The Ants are still looking for their first points of the new season after slipping to their third single goal defeat in three games. The Ants were looking to bounce back from the defeat at Ashfield but within 3 minutes they were a goal behind when EWAN FARRELL’S through ball found Roddy Watupa who raced through on goal and sent McCallum the wrong way with a drive into the keeper’s right hand corner to give the visitors the lead.
The Ants almost equalised four minutes later when McLaughlin broke into the box but his shot from a tight angle didn’t have enough curl on it and it flew across the goalmouth and out for a goal kick then from a short corner McLaughlin again tested Moore but the shot was straight at the big keeper and he held on well. The Ants were pressing for an equaliser but you always felt that Saltcoats could still cause problems with their pace and movement up front, although McCallum gathered easily from an Abdullah free kick. McIlvanney then raced towards the visitors box after being played in by McLaughlin but he fired over the bar.John Ball was next to test the visiting keeper but he did well to get down and hold onto the ball. Saltcoats still looked dangerous and McCallum was first tested from wide but he held on well then the visitors had a strong penalty claim waived away when the ball hit Conway’s forearm but the ref waived play on. Right on the stroke of half time came arguably the Ants best chance of the half when a McLaughlin cross was knocked down by Littler into the path of Conway but he couldnt get enough power or direction on his volley and Moore saved easily.
The Ants started the second half and a fine move saw Mark McIlvanney break into the box but the young midfielder’s shot was held by Moore, Saltcoats had made a change at the break as Kasongo replaced Petzke and the sub almost had a quick impact, a fine move saw them carve open the Ants defence but Kasongo’s show was saved by the legs of McCallum who then gathered the ball at the second attempt. A long kick out by Moore saw Bembo challenge McCallum for the ball and the ref adjudged the challenge to be fair as the Saltcoats player manager headed towards goal but luckily for the Ants the ball went just past the post. A long diagonal ball from McLaughlin found Ball at the back post but the strikers shot went high and wide.
Saltcoats doubled their lead in the 56th minute when Littlers headed clearance from the corner was picked up by EWAN FARRELL who’s half volley beat McCallum low to the keeper’s left to put the visitors 2-0 up. Saltcoats were clearly buoyed by the goal and had their best spell of the game with a few good chances, Firstly when nice play between Watupa and Bamba saw the latter test McCallum but the Ants keeper beat the ball away to keep the Ants in the match then a corner was headed just wide before Farrell had shot held by McCallum. The Ants started to slowly regain their composure following the 2nd goal and Gallacher headed just wide from a Gamba cross. In the 66th minute the Ants were handed a lifeline when CHRIS MCLAUGHLIN was fouled inside the box and the ref pointed to the spot. The Ants captain dusted himself off and put the spot kick into the bottom corner to reduce the defecit to 2-1. McLaughlin then fizzed a ball across the goalmouth but there were no takers and the chance was gone. Nicholson then rose highest in the box but his header went wide before McLaughlin had an effort from the edge of the box which was always rising and went over.
Time was running out for the Ants who had started to throw caution to the wind in the search for the equaliser and they were caught on the break when EVARISTE BEMBO broke through the Ants defence and slotted past McCallum in the 92nd minute to put the game finally beyond the Ants and make it 3-1 to the visitors. The Ants to their credit didn’t give up and JOHN BALL got his 2nd in two games when he headed home from a long throw but it was too little to late for the Ants who now travel to Muirkirk looking to kickstart their season.
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