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Troon 5, Beith 2: Match Report

GOALS, excitement and controversy were in abundance at Portland Park on Saturday afternoon.

The clash of the top two in the West Super League First Division certainly lived up to it’s pre-match billing as the game of the day with the ‘Seasiders’ running out 5-2 winners in a game that provided everything.

Amazingly the first twist of the afternoon came within 15 seconds of the kick-off as striker David McGowan chased a long ball from Beith left back Gary Wilson and was sent crashing to the ground by Troon keeper Darren Johnstone.

Referee Craig Napier had no hesitation to award a penalty kick and Andy Reid made no mistake from the resulting spot-kick.

Falling behind to the early goal only seemed to fire the hosts up and it was no surprise they levelled proceedings in the 22nd minute when Gareth Armstrong’s inch-perfect free kick hung up superbly for David Gillies to power home the equaliser with a header.

The Bellsdale Park defence were showing further signs of strain and seconds before half-time they creeked again.

Tony Murphy powered his way towards goal and an attempted pass struck visiting midfielder Zander Ryan and cannoned into his own net past a helpless Adam Strain.

The excitement continued to follow after the break.

Ten minutes into the second half the home side were awarded a free kick 25-yards from goal and Dean Keenan smashed the ball home in clinical fashion.

And on then on the hour mark the ‘Seasiders’ wrapped up the points in controversial fashion.

An assistant’s flag had been raised for an infringement but referee Napier was having none of it and played on.

With Beith’s defence standing stationary playing the flag – Scott Chatham had the simplest of tasks to roll the ball into an empty net.

Then within two minutes the ‘Mighty’ had reduced the arrears when Paul Frize drilled home a 62nd minute effort.

And in a short space of time of time both teams found themselves down to 10-men.

Troon’s Murphy was first to see red after an aerial clash with Marc McShane on the say so of an eagle-eyed assistant.

However with 20 minutes remaining the visitors fell a man short when John Sheridan was accused of a last man foul on Gillies and from the resulting free-kick Keenan pummelled home another lethal driven free kick to wrap up the scoring.

Home assistant manager Gordon Burns was standing in for gaffer Jimmy Kirkwood who was on a USA-bound flight for a family holiday heaped praise on his side’s fight-back.

Burns said: “The early goal we conceded certainly woke us up and the way we took the game to Beith on the back of falling behind showed the character we have within the squad. Some of the finishing was exceptional too.”

Beith boss Johnny Millar had harsh words with his troops in the dressing room after the game.

Millar said: “At the minute we’re making life difficult for ourselves. We cannot have any complaints how they game ended as we were second to every ball.”

Chris Sanderson

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