TEN Ayrshire clubs made it through to the third round of the South of Scotland Challenge Cup at the weekend – with several at the heart of some of the second round’s most eye-catching results.

Here we take a look back at how the area’s teams fared in the last of the tournament’s regionalised rounds - and at what the third round has in store for those who made it through...

Surprise results

It’s been a tough season so far for Irvine Meadow, who find themselves propping up the Premier Division and who were left without a manager after Kevin Deeney’s resignation earlier this month – and who were rank outsiders going into their second round tie away to Lowland League side Broomhill.

But the appointment of Martin Ferry as Deeney’s successor on Friday, with Des Roache as his assistant, clearly gave Medda the bounce they were looking for as they pulled off a 1-0 win at Dumbarton FC’s moreroom.com Stadium, with an own goal from Broomhill’s Alfie Robinson midway through the second half proving the pivotal moment.

Meanwhile Ardrossan Winton Rovers’ dream start to the 2023-24 campaign continued as goals from Aidan Ferris and Mark Curragh gave Gavin Friels’ Second Division table-toppers a 2-1 win away to First Division high-fliers, and last season’s tournament runners-up, Drumchapel United.

Also into the hat for the third round after pulling off an upset were Lugar Boswell Thistle, who made light of the two-division gap between themselves and visitors Wishaw with a fine 4-2 win at Rosebank Park, with Harry Evans, Jackson Stevenson, Kieran Oliver and Ethan Craig all on target for the Jaggy Bunnets.

Big names

Auchinleck Talbot’s supporters haven’t had a lot to shout about this season, with Tommy Sloan’s men languishing in second bottom place in the Premier Division table – and while their home tie with Blantyre Vics may not always have been easy on the eye, the Beechwood Park men got the result they craved, with substitute Connor Boyd stroking home the only goal of the game with just three minutes left to earn Talbot their first home win of the campaign.

It’s been a challenging start to the campaign at Loch Park, too, with Glenafton Athletic also embroiled in a scrap at the wrong end of the table – though new manager Mark Roberts, who replaced Ryan Stevenson earlier this month, now at least has his first win under his belt, with the Glens’ short trip to Kirkconnel to face Kello Rovers ending in a 6-1 win.

By contrast, Beith Juniors’ winning start to the season now stretches to nine matches in all competitions – though Chris Strain’s men had to win their place in the third round the hard way, battling back from 1-0 down at the break away to Premier Division rivals Clydebank to triumph 2-1, Andy Monk netting the winner two minutes from time.

Big-spending Darvel, though, will have to wait another year for their shot at South Challenge Cup glory after Jamie Armstrong’s extra-time penalty gave Gretna 2008 a 2-1 win at Raydale Park.


There were three all-Ayrshire ties in Saturday’s second round action, with the biggest of them seeing top-flight rivals Cumnock and Hurlford clash at Townhead Park – and it was the Ford who came out on top, winning 2-0 against a Cumnock side still reeling from the departure of manager John Doyle and his coaching team, announced just the day before the big match.

Troon’s tie at home to Second Division Craigmark went all the way to penalties, with the hosts, who included several younger players in their squad, avoiding an upset by the narrowest of margins, triumphing 8-7 in the shootout after a 1-1 draw.

Largs Thistle’s progress into round three was rather more straightforward, with Stuart Davidson’s side seeing off near-neighbours Dalry 3-1 at Barrfields Park thanks to first-half strikes from Will Sewell, Darryl Duffy and Simon McBryde.

Best of the rest

Kilwinning Rangers may have struggled for consistency in the league so far this season, but in the cups it’s a different story: having already secured their place in the first round proper of the senior Scottish Cup, Chris Aitken’s men now also have a South Challenge Cup third round tie to look forward to after safely negotiating a tricky tie away to Vale of Leven, Gavin Millar and Dylan Mackin each finding the net within the space of three second half minutes as the Buffs triumphed 2-1.

Kilbirnie Ladeside, though, will have to try again after their second round tie away to First Division rivals Johnstone Burgh was abandoned midway through the first half following a serious injury to Ladeside’s Jack Wilson, who, according to the club, is doing well after having to be taken to hospital.

A step too far

It’s been a dismal start to the season for Whitletts Vics, who are still without a win after eight First Division games – and who are now without a manager, too, after Gordon Pope resigned in the wake of their surprise 2-1 defeat away to South of Scotland League Creetown on Saturday, David Hughes heading the winner for the hosts three minutes from the end of extra time.

There was agony of a different sort for Girvan, who were on the verge of pulling off a huge shock away to Caledonian Braves of the Lowland League; Craig Harvey and Todd Henderson had the visitors 2-0 up at Alliance Park with half an hour to play, only for the hosts to level the tie in the last 10 minutes before going on to snatch the win in extra time.

Maybole found the gap between the First Division and the top of the Lowland League too big to bridge, with East Kilbride coasting to a 6-1 win at K Park, while Irvine Vics were unable to hold on to their interval lead against St Anthony’s, with the Second Division visitors roaring back after the break to win 3-1 after Fraser Macduff opened the scoring for the home side.

Bonnyton Thistle tumbled out of the tournament after a 2-1 defeat away to Threave Rovers – while Saltcoats Vics will want to forget their second round result as soon as possible after falling to a 13-0 defeat away to Pollok, with the Newlandsfield side setting a new record in the process for the biggest win in the club’s history.

Third round draw

The draw for the third round was made on Sunday evening, with the ties all due to be played on the weekend of October 14.

Full draw for Ayrshire clubs: Kirkintilloch Rob Roy v Hurlford United; Troon v Abbey Vale; Lugar Boswell Thistle v BSC Glasgow; Jeanfield Swifts v Largs Thistle; Ardrossan Winton Rovers v St Andrews United; Cumbernauld Colts v Irvine Meadow XI; Glenafton v Dundonald Bluebell; Johnstone Burgh/Kilbirnie Ladeside v Thorniewood/University of Stirling; Kilwinning Rangers v Hawick Royal Albert; Beith v Arthurlie; Auchinleck Talbot v Arniston Rangers.

Other ties: Pollok v Camelon; Broxburn Athletic v Lesmahagow; Gretna 2008 v St Cadoc’s; Shotts Bon Accord v Kirkcaldy & Dysart; East Stirlingshire v Caledonian Braves; Tranent v Hutchison Vale; Linlithgow Rose v St Peter’s; Stoneyburn v Kennoway Star Hearts; Newton Stewart v Leith Athletic; Rutherglen Glencairn v Penicuik Athletic; Musselburgh Atheltic v Berwick Rangers; Armadale Thistle v Albion Rovers; Carluke Rovers v East Kilbride; Thornton Hibs v St Roch’s; Cowdenbeath v Whitehill Welfare; Cumbernauld United v Forth Wanderers; Heriot-Watt University v Tynecastle; Thorn Athletic v Threave Rovers; Maryhill v Lanark United; Creetown v Ashfield; St Anthony’s v Dunbar United.