McBookie League Two



By Martin Rogan

IT may have been a day of bright sunshine at Campbell Park but a biting mini-Beast from the East made overhead conditions difficult.

If it was difficult for the players, it was even more so for the frozen few on the sidelines for whom this scruffy, scrappy encounter was barely watchable. Both sides over-hit passes and neither team allowed the other any time to get the ball down and play football.

Muirkirk's David Edwards hit a 20-yard shot which was held by goalkeeper Chris Wright and a Jordan Conlon drive from 25 yards sailed over the top. Craig Peck's long punt came back off the crossbar but that was as good as it got for the visitors.

Victoria gradually came into the game and a break down the right by Kalson Quiala forced Nathan Bogle to come off his line and smother the ball. Bogle also had to make a save from Evariste Bembo's shot following a long throw-in and even when a Quiala cross did beat the goalkeeper there was no one in the box to get on the end of it.

Wright gave his defenders palpitations when he took an air shot at a back pass but the ball ended in the side net. The goalie did better though, when he dived to block a Keenan McVey effort just before half-time.

'Kirk's cause was not helped early in the second half when Edwards limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury and, if anything, goalscoring opportunities were even fewer after that.

Wright played sweeper-'keeper to intercept a pass aimed at McVey and Bogle did something similar at the other end. When the Bogle decided to beat the forward and dribble the ball up towards the halfway line a voice from the shed summed up the fare on offer with the despairing cry, "Gaun yersel'!"

In the later stages, Saltcoats began to look the likelier team to break the deadlock. Bembo probably went down too theatrically in the penalty box as Peck came in to challenge then substitute Vince Newlands put in a cross from the left that Bogle clawed away from the advancing forwards.

The visiting defence was showing signs of strain by the end and they got themselves into a tangle that presented Bembo with the chance to run through the middle. Bogle, alert as ever, came off his line and dived bravely at the forward's feet, giving Michael Howie time to hook the ball clear.

Referee Steven MacDonald was very tolerant of time-wasting and this contributed to the fragmentary nature of the play. Three of the half-dozen bookings were for dissent which probably indicated that the players were finding the game as frustrating as the spectators. In the end this was a game neither side deserved to win.

SALTCOATS VICTORIA: Wright; Onanu, Byrne, McKenzie, Frame, Kissongo, Quiala, Elue, Bembo, Farrell, Morecambe. Subs: Holobowicz, Seidi, Newlands, Mohammed.

MUIRKIRK - Bogle; Baxter, Peck, Howie, Murray, Marshall, Campbell, McVey, Edwards, Conlon, Macdonald. Subs: Lundie, Steedman, Mee, Misanjo, Cunningham.