Annbank United 3
A STORMING Seasiders second half comeback secured the three points in their League Cup group match against a stunned Annbank side.
Trailing to a Michael O’Conner double and Dwayne Hyslop strike, Brian McLuckie’s men fought back impressively to secure the win thanks to goals from Stevie O’Donnell, Neal Gilmour and Michael Rutherford. A Kevin Biggart penalty had briefly levelled the match in the first half.
It took the visitors only four minutes to open the scoring when Hyslop cleverly noticed a gap in the Girvan wall and slotted the ball through into the empty corner of the net.
That lead lasted eight minutes when Biggart scored from the spot. Rutherford was brought down inside the area, though the visitors protested the ball was played first. However, it took only two minutes for Steph McMillan’s men to restore their lead when O’Conner capitalised on a mix-up in the Girvan defence to slot home.
Girvan’s first half performance wasn’t up to scratch and O’Donnell almost gifted Bankies a third after 28 minutes when he made a hash of a clearing header but only managed to knock it behind him. O’Conner gave chase but his finish was poor and his fired wide.
But he made amends just two minutes later when he slotted home from Michael Reilly’s dangerous low cross from six yards out.
The two-goal lead was nothing more than the visitors deserved for their effort in the first half and McLuckie certainly had some choice words for his men at half time.
Whatever he said to his men certainly worked as it was a completely different Girvan side that emerged for the second half.
Scott McQuade came close to pulling one back almost immediately after the restart when he cut in from the left flank but his shot from 18 yards was always rising a soared just over the bar.
But on 50 minutes, the comeback began. Biggart’s free kick into the area was met by a towering Stevie O’Donnell header. O’Donnell also took out keeper Mark Fisher in the process, but the referee judged that the big man connected with the ball first before the keeper.
They were level on the hour mark when Lee McCrae, pushed forward into a moving attacking role on the left wing, burst clear and cut the ball back to the path of Gilmour who slammed the ball home from 12 yards.
The Seasiders finally got their noses in front ten minutes before full time. Rutherford collected the ball deep in the Annbank half and took one defender before slipping past another into the box finishing off a fine solo goal with a cool finish.
Girvan held on, however, and the victory almost guarantees their progression into the knockout phase. With one game remaining, the Seasiders are three points clear of third-placed Troon but with a superior goal difference of 10.
Girvan face local rivals Maybole at Hamilton Park tonight before beginning their league campaign on Saturday in Ayr against Whitletts at Dam Park.