McBookie Ayrshire District League



by Frank Cassidy

IF ever a match was living proof of the importance of taking your chances, this was it.

When Derek Kennedy’s shot was cleared after the home side had created an opening, after just two minutes, it was a sign of things to come.

They had several more early opportunities with Craigmark keeper Matthew McClymont racing out his goals to clear at one point.

His intervention was to prove crucial as Dylan Thirtle opened the scoring for ‘Mark with a composed finish after latching on to a long ball.

The visitors were gradually coming into the match, although Jordan Bruce had two attempts saved, one from a free-kick.

Kennedy then missed when it looked easier to score before Craigmark broke quickly, William Hall coming close with a shot from a tight angle.

Their ability to counter-attack brought goal number two and a defence-splitting Bryce Reid pass found Jordan Barr, who made no mistake.

Craigmark now had a firm grip on proceedings and Scott Dempster sent Thirtle clear but keeper Paul McCann emulated his opposite number with a clearance.

McCann was helpless minutes later though when Fraser Lamont gathered the ball and picked his spot through a ruck of defenders.

With half-an-hour gone it looked like a hopeless cause for Ardeer, but Archie Sewell sent in an inviting cross for Kennedy, who once again came close.

But they did get back into the game just after the break, when Matthew Stevenson and Kennedy combined with a decent passing move which Stevenson finished off with a low shot.

Ardeer’s cause was not helped, though, when Stevenson got a second yellow with gaffer Derek Gemmell also seeing red for dissent.

A sense of injustice seemed to sting Thistle into action and Gareth Turner had two shots in as many minutes.

Keeper McCann made a superb diving save from Thirtle, who had once again got in behind the defence.

Kennedy also came close, at the other end, when he managed to get a shot in, despite being outnumbered, and it crashed off the woodwork.

A moment’s hesitation in front of goal, when he should maybe have shot on sight, then gave the opposition time to close him down.

Although enjoying most of the possession, Ardeer were vulnerable to Craigmark’s breakaways and McCann came to their rescue again.

Dempster and Declan Dunlop had carved the defence open to supply Kyle Ferguson, whose shot brought out a marvellous save.

Overlapping full-back Paul McKay then collected a James Maxwell pass to set up Michael Holden, but his shot hit a defender.

With less than 10 minutes remaining, two incidents summed up what had transpired in the previous 80.

Kennedy shot over from a good position and, with Ardeer pushing men forward, they were clinically picked off by Craigmark.

Dunlop broke clear of a chasing pack of opponents and dispatched the ball past a helpless McCann.

Holden was convinced that Dunlop was offside but was booked for protesting the decision to award the goal.

In time added on, Ferguson shot just over from the edge of the box as Craigmark finished on the ascendency, having weathered the storm.

Thistle will learn from this game and they will realise chances can be at a premium and must be taken if you want to stand a chance of winning matches. They were up against a resurgent Craigmark side who now top the table after a dream start to the campaign.

ARDEER THISTLE: Paul McCann; McKay, Thomson, Mark McCann (Kean 80), Holden, Stevenson, Kennedy, Bruce, Sewell (Maxwell 69), Turner, Gillies (Nyame 69). Subs not used: Paterson, Gemmell.

CRAIGMARK BURNTONIAJNS: McClymont; Lamont, Stephen McKay (Dawson 85), McColgan, Ryan McKay, Hall (Ferguson 63), Barr, Thirtle (Dunlop 63), Reid, Dempster. Subs not used: Mair, Steele.