EK open seven point gap at top of table

Prunty nets first goal but warns big tests lie ahead

East Kilbride News - - BASKETBALL - Paul Thom­son

Bryan Prunty opened his East Kil­bride ac­count as the de­fend­ing Low­land cham­pi­ons came from be­hind to beat 10-man White­hill Wel­fare.

And the Kilby striker warned every sin­gle point be­tween now and the end of the sea­son will be hard-earned.

Craig Mal­colm bagged a brace and Sean Win­ter was also on tar­get in the win as the hosts bounced back from Con­nor McGre­gor’s opener to sink Wel­fare, who had Joe Mur­ray sent off mid­way through the sec­ond half.

The league lead­ers opened up a seven-point gap at the sum­mit af­ter near­est ri­vals BSC Glas­gow had an idle week­end.

How­ever, last-gasp wins for East Stir­ling­shire and Spar­tans – who have games in hand – means it’s still very much all to play for in the ti­tle race.

Prunty said: “It’s al­ways nice to get your first goal at a new club and I’m de­lighted to get off the mark.

“The score was 2-1 at the time, so it was an im­por­tant goal at an im­por­tant time. We showed good strength of char­ac­ter to come back and we are go­ing to have more tests like this.

“We know we can’t just turn up and ex­pect to win games. We’ve got to fight for every goal and fight for every point over these last few games.

“Every point will be pre­cious, but the boys are look­ing good at the mo­ment. It’s an old cliche, but we’ve got to keep look­ing af­ter our­selves and tick the games off one at a time.”

Kilby fell be­hind af­ter 33 min­utes when skip­per Barry Rus­sell, mak­ing his 100th ap­pear­ance for the club, was pe­nalised for a hand­ball in the box. From the re­sul­tant penalty, keeper Matt McGin­ley saved McGre­gor’s spot kick, but the Wel­fare striker fol­lowed up to net the re­bound.

With the hosts trail­ing at the break, a fast start to the sec­ond half was vi­tal and seven min­utes af­ter the restart theLow­land lead­ers were level.

Rus­sell atoned for giv­ing away the penalty by cross­ing for Win­ter and he bul­leted home a header for 1-1.

Five min­utes later Mal­colm scored a tap-in af­ter Win­ter’s ef­fort was saved to edge EK ahead and Wel­fare’s woes con­tin­ued in 65 min­utes when Mur­ray was shown a sec­ond yel­low for a late tackle on Ross McNeil.

Win­ter won EK a penalty in 74 min­utes, but Adam Stra­chan saw his spot-kick saved by the keeper.

Kilby’s third goal did ar­rive 10 min­utes from time when Win­ter teed up Prunty to slot home his first goal for the club.

Prunty turned provider in the fi­nal minute to set up Mal­colm for his sec­ond of the day, smash­ing the ball into the net at the back post.

K-Park boss Billy Stark said: “At the time I thought it was a very soft de­ci­sion for the penalty, but we just had to get on with it.

“That was a blow, par­tic­u­larly as Matty saved it and it’s fallen kindly for the boy to put in the re­bound.

“The pleas­ing thing was I asked them at half-time to up the tempo and show more ur­gency and then we had a re­ally strong start to the sec­ond half.

“A great leap and a great goal from Sean got us back into it and that gave us a real lift. We know, play­ing at home, that teams like to sit in against us, so it was im­por­tant to get the goal early on [in the sec­ond half ].

“We showed a good mix­ture of com­po­sure and ur­gency. The goals kept com­ing and Bryan Prunty showed his qual­ity as a fin­isher.”

Kilby have just six games re­main­ing and play their fi­nal home league match of the sea­son on Satur­day when they host Vale of Lei­then.

Stark added: “It’s just the va­garies of the fix­tures, com­pounded by the fact we switched our game with BSC to K-Park ear­lier in the sea­son.

“But when we play away from home, I find teams are more will­ing to push play­ers for­ward. They’ll come to our place and sit in more, so I don’t think it will be a big fac­tor play­ing all these away games.”

Kick-off on Satur­day is 3pm.

At the dou­ble Craig Mal­colm took his tally to three goals in two games with a brace

On tar­get Prunty fires home his first goal for East Kil­bride

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