Buffs feel Strain asMeddacome from behind...
He couldn’t totally mask his obvious disappointment, however Strain kept his true feelings under control as he acknowledged his players got what they deserved for underperforming on the day.
He said: “We are better as a team and as individuals than we showed out there, but we just didn’t produce on the day.
“Twice we failed to sit on a lead for longer than a couple of minutes and you cannot do that at any level of the game, yet my biggest gripe is the lack of intensity and our looking at times as if we were going through the motions in what is a huge derby game as far as bragging rights go for our fans.
“Irvine Meadow have come here and parked the bus but all credit belongs to Brian McGinty and his players for making things difficult and asking questions of us that we couldn’t answer.”
Neither did Strainy moan over the quite baffling decision that saw whistler Craig King disallow a Ryan Nisbet goal for offside (at 1-1 and approaching half-time) on the sayso of his assistant whose flagraising actions indicated he had somehow failed to spot the striker darting between a couple of stationary defenders to latch on to a Bryan Boylan flick and clip the ball into the net .
One would have to say the ensuing torrent of abuse from Kilwinning supporters and in particular the many references to “Specsavers” were all his own doing because it was a quite horrendous gaffe yet one that was probably in keeping with an opening 45 minutes littered with mistakes .
The home team’s superiority in possession was all too often negated by an abject lack of quality in the final third which in tandem with Medda’s manful defensive set-up , where Darren Miller was outstanding, ensured there were precious few attempts allowed to trouble goalkeeper Shaun Newman.
And it’s maybe just as well the guys in front of him were on their game because the former Ayr United Youths No.1 had earlier made a total hash of keeping out Craig Pettigrew’s free-kick opener for the Buffs.
A foul just outside the box with only 90 seconds played had led to the award and Newman duly set-up a covering wall but his taking up a position more central than necessary left a yawning gap to his left side into which Petty sidefooted the ball for 1-0 .
Visiting heads slumped but they were not down for long as because Irvine Meadow’s first attacking sortie upfield brought another free-kick award in a near identical spot and skipper Ben Carson’s swerving shot found the bottom corner of the net with Kilwinning ‘s veteran custodian Michael Wardrope looking at fault on t his occasion.
Another whirlwind start denoted the second half getting underway and Kilwinning ‘s noses were soon back in front following an untidy melee in the Medda penalty box that was ended by James Latta poking the ball home for 2-1.
But yet again the lead was to prove short-lived as shortly afterwards Irvine Meadow restored parity when Con Boyle worked some space on the right flank and fired over a low driven cross that found Jared Willet totally unmarked coming in from his left-wing beat and he belted the ball past a helpless Wardrope from close range.
Boylan and Finlay Frye efforts crept over the crossbar as the Buffs sought to regain the advantage and Nisbet was foiled by Newman’s blocking save at the striker’s feet however Medda were being seen as more of an attacking threat and their moment of inspiration arrived from the speedy Willet ‘s run down the left that culminated with him reciprocating Boyle’s earlier assist by putting the ball across goal for his team mate to fire home an angular shot for a 3-2 scoreline.
WINNING gaffer Brian McGinty said afterwards, “We always felt our front players had the pace and energy to pose problems for Kilwinning’s defenders if we could stay in the game until the closing 20 minutes .
“Our game plan was designed to go tight on their two most influential players, Pettigrew and McGuinness but ultimately we can set the guys up in all sorts of ways but they have to deliver ...and boy did they do that and more besides.
“I shook hands with Craig Pettigrew at time up and he said it was the first time he as a sweeper had ever been manmarked but I made no apologies as the end justifies the means in my book.”
Among other first-round shocks were the elimination of West Region kingpins Glenafton eliminated 3-2 at home to Girvan for whom Michael Reilly and Craig Reid were on target while Ashfield knocked out two Divisions higher up Rutherglen Glencairn with a 3-1 victory at Saracen Park thanks to a Paul Maxwell brace and Billy Stevenson counter.
Trophy holders Pollok ran out 5-0 winners over Royal Albert and last season’s beaten finalists Cumnock hammered Glasgow Perthshire 9-1 with Scott Anson netting a hat trick.
In the delayed Scottish Junior Cup second-round contests, Arthurlie frontman Marc McKenzie bagged a hat-trick to go along with a Colin Spence goal as the Barrhead men beat Lesmahagow 4-3 while Barry McGeechan grabbed the only goal of the game as Forth Wanderers got the better of Irvine Vics.
But pride of place belongs to Cup battlers Kilbirnie Ladeside who fought back from 3-2 down and being reduced to 10 men (Mick O’Byrne red-carded) away to Penicuik Athletic to level matters at 3-3 before winning 4-3 on penalty kicks.
Arnauld Bembo, O’Byrne and Peter McGill were the Ayrshire marksmen.