Match Report | Ross County (H)
VAR made its much-anticipated Rugby Park debut, but it was Danny Armstrong who once again stole the headlines as Kilmarnock extended their unbeaten run to five matches following a 1-0 win against Ross County.
Killie were first to get a foothold on the game, looking comfortable in possession during the early stages. The match burst into life when the ever-energetic Alebiosu blasted through the County half, carrying the ball 30 yards and eventually winning a corner for the home side. The resulting cross was accurately fired into the feet of McInroy, who saw his goal-bound shot from the edge of the box blocked by a defender six yards out.
Killie made their early dominance count when Innes Cameron rose to meet a long-ball which he flicked over the County defence and into the path of the on-rushing Danny Armstrong. On current form, there was only ever going to be one outcome as Killie’s No.11 confidently fired his shot into the top corner to open the scoring.
There was an almost-instant response from County who came close to an equaliser when a ball was whipped into the six-yard box and met by White. Hemming in the Killie goal managed to get his hands on the ball, making the first of several key stops.
Killie continued to look threatening, again making waves down the right wing through Alebiosu who delivered another superb cross which fell to the feet of McInroy whose shot was deflected wide for a corner.
With a quarter of the game played, Ash Taylor came close to doubling the advantage when his header from a corner was cleared off the line. Piling on the pressure, Killie’s high press caught County off-guard which resulted in the ball being quickly turned over. Man of the moment, Danny Armstrong, quickly paced down the right to earn another corner which was again met by Ash Taylor who headed just wide.
Closing in on the end of the first half, Mayo took the ball in his stride and charged through the County midfield before playing a pass out wide to Alebiosu who once again picked out McInroy with a cross – his driven effort was claimed by the outstretched Laidlaw.
Killie kicked off the second half but it was County who were first out of the traps, firstly threatening through an Owura shot which narrowly evaded Hemming’s far post. County threatened again within 5 minutes of the restart when Hemming was forced to make an excellent stop, knocking the ball over the bar after White smashed a shot towards his goal from close range.
The opening 20 minutes of the second half were fiercely contested in the middle of the park. County came closest to an equaliser when a loose pass was intercepted by Owura and worked through to Dhanda who hit a curling effort from the edge of the box. His strike was impressively clawed out of the top left corner by the Killie No.1 who maintained his side’s lead.
Fresh from coming off the bench, Polworth instantly put his stamp on the game, helping Killie to regain control of possession as we headed into the final 10 minutes. It wasn’t long before his diagonal pass found Jones who cut inside on his right foot and sent a curling effort inches wide of the far post.
Killie were forced into a change in the latter stages as Chrisene suffered a knock and was replaced by Stokes with 3 minutes of play left. Despite a change at the back, Killie comfortably saw out the final stages to protect their one-goal advantage.
OFF Mcinroy ON Mckenzie 64’
OFF Alebiosu ON Polworth 73’
OFF Chrisene ON Stokes 87’
Ross County Subs:
OFF Harmon ON Akio 76’
OFF Hiwula ON Olaigbe 64’
OFF Ross Callaghan ON Dhanda 7’
Kilmarnock Yellow Cards: 2
Innes Cameron 10’
Jordan Jones 63’
Brownings Man of The Match: Danny Armstrong