After showing a lot of heart Rob Roy were very unlucky to come away from Abbey Park without at least a point, writes Neil Anderson.
With manager Stewart Maxwell hospitalised and several of the squad unavailable or injured, the reshaped team was a match for the hosts throughout the game - even when they had to play with a man short and a defender in goals in the second half.
Rob Roy attacked from the start and in the first minute a good move between Andy Johnstone and Gavin Mackie put the Buffs defence under pressure.
Johnstone’s pace was causing problems for Kilwinning and in the 10th minute he should have won a penalty when he was tripped in the box but referee Fraser ignored the appeal.
Five minutes later Shaun Fraser’s header brought out a good save from home keeper Adam Strain. But a minute later Rob Roy had a huge let off when Ryan Nisbet missed an open goal following a great run down the right by Bryan Boylan.
Nevertheless it took only a further two minutes for the Buffs to take the lead. Following a long ball down the left Michael McKinven ran off his line and brought down the onrushing Boylan and Carlo Monti despatched the resultant penalty low to McKinven’s left.
Willie Sawyers was doing a sterling performance on his own up front and his close control caused endless problems for the Buffs’ back four. As Rob Roy continued to apply pressure in the pursuit of an equaliser they were constantly frustrated by referee Fraser’s loose application of the laws.
In the 38th minute the game was held up following a 50/50 clash of knees between McKinven and Boylan as the keeper cleared his lines.
Once the game restarted Sawyers was fouled by Jamie Whyte following a great through ball from Danny Mackenzie. From the resultant free kick, Strain did well to save Danny Boyle’s header.
However this was soon to be Boyle’s last contribution to the game as he was shown a straight red card following a late challenge on Michael Wardrope.
Rob Roy were hit by a further blow at half-time as McKinven was unable to continue and, with no substitute keeper on the bench, young Danny O’Halloran took his place in goal.
Efforts from Sawyers and Gary McMenamin went close before O’Halloran had his first piece of action when he did well to collect a cross from Monti. A minute later he again showed safe hands, saving a Sam McCloskey shot.
Johnstone shot wide in the 69th minute but 10 minutes later he was on the receiving end of a late tackle from Hanley and referee Fraser issued his second straight red card of the match.
With the sides now even it was the visitors who looked the more likely to score and Sawyers was unlucky to see his shot on the turn hit the bar and bounce over.
The final 10 minutes was a wave of attacks from the visitors. A Sawyers chip shot was saved by Strain who also thwarted substitute Connor Hughes in the final minute.
But despite all their pressure Rob Roy could not break down the home defence.