Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup Final



By Stewart McConnell

DOMINANT Buffs were celebrating their first trophy success in five seasons at sun-drenched Meadow Park on Saturday.

They edged out a lively Thistle side still on a high after clinching promotion six days earlier.

And jubilant manager Chris Strain, whose trophy success was his first as a manager, said it was just reward at the end of a season which saw them challenge for the Premier Division only to see their hopes fade.

He said afterwards: "The boys deserve all the credit for their success. It ended disappointing for us in the league but we have give our supporters something to cheer about. I am delighted for the boys and the back-room staff, the guys behind the scenes they have something they can cheer about and be happy with. It's a good way to end the season and it's something for us to build on."

Following a low-key opening, Buffs blasted into the lead in eight minutes when Bryan Boylan easily cut through the Largs defence before sending a chip into the top corner from 10 yards.

Largs came close in 12 minutes when a cross into the bicycle by Alex McWaters was blocked by a Buffs defender.

Michael Wardrope rushed out to save at the feet of Scott Adam at the edge of the box in 18 minutes as Thistle began to come more into the game.

Thistle had a good opening in 23 minutes when the ball broke to Laurie McMaster but he shot well over the bar from 16 yards.

Largs won a corner following good play by Scott Adam in 28 minutes, but it came to nothing. Jamie Campbell had an effort cleared off the line by a Buffs defender on the half hour as the Barrfields Park side tried to get back into the match.

Findlay Frye then made a good run into the box for Buffs but shot wildly over the bar from 12.yards in 40 minutes.

Largs began the second half well and a shot into the box from Alex McWaters was cleared by the Buffs defence in 47 minutes.

Buffs came so close just five minutes later when live wire Frye sent a slide rule pass to Boylan but Blair Cousar made a superb one-handed save to deny him from eight yards.

Largs had claims for a penalty when Findlay Frye appeared to bring down McMaster on the edge of the box in 59 minutes but play was waved on.

Thistle had by far their best chance of the game in 66 minutes when Graham Muir found Adam but Michael Wardrope blocked his effort from eight yards. Adam then had his free-kick blocked by the Buffs wall three minutes later.

Buffs created an opening in 80 minutes when a shot from the edge of the box by Liam McGuinness was blocked by the Largs defence a minute later. Then in 82 minutes Boylan surged to the edge of the box before having his shot blocked. 15 Buffs great save goalie in 85 minutes. A minute from time, Nicky Jamieson headed home for Largs, but the "goal" was chalked off for what was thought to be an infringement as Buffs held on to win.

LARGS THISTLE: Cousar; Orr, McMaster, Little, Jamieson, Fleming, Muir, Campbell, Adam, McWaters, Carter. Subs: Struthers, McKie, Ewing, Fisher, Graystone.

KILWINNING RANGERS: MD Wardrope; Coleman, McCloskey, Pettigrew, Maitland, Frye, Monti, M Wardrope, Boylan, Lewis, McGuinness. Subs: Whyte, Latta, Nisbet, Winters, Hanvey.