AYRSHIRE will have no teams in the last four of the South of Scotland Challenge Cup after the area’s last two sides in the tournament fell at the quarter-final hurdle on Saturday.

On paper, Jimmy Kirkwood’s Troon side looked to have the best chance of progressing to the semi-finals as they lined up against fellow Premier Division strugglers Kirkintilloch Rob Roy at Portland Park.

And while the Seasiders’ task was made tougher when Ewan McLevy was shown a second yellow card with less than half an hour played, Kirkwood’s men dug in and took the lead through an own goal just before the interval following good work by Kyle Gilroy and Mark Shankland.

The extra man, though, eventually told when Jamie Taggart pulled the Rabs level with 12 minutes left – and although a cracking cup tie took another twist when the visitors’ keeper, Kyle Aitken, was shown a straight red for handling the ball outside the box, making it 10-a-side for the closing stages, there was late agony for Kirkwood’s men when Taggart’s speculative ball from out wide found the corner of the net in the final minute to see the Rabs through to a semi-final against Cumbernauld Colts.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Kilwinning Rangers' South Challenge Cup run was ended after a 3-0 defeat away to TranentKilwinning Rangers' South Challenge Cup run was ended after a 3-0 defeat away to Tranent (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

Ayrshire’s other last eight representatives, Kilwinning Rangers, made Challenge Cup headlines back in November when they dumped out Albion Rovers in the fourth round – but Chris Aitken’s men found the trip to Tranent on Saturday a step too far, with Cameron Ross and Scott Gray putting the home side two to the good at half-time at Foresters Park before Ross’s second rounded out the win, with Ian Little’s men now set to face runaway Lowland League leaders East Kilbride in the last four.

For the rest of Ayrshire’s teams, Saturday was all about the bread-and-butter of West of Scotland Football League points – and while there was plenty of entertainment on offer at Bellsdale Park, there was also plenty of frustration in the home dugout as Chris Strain watched his Beith side’s patchy new year form continue in their efforts to retain their title.

A Ciaran Diver hat-trick had the Mighty 3-2 up against Gartcairn, and Robbie Scullion appeared to have all but tied up the points for the hosts when he hit a fourth with 17 minutes remaining – only for the visitors to reduce the leeway almost immediately, and to then steal a point thanks to Scott Ferguson’s last-minute header.

Darvel also left it late, with Craig Moore’s header in the 86th minute enough to condemn league leaders Clydebank to a fourth straight defeat at Recreation Park.

The top flight’s form side, though, are very definitely Auchinleck Talbot, who made it nine wins in their last 10 league matches with a thumping 4-0 win over bitter rivals Cumnock in front of a big derby day crowd at Beechwood Park.

Neil Slooves’ 26th-minute header was all that separated the teams at the break, but Ali Boyle struck midway through the second half to increase Talbot’s lead before Jamie Glasgow and Ross Smith put the icing on the cake in the final five minutes.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Auchinleck Talbot made it nine wins in their last 10 games with a 4-0 derby day defeat of bitter rivals CumnockAuchinleck Talbot made it nine wins in their last 10 games with a 4-0 derby day defeat of bitter rivals Cumnock (Image: Newsquest)

Largs Thistle hit the skids after a good recent run of form when they let slip a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to St Cadoc’s at New Tinto Park, while it was another disappointing day for the league’s bottom two as Glenafton lost 1-0 at home to Benburb and Irvine Meadow were beaten 2-1 away to Hurlford.

There were glum faces, too, in the camps of the only two Ayrshire teams in First Division action; Carlo Walker’s Maybole side were unable to halt the progress of league leaders Petershill, who won 3-1 in Glasgow, while Harry Kent’s goal for Shotts was enough to leave Whitletts Vics empty-handed at Hannah Park.

Normal service resumed at the top of the Second Division, where Ardrossan Winton Rovers returned to winning ways after losing their long unbeaten record last time out, with Aidan Ferris and Alex Dean the men on target in the 2-1 win away to St Anthony’s to maintain Winton's 11-point lead at the top.

Jordan Ryan, Jordan Banks and Michael Reilly were Craigmark Burntonians' scorers in the Station Park side's 3-2 win away to Wishaw as Ian Nixon’s men continued their good recent run, but Bonnyton Thistle are still looking nervously over their shoulder at the relegation dogfight after a 3-0 loss at fellow strugglers Glasgow Perthshire.

In the Third Division, Irvine Vics stopped the recent rot with a 2-0 victory away to struggling West Park United, while Ardeer Thistle were left feeling they should have had more than the single point they brought home from their trip to bottom side Kello Rovers, with Stewart Morgan’s strike after half an hour not enough for Sean Kenney's men as the game finished level.

Dalry Thistle’s home match with Glasgow United fell victim to the weather, while Girvan remain in the bottom three after a 2-1 loss at Bellshill, with Jai Ewing’s late strike not enough to earn the Seasiders a draw in Lanarkshire.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Lugar Boswell Thistle are right in the Fourth Division promotion mix after a 3-1 win away to St Peter'sLugar Boswell Thistle are right in the Fourth Division promotion mix after a 3-1 win away to St Peter's (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

Conan Mackin netted a brace as Lugar Boswell Thistle won 3-1 away to St Peter’s to underline their credentials for a Fourth Division promotion spot; Jack Marks was also on target at New Western Park as the Rosebank Park side made it four wins in a row to move within two points of the promotion places.

And Finlay Grier led the way with a double as Eglinton cemented their place in the top half of the table thanks to a 3-0 victory away to Royal Albert, with John McFarland also on target for The Jousters.