|Goals||Flo Bojaj (29, 46)
Adam Frizzell (33)
Iain Wilson (75)
Zak Rudden (25)
Attendance: 250 (est)
Gary Kirkpatrick @ Rugby Park
A superb all-round performance at Rugby Park helped Killie to a comfortable victory over Rangers in the Development League, their first win in four games.
Killie’s young lads dominated most of the encounter until the latter stages of the second period, when Rangers ramped up the pressure and searched for a route back into the match. In the end, Rangers ran out of time and, across the whole match, they were inferior to an efficient Killie side, who deserved all three points.
Killie coach Paul Stephenson was clearly provided the opportunity to field an experienced line-up. First team players including Charlee Adams, William Boyle and Adam Frizzell all started.
The Ayrshiremen began brightly and forward Flo Bojaj was unlucky not to finish off a good move. He received the ball inside the box but his low left-footed strike was saved well by Gers keeper Robby McCrorie.
Some of Killie’s forward play was a delight to watch and posed a real threat to Rangers’ defence. However, despite being second best for the opening quarter of an hour, the away side drew first blood through Andrew Dallas. The midfielder powered past two Killie defenders across the edge of the box and shot low into the opposite corner of the net.
Their lead was undeserved and lasted no more than four minutes as Kilmarnock’s Bojaj quickly levelled things up. Right-back Josh Webb whipped a lovely ball into the danger area and the Albanian atoned for his earlier miss, heading powerfully past McCrorie.
The home side were hungry and managed to get themselves in front moments later via Adam Frizzell. Collecting the ball from 20 yards out, the diminutive midfielder had plenty of time to look up and curl an unstoppable effort into the top right corner.
Half time approached with Killie seeming comfortable although they were brought right back down to earth when Gers’ Zak Rudden found himself one-on-one with keeper Devlin Mackay following a sumptuous through pass from Ross Lyon. But Rudden failed to compose himself and Killie cleared their lines.
The second half couldn’t have started any better for the Rugby Park outfit, as they stretched their advantage to two goals with a touch of brilliance. A deft flick from Lewis Morrison on the right flank set free the ever-influential Bojaj, who dribbled past three Rangers spectators into the box and scored with a scuffed shot into the corner.
Rangers were lacking quality and were being hemmed in by the superior Killie lads, who were in the mood for more. On 64 minutes, defender Jamie Cobain saw a sweetly-struck volley from a corner smartly stopped by McCrorie, who duly received a warm applause from the away fans.
Approximately 20 minutes from time, Rangers suddenly were in the ascendency as they looked for the goal that would draw sweat on the Killie players’ foreheads. Two strikes in quick succession, one which should have hit the back of the net, forced the relatively quiet Mackay into making two great saves.
However, Kilmarnock found that little bit extra to put themselves 4-1 up, with Iain Wilson’s low drive from the edge of the area effectively killing the contest. Dallas’ header 3 minutes from time did deservedly pull one back for Rangers but in the end, it became a mere consolation, as Killie picked up three vital points.
The win moves the U20 side up to 15th and next face Inverness CT at Grant Street Park on 25th October, kick-off 2pm.
All images © Gary Kirkpatrick and should not be reproduced without his permission