IRVINE Meadow’s hopes that the dawning of a new year might breathe new life into their disappointing season were well and truly dashed on Saturday as Ben Carson’s men slumped to a shock defeat in the West of Scotland Cup.

Carson’s side, still stuck at the bottom of the Premier Division, travelled to Dalmellington to face a Craigmark team who hadn’t played since the end of November – but the lack of match action in recent weeks proved no obstacle to Ian Nixon’s players as the Second Division side saw off their top flight visitors 3-2.

Euan Baird’s fine solo goal had Medda in front midway through the first half of the third round tie at Station Park – but things turned sour for the visitors when Conor O’Donnell was shown a straight red just four minutes later, and the Mark took full advantage, with Steven Tan levelling from distance.

Meadow, who themselves had managed just one game since Carson’s appointment on December 1, thought they’d regained the lead, only to have a ‘goal’ ruled out for offside – and Craigmark made the most of that let-off by opening up a two-goal lead before the break, with former Stewarton United man Ross Armer giving the hosts the lead on his debut before Michael Reilly made it three in first half injury time.

Craigmark haven’t lost since former Greenock boss Nixon took over in the managerial hotseat in October following Ryan Caddis’s departure, and the hosts stood firm in the face of Medda’s second half efforts to extend their unbeaten streak to seven games, with Craig Ross’s 90th-minute goal proving too little too late for the visitors.

Elsewhere on Saturday, there were no upsets in the other two WoSFL Cup ties that beat the weather, with Connor McGlinchey, Robbie Scullion and Andy Monk on target as Beith saw off Yoker 3-1 at Holm Park, while Graham Wilson scored in the first five seconds to put Darvel on their way to victory by the same score at home to Third Division Kilsyth Athletic, though it wasn't until Jordan Moore found the net in the dying moments that the win was secured for Tony McInally's men.

Meanwhile, it’s now one defeat in 12 games in all competitions for Auchinleck Talbot after Tommy Sloan’s side kicked off their new year with a 3-2 league win at home to Troon, with Ruairidh Langan, Connor Boyd and Ewan Thomson the men on target for the hosts – though just down the road at Townhead Park, Cumnock’s search for consistency goes on after a 1-1 draw at home to Rob Roy, with Sam Jamieson’s second-half spot kick earning Murdo MacKinnon’s men a share of the spoils.

Less than a month ago you’d probably have got shorter odds on turkeys voting for Christmas than on Whitletts maintaining their First Division status – but under new boss Mick McCann it’s beginning to look as if that miracle might just be more than a distant dream.

Vics ended 2023 with their first league win of the campaign – a 2-1 victory at home to Rutherglen Glencairn – and McCann’s men began the new year on Saturday with victory against another of the second tier’s promotion hopefuls in a remarkable game against Kilwinning Rangers at Buffs Park.

Two goals in two minutes courtesy of Mark McLuckie and Gavin Millar had the hosts apparently on easy street, only for Vics’ two Jordans, Boyd and Baird, to turn the match on its head before the break, with Boyd scoring twice as Whitletts went in 3-2 up at half-time.

Graham Boyd’s penalty early in the second half levelled the game again, but the visitors were not to be denied, and Brandon McEvoy’s winner hauled McCann’s men to within three points of second-bottom Neilston – who are Vics’ visitors in what looks like a real relegation six-pointer at New Voluntary Park this weekend.

Kilbirnie Ladeside eased their own relegation worries with a fine win at home to Ayrshire rivals Maybole, with Jon Scullion netting a brace and Ruairidh Clark and Scott Lewis also on target in the Blasties’ 4-1 win, while former Whitletts manager Gordon Pope picked up his first win since taking over in the Bonnyton Thistle hotseat as the Kilmarnock side began 2024 with a 2-1 win at home to Glasgow University in the day’s only Second Division game with Ayrshire interest.

In the Third Division, North Ayrshire rivals Dalry and Irvine Vics shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw in a match switched to the Ian Cashmore Memorial Park in Kilwinning – while Kello Rovers showed that despite being six points adrift at the foot of the table, they still have plenty of fighting spirit left in the tank, with the Kirkconnel side coming from behind three times to secure a point at home to league leaders Bellshill.

Girvan’s topsy-turvy campaign continued with a 4-1 loss at home to Threave Rovers, while in the bottom tier, Lugar kicked off their new year with a remarkable 3-1 win at home to East Kilbride Thistle.

The Jaggy Bunnets trailed 1-0 at the break, and remained behind until an incredible five-minute spell which saw two EK players shown red cards at the same time, Lugar awarded a penalty and a third visiting player ordered off before Adam Lowe levelled for the hosts.

With a three-man advantage Lugar piled on the pressure in the closing stages and Kieran Oliver scored twice in the final 10 minutes to secure back-to-back wins for the Rosebank Park side – with Oliver’s second followed by the visitors’ fourth red card of the day.

Lugar, however, were the only Ayrshire side in the Fourth Division to pick up any points at all on Saturday, with Saltcoats Vics and Eglinton tumbling to 4-0 defeats away to St Peter’s and Giffnock respectively.

All other matches with Ayrshire interest on Saturday - two in the WoSFL Cup and another three in the league - fell victim to the weather.

Fixtures for Ayrshire's WoSFL sides on Saturday, January 13 are as follows - kick-offs are at 1.30pm unless stated otherwise.

Premier Division: Arthurlie v Largs, Beith v Hurlford, Clydebank v Auchinleck Talbot (2pm), Irvine Meadow v St Cadoc's, Pollok v Glenafton, Troon v Cumnock (2pm).

First Division: Maybole v Ashfield, Renfrew v Kilbirnie Ladeside, Shotts Bon Accord v Kilwinning, Whitletts v Neilston.

Second Division: Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Forth, Craigmark v Glasgow Perthshire, Vale of Clyde v Bonnyton, Wishaw v Muirkirk.

Third Division: Finnart v Kello, Irvine Vics v Kilsyth Athletic, Lanark v Dalry, Lesmahagow v Ardeer, West Park United v Girvan.

Fourth Division: Eglinton v East Kilbride Thistle, Saltcoats v Campbeltown Pupils.