Emirates Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round
Sat 26th November , Lochside Park, Bridge of Don KO 1:45pm
HERMES 1 (0) v GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 4 (1)
Bright sunshine at Bridge of Don beckoned the players down the wooden steps from the neat pavilion and on to the perfectly manicured pitch at Lochside Park, with gusts of wind swirling around the ground.
Glenafton welcomed back top goalscorer Gareth Armstrong to the starting line-up having been sidelined for two and bit games through injury to partner midweek signing John Paul Boyle from Arthurlie up front. However it was Hermes striker Mark Gairns that almost grabbed the headlines after only 90 secs following the visitors failure to clear their lines but his shot went agonisingly wide of Semple’s far post with the keeper stranded at the other one. Hermes broke forward at pace again but a passage of neat quick passing was dealt with more effectively by the Glens rearguard and Gairns could find no way through. At the other end with 7 minutes gone Armstrong, deep in the Hermes box, rose above the sandwich of Paul Cruickshank and Grant Campbell to head down to Boyle but keeper Lee Sweeney dived low to block the nippy striker’s shot at goal. Six minutes later Boyle turned provider and his chip from the corner of the 18 yard box saw Gareth Armstrong spring up higher than centre half Sam McKenzie and his header from 8 yards out caught Sweeney flat-footed and the ball nestle in the net unchallenged. The big keeper was alert to prevent the visitors doubling their lead on 20 minutes advancing to the edge of the box to deny Boyle who had beat the offside trap to give himself and free run in on goal. Four minutes later the visitors stood firm to ultimately repel a flurry of Hermes’ attempts to fashion an equaliser that ended with Paul McKenzie blocking a shot from the impressive Mark Hamilton.
The wind strengthened and a change of direction now found it at Glenafton’s backs but they struggled to find a way of putting it their advantage. Hermes, on the other hand, handled the conditions better and yet the Lochside park side could not find a way of putting a killer touch to some fine build up play and thanks to a defence, well marshalled by the outstanding Robbie Henderson, Semple was seldom troubled. Three minutes before the break Paul McKenzie brought the game to life with a trademark run down the right leaving Hermes players behind him like a string of static training cones as he reached the by-line, however his cutback from Armstrong was clutched out of the air by the safe hands of Sweeney. H/T Hermes 0 Glenafton 1
Hermes to the ancient Greeks was ‘Messenger of the Gods’ and the boys from Bridge of Don certainly appeared to get the half-time message as they laid siege to the Glens goal in the opening minutes of the new half. The visitors kicked-off and 15 seconds later Semple saved from Makel Madek.Two minutes later a Gairns strike from 20 yards struck the hand of Ryan McChesney but although the striker managed to curl the resultant free-kick round the Afton wall he couldn’t guide the ball beneath the bar and into Semple’s net. A minute later further Hermes’ pressure ended with Hamilton’s hands on his head as another home effort went inches wide.
Just as Glenafton had appeared to weather the storm spirits of the travelling support were deflated again with the sight of Armstrong hobbling of the pitch but unbeknownst to them his replacement Andy Bell would have a big say in the outcome of the match.Two minutes later Hermes raid on the Glens goal ended with the winning of a spot kick after Madek was impeded in the box by Paul Murphy. Craig Macklin stepped up and sent Semple the wrong way to level the cup tie with half an hour to go.
Hermes’ momentum was dealt a severe blow on 63 minutes when a Glen’s attack spearheaded by Murphy and Gareth Armstrong ended with an attempted clearance by substitute Steven Wilson looping over the head of his back pedalling keeper and into the back of the net. The wind continued to gust but most of it was taken out of the home side’s sails four minutes later. McKenzie menaced his way down the left and fired the ball across the face of the goal where Gareth Armstrong brilliantly fended off the tackle from behind bt namesake Grant Campbell and the ball ran on unimpeded to the aforementioned Andy Bell who picked his spot from six yards out to double the Glens’s advantage.
With twenty minutes to go the lively Boyle once again beat the offside trap and after recovering from a stumble regained his composure to turn Grant Campbell in the box before shooting for goal but Sweeney did well to tip the ball over the bar. Ten minutes later a great ball from Murphy released Boyle wide on the left but his run ended in the box as Hermes manned up with a three-line whip between the Glens’ hit man and Sweeney’s goals.
The home side now only threatened in flashes but each time found the visitors’ defence in a determined mood not to surrender their two goal cushion. To add to their woes the Glens introduced the fresh legs of Lewis Sloan for debutant John Paul Boyle who left the field to well deserved rapturous applause from the travelling support. Two minutes later a Sloan corner on right was won in the air by Henderson and the Glens’s captain returned the ball to Sloan who quickly rolled it into the path of McKenzie who in turn launched it skyward to the back post for the unmarked Paul Murphy to stoop and bullet home a header from four yards out.
A minute later Sweeney denied Bell his second as he ran from his line to rob the midfielder of the ball as he tried to round him at the penalty spot. Soon after a Sloan cross from the by-line eluded the keeper at full stretch at his near post but Gavin Middlet0n was on hand at the back post to block Bell’s shot. F/T Hermes 1 Glenafton 4
Hermes: Sweeney, Cruickshank, Middleton, Campbell, McKenzie, K. Wilson, Macklin, Hamilton, Gairns, Madek, Courage Subs Rush, Smith, S. Wilson, Havlin, McEndrick, Robertson, Ritchie
Glenafton: Semple; McEwan, McChesney, Henderson, McKillen; Campbell, Potter, Murphy, McKenzie (Cashmore); Armstrong (Bell), Boyle (Sloan). Subs Dunsmuir (gk), Hay
Glenafton would like to thank Hermes for the excellent hospitality shown and the good wishes extended after the match, it was greatly appreciated.