Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup 1st Round
Sat 18th February , Loch Park, New Cumnock, KO 2:00pm
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 IRVINE VICTORIA 1
Victory snatched from the jaws of Victoria
Glenafton gave a debut to Gus Cochrane a midweek loan signing from Stranraer. The 17 year-old midfielder’s clever touches and intelligent use of the ball was one of the few highlights for the home side in a fairly uneventful first half. Despite enjoying much of the possession and playing with the strong, but icy, wind at their backs the Glens failed to seriously test keeper Jim Catterson from either open play or from the considerable collection of corner-kicks earned.
The visiting Vics created the cream of the chances the best of which fell at both the beginning and end of the half to striker Kevin Adam, who had scored in each of his last six games. In the first minute a slack pass in the middle of the park saw the Glens surrender possession and the ball fed down the left to Steven McAvoy who played it across the face of goal for Adam running in at the near post but he knocked it just wide of target from five yards out. Almost right on the interval another quick break split open the home defence leaving Adam one-on-one with keeper Ally Semple but again the hit man was left with his head in his hands as he shot tamely into the arms of the Glens guardian. Five minutes beforehand another slick passing movement from box to box saw Vics fly up the field and good work by McAvoy, on the right this time, ended with full back Darren Russell through on goal but Semple was his equal pushing his shot to safety. H/T Glens 0 Vics 0
Four minutes into the fresh half John Dempster and John Paul Boyle combined well in the box to set up Paul McKenzie only for Catterson to comfortably collect his low drilled shot. Three minutes later Cochrane fed Boyle on the edge of the box and his knock on picked out McKenzie who took a touch before firing for the top corner but again he was foiled by Catterson who pulled off a fantastic one-handed save. On 54 minutes another Vics’ lightning break began with Jordan Kerr setting David Anderson flying free down the left and he rolled the ball to Ben Carson on the edge of the box who deftly flicked it back to Bobby Colligan but his wind-assisted right footed shot from 20 yards outs sailed over the bar. A minute later Colligan from almost the identical spot, and with Robbie Henderson and Richie McKillen closing in, fired a left-footed shot that flew into Semple’s top right hand corner.
The Vics joy vaporised two minutes later when a Gareth Campbell corner-kick was headed clear by Colligan only for McKenzie to feed it back into the crowded penalty area where Richie McKillen was first to react and drill the ball home from 10 yards out.
Glenafton took a grip of the game and McKenzie and Boyle in particular were proving a handful for the Vics. On the hour mark the pair combined to take in turn to weave through the Westenders ending with Boyle’s drive slipping wide of Catterson’s post. Five minutes on and Boyle laid the ball off to McKenzie at the corner of the penalty box who in turn picked out Dempster on the penalty spot and he wheeled to volley home but the agile Catterson leaped in a flash to push the ball over the bar, a save of quality that clearly delighted the likable keeper and rightly so. The Glens made little of the resultant corner kick and from the one after that Colligan and McAvoy took the ball from box to box before releasing Carson in acres of space on the left but Semple rushed 15 yards or so from his line to dive bravely at the forward’s feet and steal the ball to safety. With 15 minutes to go his counterpart Catterson enjoyed a stroke of good fortune when Campbell’s persistence forced a hurried pass back that the keeper failed to control and his sclaffed clearance deflected off the Glens’ midfielder away from the gaping net. At the other end Semple was in action again saving well from a snap shot from substitute Blair Gilmour.
With five minutes to go Boyle burst into the box and fired for goal and although his shot was partially blocked by the advancing Catterson some 8 yards off his line John Dempster pounced and evaded the challenge of substitute Alan Frew before placing the ball beyond the back tracking Lee Hunter into the net. The visitors responded well and came close to drawing level within a minute but Carson’s close range header was comfortably clasped to the chest of Semple. In the dying embers of the game the impressive Colligan crossed from the left but McAvoy failed to connect and the Vics’ last chance of forcing a penalty shoot-out was gone and it will be Glenafton that travel to face Craigmark in the next round. F/T Glens 2 Vics 1
Glenafton Athletic: Semple; Menzies, Murphy, Henderson & McKillen; Bell (McEwan), Campbell (Cashmore), Cochrane & McKenzie; Boyle & Dempster. Subs Potter, Armstrong, McChesney & Dunsmuir
Irvine Victoria: Catterson, Johnstone, Russell, Smith, Hunter, Kerr, Colligan, Carson, Adam, McAvoy & Anderson. Subs – Gilmour, Frew, Valentine & McIroy.