Glenafton 5 East Kilbride 0

West Region Super League 1st Division

Wednesday 23rd May , Loch Park, New Cumnock

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 5 (1)

EAST KILBRIDE THISTLE 0 (0)

On the 23rd May Glenafton Athletic 1993 won the Scottish Junior Cup for the first time in the club’s history. On the anniversary of that glorious day the class of 2011/12 delivered a result, that arguably in the current climate is just as significant, which ensured the club would return to the top flight of league football in the West Region. With the home side requiring a point for promotion and the visitors East Kilbride eager to add to their points tally in their battle to avoid relegation the first half proved to be tentative affair which exploded into life five minutes before the break with a spectacular goal from Craig Menzies to put Glenafton ahead. The dregs of half-time teas were still being supped when Gareth Armstrong doubled the home side’s lead and although East Kilbride rallied with a string of corners there was to be no stopping Darren Henderson’s men as Craig Potter, Paul Murphy and Gus Cochrane controlled the midfield ensuring that chances aplenty were created and further goals from John Paul Boyle, Murphy and Cochrane completed the famous five and secured automatic promotion.

The nervous pre-match anticipation of the home support intensified with the news that Paul McKenzie, so often the victim of some robust tackling, would miss the Glens last two league games of the season due to suspension while Gareth Campbell, who bagged a brace in the draw at Kilsyth, was unavailable for selection due to work commitments. East Kilbride arrived buoyed by the three points garnered with the home win over in-form Shotts on Monday evening.

The home side were first to show with two minutes gone when a free kick played into the box was won by a Richie McKillen header and the ball gathered by Gareth Armstrong  on the six yard line who played it back to John Dempster and his snapshot from 10 yards out when inches wide.  A quick retort by the visitors saw some excellent control by Chris Dallas set up a clear shot at goal but the finish lacked the accuracy of the build-up.  Glenafton soon got a grip on the game but struggled to fashion a clear shot at goal against a well organised defence. The Jags, content to take their time in the pursuit of the opener, were less prolific as an attacking force but they too hit a brick wall in front of goal.

Craig Menzies’ shot beats the goalie

The breakthrough came on 40 minutes in spectacular fashion and from an unlikely source.  After some fine build up play a superb pass by Craig Potter from just inside his own half picked out Craig Menzies battering down the right flank with John Paul Boyle matching his run to break into the box, however with the three Thistle defenders at close quarters the option to feed the forward was high risk. Instead ‘Zee’ killed the ball dead, spotted keeper Ryan Maley off his line and chipped the ball over the head of the airborne goalie into the far corner of the net – an unforgettable first goal for the club.

Zee Zee Tops!

The visitors’ new found sense of urgency failed to rattle the home defence as Robbie Henderson, Ryan McChesney and Ally Semple closed the door on Dallas and co. H/T Glens 1 East Kilbride 0

Hands up for Bo!

Four minutes into the new half a posse of Glens’ players closed in on Paul Bain deep in his own half and Gus Cochrane came away with the ball and rolled it wide to Gareth Armstrong who lashed a low drive from 20 yards out and although Maley got down quick to block the ball rolled under his body and into the net.  Thistle responded well end enjoyed their best period of possession and forced a series of corners the majority of which were mopped up by Glenafton but one or two caused some concern including an Ally Morgan header that flashed past Semple’s post.

Bo’s no go :(

Back came the home side and the midfield trio took control with Craig Potter breaking down Thistle moves while Paul Murphy and Cochrane, almost telepathically picked up the pieces to push the home side forward, ably assisted by big John Dempster who stubbornly refused to give up any lost cause in any area of the pitch grinding down the visitors in the process.  On 72 minutes the Glens looked to have increased the lead when another attack had been partially cleared only for Potter to direct a header the ball back into the box which, with his back to goal, Armstrong killed on his chest and then almost in slow motion executed an exquisite overhead kick to put the ball over the head of the advancing Maley into the net – but the euphoria was waved away by the assistant referee’s flag, although many thought it was a case of mistaken identity with the inactive Cochrane in the offside position.

JP’s Fan Club

With quarter an hour to go Menzies and Dempster left to rapturous applause to be replaced by the fresh legs of Craig McEwan and Bobby Colligan …. and what fresh legs for ten seconds later Colligan exploded from a standing start to beat Michael Daley to the ball and burst into the box. Although the defender recovered to block the direct path to goal Colligan kept his cool to square the ball across the face of goal where it was missed by defender Findlay and the incoming Cochrane but fell perfectly for John Paul Boyle who took a touch on the six yard line before rifling the ball into the roof of the net, just reward for another menacing performance.

Murphy’s Ba’

Two minutes later Colligan weaved his way into the box and fired for goal only for Mailey to pull off a great save and push the ball over the bar.  The vocal home support cheered off JP as he made way for Ian Cashmore with five minutes to go. Two minutes later Cashy and Armstrong challenged for a Cohcrane corner at the near post and when the ball re-emerged Paul Murphy was first to react and pounced to side-foot  the ball home from 8 yards out.

Magnificent 7

Two minutes after that Murphy played the ball to Cashmore tight on the right touchline who lofted the ball into the box for Armstrong to roll it back to Gus Cochrane on the outskirts of the box and with Dailly closing in and Armstrong heavily marked in the box he spotted Mailey off his line, and from 23 yard outs nonchalantly nicked the ball out of the reach of the keeper at full stretch and into the gaping net for the fifth of the famous five. F/T Glens 5 East Kilbride 0

“We are going up, we are going up”

The final whistle was greeted with relief and joy in equal measure and the Glenafton players, management and supporters gathered for the obligatory chorus of ‘We are going up…’.

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

East Kilbride: Mailey; Dempsey, Morgan, Conway, Daley, Kelly, Gorman, Bain, Dallas, McVey, Chaplain. Subs McGinlay, Stewart, Hutcheson, Findlay

more photos here

Siney’s video highlights

Siney’s club house celebrations

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Salt and Sauce

Salt and Sauce

Today’s Scottish Cup final between Hearts and Hibernian got me thinking of connections between the Edinburgh clubs and Glenafton Athletic.

In recent seasons Jonathan Baillie (Hibernian 2003/2007) and Joe Quitongo (Hearts 1997/99) have played for the Glens while of course Derek Ferguson (Hearts 1990/93), a record £750,000 signing for the Tynecastle side, managed the club for a short spell. Sticking with football punditry former Glenafton goalkeeper and the club’s most successful manager Alan Rough (Hibernian 1982/88) made 175 appearances for the Easter Road side while another great Glens’ goalie Henry Smith (Hearts 1981/96) turned out 476 times for the Tynecastle club. Returning to the world of punditry Roughie brought Craig Paterson (Hibernian 1979/82) to Loch Park.

There are sure to be other connections in an era when former senior players saw out their playing days or cut their teeth in management in the Junior ranks.

The opposite was the case in the pre-World War II war era when many Junior players stepped up to the senior ranks. Understandably in the case of Glenafton of those players that did step up it was typically to west of Scotland clubs and in particular Kilmarnock. However, there are a few exceptions.

Glenafton Athletic 1934/35 Glenafton were formed in 1930/31 and played in the South Ayrshire League before gaining admission to the powerful Western League in 1933/34 and a season late they were crowned Western League Champions. From that side David Logan (right-half, back row, 2nd from left) and John Millar (inside right, front row 3rd from left) signed for Hibernian, where they enjoyed mixed fortunes. After Millar’s debut in the Scottish Cup replay against Aberdeen he made only 13 league appearances for the club, over that season and the following two; his only goal coming against Albion Rovers. David Logan also made his debut against Aberdeen, in a league match on 24th August 1935 and would go on to make 109 league appearances before the outbreak of war; his last appearance was in 1941 against Hearts in a Southern League Cup tie.

 A few seasons later, in Season 1938/39, centre forward Willie Anderson was attracting interest from Hearts and Blackpool, having played trials for both clubs while at Glenafton, but instead he signed for his home town team Kilmarnock but was never called up. Willie then signed provisionally for Hibernian and ‘in a fine gesture he presented Harry Brown the treasure of the Supporters Club with a handsome cheque’. He made a few appearance for the Glens at the start of season 1939/40 before making a permanent move to Easter Road and scored 30 goals for the club in 70 appearances.

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Glenafton 1 Troon 2

Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup Semi-final

Wed 16th May, Loch Park, New Cumnock

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (0)

TROON 2 (1)

Glenafton suffered another semi-final set back at Loch Park as Ayrshire District side Troon ended their run in the Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup. In stark contrast to the recent defeat to Irvine Meadow in the West of Scotland Cup where the Glens had the Premier side on the ropes for a spell, it was Troon that were always in the driving seat until a late strike by the home side ignited hopes of salvaging a penalty shoot-out.

Ian Cashmore partnered Gareth Campbell up front for Glenafton as Gareth Armstrong , John Dempster and John Paul Boyle, all recovering from recent injuries, took their place on the bench, while Craig McEwan replaced the rested Craig Menzies.

No fewer than five former Glens’ players – Martin Ure, Johnny Baillie, Cameron, McKinnell, Dougie Ramsay and Tony Murphy – formed the Troon starting eleven and were joined by Dale Moore, former Glenafton Boys Club star.

Cammy’s back

The home side were first to show with a neat passage of play which saw Gus Cochrane beat Ramsay to the ball and evade the challenge of Scott Chatham before feeding the ball to Paul McKenzie wide on the right who fired in a first-time cross for Campbell on the six yard box only for McKinnell to come out on top of the aerial battle for the ball. The defender was less fortunate later when the two players challenged for the ball which earned Campbell a yellow card and resulted in the Troon man being unable to shake off the injury and was replaced by Dean Keenan with 17 minutes gone.  By this time the promising start by Glenafton was a distant memory as they struggled to keep a hold of the ball and too often surrendered possession with high balls up the middle which were mopped up with ease by Baillie.

Paul McKenzie with Dougie Ramsay

Troon too struggled to create any clear cut chances but their play from box to box was much more inventive and Martin Ure was more often than not the instigator with crisp passing at pace as he broke down the right flank time and again. Little surprise then that he played a significant part in the visitors opening goal.  On the half-hour mark Baille blasted a free kick from deep in his own half straight up the middle, Stevie Wilson out-jumped Ryan McChesney to head flick the ball to the edge of the box where Darren Baird saw off the challenge of Robbie Henderson before exquisitely squaring the ball to Ure who quickly returned the ball back from where it came and although it was behind Baird the incoming Wilson met it perfectly to slam the ball home.

Glenafton’s woes continued and Martin Fraser in the Troon goal was having a quiet time although he was called into action 10 minutes before the break when Baillie was beaten in the air, for the first time, by McChesney pushed up for a free kick but his header was well held by the keeper.  Just before the break his counter-part Ally Semple denied Baird with a brave block when the loan signing from Ayr United looked destined to double the visitors lead. F/T Glens 0 Troon 1

John Paul Boyle replaced Ian Cashmore at the break and made an immediate impact as the Troon box became the busier of two – for a time at least. On 50 minutes a Boyle volley from 12 yards out had Fraser stretching to ensure the ball was going ball over the bar, while five minutes later the keeper was left grounded as Boyle appeared to have levelled the scores. A quickly taken free kick from the edge of the box by Campbell was rolled to Paul Murphy who cut the ball across of the face of the goal for the incoming Boyle to tap in, but the assistant referee’s flag was raised in a flash and the goal disallowed.  The Glens continued to press and with half an hour to go brought on top goalscorer Gareth Armstrong for McKenzie and five minutes after that John Dempster for Cochrane.

Gus Cochrane

The visitors however were still menacingly dangerous on the break and on seventy minutes Semple pulled off a great save from Moore and soon after he doubled-team with McEwan to prevent Wilson from bagging his brace. At the other end Fraser tipped a Boyle drive over the bar but could only look on as McChesney’s header from the resultant corner cannoned off Tony Murphy’s head and the ball sneak inches wide of the post. Back upfield and again a McEwan last ditch tackle, Baird the aggressor on this occasion, kept Troon at bay. On 78 minutes however the striker’s efforts were rewarded. The home defence had several attempts to clear an incoming free kick before Chatham headed the ball back into the box for Wilson to flick out to the left where Baillie beat off Henderson to shoot for goal only for a stunning save from Semple to push the ball onto the bar and Baird to storm in and crash the ball into the net.

With two minutes of the regulation ninety to go Glenafton were thrown a life-line through a Gareth Armstrong special. Semple launched a long ball high up the middle for Armstrong who was pushed off the ball by Martin Cairns but the defender’s header looped high in the air and Paul Murphy beat Ramsay to the loose ball at the edge of the box and headed it back to Armstrong who smacked the ball first time from 25 yards out beyond the reach of Fraser. Try as they might the Glens couldn’t carve out an equaliser in the five minutes of additional time and Troon held on for a well deserved victory. F/T  Glens 1 Troon 2

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

Troon: Fraser, Ure, McKinnell, Baillie, Moore; Chatham, Ramsay, Cairns, Murphy;  Baird, Wilson. Subs Smith, McKay, Keenan, Roy, Lyle, Leavy.

Siney’s Video goals

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Kilsyth 2 Glenafton 2

West Region Super League 1st Division

Saturday 12th May , Duncansfield Park, Kilsyth

KILSYTH RANGERS 2 (0)

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (0)

League leaders Glenafton Athletic travelled to face second placed Kilsyth Rangers in the knowledge that a victory would secure one of the automatic promotion places to the Premier Division, while a win for the hosts would re-ignite their own aspirations to ascend to the top flight. The game took on the mantle of a cup-tie and indeed the lush Duncansfield playing surface looked more than worthy of hosting a cup-final with the hard graft of the Kilsyth committee illuminated by glorious sunshine. The bus-load of young and vocal Glenafton supporters, including an enthusiastic drummer boy, further enhanced the cup tie theme.

As is often the case in a game of such magnitude it struggled to rise to the occasion and the first half proved to be a tense nervy affair. With a stiff breeze at their back the visitors were first to threaten when on 9 minutes John Dempster, deep in the six yard box, tried to guide home a Richie McKillen free-kick only for the ball to spin over the bar. Two minutes later the home side responded through Graham McLaren who after shaking off defender Ryan McChesney broke into the box and drilled a low shot from 10 yards out only for keeper Ally Semple to block at his near post and then push the loose ball from the feet of the incoming Joe Barclay, allowing McChesney to clear the danger.

Midway through the half McChesney looked to have broken the deadlock when he bulleted a header from a corner kick beyond the reach of keeper Michael Duke but Stephen McPeake executed his near post duties with great precision for although his body was well over the goal-line the contact between his head and ball was on the line, and the Glenafton claims for a goal were in vain.

Chessy’s header cleared off the line.

Glenafton continued to press and enjoyed much of the possession but without seriously testing Duke particularly from the numerous set-pieces they earned.  Kilsyth broke forward in flashes but more often than not the good work of Francis Kelly on the right flank and the endeavours of Barclay failed to yield any end product. H/T Kilsyth 0 Glenafton 0

The visitors started the second half in determined fashion and waves of attacks saw them breach the Kilsyth box four or five times in as many minutes with McKenzie and John Paul Boyle darting past the blue shirts at will. A McKenzie volley whizzed wide of Duke’s post and then the keeper showed a safe pairs of hands to hold a Paul Murphy shot. On 50 minutes and in their first attack of the half Darren Dalrymple, the recipient of a throw-in deep on the left wing, whipped the ball over the face of the Glenafton goal and although Graham McLaren’s header crashed off the post Francis Kelly stooped to head the rebound home. A minute later Robbie Henderson was alert to bravely block a Dalrymple drive as the home side looked to double their advantage.

Kelly eyes the goal

The visitors regrouped and on 56 minutes drew level when pressure from McKenzie and Dempster  forced Dalrymple to attempt a pass back to his keeper but in nipped Boyle to steal the ball and skipped past Duke and headed for the empty net only for a touch to take him wider than intended.  Although Duke had given up the ghost his central defenders homed in on Boyle, but the Glens man regained his composure and calmly cut the ball back for the inrushing Gareth Campbell to blast the ball into the gaping net from 8 yards.

Gareth grabs Glens’ goal

Chances fell at either end with Barclay forcing Semple to race from his line to foil the front man again while at the other end Duke did well to hold a McKenzie drive from 15 yards through a cluster of players gathered for a corner kick. On 72 minutes a Graham McLaren shot from the edge of the box whizzed over Semple’s bar only for the visitors to go up the park and get their noses in front after Gareth Campbell got a sniff of goal.  As his team-mates and their markers congregated in the six yard box for the expected long throw-in from McKillen, instead a short throw was received by Boyle who clipped the ball back to the unmarked hit man who took a touch before drilling the ball low and hard to beat the unsighted Duke at his near post.

Gareth bags his brace

Once again the game resumed a pattern of end to end play with both sides going all out for the next goal and it came with 5 minutes of regulation time remaining. A Kilsyth free-kick from the half way line was lobbed into the Glenafton box and after two or three attempt s to clear the danger the ball fell for substitute Daniel O’Neill who laid it off for Graham McLaren to fire past Semple from 6 yards. Chances continued to fall at either end in the closing five minutes and indeed in the five minutes of added on time, but if this had been a cup-tie it was destined to end in penalty shoot-out to separate the sides. F/T Kilsyth 2 Glenafton 2

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

Kilsyth:  Duke, Reid, Doyle, Watters, Hamilton, McClelland, Kelly, McPeake, Barclay, McLaren, Dalrymple. Subs  Dolan, Dempsey, Hughes, Scott, Carr, O’Neill

more photos here

Siney’s video highlights

Glenafton remain six points clear of Kilsyth and with both sides having two games of their league campaign remaining the Duncansfield club can only match the New Cumnock’s side points tally while hoping to overcome a goal difference margin of 7goals in the process. With Renfrew losing at Girvan today Glenafton are guaranteed at least a play-off place. Shotts win over Ardrossan leaves them trailing the Glens by 16 points but with 8 games in hand. Both Glenafton and Kilsyth have to travel to Hannah Park to face Shotts.

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Cumbernauld 2 Glenafton 5

West Region Super League 1st Division

Wednesday 9th May , Guy’s Meadow, Cumbernauld

CUMBERNAULD UNITED 2 (2)

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 5 (2)

Hosts Cumbernauld, fresh from slamming in seven against East Kilbride on Monday, raced to an early lead against league leaders Glenafton at Guy’s Meadow as they continued to harbour hopes of an outside chance of staking a claim for a play-off place.   Fine work by Kenny Jarvis  down the left saw him pick out Dominic O’Halloran in the box and although the striker’s  shot at goal was blocked by Robbie Henderson the ball spun in the air and keeper Ally Semple was adjudged to have impeded Paul Thomson’s attempt to gather the ball and a spot kick awarded. Up stepped captain James Steel to despatch the ball into the corner beyond Semple’s reach with three minutes gone. Cumbernauld continued to push forward with some slick moving passing play without threatening to add to their tally.

Paul Murphy’s makes it 1-1

The visitors finally began to make their mark on the game and with 17 minutes gone John Paul Boyle fed on the scraps of a free kick played into the box but keeper Dave Buchanan foiled his attempt from 6 yards out.  Ten minutes later a Paul McKenzie cut-back from the bye-line was met by Gareth Armstrong on the six yard line only for his shot to be blocked by James Brown and Buchanan then to punch the ball clear as Armstrong hoped to head home the rebound and the chance appeared to have gone. Paul Murphy had other ideas, first his shot from 12 yards was blocked by Thomson then he recovered the ball back and skipped past Thomson and Craig Boreland before drilling the ball into the net past the keeper and his central defenders.

John Paul Boyle picks his spot from 22 yards

Three minutes on and the visitors took the lead.  A ball through the middle forced Buchanan to run from his box in support of Brown’s attempt to prevent Armstrong having a free run in on goal but the ensuing defensive fankle ended with the ball falling for John Paul Boyle who kept his cool and from just inside the ‘D’ guided the ball expertly over the head of Brown and into the empty net.

Although Boyle and McKenzie’s trickery kept the home side on the back foot as the visitors looked to double their lead Cumbernauld struck back with 10 minutes of the half remaining.  From a throw in deep in the Glens half the ball was worked into the box with neat exchanges between Thomson and Gary Gibson (as well as a decoy run by Steel) to set up Dominic O’Hallaron to pick his spot from a few yards.

Glenafton were dealt a blow as Armstrong hobbled off with an ankle injury to be replaced by Bobby Colligan but were soon on the front foot again. A Henderson header from a corner flashed past Buchanan’s left hand post and then the keeper did well to push an audacious effort from Boyle from under his bar and he could only watch as a Gareth Campbell blast from 12 yards whizzed past his right hand post.  H/T Cumbernauld 2 Glenafton 2

The visitors started the second half in determined fashion as they pushed forward in waves and their efforts were rewarded within two minutes.  Ryan McChesney lobbed the ball into the box where, despite Boreland’s close attention, John Paul Boyle met it first time and thrashed it home via the underside of the bar from 12 yards out and although the spin on the ball brought it back into play there was little doubt it had previously crossed the goal-line.

JP celebrates at the double

On 61 minutes another killer ball into the box looked to have set up Boyle up for his hat-trick before David Marsh dumped him on the penalty spot and as the defender headed for an early bath Gareth Campbell slotted home the penalty kick.

Gareth Campbell’s spot-on

Colligan’s pace added to the menace of McKenzie and Boyle and with 15 minutes to go he came close to claiming Glenafton’s fifth goal  as he burst into the box , shrugging of the chasing defender, and lobbed the ball over the outrushing Buchanan but it bounced just wide of target. Credit though to Cumbernauld the 10 men kept their composure and when they could break forward it was always in some style with quick, sharp passing. In the closing minutes they forced a number of set pieces that caused a degree of alarm in the Glens’ box and in what proved to be their final threat Brown was unfortunate that the ball didn’t fall better and his shot was miscued well wide of target. Glenafton had the final say and in the fading light Bobby Colligan’s stunning strike from the corner of the six yard box threatened to take the roof of the net.   F/T Cumbernauld 2 Glenafton 5

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

Cumbernauld:  Buchanan, Boreland, Petrucci, Marsh, Brown, Jarvis, McCabe,  Thomson, O’Hallaron, Steel, Gibson. Subs McInally, Mcewan, Hanlon, Hayman, Hill, Elliot

some photos here

Siney’s video goals

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Glenafton 3 Irvine Meadow 4

New Coin Automatics West of Scotland Cup Semi-final

Sat 5th May, Loch Park, New Cumnock

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 (0)

IRVINE MEADOW 4 (1)

Irvine Meadow proved to be one Premier league scalp too many for Glenafton who had already disposed of Clydebank, Pollok and Beith from the top flight on the way to today’s semi-final at Loch Park.  An early goal appeared to put the visitors in the driving seat but the home side were more than a match for Meadow and got their noses in front with two quick goals after the break and threatened to add to that tally as the blue shirts were hemmed into their own half. However, a purple patch yielded three goals in a seven minute spell to put Meadow 4-2 up with just over 10 minutes left and yet still the Glens continued to make a game of it and pulled a goal back in time added on.

With strikers John Dempster and Gareth Armstrong unavailable through injury Glenafton started with former Meadow player John Paul Boyle up front as well as welcoming back Craig McEwan to the starting eleven after a lengthy lay-off.  Meanwhile, Meadow gave a place in their starting XI to former Glenafton wing man Simon Eeles.

The visitors got off to a great start when on 3 minutes a Richie Barr shot from close range was pushed away by Ally Semple only for Barr to gather the loose ball and feed  Gary Fleming wide on the right to cross to the back post where Stevie Miller soared to bullet home a stunning header.

Miller makes it 1-0 for Meadow

The home side responded positively and two minutes later Brian Hewitt blocked a shot from Paul McKenzie who then robbed Mark Campbell of the rebound only for Hewitt to dive at the midfielder’s feet and recover the ball; McKenzie’s appeal for foul play and a penalty waved away. Although play was end-to-end chances were thin on the ground. On 17 minutes Craig Potter from the centre circle rolled the ball out to Gareth Campbell on the right who back-heeled it into the path of the overlapping McEwan and after winning the challenge against Robertson he drove to the edge of the box but his shot at goal was well held by Hewitt. Meadow responded immediately with fleet of foot Barr in the thick of things again when he pounced on a headed clearance by Ryan McChesney and fired for goal but a deflection took the ball wide of target.

Hewitt saves from McChesney

On 32 minutes McChesney was at the heart of Glenafton’s best chance. Although the equally tall Chris Robertson beat the young defender to head clear a McKenzie corner the ball was instantly returned by McKenzie and this time McChesney won the dual and his header seemed destined for the roof of the net before Hewitt pulled off a fantastic one-handed save to shove the ball over the bar. H/T Glens 0 Meadow 1

An electrifying start to the second half saw the home side strike twice in a four minute spell to take the lead. On 47 minutes Robertson fouled Boyle at the edge of the box and Richie McKillen’s free kick to the back post was miscued by defender Mark McLennan with the ball shooting across the face of the goal to cannon off the base of the other post and Ryan McChesney was first to react and side foot home from three yards out.

McChesney makes it 1-1

Four minutes later a Craig Menzies throw-in was gathered by Boyle and flicked back to McEwan who lobbed it into the box for Gareth Campbell who was bundled to the ground by McLennan and while the Glens’ man claimed in vain for the spot kick Craig Potter gathered the loose ball and slammed it home from the outskirts of the box; the celebrations enhanced in recognition of his first goal for the club.

Craig Potter and Gareth Campbell as Glens take the lead

The Premier side were clearly rattled and Paul Murphy was dictating play for the home side much of which came down the right flank which was proving a fruitful passage to the Meadow box. On 64 minutes Murphy and McKenzie combined to release the overlapping Menzies into the box who then slalomed his way past Campbell and Robertson and into the six yard box only for Hewitt to make another fine block.  Four minutes later the keeper came to the rescue rushing from his line to dive at the feet of Gareth Campbell. The Glens continued to push and McKenzie and then Boyle both breached the Meadow box leaving defenders in their wake but unable to finish with shots on target.

Hamilton hammers home for 4-2

On 72 minutes out of the Meadow blue and completely against the run of play the visitors drew level. With his route into the box blocked Frank Gibson opted for a pop and goal and the ball seemed to take a bad bounce in front of Semple before it struck off the inside the keeper’s post and into the net.  The sense of disbelief had hardly settled before the visitors struck again two minutes later. Substitute David Hamilton won a header in the box and the ball fell for fellow substitute Paddy Flannery who kept his cool and rolled the ball home out of reach of Semple. Some respite for the Glens came in the form of another couple of free kicks with a McChesney header from one of them whizzing past Hewitt’s post. On 79 minutes Meadow doubled their lead with a third goal in a seven minute spell courtesy of a clinical finish from David Hamilton, volleying home a cross from Gibson with some style. With two minutes to go Meadow nearly added a fifth from a corner-kick but Potter kept his cool at the near post to head the ball off the line.

Richie the Third

Fittingly Glenafton had the last say in a game to which they had contributed so much. A free kick was lofted into the Meadow’s box and an almighty scramble ended with Gareth Campbell’s effort bouncing off the chest of the grounded Hewitt and Richie McKillen drilling home the rebound. F/T Glens 3 Meadow 4

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

Irvine Meadow: Hewitt, McLennan (Hamilton), N. McGowan, Robertson, Campbell, Miller (Flannery), Eeles, Strain, Barr, Fleming (Ryan), Gibson

more photos here

Siney’s video highlights

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East Kilbride 0 Glenafton 2

West Region Super League 1st Division

Wednesday 2nd May , The Showpark, East Kilbride

EAST KILBRIDE THISTLE 0 (0)

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (1)

Glenafton made it six league wins in-a-row with a goal in each half to take all three points from The Showpar and leap league leaders Kilsyth who lost out at Lanark.

With John Dempster unable to shake off an injury sustained in the Monday night win over Whitletts John Paul Boyle partnered Gareth Armstrong up front, while Gareth Campbell started in midfield with Gus Cochrane on the bench.

A corner a piece for either side in the opening 5 minutes came to nothing and then three minutes later some resolute defending by the home side prevented the Glens taking the lead from a flurry of chances. Soon after, a fine flowing move from the visitors ended with keeper Graham Lynn pulling off a great save from an Armstrong strike and then Glens’ top goalscorer was denied again when his header was cleared off the line, with the keeper stranded. Thistle always looked lively on the break but were thwarted by a rock solid Glenafton defence that has conceded only two goals in their last eight games.

On the half hour mark Paul McKenzie on the right picked out Armstrong  on the edge of the six yard box  who then rolled the ball back to  John Paul Boyle to take a touch before drilling a daisy cutter into the corner of the net from 15 yards out. H/T East Kilbride 0 Glenafton 1

Richie McKillen went close for the visitors early in the new half .Thistle responded well and pushed for the equaliser but without really testing keeper Ally Semple.  On 57 minutes Glens came close to doubling their advantage but Armstrong headed wide and then  Lynn denied the striker with another top class save .  The home side continued to battle but again the visitors defence continued to stand firm.  Just after the hour mark the hard working Boyle was replaced by Bobby Colligan and his pace quickly troubled the Jags defence, giving his own defence some respite too.

With the game still finely poised Ian Cashmore came on for Armstrong and minutes later he pressured Michael Smith into fluffing a pass back to Lynn enabling Colligan to nick the ball and ward off Michael Daly beforing firing from close range only for the keeper to make a fine block but could do nothing to prevent Cashy slamming home the rebound. F/T East Kilbride 0 Glenafton 2

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

East Kilbride: Lynn, Morgan (Harkin), Sloan, Bain, Daly, Smith, Young, Innes, Dallas, Dempsey (McMillan), Chaplain (Gorman) Subs. Bonner, McVey, Conway, Mailey

Siney’s video goals

Other Scores: Cumbernauld 4 Thorniewood 2; Girvan 2 Hurlford 2; Lanark 2 Kilsyth 0; Rutherglen 2 Renfrew 1

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Whitletts 1 Glenafton 3

West Region Super League 1st Division

Monday  30th April , Victoria Park, Irvine

WHITLETTS VICTORIA 1 (0)

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 (1)

Glenafton kicked off with the same starting eleven that defeated league leaders Kilsyth Rangers on Saturday as they faced fifth placed Whitletts Victoria at their temporary home Victoria Park, Irvine.

Chances were exchanged early on with Robert Paterson testing Ally Semple and Paul McKenzie sending a shot over Steven Douglas’s bar. The Vics’ keeper later denied John Dempster in a frantic goalmouth scramble as the big striker had two or three bites at the cherry. Although the visitors shaded proceedings in terms of chances created the home side were playing the more inventive football as the Glens struggled to establish any fluency to their play.  The movement up front of Victoria’s Matthew Santos and Paterson ably supported by former Glenafton player Jim Wilson on the right flank always appeared to carry a threat until the goal came in sight. On 30 minutes however Paterson found his bearings at last and hit the ball sweetly on the drop from 25 yards out and it seemed destined for the top corner before Ally Semple at full stretch got a hand to it, only for Paterson to gather the ball again and feed Wilson on the right who promptly fired it back across the face goal for Paterson but his touch sent the ball inches wide. A minute later Robbie Henderson manufactured a great block as Santos shot for goal.

Bo bullets home a header

Glenafton weathered the storm and pushed forward and on 38 minutes won a corner kick on the left which was floated in by Paul McKenzie and headed home by the unchallenged Gareth Armstrong a step or so inside the six yard box. H/T Whitletts 0 Glenafton 1

Glenafton replaced Gus Cochrane with Gareth Campbell but before he had had a kick at the ball Whitletts forced a corner in the opening minute and soon after Paterson had a crack at goal but Semple looked on as the ball sailed high over the bar. A passage of end to end play, without any chances of note being created, was brought to an abrupt halt on 51 minutes after a crunching tackle by Graham Longair on Paul McKenzie at the half-way line, leaving the referee little option to flash the red card.

John Dempster hobbled off and on came Bobby Colligan in his first return to Victoria Park since signing for the Glens and his pace down the right posed a real threat to the 10 men. However, it was McKenzie down the left that almost doubled the visitors’ lead. He skipped past Wilson, his former Annbank and Glenafton team-mate, into the box and fired for goal but Douglas made a great block. From the resultant corner Armstrong’s header found Paul Murphy at the back post and although his shot evaded two Vics’ defenders on the line it shaded past the opposite post.

Paul Murphy points the way as Gareth celebration

On 68 minutes a good old stramash on the half way-line saw the ball pass hands two or three times before McKenzie robbed Wilson and the loose ball picked up by Craig Potter who played a one-two with Armstrong before threading the ball through to Gareth Campbell  who ran on and thrashed the ball home from 25 yards out.  Almost immediately the home side passed up a great chance to halve the deficit when Santos shot tamely at the outrushing Semple. A few minutes later Douglas performed heroics by blocking a Campbell effort from close range after a perfect pass from Colligan released him in the box, however the Glens hit man played a huge part in the Glens third goal which quickly followed. Deep in the box with his back to goal he gathered a Richie McKillen throw-in and played an exquisite one-two with McKenzie which took him to the bye-line where his cut back was hooked home by Gareth Armstrong.

Bo bags a brace !

Semple saved from Steven Kerr as the Vics continued to try and make a game of it and their efforts were rewarded on 85 minutes when substitute Elliot Duffy slammed the ball past Semple from a tight angle. Armstrong came closing to grabbing his hat-trick but his header from a Colligan cross was guided past by the attentive Douglas. At the other end Semple rushed from his line to steal the ball from the feet of Duffy to bring the game to close. F/T Whitletts 1 Glenafton 3

The three points takes the Glens level on points with Kilsyth Rangers at the top of the league with a game in hand.

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

Whitletts: Douglas, Longair, Main, Wilson, King, Davidson, Kerr, Hanvey, Friel, Santos, Paterson Subs – Holland, Duffy, Dunlop

Some photos here

Siney’s Video Links

Other scores: Renfrew 2 Ardrossan 2; Rutherglen 2 Dalry 1, Shotts 3 Thorniewood 1

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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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