Irvine Meadow 1 Darvel 3 as champions stage comeback to finish league campaign in style


Champions Darvel wrapped up their West of Scotland League Premier Division campaign in style this afternoon by coming from behind to win at Meadow Park.

Mick Kennedy’s men trailed 1-0 at the end of a fairly even first-half thanks to Callum Graham’s opportunistic strike.

But they found another gear after the interval and goals from Ryan Thomson, Andy Stirling and substitute Lewis Morrison clinched a thoroughly deserved victory.

The result sees Darvel finish on 90 points while Irvine Meadow’s hopes of making the top six are now beyond them with one game left to play.

Meadow showed respect to their opponents ahead of kick-off by welcoming them on to the pitch with a guard of honour.

But the niceties were dispensed with when referee Paul Timmons’ whistle signaled the start of the match.

It was end-to-end stuff in the early exchanges before Darvel’s Darren Miller registered the first shot on target in six minutes – a fierce effort from a tight angle that stung goalkeeper Marc Waters’ palms.

Meadow looked a threat on the counter attack and the visitors had a lucky escape in 16 minutes when Connor Boyd’s cross was just too high for the unmarked Graham in the six yard box.

Jordan Kirkpatrick came within a few inches of giving Darvel the lead in 23 minutes when his side-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area flashed just past the post.

The same player drilled a dangerous ball across the face of the Medda goalmouth soon afterwards but none of his teammates were there to take advantage.

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Action from today’s clash

At the other end, Jamie Martin – whose trickery and direct running was posing the Vale backline problems – came within a whisker of finding the top corner with a curling strike from 20 yards.

The deadlock was finally broken two minutes before the interval, Graham beating a dithering Darvel defense to net a loose ball after keeper Lyle Avci kept out a Boyd effort with his feet.

There was no time for Darvel to respond before whistler Timmons brought the first half to a close.

But within 15 minutes of the restart, the visitors had turned the match on its head.

Midfielder Thomson hauled them level in 51 minutes when he waltzed through the heart of the Meadow defense and calmly slotted past Waters from 10 yards.

It was 2-1 on the hour mark, Stirling pouncing on a defensive mix-up to sweep high into the net from six yards.

Darvel had upped the tempo and Meadow were finding it hard to cope. Thomson was unlucky not to add to his tally of him in 73 minutes when his curling effort from 25 yards came back off the crossbar.

There was an air of inevitability about a third goal for Darvel and it was a real beauty when it arrived six minutes later.

Substitute Morrison took an exquisite touch to kill a long, diagonal ball dead on the right side of the penalty area then drilled an unstoppable shot into the opposite corner of the net to put the game beyond Meadow.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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