Winton Rovers won the Ayrshire District League in 2015.

WINTON ROVERS 5 – GIRVAN 1
     
Although Rovers expected a harder game than Lugar had had last week against eight men they made hard work of it, especially in the first half, against a Girvan team with a mixture of youngsters and some experienced players who made a real game of it.  Winton had Gareth Turner signed on loan from Troon for the rest of the season on the bench and made a couple of changes to the team that had beaten Annbank
     Rovers almost took the lead inside the first minute when Robertson in the visitors’ goal made a good save from a Conor Browning volley after the defence had failed to deal with a cross from the left and the ball landed at his feet at the back post.  On three minutes, a Craig Breen cross from the right reached Ian Cashmore at the back post but the he couldn’t get off a shot and the ball went out for a bye-kick.  Five minutes after that, Ryan Caddis flicked the ball on to Jared Willet but his cross was blocked and cleared.
     Rovers were forced to make a change on ten minutes when Craig Breen was injured keeping the ball in and was replaced by Darren Miller.  A couple of minutes later, Michael Wardrope comfortably saved a snap shot from Kyle Russell as Girvan created their first real chance of the game.  Robertson made another good save from Ian Cashmore after he got on the end of a Ryan Caddis cross at the back post.  Although Rovers had the majority of the possession and chances they were struggling to put the ball in the net and on twenty-two minutes, Jared Willet had a shot deflected for a corner after some good play down the left and he worked his way into the box before shooting.
     A minute later it was 1-0 to Rovers when the resulting corner from Lee McCrea was cleared out only as far as Matty Bennett about thirty yards out and he hit an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner of the net.  Jared Willet then went close again following some good play down the right between Ryan Caddis and Conor Browning.  On thirty-five minutes, Ryan Caddis ran at the defence and broke into the box but his finish was comfortably saved by Robertson.  A couple of minutes after that it was almost 2-0 after a cross from the right deflected off a defender and almost crept in at the near post.

     It was, however, 2-0 on thirty-nine minutes when David McVitie handled a Conor Browning cross in from the right and was booked.  Ryan Caddis stepped up and beat Robertson with a chipped spot kick.  Although it had been almost all Winton for forty minutes, Girvan had been making a game of it and had had a few breaks down the pitch and with a minute to go to half time they pulled a goal back when a cross from the Girvan right was missed by the defence and fell to John McLaughlin who was unmarked and he turned and shot home from about fifteen yards to make it 2-1.  The last action of the half saw John Johnston rather harshly booked.
     
As in the first half, Robertson was in action in the first minute of the second period when he did well to palm out a Lee McCrea but Ian Cashmore was unable to get in a good shot and Robertson saved comfortably.  Ian Cashmore then had another two attempts before Ryan Caddis hit the top of the bar with a header on fifty-seven minutes and there was another good chance for Rovers to increase their lead before Michael Wardrope denied Girvan’s best outfield player, Connor Gracie, with a flying save to turn his shot round the post.
     Robertson then made a good save on sixty-three minutes from a Ben Carson free kick awarded after Ryan Caddis had been brought down just outside the box after a run from midfield.  The ‘keeper also blocked the follow up before a third shot went well wide of the goal.  Rovers finally got the third goal on 66 minutes when after some good play down the right Conor Browning played the ball into Jared Willet who fired home from fifteen yards.
     Gareth Turner then replaced Ryan Caddis and Girvan brought on Calum Hamilton for Jake Smith just before Rovers made it 4-1.  Some great play down the right between Gareth Turner and Conor Browning saw the ball come to Browning and he hammered the ball home from about twenty-five yards.  With ten minutes left to play, a good move involving Gareth Turner and Calvin Smith who had just replaced Ian Cashmore ended with Robertson making another good save from Jared Willet.  On eighty-three minutes, it was 5-1 when Lee McCrea did well to control a cross ball from the right on the edge of the box before playing it to Jared Willet who fired home for his second of the game.  With time running out, it took a good double stop from Robertson to deny firstly Calvin Smith then Gareth Turner on eighty-seven minutes and a minute later Robbie Cochrane went close with a header just before the final whistle.
     This was a tougher game than many expected and all credit to struggling Girvan for making a game of it.  With the Buffs dropping two points, we are now three points behind with a game in hand and the next two games are both real six pointers and wins against both Lugar and Whitletts would put a real dent in their promotion hopes but both will be very tough games.
     
The teams were
Winton Rovers - Michael Wardrope, Craig Breen, Matty Bennett, Ben Carson, Robbie Cochrane, Conor Browning, Ryan Caddis, John Johnston, Ian Cashmore, Jared Willet and Lee McCrea with substitutes Darren Miller, Gareth Turner, Calvin Smith, Colin Webb and Sean Hainey
Girvan - Colin Robertson, William McMichael, Jake Smith, Sean Scobie, Darren Cunningham, Conor Gracie,  David McVitie, Sandy Robertson, John McLaughlin, Jamie McAvoy and Kyle Russell with substitutes Calum Hamilton, John Murray and Conner Davidson.

         
Winton Rovers Website, 3 January 2015

ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 3 – WHITLETTS VICTORIA 1
Winton Look Super After Vics Triumph

Winton took a giant step towards the SuperLeague with what in the end proved to be a comfortable victory against Whitletts at Winton Park (on 24 January 2015).  Vics were punished yet again by a poor start to the game.  Not for the first time, it took them fifteen minutes to get into the match but while they may have got away with that on other occasions, Winton took full advantage and the only surprise was that the home side held a one goal advantage after that spell.

     It took Winton almost two minutes to take the lead.
  Stevie Kerr mistimed a tackle at the edge of the box and from the resulting free-kick, Ryan Caddis left Ally McInnes rooted to the spot as his free-kick settled in the corner of the net.  Winton poured forward with the visiting defence at sixes and sevens but, despite creating  number of openings, poor finishing let them down badly.  In one such opportunity, Lee McCrea was left with an open goal at the back post only yards from goal yet somehow managed to return the ball across the face of goal from where Graham Longair’s challenge denied John Johnstone.

     Finally, Whitletts settled and in fifteen minutes they mustered their first attack on the Ardrossan goal and Lee Holland’s strike was saved by Michael Wardrope.
  Two minutes later a stunning save from the Winton keeper at full stretch denied Michael O’Connor who looked set to score with a diving header from eight yards.  Neither defence looked too clever under pressure and Conor Browning fired just wide for Winton while, at the other end, Vic’s penalty appeals were waved aside by referee Kevin McElhinney after Craig Breen handled inside the box.  Within seconds of that decision, Ardrossan doubled their advantage, McCrea, finding acres of space down the left flank, and his low cross was turned into the net by Johnstone.

     Caddis could have added a third but fired straight at McInnes but in thirty-seven minutes, Vics got themselves back in the game.
  A superb flick by Jim Wilson released Tony Balfour who shrugged off the attentions of Matty Bennett to race clear into the box before firing low past Wardrope for his thirtieth goal of the season.  Moments later, O’Connor’s drive was deflected just over while Gary Russell fired just wide from twenty-five yards as Whitletts pressed for the equaliser but just before the break, Caddis should have restored Winton’s two-goal advantage but he screwed his angled shot out for a throw-in.

     The second period failed to see any clear-cut chances created in the opening stages with a Johnstone-floated cross into the danger zone that McInnes had to parry clear being the only piece of action worthy of note apart from Winton boss Chris Strain being sent to the stand by the referee after words said to the official following a Longair challenge on McCrea that also saw the Vics’ assistant manager and Winton’s Caddis both booked.
  Winton had the better of the possession and territorial advantage but goalmouth action was rare and with fifteen minutes remaining, McCrea saw his cross come off the face of McInnes’s left post.  In seventy-six minutes, the visitors were reduced to ten men when Hurlford United loanee Euan Blair was shown a straight red card after a lunging challenge and within three minutes, Ardrossan took full advantage of the extra space as McCrea set up Caddis who fired past the helpless McInnes.  In his goalmouth celebration, the former Ayr striker jumped over the pitch surround but referee McElhinney chose not to show the player a second yellow card.

     The only question was whether Winton could add to their tally.
 Ian Cashmore’s snapshot from twenty-five yards went close while Grant Turner, on loan from Troon, should have scored when put in the clear but fired wide before a spectacular effort from Ben Carson was turned behind by McInnes.  This was not a match of the standard normally produced when these two clubs meet but certainly an after that Whitletts will want to forget.
The teams were
Winton Rovers -  Wardrope, Breen, Bennet, Gilmour (Miller 90), Cochrane, Carson, Browning, Johnstone, Willett (Cashmore 66), Caddis (Turner 79) and McCrea.  The unused substitutes were Webb and Pollock.
Whitletts Victoria – McInnes, Longair, Simpson, Buchanan, Blair, Holland, Kerr, Russell (Love 67), Wilson (Wallace 77), Balfour (Ewart 83) and O’Connor.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 28 January 2015

ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 5 – DARVEL JUNIORS 2
Winton’s Success is Ongoing
Rampant Winton dented Darvel’s promotion hopes as their unbeaten run continued (on 31 January 2015).  Rovers started brightly doing most of the pressing with early half-chances for Ben Carson and Craig Breen inside five minutes.  Darvel, however, took the lead against the run of play in twelve minutes.  Winton looked to have almost opened the scoring when a great header hit the underside of the bar but stayed out and was cleared off the line.
     Darvel broke up the right and Greg Vernon ran into the box before hitting an angled drive past Michael Wardrope from fifteen yards.
  In eighteen minutes, Winton equalised when Conor Browning won a free-kick on the right just outside the box.  Ryan Caddis swung over a cross to the back post where Billy Gilmour headed home from six yards.  The hosts went ahead when Robbie Cochrane met Caddis’s corner from the right at the back post and although this powerful header looked netbound, Ian Cashmore seemed to make sure with a glancing header almost on the line.
     The third goal came in sixty-four minutes when Conor Browning swung in a dangerous cross which was only cleared to Lee McCrea fifteen yards out and he made no mistake with a low drive past Markey.
  Darvel were reduced to ten men in sixty-eight minutes when Kenny Parris picked up a second yellow card for a foul on John Johnston.  Rovers them made it 4-1 in seventy-two minutes.  Matty Bennett played a good ball down the left to Caddis who got to the line before squaring to Lee McCrea who netted from ten yards.  Ten minutes later, Browning fired in a low hard cross which was met by Willet and he swept the ball home from fifteen yards.  Darvel pulled a goal back two minutes for time when a throw-in reached the unmarked Greg Vernon just inside the box and his mis-hit shot went in past Wardrope.
     The Winton Rovers team was Wardrope, Breen, Bennet, Gilmour, Cochrane, Carson, Browning, Johnston, Cashmore, Caddis and McCrea.
 The substitutes were Turner, Willet, Miller, Pollock and Hainey.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 February 2015

ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 7 – MUIRKIRK JUNIORS 2
Winton Roar Ahead

Rovers remain second top of the table after a comfortable and confident victory (on 7 February 215) over struggling Muirkirk in a match that was switched from snow-bound Burnside Park to a comparatively balmy Ardrossan.  With the result never looking in jeopardy, Rovers’ boss Chris Strain will be pleased with his side’s performance, especially their attacking play.
     Visiting goalkeeper Shaun Kirkland was in fine form and made good saves in the opening minutes from Gareth Turner and Billy Gilmour as the Rovers pressured the Muirkirk goal right from the off.
  There was nothing he could do in the ninth minute, however, when John Johnstone fired a shot into the net low to the goalkeeper’s left.  Three minutes later, it was two when Ryan Caddis ran down the right and, although Kirkland got hands on the cross, the ball dropped for Turner to head into the net.
     Things got worse for Muirkirk when Bryan O'Neill had to go off injured and after further saves from Kirkland, Rovers added at third goal atter twenty-four minutes when Jared Willet's cross from the left was nodded home by Johnstone at the far post.
  Willet then inadvertently cleared a shot off the Muirkirk line as he tried to get out of the way but he provided the left-wing cross for Johnstone to volley in his hat-trick in the thirty-ninth minute.  Winton’s defence was tested for the first time two minutes later and was found wanting.  Muirkirk won a corner on the left and from Eoin Waite's set-piece, mayhem ensued in the goalmouth.  Just when it seemed the chance had gone, sub Liam Martin imposed himself on the chaos and thundered in the loose ball from close range.
     After the break, Rovers were awarded a penalty which resulted in their fifth goal but Muirkirk felt there was an injustice with Alan Baird being the man accused of a push on Conor Browning in front of goal.
  Referee Adam Barclay stuck by his decision, however, and Caddis easily netted from the spot after sixty-one minutes.  Seven minutes later, Caddis headed in number six off a cross from Turner and after a sliced clearance from Scott Black had come back of the crossbar, a shot from substitute Larry McMahon took a heavy deflection and beat Kirkland for number seven in the seventy-sixth minute.
     Muirkirk had the last word though with nine minutes left as a harmlessly bouncing ball was controlled by Willet using his arm.  Mark Eadie asked no questions and struck home the penalty.  This late goal, however, only served to be a consolation in a match where Rovers were in complete control from the beginning.



     
The teams were
Winton Rovers – Pollock, Breen, Bennett, Gilmour, Cochrane, Turner, Browning, Johnstone, Willet, Caddis and McGuire with substitutes McMahon, Hainey, Miller and Smith.
Muirkirk – Kirkland, Black, Waite, O'Neill, Palmer, Baird, Reid, Eadie, Gibson, Lynch and Hamilton with substitutes Martin, Pearson and McGuire.

                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 February 2015

CRAIGMARK BURNTONIANS 1 – ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 13
Goal Fest For Winton

  by Matt Spiers
Rampant Winton are on course for the title after racking up their biggest win of the season (on 14 February 2015).  Craigmark opened strongly, taking the game to Winton and went ahead in five minutes when a shot from the edge of the box by Willie Hall found the bottom corner of the net.  Winton lost the services of Matty Bennett a few minutes later, his place being taken by Darren Miller.  Craigmark continued pushing forward and it took a fine save by Kenny Pollock to deny Dillan Dunn a second goal.  The equaliser came in fourteen minutes when a pass-back was cued into the air by Steven Douglas and Jared Willet was first to react to head into the empty net.  Winton went ahead three minutes later when Lee McCrea unleashed a thirty-yard drive that flew pest Steven Douglas.  Two minutes later, Rovers were awarded a penalty which was convened by Ryan Caddis.
     
Caddis turned. provider for the next two goals.
  He crossed for Willet to net and then sent in a corner-kick which was turned home by Robbie Cochrane.  Eight minutes from half-time, Darren Miller ran through from midfield to shoot home.  Winton added a seventh in fifty minutes, Caddis sending a free-kick high into the net.  Seven minutes later, Gareth Turner scored his first goal for the club with a crisp drive and five minutes later was on hand to net after Steven Douglas had saved a shot.  Midway through the half, Cochrane headed another comer beyond Steven Douglas.  Five minutes later, Caddis netted with another free-kick from twenty yards which beat Steven Douglas all ends up.  Then, with twenty minutes left, recent loan-signing Larry McMahon bagged his first goal for the club when he knocked the ball home from close range following a Caddis cutback.
     
Winton added goal number thirteen seven minutes from time when McCrea lifted the bail over the advancing Douglas and into the net.
  The Winton team was Pollock, Breen, Bennett. Gilmour, Cochrane, Turner, Browning, Johnston, Willet, Caddis and McCrea with substitutes Miller, McMahon, Hainey, Smith and Carson.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 February 2015

LUGAR BOSWELL THISTLE 1 – ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 1
Spirited Winton Fight Back For A Point

Winton fought back bravely for a point after conceding an early goal (on 28 February 2015).  Both sides often found it difficult to keep their feet on a pitch that had seen a youth match played on it in the morning.  As in the Craigmark match, Winton conceded an early goal after they conceded an unfortunate corner in four minutes.  The defence failed to clear the corner from the left and the ball came to James Cuthbertson who rose to head powerfully home.  This was to be Thistle’s only really clear-cut chance of a match that Rovers went on to dominate and although they created more chances they were unable to make their pressure pay due perhaps trying to play their usual passing game rather than Lugar's more direct style which suited the conditions better.
     Winton's first real chance came in seven minutes after some good play between Lee McCrea and John Johnston saw the ball played out to Ryan Caddis and although Johnston got on the end of Caddis's left wing cross at the back post, he shot over the bar.
  Winton had a good chance in twenty-one minutes when McCrea's shot at the back post, following a run and crossed on the right by Caddis came to him, was blocked fora corner.  Robbie Cochrane then headed McCrea‘s corner wide of the far post.
     Although Rovers were creating most of the chances, Thistle were dangerous with long balls up to their front men and in twenty-six minutes, a good free-kick from thirty yards which evaded everyone, went out of play.
  From this Rovers should probably have equalised when McCrea ran onto a long ball down the left and as he ran in on goal Mather came out and McCrea shot straight into his arms from twenty yards.  In thirty-four minutes, three or four Rovers players got in shots in a goalmouth scramble following a cross into the box from Caddis but last ditch defending kept the scoreline at 1-0.  Winton’s first real chance of the half came in sixty-one minutes when a McCrea comer on the left was headed back into the near post and although Jared Willet was on the post, a defender managed to put the ball out for a comer.  From this corner, Larry McMahon was very unlucky to see his goal-bound header kicked off the line at the back post.
     McCrea then picked up what was to be a costly yellow card.
  Rovers then had the first of a number of penalty appeals turned down when Caddis was brought down after he had chased down a long ball into the box.  Stevie Masterton then made his debut for Winton, replacing Craig Breen, who had picked up a knock in seventy-four minutes.  Winton seemed to have blown their chances when McCrea picked up a second booking with a few minutes left.  Thistle wasted more time bringing on Roddy Paterson for Allan Patterson with two minutes left and were made to pay in time added on when Jordan Mullen fouled Darren Miller just as he shot from inside the box.  The referee pointed to the spot.  Mullen was also booked for a second time and sent off.  Caddis stepped up and blasted the ball home.
The Winton Rovers team was
Wardrope, Breen, Bennett, Miller, Cochrane, Carson, Browning, Johnston, Willet, Caddis and McCrea with substitutes
  McMahon, Turner, Masterton, Smith and Cairnie.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 March 2015

KELLO ROVERS 2 – ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 3
Winton Cash In After Last-Minute Goal

A dramatic last gasp goal from super sub Ian Cashmore helped Winton overcome spirited Kello to stay on course for promotion (on 7 March 2015).  There was a minute’s silence before kick-off in memory for Maybole skipper Stuart McGrady who sadly died in his sleep the previous weekend.
     Winton should have taken the lead in three minutes when Gareth Turner was upended inside the box.
  Ryan Dunsmuir, however, saved Ryan Caddis’s penalty-kick.  The opening goal was however only delayed a minute as Caddis took a pass from Gareth Turner then ran into the box and beat three defenders before firing low into the far corner.  Kello’s first chance came in nine minutes when John Aitken shot over the bar.  The hosts were playing well and equalised in twenty-seven minutes.  Michael Wardrope was unable to hold on to a long range shot from Aitken which bounced just in front of him and Lee McGinley squeezed the ball into the net.
     Winton were on top although Kello were making a real game of it but things changed in forty minutes when both Caddis and Ryan Ross of Kello were shown straight red cards following a flare-up near the halfway line.
  Things got worse in time added on when Winton went down to nine men after Robbie Cochrane was shown a straight red for what the referee deemed to be a high challenge as he cleared the ball.  Larry McMahon and Lee MeCrea combined well in fifty-four minutes to put the former through on goal but Dunsmuir saved at the striker’s feet.
     Kello’s first chance of the second half came on fifty-seven minutes when Kieran Pagan made a good run down the right and played the ball to Aitken in the box but he fired the ball wide of goal.
  Kello took the lead in seventy minutes following a free-kick awarded for a foul by Turner deep inside the Kello half for which he was booked.  The hosts got the ball up to Jardine on the left and he ran on into the box and slipped it under the advancing Wardrope and into the net.
     Jordan Cairnie made way for Conor Browning in seventy-three minutes just after Jared Willet had come on and the two substitutes would be instrumental in turning this game on its head.
  Kello, however were still very much in it and in seventy-five minutes, Robert Hampson shot narrowly over the bar.  Two minutes later, Winton were back in the game after a Lee McCrea shot was deflected for a corner on the left.  His comer was missed by everyone in the goalmouth but fell to Darren Miller at the back post and he hammered the ball into the roof of the net.  Cashmore then replaced McCrea who had picked up a knock in eighty-five minutes.
     Just as it was looking as if Winton had snatched a valuable point again they incredibly won the game in eighty-nine minutes.
 Willet and Conor Browning combined well down the right before the latter surged into the box and hit a low cross which reached Cashmore at the back post and he volleyed home.
     The Winton team was Wardrope, Miller, Bennett, Carson, Cochrane, Turner, McMahon, Johnston, Cairnie, Caddis and McCrea with substitutes Willet, Browning, Cashmore, Breen and Masterton.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 March 2015

ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 4 – SALTCOATS VICTORIA 0
Winton Take Vics For Four In Goal Fest

Ruthless Rovers swept aside their derby rivals to take another giant stride towards promotion (on 14 March 2015).  Winton had a decent chance in the opening minute when Jared Willet broke into the box but Jim Catterson in the visitors’ goal was out quickly to block the danger.  Vics had their first chance in seven minutes when Sean Quinn put over a good cross but Michael Wardrope made a comfortable save from Mark Ferris.  A minute later, John Johnston had a shot cleared off the Vics goal line after the ball was headed out to him in the box.
     In six minutes, James Moan missed a great opportunity when former Winton striker Joe Young crossed the ball.
  Although he got his head to it, he headed it aimlessly to the ground and the ball was cleared.  In twenty-four minutes, some good play from Rovers saw a Willet shot deflected to Lee McCrea but he fired wide.  James Moan was then booked just before Winton took the lead on the half hour  The resultant free-kick was played into the box and as Gareth Turner rose to head the ball, visiting goalie Jim Catterson fouled him and although his header hit the top of the bar the referee blew for a penalty.  Turner stayed down and was helped off the pitch before going to hospital with a shoulder injury.  Ben Carson stepped up and blasted his spot-kick home.
     Willet then had a well-hit shot from twenty-five yards in thirty-two minutes parried by Catterson but he smothered the ball before Lee McCrea could take advantage.
  A minute later Larry McMahon headed a McCrea cross from the left-back into the goalmouth but the ball was cleared off the line.  Rovers had a good shout for another penalty when John Johnston won the ball before running into the box and, although he was brought down, the referee ignored the appeals.
The Seasiders however had the last chance of the half when Michael Wardrope saved at the feet of Sean Quinn.
  It was 2-0 in forty-nine minutes after Catterson misjudged an in-swinging McCrea corner from the right and the ball went over the line before the goalie's attempted punched clearance went-into the roof of the net.  Willet shot wide after cutting in from the right before Saltcoats were reduced to ten men when James Moan was shown a second yellow for a poor challenge and was sent off.
     Rovers made the game safe in eighty-four minutes after some good play down the left.
  The ball broke to Stevie Masterton and although Catterson blocked his shot, McMahon volleyed the loose ball home from close range for his second goal in five games.  Winton bagged a fourth goal in time added on when Carson played a good ball to McCrea ho knocked the ball back into the goalmouth here Johnston headed the ball past the diving keeper.





     
The teams were
Winton Rovers - Wardrope, Breen, Miller, Gilmour, Cochrane, Carson, Browning, Johnston, Willet, Turner and McCrea with substitutes McMahon, Cashmore, Masterton, Cairnie and Smith.
Saltcoats Victoria - Catterson, McGeady, Curran, Whyte, Easdon, Weaver, Moan, Black, Young, Ferris and Quinn with substitutes McKie, Park, McClelland and Knight.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 March 2015

KILWINNING RANGERS 2 ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 2
Both Teams Take Strain In Thriller
by Stewart McConnell
This was billed the battle of the Strains with Chris Strain junior in the Buffs dug-out battling for the family honour with dad Chris senior in the opposite corner.  It more than lived up to the pre-match billing and at the end of a fast-paced end-to-end battle, played in front of a bumper crowd of more than four hundred, it was all even with a point apiece.  The Winton manager had said beforehand a draw would suit both teams and he was right.  It leaves the Abbey Park side firm favourites to clinch the title and their opponents likely to join them as runners-up in the District League.  Buffs still have their fate very much in their own hands and wins away to Lugar Boswell Thistle and Whitletts Victoria will give Strain junior and Colin Stewart’s side a second Ayrshire District League title in three years.
     What an advert this was for the District League and should those two make it up to the SuperLeague, although Lugar are still in contention after victory against Dalry Thistle, we could well be in store for some classic confrontations next season. The game was played at a high tempo for most of the ninety minutes with two entertaining teams offering some great value for money for punters.
  Winton were under-strength, going into the match without suspended skipper and striker Ryan Caddis and midfielder Gareth Turner, who is set to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.  Buffs skipper Chris McGowan also had a thigh injury and was on the bench.
     The home side got off to the perfect start by taking the lead with virtually the first action of the match.
  An in-swinging cross from Ben Lewis was only parried by Michael Wardrope and the ball broke back to former Ayr United man John Bradford to smash the ball home from eight yards.  Inspirational Bradford, who evokes memories of Abbey Park legend Gerry Feline with the way he holds up the ball so well, had a shot from ten yards saved by visiting goalie Michael Wardrope after being set up by Owen Quigley in twelve minutes.  Five minutes later,  a thirty-yard free- kick from Lewis was booted clear by the Winton defence.
     In nineteen minutes, however, it was all-square as the unmarked Robbie Cochrane headed home a Ben Carson free-kick from eight yards, much to the delight of the noisy visiting fans.
  Rovers had a great opportunity to go ahead three minutes later as Jared Willet found himself in a good position ten yards out but miscued his shot and the ball glanced wide.  Back at the other end, in twenty-four minutes, a Bradford volley from twelve yards trundled just wide of target.  Winton were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box when the impressive Willet was tripped inside the box.  Carson's set-piece from twenty yards, however, was blocked by the home wall.
     ln thirty-one minutes, a flashing header from Willet spun narrowly wide of target as Winton enjoyed their best spell of the match.
  Seconds later, Winton were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty when Willet was upended inside the box by Owen Quigley but referee Ross Menzies waved play on.  Ten minutes from half-time, a  Bradford rocket from ten yards was brilliantly saved by Wardrope.  Just two minutes later, at the other end, Willet shot across the face of goal from ten yards.  Lewis shot just over the bar from twenty yards in forty minutes.
     Rovers snatched the lead in style six minutes after the break when John Johnston slipped an inspired through ball to Carson to roll the ball home from eight yards.
  Back at the other end, Buffs had an opportunity to level but Bryan Boylan shot over the bar from ten yards in fifty-four minutes.  On the hour, a Boylan header from six yards following a free-kick from substitute Willie McLaren was well saved by Wardrope.  Seven minutes later, however, parity was restored when a fierce effort from inside the box by Bradford was well saved by the visiting goalie but McLaren pounced to thunder home the rebound from twelve yards.  Great play by Dean Agnew saw him make a twenty-yard run into the box only to have his shot blocked by a Winton defender in sixty-two minutes.
     Then in seventy-six minutes, a Lewis shot from twenty yards drifted past the post.
  Agnew shot over the bar from twelve yards a minute later.  Then eight minutes from time, a shot from just outside the box by Lewis was smothered by Wardrope.  A minute from time a shot from twelve yards by substitute Ian Cashmore hit the side netting and went just past the post.  Once again Buffs came close a minute into stoppage time when Bradford teed up McLaren who turned brilliantly before sending a bicycle kick from six yards inches wide of target.
     ln the final action of the game a minute later, a Bradford header from a McLaren cross was tipped over the bar by Wardrope as it ended in deadlock which was a fair result in a closely-contested match.



The teams were
Kilwinning Rangers – Stewart, Maitland, Fleeting, Kerr, Hunter, Anderson, Agnew, Quigley, Bradford. Lewis and Boylan with substitutes Fisher, Kemp, Hart, McGowan and McLaren.

Winton Rovers – Wardrope, Breen, Bennett, Gilmour, Cochrane, Miller, Browning, Johnston, Willet, Carson and McCrea with substitutes McMahon, Cairns, Cashmore and Smith.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 25 March 2015

ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 4 – LUGAR BOSWELL THISTLE 2
Winton chalked up a third victory of the season against Lugar in a closely contested cup tie which was played in awful conditions.  Rovers were without Billy Gilmour, Gareth Turner, Ian Cashmore and Jordan Cairnie and could only name two outfield substitutes while Thistle only had one outfield substitute.  In twenty minutes, Lee McCrea laid the ball off to Calvin Smith but his cross-cum shot was cleared.  A minute later Calvin Smith had another shot saved by Kelly in the visiting goal.  Rovers were playing well and took the lead in twenty-eight minutes when Darren Miller swung over a pinpoint cross from the right to Ben Carson at the back post who headed home from ten yards.
     

     Five minutes from half-time, Thistle were awarded a free-kick thirty yards out which was played into the box where an unmarked Steven Shankland rose to head home.  Worse was to follow on the stroke of the interval after Ryan Caddis had an effort blocked and cleared, when Lugar were awarded another free-kick well outside the penalty area.  This time, Robbie Cochrane got his head to the ball but only directed it backwards and Chris Todd headed home.
     Winton were on the attack from kick-off after the break, creating a couple of chances before equalising in forty-nine minutes, Conor Browning ran on to a good ball down the left before reaching the line and hitting the ball low and hard into the goalmouth where Craig Breen forced it home from six yards.  Roddy Paterson then went close for Lugar with a dipping volley alter Caddis had lost the hall out on the right in fifty-four minutes.  Caddis went close with a similar effort which went over the bar.  Smith then had a shot blocked for a corner on fifty-nine minutes and from this there was another chance when a poor punch by Kelly saw the ball only reach a Winton player and his shot was blocked and cleared by a defender almost on the line.
     

     The drama was not over as Lugar pulled a goal back in eighty-nine minutes.  Again, it was from another free-kick, this time twenty-five yards out on the left.  The ball was played in low towards the near post where Craig Muir was on hand to get enough of a touch to knock it past Wardrope.  The match ended in an unfortunate manner for Rovers who were looking to see the game out in the comer on the stand side as Caddis was sent off almost on the final whistle.
     
The Winton Rovers team was Wardrope; Miller, Bennett, Carson, Cochrane, McCrea, Breen, Johnston, Smith and Caddis.  The substitutes were Browning, Willet, McMahon and Pollock.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 1 April 2015

MUIRKIRK JUNIORS 0 – ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 7
Superb Seven as Rovers go Level at Top of League
Rampant Winton Rovers moved level on points with Kilwinning Rangers after this demolition job at Burnside Park.  Although Muirkirk made a game of it, Winton were always in control and almost took the lead in three minutes when they forced two quick comers in succession on the left.  A Jordan Cairnie header from the second one was headed off the line by a defender.  Muirkirk had their first chance of the game in five minutes when their number 11 shot wide from a good position and they put the Winton defence under pressure before Rovers took the lead on ten minutes.  Darren Miller crossed to skipper Ryan Caddis on the edge of the box and he took a few steps into the box before firing low into the net.
     Three minutes later, a defender misjudged a long ball out of the Rovers defence and headed the ball backwards into the path of Caddis who got to the line before crossing into the goalmouth but Jared Willet was unable to connect and the ball was cleared.
  In eighteen minutes, the home keeper who impressed the visiting fans, made a good save from a Jared Wallet effort.  Jordan Cairnie was booked in twenty-one minutes for a push on the dangerous number ten as he threatened to break through the defence.  Two minutes later, it should have been 2-0 when Winton were awarded a penalty after Willet was brought down in the box following a Miller throw-in.  The goalie, however, saved Caddis’s poor spot kick.  Rovers had another chance in thirty minutes when a Caddis from almost on the bye-line was cleared.
     Three minutes from the break, Winton finally doubled their lead when Miller won the ball on the right before running into the box where he rode a tackle before he hit a low hard ball into the goalmouth where Willet was on hand to force the ball home from five yards.
  It was 3-0 right on half-time when Carson played the ball to the back post after a good run into the box and Caddis fired home from close range for his second of the match.
     Winton had a goal chalked off, perhaps unfairly, for offside in fifty-four minutes.
  Willet worked his way into the box and his shot was deflected on to the crossbar and rebounded to Caddis who headed the ball home but, although the last touch before was from a defender, the referee gave offside.  Robbie Cochrane was shown a rather harsh second yellow for handball and sent off in sixty-one minutes.  McCrea and Caddis both had attempts cleared before Rovers took a 4-0 lead in sixty-four minutes when Ben Carson volleyed home a Willet cross from close range.  In seventy-one minutes, Craig Breen found Conor Browning who got into the box and although his shot was blocked, the ball fell to Carson who netted from ten yards.
     Ten minutes from time, it was 6-0 when a defender completely miskicked a ball into the box from Cashmore and Caddis pounced for his hat-trick and twenty-ninth goal in twenty-six games this season.
  Winton were denied a stonewall penalty on full-time when the keeper brought down Ryan Caddis as he ran in on goal.  It was, however 7-0 in time added on when Carson got his hat-trick.  Caddis dummied a ball into the box from Breen and Carson made no mistake from fifteen yards.
     The Winton team was Wardrope, Miller, Bennett, Cairnie, Cochrane, Carson, Breen, Johnston, Willet, Caddis and McCrea with substitutes Browning, Cashmore, Pollock. McMahon and Smith.

                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 8 April 2015

ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 7 – DALRY THISTLE 0
Winton Move Into First With Convincing Win
by Matt Spiers
Ardrossan Winton Rovers eventually strolled into the Super League First Division, demolishing Dalry with some clinical finishing (on 10 April 2015).  Dalry were prominent early on and gave the Winton defence some anxious moments without showing any cutting edge in front of goal.  Calum Hercus of Dalry received a nasty head injury after ten minutes and had to be replaced with Paul Hyslop.  Winton opened the scoring six minutes later, Ryan Caddis heading a John Johnstone cross into the net.
     Dalry had a few half chances to get back into the match with John Boyle driving over from thirty yards when well-placed after eighteen minutes.
  Two minutes later, Robbie Halliday found himself with a shooting chance but his week effort was easily saved by Michael Wardrope.  Winton doubled their lead in twenty-seven minutes, Jarred Willett netting from thirty yards.  Six minutes later, the game was over as a contest.  Darren Miller released Conor Browning on the right and his low cross was turned into the net by Jarred Willett.
     A fourth goal arrived in thirty-seven minutes.
  A Caddis free-kick on the right found Robbie Cochrane who headed into the net.  Within two minutes of coming on, Ian Cashmore was set up by Caddis in the sixty-second minute and shot into the net from just inside the box.  Six minutes later, Lee Lockhart pulled down Lee McCrae as he went through on goal.  It was a clear penalty that saw Lockhart ordered off and Caddis netted from the spot.
     Thirteen minutes from time, Caddis completed his hat-trick, latching on to a low cross from Browning to net from the edge of the box.
  With promotion secured Winton need a point from their game at Darvel to clinch the championship.







     T
he teams were
Winton Rovers - Wardrope, Miller, Bennett, Cairnie, Cochrane, Carson, Browning, Johnstone, Willett, Caddis and McCrae with substitutes Cashmore, McMahon, Breen, Hainey and Pollok.
Dalry - Hewitt, Lockhart, Halliday, Freil, Hercus, Guthrie, Freils, Stevenson, Boyle, Loughlan and Hood with substitutes Summers and Hyslop.
               
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 15 April 2015

DARVEL JUNIORS 0 - ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 2
CHAMPION ROVERS DOWN DARVEL

Celebrations erupted around Recreation Park as Winton defeated Darvel to land the District League title (on 25 April 2015).
  Around two hundred and fifty visiting fans made the short trip to East Ayrshire for one of the biggest games in the club’s recent history.  They only needed a point to clinch the championship but sealed it in style.  While Chris Strain senior’s team did not play at their best against a good Darvel side, they did enough to win the match.  Although Rovers had comfortably beaten the hosts 5-2 at Winton Park back in January, a tough match was expected against a big, physical Darvel team whose main problem this season has been a lack of consistency.
     
The first ten minutes were even although Ryan Caddis and Jared Willet both had half chances before Robbie Cochrane failed to clear a ball in the box which Jordan Ryan picked up and shot narrowly past the far post.  In seventeen minutes, Ryan saw another effort go over the bar after the ball wasn’t cleared properly.  A couple of minutes later, the referee played advantage when Jared Willet was fouled in the middle of the pitch and Ryan Caddis ran on to the loose ball out on the right and got to the line before his cross was deflected for a corner.  Robbie Cochrane headed Lee McCrea’s resultant corner kick over the bar.  Rovers were now getting into the game.
     
In twenty-five minutes, Darren Miller played a free-kick from thirty yards low to Caddis on the edge of the box who turned and fired a good shot which was deflected for another corner.
  Darvel hit back and, in thirty-one minutes, Murray Johnston avoided tackles from three Winton defenders out on the left before finding Kenny Parris who somehow hooked the ball over the bar from ten yards.  Winton took the lead with half-time approaching.  Mark Gilmour was booked for a poor tackle on Ryan Caddis about thirty-five yards out.  Caddis got up and took the free-kick himself, playing a low angled ball into the goalmouth which reached Jordan Cairnie at the back post and he volleyed into the roof of the net for his first goal for the club to make it 1-0.
     
Winton started the second half looking more lively and had the ball in the net in the first minute after John Johnston had headed a rebound off the bar home but the referee chalked it off for offside.  The hosts came back into the match and in fifty-three minutes, a twenty-five yard free-kick from Craig Vernon went harmlessly through to Michael Wardrope.  At this stage, Rovers were unable to keep possession giving the ball away and not picking up second balls and they had an escape in fifty-eight minutes.  Firstly, Michael Wardrope was quickly off his line to save from Jordan Ryan as he ran in on goal.  From the resulting corner-kick, a good Darvel header actually hit a team-mate and was then cleared.  A minute later, former Winton keeper, David Markey saved well from Caddis following a good Crossfield move between Conor Browning and Lee McCrea.
     
Winton sealed victory in seventy minutes when a ball out of the home defence only reached Ben Carson on the edge of the area and he laid it off to Caddis who was just inside the box and, after taking a few steps, he fired a low shot across Markey and into the far corner of the net.  As the game wound down, Gareth Turner made his return to the side after recovering from a shoulder injury, replacing Ben Carson.  Title success sees Winton qualify for the Evening Times Cup.


     
The Winton team was Wardrope, Miller, Bennett, Cairnie, Cochrane, Carson, Browning, Johnston, Willet, Caddis and McCrea with substitutes Cashmore, Turner, McMahon, Pollock and Breen.
               
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 29 April 2015

IRVINE VICTORIA 2 – WINTON ROVERS 2
Irvine Vics win 4-3 on penalties

Rovers made four changes from the side that clinched the league title on Saturday (25 April 2015).  With captain Ryan Caddis starting a suspension, Larry McMahon partnered Ian Cashmore up front and Gareth Turner made his first start since recovering from injury.
     Winton had the better of the opening few minutes forcing several corners which came to nothing before Vics took control of the game as Rovers struggled to get their game together and deal with balls in from the wings for most of the first half.
  The home side took the lead their pressure deserved in the fourteenth minute when a cross in from the Vics right by Scott Chesney wasn’t dealt with by the defence and David Adams fired low into the net from about fifteen yards to make it 1-0.  It was almost 2-0 on 20 minutes when the dangerous Adams broke from just inside the Winton half and ran to the edge of the box and a took a great tackle by Robbie Cochrane to win the ball and clear the danger.  Adams, however, appeared to pick up a knock and had to be replaced by Ryan Singleton.  A couple of minutes later Stuart Hannah had a shot deflected for a corner.
     Winton had their first real chance of the half when Ian Cashmore shot over the bar after Larry McMahon laid the ball back to him in the box.
  McMahon then had a shot go across the goalmouth on thirty-one minutes.  Callum Davidson shot well over the bar from just outside the box after he picked up a loose clearance on thirty-six minutes just before Michael Wardrope made a good save from Eddie Ablohr after the striker had made the most of a mistake by Matty Bennett out on the left and cut in on goal.  The last chance of the half fell to Lee McCrea but he shot over the bar on forty-one minutes after Craig Breen back-heeled the ball to him.  The half ended 1-0 to the home side but it could have been worse for Rovers.
     It was a much more determined Rovers in the second half and they wasted a good chance on forty-six minutes following a push on Darren Miller about twenty-five yards out but the free kick came to nothing.
  Michael Wardrope made another good save at his near post on fifty-one minutes before Winton should have equalised in the fifty-fourth minute.  Lee McCrea fired in a low hard cross into the box which came to Gareth Turner but he miskicked the ball and the chance was gone.  Rovers were now getting their game going and playing some good football.  They equalised on the hour when Lamb in the home goal fumbled a shot from Ian Cashmore and the ball went behind him and as it rolled towards the goal Lee MCrea made sure from a couple of feet to make it all square.  The visitors took the lead four minutes later when Larry McMahon who worked hard the whole game ran on to a long clearance from Robbie Cochrane held off a defender before slotting the ball under Lamb from just inside the box to make it 2-1.
     The lead however lasted barely three minutes as Vics went down the park and got the ball into the box.
  Michael Wardrope made a good save from a close range shot but was unable to hold onto the ball and Stuart Hannah forced the ball home from close range to make it 2-2 in the sixty-seventh minute.  Both sides had chances to win the game after this.  The best of those fell to Larry McMahon on eighty-three minutes when he broke through the defence but Lamb came out to the edge of the box to block his shot and the danger was cleared.
     So to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
  Ian Cashmore took the first for Winton which was saved by Lamb.  Substitute Singleton hit the post with Vics' first kick.  Ben Carson and Bobby Colligan both scored theirs to make it 1-1 after two penalties each.  Lamb saved Winton’s third taken by Lee McCrea and although Darren Miller and John Johnston scored their penalties Kevin Adam, Callum Davidson and Scott Chesney were all successful with theirs so Vics won 4-3 on penalties.  In a strange end to the shoot-out, Michael Wardrope was sent off after the final kick having earlier been booked during the penalties.
     So the unbeaten run comes to an end although we are still unbeaten over ninety minutes since October.
  It will need a much better performance on Saturday to get anything from the West of Scotland Cup tie against Auchinleck Talbot.
     The teams were

Irvine Victoria - Chris Lamb, Reid Brown, Paul Young, David Wilson, Robert Burgess, Stuart Hannah, Scott Chesney, Callum Davidson, Eddie Ablohr, David Adams and Bruce McMaster with substitutes Ryan Singleton,  Bobby Colligan, Kevin Adam, Ryan McKay and Rory Campbell.
Winton Rovers - Michael Wardrope, Darren Miller, Matty Bennett, Jordan Cairnie, Robbie Cochrane, Ben Carson, Craig Breen, Gareth Turner, Ian Cashmore, Larry McMahon and Lee McCrea with substitutes John Johnston, Conor Browning, Jared Willet, Sean Hainey and Calvin Smith.
               
Winton Rovers Website, 29 April 2015

AUCHINLECK TALBOT 2 – WINTON ROVERS 3
Winton again took a good support with them to Beechwood Park on 2 May 2015.  Most would have been hoping that Rovers would put up a good performance against the Junior Cup finalists and Premier Division leaders although it is doubtful that many saw the final result coming.  With Darren Miller cup-tied, Craig Breen came in at right-back and the experienced Gareth Turner replaced Larry McMahon at number ten.  Ben Carson and John Johnston and Matty Bennett and Lee McCrea swapped positions.
     
Winton started the first half playing into a strong cold wind and Talbot had the first chance of the game in the second minute when Mark Shankland fired over the bar.
  Rovers however showed their intentions a minute later when a Conor Browning cross in from the right was missed by everyone in the goalmouth and ran through to Matty Bennett but his cross was saved comfortably by Andy Leishman in the home goal.  In the fifth minute, the big goalie spilled a Conor Browning cross/shot following some good play by Ben Carson and Gareth Turner but recovered the ball quickly.  Former Winton man Keir Milliken headed a corner over the bar a minute later as the game flowed from end to end.  The hosts had the ball in the net on nine minutes after Milliken and Shankland combined well but the goal was chalked off for offside.
     
The game became bogged down in midfield with Rovers matching their opponents, fighting for every ball and playing some good football but neither side was creating clear-cut chances.
  Robbie Cochrane and Mark Campbell were both booked on twenty-two minutes after a tussle as Rovers were about to take a free kick.  Cochrane then did well to head a long kick-out from Leishman back to Michael Wardrope.  On the half hour, Matty Bennett chased a ball into the box and almost nutmegged the home keeper as he came out to the ball but Leishman recovered and won the ball.  Talbot finished the first half strongly with chances for Wilson and Latta but the last real chance of the half came on thirty-nine minutes when a one-two between Craig Breen and Gareth Turner almost let the former in on goal but the ball was cleared for a corner.
     
Talbot started the second period strongly when Shankland shot over the bar after a header from Jordan Cairnie only came out as far as him on the edge of the box.
  Milliken then had a shot touched onto the back post by Michael Wardrope and a shot from the rebound then hit a Talbot player before Craig Breen cleared the danger for a corner on fifty-three minutes.  Four minutes later, Rovers took a shock lead when a Craig Breen cross from the stand side took a deflection up in the air and Colin Spence trying to head clear only succeeded in heading the ball into his own net to put the visitors 1-0 ahead.
     
Auchinleck piled on the pressure and they went close on the hour following a goalmouth scramble but the defence was playing out of their skins.
  A couple of minutes later, Michael Wardrope made a great save from Wilson as he broke into the box and bore down on the goal.  Incredibly, Winton then doubled their lead in spectacular fashion.  Jared Willet held up a long ball out of defence before playing it to John Johnston about thirty-five yards out on the left side of the pitch and his shot flew past Leishman who was given no chance as the ball hit the roof of the net for 2-0.
     
Talbot now went looking to salvage the game and brought on David Gormley for Keir Milliken on sixty-eight minutes just before Robbie Cochrane blocked a Gormley goal-bound shot.
  Dwayne Hyslop and Bryan Young then replaced Colin Spence and James Latta in the seventieth minute.   Ben Carson then played John Johnston in with a good ball into the box but his shot was blocked for a corner in the seventy-third minute.  Talbot had another chance denied by Robbie Cochrane’s intervention on seventy-five minutes and although Rovers were under pressure they were playing some nice football going forward and at that point the defence was holding out.  On seventy-seven minutes, Jared Willet out on the left wing did well to win the ball beat the defender and get to the line but his cross was headed out for a corner.
     
Two minutes later, Michael Wardrope made a vital save with his feet from Gormley just before Talbot pulled one back with seven minutes to go when the Rovers defence failed to clear the ball after the home side had hit the bar with a shot and a header following a free kick out on the right and the ball finally fell to Gordon Pope who hammered the ball into the roof of the net from a few yards to make it 2-1.
  Most visiting fans feared the worst when Talbot equalised with three minutes left when a ball from the right wasn’t cleared and Shankland was on hand to fire home from about fifteen yards for 2-2.  With penalty kicks looming, Jared Willet made a good run down the left and into the box but the ball ran away from him and the chance was lost.  Rovers then went on to win the tie with almost the last kick of the match when Ben Carson out on the right played a good ball into the box for Conor Browning who ran in on goal before calmly placing the ball between Leishman and the near post to win it for Winton!
     
This was a deserved win for a team that fought and matched their opponents for ninety minutes.
  This was only Talbot’s third defeat of the season and we are the first team to score more than two goals against them this season.  This sets up a quarter final against Irvine Meadow at Winton Park although before that is an Evening Times Trophy tie at Winton Park on Saturday against Rossvale.
     The teams were
Auchinleck - Andy Leishman, Ally Park, Gordon Pope, Martin McGoldrick, Mark Campbell, Colin Spence, James Latta, Steven White, Keir Milliken, Mark Shankland and Graham Wilson with substitutes David , Dwayne Hyslop, Bryan Young, William Boyd and Declan Lavan.
Winton Rovers - Michael Wardrope, Craig Breen, Lee McCrea, Jordan Cairnie, Robbie Cochrane, John Johnston, Conor Browning, Ben Carson, Jared Willet, Gareth Turner and Matty Bennett with substitutes Kenny Pollock, Ian Cashmore and Calvin Smith.
                Winton Rovers Website, 2 May 2015

ROVERS REVEL IN TITLE GLORY
Overjoyed Ardrossan Winton Rovers manager Chris Strain senior admitted title success with Ardrossan Winton Rovers was up there with his best moments in football as his team sealed the Stagecoach Ayrshire District League title in style.
  Needing only a draw at Darvel (on 2 May 2015), they won 2-0 at Recreation Park to pip a Kilwinning Rangers side, co-bossed by his son Chris Strain junior.  It’s the second time in five years Winton have won the District League title.
     Strain senoir says his team’s record against Buffs had been a key factor in their success and told Sportscene “The players have done exceptionally.
  They have done everything we asked them.  Every title is special in the game.  We had a good feeling about going up a few weeks ago and this is the icing on the cake.  The pivotal moments were at Kello when we were 2-0 down with ten minutes to go but won the game, our win against Kilwinning at Winton Park and the draw with Buffs at Abbey Park.
     The gaffer also said he enjoyed getting one over on his critics at former club Meadow with whom he won three Premier Division titles and said “One of the Meadow committee said myself and John McCall, my assistant, were passed our sell-by date after we left but hopefully we have proved them wrong now.
  Every title is special.  At Meadow, you were expected to win things but to win the District League with Ardrossan is a different altogether and it feels great.  When we came to Winton last season, they were middle of the league able but they have turned things upside down and gone to the top very quickly.  The commitee have also given us great support. We look forward to next season and hope to make Winton Park a fortress by winning our home games.”
Success was especially sweet for Winton coach George Watt, who turned forty-nine on Saturday.
  He said “It was a great way to celebrate my birthday but the lads have really worked hard for their success and deserve it. We trained on Saturdays as well up the Castle Hill and that’s what helped,

     Goalkeeper Michael Wardrope hailed the coaching staff and said “Chris Strain, John McCall and George Watt know what they are doing.
  They are winners.  We knew it was going to happen this season.  We started as one of the favourites and it was just great to get over the line.  It was a brilliant feeling when the whistle blew.  I won three Premier Division titles and two West of Scotland Cups with Irvine Meadow.  I know that was at a higher level but it doesn’t matter which league you play in, it’s great to win titles.”
     Skipper and top scorer Ryan Caddis, on target against Darvel, was celebrating his first success in Junior football and said “This is brilliant.
  I was hopeful we would win the league this season.  It was great to get a goal on Saturday and I have thirty-three this season but if it wasn’t for the other guys I wouldn’t have scored them.  Over the season, we deserved it.  We were the only team who has beaten everyone in the league.  Next season, hopefully, we can get promotion again.  This is the best team I have been involved with.”
Winger Conor Browning enjoyed his second District League triumph in three seasons after success with Buffs two years ago and said “It was amazing on Saturday celebrating with the fans and it’s nice to win another title.
 We are ready to play at the next level.”
     Winton chairman Dougie Rae added “Saturday was a great day for the club and our supporters.
  Promotion as league champions is a platform for the club to progress to a higher level.  Everyone connected with us should take great pride and pleasure in our success.”  Meanwhile Strain junior said his team had produced their “best display of the season” as they beat Lugar 5-0 away to finish runners-up but he praised the title winners and said “Fair play to Winton Rovers.  They had a tough game at Darvel but picked up the win they needed.”
               
Carrick Herald, 4 May 2015

WINTON ROVERS 1 – ROSSVALE 1
Rossvale won 5-4 on penalties

Winton
went into this game at a sunny Winton Park on a high after their defeat of Auchinleck Talbot the previous Saturday and made only one change from that team with Kenny Pollock replacing the suspended Michael Wardrope.
  A tough game was expected against Rossvale who had won their League comfortably and included several experienced players in their squad.
     Rovers started brightly and attacked from the start creating most of the early chances before they took the lead in the seventeenth minute.
  A cross from Conor Browning after a good run down the right was met by Jared Willet who fired the ball into the roof of the net for 1-0.  Rossvale had their first chance on twenty-two minutes when Matt Bennett lost the ball out on the Vale right and they got into the box but the danger was cleared.  Four minutes later, John Johnston headed the ball back across the goal from a Conor Browning cross after some good play from Jared Willet and Gareth Turner on the right but the ball was cleared.
     
Rossvale were starting to come into the game a bit more and Jordan Cairnie had to head a ball clear from the goal area on twenty-eight minutes.  It should have been 2-0 to Winton on thirty-two minutes when an unmarked John Johnston headed wide of the goal from a Lee McCrea left wing cross following some good play by him and Matt Bennett.  Conor Browning and Jared Willet then linked up well in the thirty-eighth minute but Browning fired over the bar.  Vale wasted a good chance to equalise with three minutes to go to half time when they won a free kick on the edge of the box.  They had broken up the park after Rovers lost the ball deep in the visitors half.  However Fraser Team fired his free kick over the bar.  Just before half time, Craig Breen cleared an effort off the line and the half ended 1-0 to Winton.
     
Vale had caused Rovers problems in the first half with their running and fighting for every ball and on forty-six minutes they should have equalised after a slack pass in the defence let in Fraser Team but he shot weakly into Kenny Pollock’s arms.
  There was then chances for Jared Willet and Ben Carson, from a free kick, before a poor clearance fell to James Beattie but he shot tamely wide of the post from a good position on fifty-two minutes.  Fraser Team did exactly the same thing a minute later after Rovers had lost the ball and the visitors broke quickly up the park.  Tony McDermott then headed a corner wide before Ian Cashmore replaced an injured Matt Bennett on fifty-nine minutes.
     
In the sixty-fourth minute Jordan Bowhill in the visitors’ goal then made a good save from a John Johnston shot after Ian Cashmore had headed on a long throw-in from the right to him.  From the resulting corner, Bowhill made a comfortable save from a Robbie Cochrane header.  On seventy minutes, Ian Cashmore saw his header from a Jared Willet cross hit a defender and go out for a corner.  Winton then brought on Darren Miller for Jordan Cairnie who had taken a knock and Larry McMahon for Jared Willet.
     
It could have been 2-0 in the seventy-fifth minute when some good play between Larry McMahon and Conor Browning ended with a poor header by Ian Cashmore from Browning’s cross.
  Rossvale then made a couple of changes before Bowhill made another good save this time from a Conor Browning shot from the edge of the box.  Ian Cashmore picked up a booking a couple of minutes before Rossvale shocked Rovers with an equaliser in the eighty-seventh minute when Yami Misanjo ran on to a long ball to the edge of the box got between two defenders and scored from just inside the box to make it 1-1.
     A couple of minutes later, Kenny Pollock had to make his first real save of the game from a free kick from substitute Chris Gordon as Vale pushed for the winner.
  Rovers could still have won the game in time added on.  Firstly Larry McMahon ran onto a long ball down the left before laying the ball off to Ian Cashmore who instead of taking the ball on himself played a return ball but Larry had not continued his run and the ball ran out for a goal kick.  In the dying moments, Ian Cashmore was just unable to get his head to a John Johnston cross from the left and the ball hit the far post and was cleared.
     
So it was then on to penalties.
  Rossvale converted their five giving Kenny Pollock no chance with any of them and while Ben Carson, Ian Cashmore, Craig Breen and Conor Browning all scored theirs Bowhill saved Darren Miller's kick to win the shoot-out 5-4.
     
This was another penalty kick defeat but we should have had the game won long before they equalised.
  Up next is the Medda at Winton Park on Wednesday 13th.  Kick-off is at 7pm.
         
Winton Rovers Website, 9 May 2015

WINTON ROVERS 0 -IRVINE MEADOW 3
The biggest crowd of the season turned up at a sunny Winton Park to see if the home side could claim another Premier Division scalp after knocking out Glenafton Athletic and Auchinleck Talbot in previous rounds of the New Coin Automatics West of Scotland Cup.  Darren Miller and Larry McMahon were cup-tied and Ryan Caddis was still serving his suspension.  Billy Gilmour made his first start for a number of weeks.
     The first fifteen minutes or so were fairly even without either side creating any real chances.
  The first chance fell to the Medda in the twentieth minute when Gary McCann ran into the box but Lee McCrea, playing at left back again, made a good block and the ball was cleared out for a Winton throw-in off of McCann.  Two minutes later, a weak punch from Michael Wardrope from a free kick dropped to Ryan Deas but his shot hit a Meadow player and was cleared.  Rovers created their first real chance on twenty-six minutes when Shepherd made a comfortable save from a Gareth Turner header following a good run and cross by Jared Willet out on the right.
     The Rovers’ goal had a narrow escape on the half-hour when Michael Keenan headed a corner across the face of the home goal.
  On thirty-four minutes, Winton almost took a surprise lead when a free kick from Craig Breen was misjudged by Keenan whose header went behind him and Shepherd did well to get down and grab the ball at the base of the post.  At this stage, it was end-to-end action and although there were no real chances for either side Winton were competing well.  Five minutes from half-time Billy Gilmour had a shot saved by Shepherd just before Meadow took the lead in forty-two minutes.  A cross from the left wasn’t dealt with by the defence and a header hit the left post.  Paul Maxwell reacted most quickly to head the rebound home for 1-0.  The last action of the half saw Craig Breen pick up a booking.
     Rovers’ hopes of getting back into the match were dealt a blow just three minutes into the second half when Craig Breen was dispossessed and the ball was played to the right edge of the box where Lee McCrea challenging for the high ball only managed to direct the ball goalwards over Michael Wardrope and into the net off the underside of the bar for 2-0.
  The Medda had the ball in the net again in the fiftieth minute when after Michael Wardrope spilled a free kick but Ryan Deas effort from the loose ball was ruled out for offside.  The visitors were now on top in the match and Kyle Maxwell had a long range shot which was comfortably saved by the home keeper.
     Rovers hit back on fifty-five minutes and both Jared Willet and Gareth Turner just failed to connect with a good Lee McCrea cross.
  A minute later, Gareth Turner fired across the face of the goal after some good play by Jared Willet.  Shepherd then had to come off his line to block a chance for Jared Willet after he had run onto a good ball into the box.  Matt Bennett then replaced Ben Carson.
     There was another chance for the visitors on sixty-one minutes after Gareth Turner lost the ball on the halfway line to McCann who went down the right before crossing to Deas but his shot from the edge of the box went wide.
  Billy Gilmour then picked up a booking before Winton were denied a stonewall penalty which could have changed the game.  Jared Willet had done well to get to the line out on the left before crossing the ball which clearly struck a defender’s hand but the referee and linesman ignored the appeals.
     As it was, it was Meadow that got a third goal in very dubious circumstances in the sixty-eighth minute.
  Jordan Cairnie went down in the Meadow box with a head knock following a Winton corner.  For some reason, the game was not stopped and Meadow broke up the park and although Chris Hall’s shot from the edge of the box hit the far post the rebound was put away by Deas who was apparently offside.  Despite the protests and the referee finally noticing Cairnie still down in the box and speaking to the stand-side linesman, the goal stood.  The referee then appeared to show a Meadow defender a yellow card twice - firstly as the player walked away from him then secondly after he had called the player back.
     
The game more or less petered out after this with only long range shots from Jordan Cairnie and Ian Cashmore to show for Rovers who ended the game with ten men after Billy Gilmour received a second yellow card in the eighty-sixth minute.
     It wasn’t to be this time and, although Meadow were the better side and deserved their win, it may have been different if we got a penalty at 2-0 and the third Meadow goal had been disallowed.  This is the first game Winton have failed to score in since the loss at Kilbirnie in the Ardagh Cup in August so it has been a great season despite the last few results.
     
The teams were
Winton Rovers - Michael Wardrope, Craig Breen, Lee McCrea, Jordan Cairnie, Robbie Cochrane, Billy Gilmour, Ben Carson, John Johnston, Jared Willet, Gareth Turner and Conor Browning with substitutes Matt Bennett, Ian Cashmore, Calvin Smith and Kenny Pollock.
     Irvine Meadow - Graham Shepherd, Grant Evans, Mark Sideserf, Mark Staunton, Mark Twaddle, Michael Keenan, Gary McCann, Kyle Maxwell, Paul Maxwell, Chris Hall and Ryan Deas with substitutes Robbie Halliday,  Tony McParland and Lee Thompson.
          Winton Rovers Website, 13 May 2015