West Region Super League 1st Division
Monday 30th April , Victoria Park, Irvine
WHITLETTS VICTORIA 1 (0)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 (1)
Glenafton kicked off with the same starting eleven that defeated league leaders Kilsyth Rangers on Saturday as they faced fifth placed Whitletts Victoria at their temporary home Victoria Park, Irvine.
Chances were exchanged early on with Robert Paterson testing Ally Semple and Paul McKenzie sending a shot over Steven Douglas’s bar. The Vics’ keeper later denied John Dempster in a frantic goalmouth scramble as the big striker had two or three bites at the cherry. Although the visitors shaded proceedings in terms of chances created the home side were playing the more inventive football as the Glens struggled to establish any fluency to their play. The movement up front of Victoria’s Matthew Santos and Paterson ably supported by former Glenafton player Jim Wilson on the right flank always appeared to carry a threat until the goal came in sight. On 30 minutes however Paterson found his bearings at last and hit the ball sweetly on the drop from 25 yards out and it seemed destined for the top corner before Ally Semple at full stretch got a hand to it, only for Paterson to gather the ball again and feed Wilson on the right who promptly fired it back across the face goal for Paterson but his touch sent the ball inches wide. A minute later Robbie Henderson manufactured a great block as Santos shot for goal.
Glenafton weathered the storm and pushed forward and on 38 minutes won a corner kick on the left which was floated in by Paul McKenzie and headed home by the unchallenged Gareth Armstrong a step or so inside the six yard box. H/T Whitletts 0 Glenafton 1
Glenafton replaced Gus Cochrane with Gareth Campbell but before he had had a kick at the ball Whitletts forced a corner in the opening minute and soon after Paterson had a crack at goal but Semple looked on as the ball sailed high over the bar. A passage of end to end play, without any chances of note being created, was brought to an abrupt halt on 51 minutes after a crunching tackle by Graham Longair on Paul McKenzie at the half-way line, leaving the referee little option to flash the red card.
John Dempster hobbled off and on came Bobby Colligan in his first return to Victoria Park since signing for the Glens and his pace down the right posed a real threat to the 10 men. However, it was McKenzie down the left that almost doubled the visitors’ lead. He skipped past Wilson, his former Annbank and Glenafton team-mate, into the box and fired for goal but Douglas made a great block. From the resultant corner Armstrong’s header found Paul Murphy at the back post and although his shot evaded two Vics’ defenders on the line it shaded past the opposite post.
On 68 minutes a good old stramash on the half way-line saw the ball pass hands two or three times before McKenzie robbed Wilson and the loose ball picked up by Craig Potter who played a one-two with Armstrong before threading the ball through to Gareth Campbell who ran on and thrashed the ball home from 25 yards out. Almost immediately the home side passed up a great chance to halve the deficit when Santos shot tamely at the outrushing Semple. A few minutes later Douglas performed heroics by blocking a Campbell effort from close range after a perfect pass from Colligan released him in the box, however the Glens hit man played a huge part in the Glens third goal which quickly followed. Deep in the box with his back to goal he gathered a Richie McKillen throw-in and played an exquisite one-two with McKenzie which took him to the bye-line where his cut back was hooked home by Gareth Armstrong.
Semple saved from Steven Kerr as the Vics continued to try and make a game of it and their efforts were rewarded on 85 minutes when substitute Elliot Duffy slammed the ball past Semple from a tight angle. Armstrong came closing to grabbing his hat-trick but his header from a Colligan cross was guided past by the attentive Douglas. At the other end Semple rushed from his line to steal the ball from the feet of Duffy to bring the game to close. F/T Whitletts 1 Glenafton 3
The three points takes the Glens level on points with Kilsyth Rangers at the top of the league with a game in hand.
Glenafton: Semple; Menzies, McChesney, Henderson, McKillen; Potter, Cochrane (Campbell), Murphy, McKenzie(Boyle); Armstrong, Dempster (Colligan).
Whitletts: Douglas, Longair, Main, Wilson, King, Davidson, Kerr, Hanvey, Friel, Santos, Paterson Subs – Holland, Duffy, Dunlop
Other scores: Renfrew 2 Ardrossan 2; Rutherglen 2 Dalry 1, Shotts 3 Thorniewood 1