2013 was a fairly good year for Winton.

Benburb win 4-1 on penalties

Ardrossan were duly punished for their profligacy as they lost out on the Dennis Donnelly Memorial Trophy to Benburb on Saturday (27 July 2013).  An equaliser from Joe Young took the game to penalties where once again the Bens ran out winners.  Both sides had early attempts on goal yet both keepers were on hand to preserve the stalemate.  After twenty minutes, however, the visitors took the lead from the penalty spot after the referee ruled for a foul on Bens captain Richard Lovering – and from twelve yards, Steven Waddell gave Winton keeper Michael wadrope no chance as he buried the ball in the corner of the net.
     It wasn’t long before Winton were back on level terms as Paul Walker’s corner found its way to Young who rifled home his first goal for the club.
  Young almost grabbed his second soon after but failed to beat the Benburb keeper with his low drive.  The second half swung Ardrossan’s way but, despite a handful of useful opportunities, they failed to take their chances in front of goal.  For the second year in a row, the Dennis Donnelly match was decided by a penalty shootout with Benburb proving decisive from the spot.  Remaining true to their wasteful display, Ardrossan convened just one spot kick through trialist Michael Fulton.  Up next is a home friendly against West Kilbride AFC this evening, Wednesday, with a 7pm kick-off.
     The Winton team was Wardrope, Wilson, Murray, Walsh, Bonner, Shanks, Walker, Hay, Young, Willet and McCrea with substitutes Pollock, Sim, Houston, Kennedy, Fulton and Gallagher.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 31 July 2013

Opening Win For Rovers

A trademark display from Joe Young inspired Ardrossan to victory in their Ardagh Cup clash with Saltcoats on Monday evening (5 August 2013).  The diminutive forward showed his class by crafting the opener and sealing the win with a doubler.  Young was at the forefront of the Winton attack throughout and came close to an opener after twenty minutes when his flighted free-kick cannoned back of the upright.  It wasn't long, however, before the home side took the lead as Young raced down the right before delivering for Bob Hay to supply the finish at the back post.  Shortly before the interval, Winton doubled their advantage as Michael Wardrope’s long-range clearance released the lively Young through the middle and the striker made no mistake as he clipped the ball beyond Jim Catterson in goal.  Lee McCrea should have put given Winton a 3-0 lead before half time but failed to hit the target from three separate attempts in quick succession.
     The visitors were a changed outfit in the second half, however, and returned to the field in a more determined mood – and within six minutes of the restart, the Vics pulled one back as Matthew Santos tucked home after Wardrope denied McLelland with a fine save.  Vics were then forced to substitute Catterson after the goalkeeper broke his finger as he stretched to clear a cross ball.
  Saltcoats remained on the attack and Joe Hands was denied an equaliser thanks to a terrific stop from the impressive Wardrope.  Callum Davidson also came close for the visitors but his lobbed effort drifted inches over the top of the Winton goal – yet despite the Vics’ pressure, the home side regained their two-goal lead with fifteen minutes remaining.
     Wardrope again got himself an assist as he launched a free kick well beyond the Saltcoats back line with Young once again racing through to curl the ball beyond sub keeper Ross Lundy.
  Saltcoats regrouped, however, and with five minutes to go they managed to pulled one back.  Santos’ shot was blocked by Wardrope with McLelland following up to roll home the rebound – but despite their best efforts, the Vics were unable to find another way through the Winton defence, giving Derek Frye’s side all three points from the Ardagh opener.
     The teams were
Winton Rovers – Wardrope, Wilson, Houston, Walsh, Bonner, Hay, McCrea substituted by Fulton in sixty-eight minutes, Shanks, Young, Kennedy substituted by Fulton in sixty-eight minutes and Willet.  The unused substitutes were Sim, Gallagher and Pollock.
Saltcoats Victoria - Catterson substituted by Fulton in fifty-two minutes, Monan, Easdon, Partick, Stewart. Davidson substituted by Ferris in eight-two minutes, Patterson, Frye, Murphy substituted by Hands in fifteen minutes, McCllelland and Santos. The unused substitutes were two trialists and the attendance was 250.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7 August 2013

Winton Rovers assistant, John Gallagher, insists the squad now assembled under manager Derek Frye is arguably the best in his time at the club.  The Ardrossan coach has been at Winton Park for five and a half years and in that time has seen a series of prodigious talents emerge from the side.  Players such as Scott Adam, Findlay Frye and Paul Stewart have gone on t:o play at the top level of junior football, having made their names with Ardrossan.
     Gallagher, however, notes that the current crop of Winton youngsters is well equipped for similar success.  He said "This is probably the strongest Ardrossan squad we’ve had here over a number of years – certainly since I have been at the club.  There is quality all over the park and what’s more is we have the kind of strength in depth needed to compete every week.  We were missing five players for the Saltcoats game and were a little thin on the ground come kick-off but the guys that went out there really did a job.  I thought our first half performance was excellent and we really should have had the game put beyond doubt before half-time but that's pre-season for you.  We still have a few bugs to work out but we’re getting there."
     The pre-season performances from the likes of Joe Young, Jared Willett and Calum Walsh have given Gallagher enthusiasm for the future.  He said "Joe has been doing really well for us.  Getting two and setting the other against Saltcoats was just typical of the wee man.  He also scored a hat-trick in the friendly the week before so he’s in excellent form so far.  He’s been working really well up front with Jared and the both of them are really taking on board the things Derek and myself have been saying to them.  It’s always great to see a young people improving and in fairness, that is the kind of thing we have always done here at Ardrossan.  We have a bit of a pedigree in bringing these young lads through and I'm sure, in time, Joe, Jared and others like Calum Walsh will have big futures."
     Ardrossan returns to action this evening, Wednesday, as the side travels to Barrfields to face Largs before hosting Dalry this Saturday afternoon (10 August 2013).
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7 August 2013

Winton knew they faced a tough examination as they went into this tie against a fast-improving Thistle side.  Visiting boss Gavin Friels has built a new squad almost from scratch with six players from Renfrew Vics under-21 added to a number of experienced recruits including goalkeeper Brian Hewitt, Gavin himself, Robbie Cochrane and Bryan Slavin and they gave a depleted Winton who could only field three substitutes, including goalkeeper Michael Wardrope, due to injuries and players on holiday - their hardest test yet.
     Had Thistle put away half the chances they created, the game could have been over by half-time but credit to Winton.  Although they struggled to put their normal passing game together and were under a lot of pressure, especially in the first half, they dug in and kept playing football and ended up grabbing a point.  Unfortunately, there is not much of a report for the first half due to other duties but Dalry took the lead on seventeen minutes through Greg McBride and created most of the chances of the first half and in the last five minutes or so of the half.  Kenny Pollock made two great saves to keep Rovers in the tie.  Winton had not been totally out of the game and had created several half-chances with Joe Young, Jared Willet and Lee McCrea looking dangerous.
     Although Winton had a better second half, they were under pressure from the restart and the first ten minutes of the half saw Kenny Pollock make two crucial stops and Thistle waste another two good chances.  On fifty-six minutes, Gavin Sim made way for Scott Houston as Winton fought their way back into the game.  A minute later, the dangerous Jared Willet was brought down on the edge of the box after one of his runs at the defence but nothing came from the free kick.  Houston then had a similar run down the left but his low cross into the box was easily cut out.
     Rovers equalised on sixty-five minutes when Lee McCrea picked up a free-kick from Houston on the left and ran at the Thistle defence before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the net from about fifteen yards to make it 1-1.  On sixty-nine minutes, John Gallagher replaced George Bonner who seemed to have picked up a knock and this saw a bit of re-organisation in defence.  At this point, Winton were the better team, playing some nice football and looking dangerous.  Bob Hay picked up a booking on seventy-two minutes.  A minute later, Jared Willet chipped the ball into the area after another good run and a defender almost chested the ball back past Brian Hewitt but he gathered easily.
     Five minutes later, Winton almost snatched the lead when John Gallagher was brought down on the edge of the box after a neat one-two with Joe Young had seen him lining up for a shot before his feet were taken from under him.  Joe Young hit his free-kick towards the top right comer and it looked to be going in until Hewitt got a hand to it and tipped it over the bar.  Later, Hewitt got the better of both Joe Young and Gallagher in one-on-ones with them although he seemed to stop Young getting up after he had charged him down as he went to try and make a clearance on the left side of the box and got the ball.
     In the end, Thistle had the best chance to win the game in time added-on when the ball was only cleared out to Connor Kelly in the middle of the goal on the eighteen-yard line and it took a great save from Kenny Pollock to keep out his well hit shot.
     The teams were
Winton Rovers – Pollock, Wilson, Sim, Bonner, Walsh, McCrea, Kennedy, Shanks, Willet, Young and Hay with substitutes goalkeeper Wardrope, Houston and Gallagher.
Dalry Thistle - Hewitt; Friel, Halliday, Cochrane, Slavin, Kelly, Russell, Walker, Loughlin and McBride with substitutes Boyle, J Friels, Cumming, Guinnoa and G Friels.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 14 August 2013

Easy Win Seals Top Spot
by Neil Carnegie
Beith sealed top spot with this victory but, despite defeat, Winton are still in with a chance of making the quarter-finals if they defeat Kilwinning Rangers tonight, Wednesday.  As expected, Beith put the Rovers’ defence under pressure from the kick-off for the first fifteen minutes, it was virtually one-way traffic but the defence cleared their lines.  Eventually      Winton started playing some nice football and had a few half-chances.  On twenty-eight minutes, McKay had a good shot on the turn go just over the bar before former Partick Thistle man Andy Gibson put over a good cross which was cut out by Callum Walsh.  Michael Wardrope came off his line to block a shot from Frize after he made a good run.
Winton had a very good chance on thirty-eight minutes when Mark Murray did well to win the ball out on the left before playing out to Paul Walker and his dangerous cross wasn’t dealt with by Adam Strain and the ball broke to Callum Walsh but his well-hit shot was saved by the keeper.
     It was, however, Beith who took the lead a minute later under controversial circumstances when the referee ignored claims for a foul on Jared Willet after he appeared to have been floored in the Beith half.
  A ball was played into the Winton half and Frize ran on to it and blasted past Wardrope.  Winton nearly equalised just after the break when Paul Walker ran on to a long clearance and lobbed the advancing Adam Strain from the edge of the box but the ball landed on the roof of the net.  Willet then went on a good run down the left wing.  Paul Walker looked to have his shirt pulled almost off his back by Joe Bradley but no action was taken against the Beith player and, as play raged on, Charlie Hobbs fired past Wardrope from the edge of the box to make it 2-0.
     On sixty-two minutes, Bob Hay picked up the ball just outside the Winton box and ran through the middle before playing it to Willet who rode a tackle and put over a good cross which was cleared.
  Beith killed the game off with a third following a misplaced pass by Winton which was picked up by Andy Reid who ran in on goal before shooting past Wardrope on seventy-nine minutes.  Beith finished the scoring when Greenwood squared the ball into the middle where MacLean shot home despite the brave efforts of Wardrope.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 14 August 2013

Relegated Ardrossan Winton Rovers made the best start possible to their District League campaign on Saturday (17 August 2013) as they hammered Darvel 4-1 at Winton Park.  Derek Frye’s side played well with Scott Houston and Joe Young on target along with Michael Fulton from the penalty spot.  The other goal was an own goal.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 21 August 2013

Spoils Shared In Four Goal Thriller

Two of the sides with genuine promotion aspirations went head-to-head at Dam Park and produced a cracking ninety minutes of football that was a real credit to the world of Junior Football.  In a thrilling match, there were numerous chances created at both ends and both sides could have scored many more.  The visitors were first to show in front of goal when a long ball down the left caught out Simpson and Lee McCrea ran in unchallenged only to see his shot crash back off Fraser Stewart’s right-hand post.  Vics’ first chance came in the fifth minute when Neil McGinn set up Dom Boyle and Winton keeper Michael Wardrope parried the ball round the post.
     The hosts settled and began to take a grip on the game and Wardrope again parried a long-range Boyle effort.
  Winton’s strike force of Joe Young and Jarred Willet carried a serious threat upfront and in the eighteenth minute, Young raced clear and was only denied by a last-ditch Martin Lawrie challenge and the follow up shot from Willet was saved by Stewart.  The breakthrough for Whitletts came in the twenty-second minute.  Tony Balfour picked the ball up out wide on the left and turned inside the full-back and ran to the edge.  Vics were dominating now and Craig Rodgers should have increased their advantage when he got on the end of Balfour’s corner but couldn’t keep his effort down from just six yards.
     A second goal was on the cards and it came in the twenty-eighth minute from a well worked free-kick.
  Lawrie played in Boyle down the right and from his low cross Michael O’Connor tapped the ball home from six yards.  Minutes later Boyle put O’Connor through on Wardrope but the big keeper got a hand to his chipped effort and moments later the Winton number one got down sharply to his near post to keep out an angled Boyle drive from the edge of the box.  Winton kept trying to get forward at every opportunity and almost pulled one back when from Willet’s flick, Vics skipper Graham Longair cleared the danger off Richard Hay just as the Winton midfielder seemed set to score.  The Ayr side almost grabbed a third two minutes before the break when from an O’Connor header, an attempted clearance from Callum Walsh looked to have beaten his own keeper but Wardrope stuck out a foot to clear the ball off the line.
     Ardrossan started the second half strongly but again Vics almost added to their advantage in the forty-ninth minute when, from a corner-kick, a powerful Raymond Buchanan header brought a great diving save out of Wardrope.
  Ardrossan almost reduced the leeway in the fifty-seventh minute when Young’s header was almost turned into his own net by Boyle but Stewart blocked on the line and a superb blocking tackle by Buchanan set up a Vics counter attack that ended with Neil McGinn turning inside a defender but Wardrope again thwarting Vics.  Despite Vics’ two-goal lead the game was very open with chances being created at both ends.
     The next goal was going to be important and Vics should have scored when O’Connor was in the clear but could only head McGinn’s cross straight atWardrope.
  It wasn’t long before the goal came and it came for Winton in the sixty-third minute when Joe Young raced clear and his angled drive beat Stewart at his near post.  Almost immediately, Winton went in search of the equaliser and only a block from Longair gave Stewart the chance to clear a Jared Willet shot but the striker wasn’t to be denied and in the sixty-seventh minute got the equaliser when his low strike from twenty-two yards beat Stewart.  Both sides saw red in the seventieth minute when Hay reacted angrily to an O’Connor challenge and referee David Ingram saw fit to send both players for an early bath.  The red cards ruined the flow of the game but not the excitement as Vics skipper Graham Longair fired over from a corner that Winton struggled to clear.
     At the other end, Winton had claims for a penalty waved aside by the referee after a Lee Holland challenge on Willet as the striker bore in on goal.
  With time running out, Balfour almost snatched victory for Whitletts in the eighty-sixth minute as he raced clear and his low drive from outside the box beat Wardrope but agonisingly slipped inches past the post.  Winton had their chance too after Bonner’s drive inside the box was blocked by Buchanan after Stewart had parried a Paul Walker shot.  This was a superb advert for the junior game and if this is the standard of football on show, it is going to be a most enjoyable season watching these two sides.
The teams were
Whitletts Victoria – Stewart, Simpson, Lawrie, Holland, Buchanan, Longair, Boyle (Allan 76); Rodgers (Cameron 70); O’Connor, McGinn and Balfour with Patterson, Kerr and Callaghan not used as substitutes.
Winton Rovers – Wardrope, Walsh, Houston (Murray 70); Wilson, Bonner, Hay, Walker, Shanks (Glancy 76); Young (Fulton 81); Willet and McCrea with Pollock and Sim not used as substitutes.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 28 August 2013

Eightsome Reel As Winton Go Top
Matt Speirs at Winton Park
Clinical Winton won this league match in a canter to soar into top spot – but the young Craigmark team impressed the fans with the way they went about playing the game in the proper manner.  The early exchanges were pretty even but Winton opened the scoring after ten minutes when a corner on the left was headed in at the back post by George Bonner.  Craigmark had a chance to level the score five minutes later but John McCormack’s effort drifted wide of the far post.  In twenty-eight minutes, Bob Hay was pulled down in the box and Ben Carson converted the resultant spot-kick.
     Eleven minutes from the interval, McCrea ran on to a through ball and netted at the second attempt.
  Craigmark got off to the worst possible start after the break when an own goal from Michael Kelly following a Winton corner put the home side four-up.  Ten minutes later, the lack of height in the Craigmark defence allowed Callum Walsh to head home a fifth goal.  Although being outplayed, Craigmark continued to try and play football but fell further behind when a McCrea cross was netted by Jared Willet in the sixty-second minute.
     Fifteen minutes from time, a fine save by Marcus Worral denied Allan Shanks.
  Four minutes from the end, Willet netted at the back post.  Lee McCrae added an eighth a minute later, netting from six yards following a Willet pass.  A minute from the end, Winton were awarded another penalty but Marcus Worral produced a wonderful save to turn to deny them a ninth.
The teams were
Winton Rovers – Pollock, Walsh, Houston, Bonner, Wilson, Glancey, Walker, Hay, Carson,Willet and McCrea with substitutes Smith, Wardrope,Murray, Shanks and Fulton.

Craigmark Burntonians – Worrall, Kelly, Conway, Reid, Hainey, Wallace, Graham, Henderson, McCormack, Steel and Grover with substitutes Burrell and McGowan.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 September 2013

by Neil Carnegie
As expected, this was a hard-fought, close game between two of the promotion favourites with victory keeping Winton in top spot on goal difference.  Winton were still without Joe Young but Billy Gilmour returned to the side replacing Jamie Glancy who dropped to the bench.  The first twenty minutes or so were a bit flat with neither side really creating any clearcut chances. On eighteen minutes, Brian Hewitt made a good save from a Lee McCrea shot atter he had made a good run into the box. A  couple of minutes later, he saved a long range free-kick from Ben Carson before Thistle took the lead on twenty-one minutes when Wallace headed home a cross from the right to put the visitors ahead.
     Billy Gilmour then picked up a booking before Paul Walker had a great chance to equalise when, with Hewitt off his line, he tried to chip the ball over him but the keeper managed to grab the ball above his head.
  He made up for the missed opportunity when he chased down a ball to the edge of the box and although Hewitt came out to clear, Walker won the ball then turned and lobbed the ball over the keeper and into the net to make it 1-1 on the half-hour.  Bob Hay picked up a yellow card a couple of minutes later
     Rovers should have taken the lead on thirty-four minutes when Jared Willet played a good ball out to Walker who got to the line before putting a good cross over to the back post to an unmarked Lee McCrea but he headed over the bar from a good position.
  Winton paid the price for this miss when an attack broke down and the ball was put into the Winton half.  The defence failed to deal with the ball and it was then played to Ciaran Friels whose well hit shot fiom just inside the box gave Michael Wardrope no chance.  Walker picked up a booking just before the break and the half ended with Dalry 2-1 ahead.
     Winton more or less took control in the second half although Thistle was still dangerous and it took some good defending at times to keep them out.
  It was Winton however who equalised five minutes into the half atter the ball was played out to Willet out on the right wing and, although a defender appeared to have put in a good tackle, Willet rode it and got to the line before cutting back to Ben Carson who fired home from fifteen yards for his first goal from open play for the club to make it 2-2.
     It should have been 3-2 to Winton on fifty-five minutes when Jared Willet was brought down in the box as he ran in on goal.
  It was a stonewall penalty but the referee waved play on and McCrea was booked for complaining to the referee.  A minute later, Willet got into the box and hit a shot which Hewitt could only parry but unfortunately Callum Walsh was unable to get to the loose ball and it was cleared.
     On fifty-nine minutes, Walker went on one of his runs at the Dalry defence before cutting the ball back to Jared Willet about twenty yards out and he was unlucky to see his volley hit the bar with Hewitt beaten.
  On sixty-four minutes, Michael Fulton came on for Willet who had picked up a knock just before Winton took the lead for the first time in the match.  Some great football saw the ball played out to Walker out on the right and he played a one-two with Ben Carson before shooting into the roof of the net to make it 3-2 on sixty-seven minutes.
     Fulton was then booked for a touchline tussle with a Dalry defender.
  On seventy-one minutes, Ben Carson had an overhead kick saved by Hewitt after a Michael Fulton cross broke to him.  On seventy-seven minutes, Billy Gilmour, who had spent much of the match upfront with Carson playing just behind him, was replaced by Alan Shanks and a few minutes later Jamie Glancy came on for McCrea.
     Rovers had three good chances to finish the game in the dying minutes.
  Firstly, a Dalry defender was feet away from an own goal from a dangerous cross in from the left before Winton missed two similar chances as Thistle pushed for the equaliser although they never really threatened the Winton goal.  Hay ran on to a through ball from Shanks behind the defence and ran to the edge of the box but Hewitt was off his line well to save at his feet.  Hay picked up a knock in the collision and limped off the pitch at the end.  In time added on, Shanks again played a great ball in behind the defence which Fulton ran on to and once again Hewitt came out to the edge of the box and made a good save at his feet.
The Winton team was Wardrope, Walsh, Murray, Bonner, Wilson, Hay, Walker, Gilmour, Willet, Carson and McCrea with substitutes Glancy, Pollock, Shanks and Fulton.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 September 2013

by Stewart McConnell
Proud boss Derek Frye hailed former Dundee United ace Paul Walker after his double helped Ardrossan Winton Rovers overcome Dalry Thistle 3-2 to stay joint top of the Stagecoach Ayrshire District League.  He said the mix of youth and experience is the secret behind their successes so far, just as it was during the manager’s first spell in charge.  Frye, who steered Winton to District League title glory during his first spell in charge, told Sportscene “It’s great to have a player of Paul’s calibre in the team.  He has played at the top level with Dundee United and Stranraer and the second goal he scored, which was our third, was superb.  It’s also great to have the likes of goalkeeper Michael Wardrope and Billy Easton, who is back playing in the team, as they both have so much experience but there are some excellent young players.  Jared Willet and Joe Young have done really well for us and Ben Carson is coming into a game and he is just twenty-three. You need a good mix of youth and experience and there’s a great spirit in the dressing room.  Of course, it’s nice to be top at the moment and we hope to stay there.
     The boss, however, is taking nothing for granted as his team head to East Ayrshire to take a Kello Rovers side who have still to open their account following three successive defeats.  He said “You never know what you can get at Kello.  It can be a mixed bag. They haven’t picked up any points yet but there’s always a first time.  Our aim is as always to go there and pick up three points. I  am enjoying being back here and it’s great that the players are buying into what myself and John Gallagher (assistant manager) are trying to do.”
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 September 2013

Visiting players Sean Kennedy and Michael Fulton were taken to hospital by ambulance with ankle and shoulder injuries respectively as Winton suffered their first defeat of the season.  Winton were missing six regulars with Andy Bell playing as a trialist to help us out in defence.  Only three subsitutes were available and two of those were carrying knocks. Despite this, they created enough first half chances to have won the game comfortably before the break and Kello won by scoring three of the few clear cut chances they made.  Paul Walker and Jared Willet caused most of the problems down the wings and it took ‘robust’ tackling from Kello to deal with them.  On ten minutes, Joe Young seemed to have been fouled in the box as he went for a cross but the referee waved play on.  Three minutes later, some good play down the left saw Young and Willet play a one-two in the box before the latter’s shot went across the face of goal.
     On sixteen minutes, Kello had their first real chance when a short pass saw their number ten run in on goal but George Bonner got in a good tackle as he was about to shoot.
  On nineteen minutes, Bonner headed wide from a Paul Walker free-kick and Winton paid for the missed chance when Kello went down the other end and won a corner.  From this, they hit the bar with a shot and the ball broke to their number six who fired home.  On twenty-three minutes, Winton should have had the equaliser when Walker hit a good cross to the back post but Joe Young's header hit the bar and was cleared although Kello claimed it went for a throw-in.  From Willet’s corner, a defender almost put the ball in his own net but it came to the back post where Walker forced the ball over the line to make it 1-1.
     Just before the half hour, Winton were awarded a penalty after a Walker shot had been handled inside the box but the keeper guessed right and dived to keep out Young’s kick and although the ball broke to Walker he shot wide.
  A minute later, there was a goalmouth scramble in the Kello box but, despite several attempts, Winton couldn't get the ball in the net.  On thirty-two minutes, Kello appealed in vain for a penalty after Andy Bell got the better of their number ten as he ran in on goal.  On thirty-six minutes, Alan Shanks came in at the back post for a comer but shot wide.  Kello came out in the second half buoyed by their first half display and took the lead on fifty-three minutes when their number nine, who was on the near post for a corner, forced the ball home to make it 2-1.  On fifty-five minutes, Winton were once again unlucky after some good football between Ben Carson and Jared Willet ended with a Joe Young overhead kick from Willet‘s strong cross hitting the post on the opposite side of the goal before being cleared.
     On fifty-nine minutes, Winton were forced into a change when Mark Murray picked up a hamstring injury and Fulton came on.
  This meant some changes in defence with Jared Willet going to left-back and Fulton being slotted in upfront.  Kello increased their lead on sixty-five minutes when a defensive slip saw the ball break to their number nine who cut into the box before squaring the ball to the number ten who scored from ten yards.  On seventy-seven minutes, assistant manager John Gallagher replaced Alan Shanks before Kennedy sustained a serious ankle injury on eighty-five minutes and required lengthy treatment before being carried off the pitch and was replaced by Bob Hay.  Four minutes later, George Bonner headed wide.
     Two minutes into stoppage time a good crossfield ball from the right came to Gallagher who chipped over the advancing keeper but it landed the wrong side of the post and into the side netting.
  Winton got a goal back four minutes into time added on when a good ball out of defence reached Walker who ran on into the box before laying the ball off to Young who slotted home from ten yards to make it 3-2.  Kennedy was taken to hospital at the end of the game along with Fulton when it was discovered he had dislocated his shoulder.  Despite the long treatment to Kennedy, not to mention the blatant time wasting of Kello that went unpunished, the referee blew for full-time almost as soon as the game restarted.
The Winton team was Wardrope, Bell, Murray, Walsh, Bonner, Shanks. Walker, Carson, Young. Willet with substitutes Gallagher, Fulton and Hay.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 September 2013

A special fundraising benefit match is being held on Sunday (22 September 2013) to help injured Ardrossan Winton Rovers striker Graham Hamilton have the operation he needs to allow him to keep playing.  Current and past players from the club will get together at Winton Park for a challenge match which is aimed at helping raise some of the 2500 needed to repair ankle ligament damage which has kept the player out of the game since last season.
     Ardeer Thistle boss and former Winton number two Derek Cook is helping organise the match with Winton player and assistant John Gallagher.
  He said “Graham needs to have an operation done privately to allow him to keep playing as if he was treated on the National Health Service they would have to fuse his ankle together and that would mean he couldn’t play again.  His ankle can be cleaned up at the Spire Hospital at Murrayfield by the Scottish Rugby Doctor John McKinlay who specialises in this area and has treated me before.  Players who are now with other clubs are getting together to help as we don’t like to see anyone go out of the game, Graham has been a great servant at Winton for six or seven years.  In all, about 2500 has to be raised and even if we raised three-quarters of that it would be a great achievement.  The operation could be done very soon and Graham could be back training within six weeks and playing within eight weeks.  There are no District League games on Saturday so if people want to take in a game why not come along and support this one.  John Gallagher has done so much work in signing up former players for the game and they are all decent footballers.”
     Among players confirmed are ex- Winton skipper Graham Muir, now with Largs Thistle; Barry Jones, Vinnie Muir, Ally McKerrell and striker Keir Milliken who scored a hat-trick for Auchinleck Talbot in Saturday’s 5-1 William Hill Scottish Cup demolition of Girvan.
  Former Buffs ace John McMillan and Craig Breen of Ardeer Thistle are among the other players.  Admission is by donation.  The match, which kicks off at noon, will be followed by a fundraising event at Ardrossan Accies Rugby Club at 2pm, which will include a raffle and auction along with musical entertainment from Winton player and sometime singer Sean Kennedy.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 September 2013

Long-serving Ardrossan Winton Rovers striker Graham Hamilton goes into hospital this week for the operation he needs to save his career thanks to the efforts of teammates past and present.  Current and past players from the Ardrossan club on Sunday (22 September 2013) took part in a challenge match at Winton Park.  Along with an after-match party held later in Ardrossan Rugby Club, more than 1500 was raided for the operation which costs 2500 and this week Hamilton saluted their efforts.  He said “This means so much to me.  I will be forever grateful to the lads who turned up and the girls who helped out behind the scenes.  This is a real boost and I hope to get back playing soon.  The sum raised is way beyond what I was expecting and just shows what can be achieved when footballers come together.”
     Both teams served up a great game in the sunshine with the ex-players, managed by Derek Cook, Jim Allan and Craig Hamilton, winning 3-1, thanks to a fine hat-trick from Stephen ‘Biscuit’ McAvoy who showed he hasn’t lost his eye for goal.  There were some fine performances but the highlight was when stalwart supporter Stephen ‘Steish’ Easton came on as if he was a goal kicker in American Football for the dubious penalty awarded to the current Winton team and cool as you like slotted the spot-kick beyond Ross Stewart to rapturous applause.  Hamilton goes to the Spire Hospital at Murrayfield on Thursday to have the operation done by Scottish Rugby Doctor John McKinlay, who specialises in this area.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 25 September 2013

Focused Ardrossan Winton Rovers boss Derek Frye is aiming to banish the memory of his team’s first defeat by putting derby rivals Saltcoats Victoria to the sword at Campbell Park on Saturday (5 October 2013) - and the Seasiders will also have a point to prove after falling at the first hurdle in the Scottish Junior Cup, going down 2-1 at home to Blantyre Victoria.  Winton lost 3-2 to Kello Rovers on 14 September in their last match although they have been in training for the past two Saturdays and are raring to go again.
     Boss Frye said “Derbies are always tough games.
  I saw Saltcoats play on Saturday and they are not a bad side.  They will be disappointed to be out of the cup and will be looking to bounce back but our aim is to take the three points.”  He has now shrugged off the disappointment of the loss at Kirkconnel and wants to move on.”  It was one of these days when we didn’t play as well as we can but you get days like that and training has been going well since although we haven’t had a competitive match.”  Frye has no injury problems to report.
     Winton have signed shirt sponsorship deals with two local firms.
  The home shirts are sponsored by GasSure of Stevenston and Kilwinning Tyre Services and Car Valet Centre are sponsoring the away shirts for season 2013-14.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 2 October 2013

Gordon Hunter at Campbell Park
This was definitely the match that caught the eye in the Ayrshire District League at Campbell Park with the visitors trying to confirm their fans’ bullish optimism that they were bound to go straight back to Super League status under the return of prodigal son Derek Frye.  Saltcoats were attempting to at least get the results that their performances deserved.  Ricky Ryland's team was on a poor run of results and this game between the old rivals would certainly get both teams up for it.  Winton would need to be as Saltcoats are now getting a reputation as their bogey team - indeed Winton have not won at Campbell Park since May 2008.
     A decent turn out by both sets of supporters witnessed a game at breakneck pace with Saltcoats getting off to the better start.
 Matthew Santos and Tam McClelland both had half chances in the first six minutes but not really enough to trouble Wardrope in the Winton goal. With eleven minutes gone McClelland did have a better chance when he turned and left George Bonner for dead and his shot from close range scraped the outside of the post.  A few minutes, later former Winton man Mathew Santos seemed to waltz past the visitors’ defence only to be foiled by Michael Wardrope’s save.  Winton started to come into the game with McAvoy having a shot going awol and Joe Young, who was not getting any change out of Jordan Stewart, managing a rare shot on goal against his old club.  With thirty-five minutes on the clock, Callum Davidson was upended on the outside of the area.  A great free kick from Sean Quinn was flighted over the wall only for former Meadow man Wardrope to show his class and somehow turn the ball away for a corner.
     Winton responded with a Ben Carson shot on goal but it was easily held by Ross Lundy who is in great form at the moment.
  Then, in the dying seconds of the first half, Davidson split the Winton defence with a pass to Santos who ran in on goal to beat Wardrope to the ball.  Santos got his foot to it but was clattered to the ground by the keeper in an ungainly fashion but the ball rolled into the net with advantage played and Saltcoats took the lead.  Winton set the pace in the second half as they tried to get something from the game.  Young and Willet both tried to pierce the Vics defence but Callum Hercus and Stewart looked as though they were holding steady and they did up and till the sixty-fifth minute.  A cross from Carson beat Nikki Smith and was met by the unmarked Young in the box who had the simple task of turning the ball into the net past the stranded Lundy.
     It was game on now as Winton upped the ante and for ten minutes or so they dominated but Saltcoats held firm with Lundy having a good save from Hay and Greg Patterson clearing a rocket shot from Walker.
  Saltcoats though still counter-attacked where  possible, Quinn and Santos always looking as if they could break the deadlock.  In a hard but not brutally dirty game tempers did flare in the closing stages when Davidson and Hay were booked for an exchange of handbags.  In the end, a draw may have been a fair result but both teams will be far from happy.  In what may be the tightest this league has been for years every point will make a difference and it won’t be the one point that seals teams fates but the two that they lost.
The teams were
Saltcoats Victoria – Lundy, Smith, Forde, Stewart, Hercus, Patterson, Ferris, Davidson, Quinn, McClelland and Santos with substitutes Easdon, Knight, Kean, Cunningham and Gibson.
Winton Rovers – Wardrope, Walsh, McCrae, Gilmour, Bonner, Hay, Walker, Carson, McAvoy. Young and Willet with substitutes Shanks, Pollock, Wilson and Gallacher.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 9 October 2013

Wily Winton staged a stunning comeback in the last five minutes to grab a point in a match that for long spells looked to be out of reach.  Girvan were awarded an early free-kick on the right side of the penalty area.  Mark Doolan drove across the face of the goal but there were no takers.  The next chance fell to Winton a couple of minutes later but Joe Young shot across goal and wide of the far post.  The next half hour developed into a dour midfield battle with neither side able to create any shooting opportunities.
     In the thirty-fifth minute, however, Darren McMahon set up Craig Harvey but his shot was turned over the bar by keeper Michael Wardrope.
  Just as it looked as if the first half would end goalless, Mark Dyer gave Girvan the lead when he sent a thirty-five yard shot into the top corner of the net, giving Michael Wardrope no chance.  With the wind at their backs, it was expected that Winton would take the game to Girvan but it was the visitors who doubled their lead five minutes after the break when Marc Dyer set up Jordan Ryan who netted with a low shot.  Two minutes later Young had a shot turned away for a corner by David Markey as Winton tried to get back into the match.
     Winton almost pulled a goal back on the hour but Jared Willet had a fine shot well saved by David Markey.
  The ball fell again to Willet but his shot hit the post and was cleared.  Four minutes from the end, a long clearance from Wardrope was missed by the Girvan defence and Willet headed the ball over the advancing Markey into the net.  Rovers sensed they could still get something from the match and with a minute left they got the equaliser, Alan Shanks headed the ball back across goal and former Girvan player Lee McCrea drove the ball low into the net.
The teams were
Winton Rovers – Wardrope, C Wilson, Murray, S Wilson, Bonner, Hay, Walker, Carson, Young, McAvoy, Willet with substitutes McCrea, Shanks, Houston, Kennedy and Gallacher.

Girvan – Markey, Doolan, Orr, Cunningham, Young, Maitland, Harvey, McMahon, Mitchell, Dyer and Ryan with substitutes Webb, Hislop, Gallagher and McMillan.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 16 October 2013

District League champions Kilwinning Rangers are caught up in a major war of words with Ardrossan Winton Rovers over Buffs skipper Ian Cashmore.  The Abbey Park club claims they have rejected three bids from Winton for the targetman who was their top scorer last season and he is staying put - but the Ardrossan club has hit back by claiming they have agreed a fee for the player and that a deal has been done.  Buffs chairman Danny Watt told Sportscene “There were three bids made for Ian Cashmore and the third bid was substantial but we have spoken to Ian and he wants to stay.  He still has two years of his contract to run and why would he want to drop down a division? He is still very much part of the manager’s plans.”  Winton chairman Dougie Rae insisted this week he was convinced a deal had been agreed to land Cashmore.  He told Sportscene “I can confirm that we made two offers for Ian Cashmore both of which were refused by Kilwinning Rangers but the manager George Grierson called me and offered me the player last Wednesday.  I upped our previous bid and a deal was concluded but I haven’t heard anything back since.”
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 16 October 2013

Ladeside Edge Eight Goal Thriller

Brave Winton pushed their higher league opponents all the way before the Garnock Valley side finally prevailed in an eight-goal thriller at Valefield Park.  Understrength Winton went into this game against a Ladeside team doing well in the Premier Division down to the bare bones with top scorer Joe Young, probably still recovering completely from the knock he picked up last week, on the bench.  There were some positional changes at the back with Stuart Wilson going to right back and Calum Walsh moving into midfield.  A trialist was drafted in at number four and there were only three substitutes including assistant manager John Gallagher.
     Despite all the rain over the previous couple of days, the pitch was in great condition if a little soft in places and this made for a great game of football which went from one end to another with Rovers putting in one of their best performances of the season to match their Premier opponents until right at the end.
  Ladeside almost took the lead from the start when Liam McGuiness got down the right and hit a low hard cross into the goalmouth where a combination of Michael Wardrope and a defender cleared the danger.  On six minutes, however, Winton had a good chance to take the lead when Callum Walsh head flicked a Wardrope goal kick on to the edge of the box which Stephen McAvoy chased down but Danny McLeay came out to the edge of his box and cleared before McAvoy could shoot.
A couple of minutes later, Winton did go in front following some nice football that saw play switched play from one side of the pitch to the other before Callum Walsh ran on to a pass and ran into the box before shooting low into the corner of the net to put Winton 1-0 ahead.
  On ten minutes, it was almost 2-0 following a good run and cross out on the right by Jared Willet into the goalmouth and McLeay did just enough to clear the ball as Ben Carson came in to knock the ball home.
     On seventeen minutes, some good play out on the left saw Mark Murray get to the line and his cross was deflected to Bob Hay but his shot was blocked and cleared.
  As often happens, a couple of minutes after this Ladeside equalised following the award of a dubious free-kick just outside the Winton box on the right wing.  The defence failed to react when Mullin squared the ball to Chris Craig who side footed the ball first time into the net to draw the sides level.
     On twenty-two minutes, Rovers had another good chance to go back into the lead when Callum Walsh flicked a ball to Stephen McAvoy who played in Jared Willet who ran into the box before shooting but it was wide.
  Winton regained the lead on twenty-six minutes when McAvoy ran on to a long kick-out from Wardrope and controlled the ball on the edge of the box before running in on goal and shooting low past Danny McLeay to make it 2-1.  A few minutes later, Winton received a warning when a slip by the number four allowed McGuiness to cross into the goalmouth where former Stranraer striker Michael Moore headed wide and on the half hour, Ladeside pulled level through former Winton man Darren McLean who got to a pass to the edge of the box and despite attempts by defenders was able to fire the ball home past Wardrope from fifteen yards.
     For the rest of the first half, it was mostly Ladeside attacking and Winton defending with McGuiness wasting two good chances within minutes of each other before Michael Moore missed a good chance on thirty-seven minutes just before Willet had a snapshot from twenty-five yards following a Stuart Wilson throw-in go narrowly past the post.
  With half-time approaching, Wardrope made a great save from Blair’s thirty-yard effort and he also seemed to have picked up a knock before the same player hit the outside of the post with a header from a corner on forty-four minutes.
     At the start of the second half, Rovers replaced the injured Willet with Michael Fulton who appeared to have recovered from the shoulder injury sustained at Kello.
  With a couple of minutes of the second half gone, Moore once again went close with a header before Ladeside took the lead for the first time in the match when McGuiness rose and headed a cross powerfully home from a few yards on fifty minutes.  A few minutes later, Stuart Wilson was forced to head the ball over his own bar as Ladeside piled on the pressure looking to kill the game off but it was Winton who forced their way back into it when a Wilson throw-in out on the right came to Fulton, who had just been booked, and he hit the ball first time shot low into the net from twenty yards to make it 3-3 on fifty-nine minutes.  Less than five minutes later, it should have been 4-3 to Rovers when George Bonner came in at the back post to put the ball in the net after McLeay had dropped a corner but for some unknown reason the goal was disallowed although there was clearly no foul on the keeper.
     On sixty-eight minutes, Rovers were dealt a big blow when Fulton went down in a heap and it appears his shoulder was the cause of his being replaced by Young just before Callum Walsh was just unable to get to a good Stuart Wilson cross a couple of minutes later.
  Ladeside took the lead again on eighty-one minutes when Winton allowed Craig to pick up a throw in and cut inside before shooting home from about fifteen yards to make it 4-3 and a few minutes later Winton cleared the ball off the line after a goalmouth scramble.  With five minutes to go, Ladeside made certain of the game with a fifth goal when John Paul Boyle hit a cross from the right first time past Wardrope for 5-3.
     Although Winton had the ball in the back of the net twice, they were ruled out for offside and Rovers wasted a good chance in the dying minutes to make it 5-4 following a good save by Michael Wardrope from McGuiness.
  On eighty-nine minutes, Winton beat the offside trap and the ball came to an unmarked Joe Young in the penalty area but instead of shooting or running in on goal he passed the ball to McAvoy and before he could do anything with it a defender got back and, despite Winton appeals for a foul just outside the box, the referee gave a bye-kick.
The teams were
Kilbirnie Ladeside – McLeay, Mullin, Malone, MacDonald, Coleman, Blair, Strain, McGuiness, Moore, Craig and McLean with substitutes Hamilton, Boyle and Davidson.
Winton Rovers
– Wardrope, Wilson, Murray, Biggart, Bonner, Walsh, Hay, Carson, McAvoy, Willet and McCrea with substitutes Gallagher, Fulton and Young.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 23 October 2013

Winton bow out to unbeaten Yoker

Rovers went into this game buoyed by the previous Saturday’s performance against Premier Division Kilbirnie Ladeside in the West of Scotland Cup and were hopeful of getting at least a replay . Although Billy Gilmour and Alan Shanks were available, injuries ruled out keeper Michael Wardrope and new signing from Winlinton Wolves, Kevin Biggart and top scorer Joe Young was only fit enough for a place on the bench.  Despite all the heavy rain in Glasgow, Yoker had worked hard to get the game on and the pitch was in good condition, although the grass was long as they had been unable to cut it due to the weather.
     The first half was almost totally one-sided with Winton unable to get going against a good Athletic side who are unbeaten in the Super League and were probably fortunate to end the first half still in with a chance of salvaging something from the game.
  Yoker put Rovers under pressure from the kick-off without creating any real chances until the fourteenth minute when John Harvey swung in a corner-kick from their right which eluded Kenny Pollock and both sets of players in the box and hit the back post and went into the net to put the hosts 1-0 up.  On twenty minutes, the same player hit the near post with another corner before the danger was cleared.
     Athletic did however double their lead five minutes later when they won a soft penalty.  Harvey was allowed to cut in to the box and shoot and although Kenny Pollock managed to punch the effort out it came to a Yoker forward just inside the box and the referee judged a challenge on him a foul and awarded a spot-kick which was converted by Franny McGonigle, giving Kenny Pollock no chance.
     It was mostly Yoker attacking and Rovers defending at this point and the hosts missed two good chances in two minutes with half an hour gone before Kenny Pollock made a great save from a twenty-yard snapshot from the Yoker right back.  Winton didn’t have their first serious attempt on the Yoker goal until almost half-time when the keeper parried a well-hit twenty-five-yard shot from Ben Carson which the defence eventually cleared on forty-three minutes and a minute later Joe Young replaced Mark Murray and Lee McCrea dropped back into defence.
  Almost on the interval, Yoker had the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside.
Rovers came out in the second half more positive and competed well for the remaining forty-five minutes as the weather deteriorated and, five minutes in, they got themselves right back into the match when they were awarded a penalty after Bob Hay was brought down inside the box.
  Young stepped up and, although the keeper got a hand to his kick straight down the middle, he was unable to keep it out.  On fifty-two minutes, Rovers replaced Stephen McAvoy with Alan Shanks which gave them some much-needed height up front and five minutes later Winton had a good chance when a good move ended with Young getting to the goal-line before firing over a low cross which saw three good shots blocked before the ball broke to Stuart Wilson whose twenty-five yard effort was well saved by the keeper.
Winton paid for this two minutes later when Yoker broke up the park and Andy Rankin got in behind the defence and shot across Pollock into the far side of the goal from about fifteen yards to make it 3-1.
  On sixty-two minutes, good play down the left saw Jared Willett get to the goal-line before cutting the ball back to Lee McCrea but his shot flew across the face of the goal.  Once again, Rovers were caught out by a quick Yoker counter-attack almost immediately when Jim Crowhurst outstripped the defence quite a long way from goal before he ran into the box before shooting past Kenny Pollock for 4-1 on sixty-three minutes.
Two minutes later, Pollock made a good save with his feet from a Pankin shot as Yoker tried to kill the game off.
  Two minutes after that, Jared Willet had a good run down the left and his shot was deflected and from this Winton had a couple of good attempts blocked.  On seventy-seven minutes, a quick free-kick by Stuart Wilson to Callum Walsh saw him cross to the back post and Alan Shanks’ shot was put out for a corner.  Two minutes later, Winton got the second goal their second half performance deserved and should be a contender for goal of the season when Jared Willet crossed from the left to the edge of the box where Joe Young rose and headed the ball over the advancing keeper from eighteen yards to make it 4-2.  Try as they might, Rovers were unable to get any more goals and Kenny Pollock made two good saves near the end.
The Winton Rovers team was Pollock, Wilson, Murray, Gilmour, Bonner, Walsh, Hay, Carson, McAvoy, Willet and McCrea with substitutes Kennedy, Wardrope, Young, Shanks and Gallagher.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 2013

Ardeer take win in Three Towns clash

Both teams went into this first match between the sides for two seasons on the back of disappointing results in recent weeks and were looking to get their seasons back on track.  Despite the torrential rain which continued throughout the game, the investment Rovers have made in the playing surface over the last few years paid off with the game played on a surface which stood up well to the deluge.  Winton had Joe Young back in the starting eleven and Sean Kennedy was able to make a return on the bench after recovering from the injury he sustained at Kello.
     As in the game at Yoker, Winton struggled to get into this game against a Thistle team who were up for the challenge right from kick-off and, after a scrappy start to the game, they took the lead on just four minutes when the Rovers defence failed to clear their lines from a Lee Munro corner and the ball came back to the same player and he crossed into the goal where recent signing Neil Shearer was on hand to fire home from about ten yards to put the visitors into the lead.
  Michael Wardrope did well to tip an effort from Scott Reid over the bar on fifteen minutes as Thistle looked to increase their lead and piled on the pressure.  On twenty minutes, Winton were left with a mountain to climb after they lost the ball and Ardeer broke up the pitch and as Ross Stewart ran in on goal.  Wardrope came out and brought him down and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty and showing the big keeper a straight red card.  Eventually Rovers put Callum Walsh in goal and went to three at the back.  His first job was to pick the ball out of the net from Scott Reid’s penalty-kick.
     Three minutes later, Ross Stewart ran on to a Derek Gemmell pass into the box and fired a low shot into the net from about fifteen yards past the stand-in keeper.
  Surprisingly, Thistle failed to capitalise on their man advantage and Winton’s lack of a recognised goalie and although they continued to control the rest of the half Rovers managed to contain them and Walsh became more confident in goal.  Winton had one real chance in the first half when former Winton man Craig Breen played the ball to Joe Young but his shot from the edge of the box went over the bar.  At the other end, Lee Munro hit the post with a shot as Rovers struggled to get into the game.
     In the second half, Winton were more in the game with more possession but apart from a few forays down the wings and some crosses, the Winton forwards struggled against the experienced defence who mopped everything that came their way.
  As Thistle continued to make heavy weather of extending their lead, Winton pulled a goal back when a Ben Carson free-kick for a hand ball by Neil Shearer just outside the box on the left came back to him and he fired in a low cross across the goalmouth and Bob Hay at the back post forced the ball home.  The referee gave the goal despite protests from Ardeer that the ball had not crossed the line to make it 3-1 on eighty-five minutes.
     Thistle restored their three-goal lead when former Winton striker Stephen Reid picked up a loose pass on the half-way line and outstripped the defence before running into the box, rounding Walsh and walking the ball into the net on eighty-nine minutes to make the final score 4-1 to Ardeer.
  This was another disappointing result for Winton who now have to start winning games to get their season back on track starting at Muirkirk on Saturday.
The teams were
Winton Rovers - Wardrope, Walsh, Murray, Wilson, Bonner, Gilmour, Hay, Carson, Young, Willet and McCrea with substitutes Kennedy, Gallagher, Shanks, McAvoy and Walker.
Ardeer Thistle - McCann; Breen, McGrory, Shearer, Holden, Munro, Gemmell, J Reid, Stewart, Stephen Reid, Scott Reid with substitutes McIntosh, Kean, Tan, Gregory and Smith.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 6 November 2013

Winton blast back with win

New loan signing Greig Mitchell was on target as Winton bounced back from their defeat against Ardeer with a resounding victory at Burnside Park.  Mitchell, signed on loan from Irvine Meadow during the week, was in the starting line-up with winger Paul Walker, making a return to the side also.   The Burnside pitch although heavy going was in good condition and allowed both sides to play some good passing football.
     Winton, who were looking to reverse a run of poor results over the last few weeks against the league’s second bottom side attacked from kick-off and seven minutes in the impressive Muirkirk keeper made the first of several good saves when he tipped a Greig Mitchell shot over the bar after he had been played in by Jared Willet.
  A couple of minutes later Willet himself did well to bring the ball under control before shooting but the ball flew across the face of the goal and out for a goal kick.  It wasn’t all Rovers, however and Muirkirk had a couple of attempts without seriously threatening Michael Wardrope’s goal.  On fourteen minutes, Winton took the lead when Joe Young did well to bring down a kick out from Michael Wardrope before playing the ball out to Paul Walker on the right wing and he swung in a good cross that caused chaos in the home defence and the ball eventually came to new signing Mitchell at the near post.  He blasted it into the net from six yards to make a scoring debut.
     Rovers doubled their lead a couple of minutes later when Callum Walsh swung a good cross from the right to Jared Willet on the far side of the box and he hit the ball first time past the keeper to make it 2-0 from eighteen yards.
  It should have been 3-0 on twenty minutes when the referee turned down appeals for a penalty after Paul Walker had been barged over in the box as he made his way to the line.  On 26 minutes, a poor headed clearance from a Walker cross fell to Bob Hay but his first time shot went just past the post.  On the half hour, the Muirkirk keeper did well to come out of his goal and clear a ball into the box from Willet just before Walker got on the end of it.  Rovers did however get their third on thirty-one minutes when the ball came to Walsh totally unmarked in the box following a Young corner-kick and while the defence stood appealing for offside Walsh calmly slotted the ball past the keeper from fifteen yards to make it 3-0 to the Winton.  Muirkirk, however, were not completely out of it and Michael Wardrope had to make a good save with his feet from the home number seven after Rovers lost possession out on the Muirkirk left and he ran in on goal before hitting a strong shot at the goals.  Muirkirk were now coming more into the match without creating any real chances and Rovers had the last real chance of the half when Mitchell shot wide from about 20 yards after Lee McCrea had done well to intercept a clearance before playing the ball to the edge of the box.
     Young was unable to come back out and was replaced by Stephen McAvoy at the start of the second half.
  On forty-eight minutes it was almost 4-0 when the Muirkirk number fourteen was inches away from turning a cross from Jared Willet into his own goal at the near post.  Ten minutes into the second half, both Mitchell and Stephen McAvoy saw crosses fly across the face of the Muirkirk goal before Michael Wardrope made another good save from the home lumber eight after Rovers lost possession on the Muirkirk left and the player cut into the box and hit a good shot which Michael did well to put out for a corner at the near post.  Muirkirk were making a game of it and were playing some nice football at times as the surface started to cut up and players started to slip about.
     On sixty-five minutes, Winton made a double substitution bringing on Stuart Wilson for Callum Walsh and Sean Kennedy for Ben Carson and a couple of minutes later Greig Mitchell had a great chance to double his tally when Stephen McAvoy brought the ball down on the edge of the box turned and passed the ball to Mitchell but his mishit shot went tamely into the keeper’s hands.
  It was 4-0 on seventy-seven minutes when the impressive Mitchell controlled a ball in from the Winton right on the edge of the box and played the ball into the goalmouth where Willet was on hand to fire the ball home from about ten yards for his second of the day.  A couple of minutes later, it took a superb save from the Muirkirk keeper to deny Greig Mitchell after Jared Willet had played a good ball to him just inside the box and his curled shot looked to be heading for the top corner of the far side of the goal until the keeper somehow got over and tipped it past the post for a corner.  From this corner, George Bonner had a good header go over the bar.
     On eighty minutes it could have been 5-0 after some good play down the left by Lee McCrea saw him pull the ball back to Jared Willet whose first time shot hit the far post before being cleared.
  Muirkirk continued to plug away trying to get at least a goal from the game and were playing some good passing football and on eighty-three minutes their number nine brought out another good save from Michael Wardrope after he had got clear of the defence.  Two minutes later, Stephen McAvoy was unlucky when a great header from a Mark Murray corner brought out another good save from the keeper.  With a few minutes remaining, Mitchell went on a strong run down the right and got to the bye line near the goal before cutting the ball back to Jared Willet but the keeper did well to grab the ball before it reached the Winton man and the game finished 4-0 to the visitors.  This was a comfortable win for Winton that will give them a boost before their important match against League leaders on Saturday.  Mitchell looks to be an excellent signing who is strong, holds the ball up well has an eye for goal and will only get better.
The Winton team was Wardrope, Walsh, Murray, Young, Bonner, Hay, Walker, Carson, Mitchell, Willet and McCrea with substitutes Kennedy, McAvoy, Gallagher and Wilson.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 13 November 2013

Winton almost snatch three points

by Neil Carnegie
Winton went into this vital game against the side who were in pole position down to the bare bones.  Both Joe Young and Jared Willet were unavailable and there were only three substitutes including assistant manager John Gallagher and trialist James Maxwell who had played for the Winton under 19s last season and had been released by Ardeer during the week.  With both Young and Willet out Paul Walker partnered new striker Greig Mitchell up front The playing surface at Rosebank was poor and did little to help the players to play good passing football.
     Winton played into what was a strong wind at the start of the game but which died down as the half wore on.
  Rovers had a half- hearted appeal for a penalty on two minutes when a cross hit a defender on the head then hit his hand but nothing was given.  It took a good save from Michael Wardrope on seven minutes to keep it 0-0 when following his own corner the ball was only cleared as far as Todd.  Whether it was meant to be a cross or shot is unclear but the veteran goalie had to look sharp to tip it over for another corner.
     Ten minutes later Winton had their first real chance when Billy Gilmour shot as he was falling following some good play down the right but the ball went wide.
  Thistle then went straight down the other end and should probably have taken the lead on eighteen minutes when Lee McCrea firstly cleared a shot off the line then he and Michael Wardrope did well to block then clear a follow-up shot.  On twenty-six minutes, Greig Mitchell was booked for simulation out on the wing despite clearly having his feet taken from under him on the touchline and a minute later Rovers had another let-off when Stevenston fired high over the bar after the defence had failed to deal with a corner and the ball landed at his feet.
     Two minutes later Thistle did take the lead after Lee McCrea had given away a free-kick right on the edge of the box.
  Todd whipped a cross into the box and Cuthbertson got to it first and shot into the roof of the net from about twelve yards.  It was almost two on thirty-two minutes when a cross was deflected into the path of Todd but his shot went over the bar.  At this point, Winton were not out of it and were competing well fighting for every ball but were struggling to create chances and three minutes before the break they were very unlucky not to equalise when following some good play down the right wing Paul Walker swung a deep cross to the back post to Lee McCrea whose volley hit the bar and dropped into the goalmouth but the keeper blocked then smothered a follow up shot from Mitchell.  Once again, Thistle hit Rovers on the break and a minute later it took some fancy footwork from Wardrope to dispossess the Thistle number ten on the edge of his box then clear the ball and so the first half ended 1-0 to Lugar.
     It was a more determined Winton that came out in the second half and it took them only two minutes to draw level when Paul Walker played a ball into the box from the right to Greig Mitchell at the far post and he lobbed the ball over the keeper from about ten yards for his second goal for the club on forty-seven minutes.
  Rovers were putting a lot of pressure on Lugar and it unsettled them.  On fifty-five minutes, Callum Walsh went on one of his runs at the defence before he was brought down on the edge of the box.  Lee McCrea’s free-kick went just over the bar.  Two minutes later, Winton went behind again when they failed to deal with a corner properly and Chris Todd scored with a flying header to make it 2-1 to Lugar.  It was all square again sixty-one minutes when a clearance out of the Lugar defence was blocked and Greig Mitchell played a good ball into the box and Billy Gilmour ran onto it before shooting low past the keeper from fifteen yards to make it 2-2.  Both sides continued to press for the winner and it was end-to-end stuff without any real chances for either side.
     Rovers brought on James Maxwell for Ben Carson on seventy minutes just before Lugar had two good chances to retake the lead when George Bonner cleared the ball off the line on eighty-two minutes then it took a great save from Wardrope on eighty-six minutes to keep things level.
  It was Winton who had the last chance with a minute of normal time left and they should have left with all three points when Maxwell flicked the ball onto Greig Mitchell out on the right wing and some good play between him and Paul Walker saw Walker hit a deep cross to the back post where Bob Hay was standing unmarked, onside and with an open goal but somehow he shot over the bar from about ten yards.  This was another good performance and while most fans would have settled for a point at the start of the second half, it could have been all three.  Mitchell looks to be a good signing but the lack of depth in the squad to cover for injuries and so on is concerning.
The Winton team was Wardrope, Walsh, Murray, Wilson, Bonner, Gilmour, Hay, Carson, Mitchell, Walker and McCrea with substitutes Maxwell, Biggart and Gallagher.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 20 November 2013

Winton Bank Three Points
by Neil Carnegie
Winton went into this important game looking to continue good recent results and keep in touch with the leaders.  Although they had Jared Willet back, Joe Young was still carrying a knock and was on the bench and Stuart Wilson was unavailable.  With a lot of games off, a decent crowd turned up at a sunny but cold Winton Park.
     After a fairly even opening ten minutes, notable more for some robust tackles from the visitors than chances, United had the ball in the back of the net when Baird beat the offside trap and ran in on goal before squaring to Johnstone at the back post who put the ball past Michael Wardrope but the referee ruled it out for offside.
  Rovers had a penalty claim on fifteen minutes when Paul Walker appeared to be brought down just inside the United area following some good football out on the left from a throw-in.  The referee, however, gave a free-kick just outside the box.  Lee McCrea’s flighted set-piece was headed goalward by George Bonner and a defender headed the ball straight up into the air and although Willet managed to get his head to it there was no power in the header and it was saved.
     Winton were playing well without creating any clearcut chances and Annbank looked dangerous on the break as they did throughout the game.
  On the half hour, Greig Mitchell shot over the bar after some good build-up play down the right.  There were two good chances for Rovers on thirty-two and thirty-three minutes.  Firstly, George Bonner got in a good downward header from a Paul Walker corner but it was cleared off the line and the follow-up shot was cleared for a corner.  From Walker’s corner, the goalkeeper dropped the ball but managed to recover before any Winton player could take advantage.  A couple of minutes later Mitchell shot straight at the keeper after good work by Lee McCrea.
     Winton’s pressure finally earned them the goal they deserved when a four-pass move down the left saw Greig Mitchell square across the goalmouth to Ben Carson who side-footed home from six yards to make it 1-0 on thirty-four minutes.
  Annbank were not out of it and five minutes from half-time Michael Wardrope appeared to put a good shot from Baird on to the bar and out for a corner but the referee gave a bye-kick.
     Winton had a good claim for a penalty in the first minute of the second half after Ben Carson ran down the left before playing the ball into the box.
  Willet looked to have been bundled over just as he was about to shoot but the referee ignored the appeals.  On fifty-four minutes, a McCrea ball into the area was played back to Calum Walsh by Willet but Walsh’s shot from twenty-five yards went over the bar.  The need for a second goal for Rovers was highlighted on fifty-five minutes when a Tommy Sloan cross took a deflection and Wardrope turned it over for a corner as Annbank pressed to get back into the match.  On fifty-nine minutes, Rovers brought on Joe Young for Mitchell who had been on the receiving end of some hefty challenges during the game.  A couple of minutes later, Calum Walsh was booked for a poor tackle on the halfway line.
     Rovers were now in command although United still looked dangerous when they broke.
  Annbank were reduced to ten men on sixty-eight minutes after Willet ran on to another good ball out of the Winton defence to the edge of the box and as he ran in on goal he was brought down right on the eighteen yard line by Kirkland.  The referee deemed it a last man offence and sent Kirkland off.  McCrea’s resultant free-kick took a slight deflection off the wall and the keeper made an easy save.  On seventy-one minutes, Wardrope made a good save from a Tommy Sloan header following a United free-kick.
     Two minutes later, Winton substitute Sean Kennedy had an almost immediate impact when Rovers pressure on the Annbank goal earned them a few corners and on seventy-five minutes, one of these corners was cleared out to Kennedy and he swung in a cross to the back post where Young rose to head home.
  Three minutes later, a Willet played the ball to Walker inside the box but his shot went wide.  Rovers made sure of all three points on eighty minutes when Young squared the ball across the eighteen yard line.  It was missed by a defender and came to McCrea who fired home from fifteen yards.  Winton were almost attacking at will and on eight-four minutes, had a great chance when Walker hit a good ball to the far side of the box.  Somehow both Lee McCrea and Willet were unable to get a shot away and Marc Fisher, the Annbank keeper, appeared to recover the ball on the edge of the six-yard box.
     There was then an altercation involving players from both sides and McCrea was shown a straight red for supposedly kicking the keeper although the home player said the opposing goalie had stamped on him as well.
  On eighty-nine minutes, Young blocked an attempted clearance on the edge of the box, turned and ran in on goal with only Fisher to beat but, rather than rounding him, tried to shoot and the ball went wide.  A couple of minutes into time added on, Walker hit a good low cross across the face of the goal to where Young was sliding in at the back post but somehow the ball went wide.
The Winton team was Wardrope, Hay, Murray, Gilmour, Bonner, Carson, Walker, Walsh, Mitchell, Willet and McCrea with substitutes Young, Kennedy, Gallagher, McAvoy and Biggart.                        Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 27 November 2013

Promotion is also firmly in the sights of Ardrossan Winton Rovers boss Derek Frye after their excellent run continued with a 3-0 home triumph against Annbank United.  The victory left them just five points off top spot.  Frye said “We are playing the game the right way by getting the ball down and passing and that is pleasing.  I was also really pleased we had a shutout on Saturday.  The squad is coming together well.  Remember we have brought in seven or eight new faces this season and we have a squad of seventeen as opposed to thirteen during the Ardagh Cup.  We will see where we are come the end of the season but the aim is to finish in the top two as that would win us promotion and that’s the target.”
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 27 November 2013

Easy Win For Six Guns Winton

Three goals in each half saw Winton sweep aside the basement team to stay firmly in promotion contention.  Winton went into the match without Stuart Wilson and Paul Walker and made a couple of changes that saw Callum Walsh and Bob Hay drop to the bench with Kevin Biggart in the defence and Sean Kennedy in midfield.  Despite their position, ’Mark had recently appointed Brian Kerr as their new manager and he has brought in some new faces with more to come.  The hosts were caught out almost from the kick-off when a decent header out of defence from Billy Gilmour was knocked back over the defence to the Craigmark number nine who was to pose their main threat during the game.  He did well to knock the ball past Michael Wardrope to put the home side 1-0 in front after less than a minute.  Despite this setback, Winton then went on to control the game with Craigmark restricted mainly to breaks by the numbers seven and nine and set-pieces.
     On seven minutes, they equalised after Jared Willet picked up a good ball played to him on the right wing before cutting into the box going past a couple of defenders before firing home from fifteen yards past Worrall.
  Rovers took the lead four minutes later when a Lee McCrea corner on the left was headed on to Greig Mitchell who headed the ball into the roof of the net for his third goal in four games since joining the club on loan.  He should probably have had a second in fifteen minutes when Lee McCrea went on a good run down the left wing before playing the ball into Greig Mitchell about ten yards from goal and although he managed to turn, he couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet on the poor playing surface and the danger was cleared.  A couple of minutes later, Mitchell turned provider when he laid the ball back after some good football from Winton down the left to Sean Kennedy whose twenty-yard shot went narrowly over the bar.
     On twenty-three minutes, Mitchell had a good, but not easy, chance to increase the lead when Joe Young ran on to a good ball down the right wing before putting over a cross.
  The ball was missed by the defender in front of Mitchell who was caught out when the ball came to him unexpectedly and it came off his shins and went back to Worrall in the ’Mark goal.  Rovers increased their lead on twenty-seven minutes after great play saw Kevin Biggart play the ball out of defence to Billy Gilmour who found Willet out on the right and he cut in along the eighteen-yard line before shooting low into the bottom corner of the near post to make it 3-1 to Winton.
     Craigmark showed very little up front but on thirty-six minutes, Michael Wardrope had to make a good save at the foot of the post from the number nine after he got on the end of a cross from number seven half which ended 3-1 to the visitors.
  Winton went further ahead on fifty-three minutes when Billy Gilmour headed a McCrea corner-kick from the left-back across the goal towards the far post and the ball was apparently in before the centre half hit the roof of the net trying to clear it to make it 4-1.  Three minutes later, some good play down the left saw a cross headed back into the path of Ben Carson whose first time shot from the eighteen-yard line flew into the net.
     On fifty-eight minutes, Rovers should have had a penalty when Greig Mitchell ran on to a good pass into the box from McCrea and was brought down before he could get in a shot.
  The lady referee waved away the Winton appeals and Mitchell was booked for his protests on the hour.  Bob Hay replaced George Bonner and this saw Billy Gilmour move into the centre of the defence and on sixty-seven minutes Hay laid on the sixth and final goal when he put over a great cross from the right into the middle of the goal and Ben Carson bulleted the ball home with a great header from ten yards.  A minute later, Rovers brought on Callum Walsh and Stephen McAvoy for Jared Willet and Greig Mitchell.  Try as they might, Winton were unable to get any more goals although they were still creating chances and Stephen McAvoy had a great chance to get Winton’s seventh with a few minutes to go when he ran on to a ball into the box and with only Worrall to beat but the young keeper did well to block his shot with his legs.
The Winton team was Wardrope, Gilmour, Murray, Biggart, Bonner, Carson, Willet, Kennedy, Mitchell, Young and McCrea with substitutes Hay, Gallagher, McAvoy and Walsh.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 December 2013

Ardrossan Winton Rovers boss Derek Frye was encouraged with his team’s showing as they hammered Craigmark Burntonians 6-1 away. They now face a bigger test at home to Whitletts Victoria.  He said “We did well.  You can only play what’s in front of you and our aim is to finish in the top two.  It will be a difficult game against Whitletts who have been doing well and it’s a tight league but we are looking to win.”
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 December 2013

Spoils Shared In Six-Goal Classic

What an advert this game was for junior football!
  It had everything - end to end play and plenty of chances that, while providing a superb ninety minutes entertainment for spectators, left both managers pulling their hair out!  The match got off to a sensational start when in the first minute, Michael O’Connor played a neat pass through to Tony Balfour and as home keeper Michael Wardrope came racing off his line, the little striker hammered the ball high past the big keeper into the corner of the net.  It was just the start Whitletts wanted but Ardrossan have very strong promotion ambitions themselves and quickly worked their way back into the game, taking control of the midfield as Vics struggled to contain Jared Willet down the right, with the forward pair of Greig Mitchell and Joe Young threatening at every opportunity.
     Winton’s first opening came in the tenth minute when only a last ditch challenge by Connor Simpson prevented Lee McCrea from netting from ten yards.
  Vics couldn’t contain Ardrossan in the middle of the park as the home side harried the Vics players when in possession and it came as no surprise when the home side equalised in the seventeenth minute.  Willet latched on to the ball at the edge of the penalty area to fire a low drive that beat the diving figure of Jordan Callaghan.  Tony Balfour then squandered a great chance for Vics when he raced clear but with only the keeper to beat he fired high and wide of the target.  Willet was causing the visitors defence all kinds of problems and a mazy run along the bye-line took him past three Vics defenders only for Callaghan to dive bravely at his feet to save.
     There was nothing the visiting keeper could do in the twenty-eighth minute when Greig Mitchell picked the ball up out wide on the left and curled the ball high past Callaghan from twenty yards.
  Immediately, Vics boss Steph McMillan made a change to shore up the midfield and brought on Marc Cameron and Vics began to come more of an attacking threat.  On the half hour, Derek McCulloch saw his effort headed off the Winton line by Mark Murray.  Winton continued to press and when a long ball from defence beat McCulloch, Young beat Callaghan to the ball but his cross into the box found no takers and the danger was cleared by Raymond Buchanan.  Then, five minutes before the break, Vics got their equaliser after O’Connor was pulled down in the box and the little striker dusted himself down to give Wardrope no chance from twelve yards.  Right on the half-time whistle, Martin Lawrie controlled a Simpson cross but the defender’s effort slipped just wide.
     The second period proved to be just as frantic.
  Again, Vics’ were the first to show and Simpson was unfortunate to see his shot from the edge of the box go over the bar while, at the other end, Callaghan had to be alert to save from Mitchell.  Young then skipped past a couple of challenges inside the box to set up Sean Kennedy but he sent his effort over the bar when it seemed easier to score.  The Ayr side then had a great chance to regain the lead when O’Connor ran onto a poor pass-back but a great double save from Wardrope denied first O’Connor and then the follow up effort from Balfour.  A Mitchell shot was then parried by Callaghan but there was no way this game was not going to see more goals and that proved to be the case in the fifty-eighth minute when a long ball forward was chested down at the edge of the box by Mitchell for Young to volley high past Callaghan from twenty-two yards.
     Vics’ unbeaten run was now under severe threat but the Ayr side showed plenty of character and determination to keep that run going and within six minutes they were back on level terms.
  Lawrie whipped a wicked free-kick into the box and from close range it was substitute Marc Cameron who reacted first to prod the ball past Wardrope from close range.  Both sides made changes as they went in search of all three points and Willet saw his drive from distance blocked by the legs of Callaghan but neither side were able to create that clear cut opportunity that could have won the points, although deep into injury time McCulloch headed a Balfour corner just wide.  This was a thrilling afternoon’s entertainment as both sides served up a festive cracker and on this showing neither side will be far away when the promotion stakes are settled at the end of the season.
The teams were:
Winton Rovers – Wardrope, Gilmour, Murray, Biggart, Bonner, Carson, Willet, Kennedy, Mitchell, Young and McCrae with substitutes Walker, McAvoy, Walsh, Wilson and Hay.
Whitletts Victoria – Callaghan, Kerr, Holland, McCulloch, Buchanan, Boyle, Simpson. Allan, O’Connor, Balfour and Lawrie with substitutes Cameron, Patterson, Davidson, Barr and Longair.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 December 2013

Ardrossan Winton Rovers manager Derek Frye said missed chances cost his side dear following their 3-3 draw at home to Whitletts Victoria.  Winton are in fourth spot, just four points behind leaders Ardeer and make the short trip south to face another form team in Irvine Vics.  Frye told Sportscene “At 2-1 or 3-2 up you are expecting to win the game and we missed some chances.  We are scoring goals but also conceding them.  I haven’t watched Irvine Vics and am only concerned with my team.  We are capable of beating anyone on our day.  Our target is to be in the top two and we will see how we are come Christmas.”
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 December 2013

Ardrossan Winton Rovers manager Derek Frye is looking to shore up his squad by adding two new players with two others set to move on.  Striker Stevie ‘Biscuit’ McAvoy and defender Scott Houston are set to leave owing to work commitments while targetman Graeme Hamilton is sidelined with a shoulder injury.  Frye said “I am looking to add in a wide player and a striker as our squad is down to about fifteen or sixteen.  I have made some enquiries and one bid was rejected.  Hopefully we will be able to add in a couple of new faces.”
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 December 2013