Irvine Meadow manager Colin Spence applauded Michael Wardrope for his second half hattrick off the bench, as they beat Kilwinning Rangers 5-3 at the weekend.

Medda went into the second round South Challenge Cup tie looking to get revenge on their derby rivals Kilwinning after they lost 3-1 to the Buffs in a Premier Division match at the start of last month.

It was a perfect start for the hosts at Medda Park as Sean McIlroy set up Jamie Martin for the opener.

But the Buffs bit back and Ally McColm levelled to make it all square at the break. After the interval it was the away side that took the lead through David Syme’s penalty.

However, Medda then got a spot kick of their own and Mark McLennan stepped up to convert.

Despite Meadow fighting to get back into the tie, it looked as if it may swing towards the Buffs favour when McIlroy picked up a second yellow and Medda were reduced down to 10 men.

But, the hosts bounced back and took the lead again through Wardrope, who rounded Kilwinning keeper Jamie Barclay before tapping into an empty net.

It looked as if Medda could hold onto their lead but a moment of magic from McColm, lashing into the top corner from 30 yards out, brought the Buffs level.

However, it was to be the ex Kilwinning man Wardrope’s day as he put Meadow ahead once again before his late free kick sealed their place in the third round.

Speaking to the Times, Spence said:”Wardrope is a top quality player at this level, so his performance at the weekend does not surprise me.

“He is a goal threat every time he plays, he is taking shots, his free kicks are good and he is always looking to assist or get goals.

“Maybe being an ex Buffs player gave him a little bit extra in between his teeth, I don’t know.

“But he certainly looked up for it when he went on anyway and he gave us that bit of energy and life injected into the team.

“He really helped us through the game, he was excellent for the period of the match he was on.”