Stagecoch Super League 1st Division
Sat 27th Aug Merksworth Park, Dalry
DALRY THISTLE 1 (0)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 4 (3)
Glenafton made a couple of changes to the back-four that started against Whitletts last week-end with Richie McKillen and Steven Greenlees replacing former Dalry duo Craig Menzies and Cameron McKinnell. Both Robbie Henderson and Lewis Sloan made the starting line-up having recovered from injuries sustained in the draw with the Vics.
Former Glenafton forward Graeme Barbour kicked off for the hosts and both he and strike partner Davie McKenna looked lively in the opening encounters as the home side looked to build on the fine point won on the road at Girvan the previous Saturday. However, the visitors were soon exposing the frailties of the Thistle defence and in particular their offside trap which was sprung at alarmingly regular intervals but without being punished. On 6 minutes former Killie U19 keeper Chris Treacy had the woodwork to thank not once but twice when a Paul McKenzie shot from the corner of the 18 yard box bounced off the bar and Andy Bell’s attempt to volley home the rebound pinged off the post.
With ten minutes gone a quickly taken free kick caught the Dalry defence dozing and released Sloan into the box but his early shot at goal lacked power to worry Treacy. A minute later some Merksworth magic to delight the travelling support. McKenzie wide on the left picked out Bell with a magnificent cross-field ball, triggering simultaneously a run into the box by Craig Potter; Bell gathered and rolled the ball into the box with the outside of his right foot for Potter to gather, wheel and cut it back to the penalty spot from where Lewis Sloan lashed it into the top right hand corner with Treacy transfixed to his line . On the quarter-hour mark Sloan threatened to double his tally but his attempted lob from just outside ‘the D’ looped over the bar . Five minutes later McKenzie meandered his way around Merksworth only to be halted by an ungainly tackle on the edge of the penalty box. Up stepped Gareth Armstrong, as he does, and duly delivered the free-kick into the Dalry net and put the visitors two ahead.
To their credit the home side’s heads didn’t go down and for a good 15 minute spell were the equal of their opponents in terms of possession and shared the two decent chances created in this relatively quiet period. Craig McEwan came close for the Glens but his thunderbolt from 18 yards out whizzed over the bar and a minute later Dalry missed the opportunity to halve the deficit. Intricate interplay in the Glens box ended with McKenna setting up ‘No. 11’ but he badly sliced his shot from close range.
Dalry paid the price, Potter who was having an excellent match, picked out Armstrong who made his way into the box with a posse of defenders on his tail. With his route to goal blocked he settled for the dead ball line where he stabbed the ball back to Bell but his shot from the corner of the 6 yard box hit the inside of the post and rolled along the goal line with Treacy in hot pursuit, but the incoming Lewis Sloan blasted the ball home despite the valiant effort of the young keeper. Again the home side try to rally but Ally Semple in the visitors’ goal dealt comfortably with their sporadic attacks. On the stroke of half-time Armstrong caught the keeper of his line but his shot from 25 yards cannoned over the a defenders foot and then over the floored goalie’s head only for another defender to kick the ball off the goal-line. H/T Dalry 0 Glens 3
Thistle were first to show after the break and Barbour rose above the Glens’s defence but Semple got two strong hands to his powerful header. Any Dalry dreams of dramatic comeback were severely dented with three minutes of the half gone. A Glenafton corner kick was only partially cleared and Sloan was played back in behind the Dalry defence and with his pick of team-mates he chose to roll the ball back to Richie McKillen who coolly side-footed the ball home from 10 yards out. McKenzie was rested and replaced by Jim Wilson who within 30 seconds was floored by a wild tackle. Minutes later a robustly contested 50-50 left McEwan in a heap and yellow cards dished out for the handbags that followed. The Glens defender only lasted for five more minutes or so and hobbled off with Craig Menzies taking his place and soon after Ryan McChesney came on for Gareth Armstrong, the striker leaving to a cacophony of appreciation from the away support.
Thankfully, play soon resumed to the good spirit of that exhibited in the first half. The visitors continued to create the better of the chances the pick of which was a solo effort from Potter on 63 minutes when a lung bursting run saw him round the outcoming Treacy on the 12 yard spot, but his mini-detour allowed the back tracking defenders to deflect the ball out for a corner before it found the empty net. On 70 minutes Sloan rode a challenge in the box but couldn’t keep his footing as he homed in on goal; appeals for a retrospective penalty were dismissed. With eight minutes to go Dalry were awarded a free-kick on the outskirts of the penalty box and former Afton lad Graeme Barbour showed great composure to drill the ball low and hard past the wall and into the far corner of Semple’s net for a well-merited consolation goal. F/T Dalry 1 Glens 4
Glenafton: Semple; McEwan (Menzies), Greenlees, Henderson, McKillen; McKenzie (Wilson), Mitchell, Potter, Bell; Armstrong (McChesney), Sloan.
Check out the videos from Siney
Other scores: Ardrossan 3 East Kilbride 1, Kilsyth 2 Hurlford 1, Lanark 3 Rutherglen 1, Renfrew 3 Shotts 3, Thorniewood 2 Girvan 2, Whitletts 2 Cumbernauld 1
Glens climb to second place in the league two points behind Ardrossan Winton Rovers, now the only side in the league with a 100% record.