Vale of Girvan 3 Woodwynd Wolves 2

THE two teams entered this match unbeaten in the league but, by the final whistle, it was Vale of Girvan who retained that distinction as they continued their fine run of form.

They started very brightly, with both David McVittie and Bob Ashworth coming close in the opening minutes, both players shooting wide.

But Vale were dominating in the early stages and Liam Wright was next to come close with a header at the back post after eight minutes that shaved the post.

The pressure finally paid of when Vale took the lead when, after some good work up the left flank, Nathan Smith played a fine pass through to McVittie, who coolly slotted home to put Vale one up. Two minutes after taking the lead, John McMillan put another great ball through to Davie Bryce, but his first-time shot went narrowly past.

WoodWynds started to come back into the game and striker John Miller forced a great save from Ian McNeilly in the Vale nets. The visitors were looking impressive by now and, just before the break, McNeilly was forced to make another fine save from a John O’Neil volley. 

After a few inspirational words from manager Gordon McIlwraith, Vale started the second half really well, pressing forward whilst playing some neat football. Once again, Bryce fired a few great crosses into the box which almost paid dividends, notably when Ashworth just shot wide. 

Back came WoodWynd and only some fine defending by Stevie McCluskey and Fraser Reid kept them at bay.

With an hour played, Kenny Gilchrist put Wright through and a mix-up in the WoodWynd defence between John Tosh and goalkeeper Winters allowed him to slot home.

After that, however, Vale went to sleep for a few minutes and allowed WoodWynd back into the game. McMillan brought down Murray inside the box giving the referee no option but to point to the spot. O’Neil converted to make it game on.

Vale of Girvan thought they had restored their two-goal lead almost immediately afterwards when they broke up the park allowing Ashworh put it in the back of the net. However, after much complaining from the WoodWynd players, the referee chalked the goal off. Not a good time of the match for McIlwraith’s blood pressure as it looked like he was going to explode. But, with ten minutes remaining, Wright calmed his manager’s nerves with a superb goal that had the Vale thinking they were on easy street. But after a mistake by Alan Hyslop in defence, Ian Miller brought WoodWynd back in the game with a well-taken goal.

That ensured a nervous finish for Vale supporters but the game passed without any further scares to provide a great result for the Vale of Girvan.

McIlwraith spoke to the Carrick Gazette after his blood pressure had returned to just high and said: “This was good all-round performance by the lads after a bad defeat last week.

“It shows the great character to beat another undefeated team in our league. The lads are very pleased that they are still undefeated in our league and I would like to mention Nathan Smith and Ian McNeilly as they were tremendous today.”

Vale of Girvan have secured the signing of Ayr Boswell under 19s player Adam Stevenson.

Vale of Girvan: McNeilly, Gilchrist, Hyslop, Reid, McCluskey, Bryce, McMillan, Smith, McVittie, Ashworth, Wright. Subs: Hyslop, Campbell, Brown, Wason, Fletcher (not used).