RENFREW co-boss Colin Clark says there were several factors that contributed to his side’s 4-0 defeat at home to Kilbirnie Ladeside on Saturday – though he insists the seeds were sown by a “fluke” second goal for the Ayrshiremen.

Injuries and work commitments had resulted in the promoted Frew lining up without a handful of regular starters yet their rejigged team had more than held their own in an evenly contested first half that ended with them trailing 1-0 on account of a glaring defensive lapse that saw Corey Hughes left unmarked to head home a wonderfully flighted Gavin Mitchell free kick after 25 minutes.

Prolific hitman David McKenna’s fresh-air swipe from point-blank range denied Renfrew an equaliser before the interval but the home side’s refusal to surrender what they had fought so hard for last season saw them come roaring out of the blocks upon the restart.

Visiting stopper Mick O’Byrne’s headed goal-line clearance prevented Paddy O’Keefe from levelling matters and the Frew winger was cursing his luck again within minutes as his deft lob, following great set-up play by McKenna, beat Ladeside goalkeeper Grant Hay all ends up only to come back off the crossbar.

Most onlookers felt a goal was coming but to their great surprise – and no doubt that of scorer David Gray – it duly arrived at the other end of the pitch when the midfielder’s strongly hit cross-cum-shot from out on the touchline found the net with Frew goalkeeper Danny McLeay’s positioning questionable.

Clarky said: “Our defending at Kilbirnie’s first goal was abysmal but their second was a downright fluke that has knocked the stuffing out of us just when we were getting on top and looking the more likely of the two teams.

“We have then committed the cardinal sin of leaving not one but two pass-back attempts criminally short and you would have to say Kilbirnie have clinically punished our errors, but from our perspective a 4-0 scoreline totally flatters them.”

The visitors' third score was netted by one of the best players on show, Ladeside midfielder Conor McVey, who latched onto a short ball back towards his own goal from the unfortunate O’Keefe to run through and rifle a low shot beyond McLeay.

But the first gaffe was put firmly in the shade in 82 minutes by Frew defender Richard Henry inexplicably attempting to glance the ball back to McLeay when 30 yards from goal and Blasties substitute Joel Kasabundi raced onto his lame header, avoiding a despairing challenge by Keiran Healey as he bore goalwards, before steering the ball home to round off the scoring.

Ayrshire gaffer Budgie McGhie’s delight was obvious when giving his post-match summations.

He said: “The scoreline doesn’t tell the true story of the game but nevertheless it was a very convincing win for us even if we didn’t really settle into our stride until the second goal went in.

“Renfrew put so much effort into the game but I felt we comfortably dealt with their attacking threats other than the opening 20 minutes to the second half when they had us rocking.

“Reon Juskowiack was immense during that spell ande a special mention is also due to our engine room pairing of Conor McVey and Gavin Mitchell whose performances made us forget we were missing Davie Anderson through injury."

Topping the Premiership standings with three wins from their three games played to date are Hurlford United for whom Calum Watt and Stewart Kean helped themselves to second-half braces in a 6-2 rout of Cumnock.

Clydebank and Kilwinning Rangers are two points further adrift after having to settle for draws.

The Bankies only managing a share of the spoils from a stirring fightback from 3-0 down at home to Cambuslang to score three times through Stevie Higgins, Jamie Darroch and Jordan Shelvey while the Buffs were left ruing a missed opportunity against Largs Thistle whose goalkeeper Blair Cousard picked up a 70th-minute red card for the penalty-offence that was tucked away by Tommy Maitland for a 1-0 lead.

Holding out against the 10 men proved beyond Kilwinning as Largs winger Ben Black went down under a Joe Coleman sliding challenge, allowing veteran Kevin Struthers to level from the spot.

Comebacks were the order of the day with Rob Roy midfielder Joe Slattery bagging an injury-time goal to earn a 2-2 draw away to Irvine Meadow that secured the Kirkintilloch club's first point of the season while Troon had Robert Love to thank for a second-half goal against Pollok who had led from a fifht-minute Adam Forde counter.

Not so fortunate are Petershill, anchored at the foot of the table, following a third defeat on the spin – 4-0 at home to a slick Glenafton side for whom Joe Andrew (2), Connor Lynas and Dale Moore were on target.