ANNBANK UNITED 4 WHITLETTS VICTORIA 2
Annbank United were deserved winners in this Ardagh Cup clash which will leave manager Neil Duffy plenty of food for thought ahead of Wednesday’s match with Premier League Girvan at Dam Park.
It was a match that neither defence will be pleased with the goals they conceded although Vics will be hoping to strengthen their backline for Wednesday night’s match with the return of Raymond Buchanan and Blair Anderson
Annbank came out the traps at full force and pinned Vics back in the opening stages and although it came as no surprise when they took a fifth minute, the manner of the goal certainly was as, arguably the smallest player on the park, Jamie Martin, headed home a Roddy Patterson cross at the back post.
After 11 minutes it was 2-0. Scott Granger scoring after he capitalised on a Lee Sloan pass and took the ball round Steven Douglas to roll into the empty net.
When Jamie Martin saw his shot crash off the bar on the quarter of an hour mark, Assistant Manager Duncan George had seen enough and reverted to a flat back four instead of a three. That steadied the ship for Vics and they worked their way back into the game when Isaac Kerr rose to head home a Craig Harvey corner midway through the half for his first goal for the club.
Whitletts were having more of the possession but it was the home side who came close to stretching their lead when Ali Boyle lost possession in midfield and the ball broke through for Andy Stevenson whose effort came back off the post.
Declan Milligan went close for the visitors with a lofted effort that drifted wide before half time but at the interval Bankies went in 2-1 ahead.
The second period started in similar fashion to the first. A through ball found Martin who slipped, which deceived Vics keeper Douglas but as the Ayr United youngster recovered he saw his netbound shot blocked by Boyle.
Douglas then denied Granger as the midfielder tried to round him as Bankies threatened to increase their advantage but the inevitable occurred in the 55th minute when the ball broke for Andy Stevenson in the box and the veteran striker curled the ball past Douglas.
Whitletts offered little in an attacking sense and almost fell further behind when the impressive McLean Simpson broke into the area but although his cutback picked out Stevenson the striker fired wide.
Duncan George introduced two youngsters, Lee McClymont and Callum Ogston into the play and in the 71st minute it was Ogston who rose to meet a Craig Harvey corner to head past Marc Fisher.
Suddenly Whitletts looked up to salvage a point and Darren Baird saw his effort from 22 yards curl just wide but with 12 minute remaining any hopes of a comeback were dashed as Annbank grabbed a fourth. Jamie Martin breaking down the right and his low cross across the face of goal was turned home by Simpson from six yards.
Sean Ewart went close for Whitletts with an angled drive while Simpson saw his hot beaten out by Douglas as the home side recorded their first win of the season, leaving the visitors still searching for theirs.
1. Fisher 2. T. Sloan 3. Sherrie 4. Ballantine 5. Baird 6. L. Sloan 7. Connolly (McKenzie 65) 8. Granger 9. Patterson (Simpson 33) 10. Stevenson 11. Martin (Millarvie 86)
1. Douglas, 2. Boyd (Ogston 68) 3. Lawrie 4. Boyle 5. I. Kerr 6. Sloan 7. Harvey 8. L. Kerr 9. Milligan (McClymont 59) 10. Baird 11. Ewart
Referee: Paul Timmons