Neilston v Whitletts Victoria – Match Report


Report by John Dalton

Whitletts opened their pre- season with a victory over Central First Division opponents Neilston at Brig O’Lea. Both sides played their part in serving up an entertaining competitive friendly in difficult conditions with rain incessant throughout the game but while Vics new look defence remained resolute throughout the visitors capitalised up front, scoring all four goals in the second period.

Both sides started brightly, with Whitletts creating the better opportunities early on. Deci Milligan was first to test Cameron Sinclair in the home goal who made a fine save while at the other end a superb flowing move down the right opened up the Vics defence but Simon McBryde snatched his effort and fired wide.

Both sides pressed forward at every opportunity with Neilston coming up against a solid and resolute Vics defence that was determined not to be breached while at the other end the visitors should have taken the lead when an Ali Boyle pass released Jordan Boyd who took the ball round Sinclair but left himself too wide an angle to get his shot on target.

With an 18 man squad to choose from, Neilston made four substitutions at the break but it didn’t interrupt the flow of the game between two very evenly matched sides. Whitletts looked to have taken the lead in the 58th minute when a great effort by Milligan came back off the post and Sean Ewart fired the rebound into the empty net but the referee adjudged the Whitletts midfielder to be in an offside position.

Five minutes later the visitors did take the lead. From a Martin Lawrie free kick into the danger zone Isaac Kerr’s header came back off the post but Raymond Buchanan was on hand to fire home the rebound.

Manager Neil Duffy took the opportunity to introduce youngsters Alan Murphy and Call Ogston to the world of junior football and after Neilston’s substitute striker Steven Fitzpatrick fired over with his first touch of the ball it was Vics who increased their advantage in the 70th minute. A low corner kick into the box from Craig Harvey was swept home by Buchanan.

Five minutes later it was 3-0. Jordan Boyd showing his determination to beat a defender to a low Ewart cross from the left to fire past the advancing keeper.

Despite the scoreline this was far from a comfortable victory with the home side providing a stern test for the Whitletts defence and when they did find a way past the backline they came up against Steven Douglas who made a fine save to touch a Craig Patterson shot onto the post.

And even when on one occasion the ball did squirm from the grip of Douglas the big keeper made an outstanding block with his right arm to deny a home striker from point blank range.

The scoring was completed in the 85th minute with the pick of the bunch scored by Craig Harvey. From just inside the Neilston half, Ewart sent an exquisite ball through for Harvey to outpace the home defender before calmly slotting the ball past the keeper into the net.

Manager Neil Duffy could not have been anything other than impressed with his sides display against a very useful Neilston side who will feel that they just didn’t get the breaks with the scoreline not providing a true reflection of the game.

In these games the result isn’t the important aspect but the nature of this performance in their opening game against a very good Neilston side has certainly left Vics fans anticipating the new season with some optimism.

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