2013 was not Winton's best year.

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.