Kilmarnock U20 v Ross County U20
KILMARNOCK: Miller, Queen, McLevy, Taylor, Clark, Wilson, McLean, Graham, Sibbald, Johnston, Whittaker
Subs: Lyle, Paterson, Cameron
ROSS COUNTY: Foden, Miller, McLaughlin, Morris, Ross, Beeston, Moffat, Russell Dingwell, Morrison, Tony Dingwell, Malcolm
Subs: Tait, MacLennan, MacIver, Wallace, Paterson
The skies of Kilmarnock saw plenty of weather related action during this u20’s match against Ross County, but it was the action on the pitch from one individual that really caught my eye as Tony Dingwell’s hat-trick stole the show at Rugby Park. This was a game full of incident.
Like many of the Scottish stadiums I’ve walked into of late, I was welcomed by a friendly face. Kilmarnock was different, there was two! Mark and Alan in the reception/trophy cabinet area were a pleasure to share various football ramblings with. Mainly surrounding the plastic pitch influx and how it benefits clubs on numerous levels. But it was also really evident, like it was at St Mirren how central to the community the club is. The car park was swamped with parents picking up their kids from sessions on the main pitch.
Ross County started the brighter as overage player Tony Dingwell looked an immediate threat. But Killie experienced some early openings too. But it was Greg Morrison of Ross County who had the first real chance to break the deadlock. After good work down the right flank and a neat cutback from fullback Miller, Morrison’s well struck shot was charged down well by the committed Killie defence. From this block Killie countered well and the energetic McLean cut in from the right and unleashed a belter from 25 yards, it struck the upright and left the frame rattling.
Continued pressure from Ross County led to the opening goal in the 29th minute. Sam Morris rose highest from McLaughlin’s out-swinging corner which rattled the crossbar with a powerful header. Tony Dingwell was first to react and nodded in the rebound from close range. 1-0 Ross County.
After a couple of early wobbles, young Killie GK Ross Miller went onto impress. The first real example of his shot stopping ability came on 31 minutes as a drilled effort by leftback McLaughlin from 25yards stayed low and was brilliantly tipped round the post. Tony Dingwell continued to cause problems for the Killie back four and on 37 minutes he mazed his way through the back line, but was met by the onrushing Miller, another great save. The one-way traffic continued as Morrison broke free a minute later. Miller again showed his 1-1 on one ability and saved well from Morrison’s effort.
Just before halftime Ross County had a goal disallowed when McLaughlin’s corner swung out of play before being met by the head of Tony Dingwell. It remained 1-0 to Ross County until the break.
Halftime: Kilmarnock 0-1 Ross County
The referees HT whistle was the signal for the skies of Killie open and begin its half-time show. An absolute downpour of hail left the pitch completely white. After the discussion pre-match regarding plastics pitches, this left me interested to see how this was going to impact on the 2nd half. But both sides delivered an even more impressive 2nd half display.
Killie started the brighter, but no clear cut chances were being created. Their biggest threat, McClean, had to come off injured on 62 mins. This was a blow. He was replaced by Innes Cameron. Soon after, on 67 mins, Killie equalised through Jack Whittaker with a cleverly looping header, well out of reach of Foden between the sticks. 1-1.
Ross County were back in front in no time. On 71 minutes it was another set piece combination of McLaughlin and Tony Dingwell that restored a deserved lead for Ross county. Simple this one, another out-swinging corner nodded in from close range by Dingwell. 2-1.
Ross continued to press for another. They earned themselves a penalty in the 80th minute which gave Tony Dingwell the opportunity to deservedly take home the match ball. That he did after cooly slotting home. However, there was still some action to come. Whitaker got himself on the score sheet again after reacting well to a deflected shot, slotting home close range. 3-2 Ross county.
Ross County deservedly took all 3 points here at Rugby Park. But this was comfortably the most best experience in terms of clubs making a lot of effort for these u20 games. Printed out team sheet/write up about the game, playing in the home stadium, announcements of goal scorers and subs…. well played Killy!
Full-time: Kilmarnock 2-3 Ross County
Kilmarnocks “ONE OF OUR OWN” most impressive player –Miller
Ross Countys “ONE OF OUR OWN” most impressive player – Tony Dingwell
See you pitchside next time,