Girvan now target play-off place

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GIRVAN’S chances of automatic promotion ended last Saturday as Ashfield moved into an unassailable lead. Victory at Shotts would have made no difference as Ashfield beat league leaders Clydebank on Saturday to clinch the second automatic promotion spot and also keep the chances of winning the First Division alive. Girvan now have to take four points from their last two matches to make the play-off.

Their final two matches are Renfrew at home on Saturday afternoon and then a tough away game to Ashfield, who are looking for a win to secure the First Division title.

Victory on Saturday would have made their chances of securing third place and the promotion play-off spot a lot easier and they missed a great chance on Saturday to make their life easier.

The Seasiders failed to take advantage of their considerable possession and chances they created at Hannah Park on Saturday.

With the wind at their back in the first half, Girvan looked to take advantage. On-loan St Mirren man Kyle Faulds shot just past the post from 30 yards after eight minutes and, two minutes later, Shotts keeper Craig Brown produced a good stop to deny Neal Gilmour from the same distance.

On the 20-minute mark, youngster Craig Harvey smacked the post with a header from a Gilmour cross.

But the Seasiders fell behind just after the half-hour when an innocuous-looking ball into the box fell to Paul McLaughlin, who fired home from close range.

This was a huge setback for Girvan who had looked the more likely to open the scoring on Saturday.

However, they battled their way into the game and equalised minutes before half-time.

Pressure from Harvey won him the ball 20 yards out and he got to the byeline and picked out Arran Connolly just yards out to tap home.

Connolly went close after 53 minutes when his rifled piledriver smacked off the underside of the crossbar and bounced clear.

But the home side regained the lead with 20 minutes to go when Steven Barker’s cross was deflected past John McDougall in the Girvan goal.

Brian McLuckie’s men battled back again, however, and were level five minutes later. Harvey was the architect once more, nutmegging one defender before squaring to Steven Shankland who tapped in from close range. Neither side could force the winner in the closing stages and they shared points.

Girvan are hoping as many supporters as possible turn up for their match against Renfrew at Hamilton Park on Saturday afternoon, which is a must-win fixture with that play-off fixture still in their own hands.