Winton Rovers put on a good display in the last game of the season.

Rovers Leave Best To The Very End

by Neil Carnegie
Winton ended their season as they has started it with a win against a Glencairn side needing three points to have any hope of overtaking Kilbirnie for automatic promotion.  This was probably Rovers’ best performance of a disappointing season and continued the improvement in results and performance in recent games.  The crowd was boosted by Kilbirnie and Largs fans turning up as the result would have an effect on both of their teams’ promotion hopes.  Although the Glens pressed from the kick-off, it was Winton who took an early lead on three minutes when Lea McCrea beat Willie Galloway down the left before squaring the ball into the area where Dean Muir failed to clear it and Stephen Reid took the ball off him before shooting past Bell in the Glens goal.  Five minutes later, the dangerous Bren Agnew had the first of a number of chances for him to score but Kenny Pollock raced from his goal to save at Agnew’s feet and the ball was cleared.  On fifteen minutes, Mark McCarry wasted a free-kick, hitting it from twenty-five yards well over the bar.  A few minutes later, he had a weak header over the bar after he got on the end of a Keiran Downs cross.  Donaghy then had a shot deflected into Kenny Pollock’s arms after he had been played in by Agnew on eighteen minutes.  Glens had the ball in the net on twenty minutes but it was ruled out for offside.  Winton then came back into it when Nikki Smith did well to win the ball then keep possession of it down the right before crossing to David Cunningham and his well hit angled shot was put round the post by Bell for a corner.  Winton had a good spell of pressure on the Glens defence but could not increase their lead.  On thirty-two minutes, Agnew drove the back across the face of the goal which was missed by both sets of players before Pollock denied him twice in quick succession, firstly getting down well to save a close-range shot  then, once the ball had been crossed back in, he got down and saved Agnew’s downward header.  Four minutes later, following a good punch from Pollock, McGuire tried to chip him but he managed to get back and catch it without much trouble.  With half-time fast approaching, Glens seemed to have been given a lifeline when Stuart Wilson was adjudged to have fouled Agnew as he went for the ball and the referee pointed to the spot.  Scott Houston was booked for his protests.  However, McCarry’s spot-kick was no better than his free-kick earlier in the game and went miles over the bar and out of the ground.  From the restart, McCarry squared the ball to Agnew whose shot was well saved by Pollock.  As in the first half, Rovers scored three minutes in.  Scott Adam did well to ride several challenges and force his way into the box and played the ball to Reid who, after drawing out the keeper from his goal, cut the ball back into the middle where it was dummied by Adam and broke to Bob Hay who fired home from ten yards.  The Glens then more or less laid siege to the Winton goal and Downs went close after holding off several challenges before shooting wide.  Agnew had the ball in the net on the fifty-eighth minute but, as in the first half, it was chalked off for offside.  Glens then went three at the back and three up front as they continued to try and salvage something from the game.  Winton brought on Sean Kennedy for Reid on sixty-five minutes and less than five minutes later, trialist Gary Bickerton replaced Scott Houston who had gone down injured and took a while to get off the pitch.  Glens put the Winton defence under a lot of pressure but they defended well and the Glens could not find a way through before Rovers ensured that their season would end on a high note with a third goal with fifteen minutes remaining when a free-kick was rolled out to Bickerton who swung in a cross which Kennedy, froma difficult position, heded the ball down over Bell’s outstretched arms and into the net from ten yard to put Rovers three-nil in front.  The Glens luck in the match was out once again when Agnew fired a Ballatyne cross off the bar and behind on seventy-seven minutes before McAlpine saw a goal-bound volley headed clear by a defender.  A minute later, Bell had to stretch to catch what was a strong clearance out of defence on the left by Nikki Smith which looked as if it might go over the keeper’s head as he was well out of his goal.  With a minute to go, Winton’s hopes of ending the season with a shut-out ended when a defender headed out a dangerous cross only as far as Agnew whose first-time volley from the edge of the box went in off the right-hand post to make the final score three-one.  The Winton team was Pollock, Smith, Houston (Bickerton), Gilmour, Wilson, Shanks (trialist), Cunningham, Hay, Reid (Kennedy), Adam and  McCrea.  The substitutes were Kennedy, Gallagher, Milligan and Markie (goalkeeper).
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 22 May 2013