Whitletts Vics : Match Report
GARTCAIRN 1 - WHITLETTS VICTORIA 3
Whitletts moved eight points clear of the drop zone with what overall was a comfortable victory at MTC Park in what at times were horrendous conditions.
The game looked over as a contest at half time with Vics 3-0 up but a tactical change by the hosts saw them restore some pride although they never looked like making serious inroads into Vics interval lead.
It took Whitletts 12 minutes to open the scoring when Man of the Match Jordan Boyd played a superb pass for Louis Kerr to run onto and the midfielder kept his cool to fire low past Ian Stewart in the Cairn goal.
Vics adapted better to the conditions and were almost opening up the Airdrie sides defence at will and it came as no surprise when they doubled their advantage in the 25th minute. A neat Vics move saw Boyd pass to Marc Dyer whose timely pass for Michael Reilly to run onto and slip the ball past the advancing keeper.
Cairn rallied and moments after a Paul Murphy header flashed narrowly wide from as free kick, Stephen Larkin saw his shot from 20 yards crash back off the post.
Louis Kerr almost grabbed his second of the game when he headed a Sean Ewart cross just wide while Larkin’s angled drive from inside the box narrowly evaded Scott Johnston’s far post.
Vics were always dangerous going forward and four minutes before half time they sealed their dominance in the first period with an exquisite third goal. Boyd played in Reilly down the left and as he raced clear into the box he cut the ball back for Boyd to fire home from twelve yards.
Whitletts were worthy of their interval lead but to their credit Gartcairn refused to lie down in the second period. From a corner kick a back post header from Liam Crichton went wide when perhaps he should have at least got his header on target while a Ryan Donnelly strike from 20 yards flew just over. Those chances sandwiched a Louis Kerr free kick that just flew over the crossbar.
Whitletts should have added to their tally in the 58th minute when after a superb move Stewart Davidson slipped in Thomas Donovan but the striker was denied by Stewart. Moments later Stewart came to his side's rescue again, getting down low to deny Boyd who had been set free by another exquisite through ball from Marc Dyer.
Midway through the half Johnston made a fine save to tip over a Martin Shiels drive and in the 74th minute the Vics keeper made a superb save at full stretch to keep out Donnelly’s header.
As the game wore on, the threat from Gartcairn was increasing, particularly from set pieces and it came as no surprise when they reduced the leeway in the 77th minute. A simple corner delivered into the box picked out Donnelly to net from close range.
Suddenly Vics were anxious as Gartcairn players sensed a comeback was on the cards but the Whitletts defence held firm despite a thunderous drive from Connor McArdle that crashed off the face of the crossbar in injury time, to record their third successive victory and claim another three vital league points.
30. Stewart 3. McArdle 4. McWilliams 5. Murphy 7. Leslie (McGuigan HT) 8. Grierson 9. Larkin (Jeffrey 64) 10. Donnelly 11. Shiels 12. Crichton 20. Kilmartin
Subs (not used) 2. McDowall
1. Johnston 2. Findlay 3. Ewart 4. I.Kerr 5. Walsh 6. Davidson (Brown 88) 7. Reilly 8. Dyer 9. Boyd 10. Donovan 11. L. Kerr (Millar 62)
Subs (not used) 13. McColgan 15. Patterson 16. Buchanan
Referee: David Milton