West Region Super League 1st Division
Wednesday 9th May , Guy’s Meadow, Cumbernauld
CUMBERNAULD UNITED 2 (2)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 5 (2)
Hosts Cumbernauld, fresh from slamming in seven against East Kilbride on Monday, raced to an early lead against league leaders Glenafton at Guy’s Meadow as they continued to harbour hopes of an outside chance of staking a claim for a play-off place. Fine work by Kenny Jarvis down the left saw him pick out Dominic O’Halloran in the box and although the striker’s shot at goal was blocked by Robbie Henderson the ball spun in the air and keeper Ally Semple was adjudged to have impeded Paul Thomson’s attempt to gather the ball and a spot kick awarded. Up stepped captain James Steel to despatch the ball into the corner beyond Semple’s reach with three minutes gone. Cumbernauld continued to push forward with some slick moving passing play without threatening to add to their tally.
The visitors finally began to make their mark on the game and with 17 minutes gone John Paul Boyle fed on the scraps of a free kick played into the box but keeper Dave Buchanan foiled his attempt from 6 yards out. Ten minutes later a Paul McKenzie cut-back from the bye-line was met by Gareth Armstrong on the six yard line only for his shot to be blocked by James Brown and Buchanan then to punch the ball clear as Armstrong hoped to head home the rebound and the chance appeared to have gone. Paul Murphy had other ideas, first his shot from 12 yards was blocked by Thomson then he recovered the ball back and skipped past Thomson and Craig Boreland before drilling the ball into the net past the keeper and his central defenders.
Three minutes on and the visitors took the lead. A ball through the middle forced Buchanan to run from his box in support of Brown’s attempt to prevent Armstrong having a free run in on goal but the ensuing defensive fankle ended with the ball falling for John Paul Boyle who kept his cool and from just inside the ‘D’ guided the ball expertly over the head of Brown and into the empty net.
Although Boyle and McKenzie’s trickery kept the home side on the back foot as the visitors looked to double their lead Cumbernauld struck back with 10 minutes of the half remaining. From a throw in deep in the Glens half the ball was worked into the box with neat exchanges between Thomson and Gary Gibson (as well as a decoy run by Steel) to set up Dominic O’Hallaron to pick his spot from a few yards.
Glenafton were dealt a blow as Armstrong hobbled off with an ankle injury to be replaced by Bobby Colligan but were soon on the front foot again. A Henderson header from a corner flashed past Buchanan’s left hand post and then the keeper did well to push an audacious effort from Boyle from under his bar and he could only watch as a Gareth Campbell blast from 12 yards whizzed past his right hand post. H/T Cumbernauld 2 Glenafton 2
The visitors started the second half in determined fashion as they pushed forward in waves and their efforts were rewarded within two minutes. Ryan McChesney lobbed the ball into the box where, despite Boreland’s close attention, John Paul Boyle met it first time and thrashed it home via the underside of the bar from 12 yards out and although the spin on the ball brought it back into play there was little doubt it had previously crossed the goal-line.
On 61 minutes another killer ball into the box looked to have set up Boyle up for his hat-trick before David Marsh dumped him on the penalty spot and as the defender headed for an early bath Gareth Campbell slotted home the penalty kick.
Colligan’s pace added to the menace of McKenzie and Boyle and with 15 minutes to go he came close to claiming Glenafton’s fifth goal as he burst into the box , shrugging of the chasing defender, and lobbed the ball over the outrushing Buchanan but it bounced just wide of target. Credit though to Cumbernauld the 10 men kept their composure and when they could break forward it was always in some style with quick, sharp passing. In the closing minutes they forced a number of set pieces that caused a degree of alarm in the Glens’ box and in what proved to be their final threat Brown was unfortunate that the ball didn’t fall better and his shot was miscued well wide of target. Glenafton had the final say and in the fading light Bobby Colligan’s stunning strike from the corner of the six yard box threatened to take the roof of the net. F/T Cumbernauld 2 Glenafton 5
Glenafton: Semple; Menzies, McChesney, Henderson, McKillen; McKenzie, Potter, Murphy, Campbell (Cochrane); Boyle (Cashmore), Armstrong (Colligan). Subs McEwan, Dempster, Dunsmuir
Cumbernauld: Buchanan, Boreland, Petrucci, Marsh, Brown, Jarvis, McCabe, Thomson, O’Hallaron, Steel, Gibson. Subs McInally, Mcewan, Hanlon, Hayman, Hill, Elliot