Beith Juniors 3 v 2 Kilwinning Rangers
A healthy crowd were thankful that Bellsdale survived the weather as they were treated to a great contest where the outcome remained uncertain right to the final whistle.
Prior to kick off fans paid their respect to recently deceased lifelong club servant George Anderson.
The sides came to the match looking for a win to build on their good form shown over the festive period. Buffs were quick out of the traps playing down the slope although it was the home side who threatened in the box with the Reid and McLean duo having early efforts blocked. It was the visitors who struck first however when the alert Craig Boylan picked up a poor Beith clearance and drilled a low diagonal shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Buffs continued to try to get the ball forward quickly to their busy forward line and they were giving the home defence an uncomfortable afternoon. Beith were also getting little change from a tight marking defence who were offering up few chances. Home striker McLean did spring the offside trap when he ran through onto a Reid pass only for the ball to hold up allowing a combination of defence and keeper time to recover and clear the danger.
Controversy took over in the 19th minute with Beith appearing to have a stonewall penalty when Burgess played the ball on the ground with his arm. Play virtually stopped awaiting Mr Haswell's whistle but he astonishingly chose to ignore the incident allowing Buffs to pump the ball to the other end where Bryan Boylan gratefully gathered and scored at the second attempt with the Beith defence all at sea in the mayhem.
The home side had it all to do now with Buffs holding a two goal advantage and playing with a noticeable confidence. Andy Reid had a shot turned behind by Connelly and Kenny McLean went close with a shot on turn as Beith tried to respond. Buffs also enjoyed a bit of good fortune when Burgess diverted a driven McLean cross onto the crossbar and over then seconds later Connelly turned a Reid header behind when the striker looked set to score.
Despite this Beith spell of pressure Buffs continued to press every ball and their hard working forwards kept the home defence well occupied resulting in them going in for the break with their healthy lead intact.
Strong words would seem to have been spoken in the Beith dressing room at the interval and the title favourites promptly pegged the visitors back. Buffs managed to scramble away pressure from corners before Beith got the start they were looking for, pulling a goal back when Kevin Burgess sliced a driven McLean cross past his own keeper in attempting to clear. Beith continued to look fragile at the back however and Buffs twice went close, just missing the target in quick counter attacks. Buffs cause received a major set back on the hour mark when Conor Browning collected a straight red card for a reckless lunging challenge on Marc McShane. Buffs were punished immediately when the free kick forward found Kenny McLean on the right wing and he cut inside to blast an unstoppable shot past Connelly into the top corner. Beith made personnel changes which tightened up their side and they set about trying to complete the comeback. The home side still had Buffs keeper John Connolly to beat and he made great stops from efforts from Reid, McLean and Docherty as his side tried to cling on for a point. Beith continued to press however and they found a winner just minutes from the end when Zander Ryan burst in off the wing and his powerful drive flew into the back of the net with the last touch probably from a Buffs leg.
Again Beith claimed the points with a strong second half display to keep their unbeaten league record intact. Buffs meanwhile will be disappointed that they went home with nothing to show for their efforts but surely if they can maintain that level of performance they will climb up the table in the coming weeks.
Beith: Strain, Ryan, Wilson, Donnelly, McShane, MacDonald, Gibson, McGowan, McLean, Reid, Bradley. Subs: Sheridan, Frize, Docherty, McKay, Greenwood (gk)
Kilwinning: Connolly, Hannah, Smith, Burgess, Miller, Potter, Browning, Weir, Boylan, Lewis, McMaster. Subs: Gilmour, Connelly, Deeney, McKay
1 - 30
Beith Juniors and the town have lost a stalwart figure who sadly passed away on 2nd January following recent illness.
George served the club in various roles over the decades including president of the very successful 60's sides. He remained a staunch supporter of the club throughout.
George was 85 and is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Nina and extended family.
George's funeral will be held at Woodside Crematorium in Paisley at 12:00 on Monday 13th January.
Greenock Juniors v Beith Juniors
Beith Juniors 0 v 0 Maybole Juniors
At the halfway point in the league, Beith's impressive unbeaten record remains intact but they will probably not be too happy with this particular performance where they failed to find the net for the first time this season.
Playing down the slope Beith started well and created two decent opportunities with Docherty shooting over and then a good move ended with Frize going close when he turned well in the box and shot narrowly over. Joe Bradley also had the ball in the net when he latched onto a Wilson pass only to see the linesman flag for offside. Beith continued to pressure the visitors and striker Kenny McLean should have done better when he blazed over when a pass inside was probably the best option. Maybole were showing little going forward at this stage but when they did Love looked a danger, using the ball well.
Beith looked to have broken through in the 24th minute when Andy Reid's shot from the edge of the box had the keeper beaten but it hit the inside of the post, flew across the goal and somehow stayed out. Play continued to flow steadily towards the Maybole goal but the visitors escaped again when a good move found Marc McShane up in the box only for the defender to screw his left foot shot over with the goal gaping.
Frustration started to affect Beith's play and the resilient visitors started to get forward as the interval approached allowing Dunn to get in a decent shot that went over and the Beith defence having to block efforts from Paterson and Allan.
Beith started the second half with a flurry with McLean and Docherty having shots blocked before Reid shot past. Beith continued to enjoy plenty of the ball but Maybole also looked increasingly dangerous on the break. Kenny McLean was not having much joy and Bole keeper produced a good block when he did wriggle free of his markers. Strike partner Andy Reid continued to look the best bet to score and he went close with an angled drive after a great turn but surprisingly that was his last action as he was substituted minutes later, replaced by Daniel McKay.
Thoughts that Maybole would tire as the game wore on proved wrong and they actually looked more dangerous on the break and Cunningham went close with a fine shot from distance. One goal looked sure to take the points now but a free kick from Allan for Bole and a McKay shot from a surging Bradley run both went narrowly over as time ebbed away. The closing action saw Maybole pressing and a free kick into the box caused danger before Strain spilled a swerving shot behind forcing Beith to desperately clear two corners before play was brought to a halt.
Beith: Strain, Ryan, Wilson, Wild, McShane, MacDonald, Bradley, Frize, McLean, Reid, Docherty. Subs: McKay, Sheridan, Hobbs, Donnelly, Lundy (gk)
Maybole: Johnston, Reid, McCissock, McGrady, Peacock, Dunwoody, Dunn, Love, Allan, Paterson, Cunningham. Subs: Ford, Bargh, Murphy, Cargill, Whittaker
88 - 88
Thorniewood v Beith Juniors
Beith Juniors are getting frustrated with the number of matches that they have had called off due to the weather this season. Manager John Millar gives us his thoughts.
I was frustrated at us being once again the victim of a postponement. That is twice our trips to Thorniewood, twice to Greenock and once to Lesmahagow have been victims of the weather. It is a concern that our rivals Troon keep getting their games on.
Although they did lose at home to Ashfield today they are now 6 points ahead of us but we have 5 games in hand. We weren't idle today having played a friendly match with Vale of Leven in Alexandria drawing 1-1 with Nicky Docherty scoring a last minute equaliser.
Beith Juniors v Glencairn
We won't be playing Glencairn this Saturday as their Scottish cup game was postponed last week.
We had a good training session on Thursday evening at Beith Astro. However a few players are nursing some knocks. Zander Ryan and Marc McShane both having sore backs along with Andy Gibson and David Donnelly suffering from minor groin injuries. Maybe it's just as well we don't have a league fixture this weekend.
Beith Juniors 8 v 0 Craigmark
Ayrshire Cup tie
Beith were on a hiding to nothing in this tie against a Craigmark side who have struggled to keep their head above the water all season. The hosts did what they needed to do over the ninety minutes, to move into the next round, defeating their young opponents in a solid and professional manner.
Beith fielded a strong side and pressed the visitors back from the off down the Bellsdale slope. The inexperienced Craigmark side held out until the 14th minute when Joe Bradley found the net with a shot from the edge of the box that beat the keeper with the aid of a slight deflection. The action continued to flow almost totally in one direction with keeper Worrall continuing after treatment following an accidental clash with Kenny McLean. Minutes later McLean should have increased his sides lead but shot past with only the keeper to beat. Joe Bradley couldn't have gone closer when he smacked a volley off the post when he latched onto a clearance from a corner before Beith doubled their advantage on the half hour when Kenny McLean converted from the spot after McKay was bundled over by a clumsy challenge by the keeper in the box.
Beith could have added more but efforts from McLean, McGowan and Docherty were thwarted before the contest was effectively ended when McLean netted again from the spot after he was was brought down by Worrall in the box. The rampant Bellsdale side added another before the break when Daniel McKay burst through the beleaguered visitors defence and smashed a shot into the bottom corner past the stranded keeper.
The visitors hadn't really threatened in the first half but carved out a chance in the opening minute of the second but Reid was denied by a good block by Beith keeper Lundy making his first start since joining the club. The respite was short lived however when McLean bagged his hat-trick, all from the penalty spot, after McKay was barged down in the box. 5 up Beith made personnel changes but this did little to alter the proceedings with Craigmark keeper Worrall producing a great save to deny Andy Reid.
Sub Hobbs failed to net when through on the keeper before Andy Reid added a sixth, applying a composed finish to a lovely defence splitting Frize pass.
With the weary visitors looking for the final whistle Beith added another two goals to underline the margin of victory. David McGowan fired home a powerful left foot shot despite a brave effort from Worrall to keep it out and Charlie Hobbs completed the scoring tucking home a neat Andy Reid pass.
Beith: Lundy, MacDonald, Docherty, Wild, Sheridan, McGowan, Gibson, Frize, McLean, McKay, Bradley. Subs: Ryan, McShane, Reid, Hobbs, Wilson
Craigmark: Worrall, McKay, Kirkwood, Steele, Bowman, Keegan, Barrett, Henderson, Reid, McIntyre, McCartney. Subs: Steel, Barnard
It's nice to be back playing on grass and hopefully the weather isn't too bad. A good result and performance is vital to give the players a confidence boost before embarking on the second half of our league programme with two away games at Lesmahagow and Greenock. With the exception of David Donnelly we should have the full squad available.
Manager John Millar was pleased to get some match action last Saturday when we managed to play Dalry Thistle at Beith Astro in a friendly.
It was a good work out despite being 0-2 down after 5 minutes we eventually ran out easy 8-3 winners with Daniel McKay scoring a hat trick.
We played strong against Hurlford on Tues night also at Beith Astro and once again lost a goal in the first minute and then another from the penalty spot in the 45th minute. However we rallied well and Stevie Convery pulled a goal back with 20 mins left and despite a few near things we couldn’t get an equaliser. This match was a much tougher test against a very physically strong well drilled team and despite having a few regulars missing from our line-up we competed very well.
This Saturday sees us back in competitive action when we welcome Craigmark to Bellsdale in the Ayrshire cup first round and hopefully will see us return to winning ways.
1 - 20
Lesmahagow 0 v 2 Beith Juniors
The most important factor is that we gained 3 points. It wasn't pretty but the result was all important. The conditions were difficult with the wind and the surface wasn't nearly as good as it looked. We weren't at our best but nevertheless we should have been out of sight by the interval. Anyway with the points in the bag we can now look forward to Greenock next Saturday.
A special word for our support today. It was great to see a full coach load and many cars travelling all the way up to Carluke today and this is most certainly appreciated.
Beith collected another valuable three points from their visit to Carluke to play temporarily homeless and bottom side Lesmahagow.
The match itself however, on the artificial surface, will probably be quickly forgotten by spectators.
Beith carved out a great chance early doors when Kenny McLean slipped David McGowan clear but he couldn't finish and shot tamely at the keeper. The visitors looked the sharpest however and enjoyed the bulk of the early possession but almost conceded a goal after 20 minutes when McStay left McShane in his wake before screwing his shot wide of an unguarded goal as Strain had charged out of his box to try to intercept.
Beith were not finding clear chances easy to come by as the hosts defended in numbers but they passed up another one on one opportunity when a long ball put Daniel McKay through on the keeper only for his attempted lob to bounce wide of the target. The visitors continued to press and had the ball in the net on a couple of occasions only to be disappointed at seeing the linesman's flag raised for offside. Beith couldn't have gone closer 10 minutes from the break when Davie McGowan ran onto a McLean pass and clipped a shot over keeper Barnes only to see the ball hit the crossbar. Lesmahagow had shown little in an attacking way but threatened when Hall got clear on the right side only to be robbed by Strain who won a gamble sprinting outside his box to tackle. The tempo was now higher and Beith were again denied by the number of bodies in the box when Andy Reid had an effort blocked as he tried to apply the finish to a fine passing move.
Despite dominating possession, the fear of being caught on the break remained and Gow duly carved out two chances before the break with Strain performing well to touch a powerful McStay header over before space opened in the box for Swan from the corner only for the defender to fluff his shot.
An ongoing niggly spat between Beith defender McShane and Gow forward McStay boiled over in the last action of the half when the latter threw an arm at the Beith club captain right in front of the ref and received a straight red card for his stupidity.
Fans hoped the personnel advantage would count for Beith and it did after a few minutes when Andy Reid followed up to head home from 6 yards after Barnes had parried a McKay shot from a fine McLean cross. Adam Strain continued to perform as an auxiliary sweeper for Beith, coming out effectively again to rob Coffey as he broke through on goal in a break away attack by the hosts. Gary Wild replaced McShane at this juncture and his influence brought a welcome composure to the Beith defence. The visitors then added a deserved and all important second goal when Kenny McLean broke through onto a Gibson pass on the right, beat keeper Barnes to the ball and calmly shot home from an acute angle.
With the victory all but safe Beith made further changes and maintained a tight grip on the rest of the proceedings. More goals should really have followed but keeper Barnes made good saves to deny McLean and Gibson in particular and a number of near misses kept the score respectable for the hard working hosts who will, it appears, now need something of a miracle to avoid the drop.
Lesmahagow: Barnes, Hall, Swan, L Grant, S Grant, Meikle, Boylan, Pettigrew, Coffey, McStay, Whitefield. Subs: Whyte, Murdoch, Logan, Cook
Beith: Strain, MacDonald, Wilson, Sheridan, McShane, Frize, Gibson, McGowan, McLean, McKay, Reid. Subs: Wild, Hobbs, Ryan, Docherty, Bradley
I'm looking forward to our first away game in the league since we played Renfrew in November. It has been a real stop start couple of months due to cancellations and no scheduled games on a couple of occasions. We got back in track last Saturday against Craigmark in the Ayrshire Cup but our priority since the first ball was kicked was to gain promotion back to the Premier division and that very much remains the case.
We have had to sit and kick our heels while Troon continually played their fixtures and have now opened up a 9 point gap on us albeit with 6 more games played. We have done our best to keep ticking over with bounce games on the Astro and it seems ironic that this Saturday we take on Lesmahagow at their temporary home of Carluke Astro.
Our hosts are sitting bottom of the table but will be fired up to upset the odds. I can report a clean bill of health within the squad with the exception of David Donnelly who continues with his recuperation. A word for our support "They can play a massive part in the second half of the season and can act like an extra man" We all notice and appreciate when you get behind us.
1 - 24
Thorniewood v Beith Juniors
This Saturday sees us scheduled to visit Thorniewood in the league. The previous two attempts to play this fixture have been unsuccessful due to a waterlogged pitch and with the forecast again poor for the next few days the game could once again be under threat.
We have prepared well for the match with two excellent high tempo training sessions and with the exception of David Donnelly and Gary Wilson everyone is raring to go.
I would once again thank the big support that we had up at Carluke last week and hope the same numbers travel up to Viewpark this week.
Cumnock 2 v 2 Beith Juniors (Beith win 4-3 on penalties)
Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup 2nd Round
In something of a carbon copy game of their last encounter in the Ardagh Cup Final, Cumnock's indiscipline again caused them to end the match with nine players. However on this occasion the outcome was different with Beith winning this penalty shoot out.
Both sides had personnel problems but still managed to field strong sides. Beith started the better of the two, taking the game to their hosts. Steady pressure resulted in the visitors taking the lead after 10 minutes when Marc McShane timed his leap perfectly to head home an Andy Gibson corner.
Their joy was very short lived though because a few minutes later the game was back on level terms. Cumnock drove forward at the other end, the Beith defence failed to clear allowing Johnson to get in a shot that took a deflection off grounded defender Wild and went through the legs of young debutant keeper Lundy.
The game was littered with mistakes and poor passing throughout due to the playing surface which cut up badly from the off. Cumnock were struggling to cope with the direct running Beith forwards and Wood picked up the first, but not the last, yellow card from referee Mr Lowe. Cumnock also had a young keeper making his debut and he produced a fine save to touch an Andy Reid shot behind and then dealt well with blistering shot from McGowan from fully 25 yards as Beith pressed.
Cumnock had offered little since they levelled until Johnson cut inside and fired in a good shot on the angle that went narrowly over the bar in the 32nd minute. The hosts enjoyed a spell of possession without troubling the keeper but they got the opportunity to take the lead when McGuire tumbled in instalments on the edge of the box under a challenge from McShane convincing the ref to eventually point to the spot for a very soft penalty. Chris Robertson made no mistake from the spot. Beith tried to respond before the break but Robertson made a great last ditch block to stop a Frize shot.
The hosts threatened first after the restart with Lundy making a good save to push away a Johnson shot. Cumnock's cause received a setback just before the hour when Dickie was shown a straight red card after he stupidly raised his hands right in front of the ref following a clash with McShane. Nock's task to hold their lead was made even more difficult soon after when centre back Wood joined his team mate in the showers after collecting a second yellow card.
As expected one way traffic now flowed towards the Cumnock goal but clear chances were thin on the ground and keeper Muir made a fine stop to deny MacDonald as Beith's frustration mounted. It was all hands to the pump now for Cumnock but their resistance gave way 12 minutes from time when Paul Frize slammed home a shot from 6 yards after several other attempts had been blocked.
Taking the tie to penalties was now the home sides aim and understandably they wasted time at any opportunity, frustrating Beith. Nock keeper Muir also performed heroics in the closing stages making, most notably, saves from Reid, McShane and Wild as he helped get his side to the final whistle to deny Beith the win.
The ensuing spot kick decider went the way of the visitors who found the net with all of their attempts while the home side saw Hanvey miss the target and Beith debutant keeper Lundy save Robertson's effort. Scorers for Cumnock were McKnight, Williamson and Johnson while Frize, McGowan, Wild and Reid made no mistake with theirs to deservedly win the tie.
Cumnock: Muir, Lundie, Crawford, Robertson, Wood, Montgomery, Johnson, Williamson, McGuire, Dickie, McInnes. Subs: Bradford, Hanvey, McKnight, McMenamin, Kinnaird
Beith: Lundy, McShane, Wilson, Wild, Sheridan, MacDonald, Gibson, Frize, Reid, McGowan, Bradley. Subs: McLean, Hobbs, Docherty, Donnely, Strain
I am looking forward to Saturday's fixture. Not only does it give us a chance to see if we can get our own back on Cumnock after our penalty shoot out defeat in the Ardagh Cup Final but it let's me see how we measure up against a good Premier league side who have reached the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup.
We have a couple of injury doubts in the squad following our bounce game on Monday night but everyone will be given until Saturday before the team is selected. Once again I would ask the support to get behind us. It does make a difference.
1 - 34
Beith Juniors v Lesmahagow
Here is the complete list of competitive results for games against Lesmahagow Juniors.
Best victory: 4-1 victory in the Scottish Cup in 1964 at Bellsdale.
Worst defeat: 0-4 defeat in the West of Scotland Cup away in 1989.
14 games, 5 wins, 6 defeats, 3 draws. Goals For 29, Goals Against 31
Greenock Juniors v Beith Juniors
Beith have been out of sorts in recent matches but their performance at Greenock, against a side who are relegation candidates, was nothing short of woeful. Their recently fragile looking unbeaten league record was well and truly blown away with the defeat and they will now also have striker Kenny McLean missing for several forthcoming matches following his second half red card.
Weather and playing surface were certainly not conducive to good football with a strong wind and very poor pitch having an impact throughout. The tone of the contest was set from early doors with the hosts scrapping for every ball and quite often kicking for touch to break up the play while Beith struggled to get any fluency in their play.
Beith had a good move after 5 minutes but Reid's cross for the inrushing McGowan was stabbed wide as the linesman raised a dubious flag. Beith were seeing most of the ball but doing nothing with it and it was Strain who had to make the first save after 14 minutes, comfortably taking a Carter shot. Zander Ryan forced home keeper Monk into action a few minutes later to turn his low long distance free kick past the post.
The ball seemed to be out of play more than it was in as the half wore on. Beith made a few half chances with Andy Reid failing to get any power on a header from a McGowan cross and then later being crowded out after McShane headed a free kick down in in the box. Wind assisted play continued to flow towards the home goal and Stuart MacDonald made a good run into the box before his shot was blocked by the hard working Greenock defence. Half time in a what was a dire contest arrived with neither goalkeeper being seriously tested.
Most Beith fans believed the second half couldn't be worse than the first - little did they know! Greenock looked to have set out a game plan to get a point from the game and they spoiled away at every opportunity and this, combined with Beith's mounting frustration, made the contest an increasingly bad tempered affair.
As in the first half Beith enjoyed most of the possession but created virtually nothing. The script was increasingly building for the arrival of a sucker punch and it duly arrived in the 69th minute when McKenna got on the end of a cross into the box to send a slow motion header outwith Strain's reach.
Bad was indeed to get worse for Beith when, struggling for form striker, Kenny McLean was red carded following a clash with defender Jamieson. With 15 minutes remaining to salvage something from the situation Beith made substitutions but this was to no avail as soon after they conceded a killer when, despite a linesman's flag, the referee allowed Carter to continue from being in an offside position to shoot home with the Beith defence waiting for a whistle.
There were no pluses for Beith in this performance and all eyes will be on the Bellsdale side to see what the reaction is against title challengers Shotts next week.
Greenock: Monk, Orr, Doherty, Begley, Jamieson, Kearns, Downie, McKenna, Carter, A Docherty, McKay. Subs: Boyd, Gillan, L Docherty, Scott
Beith: Strain, Ryan, Wilson, McShane, Sheridan, MacDonald, Gibson, Frize, McLean, McGowan, Reid. Subs: Hobbs, Docherty, McKay, Bradley, Wild
This Saturday sees us return to league business where we are scheduled to visit Greenock for the third time of asking, let’s hope it is third time lucky . The previous two attempts to play this fixture have been unsuccessful due to a waterlogged pitch and with the forecast this week a lot more favourable than it has been for some time here’s hoping it goes ahead.
We have prepared well for the match with an excellent win over Premier League side Cumnock last week albeit on penalty kicks by four to two, however in my opinion we did enough to win it in the 90 minutes of regulated time but were unfortunate on a couple of occasions in finding the winning goal. We have trained well this week in our training sessions and with the exception of a couple of persistent fitness issues with some of the squad we are ready for the task ahead. We are now getting to the business end of the season in our quest for promotion back to the top flight and although each game will present its own individual challenges I am confident in the ability of this squad to get the job done.
The support once again was fantastic at Cumnock last week and we thank them for their continued vocal backing it can make a massive difference if everyone gets right behind the team on the park particularly when things are not going our way during a match.
32 - 33
Beith Juniors 3 v 2 Shotts
Beith showed they possess bouncebackability to take 3 points from a crucial match against promotion rivals Shotts and atone for the previous weeks poor display at Greenock. Changes meant starts for Joe Bradley, Gary Wild and Nicky Docherty with Andy Reid taking the striking role.
Fans in the healthy crowd enjoyed a lively start with plenty of attacking intent on show from both sides. Playing up the slope the home side built up some steady pressure as the game settled and grabbed the lead in the 10th minute when they kept Shotts pegged back from a corner allowing John Sheridan to head down in the box for Paul Frize to sweep the ball home from 6 yards.
Beith continued to hold the majority of possession but Shotts were quick to break forward when the opportunity arose and Hanlon found room to fire in a shot that went a few yards wide. The home side continued to build on their positive start with Joe Bradley and David McGowan in particular giving the visitors a difficult time and they duly doubled their advantage after 25 minutes. McGowan's industry around the box paid off when he slipped a perfectly timed passinto the path of Nicky Docherty who wasted no time to shoot past White.
Shotts showed they were not going to roll over easily and they upped their game forcing Docherty to make a brilliant challenge on the edge of the box to rob McStay as he was about to shoot. Danger man McKenna also began to show his class and Adam Strain did well to hold him up when he burst clear to force the ball out for a corner. The keeper was called upon minutes later to block a Hanlon effort as the visitors turned the screw. John Sheridan and Gary Wild in the centre of the Beith defence looked to have repelled the danger as the interval approached and they should have bagged a third when a fine move let Bradley play McGowan in only to see him pull his shot wide of the target. The visitors persisted however and they got themselves right back into the match in the last action of the half when McStay clipped a shot into the bottom corner to finish off a fine passing move.
The entertainment continued after the restart with both sides continuing to go forward. Beith forced a couple of corners and were delighted to accept a slice of luck when a dangerous delivery into the box ended up in the net with the last touch hard to make out with an own goal looking most likely. The elation was short lived however as Shotts rallied again and pulled back the deficit a minute later when McKenna got clear on the right, from what looked an offside position, and showed great composure to chip advancing keeper Strain.
Pedantic referee Mr McKniff seemed to be doing his best to spoil what was a fine contest, booking players for very minor offences given any opportunity but the players thankfully managed to remain focused on the contest in hand. Shotts missed a great chance to level in the 70th minute when McKenna was allowed a virtual free header from free kick but somehow headed over. Adam Strain, who had a fine game in the Beith goal, produced another crucial save as time wore on to turn a deflected shot wide when he was initially diving the other way.
Beith had a good shout for a penalty ignored late on when sub Hobbs went down under a challenge in the box before the action was brought to a close with Beith working hard to keep their precious lead intact. In stark contrast to last week the whole Beith side deserved praise for their efforts but a special mention should be made for Gary Wild who was comfortably the best player on the pitch.
Beith: Strain, Ryan, Wilson, Wild, Sheridan, MacDonald, Bradley, Frize, Reid, McGowan, Docherty. Subs: Hobbs, McKay, Gibson, McShane, Lundy (gk)
Shotts: White, Finnigan, Burns, McMahon, Walker, Canning, Hanlon, McStay, McKenna, Marriot. summers. subs: Smillie, Cross, McSorley, White, Rankin
Manager's review / preview
It is an understatement to say that everybody connected with the club was disappointed with the performance at Greenock last Saturday. I know that we can say the pitch, wind, surroundings etc. played a big part but we just didn’t reach the required standard on the day and the players know that better than anyone else. Frustrations were high and in one instance far too high but that is part and parcel of the game and we should be experienced enough to deal with these type of situations.
We have a great chance to get Greenock out our system when we host Shotts this week. They are right on our tail in the quest for promotion and feel that they have a point to prove after the abandonment of the same fixture earlier in the season with them leading 0-1 with 15 minutes to play. It will be a very difficult match as they are an excellent d side and we will require to be on top of our game to get the victory. We are all looking forward to the match and we have everyone fit again with the exception of David Donnelly who continues his recovery and Kenny McLean who is of course suspended.
1 - 21
Thorniewood 2 v 2 Beith Juniors
Beith continue to find the road to promotion an increasingly difficult one and they left it late to take something from this particular battle. Illness forced Beith to make a change to last weeks winning line up with Andy Gibson replacing Paul Frize in midfield. Kenny McLean also continued to be unavailable through suspension.
There was little between the sides in the opening exchanges on a playing surface that was definitely not conducive to silky soccer. Murphy showed up well for the home side and fired a 22 yard free kick just wide of the post while Beith created half chances for McGowan and Reid. The first talking point arrived when Andy Reid looked to have been well onside when he burst through onto a clever McGowan pass and smashed home a fine shot on the angle only to be astounded, like most, when the assistant raised his flag.
Any early promise quickly disappeared with the home side starting to dominate possession and put Beith under increasing pressure. Beith stopper John Sheridan did well to block a Murphy shot with a brilliantly timed last man tackle. Beith were struggling and a blunder from last weeks man of the match Gary Wild handed them a gift to take the lead in the 20th minute. Wild was caught in possession with his team mates going forward allowing the home side time to square the ball to Dalziel who easily shot into the corner from 8 yards.
Beith were not getting out the bit with Andy Reid detached up front and the midfield not getting forward. Thorniewood were scraping for and winning virtually every ball with Beith a poor second best. Further damage looked imminent and home midfielder Murphy, who was the best player afield, deserved a goal when he left several Beith players in his wake and lifted a shot over stranded keeper Strain only to see his shot hit the post and rebounded out. Disallowed goal incident apart Beith had offered almost nothing in attack with the home keeper not having a save to make and they could count themselves very fortunate to go in for the break only one goal behind.
Little looked to have changed after the interval when Dalziel robbed Gary Wilson and crossed for Queen to headed unchallenged just wide of the target. The day then went from bad to worse with the home side capitalising on another howler when Adam Strain came out of his box to clear an upfield punt and somehow managed to let the ball squirm through his legs allowing O'Donnell the simple task of dumping the ball into an empty net. Along with others, Zander Ryan was having a forgettable game and he was relieved to see another 'goal' rightly given offside after he was skinned down the line as the home side looked to finish the contest.
At last Beith built up some pressure but corners came and went before a double change saw forwards Hobbs and McKay replace Wilson and the out of form Gibson. Adam Strain made a good save to deny Malone as Beith set up to go for broke with half an hour remaining. With 25 minutes to go John Sheridan gave his side a chance when he headed home a Bradley cross after staying up in the box from a corner. The home side now appeared to be running out of gas with Beith buoyed by the goal and they tried to fritter away time where ever possible with keeper Fraser cautioned for the offence. Beith's desperation in trying to get something from a game that, until now appeared beyond them, led to them getting in each other's way on several occasions as they threw caution to the wind. The hosts had chances on the break and Daley headed over from a corner when he probably should have scored. Beith persisted however and they dragged themselves level from the penalty spot with 9 minutes remaining after Daniel McKay collected the ball wide and drove forward into the box to be upended by a reckless challenge. Andy Reid made no mistake from 12 yards.
Beith now looked as if they might just win this contest and chances were created in the time remaining as the home side clung on. Ryan missed a great chance when the ball was teed up for him in front but he scuffed his shot off target. Home keeper Fraser also made a good save to stop a John Sheridan header and in injury time Ryan sent a poor free kick effort from a great position wide of the target.
Beith's late rally earned them a point from a game they looked like losing but their general recent form is increasingly making their title favourites tag appear very shoogly. Best for Beith on a tough day were John Sheridan and Nicky Docherty who put in hard shifts for the cause.
Thorniewood: Fraser, Green, Daley, Brophy, Low, McGowen, Dalziel, Murphy, O'Donnell, Queen, Morgan. Subs: Duffy, Malone, McCulloch, Easton, Roper (kg)
Beith: Strain, Ryan, Wilson, Wild, Sheridan, MacDonald, Gibson, Bradley, Reid, McGowan, Docherty. Subs: Hobbs, McShane, McKay, Donnelly, Lundie (gk)
Manager's review / preview
On Saturday we travel up to play Thorniewood. This will be the 4th time that this match as been scheduled and with the reasonable weather this week I don't foresee any problems this time round. We are coming off a fine win against an excellent side in Shotts Bon Accord and go into the game in good spirits.
We had an almighty struggle in the corresponding fixture at Bellsdale earlier in the season with two goals at the death giving us a 4-3 victory so we are under no illusions as to just how difficult it will be. Greenock thought us how difficult some away venues can be so we'll be well prepared. Special mention for our support last week when the choir was in full voice,get behind us up at Thorniewood it does make a difference.
Troon 5 v 2 Beith Juniors
Bookies will almost certainly flip-flop their favourites following this comprehensive result which further dents Beith's recently faltering title challenge. Despite a great start Beith were generally second best in all departments for most of this contest.
Personnel changes continue to affect Beith with new signing Kevin McDonald handed a tough debut. Young Nicky Docherty was somewhat surprisingly only a substitute while experienced Marc McShane returned to the defence, pushing Ryan forward into a midfield role. Andy Reid was again asked to lead up front with Kenny McLean still suspended.
Beith couldn't have got off to a better start as they were awarded a penalty in the first minute when the Troon keeper clattered into Andy Reid as he chased a skidding ball into the box. Reid made no mistake from the spot. The visitors looked decent in the opening exchanges until Troon settled and they couldn't have gone closer to an equaliser when David Gillies cut in off the wing to curl in a great shot that struck the base of the post with Strain rooted to the spot. The ex Talbot striker went close again a minute later with a header from a corner that was scrambled off the line. Troon were now winning the contest for possession but Beith did have opportunities to increase their lead, seeing a Ryan first time shot blocked in the box and then keeper Johnstone saving a decent Frize shot from a McGowan cross.
However it was the home side that drew level in the 25th minute when a free kick was tossed into the box and in what seemed slow motion Gillies headed virtually unchallenged into the net with a hesitant Adam Strain and his defence appearing to wait for an offside flag that didn't come.
Beith managed to keep the back door shut until the closing minute of the half when they failed to clear a hopeful ball upfield and the panic ended with the ball flying into the bottom corner via a wicked deflection off Zander Ryan.
Beith tried to respond after the restart but the hosts continued to have the upper hand and they increased their lead after 10 minutes when Keenan blasted a 25 yard free kick past the wall into the bottom corner off the upright. Beith made substitutions but they did little to change the direction of the game and things went from bad to worse when, in another bizarre incident, play appeared to have stopped with an assistant flagging but the hosts eventually played on and Chattam casually waltzed on to slide the ball past Strain who only offered a token attempt to block believing play had stopped. Referee Mr Napier duly allowed the goal to stand after consultation. Just when it looked that all was lost, Beith came back with a goal when Paul Frize made enough space on the edge of the box to fire a nice shot into the bottom corner. The glimmer of hope for Beith grew when an assistant spotted a clash between Murphy and McShane on the half way line and the former received his marching orders from the ref after further deliberation.
Beith enjoyed some pressure with the numerical advantage but corners came and went and a decent McGowan effort went a yard over before the numbers were back to even when the ref made another dubious call to red card John Sheridan for what looked a decent challenge on Hardie when they were caught short at the back after they lost the ball upfield. The resultant free kick put the final nail in the coffin when Keenan again found the net with another powerful shot that Strain couldn't keep out.
In the end no one, no matter how partisan, could deny that the better team won the day and Beith's players will be well and truly under the spotlight to see how they respond from this setback.
Troon: Johnstone, Ure, Armstrong, Keenan, McGowan, Wylie, Hardie, Chattam, Gillies, Moore, Murphy. Subs: Armstrong, Sanderson, Potter, Shankland, Fraser
Beith: Strain, McShane, Wilson, K MacDonald, Sheridan, S MacDonald, Ryan, Frize, Reid, McGowan, Bradley. Subs: Hobbs, Docherty, Donnelly, McKay, McDonald
Ashfield 0 v 3 Beith Juniors
Beith dug deep after last weeks poor showing at Troon to collect full points from this difficult away fixture to keep their promotion hopes alive. John Millar made four personnel changes to the starting line up including Kenny McLean returning from suspension and Andy Reid dropping into more of a midfield role.
The game was influenced by a strong wind throughout and Beith had to battle against it in the first half. Pretty football was never really going to be on the menu and Zander Ryan watched anxiously as he almost turned a dangerous cross into his own goal as the home side pressed. Beith coped well with early pressure but found it extremely difficult to get forward and in a rare attack Paul Frize miscued in the box when he tried to finish a Ryan cross. The visitors almost fell behind in the 21st minute when Wright fired in a quickly taken free kick that smacked off the crossbar before Chalmers fired the rebound over. Set pieces around the box were always going to be a problem to defend but young Beith keeper Ross Lundy did well to stop another Wright effort on the half hour mark. That save apart, the Beith goalie was well protected by his hard working defence and the visitors managed to create a few opportunities themselves as the half wore on with a Frize shot being blocked in the area and home keeper Clark pulling off a good save from a MacDonald shot.
Beith had high hopes that they had done the hard bit by keeping a clean sheet in the first half but the first real opportunity in second fell to Ashfield and Beith had Nicky Docherty to thank for making a great tackle in the box to deny McCluskey as he was about to shoot. Beith gradually got going however and they took the lead in the 55th minute when Paul Frize picked up possession on the edge of the box and despatched a fine shot into the top corner giving the keeper no chance.
The goal was clearly a relief to Beith and their confidence appeared to grow as they pegged the home side back. Charlie Hobbs missed a decent chance in the box before Beith went two up with a great strike from Nicky Docherty when the youngster latched onto a Stuart MacDonald pass fully 25 yards out and powered an unstoppable shot past the keeper to further highlight his obvious qualities.
In a 10 minute spell Beith goals all but ended the contest when Hobbs bust clear on the left and squared to leave Kenny McLean a simple task of passing the ball home for a third with the keeper stranded. Beith made substitutions and kept up the pressure on the home side and could have increased their lead. Kenny McLean shot over from a good position before he departed and sub McGowan missed in front of goal from an Andy Reid centre. Daniel McKay also had the ball in the net when he pressured the keeper from a wind assisted kick out from Lundy but referee Mr Graham adjudged he had fouled the flapping keeper.
Ashfield: Clark, Welsh, Tolland, Mark, McShane, Chalmers, McCluskey, Wright, Wells, Ferguson, Barclay. Subs: McHugh, McMullan, Goodall, Smith, McCrone
Beith: Lundy, Ryan, Wilson, K MacDonald, McShane, S MacDonald, Reid, Frize, Docherty, McLean, Hobbs. Subs: Gibson, Bradley, Sheridan, McGowan, McKay
Cumbernauld 2 v 0 Beith Juniors
Beith's struggle towards promotion received a further dent, dropping another 3 points in a poor midweek performance at Cumbernauld.
A good away support saw Beith start reasonably well with Kenny McLean passing up a decent opportunity in the box and Paul Frize going close with two efforts. Unfortunately the good start counted for nothing when the home side went ahead after 20 minutes courtesy of some terrible defending. A soft free kick was sent into the Beith goalmouth and the ball was allowed to travel past several defenders allowing Chris Zok to nip in and poke the ball past Strain.
Beith tried to respond but were unable to greatly test the home keeper and mounting frustration contributed to them collecting 3 yellow cards before the half ended.
Beith started the second half positively with Paul Frize again causing problems but again this fizzled out tamely with little threat to the home goal. Cumbernauld didn't look any better than Beith overall but they found the net again on the hour mark with another goal that should embarrass the Beith defence. O'Halloran picked up the ball well out and was allowed to advance virtually unchallenged to get in a left foot shot from just outside the box that Strain was unable to keep out.
Beith made attacking changes withdrawing ineffective Hobbs and sacrificing Wilson from defence but from the time the first goal went in you had the feeling it wasn't going to be their night and little changed in the last painful half hour. Mark McShane had a shot cleared in the box before he departed for another early shower after collecting a second yellow card for a high arm. A McGowan effort clipped the crossbar in the dying minutes before the hopefully forgettable match was brought to a close. The only player who came anywhere close to pass marks for Beith would be Paul Frize who toiled away throughout.
Beith: Strain, Ryan, Wilson, K MacDonald, McShane, S MacDonald, Frize, Reid, McLean, Hobbs, Docherty. Subs: McKay, Gibson, Bradley, McGowan, Donnelly
Sat 4th January, 2014
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© 2014 Beith Juniors – Updated January 2014
Website: Brent Norris
Website dedicated to the late Nicol Mitchell former committee member and the late Thomas McAdam Snr former vice president.