Satur­day’s win can put EK back on top

Kilby boss reck­ons it’s the boost his side needed

East Kilbride News - - SPORTS - Paul Thom­son

Billy Stark hopes Satur­day’s valu­able win over Spar­tans can be the cat­a­lyst to take them back to the top of the Low­land League.

A first-half header from Ross McNeil was all that sep­a­rated the two sides at K-Park as Kilby brought Spar­tans’ nine-game win­ning run to a halt.

The de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons have leapfrogged their ri­vals into sec­ond place - although Spar­tans have a game in hand - and re­main two points off lead­ers BSC Glasgow, who earned a 4-0 win away to Vale of Lei­then. Stark told the News: “It’s a big re­sult. “Satur­day was tough, as we ex­pected it to be, and we de­fended valiantly when we needed to.

“Ja­cob Kean (the EK keeper) didn’t re­ally have a save to make and that was down to the play­ers in front of him do­ing a great job.

“We hope now that a big re­sult against our clos­est ri­vals will push us on.

“It gives us a lift and it’s a bit of a blow to Spar­tans.

“I felt they were re­ally con­fi­dent com­ing here af­ter a good run of vic­to­ries, so, like I say, it’s a big re­sult for us.”

Be­fore kick-off mid­fielder Sean Win­ter was recog­nised for mak­ing 100 ap­pear­ances from the club and re­ceived a to­ken of ap­pre­ci­a­tion from match sec­re­tary Peter Hickey, on be­half of the club.

And it didn’t take long for Kilby to put Win­ter on the road to a mem­o­rable day all round.

With 19 min­utes on the clock Kilby broke the dead­lock when Scott Steven­son got into a good po­si­tion and crossed for McNeil to head home from close range.

Alan Hovie came close to an equaliser soon af­ter, but he flicked his header just wide of the tar­get.

Just af­ter the half hour mark Michael Herd forced Kean into a good save, while down the other end Michael An­der­son fired over.

In the sec­ond half chances were few and far be­tween with for­mer Ed­in­burgh City striker Ross Al­lum, so of­ten a thorn in EK’s side over the years, fir­ing over and the vis­i­tors fail­ing to con­vert fol­low­ing a goal­mouth scram­ble.

Although Spar­tans pushed hard for the equaliser, the Kilby rear­guard held firm.

And Stark was full of praise for his goalscorer.

He added: “McNeil put in his usual shift and got a goal for his ef­forts as well. He’s built on his per­for­mances against Cow­den­beath and Selkirk and I was re­ally pleased for him.

“It was a sim­ple fin­ish for the goal, but that comes from get­ting him­self in the right po­si­tion.”

He con­tin­ued: “It’s tight at the top and it shows you the value of our win.

“We couldn’t af­ford to lose it be­cause it would have given Spar­tans and BSC a healthy lead over us.

“A draw wouldn’t have been a dis­as­ter, but to get the win is great.”

Kilby now have a free week­end ahead of next Satur­day’s Scot­tish Cup tie with Al­bion Rovers, although the club hope to ar­range a be­hind closed doors friendly to keep the play­ers tick­ing over.

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Go­ing close Kilby young­ster Michael An­der­son fires at goal

As­sist Kilby’s Scott Steven­son, left, set up Ross McNeil for the only goal of the game

Mile­stoneSean Win­ter re­ceives a me­mento from Peter Hickey

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