East Kilbride… 0 Kilmarnock… 1
An 89th minute free-kick gave an experienced Kilmarnock side a victory in a friendly at K-Park on Wednesday night
Despite the late winner from last season's SPFL Premier League top 6 team, the Lowland League side played well throughout the game and kept the Killie stars on their toes for 90 minutes. The new Kilby gaffer, Brian Kerr, was pleased with the team’s performance despite the result:
“I’m delighted with the performance in the first half. The lads were excellent and created a lot of chances. Another step up from where we’re trying to be.”
It was a bright start from EK, as Liam Craig took the first attempt on goal in the 6th minute, but his volley drifted wide of the target. Craig was then set free on the left, but his left foot shot was saved by the feet of McKay in the Killie goal.
The Kilby fans began to rise from their seats at another close potential opener, as Jamie Longworth’s effort from 20 yards beats Killie keeper McKay, but it narrowly went over the bar, and then Longworth saw his left foot volley tipped onto the post by McKay after great link-up play from Craig Malcom.
After valiant defending in the first 45 minutes, the Kilby players took a sharp intake of breath as ex-Rangers and Scotland hitman, Kris Boyd got a big chance to put the Killie boys one goal up a minute before half time, but he fired it over the bar from Burke’s corner.
At half time it was all change for both sides, with Boyd going off for Killie amid several changes, and Sean Winter, Edin Lynch, Anton Brady and Drew Ramsay taking the field at the expense of Paul Woods, Graeme Holmes, Craig Howie and Barry Russell.
Nine minutes into the second half, Mikael Ndjoli, who has just signed for the Ayrshire side on loan from Bournemouth, failed to secure a goal from a close range after a great cross from Dominic Thomas.
As the game approached the 70th minute, it was still 0-0 with both sides continuing to create numerous close chances.
Five minutes before the final whistle, there was a nail biting chance from Killie’s Adam Frizzell, who fired a rasping shot from 25-yards, but EK’s McGinley did brilliantly to palm the effort away.
Just as the home fans were about to settle for a credible goal-less draw, Killie snatched a last minute goal when an excellent free kick from Daniel Higgins flew past McGinley and high into the net after Dom Thomas was fouled.
Despite this last minute let down, Kilby gaffer Kerr was impressed with how the home side coped with playing against the seasoned professionals from Rugby Park:
“The boys kept up with them for the full 90 minutes, it was a very good performance. We dipped a bit in the second half, but the new signings are settling in well.”
Kilby’s final pre-season match is on Saturday against Lothian Thistle HV, ahead of the Lowland League curtain raiser against Selkirk on Saturday 28th July.
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