Arran settle for a draw in tough Kilbirnie clash

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Ayrshire Sunday League

Kilbirnie Utd 2, Arran AFC 2

League leaders Arran AFC travelled to the Garnock Campus to play their first match on a new 4G surface on Sunday.

Manager Alan Murray remained loyal to the previous week’s side with the only starting 11 change being David Heenan in for Stephen Judge between the sticks.

Kilbirnie United looked motivated for the game as a few meaty tackles were given out but Arran had the best of the opening chances through Archie McNicol and Toby Wingham.

It was Kilbirnie who went ahead though as a fine strike outside the box from Colin Keenan, who from 25 yards out found the bottom corner.

Arran couldn’t really find their passing game and play was scrappy for long periods. However, they found themselves 2-1 up at half-time with the league’s top scorer Archie McNicol grabbing a quick-fire brace.

Kilbirnie then had two efforts ricochet off the bar as Arran were forced back in the second half. It looked like the islanders’ back line would hold out, though, as multiple corners and free kicks rained in but the defence stood strong throughout.

A controversial moment sparked a reaction from the Arran travelling support as John Murchie looked to be fouled at the other end, as a Kilbirnie defender came through him, but referee Brian Surgeneor played on and a good through-ball saw the pacey Ryan McLeod finish well.

Arran had a decent chance through Grant Adamson at the death but it was not to be and a draw seemed like a fair result.

After the game manager Alan Murray said: ‘It was a typical Sunday League match with no room for shrinking violets. I thought we stood up well and accept that we won’t be able to play free-flowing football every week.

‘The best thing for me is the lads in the dressing room felt like it was a defeat which is a good mentality as many teams would take a point coming here to play. We will regroup and plan for a massive home game on Sunday.

‘Arran AFC would like to thank Kilbirnie United for their hospitality afterwards in Ramages Bar and look forward to returning the favour on Arran in the new year.’

Tomorrow (Sunday) Arran host league champions Killie Athletic in what will be another big test. The game kicks off at noon at Ormidale Park and the club hope to see a great deal of support again. Post-match catering will be provided by Chris Parks and his team at Brodick Golf Club and the match ball will be sponsored by the Brodick Bar, which helps go towards the referee cost.

All photos by Tam Borland