Saturday’s win can put EK back on top
Kilby boss reckons it’s the boost his side needed
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.
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