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Match Report : Championship

Monday, 14 January 2019



Weather conditions for this game appeared pretty much perfect until the referee blew his whistle to start the game and seemingly to start a monsoon. With conditions underfoot already heavy it was a difficult day to play football though it was enormous credit to both teams who served up a cracking Junior game.

Full credit was also due to referee, Ross Menzies, who had an excellent game along with his two linesmen taking account of the surface which made it look as though some sliding tackles were more dangerous than they actually were.

The monsoon was blowing towards the ‘Gas Works End’ and Darvel, unbeaten in their ten previous league fixtures, had the benefit of this. They therefore largely had control of the first half if stopping short of dominating it. However, midway through the half Darvel did take a deserved lead through Tan.

Shortly after this they appeared to have scored a second after a melee in the six yard box following a corner kick. The ball was forced over the line and it took both Kello’s and Darvel’s players several seconds to notice a linesman with his flag raised to signal offside. There is absolutely no reason to doubt the linesman’s decision but undoubtedly it would have been very difficult for the referee to have spotted this one and so the huge benefit of having linesmen and lineswomen at games was reinforced.

The next twenty minutes were the most important of the game. If Kello were to stay in the game then they needed to keep the deficit to just one goal at half time and with two marvellous saves from Dunsmuir they did just that.

The second half was a different affair with Kello now benefitting from the monsoon at their backs and on 53 minutes Kello won a free kick. Ross swung the free kick over and Sean Bennie made the perfect run to slide in and glide the ball past ‘keeper Markey. Fifteen minutes later Miller laid the ball into the path of the industrious Johnson who ignored the underfoot conditions to strike a marvellous shot which only slowed down once it hit the net.

Thereafter Darvel did their best to seek out an equaliser and they had a couple of good chances which they squandered, while Dunsmuir again produced one excellent save. However, the main feature of the game was Kello’s battling and very brave performance in the remainder of the game. They had a sniff of only their second league win of the season and they chased and harried over every inch of the heavy pitch to suppress Darvel whose heads did visibly drop in this battle. When the final whistle was blown Darvel were completely boxed in near the corner flag on their own goal line and seemed to have been there for ages as a result of the heavy wind and the terrier like pressing by Kello.

The game itself was enhanced by a good attendance from Darvel who actually sang for much of the game in the covered enclosure. Meanwhile, in the main stand the Rovers fans became more and more vociferous as victory loomed and the two sets of fans exchanged pleasantries across the pitch as is the norm at Junior games. The home fans celebrated wildly on the final whistle. They were not singing, however. But then, by this time neither were the Darvel fans.

Dunsmuir, Ross, Quinn, Sean Bennie, Hyslop, Johnson, Hampson, Hill, Miller, Fleming, Smith.
Subs: Stuart Bennie, Ewing, Berry, Thomson.

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