McBookie Championship



FOR Vics this result will feel like a defeat after they had victory snatched from them in a dramatic finish at Dam Park as Darvel scored twice in the final minute to grab a share of the points.

With Whitletts leading 4-2 and both sides reduced to ten men, there appeared little danger that the three points were remaining in Ayr as the clock hit the 89th minute. Darvel won a free kick 25 yards out from which Dale Shirkie reduced the leeway as he fired low into the bottom corner.

Still it appeared that Vics would see out the game as the visitors broke down the right. Darren McIntyre however failed to clear the danger and allowed Hewitt to cut the ball back from the byeline for Stewart Davidson to roll the ball into the back of the empty net.

As Darvel celebrated, a dejected Vics team trudged off the park at full-time to face the wrath of manager George Grierson after his final game in charge before he goes into hospital for a hip replacement operation.

With the Kerr brothers missing due to holidays, Vics were dealt a further blow when Sean Ewart declared himself unfit after picking up an injury in the warm up. Yet the game started so well for Whitletts after Adam Forsyth had given the hosts the lead inside 30 seconds.

A long ball from Blair Anderson was superbly controlled by the Vics striker before he beat the defender to fire low across David Markey into the bottom corner.

It was a dream start for Vics and shortly afterwards Jordan Mullen headed straight at Markey from close range.

But the big goalie was beaten again in 17 minutes. After Thomas Donovan’s shot was deflected narrowly wide, the Vics striker's corner-kick was met by the head of Raymond Buchanan and despite the efforts of a defender on the line the ball ended up in the back of the net.

Greg Vernon however was proving a handful for the home defence. Biggar fired narrowly wide but in 22 minutes Darvel were back in the match. Mark Armour was allowed time to cross the ball into the area and Vernon nipped in behind Graeme Condon to fire past Marty Fraser.

Ten minutes later Whitletts restored their two-goal advantage with Buchanan drilling a low 22-yard free-kick under the Darvel defensive wall into the net.

Vernon went close with a 25 yard drive for Darvel but the visitors were dealt a severe blow in 42 minutes when Allan Jenkins was shown a straight red by referee Gary Hanvidge for something he said to the official.

Whitletts thought they had a penalty moments later when Graeme Barbour went down in the box but the referee surprisingly booked the Vics striker for diving,

It was going to be an uphill struggle for the visitors but they responded well and three minutes after the restart reduced the leeway again when Gilmour fired a high angled shot past Fraser.

In 64 minutes Barbour had a fresh air swipe with the goal at his mercy, while Anderson’s drive from the edge of the box was deflected wide and with 11 minutes remaining, they looked to have wrapped up the points when Forsyth released Barbour to fire low past Markey into the net to make it 4-2.

It seemed as if Whitletts would comfortably see out the match but with six minutes remaining, the hosts were reduced to 10 men after Anderson picked up a needless second yellow card – which was to prove very costly.

Darvel sensed they could salvage something from the game and Paul Cameron fired just past the angle from the corner of the box. But just when it seemed Vics would take all three points, came that sensational finish that saw the visitors score twice within a minute for a share of the spoils.

WHITLETTS VICTORIA: Fraser; Anderson, Boyd, Mullen, Condon (McIntyre 29) Buchanan, Ogston, Millar, Forsyth, Barbour, Donovan. Subs (not used): Milligan, Dempsey, Ewart, George.