East Kilbride 4-1 Whitehill Welfare: Leaders prove too strong

Pic Greg Macvean - 02/12/2017 - Whitehill Welfare V Spartans Whitehill - Scott Lucas,  Ian McFarland
Pic Greg Macvean - 02/12/2017 - Whitehill Welfare V Spartans Whitehill - Scott Lucas, Ian McFarland

Whitehill Welfare hit the road again for the second of three successive away games, with the leaders East Kilbride the opposition.

K-Park hadn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for the Welfare, with three defeats, and one win from their four previous visits, and with injuries and suspension ruling out most of his defence, Gary Small’s side faced an uphill task.

The hosts started on the front foot and almost took the lead on three minutes when Ross McNeil rounded Ross Jardine but could only find the side netting before Josh Morris fired a shot which went inches over at the other end.

Shortly after, East Kilbride had the ball in the net, Craig Malcolm, a new signing from Alloa, headed in from ten yards, but the assistants flag went up for offside.

Whitehill were given a glorious opportunity to score when referee Connor Ashwood awarded a penalty for handball after Morris’ effort struck the hand of a home defender. Connor McGregor saw his effort saved by Matt McGinley before making no mistake with the rebound to open the scoring.

Moments later Robbie Carter was inches away from making it 2-0 but his effort just went wide.

Whatever manager Billy Stark said at the interval certainly worked though, as East Kilbride came back out determined to overcome the deficit and on 52 minutes they were level as Winter bulleted a header home.

Four minutes later there was a big let-off for Whitehill. Barry Russell crossed from the left and Malcolm, headed just wide of the post. It was only a brief reprieve as 60 seconds later East Kilbride substitute Anthony Wallace drove in from the left and, after Ross Jardine saved a Winter header from point blank range, the forward drilled home the rebound to make it 2-1.

There was a further blow for the Welfare as left back Joe Murray picked up two yellow cards in a short space of time and his side were a goal and a man down.

Fifteen minutes from time the home side were awarded a penalty of their own for a push in the box but young Jardine denied Strachan with a brilliant save – his second spotkick save in two weeks.

However on 81 minutes he was powerless to prevent Strachan scoring, as he steered a an effort into the corner. East Kilbride completed the scoring when Bryan Prunty teed up Strachan to score from close range.