The Vics travelled to the seaside town Ardrossan for the first time in three years to take on local side Ardrossan Winton Rovers, on the back of a disappointing draw a week prior in the local derby against East Kilbride Thistle.
Blantyre made sure that the home fans hadn’t missed them over the past few years as they got off to a flyer. Dale Jones picked up the ball near the touchline from Kierin Coleman, he fired the balled deep into the box where trialist Ross McKean was charging into. The former Shotts man cut the ball back across the face off goal with an impressive leaping pass. Nadeem Zeb had the simple task of heading the ball home from inside the six yards box.
After opening proceedings, the Vics didn’t halt the pressure. Boyle picked up the ball on the edge of the area (after a MacDonald cross was cleared), he turned it onto his right side and managed a low driven shot but keeper Scott Watson was able to comfortably save it.
After the ten minute mark, Winton began to get into the game, and were starting to exploit the depleted Tyre defence. Despite, the homeside getting a grasp on possession they were unable to threaten Dean Trainor’s goal (with the Vics No.1 only having to make one save).
In the 20th minute, however, as a cross entered the area Coleman committed to a soft, yet silly, tackle. Costing the Vics a penalty. Jo Maxwell, stepped up to the spot and waited on Trainor to make a move, then slowly slotted it past him.
The Rovers were not level for long though as just a minute after equaliser Zeb pressed the oppositions defence into passing the ball back to Watson. The back-pass, however, was weak and as a result the Vics No.11 charged into the area. This pressure forced the keeper to got to ground to commit to the challenge, but Nadeem was too fast and piped him to the ball, followed by the Ardrossan keeper taking out the Vics man. Penalty Vics – and of course Jones sprinted into the area to grab the ball. The captain (in absence of Garry Campbell), sent Watson the wrong way to make it 8/8 penalties converted for the season.
There was very few notable moments in the match for a period, with only a couple simple saves at either end occurring.
Four minutes before half-time Ardrossan were comfortably in possession deep in their own half when the lost the ball which was picked up by Graham Watson who found Zeb in the centre of the box who headed it eloquently towards goal and bagged his second of the match.
The Vics returned from the tunnel in the second half but they did not stop putting the pressure on the homeside. MacDonald had a shot saved early in the half after driving into the box, but his left-footed shot was palmed away by Watson.
Dean Trainor only had one save before the hour mark, which came directly from a throw-in – epitomising Blantyre’s dominance.
65 minutes in Zeb drove into the left side of the box when he was abruptly brought down by Ardrossan’s full-back, Andy McGregor and the referee booked McGregor as he pointed to the spot. Jones stepped up and blasted it high into the top corner to take his goal tally into double figures for the season.
Just three minutes after the penalty, MacDonald picked up the ball in the Vics’ half before being taken out by McGregor again. The referee had no option but to reach into his pocket and send McGregor for an early shower.
The Vics continued the pressure after the red card but to no avail. The only real chance came from Lewis MacDonald in the 81st minute after receiving a fantastic long-ball from Jake Hughes, but despite beating the goalkeeping he couldn’t curl his shot round the post.
A fantastic display by the Vics, and the gap could have been much wider in what was possibly Ardrossan’s worst performance of the season.