Super League 1st Division
Sat 7th January , Loch Park, New Cumnock KO 1:45pm
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (0) v RUTHERGLEN GLENCAIRN 0 (0)
With neither side having played a competitive match since November there was a sense of relief that today’s game went ahead despite a heavy pitch and strong wind welcoming in the New Year at Loch Park. Glenafton debutant John Dempster partnered Gareth Campbell up front, while John Paul Boyle made his home debut for the club.
The game was played at a break neck pace populated with good spells of passing play. Although chances fell at either end those fashioned by the home side, playing into the teeth of the wind, were more frequent and exhibited a greater bite. On 15 minutes following a neat piece of interplay between Boyle and Dempster the latter lobbed the ball over keeper Alan ‘The Cat’ Colquhoun but defender George Moore was on hand to claw the ball clear. Ten minutes later ‘The Cat’ used up another life as he struggled to deal with a pass back allowing Dempster to gather the ball and shoot for goal but again Moore saved the day with an excellent goal line clearance.
Tempers flared on 27 minutes after Paul McKenzie in full flight was floored by Willie McCulloch, earning the young defender a yellow card from the referee, while others considered red as a more appropriate colour. Five minutes before the break Boyle was felled by McCulloch and the defender was taken aside and issued a final warning by the official. In between times chances continue to be created those of the visitors rarely troubling Ally Semple in the home goal while at the other end Colquhoun blocked a shot from McKenzie but could only look on as Dempster’s scissors-kick finished a thread’s width over the bar.
Before the break keeper Colquhoun fumbled as the wind tormented the ball’s flight but the Glencairn rear guard valiantly stood firm as the home guard fought to force home the opener. H/T Glens 0 Rutherglen 0
Glenafton didn’t dwell too long on missed opportunities and took a deserved lead five minutes after the break when John Paul Boyle sprung Rutherglen’s offside trap and calmly side footed the ball home at the back post. Rutherglen responded well to the set back and like their opponents in the first half their play soon prospered against the strong wind as they kept the ball on the deck and the passing crisp and effective. Despite the good build up play, Joe McAlpine, Brett Agnew and Mark Scott all catching the eye, the visitors struggled to find a killer touch to evade the sound Simple. Wind-assisted found a second wind but Colquhoun was more than a measure for efforts from Dempster and Campbell. With just less than 20 minutes to go Glencairn’s goal celebrations were muted by an offside flag raised before Joe Andrew’s lob over Semple nestled in the Glenafton net.
The number of yellow cards flashed was almost matching the number of substitutions as the heavy surface took its toll on tackles and tired legs in equal measure. The visitors pegged Glenafton back in the closing stages as they looked to salvage a point. Glencairn forced a collection of corners kick but try as they might the home side stood firm and both Paul Murphy and Richie McKillen were in the right place at the right time to clear the ball off the line. Loud appeals that substitute Ross McNeil’s effort had been stopped by a Glenafton hand were waved away causing both relief and anguish simultaneously in the Glens’ ranks…of either persuasion. F/T Glens 1 Glens 0
Glenafton: Semple, McEwan, Murphy, Henderson, McKillen; McKenzie, Potter, Bell, Boyle (Amstrong) Campbell & Dempster (Cashmore) Subs: McChesney, Hay, Menzies and Dunsmuir (GK)
Rutherglen: Colquhoun, McCulloch (Eadie), Moore, Bennett, Neil, Welsh, Scott (Hamilton), Flynn, Agnew, Andrew (McNeil), McAlpine. Subs: Connolly, Ward, Esplin and Roper (GK)
Glenafton’s first league victory over Rutherglen secured three points to leapfrog the idle Kilsyth Rangers and Shotts to go top of the league.
Other league scores: Ardrossan 1 Whitletts 0; Dalry 0 Thorniewood 3