The Ants face Irvine Victoria in their first match since moving over to the “Senior” ranks as the teams come head to head in the SoccerShop Challenge Cup, with the winners facing off against Lowland League side East Kilbride FC in the second round. We took a look back over the years to see how the teams have fared against each other. Despite the old Central Region and Ayrshire Region of the Juniors merging to form the West Region SJFA in 2002/03 the clubs have never faced each other on league business, but have faced each other eight times over the years in cup competitions.
The first meeting of the sides was in the Scottish Junior Cup in the second round in 1952-53 where it was Irvine Vics who advanced to the next round with a 4-0 at Victoria Park. It would be 21 years until the next encounter when they were paired in the West of Scotland Cup first round, once again at Victoria Park, with the Vics coming out on top, this time with a 5-3 win in what appears to have been a pulsating cup match. In 1976/77 the sides met in the West of Scotland Cup once again at Victoria Park, this time the contest was not as close as previous encounters with the Vics strolling to a 6-1 win in the third round tie.
Four years later in the 1980/81 Scottish Junior Cup third round, the Ants, this time with home advantage, recorded our first win over their Ayrshire counterparts with a resounding 6-0 victory of our own, then in 1992/93 broke our Victoria Park hoodoo with a 1-0 win in the first round of the West of Scotland Cup. We met again in the first round of the West of Scotland Cup in 1995/96 at Victoria Park, with the Ants missing some key players and fielding a goalkeeper upfront, and unsurprisingly it was the Vics who emerged victorious, this time running out 5-1 winners.
The last competitive meeting of the sides saw the Ants come out victorious in the Second round of the Scottish Junior Cup after a replay. The first game was a 1-1 draw at McKenna Park, A Gareth Timoney own goal giving the Ants the lead before Gary Madden netted the Vics equaliser. The replay wasn’t as close though and the Ants ran out 4-1 winners at Victoria Park, goals from Abou Mansare, Graham Jaap and Michael Williams gave the Ants a 3-0 lead, Gary Madden netted again to reduce the deficit but Joe Mulheron put the icing on the cake for the Ants in the last minute to make it 4-1 as seen on the highlights video below.
Games Played – 8
Irvine Vics Wins – 4
Ants Wins – 3
Draws – 1
Goals Scored Irvine – 22 | Ants – 17
Highest Win – Ants 6 v 0 (1980/81 Scottish Junior Cup)