Off-form Bellshill slip up at Dunipace

Ritchie Kirwin fires home Dunipace's opener as the Bellshill defence look on
Ritchie Kirwin fires home Dunipace's opener as the Bellshill defence look on

Bellshill’s lead at the top of the Central League First Division table was cut to four points after a below-par performance at Dunipace on Saturday.

Athletic lost 3-1 to go down to only their third league defeat of the season.

The home side pushed forward from kick-off and Bellshill ’keeper Alexander Cowie pushed a Brennan shot behind and Callum Brady blocked a Hunter effort.

But KIRWIN then opened the scoring in the third minute when he headed a Hunter corner beyond Cowie.

In Bellshill’s first venture forward a Gary McGrath header was blocked on the line by Batchelor and Andy Selkirk sent the rebound wide.

The home side responded and Kay and Espenar both missed decent chances to add to their lead.

The unmarked Brennan headed a Grant free-kick narrowly over the bar and Cowie did well to keep out efforts from Kay and Brown as Dunipace drove forward in search of a second goal.

With half-time approaching Espenar sent Kay clear but Cowie pushed his low drive behind.

Bellshill started the second half more determined and Dunipace defender Kelly blocked a goalbound Craig Holmes shot and ’keeper McCurley saved a well struck McGrath effort.

But Bellshill’s pressure paid off in the 48th minute when STEVEN TART forced the ball over the line following a Dolan corner.

A Holmes shot was headed clear by Brown and Selkirk headed a Dolan free-kick over the bar.

But Dunipace regained the lead in the 54th minute when KIRWIN pounced on Dolan’s attempted clearance and fired the ball beyond Cowie.

Grant and Hunter then went close for Dunipace before a BRENNAN shot took a deflection off James Burke and ended up in the net to send Dunipace two goals clear.

As Bellshill drove forward Selkirk headed a Holmes cross wide and substitute Jason McKay had an effort saved by McCurley but their late attempts were easily dealt with by the home side.

Bellshill: Cowie, Brady, McKee, Burke (Connelly), Tart, Ferguson, Holmes, McGrath, McCarry (McKay), Selkirk, Dolan (McGinty). Subs not used: Donnelly, Shaw.