie Martin replacing Urquhart and Kerr.

But it was the home side who almost immediately found the net, Jordan Leyden playing Dale Simeon into a good position only for the forward’s right-footer to be deflected just over the bar.

It was Medda who were to strike first though, Bryan Wharton’s long throw on 65 minutes being flicked on by Calum Gow for Graham to head home.

Smith saw a header from 8 yards smothered by Waters on 70 minutes after fine link up play by Healy and substitute, Andy McLaughlin.

The comeback wasn’t to be, however, Irvine grabbing a second when Boyd’s header came bounced down off the bar and was adjudged to have crossed the line.

With six minutes remaining ‘Lie had a goal disallowed in controversial circumstances, Simeon chipping over Waters and Carroll seeming to run from behind his teammate to head into the empty net, only for the linesman to flag for offside.

Just a couple of minutes later Medda put the finishing touches on an impressive victory when Boyd was set up for his second by O’Donnell.

Arthurlie team: Scott, Dunsmore, Shields, MacNeil, Pearce (Carroll 74), Warnock (McLaughlin 65), Roulston, Leyden (c), Healy, Smith (McGaughey 76), Simeon

Subs not used: Black (GK), Magee, A.Catlow, J.Catlow

Irvine Meadow XI: Waters, Lyle, Byrne, Wharton, Gow (c), Slooves, Faulds (Findlay 87), Urquhart (O’Donnell 58), Graham, Kerr (Martin 58), Boyd

Subs not used: McCloy, Smith, Wallace, Bysouth