McBookie Championship



By Stewart McConnell

A STUNNING last gasp strike from super sub Ross McKenzie helped Irvine clinch a deserved win against high-flying Whitletts in an enthralling battle of the Vics.

However their joy was later tinged with disappointment as they learned they had three points deducted for failing to fulfil the home fixture with Neilston on January 29.

This was one of the games of the season with no little skill and action flowing from end-to-end.

The home side bossed much of the first 20 minutes, but Irvine took a grip on proceedings thereafter and produced one of their finest displays of the season.

In five minutes Irvine Vics came close when Ewan Farrell shot just over the bsr from 25 yards.

Then Whitletts were unlucky in 10 minutes when a Bobby Colligan cross into tne box was booted away by an Irvine Vics defender. However the breakthrough was made seconds later when home skipper Raymond Buchanan powerfully headed home the resultant corner-kick from 10 yards.

Irvine Vics had a good opportunity in 17 minutes when the ball broke to Jordan Craig 25 yards out but he shot straight at home goalie Marty Fraser.

Whitletts squandered an opening in 20 minutes when Thomas Donovan shot just over the bar from 25 yards.

The hosts then went close two minutes later, when Callum Ogston shot inches wide from 12 yards.

However it was all-square in 29 minutes when Hamish McKinlay slammed a shot home from 10 yards.

McKinlay then screwed a shot from 18 yards narrowly wide in 36 minutes.

A good tackle from Michael Holden just outside the box two minutes later kept Adam Forsyth at bay.

Whitletts came agonisingly close in 44 minutes when a fierce Donovan effort from 25 yards was brilliantly saved by Martin McDonald.

Irvine were unlucky in 50 minutes when Hamish McKinlay picked up a long through ball and saw his effort from 12 yards well saved by Fraser.

The Westenders soared into the lead in 62 minutes when the trialist left-back shot home from just outside the box. Then the Trialist then shot just over the bar from 16 yards.

It was all-square in 77 minutes when top scorer Adam Forsyth latched on to a long through ball before sweeping the ball home from eight yards.

Irvine Vics dramatically sealed the win in 86 minutes when Hugh McKinlay sent a defence-splitting pass to McKenzie to shoot home from eight yards, despite protests for offside from the hosts.

WHITLETTS VICTORIA: Fraser; Ogston, Ewart, Brown, I Kerr, Buchanan, Millar, Boyd, Forsyth, Colligan, Donovan. Subs: A Kerr, Mathieson, L Kerr, Baird, Dorigo.

IRVINE VICTORIA: McDonald; Ashe, Trialist, Holden, Donnelly, Craig, Morrow, Farrell, McKinlay, Laughlin, Skeoch. Subs: Cheney, Singleton, McKenzie, Adam, Trialist.