GREENOCK Wanderers travelled to Burnbrae in hope of moving off the bottom of the league, writes John Dyer.

However, it was evident early on why West of Scotland are second in the division as the Milngavie side ran out 22-8 winners.

Wanderers were fielding a lighter pack than normal due to availability and struggled throughout the match to even hold their own ball in the set scrum.

Nonetheless, under new head coach Bobby Mitchell and his backroom team, it could be seen that a playing structure is developing and the players showed a more positive attitude.

They all fought until the final whistle which augurs well for the visit of Strathmore, who got no points from their home game against Howe, this Saturday.

Wanderers started brightly and were asking questions of West early but the home side were very strong and secure in the tackle which made meaningful ground into their try line difficult.

The first scrum after five minutes showed how difficult an afternoon the Wanderers were in for.

After eight minutes West's speedy backs on their first visit to Wanderers' half scored a try in the corner and was converted to make it 7-0 after eight minutes.

The visitors recovered quickly and had a good spell in the West half. Andrew McDougall had a lovely grubber kick through to West's 22 and in the ensuing ruck were penalised.

Michael Frizzel kicked the penalty to cut West's lead to 7-3.

It was now the home side's turn for a period of dominance and only dogged tackling and defending by Wanderers kept them out.

West's reward was a penalty which their stand-off kicked to make it 10-3 after 22 minutes.

Wanderers had plenty of the ball for another period but West's tackling was very secure and making progress to their try line was very slow for the Greenock men.

Frizzel did have a chance to kick a penalty for the visitors but his effort went wide.

In the 32nd minute Wanderers' backs finally managed to breach the home defence after play had gone from one side of the park to the other through the hands of the backs.

Frizzel scored in the corner, the conversion was missed and Wanderers were certainly in the match now at 10-8.

Having worked so hard to achieve this position, Wanderers pressed the self destruct button.

Captain Callum Robb was yellow carded for persistent offending and West elected to take a scrum and the lock dived over the line to score a converted try and make it 17-8.

There was further misery for Wanderers when number seven Andrew Love was also yellow carded for allegedly kicking out at an opponent. Wanderers were now down to 13 men for 10 minutes of the second half.

West - obviously keen to take advantage of Wanderers' depleted side - were soon pressing but full marks to the Fort Matilda side as they defended tirelessly and made sure West were unable to add to the scoreboard.

They should have scored in the 51st minute when a long pass was knocked on by the West winger with the line at his mercy.

Wanderers, who were now restored to full strength, were again able to cause West problems and one or two individual runs by the visitors were well halted by West.

Twenty-six minutes into the half West finally scored in the corner. The try was unconverted but West stretched their lead to 22-8.

The hosts were now looking to gain the bonus try points but Wanderers kept repulsing their wave after wave of pressure. Their backs and forwards combined to test Wanderers' spirit but the score remained the same.

Frizzel was also sent off on the final whistle for foul play.

Disappointing though the final score is, Wanderers can take great credit from the performance, in particular the displays of scrum-half Murray, who has joined from Birkmyre, Leigh Tyley, who was much happier in his normal full-back position, and McDougall out of position at centre.

However, the whole side are to be lauded for their commitment, improved attitude and never-say-die performance.

One or two injuries were picked up, with the worst being Jack McDade who dislocated his shoulder. Another week under the new coaches and the continued increase in numbers at training should put the side in a good place for the home game against Strathmore.

The club would like to thanks the travelling support.

l Greenock Wanderers are sponsored by MM Search.