CHAMPAGNE corks were popping at Winton Park on Saturday after Ardrossan Winton Rovers secured promotion.

Gavin Friels' men secured the point they needed to win a place in the West of Scotland Football League (WoSFL) Second Division for next season after sharing the spoils in a 3-3 draw at home to fellow promotion chasers Larkhall Thistle - despite a nervy ending to the game.

The Ardrossan side were all but mathematically promoted prior to the match, being six points clear of Lanark United with two games left - and a vastly superior goal difference.

But Friels' squad duly dotted the Is and crossed the Ts to make promotion a certainty - despite letting a two-goal lead slip through their fingers.

Winton started the game better, and evenutally their pressure paid when Aidan Ferris opened the scoring - and might have doubled their lead before the break had it not been for an offside ruling.


The visitors levelled early in the second half, but Ryan Wilson stepped up to calm any nerves among the home support, with the silky striker netting twice in the space of 10 minutes to put his side 3-1 up.

Larkhall, though, knew they needed two points from their last three games to secure promotion themselves - and halved the deficit just two minutes later.

The Winton faithful were left really sweating when Larkhall notched a third, with a free kick finding its way through a gaping hole in the hosts' defensive wall and past keeper Graeme Macrae.

And things got worse for the hosts before another ball was kicked as captain Liam McGuinness, angry at the award of the free kick against him and the loss of the goal, was sent off before the restart.


Despite that setback, though, Friels' men held out for the final few minutes - with the full-time whistle sparking a pitch invasion from the raucous young supporters who had cheered on their team throughout the match.