By Lewis Laird
After going down to 10 men early on, the odds looked as though they were stacked against Alex Dyer’s side, however, they managed to score the opening goal shortly after, before being pegged back just before half-time.
The home side were able to grab the three points though, scoring from the penalty spot and Chris Burke in the dying embers after a solid second-half display.
Kilmarnock was reduced to 10 men after just eight minutes. A ball over the top looked like an awkward one for defender Stuart Findlay to deal with. At first, he looked like he might have it under control, but County striker Ross Stewart was able to nip in front, which resulted in him being brought down just outside the box.
Despite being down to 10, the home side opened the scoring six minutes later. Just as he did last week against Dumbarton, Eamonn Brophy was the man to score the opener. A whipped cross into the box from the left from Mitch Pinnock found the head of the unmarked Kilmarnock number nine, who’s bullet header found the bottom corner.
The away side got back on level terms just before half-time. A corner, that looked like it had been worked on the training ground, was played short before being played back to the taker Stephen Kelly. He was given enough space to play an in-swinging cross into the box that was headed home by Tom Grivosti.
In the second half, Killie came out and look the more dangerous side and were rewarded for that scoring from the spot to regain the lead. The penalty came about after some nice work from Nicke Kabamba, showing a shift of pace and crossing the ball in from the right-hand side.
Pinnock was the quickest to react to the ball in the box, nipping in front of Coll Donaldson who tripped the Englishman. Kabamba stepped up and slotted the ball home past Ross Doohan, sending the keeper the wrong way to score his 5th goal of the season.
Kilmarnock secured the three points with a thunderous strike from Burke. The veteran winger worked the ball well just outside the box before finding space and smashing the ball into the top corner.
It was a performance that Alex Dyer will be pleased with. After losing Findlay early on in the game, his side looked solid throughout and Danny Rogers in goal wasn’t really tested all that much, with the three points staying in Ayrshire. Here are three things we learned.
Defensively Solid Killie
After losing a man so early on, you started to wonder what sort of day the home side could be in for, with County most likely trying to take advantage of this.
It was Kilmarnock who reacted better though, gaining the lead twice in the game and keeping Stuart Kettlewell’s team at bay. It did not really feel as though there was too much threat of Killie actually losing this game, which Dyer will be delighted with.
Ross County’s missed opportunity
It was the exact opposite for County though. This is a massive missed opportunity for the Staggies, who like Kilmarnock before a ball was kicked, had not won a game since early October.
The 9th placed side should have taken advantage of being the team with the extra man but failed to do so and in the end, took nothing from the game.
Killie front two can cause problems
On their day, Nicke Kabamba and Eamonn Brophy have the ability on paper to be a great partnership up top for Kilmarnock. Although we may not have seen too much of that today, as both were made to do more defensive roles with the side down to 10, they still showed signs of that and both got themselves on the scoresheet.
In the last two games, the formation with two up front has worked well for Dyer. If both Brophy and Kabamba can stay fit and on form they could cause a lot of problems.