Annbank United 0 Girvan 1
a COMICAL own goal midway through first half was all that separated the two sides on Saturday afternoon as Girvan moved back into one of the automatic promotion spots.
On another day, Girvan could have scored more, but woeful finishing throughout the match meant Annbank were always a threat at nicking a point.
In truth, the players were not helped by the soft New Pebble pitch that, in some places, resembled a cattle field more than a football pitch.
Passes were misplaced, players struggled to stay on their feet and tackles were mistimed as both sides toiled.
Parks like this have always given Girvan trouble in the past, as their side is full of players who look to get the ball down and play some passes rather than firing straight from back to front.
However, they were able to come out on top against a very young Annbank side and keep the pressure on league leaders Clydebank.
With only Tony Murphy missing, manager Brian McLuckie was able to choose from a full squad and a full bench. New signing Keith Ross kept his place in goal and already looks a valuable addition to the side.
The former Beith goalkeeper talks very well with his defence and gives his back four confidence knowing he is behind them.
The only goal of the game came from a Kevin Biggart corner that found it’s way to Iain Cashmore at the far corner of the box.
He then curled an effort to far post that was headed clear by Lee Holland on the line, only for it to smack of his team mate’s head and straight back into the goal.
It was the only chance of a scrappy first half, not that the Girvan players would have cared, as they got their noses in front.
The second half was more of the same, but Girvan were able to create some more scoring chances, helped mainly by the sending off of former Maybole man Carlo Walker for two bookable offences, his second being a late lunge on Aaran Connolly as he sprinted past looking to get the byline.
George Wallace then passed up a fantastic chance when he was played through on goal by Alan Love.
One-on-one with the keeper, you would have backed him to slot it past Darren McGarrity, but he only succeeded at firing straight at the stopper from eight yards.
His reaction afterwards said it all as he turned away in frustration.
It was the only save McGarrity had to make in the 90 minutes, as Girvan had clearly left their shooting boots elsewhere. Despite that, they still ground out an important win as they enter the crucial stages of the run-in.
McLuckie believes that this is his side’s best chance yet to secure promotion to the Super League Premier Division and is still keen to strengthen his squad.
Derek McCulloch was expected to sign as the Gazette went to press last night and there was increased talk of Stevie O’Donnell returning to the club to help with the promotion push.
The central defender’s presence has been missed this season and his return would be a welcome boost.
On Saturday, Girvan face another tough trip to Glasgow to take on Shotts Bon Accord.