McBookie Super League Premier Division



A HEALTHY crowd at Bellsdale Park got their money's worth from an exciting and hard-fought encounter which went to all the way before the hosts deservedly secured the points.

The start saw Buffs kicking down the slope and half chances were shared with Tommy Maitland doing extremely well to turn away a dangerous Kier Milliken cut-back as Ross McPherson prepare to pounce. Carlo Monti and David Winters had opportunities for the visitors but made little of them while Beith wide man Richie Burke shot past after good work from Milliken.

The first significant chance arrived in 12 minutes when Darren Christie cut a ball back for Kier Milliken in front of goal but he tried to place his shot, allowing Buffs keeper Adam Strain just enough time to react to get a hand to the ball and keep his effort out.

Beith continued to up the ante and hemmed Buffs into their own half for most of the opening period, with Michael Wardrope and Findlay Frye collecting yellow cards as they defended doggedly. Christie and McPherson's pace continued to cause the Buffs defence all sorts of problems but a Burke effort, that took a deflection and hit the upright, came closest to breaking the deadlock.

Controversy reigned when Ross McPherson won the ball in the Buffs box and looked to be be bundled over as he attempted to shoot, only for the referee to astonishingly dismiss the incident. Beith defender Mark McLaughlin was yellow -carded for his complaints to the official.

The hosts continue pressing but were then hit with a sucker punch a few minutes before the interval when the break of the ball went against them as they went forward and the ball was quickly slipped to David Winters who promptly curled a fine shot into the bottom corner.

Beith were clearly stung into action for the restart and Strain produced another fine save to turn a deflected Frize shot past.

The pressure quickly told on Buffs and midfielder Frye collected a second yellow card for a stupid late challenge on McLaughlin as Beith broke forward. Buffs boss Strain followed suit with his own expulsion, probably for uncomplimentary comments towards the officials.

The hosts were playing some good football as they pushed for an equaliser and Paul Frize went close to finishing a fine move but his shot went a yard wide.

Buffs' 10 men defended resolutely and up front striker Bryan Boylan ran tirelessly throughout. Buffs keeper Adam Strain also made a sterling contribution against his previous employers until the visitors resistance was broken on the hour when Frize lashed the ball into the roof of the net after Buffs failed to clear from another Christie insurgence down the right wing. Beith now went in search of a winner but increasingly frantic efforts saw another penalty appeal turned down when Ryan Docherty tumbled in the box.

Buffs weren't about to give up the points without a fight and they mounted a short spell of pressure of their own where they won a two corners before the focus returned to the other end with Nicky Docherty blazing a shot over and Buffs defender Jamie Whyte almost slashing a clearance into his own goal.

Beith never relented however and the pressure eventually told with just a few minutes remaining when match winner Frize picked up possession the edge of the box and drove forward to fire a fine right foot shot into the bottom corner to beat Strain and secure victory.

BEITH: Grindlay, R Docherty, N Docherty, McLaughlin, Sheridan, Wilson, Christie, Frize, McPherson, Milliken, Burke. Subs: McKenna, Collins, Martin, Cunningham, MacDonald.

KILWINNING RANGERS: Strain, Coleman, Maitland, Whyte, Campbell, Frye, Monti, Wardrope, Winters, Nisbet, Boylan. Subs: Monan, Dallas, Lewis, McGuinness, Wardrope. (gk).