McBookie Premiership



THE reigning champions found themselves in a tough season opener at Portland Park where they had to up the ante in the second half to claim the points.

Early exchanges were fought out in midfield with little threat on either goal.

Beith gradually got forward with Nicky Docherty heavily involved but Paul Frize was off target with a shot at the end of a fine move and Thomas Collins had an effort blocked in the box.

Troon were creating little but Robert Love got an opening following a MacDonald slip but his shot from a tight angle was turned away by Grindlay in what turned out to be the hosts only real attempt on goal in the half and the big keepers only real save in the contest.

Beith had a slight edge but the game lacked any real fluency and despite plenty of effort chances were hard to find.

Troon’s David Syme collected a yellow card for a foul on Collins and the forgetful half finished with the visitors collecting another unwelcome injury with Nicky Docherty limping off.

Keir Milliken replaced Docherty for the restart and a few minutes later, the hosts replaced centre-back Lewis Clark with Steven McCreadie as the sides fought for the upper hand. Beith had noticeably upped the tempo but Thomas Collins scorned easily the best chance of the match when Paul Frize played him into the box only to shoot straight at keeper Scott Johnstone.

Beith kept the initiative, winning more possession in midfield and began to seriously threaten.

The pressure continued to build and it told in 61 minutes when, after a short corner Keir Milliken wrong footed the home defence and chipped in an inviting cross for Thomas Collins to find the net with a glancing header.

Both sides made changes and Evan Maley found a half chance for the hosts but shot across goal and past before Beith pressed again to double their lead. Collins picked up possession just outside the Troon box and wasted no time to turn and find the net with a shot off the base of the upright out of the reach of the diving keeper.

Troon continued to huff and puff but their big name signing Christian Nade got little change from John Sheridan and his defence resulting in the Beith keeper having very little to do over the 90 minutes. The closest the hosts came was when Syme got on the end of a corner but he headed wide at the back post.

Beith really could have and should have increased their lead but scorer Collins missed two great chances with just the keeper to beat as the visitors in the end ran out fairly comfortable winners.

TROON: Johnstone, McInally, Sherrie, Keenan, Clark, Chatham, Stevenson, Syme, Nade, Maley, Love. Subs: Simpson, McCreadie, Fulton, Lamont, McCloy

BEITH: Grindlay, McGlinchey, Noble, MacDonald, Sheridan, Wilson, Christie, Frize, Collins, Reid, N Docherty. Subs: Milliken, Haggarty, McPherson, Green, R Docherty