Super League 1st Division
Sat 19th November , Loch Park, New Cumnock KO 2pm
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1) v CUMBERNAULD UNITED 2 (2)
Glenafton suffered their first home league defeat of the season as visitors Cumbernauld left Loch Park with all three points for the second successive season.
The Glens’ top goalscorer Gareth Armstrong failed a late fitness test and the home side started with Gareth Campbell and Lewis Sloan up front, with Andy Bell wide right and Paul McKenzie on the left.
Cumbernauld’s all white strip absorbed much of the little light that could penetrate the dense blanket of cloud that hung over the park for all of the match. The visitors started lively and were upfield in a flash forcing an early corner that was cleared unconvincingly by the home defence allowing Danny Burns to pick up the pieces but his effort went wide. Two minutes later Burns was the instigator of a break that earned another corner for United which was won at the near post by Johny Boyle, his header flying in the postage sample of Ally Semple’s goal.
Glenafton responded well and were unfortunate not to draw level three minutes later. McKenzie, on the left, worked in his way into the box and picked out Bell in space, who directed his header back across the goal for Lewis Sloan to beat Paul Barclay to the ball but his header crashed off the post with keeper David Buchanan left clutching the upright. On 13 minutes the home side’s luck was out when McKenzie, on the right, skinned Nico Petrucci to get to the by-line and although his cross took the advancing Buchanan out of play Campbell’s header from 1o yards was headed of the line by Ross Hayman and headed out for a corner by man mountain Craig Hill. Five minutes later, the men in red’s pressure was rewarded, McKenzie meandering past a clutch of Cumbernauld defenders in their own box rolled the ball back to Gareth Campbell who rifled it home from 16 yards out.
Any thoughts on the home terracing that their favourites would build on the head of steam they had worked up and take the game by the scruff of the neck faded fastly in the gloom as Cumbernauld, like their counterparts, responded purposefully to the loss of a goal. Burns and Johnny Boyle were proving a handful, with Kenny Jarvis having a fine game in the middle of the park for United.
The game entered an honours even phase both in terms of possession, chances created and denied penalty claims. On 26 minutes Sloan refused to be the meat in the sandwich as he burst between two white shirts on his way to the bye-line to cut the ball back but the pursuing David Marsh marshalled him and the ball over the line with a less than subtle shoulder in the back. Four minutes later another Glens claim as Campbell went down following a challenge from Hill, but the big defender appeared to have stood his ground with the forward backing in. The home side’s goal then survived a couple of scares before the visitors had a loud shout for a penalty turned away in 35 minutes as Petrucci claimed he had been impeded by Campbell back defending a corner-kick. Ten minutes later however the official finally pointed to the spot following the coming together of Barclay and Craig McEwan during a 50-50 challenge on Glenafton’s by-line, James Steele converting the penalty in injury time. H/T Glens 1 Cumbernauld 2
With the goal advantage the visitors took every opportunity to exploit the space vacated by Glenafton as they pushed forward to find an equaliser. White shirts flashed down both flanks stretching the home side but the final ball seldom culminated in Semple being tested. The keeper now more often than not the instigator of Glenafton attacks with long clearances up the park. On 53 minutes his counterpart Buchanan did well to block a Paul Murphy effort at the back post, who had sneaked in behind the United defence to get on the end of a Sloan cross. Six minutes later the keeper pulled off a stunning save from a Campbell volley, thundered from just inside the box. Another lightning break up down the left by United had Semple scurrying across his line and what seemed like seconds later the keeper foiled another break and prevented the visitors from doubling their lead.
The frantic period of end-to-end play came to an on 65 minutes when substitute Kris Mitchell released Sloan tight on the right flank and his cross from almost the corner flag picked out McKenzie at the back post and although the diminutive midfielder outjumped Paddy McCabe, his header crashed off the bar and both players crashed to the ground clutching their heads. The magic sponges were duly applied but sadly the game quickly deteriorated into a tousy tussle, littered with free kicks, a number of them won it has to be said with players going to ground at the slightest opportunity. The visitors were rightly content with their goal advantage while Glenafton were unable to come up with a game plan to salvage something from the game.
Three minutes from a time a glimmer of hope for Glenafton when McKenzie fed substitute Ian Cashmore’s run into the box but his cross was inches too strong for the incoming Campbell. F/T Glens 1 Cumbernauld 2
Glenafton: Semple; McEwan, Henderson, McChesney (Cashmore), McKillen (Hay); Bell (Mitchell), Potter, Murphy, McKenzie; Campbell & Sloan Subs not use Dunsmuir (gk) Menzies
Cumbernauld: Buchanan Hayman Pettruci Marsh Hill Jarvis McCabe Barclay Burns Steele J Boyle Subs Boreland O’Halleron McNally Thompson Gibson Hanlon Dearie
The Glens slip to third in the league behind Kilsyth and Shotts having taking two points from their last four games.
Other scores: Ardrossan 0 Shotts 7; East Kilbride 0 Hurlford 1; Renfrew 2 Kilsyth 2, Rutherglen 0 Girvan 0; Thorniewood 0 Lanark 0; Whitletts 4 Dalry 1.