McBookie Super League Premier Division



BEITH's perfect start to the league campaign was halted by their closest neighbours, whose nippy forwards cashed in on a poor first half defensive display by the hosts.

Beith started well and Kilbirnie keeper Kieran Hughes made the first of many good stops when he touched over a Keir Milliken header. The visitors' route to get forward was via talented forward Jon Scullion and he remained a threat throughout.

There was no hint of things to come when the hosts swept into the lead in 14 minutes as Paul Frize capitalised on a spell of pressure to find the net with a shot from 20 yards which was helped by a slight deflection.

Kilbirnie had shown little until they were handed a gift to get them back into the match. Beith goalie Stephen Grindlay somehow spilled what looked a comfortable take at his near post and on hand James Finlay turned the ball into the path of the arriving Scullion who had the simple task of stroking it into an empty net.

Beith went back on the offensive but keeper Hughes turned two on target David McKenna shots behind and Richie Burke and Darren Christie also had efforts going close with the hosts pressing.

However the visitors went ahead in 32 minutes when they made the most of scraps again with Scullion in the right place to pick his spot after Grindlay had parried a Williamson shot as his defenders spectated.

Ladeside were absolutely ecstatic four minutes later when they hit a stunned Beith side again as former Ayr United winger Peter McGill was allowed to advance virtually unchallenged before finding the bottom corner with a fine finish from the edge of the box.

Beith continued dominating possession but corners were defended well by the visitors and further fine saves by Hughes from McKenna and Burke saw Kilbirnie in for half-time with their two-goal lead intact.

The hosts tried to claw their way back but found Hughes continuing his first half form as he finger tipped over a Milliken shot soon after the restart. Beith won corners with regularity throughout - 16 in total - but they only made one count when McLaughlin headed on for David McKenna to nod home at the back post in 53 minutes.

Kilbirnie didn't greatly panic, however and Hughes turned away another McKenna shot. A mistake by Ryan Docherty handed Jon Scullion another chance but he tried to chip the advancing keeper and his effort went narrowly over the bar.

However the bulk of play continued to flow towards the Kilbirnie keeper who stopped a Christie free-kick and scrambled the ball away.

Beith substitute Thomas Collins scorned a good opportunity in the box when he blazed his shot over the bar.

Things were then made even harder for the hosts when they were reduced to 10 men for the last 15 minutes after Ryan Docherty was deemed to have been reckless in a challenge for the ball with Kilbirnie midfielder David Anderson.

Beith's best performer Frize continued working tirelessly and created a good chance for Mark McLaughlin but the big defender pulled his shot wide as time slipped away. More corners also came and went and Beith were nearly punished on the break when Scullion broke through up the left but his shot across Grindlay slipped wide.

In the last desperate actions Beith saw a shot from sub Connor McGlinchey saved by Hughes and a McLaughlin effort rise over the crossbar as Kilbirnie clung on to take the full points.

The victors will hope they find opponents as benevolent as Beith were to them in the first half and they happily took the chances offered up. The lack of action the previous Saturday may have had an impact on Beith as they seemed to lack the sharpness seen in previous weeks and will hope this was a one-off bad day at the office.

BEITH: Grindlay; R Docherty, N Docherty, McLaughlin, Sheridan, Wilson, Christie, Frize, McKenna, Milliken, Burke. Subs: Collins, Martin, McGlinchey, MacDonald, McPherson.

KILBIRNIE LADESIDE: K Hughes; Mitchell, MacKinnon, Sweeney, Juskowiak, C Hughes, McGill, Anderson, Finlay, Scullion, Williamson. Subs: Tuohy, O'Byrne, Lyden, Roberts, Wilton (gk).