Winton Rovers won the Ayrshire District League in 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 Matt 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. Matt 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.
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 Matt 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
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
2 – ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 3
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 March 2015
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
WINTON ROVERS 4 – SALTCOATS VICTORIA 0
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 March 2015
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
RANGERS 2 ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 2
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 25 March 2015
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
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.
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
IN TITLE GLORY
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.
The 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. 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.
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 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
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
IN TITLE GLORY