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Thursday, 11 June 2015 14:14

Last gasp KSC Rovers celebrate cup success

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The campaign for Summer football was in full swing on a sun-drenched evening at Kilwinning Sports Club as these two sides served up a match of last-minute drama. Rovers held the slight edge in the second half, before Galston rallied with a sensational last-minute equaliser to force extra time. As penalties loomed, KSC then secured the trophy in a grandstand finish with the very last kick of the ball.

It was a game that on the balance of chances created KSC just about merited, but the Galston side can look back at a spirited effort in which they never gave up. They had their opponents rocking at the end of normal time and may have snatched it had the game gone on just a few minutes longer.

KSC enjoyed the bulk of the early first-half pressure, with a couple of tidy runs from Liam Larmour and Thomas Johnston testing Regan Menzies' handling skills in the opening quarter of an hour. The high pressing game continued to keep Galston in their own half, seeking to force mistakes and capitalise on loose balls. Jared Peacock went on another run through on 19 minutes, shooting straight at Menzies.

Galston were being denied space to allow midfielders Dylan Johnston and Kyle Lennon to influence the game and ply the ball around. Instead they found a few half chances from the direct approach, with Cameron Orr almost finding Luke Ballantine in the box from a couple of long balls. Ballantine was almost through on goal on 29 minutes but for a last-ditch tackle.

Larmour passed up a golden opportunity for KSC on the half, driving just over from a corner kick, as KSC continued to enjoy the bulk of the midfield play. Just on half time though Galston almost caught them napping as Connor Montgomerie just held onto Ballantine's header from a Loudon Strachan free kick.

Sadly someone had to lose this breathless end-to-end Ayrshire Schools Cup Final at Dam Park. In the end it took something special to separate the sides, and it arrived two minutes from time, courtesy of a spectacular Sean McLeod free kick and hat trick to secure the trophy for Marr.

It will have hurt Greenwood to lose in this fashion, but they will reflect on a match in which they gave their all until the very last, and which was lost to a fine strike, rather than to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out.

The game began at a frantic pace, which kept up for 90 minutes. Marr were immediately on the front foot, as midfielders Craig McGuffie and McLeod sought to dictate the play in the Greenwood half.

McGuffie had a couple of early shots as Marr continued to press, and sure enough they were rewarded with an opener on nine minutes. A free kick was awarded 30 yards from goal, and McLeod gave us a first sight of his dead-ball expertise, crashing the ball past Smith to give Marr the lead.

Marr had a spring in their step, with McLeod, McGuffie and Jamie Martin making all the early running, and could have added to their advantage four minutes later as Evan Maley shot wide.

It took Greenwood until 20 minutes to find their feet, having weathered the early storm. Ben Black and Mark Curragh provided a good platform up front, with Black forcing a save from Matthew Ellis from close range. Two minutes later Curragh had his side level.

A corner from the left was half cleared to the Greenwood striker, lurking inside the area, who made himself space to shoot through a crowded box and into Ellis’ far corner.

Greenwood surged forward with confidence as the game now raged from end to end. Curragh and Black’s runs were proving tricky for Marr’s defence to track.  Daniel Storrie almost restored Marr’s lead on 28 minutes, and McGuffie had a go from a long-range free kick which crashed against the crossbar two minutes later.

Chances came and went for both sides as an action packed half came to an end, with Curragh and Black coming close for Greenwood, and Storrie shooting just wide for Marr. The sides went in level but somehow having scored just two goals, as players and spectators got a chance to catch their breath.

Monday, 01 June 2015 17:59

KSC Town seal league title triumph

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The league leaders dug deep away to their nearest rivals to get over the finishing line and pop the bubbly at Troon's Hoisery Park. Town have been used to winning in a more swashbuckling manner this season, but against tough opposition and adverse weather conditions were made to grind out this victory.
 
As the rain and wind beat down this did not have the feel of an end of season match in late May. Both sides battled to produce any kind of patterned football in an often scrappy match and with much at stake tempers flaring. KSC began with the wind at their backs and sought the early advantage.
 
Forward Ben Black was getting into some dangerous areas out wide, and fired a first effort at goal just wide on seven minutes. Two minutes later Black was put through on goal again by Jack Ewing's pass and this time was felled in the box. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Alan Murphy duly stepped up to fire the spot kick low to keeper Jordan McNaught's right corner to give KSC the early breakthrough.
 
The visitors continued to press home the early advantage and were to add to their lead eight minutes later. A corner from the left swung in which the Troon defence managed only to half clear, and Christopher Wilson was on the edge of the box to shoot low past McNaught for number two.
 
After this rocky opening Troon started to win more possession and get up the pitch to test their opponents, winning a few corners and free kicks in dangerous areas, yet were unable to really threaten James Sinclair's goal for the opening half hour.
 
But the home side did finally pull a goal back thanks to another dangerous delivery from Andrew Lewis, and Darren Spence was on hand in the box to shoot high into the net on 31 minutes.
 
Troon continued to press forward, with Reece Cunningham looking lively down the left, and were starting to win the territorial battle in the run up to half time. KSC broke up the pitch and could have extended their lead, firstly from Taggart's run and shot, and then a Murphy free kick which whistled just past the post.
Monday, 01 June 2015 15:48

Hurlford fight back to lift cup

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Hurlford Boys Club celebrated a dramatic win in the Liz Ogilvie Under 14 Cup Final, and coming from two goals down to beat league champions Crosshouse will make victory taste all the sweeter.
 
In a highly competitive match Crosshouse seemed to have gained the upper hand, but the match turned in a five minute spell before the interval, as Hurlford forced an equaliser to gain the perfect half time boost.
 
Hurlford had the first opening on 5 minutes, Barry Davidson testing Rian Smith with a powerful run and shot.
 
At the other end Crosshouse looked dangerous every time they got striker Owen McGinty on the ball. After forcing a free kick save from Lauchlan Kirkland on 16 minutes, McGinty opened the scoring 4 minutes later.
 
Another free kick was awarded from 35 yards, and David Morrison's spectacular effort crashed off the bar, with McGinty on hand to bundle the ball home from close range. The champions had their noses in front.
 
Hurlford sought to get back in the game, and their best route to goal seemed through the runs of Davidson and Denver Bolland, but without really forcing a save from Smith in the Crosshouse goal.
 
The league champions soaked it up and seemed in full control, extending their lead on 29 minutes. This time a corner from the right caught the Hurlford defence napping as Jamie Montgomery headed home at the far post for number two.
 
The game could have been beyond Hurlford on 35 minutes as Jordan Moffat passed up a glorious chance with a free header in the box from Morrison's free kick.
 
Then, all of a sudden the game took a dramatic twist on 38 minutes, as Hurlford got themselves back into the match. An early through ball caught out the Crosshouse defence, and Bolland brought the ball down in the box to fire a low composed shot past Smith. The fight back was on.
 
It was enough to energise Hurlford, and they pushed forward as the half came to end. And sure enough, right on half time they were back on level terms. Adam Campbell fed the ball through to Lyon Kerr down the left, and his squared cross fell to Bolland for the easiest of tap ins. Hurlford might not have wanted the half to end but went into the break on the front foot.
Monday, 01 June 2015 14:32

Kilmarnock Portland celebrate Cup triumph

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KSC Thistle were cheered on by their home following at Kilwinning Sports Club, but on the day were unable to prevent an impressive Kilmarnock Portland from lifting the William Tracey Under 13's Cup.
 
In what was a very competitive opening 20 minutes both sides tried to get a grip of midfield. Portland midfielder Jai Ewing skewed a shot just wide on just two minutes after a fine run into the box.
 
Slowly the Kilmarnock side were beginning to assert themselves, pressing in midfield and getting into some good positions around the box. On 23 minutes they broke the deadlock, and in spectacular style. Striker Scott Sherrie brought the ball down just outside the KSC box and unleashed a looping half volley high beyond the reach of Jack McLauchlan. 
 
The goal energised Portland, and particularly Sherrie's appetite for more goals. The KSC defence were not matching Sherrie's movement up front, and sure enough the danger man extended his side's lead on 28 minutes. After some good pressing in midfield Ewing won possession and played an inch perfect through ball through to Sherrie. This time he made no mistake Kilmarnock seemed in full control.
 
Sherrie could have had a hat trick before half time but McLauchlan proved equal to the task, saving his shot on 35 minutes to keep the interval deficit at two.

Caledonian United cruised to victory over Irvine Meadow to lift the Age 16 CAYFA league cup at Kilwinning Sports Club. After a tight opening half, and just the one goal between the sides, Caley eventually ran out convincing winners after a fine second half display.

The match was nevertheless a real contest for the opening half, and Irvine may wonder what might have been had they not passed up a golden opportunity to take the lead on the half hour. Thereafter Caley took control of the game, with Alistair Boyle pulling the strings in midfield and rounding victory with a sensational fourth goal.

Both sides showed great purpose and energy from the start, pushing forward. Mitchell Ewing had Caley’s first chance on five minutes, as Boyle threaded a ball through for the striker to fire just over.

Irvine provided a threat from the set piece. A good delivery from the left by Liam Fitzsimonds found Jack Roddenn at the far post, who headed just wide on 15 minutes. Roddenn was again found by a free kick from Jamie Cook a few minutes later, but was just unable to connect with his header.

Caley tried to get things going with Ryan Strain down the right, and Boyle running things from midfield. Finding a yard of space the midfielder fired just over from outside the box on 25 minutes. Kyle McDiarmid came close soon after as Caley tried to get their noses in front.

Irvine were still getting into some good positions in the Caley half, and passed up the chance of the game on 32 minutes. David Cherry laid the ball through the middle for Kieran Struthers with the goal at his mercy, but he could only shoot over the bar.

Both sides were coming closer, and Caley had a great chance on 40 minutes, as Ewing slipped Strain through to round Meadow keeper Greg Connor. Only a goal line clearance by Jamie Lambert kept the scores level.

But right on half time Caley were in front. From a free kick from the right Boyle centred for McDiarmid to head in at the far post for the Caley breakthrough.

KSC Town’s dream season continued, as they celebrated victory over Troon Thistle in the Age 17 League Cup final at Kilwinning Sports Club. Troon had won at KSC on league business a month ago, and so came up against opponents with a score to settle.

Cheered on by a vociferous home support, KSC came from behind to make success all the sweeter, with a stand-out second-half performance from striker Jack Ewing a big factor in the end result.

This did not seem the likely outcome for the opening 20 minutes, as Troon began the match confidently, winning a lot of possession in the KSC half. After Fraser Russell fired just wide from a left hand cross after just two minutes, his side were in front three minutes later.

A right corner was swung into the box and Daniel Storrie leapt above the defence to head past James Sinclair. Was this to be deja vu from the league match?

Thistle continued to enjoy a good spell after the opener, winning a series of corners from which the twin aerial threat of Storrie and Mark Curragh provided the main danger. Andrew McCall almost extended their lead, firing just over on 15 minutes.

KSC were slowly getting out of their blocks, with breaks upfield through Ben Black and Cammy Thomson. Thomson just skimmed the bar on 21 minutes with a cross come shot, as the home support shouted their encouragement.

The game’s turning point came on 26 minutes, as KSC levelled from the spot. Thomson was brought down in the box and Alan Murphy stepped up to fire home the penalty.

It seemed to give KSC confidence as they went forward more fluently through Black and Thomson, with tireless running from Ewing always providing options up front.

Both sides had chances before the break, with Black firing just over for KSC on 35 minutes, and Troon’s Owen Murphy flashing Storrie’s cross just past the post on 41 minutes.

Crosshouse Athletic celebrated trophy success in the Age 14 Supplementary Cup final, but they were made to battle all the way by a spirited Tass Thistle United at Kilwinning Sports Club.

Owen McGinty’s two first half goals seemed to have given his side one hand on the cup, but Tass fought back through Reiss Paterson’s goal of the game. It was only late in the second half that Reece O’Connor’s goal wrapped up cup glory for Crosshouse.

Crosshouse began on the front foot, keeping possession and stretching the Tass defence. On four minutes O’Connor headed just over from Ong Duff’s cross, before William Nelson tested Tass keeper Crawford Kenefick with a routine save.

After 11 minutes McGinty got his shooting boots on, as two free kicks were awarded in quick succession just outside the box. His first shot flashed just wide of Keneflick’s right hand post, but this only served to sharpen his eye for his next effort, one minute later. This time McGinty looped a shot high beyond Keneflick to give Crosshouse the early lead.

Going behind seemed to shake Tass in life, as they went forward in search of an immediate leveller. On 15 minutes Greg Kean put Kieran McMillan through down and the left and his shot was well parried by Rian Smith, who then tipped Jamie Grant’s shot from the rebound just over.

The match became a midfield scrap, with both sides competing for the upper hand. Crosshouse’s second goal on 31 minutes instead bypassed the midfield as a long goal line clearance from Smith put McGinty clean through on goal.

Showing great control and composure the young striker ran through to chip past Keneflick and put his side seemingly in control of the tie.

Saturday, 25 April 2015 19:02

Bonnyton ease to cup glory over West Kilbride

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Bonnyton Thistle have won the Central Ayrshire Supplementary Cup after a 4-0 victory over West Kilbride 99s.

Thistle took the game by the scruff of the neck in the early stages, with Ciaran Perry capitalising on a loose header to run through on Ross Jack in the West Kilbride goal. The keeper made a good save and forced Perry out to the byline where he managed to get in a cross to the back post for Callum Ramsey who almost opened the scoring but for a good defensive block.

Ramsey was involved again shortly after, playing through Owen McGhee who took the ball round Jack, but finding himself too wide to shoot, he retained his composure and passed back across goal to Perry who scuffed his shot just wide.

Involved in everything good that Bonnyton were doing, Ramsey had to watch as his shot from just inside the box was deflected narrowly over the bar by the covering Liam Cunningham.

It was Bonnyton with the pressure and chances but they were just missing that killer touch. It arrived halfway through the first period when a tough Callum Boyle tackle turned into a great through ball for Perry. He cut inside, beat two men into the box and unselfishly laid it off for McGhee who stroked it into the bottom corner to open the scoring.

West Kilbride cannot have many complaints as they were struggling to deal with Bonnyton’s pace up front and it was that pace that led to the second goal of the game moments later. Jamie Knight released Perry and this time he took it on his own and, bearing down on Jack, stayed calm to finish past the goalkeeper’s left.

With Bonnyton pushing for the third, West Kilbride had Christopher Stillie to thank for clearing Knight’s header off the line from a corner. But it was only a brief respite as Bonnyton scored an excellent goal to make it 3-0.It was all about McGhee who first produced a silky turn to create the space then put Perry through on the goalkeeper with a no-look reverse pass that took the defence out of the game. Perry took the chance with aplomb, burying it in the top corner.

That was the end of the scoring in the first half, much to the relief of West Kilbride who were desperate to regroup and try again. The Bonnyton attack were causing a lot of problems and it was almost one-way traffic, particularly down the wings where their pace was devastating West Kilbride.

Sunday, 19 April 2015 21:17

Rampant KSC Town hit Tass for Six

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League leaders KSC Town have the title in their sights after an impressive win at their local rivals. On paper the match looked a tough test for the visitors, but as the Tass heads dropped, KSC turned on the style, with Cammy Thomson laying on three goals and grabbing the goal of the game.
 
KSC have been in the goals in recent weeks, and were in an attacking mood, enjoying early pressure and midfield possession from the start. Christopher Wilson missed a golden chance on eight minutes, firing just wide from a corner.
 
Saltire tried to press their opponents, and Joshua Tait fired just over from a good run a minute later. From then on it was virtually one way traffic in the first half.
 
KSC took the lead on 10 minutes, as William Mclean blasted home Thomson’s squared ball from close range. Five minutes later, these two linked up again from the left for KSC’s second.
 
Thomson’s corner rebounded back out to him, and this time he played a pinpoint cross for McLean to head his second and put his side firmly in charge.
 
The visitors were on top now, getting the ball down and creating chances at a high tempo. On 33 minutes they extended their lead. Thomson was again the architect from a left hand corner, from which John Monan blasted home the third goal.
 
Tass were being penned back and tried to get things going through Tait and the forward runs of Declan Smith and Dylan Champion. But from winning a series of corners and free kicks in the KSC half, they just were unable to trouble James Sinclair’s goal.
 
It could have been four just before half time as Ben Black crossed for McLean, now on a hat trick. Tyler Fullarton saved well, and again from Thomson’s rebound to keep his side’s deficit at three.

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