Rob Roy 3 Troon 1: Rabs tick another box in title bid

Kevin Watt slots home Rob Roy's second from the penalty spot
Kevin Watt slots home Rob Roy's second from the penalty spot
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Kirkintilloch Rob Roy moved two points clear at the top of the Super League Premier Division table with another win at Guy’s Meadow on Saturday.

Stewart Maxwell’s side took advantage of title rivals Glenafton and Auchinleck Talbot being otherwise engaged on Scottish Junior Cup semi-final duty.

Hero for the day was Kevin Watt who grabbed a hat-trick, including two penalties, as the home side came from behind to see off Troon at Guy’s Meadow.

Fighting for top league survival, it was Troon who enjoyed early possession and Rabs keeper Michael McKinven had to be well positioned to save Scott Chatham’s header from a Dean Keenan corner.

Colin Spence then shot wide from distance before, a minute later, Dale Moore fired over the bar from 20 yards.

But as Rabs began to push forward Troon keeper Ally Semple saved a Willie Sawyers head flick under his bar following a Chris Duff corner.

The keeper was in action again in the 25th minute this time, diving to parry away a Duff free-kick.

A minute later Troon took the lead when Gareth Armstrong broke down the left and crossed for the poorly marked Chatham to head past McKinven from close range.

Rabs went back on the attack with Semple stopping a Duff effort with his foot.

However Rob Roy got back on level terms when they awarded their first penalty of three in the 36th minute after Sawyers was pushed by Gavin Collins.

Kevin Green stepped up only to see his poorly struck effort blocked by Semple, but the loose ball fell to Watt who sent a crisp finish low into the corner of the net.

In first half stoppage time Semple again came to his side’s rescue making a fine save from a Shaun Fraser header.

The first chance of the second half fell to Troon but Martin Ure fired over the bar from 25 yards; then, at the other end, Sawyers just failed to connect with Duff’s headed lay-off.

Play became scrappy with frequent stoppages for petty fouls. Rabs had strong claims for a penalty turned down in the 64th minute when Jordan McGuire’s powerful volley appeared to strike the hand of Keenan.

But three minutes later they were awarded a second penalty when Sawyers was clattered by Collins and this time Watt gave Semple no chance and to put Rabs into the lead.

With Rabs’ superior fitness now telling, substitute Luke Whelan’s 30 yard shot was pushed wide for a corner by Semple who was the busier of the two keepers by far.

Rabs were awarded a third penalty in the 72nd minute when Sawyers was elbowed by Keenan and before the kick could be taken Troon were reduced to 10 men when Ure was shown a second yellow card.

Watt again made an expert job of the spot kick to grab a hat-trick and his 14th goal of the season.

With Rabs rarely threatened and with a two goal cushion they quite comfortably played out time.

However they could have added to their tally in the closing minutes when Duff’s 20 yard free-kick was blocked on the goal line by Semple and cleared by Chatham.