Largs Thistle 0, Beith 1


TEN-MAN Beith Juniors took a major step towards retaining their Premier Division title as they edged out in-form Largs Thistle at Barrfields.

Ciaran Diver's goal midway through the second half was enough to end Thistle's five-match winning run - and, coupled with Auchinleck's defeat at Hurlford on the same night, means Chris Strain's men now need just two more points to secure the championship.

Thistle's performance deserved much more, but an easily avoidable goal handed Beith the advantage, and the league leaders were able to wrestle the game away from their hosts in the final quarter.

Largs had won their last four fixtures by a solitary goal, while Beith were coming into the game following a stunning 9-0 win over Glenafton

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

Stuart Davidson's men made a positive start, with some surging runs by Jamie Martin and a good few efforts on goal, with both Will Sewell and Stuart Faulds testing the keeper in the early exchanges.

While Largs were weaving their way into good positions and making life awkward for the visitors, the hosts just could not find the breakthrough in the first half.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

Despite Thistle’s dominance, Beith were able to counterattack quickly and with guile, and Thistle very much had to be on their guard, with a few corners won midway through the first half making things awkward and a chance which flashed narrowly past the post.

Thistle thought they had made the breakthrough five minutes before half-time after a dangerous run into the box from Blair Devine, who set up David Ramsay at the far post to slide into the back of the net - but the offside flag brought a halt to the home fans' celebrations.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Ramsay rulled offside as he taps home into empty net in first half versus BeithRamsay rulled offside as he taps home into empty net in first half versus Beith (Image: Newsquest)

Sewell nearly broke through as last man in another good Largs move but Beith managed to get a defender back in the nick of time to make a last ditch challenge.

The second half quickly developed into a ding-dong battle, with Largs sending plenty of high balls into the box, but Beith keeper Owen Stott was equal to all their attempts.

Stott had to look smart to prevent an own goal, but Beith were beginning to work the game to their advantage, and the visitors should have opened the scoring after a glorious move which left the Largs defence chasing shadows - but which ended with Aaron Mason somehow firing wide with the goal at his mercy.


But the home side failed to heed the warning signs and it was Beith who seized the advantage with a real powderpuff goal; the Largs defence got into a real mess after trying to pass their way out of danger, and a series of quick passes down the right set up Divers for a simple finish.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

The Beith front man had scored a hat-trick on the teams' last meeting back in August, and his strike took his goal tally for the season to 50 - but it was a real sickener for Largs after all the effort they'd put into the game up to then.

Almost immediately, though, the visitors were dealt a blow when Declan Hughes was shown a red card for dissent.

Largs started to ring the changes, with Darryl Duffy replacing Scott Adam and recent signing Cole Ojungu making his competitive debut in place of Jamie Martin, but the substitutes' efforts weren't enough to prevent Beith seeing out the game.

Beith gathered in the centre of the pitch after the final whistle to let out a roar of celebration as news filtered through of Auchinleck's defeat and they realised that a huge three points had put them within touching distance of the title.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Beith's players celebrate a huge three points in their pursuit of the Premier Division title.Beith's players celebrate a huge three points in their pursuit of the Premier Division title. (Image: Stephen Kerr)

The Bellsdale side, with two games remaining, are now six clear of Clydebank in second, nine ahead of third-placed St Cadoc's and 11 in front of Auchinleck - but a win at home to Troon this Saturday, May 4, will mean that Beith can't be caught by any of them.

For Largs, attention now turns to home matches against Cumnock on Saturday and Talbot next Wednesday.

The two sides' seasons end on May 11, when Largs travel to Rob Roy and Beith are away to Arthurlie.