McBookie Super League Premier Division



TALENTED young striker Thomas Collins grabbed the headlines with a quickfire second half hat-trick in this victory but it shouldn’t overshadow what was a fine team performance by the hosts.

Beith opened well down the slope and from a Darren Christie cut back, Joe Bradley scooped his shot over in front of goal when a goal looked certain. The hosts continued to press and Mark McLaughlin and Bradley saw shots narrowly miss the target.

The home side were clearly boosted by the return of McLaughlin to defence and Tommy Martin to strengthen midfield and a quarter of the match had elapsed before home keeper Stephen Grindlay was called into action to deal with a McKillen shot.

Hurlford midfielder Chris McKnight took the spotlight for a few minutes when he was yellow-carded for tugging Bradley’s jersey as Beith pressed and soon after limping off with injury to be replaced by Ross Robertson.

The visitors made another change minutes later, with Stewart Kean replacing Mark Roberts up front.

As expected the vast majority of Hurlford’s attacking moves arrived through Paul McKenzie and his side forced their way into the match toward the interval albeit they never greatly threatened goal with ‘Tiny’ Watt blazing a shot wide and Kean heading straight at Grindlay from a free kick delivery.

Paul Frize certainly meant business after the restart and his driving runs from midfield caused Hurlford no end of problems with Jenkins and Hodge promptly booked for stopping him illegally. 'Ford keeper Ally Brown also produced a fine diving save to turn away a powerful shot from the industrious midfielder.

Beith’s pressure eventually told in 55 minutes when Collins arrived in the box with a well timed run to finish off a fine move involving Keir Milliken and Darren Christie with a controlled shot.

Ally Brown then made an even better save than his last to turn away another Frize piledriver as Beith kept up the pressure. The keepers heroics were undone however when Beith got the ball in the box once more and Collins scored again from close in with the assistance of a fortunate deflection.

The little striker completed his 11-minute hat-trick without any good fortune when he again popped up in the right place at the back post to blast home a great Conor McGlinchey pass after a fine build-up move.

The 'Ford goalie ad to pull out another fine stop to touch a Darren Christie effort onto the crossbar as Beith threatened to run amok at this point. However with the contest almost certainly ended Beith chose to replace their strikers to utilise their squad. Kean and Danny Mitchell received yellow cards as the frustrated visitors battled away and they mounted a few spirited attacks in a forlorn attempt to get back into the match.

'Ford had the last notable incursion in the dying embers when Beith keeper Grindlay took a touch too much on a pass back and the ensuing melee ended with a Kean shot striking the upright and spinning wide.

BEITH: Grindlay; McGlinchey, N Docherty, McLaughlin, Sheridan, Martin, Christie, Frize, Collins, Milliken, Bradley. Subs: McKenna, McPherson, Cunningham, Wilson, Digney (gk).

HURLFORD UNITED: Brown; Hodge, McKillen, G Mitchell, C Robertson, McKnight, McKenzie, D Mitchell, Roberts, Jenkins, Watt. Subs: R Robertson, Lidington, Agnew, Cochrane, Kean.