Arthurlie 2-1 Kilwinning Rangers

By Ross Lafferty

WoSFL Premier Division

14:00 Saturday 15 April 2023

Dunterlie Park, Barrhead


Arthurlie: Carroll (17), Smith (90)

Kilwinning: McColm (52)

IT was a vital six-pointer at Dunterlie Park this week as Kilwinning Rangers made the trip from North Ayrshire, third-bottom taking on second-bottom in the West Premier Division.

With so much at stake it would have been no surprise to see this develop into a cagey affair, but the opposite was to turn out to be true as the teams served up a cracking tie, and neither manager could have been left complaining about a lack of effort when the game drew to a close.

And as has been typical of the season at Dunterlie, there was some stunning late drama before the action came to an end.

It didn’t take long for the home side to get on the front foot, Lee Roulston seeing a 20-yard effort deflect just wide for a corner in the opening minute.

Equally, it didn’t take the visitors long to hit back, Kenny Marshall also trying his luck from range but seeing his shot go just wide.

Jack Maccalman then came close with a header from a corner that James Scott happily watched go off target.

Kilwinning striker Ally McColm got himself involved in an off-the-ball tussle with ‘Lie defender Mick Macneil on 8 minutes and then found himself going into the book 2 minutes later for a midair collision with Lee Roulston.

The action was nonstop at this point and just another minute passed before Scott was called into action to deny Mark Lamont in a one-on-one and Jordan Stuart saw his effort on the rebound deflected wide.

It was the Barrhead men who were to hit first though, Gary Carroll being sent clear on the right on 17 minutes before unleashing an unstoppable effort from the corner of the box into the roof of the net.

The game continued to go from end to end, both teams showing the urgency of the occasion, and Rangers came close to levelling on 26 minutes but Scott was equal to McColm’s powerful angled effort.

Arthurlie were given a golden opportunity to double the lead on 33 minutes after Max Kerr was upended in the box by Kilwinning goalkeeper Ally McInnes. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, but Carroll opted to go for power with the resulting penalty and saw the ball fly over the bar and off the Dunterlie perimeter fencing!

Play had to be halted for several minutes as we approached the 40 minute mark, Roulston heading a cross clear before clashing heads with Keiren Wood and both players needing treatment before play could resume.

As injury time got underway Roulston thought he had added a second for Arthurlie, heading home a free-kick from deep, only to see the referee signal for a foul and award a free-kick to Kilwinning.

The second half started exactly as the first had ended, with both teams setting a relentless pace and showing no signs of easing up.

Just 7 minutes into the half the scores were level, McColm prodding home after an effort had rebounded off the left hand post.

The visitors were getting on top with an hour having been played and Colin Reilly looked to change things for ‘Lie, introducing Gary Smith in place of Andy McLaughlin.

Smith was immediately involved, getting on the end of a Jordan Leyden free-kick but seeing his header sail just wide.

The visitors were dealt a blow on 64 minutes when Marshall was sent off after receiving a second yellow for an aggressive challenge in the middle of the park.

Simeon was almost immediately put clear on the right but saw his intended cutback for Smith cleared over the bar by a recovering defender.

Just moments later Lewis Magee was then gifted a chance, but his shot was straight at McInnes and easily held by the Kilwinning number one.

Arthurlie were looking to get some luck with the ball over the top and Simeon raced clear in the 78th minute but McInnes stood up well to block his eventual shot.

Roulston then blasted over 2 minutes later when he was played into space on the right.

It was all the home side by this point and with 5 minutes to go they thought they had taken the lead when MacNeil headed home from a corner.

The referee, however, again denied them a goal, awarding another free-kick, a decision that drew cries of “cheat” from the home crowd.

But they were not to be denied as the final minute drew to a close, Simeon again racing clear and, after being forced wide by McInnes, cutting back on to his right foot to send a cross to the near post for Smith to turn home.

It was a goal that sparked joyful scenes as the Arthurlie bench piled on top of the pile of players celebrating what they knew could be the most important of winning goals.

And it was to be the key moment of an enthralling game, the ten men of Kilwinning struggling to make anything of the little time that remained before the referee blew for the end of the match and set the seal on the three points for Arthurlie.

Arthurlie team: Scott, MacNeil, Magee, Bradley, Roulston, Kerr (Warnock 75), McLaughlin (Smith 60), Leyden, A.Catlow (Bilham 55), Carroll (c), Simeon

Subs not used: Jeanes, J.Catlow, Strain, Black (GK)

Kilwinning team: McInnes, Lewis (McMahon 83), Boland, Wood, MacCalman, Marshall, G.Millar, C.Millar, McColm, Lamont (M.Millar 67), Stuart (Mackin 67)

Subs not used: El-Zubaidi, Torrance, Kavanagh, Henderson