KSC had not lost a league match all season and their visitors had not lost since October, so this had all the makings of a true top of the table clash at Kilwinning Sports Centre. In the end it was the visitors who ran out convincing winners to boost their title challenge.
KSC were under no illusions that they were in for a tough match, missing 4 regular players. And so it proved. The leaders’ only blemish in the league this season was a draw at their opponents’ ground. In this return fixture and the visiting side were to produce a confident display, helped by a man of the match hat trick from striker Mark Curragh.
The game opened with some scrappy midfield exchanges as both sides tried to get the ball down and play. Already though Troon looked the more likely side, with searching balls through to Curragh and Daniel Storrie stretching the home defence.
This set the scene as Troon broke the deadlock on 13 minutes. From another long ball Curragh this time gathered and controlled the ball on the edge of the box, before chipping a well placed shot past James Sinclair.
KSC pushed forward in search of an instant reply, with Ben Black providing most of the early impetus down the left. His looping cross, come shot almost caught out Troon keeper Ross Abercrombie on 15 minutes. Black fired just over shortly later before Thistle went up the other end to extend their lead.
Curragh was first to react to another ball forward, and showing great strength and footwork left the home defence in his wake. His shot from just inside the D gave Sinclair no chance to put Thistle in dreamland after just 25 minutes.
On the run in to half time the hosts started to exert some pressure in the hope of getting a foothold in the match. After a good passage of play Frazer Bryden found Black on the edge of the box but he pulled his shot just wide.
KSC capitalised on the pressure to get a goal back on 38 minutes. A free kick was awarded on the edge of the box and Alan Murphy’s blocked shot broke to Lewis Walker down the right. Walker centred the ball and Cameron Thomson shot home from close range.
Shortly later Adam Ogilvie headed just over as KSC pushed for an equaliser before half time. An entertaining half came to an end as Troon almost extended their lead. Only a fine save from Sinclair thwarted the lively Storrie from restoring the visitors’ two goal lead.