Whitletts Victoria 3
SEAN McKenna marked his league debut for Girvan with an excellent hat-trick in an extremely entertaining game at Dam Park stadium on Saturday afternoon – which also saw both sides reduced to ten men.
The hitman’s goals – one of them a contender for any goal of the season award – salvaged a point for Brain McLuckie’s men who came from behind twice in the match. It may be slightly premature but McKenna does look to be the man that could fire the goals for Girvan in their promotion bid, goals that were desperately missing in the run-in last season after the sale of Michael Moffat.
And it was McKenna who opened the scoring on Saturday with a stunning half-volley. A long diagonal ball from Alan Love looked a lost cause with McKenna isolated on the edge of the penalty box, but after one bounce he unleashed a terrific shot across Vics’ keeper Steven Douglas and into the top right-hand corner after only four minutes.
A strong left-to-right wind was definitely helping the home side keep Girvan pinned back and it was no surprise that it would play a big part in helping equalise and then take the lead.
Douglas’ long clearance wasn’t properly dealt with by the Girvan defence and Ricky Hanvey took advantage to nip in and fire home midway through the first half.
A couple minutes later they went in front. Scott McGilp was judged to have bundled over Hanvey and James Davidson whipped a dangerous free-kick into the six-yard box. Former Girvan man Raymond Buchanan claimed the final touch before the ball went over the line.
It was a strange turnaround in a match that Girvan had looked completely comfortable in but they did haul themselves level shortly before half-time.
The home side failed to clear properly from a corner and Love sent in a cross that found McKenna unmarked seven yards out and he smashed home a low volley on the turn.
Vics began the second-half better and were forcing Girvan further and further back.
And it came as no surprise when Jim Geddes’ men regained the lead on the hour mark with a fine free kick.
Craig Main lined up his attempt 30 yards out and drilled a super low effort round the wall and past Darren Johnson. But that lead lasted all of one minute. A long ball from O’Donnell caught the Vics defence too far up the pitch and McKenna nipped in to beat Douglas and slot home into the empty net. The Seasiders created the better chances to win the match as Whitletts visibly tired as the match went on.
Douglas made a great block to deny McKenna a fourth of the afternoon as Girvan pressed for a winner.
The match ended on a sour note as referee David Cowe dealt with Stevie O’Donnell for a tackle on Main, and an altercation between Lee Holland and Kevin Biggart resulted in both players being shown a straight red card.
The Seasiders are back in action tonight (Wednesday) in New Cumnock against Glenafton Athletic in the quarter-final of the League Cup