Rob Roy secured their survival in the Premiership with a battling 2-0 win over Hurlford United at Guy’s Meadow on Wednesday night.
The win not only retained Rabs’ place in the Premiership but also extinguished the Ayrshire side’s hopes of taking the title.
Despite having to make a late change when Michael Daly was injured in the warm up, the Roy made a dream start with a goal in just three minutes.
Michael Tuohy connected with a cross from the right to lash a right foot shot past ‘Ford keeper Chris Murchie.
The visitors replied with Marc McKenzie sending an angular attempt over the bar and Lewis Morrison then failed to make contact with a dangerous Marc McKenzie cross in front of goal.
Craig Gordon denied Hurlford an equaliser with a good save from Morrison and then did well to save a Paul McKenzie effort.
The Roy’s keeper was again called in to action, this time showing great anticipation to head the ball clear from outside his penalty area.
In the 36th minute Rob Roy thought they had increased their lead when Joe Slattery shot home from 20 yards but the referee had blown for an earlier foul on Gavin Mackie to award a free-kick.
The home side then escaped when Chris Robertson towered above the Rob Roy defence to send a powerful header that crashed off the crossbar with Gordon beaten.
However Rabs eased their supporters’ nerves with a second just before half-time. Murchie spilled Gallacher’s free-kick from the right and Gary Carroll was first to react to slide the ball into the net.
At the start of the second half Alex Cassells broke through on goal but Robertson’s last-ditch tackle blocked his effort for a corner kick.
Murchie then did well to punch clear as Michael Morris threatened to head home and only a tremendous block from David Barrow prevented a Cassells cross reaching Carroll in front of goal.
Barrow suffered a serious ankle injury and could take no further part in the game, leaving the visitors with 10 men.
Roy tried to take advantage but Gallacher’s cross into the box found no takers and then Carroll’s shot, after a neat turn in the box, lacked power and trundled past the post.
As the heat took its toll on the players, cramp became an issue for several and Morris had to be replaced by Dillon Young.
Rabs then replaced Carroll and Cassells with Connor Hughes and Willie Sawyers as they searched for a goal that would settle the match. The fresh legs made an immediate impact with both players causing problems for the Hurlford defence.
However ‘Ford refused to give up and in the 86th minute Gordon pushed Reilly’s shot over the bar.
Nevertheless the Rob Roy defence held firm until the final whistle and a well earned three points was a cause for celebration for all concerned.
A tremendous display from the Rob Roy squad, which has hit form at a crucial stage in the season. With relegation worries no longer an issue the incentive is now there to finish off the season in style.
Report by Neil Anderson