Glenafton 3 Kilsyth 0

West Region Super League 1st Division

Saturday  28th April , Loch Park, New Cumnock,

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 (2)

KILSYTH RANGERS 0 (0)

Having spent the morning enjoying the glories of Glen Afton during a walk organised by the local East Ayrshire Ranger it was off to watch Glenafton take on the Rangers of Kilsyth as the top two sides in the league looked to garner more  points  in their quest for league glory and promotion to the Premier Division.  The birdsong of the chaffinches, willow warblers and blue tits replaced by the nervous chatter of expectation emanating from home and away supporters alike; the wide expansive meadows fringed by ancient woodlands replaced by the lush green Loch Park hemmed in by terracing and hopefully the gently flowing sweet Afton replaced by some fast flowing football. Rabbie eat your heart out!

Flow Gently Sweet Afton

Home keeper Ally Semple had to be alert and rush to the edge of his box to clear from the feet of Joe Barclay as he looked to capitalise on a slack pass back and open the scoring in the opening ten seconds. Ten minutes passed before the home side posed a threat when a Craig Menzies cross picked out Paul McKenzie in the six yard box but the midfielder couldn’t guide his header on target. Four minutes later McKenzie’s trickery left two blue shirts sprawling on the ground as he waltzed through the box only for the ball run free before he could test keeper Michael Duke. Barclay for the visitors continued to look lively up front keeping the home defence on their toes who responded well ensuring that Semple was seldom called into action, until the 17th minute, when a Francis Kelly drive from 20 yards out had the keeper diving low and at full stretch to push the ball away.  Two minutes later a good run by Philip Dolan ended with his shot at goal sailing Semple’s bar.

On 19 minutes Glenafton came close to breaking the deadlock when John Dempster rose head and shoulders above David Waters to head a Gus Cochrane corner-kick goal-ward only for the ball to be blocked by strike partner Gareth Armstrong deep in the six yard block and despite his best efforts he couldn’t hook the ball beyond the reaches of Duke, by now on his knees.  At the other end Semple punched the ball from the head of Paul Doyle, after further fine work from Dolan had earned Kilsyth a corner kick.  The home side responded with a corner of their own and a Richie McKillen header was scrambled away before possession was surrendered again as Glenafton began to turn the screw and their pressure was rewarded on 26 minutes through a stunning strike. A long clearance by Semple was killed dead by McKenize and quickly despatched to John Dempster , 20 yards out  lurking with intent at the edge of ‘D’ and with his back to goal, held off the attention of Calum Scott, before turning  and whipping the ball into the top corner of the net beyond the reach of Duke who had strayed from his line.

John Dempster opens the scoring

Duke done by Dempster

Glenafton’s tails were up and their passing game was now in full flow as they pushed forward in waves, with Paul Murphy to the fore, pinning Rangers deep in their own half. On 31 minutes McKillen floated a free-kick tight from the right hand touch-line  into the box for Dempster to head-flick the ball to the far end of the six yard box where Armstrong guided it across the face of goal and Ryan McChesney stole in between Doyle and Graeme McLaren but his shot crashed off the underside of the crossbar, unperturbed McChesney  was again quickest to react and poked the loose ball over the line beyond the reach of the grounded Duke.  The smile on the young defender’s face was as wide as Duke’s net as he celebrated his first competitive goal for his home town team with his appreciative team-mates.

Ryan McChesney's make it 2-0

Chessy checks it's over the line

The visitors picked themselves up and won a free-kick on the edge of the Glen’s box but although McLaren’s effort beat the wall it failed to test Semple as the ball flew high over the bar. At the other end Menzies and Dempster combined to feed Craig Potter’s run to the bye-line but his cut back for Armstrong was punched away before being booted clear by Stephen McPeake. The half drew to a close with a Kilsyth corner but that like its predecessors came to nothing. H/T Glens 2 Kilsyth 0

Glenafton kicked off and seconds later an Armstrong rocket from 25 yards pinged off the outside of Duke’s right hand post to the on-looking keeper’s relief. Five minutes later Duke played a much more active role pulling off a fine save from Menzies after a one two with McKenzie saw the defender burst into the box and fire for goal. At the other end Menzies’ leap did enough to force Barclay to head wide of target from close range heralding a period of sustained pressure from the visitors.  A couple of corners in quick succession saw Glenafton’s captain Robbie Henderson win the aerial battle on both occasions although McLaren’s acrobatic effort to volley home one of the clearances was equally noteworthy. Rangers continued to push and Semple rose to pluck the ball from the air as McKillen shielded his keeper from Barlcay’s presence.

Robbie rises to the rescue

Back came the home side. McKenzie’s magic saw the midfielder fly down the right flank and break into the box where he turned defender Ryan Carr inside out time and again before crossing for the incoming Dempster at the back post and although he was forced to retreat he picked out Potter on the outskirts of the box but the midfielder’s crack at goal was well off target. Back came the visitors and a quick break down the right wing ended with substitute Darren Dalrymple heading the resultant cross from the clutches of Semple and Barclay’s effort to poke home the loose ball blocked at the expense of a corner which again was mopped up by Glenafton.

Midway through the half, with a 2-0 game poised at that ‘next goal crucial’ stage, the Glens introduced Gareth Campbell for Gus Cochrane in a clear statement of their intent to bag that crucial goal and a minute later the home side looked to have done just that. Campbell won the ball on the half way line and passed to Dempster on the overlap who in turn fed the overlapping Menzies and another brilliantly executed one-two between the two saw Menzies drive in on goal and blast the ball as he entered the six yard only for Duke to make a great point blank save and then as he fell stretch an arm out to halt McKenzie’s effort to poke the loose ball home dead on the goal-line.

Duke of Kilsyth

The sides took turn- about at winning corner kicks as they sought out that elusive goal with the trailing visitors’ cause of course that much more urgent but the home side perhaps showing that greater sense of urgency.  With 8 minutes to go Glenafton effectively sealed the points with a third and killer goal that epitomised their performance.  McKenzie made a lung bursting run to try and win a ball he had no chance of winning but instead forced Kilsyth to concede a throw-in just inside their own half. Armstrong the recipient of the shy lobbed the ball over Dalrymple’s head to allow man-of-the-match Menzies to burst into the box again and draw Duke from his line before cutting back for Campbell to surely burst the net from 6 yards out, only for Scott to bravely block and the power of the shot take the ball out of the danger area -chance gone?  Nothing of the sort, McKenzie gathered the ball and his cross from the bye-line saw Campell beat three defenders to head low into Duke’s right hand corner with the keeper caught wrong-footed on the line.

Campbell clincher

In the closing minutes both sides again exchanged a few corner kicks and again these were well defended and there was to be no more scoring as Glenafton closed the gap on league leaders to three points and of course continue to have two games in hand.

Glenafton:  Semple; Menzies, McChesney, Henderson, McKillen; McKenzie, Cochrane (Campbell), Murphy, Potter; Armstrong (Boyle), Dempster (Cashmore). Subs. Dunsmuir (gk), McEwan, Colligan

Kilsyth: Duke; Scott, Doyle,Waters, Carr; Kelly, McPeake, McLellan, Dolan; Barclay, McLaren Subs. McClung, Hughes, Dempsey, O’Neill, Dalrymple

More photos here

Siney’s video highlights here

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Glenafton 4 Hurlford 0

West Region Super League 1st Division

Wednesday 25th April , Loch Park, New Cumnock,

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 4 (0)

HURLFORD UNITED 0 (0)

After thirty starts and two appearances from the bench (both in Ayrshire Cup ties) Paul McKenzie missed his first game after failing to recover from the bad knock sustained in the victory of Lanark on Saturday. The marked improvement in the strength from the bench saw top goalscorer Gareth Armstrong, having recovered from injury too, return to the starting line-up. In a first half devoid of real chances for the home side it was visitors Hurlford that looked more likely to break the deadlock, and indeed only two point blank saves by Ally Semple prevented the Blair Park side from going in at the break ahead. H/T Glens 0 Hurlford 0

The half-time oranges served in the home dressing room certainly added a much needed zing to Glenafton’s play and within 10 minutes of the re-start John Dempster drilled the ball low into the corner of the net after a Richie McKillen free-kick from outside the box was laid off to the striker by Gareth Armstrong. Now firing on all cylinders the Glens looked hungry for more and soon doubled their lead, but in the strangest of circumstances. Gareth Armstrong nominated to return the ball to Hurlford after a clash of heads on the half-way line, pointed to keeper David Markey alerting him of his attentions and hit a trundler straight to him, but somehow the hapless goalie contrived to let the ball roll into the net. The referee had no option but to let the goal stand.  Hurlford kicked-off and headed up field where Ally Semple made no attempt to stop their shot at goal, but the ball flew wide of target!

Midway through the half a Hurlford attack down the left flank was quickly snuffed out and the ball played infield to Paul Murphy. The midfielder motored down the middle of the park leaving the visitors’ midfield in his wake and their defence backing off  before slipping the ball out to the right for Dempster running into the box who lofted it to the back post where the incoming Gareth Armstrong to bullet home a header.

With 8 minutes to go Murphy again was the instigator with a powerful run before playing a picture perfect one-two with Dempster lurking on the edge of the box and taking the return ball across the 18 yard line to play what seemed to be another one-two with Bobby Colligan. Instead the youngster stepped over the ball, his shuffle leaving his marker for dead, then drew keeper and slotted the ball home for first Glenafton goal – one to remember. A half to forget for Hurlford ended with John Craig taking not such an early bath. F/T Glens 4 Hurlford 0

 Glenafton: Semple, Menzies, McChesney, Henderson, McKillen; Potter, Cochrane, Murphy, Cashmore (Campbell); Dempster, Armstrong (Boyle)

Hurlford: Marky, Fulton, Minor, McCulloch (Doolan), Spence, Nimmo, Wilson, Cameron, Brown, Cunningham, Craig

Siney’s Video goals

Other scores: Dalry 2 Girvan 3, East Kilbride 1 Whitletts 4, Kilsyth 2 Rutherglen 2, Renfrew 1 Lanark 2. Cumbernauld v Shotts game abandoned at half-time with the home side leading 2-1.

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Glenafton 2 Lanark 1

West Region Super League 1st Division

Saturday 21st April , Loch Park, New Cumnock,

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (2)

LANARK UNITED 1 (0)

The corresponding league fixture between the two sides at Lanark back in November ended in a draw and so too the West of Scotland Cup tie four weeks ago at Loch Park with the home side winning through on a penalty shoot-out. With both teams enjoying decent runs there was little to suggest that today’s meeting would be another close encounter (of the third kind) and so it proved to be.

The Lanark blues began brightly and almost took a six minute lead when Gary Gow whipped a great free kick in to the box but former Glens’ striker Stuart Tullis’ powerful header flashed just wide of target. On ten minutes the Glens, who had now found their feet, after good work by Craig Menzies down the right flank won a throw-in 20 yards from the by-line. A quick throw to Cashmore was returned to Menzies who skipped past Gow and chipped a delicate ball to the outskirts of the six yard box where Paul McKenzie nicked ahead of John Renwick to flick a header home at the far post with the unsighted keeper Derek Barnes caught flat-footed on his line.

John Dempster looks on as Paul McKenzie's header finds the net

Seven minutes later the visitors looked to have drawn level when Tullis picked up a pass in the penalty box ‘D’, turned and thundered the ball for goal, only for it to crash off the base of  the post with keeper Ally Semple at full stretch beaten. Jack Marriot pounced and slammed the ball into the empty net, but the flag was up to signal the striker had done so from an offside position. The football, now being played in bright sunshine, was end to end with Tullis and Marriot and their counterparts Ian Cashmore and John Dempster taking it turn to torment their opposition’s defence – with that of Glenafton’s looking that bit more assured.

Midway through the half the home side doubled their lead. A Paul Murphy free kick some 25 yards from goal was spilled by Barnes on his goal line and John Dempster, already on the move to take advantage of such situations, forced the loose ball home from a yard out with the Lanark defence still to breach the six yard box.

JD's Joy!

With their tails up Glenafton pressed forward and on 28 minutes Dempster and Cochrane combined to get behind the Lanark defence and pick out the incoming Richie McKillen on the edge of the six yard box only for Mushet to make a crucial tackle and clear the danger. Three minutes later Henderson was the match of Mushet with a timely tackle breaking up a fine move between Marriot and Tullis. Back up the park and Barnes redeemed himself by turning a blistering shot from Murphy round the post.

Ten minutes before the break McKenzie, who had failed to shake off the effects of an earlier crunching tackle from behind, hobbled off to be replaced by Bobby Colligan. The heavens opened but Glenafton continued to pour forward and a Dempster went wide then another was well held by Barnes. The final chance of the half fell to Lanark but a two fisted punch by Semple sent the ball clear and safe. H/T Glens 2 Lanark 0

Having had the last word of the first half the visitors had more like the first chapter of the second and pegged Glenafton back deep into their own half. Despite the torrential rain the powerful Tullis was bounding about the pitch leaving defenders slipping and sliding in his wake but more often than not the good work failed to conclude with Semple being tested.  Yet, on the hour mark, in their first serious attempt of the half Glenafton looked certain to increase their lead when Cochrane skated into the box leaving Mushet grounded and Renwick at his back but hesistancy in shooting allowed Chris Walker to position himself to block the shot at the expense of a corner.

Lanark responded through Tullis with another run the length of the park that ended with Potter picking his pocket in the box. Work-horse Dempster replied with a surging run of his own that ended less eloquently, Walker and Renwick double-teaming to bring him down before he broke into the box. Barnes now on top his game punched away McKillen’s resultant free-kick and the resultant corner-kick coming to nothing. Conditions underfoot continued to deteriorate but credit to both sides the energy levels were sustained and the end-to-end play continued apace with the visitors shading it in terms of possession and goal threat. Midway through the half Lanark’s perseverance was finally rewarded with a move that began with the defence of a Glenafton corner that saw the impressive Gow find Tullis back deep in his own half. The striker gathered the ball and stormed up the left wing before passing to Alan McFadden who floated the ball into the box and although McKillen beat Marriot to the header Grant Cuthill was on hand to pick up the loose ball and square to Clark Rankin who was quickly robbed by Colligan only for the ball to break for Renwick who wasted no time firing the ball into the six yard box for Jack Marriot to guide it home beyond Ryan McChesney on the line.

Alan McFadden and Stuart Tullis celebrate Jack Marriot's goal

Lanark brought on the fresh legs of former Glenafton trialist Chris Seenan and a minute later Semple pushed Marriot’s past the post and then punched the ensuing corner from the head of Walker as the visitors pushed for an equaliser. Back came the Glens and Dempster outjumped Walker to flick the ball on for Cashmore who took a couple of touches before firing from 25 yards out but Barnes did brilliantly to get low and forced the ball wide. Once again a Glenafton corner was the source of a Lanark attack with Tullis flying down the right for a change but on this occasion the home defence eventually cleared the danger, albeit at the third attempt. With 15 minutes to go another Lanark break ended with a Clark Rankin header bouncing of the post with Semple beaten.

The home side replaced the hard working Cashmore with Gareth Campbell and minutes later Colligan set up the substitute but his shot from 20 yards was well held by Barnes in difficult conditions. At the other end Marriot melted a terrific shot at goal but Semple at full stretch touched the ball on to the base of the post to leave the Lanark blues with their hands on their heads. Campbell tested Barnes again from outside the box and again the keeper had his measure. With 5 minutes of regulation time to go Craig McEwan came on for Craig Menzies (a strong contender for man-of-the-match) and he was soon in the thick of things as the Glens forced a couple of corner kicks on the right, neither of which troubled the visitors’ goal.

Two minutes into time added-0n Rankin lofted a free-kick high into a packed penalty box where Semple leapt to punch the ball from Walker’s head only for it to fall kindly for Tullis who lashed it goalward but his effort was blocked by Murphy, initiating a loud appeal for hand ball which was waved away by the referee. At the other end Dempster (another strong contender for man-of-the-match) forced his way down the right and played Colligan into the box who skipped past Renwick and squared the ball for Murphy but his strike from 12 yards out sailed over the bar. With five additional minutes having come and gone Lanark filled the Glens’ box as Barnes launched a final free kick but the home side stood firm and held on for the points. F/T Glens 2 Lanark 1.

Glenafton: Semple; Menzies (McEwan), McChesney, Henderson, McKillen; Potter, Cochrane, Murphy, McKenzie (Colligan); Cashmore (Campbell), Dempster. Subs Boyle, Armstrong, Dunsmuir.

Lanark: Barnes, Renwick, Mushet, Walker, Gow; Rankin, Ronald, Cuthill, McFadden; Marriot, Tullis. Subs Seenan, Docherty, McAvoy, Fletcher, McDougal, Collins, Hyslop.

more photos here

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Saltcoats 0 Glenafton 4

Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup Quarter-final

Sat 14th April, Campbell Park, Saltcoats

SALTCOATS VICTORIA 0 (0)

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 4 (2)

Glenafton progressed to their second cup semi-final on successive Saturdays with a 4-0 victory over Saltcoats in the Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup.  A Gareth Armstrong brace in the opening 10 minutes and a goal a-piece from Paul McKenzie and John Dempster in the last 15 minutes may tell the story of the goals but gives little insight to the home side’s contribution to the contest.

Gareth Armstrong heads home

The visitors started brightly and on two minutes a Gareth Campbell header released John Dempster down the right who launched a ball to the far side of the penalty box for the incoming Gareth Armstrong but the striker’s well struck first time efforts sailed over the bar.  Five minutes later Craig McEwan played a perfect one-two with Dempster before making for the bye-line from where his high cross evaded the gallant leap of Warren Gordon and in ghosted Gareth Armstrong to bullet a net-bulging header past keeper Chris Lamb .  From the kick-off the Vics went straight up the park and good work by Paul Monan down the right ended with his cut-back into the box being drilled low and hard toward goal by Tam McClelland only for keeper Ally Semple to smother the ball at his near post.

Bo celebrates his brace

A minute later Robbie Henderson ended another Vics attack and his clearance downfield saw Gareth Armstrong show Greg Paterson a clean pair of heels before lofting the ball over Lamb’s head from 25 yards out. Once again the home side rallied quickly and a neat ball from Sean Quinn played the tricky Lee Munro behind the Glens defence and once again Semple came out on top, pushing the striker’s shot behind for a corner which was eventually scrambled clear. Back came Glenafton with a fine flowing move that took the ball from box to bow and ended with a Paul Murphy shot from 15 yards crashing off the cross bar.

The pattern of end to end play continued but with neither keeper being seriously tested. Mid-way through the half another slick move from the visitors saw Cashmore and Dempster switch the ball across the park from left to right to set up Armstrong in the box but the striker’s  header lacked the potency of the one that delivered the opener. Ten minutes later the Seasiders passed up a great chance to halve the deficit.  Joe McLauchlan broke down a Glens’ attack at the centre circle and chipped a cute ball to the right corner of the penalty box for Munro who took a great first touch before shooting for goal only for Semple to block, the nippy front man gathered the rebound and avoided the outstretched arm of the ground goalie but his valiant attempt to guide the ball between defenders Ryan McChesney and Richie McKillen was forced clear for a corner. H/T Vics 0 Glens 2

Glenafton made two changes at the break with Craig Menzies coming on for McChesney while Campbell , who had suffered a head-knock late in the half, was replaced by Gus Cochrane who almost made an instant impact but his close range effort went wide of target. Ten minutes later a period of sustained Glenafton pressure culminated with Cashmore firing over the bar from 12 yards out.  Saltcoats enjoyed a second wind and had the visitors pegged back winning a couple of corners in the process. With 65 minutes gone McEwan blocked a low drive in the box from Quinn and then Menzies brought a fine run by Jordan Stewart to an end with a tenacious tackle on the bye-line only for the ball to break to Munro but his shot cannoned off the cross-bar.

Taz celebrations

Five minutes later Glenafton introduced the fresh legs of Paul McKenzie for Ian Cashmore as the Vics continued to press in search of a goal. Half-hearted claims for a penalty after Monan lost his footing in a race for the ball with McKillen were waved away and as the Glens broke upfield Dempster was fouled as he entered the Vics half. McEwan floated the free-kick deep into the box where Armstrong killed the ball on the six yard line and in a flash Paul McKenzie pounced and wheeled to whip the ball home on 74 minutes.

John Dempster to the fore

To their credit the Seasiders continued to look to salvage something from the game but the Glens’ defence stood firm conceding a corner kick here and there. Two minutes from time John Dempster’s tireless display was rewarded with a cracking goal. Cochrane from tight on the right touchline picked out the big striker on the six yard line (with his back to goal and Paterson at his back) who then swivelled and lashed a left footed strike into the roof of the net. Fittingly the final whistle went at the conclusion of another Saltcoats corner-kick as the home side refused to give up the ghost. F/T Vics 0 Glens 4

Saltcoats: Lamb; Ford, Gordon, Paterson; Lindsay; Monan, McLauchlan J., Stewart, Quinn; Munro L, McClelland. Subs. McLauchlan c., Gibb, Reid, Walsh

Glenafton:  Semple; McEwan, McChesney (Menzies), Henderson, McKillen;  Campbell (Cochrane), Potter, Murphy, Cashmore (McKenzie); Armstrong, Dempster Subs. Boyle, Dunsmuir (gk)

Monty Campbell Park

It was a pleasure to meet up with Saltcoats Victoria chairman and Killie legend Raymond Montgomerie at Campbell Park yesterday.  Like me, Monty nowadays tries to strike the right balance in following the senior and junior sides he has supported all his days through their respective ups and downs. It is 15 years ago that he lifted the Scottish Cup as Kilmarnock captain and since that glorious day it is fair to say that Killie have enjoyed a fair measure of success including being ever present in the Premier League and of course more recently their defeat of red-hot favourites Celtic in the final of this season’s Scottish Communities League Cup.

Ray is now the Public Relations and Matchday Manager at Rugby Park but with Killie having no fixture yesterday he was at Campbell Park to cheer on the Vics and to help an energetic and welcoming committee and of course took time out to talk to the travelling supporters.

There was little doubt that the Vics were delighted to be back at Campbell Park after three seasons ground sharing with next door neighbours Ardeer Thistle.  That scourge of Junior football, mindless vandalism, has been no stranger to the old ground and today a neat row of ‘metal vandal -proof container units’ make up the committee room, tea room, home and away dressing rooms and the referee’s room.

After the game Monty invited the Glenafton players, management and committee to his pub in the town, ‘The Vic’ – of course – for a bite to eat and to watch the Grand National. Here again Monty and me were on common ground wiyh only one horse for us – Killyglen!

Thank you to Ray and all at Campbell Park for a great day.

more photos

Siney’s Video highlights

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Saltcoats v Glenafton

Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup Quarter-final

Sat 14th April, Campbell Park, Saltcoats

SALTCOATS VICTORIA v GLENAFTON ATHLETIC

Glenafton play their second quarter-final on successive Saturdays tomorrow when they travel to face Saltcoats Victoria in the Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup. The ‘Seasiders’ complete a hat-trick of Ayrshire District sides the Glens have met in the competition having defeated Irvine Vics (2-1) and Craigmark (5-1) in the earlier rounds. Bobby Colligan, who scored Irvine Vics goal against the Glens, is of course cup-tied.

Happy Returns (I)

Saltcoats returned to Campbell Park at the beginning of the season after a spell of ground sharing with Stevenston neighbours Ardeer Thistle. It proved to be happy returns as the Vics enjoyed a decent run in their Ardagh Cup Section defeating all three of their fellow Ayrshire District sides Irvine Vics, Darvel and Ardeer while  losing narrowly to Hurlford and Irvine Meadow. The good form continued into the league campaign with Saltcoats winning three of their first four games including an 11-2 win at Darvel ( James Callaghan, Paul Monan and Gavin Sim all hitting hat-tricks) and securing a share of the points in the trip doon the water to Troon. Since those summer days league wins have proved to be thinner on the ground but the Vics recently returned to winning ways with a 3-2 home win over Lugar.

Cup football has kept the Campbell Park faithful entertained throughout the season. Although a narrow 1-0 home defeat to the Buffs brought an early end to their West of Scotland Cup  campaign the Vics enjoyed a good run in the Scottish. In the 1st round Alistair Ross bagged a brace as Super 1st Division side East Kilbride Thistle were stung 4-1 before Darvel were dumped 8-0 in the next round (Lee Munro the hat-trick man on this occasion) to set up a third round trip to the mighty Bo’ness. It took the East Region giants almost an hour to open their account and only settled the tie in injury time, by which time the Seasiders were down to 10 men. In the Ayrshire Weekly Cup, the Vics defeated Darvel for the third time in the season before enjoying a famous victory at Winton Park, goals from Paul Monan and Jordan Stewart doing the damage against John Garroch’s Rovers.

Happy Returns (II)

Saltcoats Victoria were formed in the 1880’s and were one of the founder members of the Ayrshire Junior Football Association.  The Vics later joined the senior ranks and records show that in 1886/87 Lanemark, the senior side from New Cumnock, defeated Saltcoats 17-2 in the 1st round of the Ayrshire Cup. Whether or not this was Victoria, or another Saltcoats side, is unclear. However, the two sides did meet in the 1st round of the Scottish Cup at Saltcoats in 1890/91, the home side winning by the odd goal in five.  In 1911/12 Saltcoats returned to the Junior ranks and so this season effectively marks their ‘Centenary Season’  in the Juniors – so happy returns Saltcoats.

Saltcoats and Glens in the Ayrshire Junior Cup

Glenafton 1958-59

The two sides first met in the Ayrshire Junior Cup in Season 1958/59 with the Glens winning 4-1 in the 3rd round at Connel Park but went on to lose 3-1 to Largs Thistle in the final with the more than ample consolation of claiming the treble of Western League Championship, the Western League Cup and the Vernon Trophy. The following season Vics turned the tables and thrashed the Glens 5-2 in the semi-final at Stevenston, but they too lost in the final going down 6-3 to Ardeer Thistle. The season after that, in the first meeting of the two sides at Loch Park, the home side came out on top winning 4-0 in the 1st round.

Over 30 years would pass before the Glens and Vics met again in the Ayrshire Cup, in

Gary Matthews

Season 1992/93,  – a memorable one for both clubs. The Glens won 2-0 in the 2nd round at Loch Park and went on to beat Cumnock at Townhead in the final to add to the Scottish Junior Cup  and Ayrshire 1st Division title, while Saltcoats claimed the Ayrshire 2nd Division title. Three seasons later the Glens trounced the Vics 6-0 in the 1st round at Loch Park but things were a lot closer in the same round in Season 2000/01 at the same venue with the Glens winning by the odd goal in five on way to beating the Buffs in the final.

Glenafton and Saltcoats last met in the competition five years ago, again in the 1st round and again at Loch Park. In goal for Glenafton was the legendary Gary Matthews, who had been the Saltcoats keeper when the two clubs clashed back in 1992/93. Goals from Gavin Brown and Paul Cassidy gave the Glens a 2-0 victory

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Glenafton 1 Ardrossan 0

West Region Super League 1st Division

Wed 11th April , Loch Park, New Cumnock, KO 6:30pm

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (0)

ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 0 (0)

Ian Cashes in and Ally Saves

Cashy and Ally

April showers morphed into downpours as the first card of midweek fixtures was greeted with woeful weather in the West of Scotland as witnessed by the short notice postponements of the Super League 1st Division match between East Kilbride Thistle and Renfrew and the Central 1st Division encounter between Neilston and Vale of Clyde due to a carpet of hailstones at Brig O’ Lea.

The rain lashed down from the low cloud that hung over Loch Park for most of the match as Glenafton hosted Ardrossan Winton Rovers with both teams desperate for points to sustain their challenge for promotion to the Premier Division. Glenafton made one change from the side that knocked Premier side Beith out of the West of Scotland Cup at the week-end with the then cup-tied Bobby Colligan, making his first start for the club, replacing the injured Gus Cochrane. Rovers too introduced a debutant in the shape of Andy Bell making his first appearance for the club since his move from Glenafton two weeks ago. Also in the Rovers starting eleven was former Glens’ defender Bob Hay and of course in the AWAY dugout was former Glenafton assistant manager John Garroch, with another former Afton lad John McMillan on the bench.

The visitors made all (or most of) the running in the first half with Glenafton’s central defensive pairing of Robbie Henderson and Ryan McChesney at the heart of a concerted rearguard action by the home side.  Rovers threatened to run riot as chances came and went the best of which fell on fifteen minutes after a fine passing move ended with Andy Boyle cutting the ball back from the bye-line for striker Scott Adam in the six yard box but his shot crashed off the inside of the post.  Glenafton’s respite came in glimpses with Colligan’s pace catching the eye now and again but Winton’s keeper Kenny Pollock was seldom tested.  His counterpart Ally Semple played his part in keeping Ardrossan at bay as shots, like the heavens, rained in on Glenafton’s goal. Seven minutes before the break the expected breakthrough arrived but from an unexpected source.  An exquisite piece of play by John Dempster made space for Ian Cashmore to glide into the box and guide the ball past Pollock at the near post. H/T Glens 1 Winton Rovers 0

The Glens came much more into the game in the second half with Paul McKenzie motoring about the park which was beginning to cut up badly as conditions worsened. As the light faded fast it was difficult to see where the next goal was going to come from as the contest was now much more even in terms of possession and chances created ( albeit a few each).  But, as in the first half, with seven minutes of this half remaining drama descended on the Loch Park stage. Glens’ captain scuppered Scott Adam, as he stole into the penalty area, earning himself a red-card and Rovers a spot kick. Adam, who bagged a brace of penalties at Thorniewood on Saturday to bring his season tally to five from 12 yards out, stepped up to try and make it six. Instead, Ally Semple saved his fifth penalty in three games (four in penalty shoot-outs) and was grateful to see the rebound blasted over the bar.  The wind had been taken out of Winton’s sails momentarily and back they came in search of a share of the points but once again fortune in front of goal deserted them as substitute Stuart Wilson’s shot from the edge of the box rattled the woodwork. F/T Glens 1 Ardrossan 0

Glenafton: Semple; Menzies, McChesney, Henderson, McKillen; McKenzie, Potter, Murphy, Colligan; Cashmore, Dempster. Subs, Armstrong, Boyle, Campbell, Cochrane, McEwan, Dunsmuir

Ardrossan: Pollock, Hay, Fisher, Faulds, Bell, Frye, Boyle, Gilmour, Adam, Hamilton, Muir. Subs McMillan, Reid, Wilson, Young

Other Scores

East Kilbride P Renfrew P, Girvan 1 Whitletts 1, Hurlford 3 Dalry 2, Kilsyth 0 Cumbernauld 2, Rutherglen 2 Lanark 3

updated league table

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Glenafton 0 Beith 0

New Coin Automatics West of Scotland Cup Quarter-final

Sat 7th April Loch Park, New Cumnock

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0 (0)

BEITH JUNIORS 0 (0)

Glenafton win 5-4 penalties

Glenafton claimed a hat-trick of Premier Division scalps in this season’s West of Scotland cup with a penalty shoot-out win over Beith after a goal-less draw at Loch Park. As in the previous round keeper Ally Semple shone in the shoot-out saving two of the visitors spot-kicks.

The first half offered up little in the way of clear cut chances as both sides struggled to stamp their authority on the game. The visitors squandered an  early free kick from just outside the box and fifteen minutes would pass before they threatened again when Kenny McLean pounced to steal the ball from keeper Ally Semple’s attempt to clear a pass back but the striker could not pick out Calum Hardie in the box and the chance was gone. Five minutes later Beith won a couple of corners kicks but these were quickly mopped up by a well marshalled Glenafton defence.

On 25 minutes the home side were rather more inventive with a corner kick that caught the visitors’ cold and fell for Paul Murphy on the edge of the box but his volley whizzed wide of keeper Neil Greenwood’s goal. A minute later Craig Potter played the ball into the box for Paul McKenzie to give chase but the impressive Ross Dunlop matched his run allowing Greenwood to race from his line and gather the ball.

Greenwood and Dunlop block out McKenzie

Although the endeavours of Glenafton’s strike partnership of John Dempster and Ian Cashmore kept the Beith’s defence on their toes the pair rarely got a chance to test Greenwood. Similarly at the other end Andy Reid’s good work on the right flank often fizzled out to nothing as the home side’s rear guard marked his partner McLean out of the game. Ten minutes from the break Tony Fraser made excellent progress down the left wing but an equally excellent executed timed tackle in the box from Craig Menzies prevented the cut-back across the face of the Glenafton goal. H/T Glens 0 Beith 0

Beith introduced striker Christiano Kisuka at the interval and Henderson and Potter were forced to combine to bring the youngster’s determined first foray upfield to an end. At the other end the home side won two corners in quick succession with Gus Cochrane’s deliveries causing a stir as the temp of the game improved markedly. On 57 minutes the Mighty looked certain to take the lead when Stuart Callaghan was through on goal but Semple dived bravely and with both fists punched the ball to safety.

As the half progressed the industrious Glens began to edge the midfield battle with Murphy pulling the strings and McKenzie in a menacing mood the Beith goal was seeing most of the action. On the outskirts of the box and with his back to goal McKenzie hooked a wicked shot that had Greenwood scurrying across his line and relieved to see the ball sneak past the post. A minute later Cashmore left John Sheridan for dead and as Mark Staunton closed in he lashed the ball from 20 yards out but too high to threaten the goal, which in any case Peat had covered. On 67 minutes Cashmore from the right touchline chipped a cute ball into the box and despite the close attention of Dunlop his strike partner Dempster met the ball on the drop but his stunning volley went wide of target with Greenwood a stunned spectator. Five minutes later the fresh legged Gareth Armstrong replaced Cashmore who left a well-earned roar from the home support appreciative of his efforts.

Beith too had freshened things up and Ryan Holmes looked lively on the ball but again there was too be no end product from the visitors’ inventive play as his good worked ended with a rushed shot sailing a high and wide of target. At the other end Staunton came to the rescue as Dempster got on the end of a long ball into the box and forced the Glens’ striker away from goal allowing black and white strips to flood into the box; nevertheless Dempster’s perseverance won his side a corner, which in turn would lead to another. Cochrane’s delivery picked out Armstrong who rose unchallenged to head the ball into the six yard box where Dempster with his back to goal tried to valiantly to guide it home but Hardie and Greenwood shoulder to shoulder combined to eventually scramble the ball clear. In a flash Reid played a quick one two taking him the length of the park where his run was ended by Richie McKillen, however the resultant free-kick came to nothing as Menzies outleapt McLean at the back post.

Greenwood and Hardie block out Dempster

With 10 minutes to go another Glens attack came to an end courtesy of Sheridan. The counter attack had Reid and McLean fly up the right flank in unison leaving the home defence back-tracking and Kisuka in the middle calling for the ball but instead McLean shot tamely for goal and Semple saved with ease. The home side responded with a couple of consecutive corners which concluded with McKenzie volleying the ball over the bar from 25 yards out. End to end play as both sides went all out to avoid the penalty shoot-out. McChesney doing his bit for the home side with a last ditch tackle on Holmes before with the last touch of the ball Hardie’s header sailed over Semple’s bar. F/T Glens 0 Beith 0

The penalty shoot-out began and ended with a touch of class. Glenafton’s youngest player Gus Cochrane had the courage to step up to take the first penalty for the home side while Beith’s goalkeeper Neil Greenwood was first act at the conclusion of the contest was to seek out and congratulate his counter-part Ally Semple, whose double save effectively won the tie.

Ally saves in sudden-death

Gus Cochrane opened the scoring for Glenafton before Ally Semple saved from Andy Reid. Paul Murphy and John Dempster added to the Glens tally before Mark Peat saved from Richie McKillen. Gareth Armstrong scored for the Glens before the shoot-out went into sudden-death with the sides tied at 4-4; Paul McKenzie scored the Glens and Ally Semple saved from Christiano Kisuka.

Glenafton: Semple; Menzies, McChesney, Henderson, McKillen; McKenzie, Potter, Murphy, Cochrane; Cashmore (Armstrong), Dempster. Subs- McEwan, Boyle,Dunsmuir

Beith: Greenwood; Dunlop, Staunton, Sheridan, McMenamin; Hardie, Callaghan, O’Keane, Fraser; McLean, Reid. Subs – Hughes, Holmes, Kisuka, Wilson, Peat

The Goalie's Union

Glenafton will now host the Irvine Meadow or Shotts Bon Accord in the semi-final.

more photos here

Siney’s Video Highlights: Penalty Shoot-Out

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Super League standings

Although Glenafton had a day off with no fixture there were no off days for several of the clubs chasing promotion with Thorniewood, Renfrew and East Kilbride all adding three points to their tallies. Thorniewood remain in 2nd place after a fine 4-1 win away at Whitletts while Renfrew climb to third place following a 1-0 win at Winton Rovers, resulting in the Glens slipping to 4th place.  East Kilbride’s 3-0 win at the Showpark  over bottom placed Dalry leaves them level on 26 points level with 5th placed Ardrossan, having played two games less.

League leaders Kilsyth Rangers were on cup duty but remain on pole postion with a three point lead over Thorniewood and eight points ahead of Glenafton.  Although Shotts Bon Accord currently lie in 11th place, just above the four relegation spots, the league table on this occasion does lie.  A combination of postponed weather-affected fixtures and the Hannah Park club’s  renowned cup pedigree has meant no league fixtures since they thrashed Winton Rovers 7-0 at Ardrossan back in November and with two-legged Scottish Junior Cup semi-finals looming over the next two week-ends, Shotts won’t be in league action for some time.

Once again in the most dynamic league in the West Region, where possibly a total seven clubs (half of the league) could be promoted / relegated at the season’s end, is shaping up for a thrilling run in, with plenty of twists and turns to come guaranteed.

Pos Super League Pld GD Pts
1 Kilsyth 16 18 35
2 Thorniewood 18 9 32
3 Renfrew 15 10 28
4 Glenafton 16 5 27
5 Ardrossan 17 8 26
6 East Kilbride 15 1 26
7 Whitletts 17 -2 23
8 Hurlford 18 -3 22
9 Cumbernauld 16 -10 21
10 Shotts 11 13 20
11 Rutherglen 16 -6 17
12 Girvan 16 -8 17
13 Lanark 17 -6 15
14 Dalry 16 -29 7

Next Saturday the Glens host Beith in the West of Scotland Cup Quarter-Final while the stand-out fixtures in league have leaders Kilsyth travel to Whitletts and Thorniewood entertain Ardrossan.

Midweek fixtures kick-off on Wednesday 11th April with Glenafton welcoming back former assistant manager John Garroch and his Ardrossan side to Loch Park.

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Andy’s off to Rovers

Andy in control at Auchinleck

Andy Bell has teamed up with former Glenafton assistant manager John Garroch and signed for Ardrossan Winton Rovers. The tenacious midfielder  joined the Glens in the summer from Dalry Thistle and made 27 appearances for the club, scoring one goal – in the 4-1 victory over Hermes in the Scottish Junior Cup. Glenafton would like to thank Andy and wish him all the best for the future.

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West of Scotland Cup draw

New Coin Automatics West of Scotland Cup

  • Revised Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals draw

Having defeated Premier sides Clydebank and Pollok in earlier rounds and fellow Super League 1st Division Lanark United in a penalty shoot-out in the 3rd round Glenafton will now host Premier side Beith in the Quarter Final at Loch Park.

Winning goal celebrations at Clydebank

West of Scotland Cup Quarter-Finals
Cumbernauld v Auchinleck
Glenafton v Beith
St. Roch's v Ashfield
Yoker or Irvine Meadow v Shotts or Renfrew
West of Scotland Cup Semi-Finals
Cumbernauld or Auchinleck v St. Roch's v Ashfield
Glenafton or Beith v Yoker / Meadow or Shotts/Renfrew

 

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