Whitletts Edge Past Seasiders Toward Play Off Place

Whitletts Victoria 2 Saltcoats Victoria 1

 

Report by John Dalton

Whitletts Victoria have one foot in the promotion play offs after a narrow victory over a Saltcoats side that made the home side fight all the way for the points and came close to taking an unexpected point that few in the crowd would have grudged them on their performance.

 
The home side got off to a strong start and visiting keeper Chris Wright twice in the opening minutes denying  Adam Forsyth as they went all out for an early goal. Isaac Kerr then went close with a header from a corner kick but the visitors withstood the early pressure as the home sides frustration became evident in their play.
 
Despite having the bulk of the possession it took Vics until the 28th minute to finally make the breakthrough when Louis Kerr’s shot from the edge of the box beat the keeper at his near post.
 
But any hopes of Whitletts building on that lead evaporated two minutes later when Paul Millar took advantage of some poor defending to drill the ball past Marty Fraser from just inside the box.
 
Whitletts came close to restoring their lead but Wright got the faintest of touches on Forsyth’s toe poke and the ball shaved the post. Graeme Barbour then superbly controlled a long ball and beat the keeper with his shot only for it to come back off the post and then Wright again denied Vics, saving Blair Anderson’s free kick at the second attempt.
 
The second half started in similar fashion with Forsyth heading Anderson’s free kick inches over but the home side had defender Morgan Brown to thank for keeping them on level terms in the 54th minute when the young full back cleared an Evariste Bembo shot off the line after Fraser had failed to cut out a ball drilled across the face of goal.
 
The visitors grew in confidence and the game was in the balance with chances at both ends but in the 74th minute it was Whitletts who got the break when referee Alan Grainger pointed to the penalty spot after Barbour had been tripped in the area. Barbour dusted himself down to fire home the penalty to give Whitletts a priceless lead.
 
Any hopes the home support had of seeing out the game comfortably were dashed ten minutes from time when Brown was shown a second yellow card reducing Vics to ten men. Whitletts came close to sealing the points moments later but Forsyth’s effort was parried behind by Wright but it was the visitors who were pressing for the equalizer and with three minutes left another goal line clearance, this time from Jordan Mullen denied Bembo as Vics held on to claim three vital league points
 
While it was far from a vintage performance from the Dam Park side the victory, allied with results elsewhere, could see Whitletts secure a play off spot against either Maryhill or Shettleston should Lugar lose at leaders Irvine Victoria this weekend, with a place in the Championship next season at stake
 
Whitletts Victoria: Fraser, Anderson, Brown, Mullen, I. Kerr (Fisher 77), Buchanan, L. Kerr, Sloan, Forsyth, Barbour (Boyd 87), Milligan (George 58). Subs Unused: Ogston, LT. Kerr.
 
Saltcoats Victoria: Wright, Haji, Millar, Grant, Cripps, McIntyre, Fulton (Chiedu 48), Russell, Bembo, Murtagh (Condon 59), C. Smith.
 
Referee: Alan Grainger.

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