Irvine Meadow co-boss Colin Spence hailed his side’s fighting spirit after they took a huge step towards West of Scotland Premier Division survival with a 1-0 win over Pollok.
Graham Boyd’s goal on the stroke of half-time – after a howler from ‘Lok defender Craig Menzies – settled a tight affair at Newlandsfield Park.
It was Meadow’s first win in three Premier games and the perfect way to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat at home to Ayrshire rivals Hurlford in midweek.
And Spence reckons the result was all down to his players’ strength of character.
He said: “We’ve all seen the criticism recently and we’ve all felt it as well. It would have been easy for the boys to put the heads down and go missing in action.
“But I was delighted with their spirit today to stand up and be counted.
“We defended so resolutely. I don’t think our goalkeeper had a save to make all game. We protected him so well.”
Chances were few and far between in a keenly-contested first half but it was Pollok who started the match on the front foot.
Meadow defender Jamie Whyte made a timely tackle in his six-yard box to thwart ‘Lok striker Stuart McCann inside the opening minute.
McCann had another opportunity just a few seconds later only for team mate Shaun Fraser to get in the way of his shot with the ball deflecting harmlessly behind for a Meadow goal kick.
The Ayrshire Live app is available to download now.
Get all the local news in your area – plus features, football news and the latest on the coronavirus crisis – at your fingertips 24/7.
The free download features the latest breaking news and exclusive stories while you can customise your page with the sections that matter to you.
The visitors’ first sniff of goal fell Jamie Martin’s way in 10 minutes but the forward’s hooked shot on the turn from 16 yards drifted wide of the target.
Both sides were largely restricted to long-range efforts with Matty Grant and Dylan Dykes blazing over for the hosts and Meadow midfielder Kyle Faulds forcing a save out of ‘Lok goalkeeper Jordan Longmuir.
It was hard to see where a goal might come from but a dreadful error from Menzies on the stroke of half-time gifted Meadow the lead.
Under no pressure on the edge of his own box, the centre-half was woefully short with an attempted pass out to full-back Mark Sideserf.
Medda striker Connor Boyd gleefully intercepted and floated over a perfect cross for Graham Boyd to head past Longmuir from close range.
The goal gave the visitors a huge lift going into the interval and there was a real determination and doggedness about their play in the second half.
They should have doubled their lead just after the hour mark when Graham Boyd’s headed flick-on left Martin with only Longmuir to beat but he shot straight at the keeper.
That was the closest either side came to scoring in a half that produced more yellow cards than efforts on target.
Pollok huffed and puffed but they had no answers to prising open a tireless Meadow outfit who were terrific to a man.
Spence reckons his side – who face derby rivals Kilwinning Rangers next – could be just one win away from securing their tier six status for another year.
He added: “That win will give our boys a massive boost and we’ll go to Kilwinning with a real sense of confidence now, take the game to them and try and get another three points.”
Don’t miss the latest Ayrshire headlines – sign up to our free daily newsletter here