McBookie Premiership



By Stewart McConnell

IMPRESSIVE Meadow ensured a Merry Christmas for their fans and a blue one for the 10-man visitors as they eased to victory in their final home game of 2019.

The hard-to-beat hosts moved up to third place after defending well and winning the midfield battle against a Troon team lacking in confidence who find themselves in third-bottom spot.

Medda came close in six minutes when a shot from 25 yards by Brendan Sharpe glanced narrowly over the bar. Then in 15 minutes an effort from 12 yards by the same player produced a fine one-handed save from Scott Johnstone.

Two minutes later a free-kick from 25 yards by Lee McCrea spun wildly over the bar.

Johnstone rushed out to beat Sharpe to the ball in 21 minutes.

The hosts missed a glaring opportunity a minute later when Eddie McTernan teed up Calum Gow who had Johnstone to beat but he was too casual with his shot and the Troon number one saved easily. Then in 23 minutes the visiting goalie got down well to foil Jared Willet from 12 yards.

Johnstone made a stunning one-handed save to foil Mark McLennan in 27 minutes.

Irvine Meadow went ahead in 33 minutes when McTernan slammed a shot home from 10 yards. However visiting player Dean Keenan was then immediately red-carded for using foul and abusive language. Medda doubled their lead in 50 minutes when Willet found Sharpe, whose effort was saved by Johnstone and McTernan pounced to slam the ball home from eight yards. The visitors pulled a goal back in 57 minutes when John Gemmell outjumped the home defence to head home a Ryan Stevenson corner-kick. Troon came close in 63 minutes when a rasping 20-yard drove from Dylan Pooler was well saved by Paddy O’Neil in his only real action of the game. Meadow were awarded a penalty in 73 minutes when Stevenson hauled down Sharpe inside the box and McLennan netted from the spot to make it 3-1. Johnstone made a fine save to foil Colin Spence from eight yards in 79 minutes. Then Spence shot inches wide from 20 yards in 83 minutes. McLennan saw his rasping 20-yard shot well handled by Johnstone a minute later as the hosts saw the game out.

IRVINE MEADOW: O’Neil; Latta, Willet, Gow, Slooves, Carnwath, McLennan, Sharpe, McTernan, Spence, McCrea. Subs: McGuire, McGinty, McLean.

TROON: Johnstone; Barbour, Sherrie, Keenan, Strachan, Chatham, Reilly, Montgomerie, Stevenson, Pooler, Fulton. Subs: Henderson, Morrison, Gilmour, Maley, Gemmell.