Interim Whitehill Welfare boss Ian Flynn admitted that East Kilbride were worthy winners after their 3-2 triumph at Ferguson Park on Saturday.
A Jack Smith strike for East Kilbride and a Dale O’Hara penalty had the teams level at the break, before a bizarre second for Jack Smith and a Ross McKinnon stunner put EK 3-1 ahead. Andy Martin’s late goal didn’t spark a comeback for the home side.
Flynn said. “I think they probably deserved their win. In terms of commitment and endeavour we were great but on the balance of play East Kilbride were probably the better side.”
It took the visitor’s less than four minutes to go ahead. Martin McBride’s low corner wasn’t cleared at the front post and Smith was able to force home from close range amidst a crowd of bodies.
Whitehill then had the chance to level from the spot just six minutes later. Andy Martin beat Kilby keeper Matt McGinley in a foot race, the keeper wiping him out in the area after the midfielder got a toe to the ball. Shouts for the keeper to be shown a red rather then a yellow ere ignored, but O’Hara scored the peanlaty low to his left in any case.
Kilby had the adavantage of a strong headwind blowing down the pitch and Whitehill struggled to keep the ball in the final third. Kilby, playing into the wind, were trying to force their way through midfield, although the majority of the first 45 was a scrappy affair with few clear chances.
O’Hara went close to scoring Welfare’s second soon after the break, driving an indirect free kick not too far wide of McGinley’s left-hand post.
Confusion reigned when Jack Smith again put East Kilbride in front on 55 minutes. He was slipped in after a strong run from Anton Brady, and at first looked to have slid the ball wide of the far post. Smith wheeled away celebrating however after the ball had apparently gone through a hole on the corner of the net. After some deliberation and protests from both sides, the goal was given in bizarre circumstances.
Flynn didn’t dwell on the decision after the game. “We haven’t spoken about it.” He stated. “We’re all disappointed and don’t like to go on too much after the game, so we move on.”
Brady was inches from making it 3-1 soon after, hitting the crossbar direct from a corner on the right.
Whitehill keeper Bryan Young was forced into a good stop when McBride’s well struck free kick was heading in to the far corner.
There was nothing Young could do to prevent the third when it did come in spectacular fashion. McKinnon let fly from around 25 yards, and his effort rocketed in via the crossbar.
Stevie Manson thought he had reduced the deficit with ten minutes remaining, but his curling effort over McGinley was headed off the line by Brendan Coll. Martin did make it 3-2 soon after, forcing home Darren McGlashan’s excellent delivery from the right from close range.
That visibly lifted Welfare, and McGinley had to stand up well to Martin to prevent him levelling.
Welfare finished the game with ten men when Nikki Murray was shown a second yellow after an altercation with Jack Smith in stoppage time.
Flynn is continuing to take things on a game-by-game basis. “Until I’m told otherwise I’ll just get on with it. I work for the club, so whatever happens, that’s fine by me.”
Whitehill Welfare: Young, Nisbet, O’Hara, McGlashan, Murray, Williams, Manson, McGregor (Anderson 75), Flynn (Devlin 75), Martin, Keane (Connolly 45).
East Kilbride: McGinley, Hardie, Coll, Howie, Russell, McKinnon (MacDonald 83), Winter, McBride, J Smith (Stevenson 90), Brady, R Smith (Hastings 77).