McBookie Premiership



By Stewart McConnell

YOU may have heard of the Thrilla in Manila in which legendary boxer Muhammad Ali overcame bitter adversary Joe Frazier in a classic contest. This it could be said was the belter at Bellsdale, in which two of the junior game’s heavyweights took each other on.

While let’s say we did not see the silky skills demonstrated by the world heavyweight contenders in 1975, it was a gripping contest nonetheless between a home team looking to keep alive a title challenge and a visiting team needing points to boost survival hopes.

In seven minutes visiting goalie Shaun Newman saved at the feet of Nicky Docherty from eight yards. Three minutes later Beith were awarded a penalty following a foul inside the box on Thomas as Collins but the spot-kick effort from Conner McGlinchey agonisingly came off the crossbar.

Then in 15 minutes a free-kick 25 yards out from visiting skipper Ben Carson was cleared by the home defence. Six minutes later, a Nicky Docherty header from a McGlinchey free-kick was well saved by Newman.

Medda forged a good chance in 23 minutes when a 25-yard drive from Jordan McGuire was well gathered by Stephen Grindlay.

Meadow came so close in 26 minutes when Jared Willet made a surging run and squared to Ciaron Smith, whose 10-yard effort was well saved by Grindlay.

Newman confidently saved a Darren Christie effort from the edge of the box in 32 minutes.

Willet made a 20-yard run in 37 minutes before having his shot from inside the box brilliantly saved by Grindlay.

However Beith went ahead on the stroke of half-time when former Meadow striker Keir Milliken slammed the ball home from 20 yards. A minute after the break a 25-yard free-kick from McGlinchey was easily saved by Newman.

Beith were unlucky in 50 minutes when Christie dodged three challenges before having his 12-yard shot brilliantly saved by Newman.

Medda levelled with a vintage strike in 58 minutes when McGuire sent a defence-splitting pass to the superb Willet who rolled the ball home from 10 yards. Newman made another great save in 63 minutes, this time to keep our a Ryan Docherty header from eight yards.

Beith came very close in 76 minutes when opening goalscorer Milliken sent a 12-yard left-foot drive just over the bar.

Grindlay came racing out to save at Smith’s feet from eight yards in 34 minutes.

Smith turned John Sheridan inside out before shooting behind the goal from eight yards in 83 minutes.

Four minutes later a Callum Gow header from a Ben Carson free-kick was brilliantly saved by Grindlay. Beith were traduced to 10 men in 88 minutes when Nicky Docherty was given a straight red card for throwing the ball at a Meadow player.

The hosts went down to nine men on full-time when Paul Frize was given a second yellow card for a rash challenge as Meadow held on for what could prove an important point.

BEITH JUNIORS: Grindlay; McGlinchey, N Docherty, R Docherty, Sheridan, Middleton, Christie, Frize, Milliken, Collins, Bradley. Subs: Haggarty, McPherson, Noble, Green, MacDonald.

IRVINE MEADOW: Newman; Latta, Carnwath, Gow, Devlin, Spence, Pearson, Carson, Smith, McGuire, Willet. Subs: McLaughlin, Wells, Woods, Kellington, White (gk).