Winton Rovers had a good team in 1988.

Saltcoats adapted quickly to the very heavy conditions and had the better of the early play (on 9 January 1988).  The home side were awarded a free-kick twenty yards out in the seventeenth minute but Jewell's effort went inches over the bar.  Just ten minutes later, a good Vics attack saw Ricky Smith go close with a diving header from a young cross.  The first half ended with two good Saltcoats attacks.  Mcllroy had a shot well saved then the same player struck the crossbar from close range.  Having survived the first half, Winton looked the more determined side after the break and finally opened the scoring in sixty-five minutes.
     A good pass from Murray fell to McColl on the edge of the box and his shot beat Docherty.
  Vics almost equalised but Hume shot straight at Graham from eighteen yards.  Two minutes from time, Winton increased their lead when Cruikshanks’ pass sent Orr clear and he slipped his shot past Docherty.  On their next attack, Winton were awarded a penalty when the keeper fouled Murray and Bell converted the spot kick.
The teams were
Winton Rovers - Graham, Ferguson, Malcolmson, Halley, Jewell, McColl, Bell, Laurie, Kane, McKechnie and Orr with substitutes Cruikshanks and Murray.
Saltcoats Victoria - Docherty, Gray, Young, McGeachie, Pearson, Ferguson, R Smith, Hume, McIlroy, Greening and W Smith with substitutes G Smith and Inglis.
                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 15 January 1988

Rovers survived a second half penalty miss to take the points at Winton Park (on 16 January 1988).
  The game got off to a bright start with both keepers being tested early on.  The first chance fell to Winton’s Orr but Magee smothered his effort well.  Two minutes later, Winton’s keeper Graham managed to tip a Gilhooley shot over his bar.  Simpson netted an Orr pass in the tenth minute but was judged offside by the referee.  The pace of the game slowed after this but in the twenty-fifth minute, Martin got on to a loose ball and saw his shot deflected by Graham into the path of Greig who failed to control and missed an-open goal.  Winton’s opener came in fifty-two minutes when Orr knocked in a pass to Donnelly and the centre turned his marker and slotted past. Magee.  Within two minutes Winton were further ahead.  Again it was Donnelly who. got the goal with McColl this time doing all the hard work.  Seven minutes later, the visitors were awarded a penalty for hand ball.  Greig took the spot kick and scored, but referee Lawson ordered a retake.  The same player fired the second attempt wide and a great chance for Vics was lost.  Vics did close the gap in seventy-three minutes however when McCallum crossed for Smith to head home.  Winton sealed the points eight minutes later though when Jewell, from all of thirty yards out, lobbed the ball over Magee after spotting the keeper off his line.
The teams were
Winton - Graham, Simpson, Malcolmson, Halley, Jewell, McColl, Bell, McKechnie, Donnelly, Mitchell and Orr with substitutes Murray and Cruikshanks.
Irvine Victoria - Magee, Drysdale, Barr, Black, Smith, Gilhooley, McCallum, Brown, Martin, McCulloch and Greig with substitutes Clarke and Gray.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 22 January 1988

Winton claimed the top spot in the Second Division with a good all-round display which included four goals from striker Dennis Donnelly (on 13 February 1988).  The visitors started fairly slowly and it wasn't until the eleventh minute that they created the game’s first real chances.  Keeper Sinnet of Maybole made a string of good saves from Donnelly, Kane and Bell - all within a sixty second spell.  Winton took the lead, however, in the twenty-second minute when Malcolmson laid off a pass to Donnelly who shot through it knot of defenders and into the corner of the net.
     Winton’s forwards continued to create good chances but it was not until five minutes before hall time that they increased their lead when Orr beat the Maybole offside trap and set Donnelly up with the chance to round the keeper and slot the ball home.
  A minute later, Sinnet dented Bell when he got his finger-tips to the winger’s chip shot and put it past for a corner.  Six minutes alter half time, Maybole’s Scobie was booked for a foul on Donnelly and in fifty-four minutes, Bell forced his way forward and his final shot was deflected into the Maybole net by defender Denny.  The home side’s best chance came in sixty-one minutes when Clarke set up Denny with a good pass but his shot went narrowly past.  Two minutes later, Maybole were reduced to ten men when Scobie got involved with Mitchell and collected his second booking - and his marching orders.
     In sixty-seven minutes, Donnelly released Kane to run at the Maybole goal and he made no mistake to make it 4-0. In seventy-eight minutes, Irvine was booked for persistent fouling.
  Two minutes after this, Donnelly completed his hat-trick when he beat the dlspirited Sinnet to a loose ball and shot past defender Robertson on the goal line.  Two minutes from time, Donnelly made it 6-0 when he ran in and took advantage of a bad mistake by the keeper and scored from two yards.
     Winton’s team was I Ferguson, A Ferguson, Malcolmson, Halley, Cruikshanks, McCall, Bell, Mitchell, Donnelly, Kane and Orr. The substitutes were Irvine and Slimmen.
                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 19 February 1988

Winton striker Dennis Donnelly grabbed hat-trick on Saturday (20 February 1988) to help the league leaders towards a 4-0 win at Irvine Vics.  The treble took Donnelly's total to seven goals in his last two games and put him on the thirty-three goal mark this season - and this week manager Wullie Kean made it clear how glad he is that the former Rutherglen Glencairn striker chose Winton Park at the start of the season.  “A few clubs were after Dennis but we managed to persuade him to come here and obviously we are delighted how he has settled in. I can't remember the last time a Winton player scored thirty-three goals and if we get promotion, a lot of the credit will go to him.  As well as scoring a lot of goals for us, he has also scored a few match-winners and that’s the measure of a good striker.”
     Kean pointed out that Donnelly’s team-mates deserve credit too.
  “They have been giving Dennis good service this season and a striker thrives on that” he said.  At twenty, Donnelly could be the target of senior interest but has made his intentions clear at the club “Dennis has told us not even to tell him about approaches from senior clubs until the end of the season.  He just wants to be left to get on with his football here and I can’t say I'm too unhappy with that attitude.” said Kean.  Donnelly was signed by Aberdeen as a youngster.
                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 26 February 1988

Winton began the game without regular centre-half Paul Jewell and sweeper Paul Halley but they opened strongly and from a Mitchell cross, Kane's shot was blocked on the six-yard line.  Play was continued to the midfield in the early stages but just before the interval, Winton had strong appeals for a penalty waved aside after Bell crashed to the ground from a Smith tackle.  Minutes later, Donnelly shot just over to end the half on a high note for Winton.  After the break, Kane ran on to a Mitchell pass and fired in a shot which was well saved by Hill.  In 58 minutes, Bell shrugged off a challenge from his Kello namesake and swung over a cross which Kane turned over the bar from close in.
     With fifteen minutes left, an Orr corner was cleared only as far as McColl and he played the ball back to Orr who side-stepped a challenge and shot past the keeper for what proved to be the winner.  With six minutes left, Graham had his only save of the second half when he fumbled a high cross from Woodward and had to save at the second attempt at Bell's feet.
     The Winton team was Graham, Laurie, Malcolmson, Ferguson, Cruikshanks, McColl, Bell, Mitchell, Donnelly, Kane and Orr with substitutes Murray and Irvine.
                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 March 1988

     after extra time
The home side got off to the perfect start in this District Cup-tie (on 12 March 1988) when a good move involving Mitchell and Donnelly allowed Orr to blast home from fifteen yards after just four minutes.  After this, however, the game settled into a hard midfield tussle with neither side able to get the upper hand.  The visitors’ best chance came in thirty-two minutes when Smith had a fine twenty-five yard shot touched past by Graham.  Ten minutes later, keeper Docherty did well to save a close-range effort from Dennis Donnelly.  Docherty then saved McIlroy’s blushes when he managed to turn his own player’s header off the Saltcoats line.
     Just after half-time, Saltcoats should have equalised but Gerraghty’s shot from close range was just off target.
  The visitors looked the more determined side, however, and got a deserved equaliser when Gerraghty got on to the end of a loose ball and shot home from eight yards after fifty-three minutes.  The game went to extra time and Winton took the lead in ninety-six minutes.  Donnelly’s shot from eighteen yards was turned past Docherty by Kane.  In the second half of extra time, Donnelly increased Winton’s lead at the second attempt after Docherty had blocked his first shot.  In a hundred and ten minutes, Greening pulled a goal back for Vics with a shot from inside the box but two minutes later, Kane lashed a Bell cross off the bar and Donnelly just managed to force the loose ball over the line to make it 4-2.  Davie McIlroy made it 4-3 when he took advantage of a Graham fumble and slotted the ball home from close range.  In the last minute, Ferguson was booked for getting involved with McIlroy.
                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 March 1988

Bell Goal Takes Winton Up

A Hugh Bell goal in the second half clinched promotion for Winton (on 9 April 1988).  Neither side could get on top in the early stages and the first scoring opportunity didn't arrive until the fourteenth minute when Ferguson had to save at the feet of Muirkirk's Rundell.  A minute later, Winton were awarded a penalty when the referee judged that keeper Docherty fouled Bell just inside his box.  Bell took the kick but his poor attempt was saved and within two minutes of this, Muirkirk went ahead when Brennan found Weir unmarked in the box and he shot home.  Winton drew level in twenty-two minutes though when Docherty parried a Bell shot and Orr was well placed to head home the rebound.  In thirty-seven minutes, an eighteen-yard effort from Orr was well saved by Docherty and three minutes later Weir saw his sixteen-yard shot at the other end fly just over.
     The second half started quietly with neither side troubling the opposition‘s defence.
  This changed in the sixty-seventh minute however, when McMillan had to head a Cruikshanks shot off his goal line.  Three minutes later though, Winton secured promotion to Division One with a fine solo effort from Bell.  He rounded the defence to get on the end of a pass from Andy Ferguson and chipped the ball high past Docherty from twenty-five yards.  Two minutes later, Muirkirk were denied an equaliser when Weir was judged to have fouled Ferguson before slotting an attempted Winton clearance into the empty net.
     The Winton team was I Ferguson, A Ferguson, Malcolmson, Halley, Jewell, McColl, Bell, Irvine, Kane, Laurie and Orr with substitutes Cruikshanks and Murray.

                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 15 April 1988

Winton Rovers are on the road to recovery - but they still face a long uphill fight for survival.  At the end of last year, the club, one of the oldest in Ayrshire, looked on the verge of extinction with massive debts hanging over its head.  Now after months of hard work the tide seems to have turned at last in favour of the Rovers.  A run of success on its field has pulled the Rovers up the Ayrshire Junior League second division and brought increased optimism to the band of dedicated club officials who have guided the club through the worst of their financial crisis.
     In recent years, Winton Rovers - formed in 1900 - has been one of the more financially stable clubs in the north of the county with a thriving social club pumping money into its coffers - but when the social club was forced to close its doors the club was left to stand on its own two feet.
  Club treasurer Mr Sam Morrison said “For the first time we had to ask for the support of the people of Ardrossan.  We have organised raffles, held nearly new shops, secured donations from local businesses and arranged other fund-raising events which have helped us pay our week-to-week expenses.  Yes, we still have a long fight ahead but we are confident that given time and understanding we can survive.”  That long fight includes paying off a 4500 overdraft they still owe to the bank but the club do have their week-to-week running expenses under control.
     Mr Morrison said “We have a great bunch of lads who play for the team. During the worst times when we couldn't pay all their expenses, not one player asked for any money they were due.
  They knew the position and were willing to wait until we could sort everything out.”  Mr Morrison also paid tribute to the hard work of the fourteen committee members and a few friends who have helped the club during the worst time in its history. There is still a lot of work to be done and Mr Morrison made a plea for more volunteers to come forward to help with fundraising events.  The club's next big event will be a summer fete in Winton Park on Sunday 19 June. It is hoped to arrange for a football personality to open the day’s events.  Mr Morrison said “If anyone can help in any way to convene a stall, bake or undertake any handicraft work for sale we would be delighted to hear from them."
                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 29 April 1988