RUTHERGLEN GLENCAIRN manager Willie Harvey bemoaned his side’s wastefulness in front of goal after their 2-1 loss at home to Troon.

Harvey believed his playing charges were the better of the two teams and is convinced they can turn the tide following a second defeat in three league starts but he does take issue with the scoring opportunities being regularly spurned.

Del McNab, Jay Mackay and Keirin Coleman were all guilty of passing up scoring chances while Harvey said Harry Mitchell's 61st-minute miss from the penalty spot was the game’s turning point.

“We’ve conceded a very poor goal in the first half but have clawed our way back into things and our pressing Troon deep into their own half has helped bring about the penalty kick award," he said. “Unfortunately Harry has been unable to make it count but his is just one of a number of clear-cut opportunities and there’s no doubt these continued failings in front of goal are hurting us.

“Mick O’Byrne’s red card then puts us down to 10 men and before we can sort ourselves out defensively, we allow a Troon player to bully us at the back post and it becomes even more of an uphill battle at 2-0.

“Kieron Maxwell has come off the bench to score a wonder goal that has given us a lift but an equaliser has escaped us and I can’t help but feel a game has been lost that was there for the winning.”

The Ayrshire visitors made a bright start, with former Hearts star Ryan Stevenson’s ability to find pockets of space posing early problems for the home rearguard. However, it was team-mate Dean Fulton who punished slack defending after only six minutes when he was afforded time and space just outside the penalty area to turn and exquisitely curl a shot high into the net.

Glencairn's striving for an equaliser saw them dominate territorially but their closest attempt saw Mackay at full stretch sliding a shot wide from a sublime Scott Schoneville volleyed cross.

After the interval, a defensive lapse by Glens skipper Tam Miller saw Stevenson coming close to doubling the Ayrshiremen’s advantage but Miller managed to get goal-side and redeem himself with a saving challenge that appeared even more crucial when Glencairn were awarded a penalty after a flailing clearance kick brought down Mitchell who took responsibility from the spot, only to blast his attempt off the top of the crossbar and over.

The home side continued to probe for openings but in the 77th minute, they suffered another setback as O’Byrne’s lunging tackle sent Stevenston sprawling and left referee David Milton with no option but to give him a second yellow card.

The centre-back was sorely missed just minutes later as Stevenson’s cross from out left saw Troon debutant Isaac Kerr win a back-post tussle and bundle the ball home for 2-0.

The Glens looked a beaten side, but substitute Maxwell delivered a boost to flagging spirits in 82 minutes as he skipped past an attempted tackle 25 yards out before firing an unstoppable shot that found the net at the junction of post and crossbar.

Troon were then reduced to 10 men when Jamie Gallagher needlessly picked up a second yellow card for time-wasting but they saw out the closing stages to continue their unbeaten run much to the delight of assistant manager Dean Keenan.

“To deservedly pick up all three points in coming away from home to a notoriously difficult venue is a wonderful result and I cannot praise the guys highly enough," he said. “We came here with a definite game plan to get at Glencairn from the wide areas and it worked a treat with Dean Fulton’s goal a fitting reward for an overall tremendous display and he is fast developing into the player we all thought he could become when he arrived last season.

“And what a great debut by Isaac whose goal put the seal on a towering defensive contribution that we sorely needed as our entire first choice back four were all posted missing going into today’s game.

“The players are going away with smiles on their faces and I’m pleased for them.”

Hurlford United pulled level on points with second-placed Troon, beating Rob Roy 2-1 through Michael Warrope and a penalty by Lewis Morrison with Craig Truesdale netting what amounted to a consolation score.

The same scoreline was posted at Buffs Park where Kilwinning Rangers succumbed to a surprise defeat at the hands of Largs Thistle for whom Jack Haggerty fired home a stunning winner after a Carlo Monti equaliser for the hosts had cancelled out Scott Adam’s penalty kick.

At New Tinto Park, Blantyre Vics came from behind to triumph 4-3 against Rossvale whose early lead from Paul Brennan’s score was cancelled out by a Sam McKenzie brace of goals either side of half time, his first from the penalty spot.

Midfielder Stefan Law’s counter put the Vics further in front only for goals by Peter Bradley and Sean Higgins to level matters at 3-3, but Rossvale's hopes of a hard-earned share of the spoils were dashed by a late strike from Vics substitute Lewis McDonald.

Hanging on to the shirt tails of the leading clubs are Darvel and Irvine Meadow, the former keeping in touch after Jordon Allan, Cammy Eadie and Alan McKenzie were on target to chalk up a 3-0 victory away to Cumbernauld United, while Medda pair Connor Boyd and Neil Slooves did the damage against Bonnyton Thistle.

The only outstanding SoccerShop Challenge Cup contest went the way of Clydebank but only after a tense struggle away to top-flight rivals Beith. The match ended 0-0 after 90 minutes only for Ciaran Mulcahey, Joe Slattery and Lee Gallagher to score in extra time.


WOSFL Premier Division: Cumbernauld Utd 0 Darvel 3, Rossvale 3 Blantyre Vics 4, Kilwinning Rangers 1 Largs Thistle 2, Rutherglen Glencairn 1 Troon 2, Irvine Meadow 2 Bonnyton Thistle 0, Hurlford Utd 2 Rob Roy 1.

WOSFL Conference League A: Kello Rovers 5 Ardeer Thistle 1, Muirkirk 0 Annbank Utd 0, Maryhill 3 Glasgow University 1, Craigmark 0 St Rochs 3, Bellshill Athletic 2 Maybole 1, Ashfield 2 Renfrew 5.

WOSFL Conference League B: Wishaw 2 Forth Wanderers 5, Carluke Rovers 0 Port Glasgow 4, Johnstone Burgh 3 Vale of Leven 1, Irvine Vics 1 Neilston 5,Vale of Clyde 0 St Cadocs 3, Greenock 4 Lugar Boswell 2.

WOSFL Conference League C: Lanark Utd 4 Drumchapel Utd 2, St Anthonys 1 Thorniewood Utd 1, Yoker Athletic 0 Newmains Utd 2.

SOCCERSHOP CHALLENGE CUP. second round: Beith 0 Clydebank 3 aet.