MATCH REPORT: ARTHURLIE 2-1 BEITH
Arthurlie: Simeon (73), Healy (90)
Beith: Fowler (85)
By Ross Lafferty
FOLLOWING the midweek announcement of his upcoming move to Scottish Championship club Queen’s Park, it seemed inevitable that Aaron Healy would grab the headlines this weekend as Arthurlie welcomed Beith to Dunterlie Park.
The 19-year-old attacker certainly did not disappoint, with yet another brilliant display capped off by a stunning injury-time winner in a game that served as a great advert for the West of Scotland Premier Division.
On a bright, but cold, day in Barrhead it was the visitors who had the first chance on 9 minutes, but Nicky Docherty could only head wide from 8 yards out.
A minute later Beith dangerman Josh Fowler came close from a tight angle but James Scott saved well before Mick MacNeil cleared from danger.
Arthurlie had their first clear chance on 20 minutes, Healy was put clear on the left but shot narrowly wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Beith were inches away from opening the scoring on 32 minutes when Blair Rossiter curled in a cross from the right that was destined for the top right corner until Ryan McGregor brilliantly glanced the ball wide for a corner with his head.
Rossiter then wasted a good opportunity, dragging his effort wide from 15 yards after creating space for himself with a lovely pirouette that took the Arthurlie defence out of the game.
On 40 minutes Gary Carroll had the home side’s best chance of the first half, running on to a long kick from Scott before seeing Francis Carlin save his powerful drive well at the near post.
Beith started the second period the more impressive of the sides and Carlo Monti came close on 53 minutes, shooting narrowly wide from 20 yards.
The home side then came close a couple of minutes later, Dale Simeon beautifully controlling a long ball into his path before shooting just past the post.
Shortly after, Jordan Leyden had an opportunity from 15 yards but saw Carlin make a great one-handed save.
There were appeals for an Arthurlie penalty on 62 minutes when Healy seemed to be pulled back after racing past two Beith defenders into the box but the referee waved away the claims.
Beith then saw a glorious chance go begging, Monti being denied by a fantastic Scott save low to his right.
Healy was posing problems for Beith any time he got on the ball and he set up Simeon for another chance that Carlin again did well to save.
But on 73 minutes Simeon made no mistake, running on to McGregor’s through ball before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into the empty net.
Leyden came close to doubling the Arthurlie lead on 80 minutes, heading just over the bar after rising well to meet a free-kick 8 yards out.
With 5 minutes remaining Beith’s chances of a comeback were dealt a blow when they were reduced to ten men, Rossiter seeing red for a lunge on Simeon.
However, they found themselves level just a minute later when MacNeil missed a clearance and Fowler slotted past Scott.
With the game approaching an end the game could have went either way, but it was the home side who were to find the winner in dramatic fashion.
Well into injury time the ball found its way to Healy in space on the left and, after turning Conner McGlinchey inside out, he calmly stroked the ball past Carlin into the net to spark wild celebrations from the home side.
Arthurlie team: Scott, Dunsmore, Nolan (Shields 68), MacNeil, Pearce, McGregor, Leyden, McLaughlin, Simeon, Carroll (c) (Smith 80), Healy (Warnock 90)
Subs not used: Bradley, Trialist, Black (GK)
Beith team: Carlin, McGlinchey, Docherty, Noble, Burns, Langan (Monk 74), Monti, Frize, Fowler, Rossiter, Watt (Cummins 80)
Subs not used: McBride, McKay