McBookie Premiership



By Calum Corral

TABLE-toppers Buffs blazed to victory over 10-man Largs courtesy of a screamer from ex-Thistle winger Alex McWaters after again overturning a 1-0 half-time deficit.

The turning point in this game came around an hour into this contest as Thistle’s Laurie McMaster was red-carded for his second bookable offence. The all-weather surface passed the 10.15am pitch inspection, ensuring a bumper crowd, and although bitterly cold, Thistle were positively glowing in the sunshine as their young side went toe to toe with high flying Buffs.

Largs are one of only three teams to have overcome Buffs this season so Kilwinning knew they were in for a challenge and started this encounter on the front foot.

In the opening minutes, Garry Fleming found Carlo Monti and his curling cross was headed wide by Ben Lewis.

Will Sewell’s pace was causing problems for the Buffs rearguard and he zipped to the right byeline before delivering a high ball to the near post for Stuart Faulds who couldn’t direct his header on target.

McMaster picked up a yellow card after impeding Ally McColm’s burst down the right flank and it was to prove significant.

Blair McIntyre went close for Largs as his header flashed just wide.

McColm’s neat turn and volley at the edge of the area was lashed just wide of the right post as Buffs again went close, but Largs kept pushing and scored the opener in 42 minutes thanks to McIntyre’s good running on the right.

A stumble by the keeper didn’t help matters for Kilwinning as Sewell rose above the defenders to send a cushioned header into the top left corner of the net. The game turned on its head in 66 minutes as McMaster saw red for his second bookable challenge out on the right wing as a free kick was directed deep into the Thistle penalty box by Monti.

Substitute Michael Hewitt bundled the ball home at the far post. Kilwinning immediately had their tails up as they searched for a winner and used the one man advantage to the full as Thistle were on the backfoot. The winning goal was a superb strike by McWatters who drilled into the roof of the net from 18 yards in 74 minutes after a flowing move. Full credit to Kilwinning for a determined display to keep their title charge on track, moving 11 points clear of Pollok at the top as a result of this hard-fought victory.

KILWINNING RANGERS: Markey; Whyte, McGowan, Syme, Maitland, Fleming, McWaters, Hanvey, Monti, Lewis, McColm. Subs: Hewitt, Stuart, Frye, Callander, Agnew.