Largs Colts welcomed Stewarton Annick to Barrfields on another cold, wet and windy Saturday morning. Stewarton were a side without a point in the league though they have had some very much improved results of late and Colts were taking nothing for granted. With the strong performance from last week, the home side made one change to the starting eleven with McTaggart returning for the injured MacNeil. Irwin took the gloves behind the back four of Leishman, Loudon, Weir and Barbour. The midfield was R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart with Smith and Brown the front two.
Stewarton won the toss and decided to switch to make use of the gale force wind swirling round Barrfields in the first half. Colts therefore had kick-off and how they made use of it. R.Coupar and Bainbridge kicked off and Smith, Brown and Cormack were involved before the ball found McTaggart 25 yards from goal. The skilful midfielder took a touch and struck with power in off the bar for a spectacular opener inside 17 seconds.
Stewarton are a strong and powerful side and the tested the Colts defence early in the game. They were forcing corners from the right which the Largs defence managed well. On six minutes Colts looked to double the lead when Bainbridge found Smith who struck for goal though the keeper saved well before Brown followed up though sent the ball just wide of the target.
The visitors were pressing Colts back yet again and forced more corners and had their fair share of the ball and territory. On ten minutes Brown went through on goal and shot just wide with Smith looking well placed to net. R.Coupar then threaded a ball through to Smith who looked sure to score before the referee called him marginally offside . Colts started to create more at this point and on 17 minutes it was Bainbridge the provider with a neat ball to Smith to make it 2-0 Colts.
Three minutes later and it was three to Colts. Again it was Bainbridge cutting in from the left and Cormack got himself into the danger area. The energetic Cormack had his back to goal just two yards out and neatly back-heeled the ball which the keeper could not stop as it rolled over the line.
The goals began to flood in for the Largs boys when again Bainbridge played a perfectly weighted ball through to Smith who finished with composure for his second of the game. R.Coupar then had a couple of balls through to Smith who struck with power on both occasions just wide of the target before Smith found Brown who played in Cormack for a neat finish and Colts fifth of the game.
Just before the break Stewarton were awarded a free kick 25 yards out. The shot was struck well and heading for the corner though the positioning and handling of Irwin made it look like an easy for the impressive keeper.
Half Time: Largs Colts 4-0 Stewarton Annick
Colts made two changes at half time with Robson replacing Leishman and Blair on for Brown. An early second half chance fell to Largs when Smith was played in though his shot flew wide of the target. Colts then worked a training ground corner with the shot unfortunately just clearing the bar. (No details to be told as this will be used again!)
Colts did score on 43 minutes when Smith finished well to grab a well-deserved hard working hat-trick. He then made way for J.Coupar and McTaggart was replaced by Florence. On 48 minutes the visitors were unlucky not to score. A good break down the right side resulted in the pacey striker baring down on goal. Irwin managed to get part of his body in the path of the shot and although it still headed towards the goal. Just as it was about to cross the line, Barbour was in position to get back and clear the ball to preserve that clean sheet.
The goal of the game came with just under an hour played as Colts further extended their lead. Some quick one touch passing with host of players involved eventually found J.Coupar who played it first time into Blair. He then dummied his shot before slotting the ball home for a sublime team goal.
The same players combined again in another neat move with J.Coupar playing a perfectly weighted pass into Blair who raced through on goal, but this time he could only put the ball well wide of the target.
Stewarton unfortunatelylost their keeper to injury and had to put in an outfield player for the remainder of the game. With 15 minutes left R.Coupar took a break to be replaced by the returning Brown with Bainbridge moving into the deeper midfield role. Cormack, who was a real menace for the Stewarton defence, had a great strike well saved by the stand in keeper.
The diminutive midfielder was not to be denied his hat-trick however . A corner was met by the head of Robson, but smacked the bar and back into play. With the ball still in and around the penalty area, Cormack, with his back to goal went for the spectacular overhead effort and connected perfected for Colts eight of the game.
Colts did score again however when they were awarded a free kick following a foul on Brown 22 yards from goal. Bainbridge took the ball, just left of centre, and struck it perfectly into the top right corner of the goal to round off another excellent performance.
Florence was linking the play well as was J.Coupar with further chances created. First it was Blair who was played through and he struck with power and was unfortunate to see the ball come back off the bar and cleared. Brown was also close to scoring in the closing seconds before the referee brought the game to an end.
Full Time: Largs Colts 9-0 Stewarton Annick
Another excellent performance from the Largs team and along with the goals it was pleasing to see another clean sheet – the fourth in five competitive games in 2016. Cormack’s energy and strength in the challenge along with three goals was excellent. Smith was at his predatory best with three goals and other notable strikes just wide of the target. Florence and J.Coupar did well when they came on as did the entire squad with some excellent passing football. Man of the Match went to Bainbridge for the second week in a row for another commanding midfield performance which included a number of assists and a stunning free kick.
Colts now move top of the table and have a 100% record in 2016 competitive games. That said however, a number of games against rivals are still in the pipeline. May will be a month of title deciding games against AC Irvine, Boswell, Galston, Valspar & KSC Barca. The title race is tighter than that of the Premier League!
Colts now face Rosebank, who finished second in the West league last season in what will be a very tough test for the locals. As always it is a 10:30 Kick Off, at Barrfields, and Colts would really appreciate the support.
Largs Colts: Irwin (GK), Barbour, Loudon, Weir, Leishman, R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown Subs: J.Coupar, Florence, Robson, Blair.