Winton Rovers won the Ayrshire District League in 2011.

Title-favourites Winton consolidated their position at the top of the league with a hard-earned victory over promotion rivals Maybole (on 9 April 2011).  The visitors went about their task in a determined fashion by snuffing out the threat of Paul Kerr and using the width of the field to great effect.  Maybole had the first chance after fourteen minutes but Kenny Pollock had a fine save to deny Robert Forde.  In the next minute, it was Scott Johnstone to the rescue for the home side as he blocked an effort from Paul Stewart.  In another two minutes, Paul Stewart had another chance but headed wide.
        On the half hour, Martin Lawrie had a fine header from a comer but again Pollok saved well for Winton.  After thirty-eight minutes, a real scramble in the Maybole penalty area saw the ball cannon off the bar, Winton claiming a penalty before Paul Kerr headed the ball clear.
  Maybole suffered a blow a minute later when John McDonald was injured and had to be replaced by Scott Dempster.  Robert Forde set Dempster up in the next minute but he shot wide from a good position.  A Forde free-kick was missed by everyone in the middle of the goals and Paul Cameron just failed to connect with the ball at the far post.
        Right on half-time, Winton went ahead when a Scott Houston free kick broke to Scott Adam and he sent a low shot across Johnstone and into the net.  Maybole started the second half on the offensive and a header by Paul Kerr from a Scott Dempster free-kick was not far away.
  Next, Scott Dinwoodie had a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area that went just over the bar.
        On the hour, Scott Dernpster had a fine header but again Pollock denied the striker, turning the ball away for a corner.  Midway through the second half, Pollock again came to Winton's rescue when he turned a shot from Stuart McGrady for a corner.
  Maybole had a last chance to grab an equaliser two minutes from the end but Stuart McGrady failed to find the target from n Craig Stevenson cross.  A minute from time, Paul Stewart shot wide from a George O‘Malley cross and right on time saw a clever lob drift over the bar.
        The teams were:
Winton Rovers - Pollock: Breen, Fisher, Houston, Jones, Adam, O'Malley, Gilmour, Stewart, Graham and Gallacher.  The substitutes were Murray, Frye, Nolan, Kennedy, McGeady and Rankines.
Maybole – Johnstone, Gallacher, Lawrie, Stevenson, McGrady, Cameron, Forde, Dinwoodie, Irvine, Kerr. and McDonald. The substitutes were Dempster, S Leonard, C Leonard and Kirkland.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 13 April 2011

Rovers Crush Craigmark In Eight Goal Thriller

Rampant Rovers crushed Craigmark to close within three points of promotion (on 15 April 2011).  The Ardrossan side travels to Muirkirk tonight knowing that victory would secure the step-up to the Stagecoach Super League First Division.  Winton were hoping to clinch the promotion spot in front of the home fans as at half-time news filtered through from Maybole that the home side was down 2-1 to Lugar and a slip of any kind by the South Ayrshiremen would have taken Derek Frye’s team up.  Winton were 2-0 ahead at this time and fired another six goals in a second half destruction of the East Ayrshire visitors.
        Winton were first to show in the tenth minute when Adam flashed a header just over the bar from a Murray cross.
  Craigmark have shown signs of improvement since former Rovers player and coach John ‘Hoots’ Harvey took over a month ago and they had two early chances to shock their hosts.  Aitken again had a chance four minutes later when, looking offside, he ignored Winton appeals and was in on goal.  Again, however, he lacked composure and flashed his shot wildly across goal.
        Rovers responded to these warnings.
  Robertson in the Craigmark goal denied Hamilton twice in as many minutes, turning a shot and header over the bar on both occasions.  On loan Ayr United full-back Iain Fisher has brought another attacking option to the Winton attacking armoury.  Adam’s header met Fisher’s long throw in thirty-seven minutes and again Robertson scrambled clear.  A minute later, however, Fisher again delivered his throw deep into the heart of the Craigmark penalty area and Paul Stewart finally broke the deadlock when he headed home from six yards.
        Winton doubled their lead a minute later.
  Gallagher’s sublime pass through the Craigmark defence allowed Graeme Hamilton a run on goal.  As Robertson advanced, Hamilton chipped over the keeper and into the net for Winton’s second.
were on the attack straight from the start of the second half.  Graham Muir raced through on goal from kick-off and again Robertson denied the Rovers with another excellent save. 
Winton continued to press and Robertson could do little to stop the goal rush that was to follow.  Graeme Hamilton claimed his second in the fifty-third minute rising above the Craigmark defence to head home an O’Malley cross from the right.  Scott Adam added Winton’s fourth a minute later. Again, O’Malley was the provider, floating in a free-kick from the left and Adam got up between two defenders to head past Robertson.
        Graeme Hamilton completed his hat-trick and Winton’s fifth in the fifty-seventh minute.
  Murray was released down the left wing by Gallagher’s pass.  He lifted a cross to the back post and Hamilton rose to head back across the keeper and into the opposite corner of the net in classic centre-forward style.
        With ten minutes to go, a free-kick from Houston twenty-five yards out beat Robertson but crashed off the post.
  Craig Breen was first to react to the rebound and fired the ball home from close range for Winton’s sixth.  Winton’s seventh goal came from an unselfish piece of play by Stewart.  As he raced clear of a tired Craigmark defence, he ran into the penalty area and as Robertson came to narrow the angle, Stewart squared his pass to Scott Adam who knocked the ball into the empty net.
Scott Adam completed his hat-trick on the final whistle, racing through a dispirited Craigmark rearguard to find himself one-on-one with Robertson and slotted the ball past the keeper to complete the scoring at 8-0 to the hosts.
Manager Frye will be delighted that he saw his forward line in top form with both Hamilton and Adam claiming hat-tricks.  He has also the bonus of centre-half Barry Jones coming through unscathed in the past two games to boost the defence in what could be a title run-in.
        For Craigmark, manager Harvey saw a display from keeper Robertson who, despite losing eight goals, had some impressive saves to certainly deny Winton going well into double figures.
  O’Conner and Aitken looked lively up from in the first half but were denied any opportunities in the second as Winton dominated.
The teams were
Winton Rovers – Pollock, Fisher, Murray, Houston, Jones, Muir, O’Malley, Adam, Stewart, Hamilton and Gallagher with substitutes R Nolan, Frye, Kennedy, Breen, McGeady and Rankine.
Craigmark – Robertson, Collins, Wallace, Douglas, Harvey, Glass, McIlwraith, Gaw, O’Conner, Aitken and Ewing with substitutes McGrouther, Henderson, B McGuire and P McGuire.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 20 April 2011


Winton clinched promotion to the Stagecoach Super League First Division despite a long midweek journey through to East Ayrshire and an unsettled first twenty minutes.  Despite the early kick-off, Winton were well-supported.  The travelling fans would have thought the party could have started as early as the first minute.  Hamilton crossed in from the right wing and full back Duns used a hand to clear the ball and referee Lowe awarded a penalty.  The normally efficient Scott Adam stepped up but blasted his kick high over the bar.  Scott Houston was lucky not to escape a caution for a heavy tackle on Muir which saw the Muirkirk man receive extensive treatment.  Adam has another chance to put Winton ahead from Fisher's long throw in the fifteenth minute.  He rose above the Muirkirk defence and got in his header but Mclnnes saved low on the goal-line.  The hosts though dampened the Winton party spirits with a thirty-second minute opener.  Lamont lofted his cross from the left touchline over the Rovers' defence.  Although Patterson was in an offside position, Josh Muir, having shaken off his earlier knock, timed his run to gather Lamont’s cross to control and prod passed Pollock.  Hamilton came close for Winton in thirty-five minutes. rising to head over a Muir cross.  Winton, however, were to go in level at the break.  In forty-two minutes, John Gallagher calmly finished off a Stewart pass to give Mclnnes no chance.  A minute into the second half, John Gallagher again showed his class in putting Winton ahead.  Stewart and Adam played a one-two around the Muirkirk penalty box.  Stewart slipped a pass into Gallagher's feet and he expertly placed an angled drive across Mclnnes and into the far corner of the net.  Although the early second hall goal had put Winton in front, they required a third to settle the game.  Stewart came close on the hour narrowly heading a Gallagher corner wide.  Muirkirk came close two minutes later when Lamont floated in a free kick which Pollock took no chance with and touched over the bar.  Winton were creating good chances to finish off Muirkirk with Stewart and Hamilton narrowly missing or Mclnnes making saves to deny the Winton forwards.  They finally, however, finished off their hosts and secured the precious three points that ensured them promotion in the sixty-ninth minute.  On-loan Ayr United youngster, Iain Fisher got down the right touchline and crossed deep into Graeme Hamilton who headed back into the centre of goal and from six yards out, Paul Stewart headed passed Mclnnes for Winton’s third.  Despite visiting substitute George O’Malley being sent off for a heavy tackle on Duns with fifteen minutes left, Ardrossan controlled play to see the game out and confirm promotion.  The Winton Rovers team was Pollock, Fisher. Murray, Houston, Jones, Muir, Adam, Frye, Stewart, Hamilton and Gallagher with substitutes Rankine, Kennedy, O’Malley, McGeady and Breen.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 27 April 2011

 Winton won the Ayrshire District League later that season.  The photograph below shows the playing squad and management team.

Party Time As Winton Lift District League Title
Major celebrations gripped Merksworth Park on Wednesday (27 April 2011) as Winton clinched the Ayrshire District League title after claiming all three points against the Scottish Junior Cup semi-finalists.  They had come from behind to upset their hosts who now have seen their own chances of glory slip away in a matter of days.  Dalry’s loss against Musselburgh was followed by an Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup defeat by Irvine Meadow on Monday night.  With Winton’s win on Wednesday, Darren Henderson will need to rally his troops in their promotion battle with Saltcoats.  The large support that travelled over the hill from Ardrossan revelled in the spirited fightback from Winton.  Billy Gilmour and former Dalry favourite, John Rae, returned to the Winton line-up with injury victims Murray and Hamilton dropping out.  Both sides shared early possession with two early half-chances passed up for Winton by Muir and Stewart.  Dalry pressurised and nearly found goal from a Neil Sanderson header from a corner but Gilmour headed clear over the bar.  From the consecutive corner, Cammy McKinnell couldn’t keep his header down and it rose over the bar.  Both Sanderson of Dalry and Gilmour of Winton were booked on the half-hour following a clash when Dalry were awarded a free-kick that Kenny Pollock did well to push round the post.  Pollock was again the Winton hero four minutes later when Sanderson got to the bye-line and cut the ball back to Canning again and he fired across goal from sixteen yards but Pollock again kept his goal intact by a great diving save.  It was Winton, however, who opened the scoring in the thirty-sixth minute.  Houston delivered in another cross from a corner that Winton have been able to capitalise on all season.  This caused confusion in the Dalry six-yard box.  A defender had a wild swing to clear but the ball landed at the feet of Paul Stewart, unmarked at the back post to force the ball home.  Dalry’s equaliser came just on half-time.  They broke upfield from a Winton corner and the ball fell to James Canning in space on the right wing.  He took a touch that brought him to the edge of the penalty box.  He hit a spectacular angled drive across the diving Pollock who couldn’t deny the Dalry man for a third time and into the far corner of the net.  Winton could have gone ahead with two good chances from Gilmour and Stewart early in the second half.  Gilmour beat R Stewart to the ball in the penalty box but Menzies blocked his shot on an open goal.  Stewart connected from a Fisher long throw but leaned on back on his shot and it rose over the bar from a good position.  It was Dalry though who went ahead when veteran John McMillan took into his feet a low cross from Bell on the right.  He showed good control to evade Fisher’s tackle and slotted the ball past Pollock to put Dalry 2-1 up.  Winton, however, were able to hit back immediately.  A minute later, they gained a corner from which Houston delivered into the penalty box.  Gilmour headed it back across goal and Graham Muir was on hand to knock the ball in at the front post to bring Winton level.  Former Rovers’ goalie, Ross Stewart, had a poor punch from Houston’s seventieth minute corner which landed at the feet of Muir but the Winton skipper drove his shot wide.  Dalry fought back to force some pressure on the Rovers’ defence.  In the seventy-fourth minute, however, Winton broke down an attack and moved quickly out of defence.  Stewart raced away upfield and slid a pass to Scott Adam.  He steadied himself for a strong shot from twenty-five yards that R Stewart could only parry and with midfielders Muir and Gilmour alert to the loose ball, Billy Gilmour was able to tuck the ball away into the corner to put Winton ahead.  Gallagher worked himself into shooting range with ten minutes remaining but although his shot beat Stewart, it drifted just wide of the post.  Winton put the result beyond doubt with six minutes remaining when a flighted Gallagher free-kick from the left saw Scott Adam rise high above the Dalry defence to head the ball strongly past Stewart and into the top corner of the net.  The large contingent of Winton supporters was able to celebrate with the players and officials, winning the League with a game to spare.  It gave the club a little pay-back for a last day defeat by Dalry two years ago which denied Winton promotion and put Dalry up into the Super League First Division.  Now Henderson’s side will have a nervous few weeks to claim the points they need to join the champions in the Super First Division.

The teams were:

Dalry Thistle - R Stewart, Potter, Fleeting, Menzies, McKinnell, Paterson, Bell, Hay, Sanderson, McMillan and Canning with substitutes Ward, Cusack, Hay and Brown.
Winton Rovers – Pollock, Fisher, Houston, Rae, Jones, Muir, Frye, Gilmour, P Stewart, Adam and Gallagher with substitutes Breen, Murray, Kennedy, McGeady and Rankine.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 May 2011