West Region Super League 1st Division
Saturday 12th May , Duncansfield Park, Kilsyth
KILSYTH RANGERS 2 (0)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (0)
League leaders Glenafton Athletic travelled to face second placed Kilsyth Rangers in the knowledge that a victory would secure one of the automatic promotion places to the Premier Division, while a win for the hosts would re-ignite their own aspirations to ascend to the top flight. The game took on the mantle of a cup-tie and indeed the lush Duncansfield playing surface looked more than worthy of hosting a cup-final with the hard graft of the Kilsyth committee illuminated by glorious sunshine. The bus-load of young and vocal Glenafton supporters, including an enthusiastic drummer boy, further enhanced the cup tie theme.
As is often the case in a game of such magnitude it struggled to rise to the occasion and the first half proved to be a tense nervy affair. With a stiff breeze at their back the visitors were first to threaten when on 9 minutes John Dempster, deep in the six yard box, tried to guide home a Richie McKillen free-kick only for the ball to spin over the bar. Two minutes later the home side responded through Graham McLaren who after shaking off defender Ryan McChesney broke into the box and drilled a low shot from 10 yards out only for keeper Ally Semple to block at his near post and then push the loose ball from the feet of the incoming Joe Barclay, allowing McChesney to clear the danger.
Midway through the half McChesney looked to have broken the deadlock when he bulleted a header from a corner kick beyond the reach of keeper Michael Duke but Stephen McPeake executed his near post duties with great precision for although his body was well over the goal-line the contact between his head and ball was on the line, and the Glenafton claims for a goal were in vain.
Glenafton continued to press and enjoyed much of the possession but without seriously testing Duke particularly from the numerous set-pieces they earned. Kilsyth broke forward in flashes but more often than not the good work of Francis Kelly on the right flank and the endeavours of Barclay failed to yield any end product. H/T Kilsyth 0 Glenafton 0
The visitors started the second half in determined fashion and waves of attacks saw them breach the Kilsyth box four or five times in as many minutes with McKenzie and John Paul Boyle darting past the blue shirts at will. A McKenzie volley whizzed wide of Duke’s post and then the keeper showed a safe pairs of hands to hold a Paul Murphy shot. On 50 minutes and in their first attack of the half Darren Dalrymple, the recipient of a throw-in deep on the left wing, whipped the ball over the face of the Glenafton goal and although Graham McLaren’s header crashed off the post Francis Kelly stooped to head the rebound home. A minute later Robbie Henderson was alert to bravely block a Dalrymple drive as the home side looked to double their advantage.
The visitors regrouped and on 56 minutes drew level when pressure from McKenzie and Dempster forced Dalrymple to attempt a pass back to his keeper but in nipped Boyle to steal the ball and skipped past Duke and headed for the empty net only for a touch to take him wider than intended. Although Duke had given up the ghost his central defenders homed in on Boyle, but the Glens man regained his composure and calmly cut the ball back for the inrushing Gareth Campbell to blast the ball into the gaping net from 8 yards.
Chances fell at either end with Barclay forcing Semple to race from his line to foil the front man again while at the other end Duke did well to hold a McKenzie drive from 15 yards through a cluster of players gathered for a corner kick. On 72 minutes a Graham McLaren shot from the edge of the box whizzed over Semple’s bar only for the visitors to go up the park and get their noses in front after Gareth Campbell got a sniff of goal. As his team-mates and their markers congregated in the six yard box for the expected long throw-in from McKillen, instead a short throw was received by Boyle who clipped the ball back to the unmarked hit man who took a touch before drilling the ball low and hard to beat the unsighted Duke at his near post.
Once again the game resumed a pattern of end to end play with both sides going all out for the next goal and it came with 5 minutes of regulation time remaining. A Kilsyth free-kick from the half way line was lobbed into the Glenafton box and after two or three attempt s to clear the danger the ball fell for substitute Daniel O’Neill who laid it off for Graham McLaren to fire past Semple from 6 yards. Chances continued to fall at either end in the closing five minutes and indeed in the five minutes of added on time, but if this had been a cup-tie it was destined to end in penalty shoot-out to separate the sides. F/T Kilsyth 2 Glenafton 2
Glenafton: Semple; Menzies, McChesney, Henderson, McKillen; McKenzie (Cochrane), Potter, Murphy, Campbell; Boyle (McEwan), Dempster (Colligan). Sub . Armstrong, Dunsmuir
Kilsyth: Duke, Reid, Doyle, Watters, Hamilton, McClelland, Kelly, McPeake, Barclay, McLaren, Dalrymple. Subs Dolan, Dempsey, Hughes, Scott, Carr, O’Neill
Glenafton remain six points clear of Kilsyth and with both sides having two games of their league campaign remaining the Duncansfield club can only match the New Cumnock’s side points tally while hoping to overcome a goal difference margin of 7goals in the process. With Renfrew losing at Girvan today Glenafton are guaranteed at least a play-off place. Shotts win over Ardrossan leaves them trailing the Glens by 16 points but with 8 games in hand. Both Glenafton and Kilsyth have to travel to Hannah Park to face Shotts.