McBookie Premiership



By Christopher Dodds

MEADOW striker Aaron Connolly was delighted as his goal on his first start for more than a year guided them to their first win of the league campaign.

Meadow opened the scoring just after the half hour. Calum Gow cleared a Kilwinning cross which fell to the returning Connolly on the half way line, he was allowed to turn and drive through the heart of the Kilwinning defence. He side stepped David Syme and made no mistake from the left hand side of the area as he slotted it past the helpless Adam Strain in the Kilwinning net much to the home fans' delight.

Buffs nearly equalised immediately through Bryan Boylan, who met a Liam McGuinness cross from the left with a powerful header which rattled the crossbar and went out for a goal-kick. Leaving Michael Whyte stranded in the Meadow goal.

Meadow survived an early second half scare when a Marc Mckenzie cross was half cleared to Garry Flemming at the edge of the box, which he acrobatically volleyed wide of the goal.

Goal hero Connolly was slipped through again by captain Ben Carson, bearing down on goal he slotted his shot just past the right hand post.

With 20 minutes to go, Medda substitute Ciaron Smith was felled in the area by McCloskey, which left whistler Michael McDermid no choice but to point to the spot. Connolly’s return took another twist as he placed his penalty just wide.

Meadow held out the last 15 minutes with some do-or-die defending which highlighted the team mentality on the day, to get their first win of the season.

Hero Connolly said later: “It felt great to mark my first start in over a year with a goal, I'm feeling healthier and fitter, I've had a good pre season and that goal today will give me confidence going forward and I'm only going to get more match fit in the coming weeks. But most importantly we got the three points today."

On his side's fortunes Connolly added “Hopefully we can kick on next week against Cambuslang, the boys have took a lot of stick in recent weeks but today i think we showed that we deserved to be in this league and we showed one of the better teams what we could do.

“We backed up last season’s performances which got us to the play offs, we showed the credentials of that run we went on today because we dug so deep and fought for each other.”

On his penalty miss he added “It never feels good to miss a penalty and the boys dug me out a hole in a way but that hopefully was just a few cobwebs still hanging around. But overall im just delighted for everyone that we could get the win today.”

IRVINE MEADOW: Whyte; Latta, Willet, Gow, Miller, Spence, Reece Pearson, Ben Carson (C), Darren Jones, Jordan Maguire, Aaron Connolly. Subs: Smith, McLennan, McGinty, Aitchison.

KILWINNING RANGERS: Strain; Mclevy, McCloskey, Pettigrew, Syme, Maitland, Mckenzie, Flemming, Boylan, Lewis, McGuinness. Subs: Whyte, Nisbet, Curragh, Wardrope.