Ardagh Glass League Cup



WITH qualification from this section uncertain, both sides had all to play for and fans witnessed a hard-fought contest at Bellsdale.

The hosts started slightly the better playing up the slope and Kier Milliken had a fine shot on the volley blocked in a crowded penalty area as they chased the opener. However it duly arrived in 13 minutes when Joe Bradley picked out Connor McGlinchey arriving at the back post in the box and he headed purposefully into the top corner, giving Adam Strain little chance. Beith had a decent opportunity to increase their lead a few minutes later but provider Joe Bradley shot over when teed up by a nice McKenna cut-back after he won possession from Sam McCloskey on the bye line. Buffs defender Morris then collected the first of 10 yellow cards issued in the match, for a cynical trip on Keir Milliken, and this came back to bite later in the proceedings.

Buffs gradually worked their way into the contest and their route one tactic to try to exploit the home central defence paid dividends on the half hour when Carlo Monti took the opportunity to level the scores from the penalty spot after Kevin McDonald bundled over Michael Wardrope Jnr in the box.

Buffs' physical presence was causing the hosts problems with Bryan Boylan in particular using his height and strength to the full.

The visitors now looked the sharper of the sides for a good spell before the hosts rallied before the break with Sheridan heading narrowly over from a corner and the rarely seen Darren Christie having a shot blocked in the box after good work by McKenna.

Buffs struck quickly to go in front minutes after the restart when Ryan Nisbet exploited a static Beith back-line to latch onto a through ball and pick his spot from eight yards.

The visitors continued looking strong and with Beith making few inroads they made changes in an effort to gee things up. The changes and Buffs being reduced to 10 men for the last 17 minutes when Mike Morris collected a second yellow for another foul saw Beith back in the game and Buffs now looking at the clock.

Substitute Thomas Collins pulled Beith level with possibly his first touch, with Buffs still re-jigging their defence, when he applied the finishing touch to a nice passing move involving Bradley and Milliken.

Beith pushed for a winner but an offside flag ruled out an effort that found the net as Buffs clung on and the match about rightly finished honours even. The result leaves Buffs as favourites to qualify with a midweek home fixture against Largs.

For Beith to qualify they will now need to beat local rivals Kilbirnie and hope the Buffs v Largs game has a winner.

Beith: Grindlay, McGlinchey, Docherty, MacDonald, Sheridan, Wilson, Christie, Frize, McKenna, Milliken, Bradley. Subs: McPherson, Burke, Collins, Martin, Blakey.

Kilwinning: Strain, Coleman, McCloskey, Morris, Campbell, Maitland, Monti, McGuinness, Boylan, Wardrope, Nisbet. Subs: Moran, Hill, Lewis, Winters, Moffat.