NOBODY involved with Greenock Juniors will be getting carried away with Saturday’s 1-0 win away to St Cadocs but manager Tommy Molloy’s debrief afterwards urged his playing charges to draw confidence for their Conference B title challenge just as much from the performance as the result itself.

It was always going to take something special to get the better of a St Cadocs line-up comprised almost entirely of former top-flight Glenafton players. And Molloy and No.2 Shaun Dillon were visibly (and very audibly) bursting with pride at the manner in which the underdogs took on their much vaunted opponents.

Their high-energy pressing game, with Dylan McLaughlin, James Marks and Gary Fleming key, had the St Cadocs players struggling to draw breath and prevented them showing their undoubted footballing qualities, while in flying winger Mark Alexander (plucked from Saturday Morning League football at the start of this season), they had arguably the best player on the pitch.

However, Molloy felt that particular accolade belonged to defensive cornerstone John Mitchell, who side-footed the ball home from an Alexander free-kick on 72 minutes, that ultimately proved decisive.

“John’s goal was the perfect reward for an impeccable performance at the heart of our defence alongside Andy Lavelle," Molloy said. "He was up against a top striker in Joe Andrew yet John never gave him so much as a look at our goal and even more crucially he denied him the time and space to hold the ball up and bring team-mates into play.

“Most people were tipping St Cadocs to come out on top as befitting a side boasting so much Premier Division experience, but this young team of ours looked the better players on the day because we worked our socks off to snuff out their threat.

“Probably my only minor disappointment is the 1-0 scoreline as I felt we could, and should, have won by a bigger margin as James Marks has missed two clear-cut scoring chances at 0-0, while Craig Brown has come ever so close to doubling our lead on a couple of occasions.

“That said, I’d be lying to say I would not have bitten off your hand if you’d offered me today’s result before a ball was kicked.”

Evergreen front man Marks did indeed pass up a couple of early changes, the second in particular when he was clean through on goal only for Michael McKinven to save with his feet.

But St Cadocs had their own near things approaching half time with Leon Murphy cutting in from the right flank to test visiting goalkeeper Fran Carlin with a low shot before Greenock defender Lavelle sighed with relief as a sclaffed clearance attempt bounced off the top of his own crossbar,

Goalmouth thrills and spills remained in short supply in the second half and his side’s lack of a scoring threat compelled St Cadocs manager Criag McEwan into throwing substitute Chris Dallas into his attacking mix. The big striker almost made a telling impact with a driven cross-cum-shot across goal that Andrew was inches away from touching home at the far post.

But the destiny of the spoils were settled midway through the half as Alexander’s driven free-kick (near impossible to defend according to Molloy) was adroitly deflected beyond McKinven by an unmarked Mitchell from eight yards.

The Greenock players celebrated wildly before closing ranks to see out the closing stages in relative comfort and clinch the important three points.

McEwan said: “Greenock are a decent side and have come here with a definite game plan that we warned our guys to expect, not least of all the danger they pose with set- play deliveries, so to lose as we did is disappointing.

“Without wanting to sound disrespectful, we did not perform to our capabilities and neither did we show the same fight as the Greenock guys so we have to take our defeat on the chin and put it down as a bad day at the office.

“My players have attracted plenty of plaudits for recent displays and receiving the other side of the coin now will grate so I’ll look forward to seeing how they react when we go again against Carluke Rovers next weekend.”

The hard-fought victory rekindled Greenock’s title hopes by moving them second top of Conference B, a point better off than previously joint table-toppers Port Glasgow whose own aspirations were dealt an unexpected setback due to a 2-1 home defeat by Wishaw. Their goals at the Community Stadium were bagged by Kieran Campbell and James Coffey, with the Port’s only response coming from a late Mark Millar spot-kick.

Neilston now find themselves out in front on their own after a 5-1 rout of Vale of Clyde maintained their 100 per cent start and saw Dylan Fletcher continue his red-hot scoring form by following up last week’s hat-trick against Irvine Vics, by again getting on the scoresheet. Joining him were Kieran Brophy (with two), a penalty from Conor Bolger and Michael McNeil.

Jason Hardie and Sam Esplin goals helped unbeaten Johnstone Burgh overcome Forth Wanderers 2-0 to go fourth and there was better scoring form shown by Gartcairn in running out 5-3 victors over Irvine Vics, with two each from Martin Grehan and Danny Burns, and one from Josh Moore.

Elsewhere, Lanark United, forced to play for all but eight minutes with 10 men after Mark Haddow's dismissal, passed up the opportunity to take pole position in Conference C after Stevie’s Logan equaliser earned Glasgow Perthshire a 1-1 draw at Moor Park. The Yowes, for whom Connor McCardle had put their noses in front, share the front-runners mantle with Kilsyth Rangers.

Matters are even tighter in Conference A where Muirkirk, Bellshill Athletic and Annbank United are all on 11 points from five games.

Clydebank continue to lead the Premier Division after Nikky Little (twice), Matt Niven and Matt McLean were on target in a 4-0 triumph at home to Rutherglen Glencairn, while staying close on the Bankies’ heels are Troon, for whom Scott Chatham and Josh Black scored to defeat Rob Roy 2-0.

Results

WOSFL Premier Division: Kilwinning Rangers 4 Cumbernauld Utd 2, Largs Thistle 0 Rossvale 0, Clydebank 4 Rutherglen Glencairn 0, Troon 2 Rob Roy 0, Bonnyton Thistle 1 Blantyre Vics 6.

WOSFL Conference League A: Muirkirk 7 Ardeer Thistle 0, Annbank Utd 6 Ashfield 4, Maybole 1 Maryhill 0, Glasgow University 1 Kello Rovers 0. WOSFL Conference League B: Port Glasgow 1 Wishaw 2, Forth Wanderers 0 Johnstone Burgh 2, Gartcairn 5 Irvine Vics 3, Neilston 5 Vale of Clyde 1, St Cadocs 0 Greenock 1. WOSFL Conference League C: Lanark Utd 1 Glasgow Perthshire 1, Yoker Athletic 2 Kilsyth Rangers 2.