Winton Rovers had some disappointing results in 1973.

Winton Rovers were humiliated at Barrfields on Saturday (17 March 1973) and unceremoniously dismissed from the Ayrshire District Cup when thrashed by bottom-of-the-league club, Largs Thistle.  To be fair, however, it should be said that they made a promising start and gave the impression of being a business-like combination but they never got the breaks.  Both teams served up a keen and entertaining contest for half-an-hour with no scoring before strength and weakness became apparent.  Thistle were masters in defence with full-backs Flint and McKay in top form and Mackay a reliable keeper.  These three stalwarts provided a proverbial iron curtain.
     On the other hand, Rovers were weak in defence and as pressure mounted, they found themselves confused and in disarray.
  Inside-left Savage set the ball rolling for Thistle when he tested keeper Dick then Kyle shot over the bar and Wright struck an upright.  At the other end, Rovers forced the first corner then inside-left Quinn scorned a golden opportunity when he skied over the bar when a mere push would have served and left-winger Dickson shot into the arms of keeper Mackay.  Thistle opened the score sheet in the twenty-eighth minute when Eddie Kyle applied the finishing touches to a ball teed-up for him by Peter Valerio.  Winton switched to attack and Thistle’s goal was under siege for a time with centre-forward Lyons being a conspicuous leader in the concentrated raid.  They were awarded a free kick during this period of pressure and Mackay brought off a marvellous save from a direct shot by left-winger Dickson.
     Misfortune struck again when Thistle were awarded a rather soft penalty when Kyle was brought down by Dalling.
  Left-half McArthur took the spot-kick and scored in the thirty-eighth minute to establish a 2-0 interval lead.  Success had inspired Thistle with confidence and the team spirit became self-apparent.  They were reading the game and going for the ball while the troubled waters were not running smoothly for Rovers and they were unable to meet the challenge of the rampant forwards.  Willie McLellan opened the second half account with a goal two minutes after the restart.  Kyle added another after twenty-five minutes while Peter Valerio increased the lead five minutes later.  In the meantime, Cardno and Dickson had sent in shots for Rovers but they were effectively dealt with, thus denying them a crumb of consolation.
     Worse was to come.
  Kyle again struck the target to complete his hat-trick and finalise the rout in Thistle’s highest score of the season.  Largs actually had the ball in the net another time during the second half but the goal was disallowed for offside.  To the credit of Rovers, it can be said that they were gallant in adversity, taking their lack of success gracefully and without any display of ill-temper.  Thistle played with marked enthusiasm and in addition to a rock-like rear division, they had a magnificent middle line with Baillie, Telfer and McArthur, the last names being singularly constructive while Kyle and McLellan were undaunted up front.
The teams were:
Largs Thistle – Mackay, Flint, McKay, Baillie, Telfer, McArthur, Wright, Kyle, McLellan, Savage and Valerio.

Winton Rovers - Dick, Hay, McColl, Sanderson, Hood, Dalling, Cardno, Lunan, Lyons, Quinn and Dickson.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 23 March 1973

Kilbirnie Ladeside finally got the better of Winton at Valefield on Saturday (24 March 1973).  After two drawn games in the Ayrshire Cup, the Valley side were never in any trouble against an under-par Winton.  It took Kilbirnie only five minutes to show Winton they were in for no easy ride.  Ladeside were awarded a penalty which Dave Clark coolly converted.  Five minutes later, Winton were in deeper trouble as they began to feel the force of the Ladeside front line.  Oliphant gathered the ball twenty yards out and sent an unsaveable shot past keeper Ian Dick.
     After this goal, it was all one-way traffic towards the Winton goal but surprisingly Ladeside could find no way through and so at the interval, they went in with a comfortable lead.  The manner in which this strong Valley side played in the first half made it look obvious that it would not take long in the second period to extend their lead.
  The third goal came seven minutes after the interval.  The ball was played to young Bobby Davidson and the winger coolly beat a defender before placing the ball out of Dick’s reach.  Kilbirnie continued to press and in the sixty-second minute, they got number four.  It was Davidson who notched it with a stunning eighteen-yarder, hit on the drop.

     Content with their four-goal lead, the home side began to relax and this heralded a Winton fightback.
  In the space of four minutes, Rovers were awarded two penalty kicks.  Both were converted by right-half Ronnie Sanderson and came as undeserved consolation goals to a well-beaten side.  The pick of an excellent Kilbirnie side were new keeper Gordon Clark who gave an outstanding performance and Bobby Davidson who has hit top form in the last few weeks.  Those to gain pass marks for Winton were keeper Dick who kept the score reasonably respectable and Johnny Quinn who worked hard up front with little support.
     The teams were:

Kilbirnie Ladeside - Clark; Boyle, Oliphant, McLean, Smith, Davidson, Lynn, Mulherron, Clarke and Kerr.  (Strangely, only ten Kilbirnie players are listed in the newspaper report).
Winton Rovers - Dick; Hay, Baillie, Sanderson, Hood, McColl, Rowan, Cardno, Dalling, Dickson and Quinn.

                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 March 1973


Remembering their many fine encounters of last season, it was not surprising that a fair sized crowd turned out to see this game (on 18 August 1973).  Disappointment abounded, however, as physical endeavour rather than tactical skill was used by these two most attractive footballing sides.  As tempers reached boiling point in the first half, Paterson and Osbourne of Kilbirnie were booked.  Jim Clarke of Winton was booked in the second half.  A few other players were fortunate that their names were not added to the list.
     Kilbirnie took a surprising lead in six minutes.
  Close season signing Dave Paterson pushed a free-kick to Kerr.  The winger beat full back Hay and crossed to Bobby Davidson who side-footed the ball past Winton’s trialist goalkeeper.  Despite this early setback, it was Winton who dominated most of the first half hour.  In the eleventh minute, they almost got the equaliser when John McColl sent in a shot from all of twenty-five yards but Gordon Clark saved well.  Winton continued to push forward and forced a number of corners in quick succession but could not find the net.  The home side’s frustration became more evident after fifteen minutes when left winger Lunan shot past from close range with only the keeper to beat.  Back came Rovers and it needed an equally good save from Gordon Clarke to keep out a shot from Quinn.
     The homesters much deserved equaliser came just after the half hour when veteran wing half Ronnie Sanderson fired home a great volley from just outside the eighteen yard line.  Throughout this period of pressure from Winton, there had been a number of petty fouls from both sides and a minute after Sanderson’s goal, Kilbirnie wing half Osbourne was booked for a foul on Paul Clarke.  The game was really set alight seven minutes later.  Dave Paterson gathered the ball on the halfway line, worked a neat move with Dave Clarke and brushed off two defenders’ tackles before sending in a shot from twelve yards which went under the keeper’s body into the corner of the net.  It was a sad mistake by the trialist keeper but to his credit, he quickly forgot about it and made three excellent saves in a row.
     Unfortunately, his efforts were in vain as right on the interval, Bobby Davidson strode through the home defence to notch his second goal and his team’s third counter.  The opening burst of the Kilbirnie side in the second period made it look as though Winton were going to be blown out of the ground but again they struck back with a goal in the fifty-seventhth minute and it was undoubtedly the goal of the match for precision and timing.  Some text is missing here.  ... move by heading into the empty net.  This goal heralded a period of almost constant pressure from the Ardrossan side.  Shots rained in on the Ladeside goal but somehow Gordon Clark and his defence were able to keep their goal intact.  For the second time in the match, Winton’s pressure ended with Kilbirnie scoring.  With only seconds remaining, Dave Clarke gathered a pass from Paterson on the halfway line, raced upfield on his own and sent the ball past the Winton keeper.
     Although the scoreline showed a difference of two goals, the game was much closer and if Winton’s young trialist keeper had not made that mistake just before the interval, the home side could possibly have won the game.  Rovers had excellent players in Hay, McColl, Sanderson and Quinn who continually harassed the visitors’ defence.
  For Kilbirnie, Clark in goal was impeccable while up front, Dave Clarke and Peter Mulherron were their usual deadly selves but the man who stood out above all was new signing, Dave Paterson.  He had an outstanding game in midfield and had a hand in two goals as well as scoring one.

     The teams were:
Winton Rovers – Newman, Hay, McColl, Sanderson, Welsh, Paul Clarke, Quinn, Evans, Jim Clarke, Cardno and Lunan.

Kilbirnie Ladeside - Clark; Brock, Kennedy, Osbourne, McLean, Smith, Davidson, Paterson, Mulherron, Dave Clarke and Kerr.
                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 24 August 1973