WoSFL Premier Division

14:00 Saturday 25 March 2023

Dunterlie Park, Barrhead

Scorers: Carroll (pen 55), Magee (61)

It was a second home game for new Arthurlie manager Colin Reilly on Saturday following his debut win last week against Cumnock.

Irvine Meadow were this week’s opponents as the North Ayrshire side made the trip up to Barrhead looking to avenge a 1-0 defeat from earlier in the season.

Things have taken a turn for the better for Medda since Aaron Healy gave Arthurlie the three points at Meadow Park back in August.

The Irvine men were sitting fourth in the league prior to this match against an Arthurlie side firmly involved in a relegation battle.

The first breakthrough of the game appeared on 14 minutes, the visitors slicing through the home defence and creating an opening for Connor Boyd. Ryan McGregor, however, was sharply into a defensive position and made a great block as the Irvine man unleashed his shot.

Two minutes later Arthurlie were on the attack and Dale Simeon sent a well struck left-footed effort goalwards, but Marc Waters in the Irvine goal managed to collect the ball at the second time of asking.

The home side were slowly creeping into the game after a slow start and Lee Roulston sent a header goalwards on 20 minutes but saw the ball sail over the bar.

Meadow were forced into a change in the 28th minute, when Rhys Wallace went down injured and had to be replaced by Cameron MacNeil.

Three minutes later ‘Lie produced the best move of the game, a clever backheel from Roulston in the middle of the park opening up space on the right and Gary Carroll only narrowly failing to get on the end of Simeon’s eventual cross.

Despite the lack of goals, both teams were serving up an entertaining game and Simeon again came close on 35 minutes, running on to an Andy McLaughlin through ball but seeing Waters get down well to stop his low drive.

Two minutes after that opportunity, Jordan Shelvey had a great opportunity to open the scoring but could only head over from a Carroll cross.

The second half started with a prolonged stoppage as Jordan Leyden received treatment for a bloody nose. The Arthurlie midfielder was forced into changing his jersey before play could be restarted.

When the game resumed Neil Slooves narrowly missed out on giving Medda the lead, heading just wide from a corner.

It was to prove a key moment as Arthurlie went straight on the attack and Connor Bradley was upended in the box, forcing the referee to point at the spot.Captain Gary Carroll was back on spot-kick duties following McGregor’s miss against Pollok and he duly despatched the ball into the back of the net to give ‘Lie the lead.

On the hour mark, Waters was again called into action, making a great save to turn the ball over the bar from a McGregor header.

From the corner that followed the Medda goalie again did brilliantly to tip another effort on to the bar, but there was nothing he could do with the rebound as Lewis Magee smashed the ball into the net to double Arthurlie’s lead.

The home team were playing some excellent football and Roulston and Carroll both went close to claiming a third following slick passing moves.

With the last 10 approaching, Arthurlie were continuing to hold the upper hand and Roulston ran on to a pass from Carroll at the edge of the box before sending a shot goalwards that Waters did well to keep hold of.

As we approached 7 minutes of added time, Irvine were handed a possible lifeline with a penalty award for a questionable foul by Bradley. Callum Graham stepped up to take the kick but saw James Scott equal to his effort, saving low to his right.

It was the last action of an entertaining match as the referee immediately blew his whistle and Reilly’s Arthurlie team celebrated another three points in their battle against the drop.

Arthurlie team: Scott, Magee, McGregor, Bradley, Bilham (MacNeil 85), Roulston, Leyden, McLaughlin, Carroll (c), Simeon, Shelvey (Jeanes 71)

Subs not used: Nolan, Pearce, Shields, Warnock, Black (GK)

Irvine Meadow team: Waters, Wallace (MacNair 28 (McMillan 64)), Byrne (Lambert 82), Slooves, Findlay, Lennox, O’Donnell, Urquhart (Stewart 64), Graham, Kerr, Boyd (O’Hare 82)

Subs not used: Black, Bysouth (GK)