Pearson pounces with late winner to put Rabs on verge of knockout stage

Willie Sawyers shields the ball from two Kilsyth defenders.

Willie Sawyers shields the ball from two Kilsyth defenders.

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A goal in the final minute of each half secured a 2-1 win for Kirkintilloch Rob Roy over Kilsyth Rangers at Guy’s Meadow on Saturday.

The victory made it three wins out of three for Stewart Maxwell’s side and put them in pole position to qualify for the exselgroup Sectional League Cup knockout stages for the second year running.

Like Rabs, Kilsyth went into the match with two wins behind them and had the first chance when Frannie Kelly’s free-kick hit Rabs’ defensive wall before being punched clear by Michael McKinven.

With both defences on top, chances were at a premium. Kevin Watt headed the ball past the post for Rabs before Kelly blasted a free-kick high and wide of McKinven’s upright.

Kilsyth went in front in the 34th minute when Frannie Kelly’s shot was deflected off Kevin Green and the rebound fell back to Kelly who chipped the ball over McKinven.

Three minutes before the break Rangers keeper Andy Carlin made a fantastic save from Shaun Fraser, pushing his close range shot over the bar.

But on the stroke of half-time Rob Roy equalised when central defender Green rose at the back post to head a Fraser cross past the helpless Rangers keeper.

Rangers were a threat on the break with Paul McBride bringing out a fine diving save from McKinven early in the second half.

With Rabs now pushing forward Gavin Mackie sent over cross from the left but David Barr’s header lacked direction and the chance was lost.

Mackie was prominent in most of his side’s attacks and he was unlucky to see his shot from the edge of the box flash past the Kilsyth post.

At the other end keeper McKinven, who was having a good match, did well to parry McBride’s drive to safety.

As the half wore on it was Rob Roy who looked the more likely to score with Rangers forced to defend deeply.

Chris Duff sent a 25 yard free-kick well wide then Jordan McGuire and Mackie both tested Carlin from distance.

But in a Rangers break upfield McKinven again did well to make a diving save to prevent Kelly from giving the visitors the lead.

It looked as if the spoils would be shared, but Kilsyth were stunned in the last minute when Rabs grabbed the winner.

Substitute Reece Pearson got his head to a cross from the left to send the ball into the back of the net and to give his side victory - and the ‘bragging rights’.