Rob Roy 0 Kilbirnie 1: Rabs title hopes suffer setback

Lee Gallacher fires a shot at the Kilbirnie goal (pic by Craig Halkett)
Lee Gallacher fires a shot at the Kilbirnie goal (pic by Craig Halkett)

Rob Roy’s title hopes suffered a setback as they went down to a determined Kilbirnie Ladeside outfit at Guy’s Meadow on Saturday.

The visitors headed back to Ayrshire with all three points after a day of drama which produced three red cards and two missed penalties.

Kilbirnie who went all out in attack from the first whistle with Kyle Rafferty sending a 20-yard free-kick over the Rabs bar.

A minute later Rafferty sent a further free-kick deep into the Rabs penalty box but Kevin Green managed to head the ball away for a corner.

In Rob Roy’s first real attack in the 10th minute Lee Gallacher was unable to control a Chris Duff cross in the penalty box and the chance was lost.

The visitors remained a threat though and an Owen Ronald corner home keeper Michael McKinven did well to tip a Michael O’Byrne header over the bar.

McKinven then safely dealt with an Adam Forde free-kick as they Ayrshire side continued to dominate with former Rabs player Ronald prominent in their attacking moves.

However on the stroke of half-time Ladeside were reduced to ten men when O’Byrne was shown a straight red for a lunging two-footed tackle.

Rabs should have taken the lead in the first minute of the second half.

Willie Sawyers laid the ball off for Jordan McGuire but the midfielder tried to place the ball into the corner of the net, allowing keeper Kieran Hughes to make a diving save.

McGuire then sent a free-kick into the arms of Hughes then Gallacher fired over the bar as Rabs attempted to haul themselves back into the contest.

But it was the Blasties who fired themselves into a 56th minute lead.

orde broke down the left, his pace taking him clear of the defence, before cracking a low shot into the corner of the net.

Two minutes later McKinven denied Forde his double when he tipped his effort over the bar.

On the hour mark Rabs were handed a way back into the game when they were awarded a soft penalty as Sawyers and Ciaran Donnelly tussled in the box, but substitute Garry McMenamin sent the spot kick past the post.

The visitors pushed forward looking to put the result out of doubt and McKinven did well to punch clear while under pressure.

Kilbirnie should have gone two up when they were awarded a penalty in the 79th minute for a foul on Ronald, but Forde’s kick hit the inside of both uprights before the ball was cleared.

Defender Ian Gray then picked up his second yellow card within a minute and was sent off leaving his side with nine men for the remaining eight minutes.

In the closing minutes Rabs pushed forward in an attempt to salvage a point but were unable to break down a solid and well organised Kilbirnie defence.

And a miserable day for Stewart Maxwell’s side was completed deep into stoppage time Rabs Shaun Fraser became the third player to receive his marching orders for picking up his second yellow card.