Stagecoach West Region Premier Division
Saturday 18th August , Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0 (0)
AUCHINLECK TALBOT 1 (0)
Talbot turned the tables on their hosts a week after suffering a 1-0 defeat to the Glens in the Ardagh Glass Cup section match at Loch Park. In a game short in chances and packed with stoppages Colin Spence struck what proved to be the match winner two minutes into the second half.
The first half proved to be a tentative affair as both sides seemed reluctant to push up-field and long punts up the park by respective keepers became a feature of the game which ultimately ended with the surrender of possession. On the other hand attempts to build play from box to box often concluded prematurely with what soon became the familiar piercing sound of the referee’s whistle leaving both sides on occasion baffled and waiting to see what way the decision was going to go.
Although the half was littered with stoppages there were a few goal mouth chances the best of which fell to the visitors. On 15 minutes Keir Milliken managed to ward off the attention of two defenders before thundering a shot from a tight angle only for the ball to cannon off the legs of the diving Ally Semple. Ten minutes later the keeper had to desert his goal-line in an attempt to clear the ball from the head of Kyle Faulds wide in the penalty box but couldn’t prevent it from being played back into the six yard box where Glen Mitchell did enough to stop Graham Wilson finding the empty net. Just beyond the half hour mark Milliken did well to control the ball in front of goal and although his shot was on target it lacked the power to worry Semple.
Glenafton’s glimpses at goal were few and far between beginning as early as the second minute when Gareth Armstrong beat keeper Andy Leishman to the ball but his header from a corner kick flashed over the bar. Some 25 minutes would pass before the home side’s best move of the half saw Paul McKenzie skip pass Gordon Pope and leave Gavin Collins grounded in the box only for his shot at goal to be blocked by the alert William Lyle. The resultant corner kick ended with Richie McKillen and John Dempster both beating the Talbot defence in the air but the former’s header went wide of target. H/T Glens 0 Talbot 1
The new half began in dramatic fashion when Lyle broke down a Glenafton attack at Talbot’s right hand corner flag and combining well with his teammates defence was transformed into attack in a flash and the ball now with Bryan Young wide on the left. With the wide-man’s path to the bye-line blocked the ball was rolled back to Pope who whipped it over to the back post for Faulds to crouch and bullet a header goalward and although Semple dived to get both hands to the ball it bounced free from his grasp when he crashed to the ground and Colin Spence pounced to poke it home.
Hopes that the breakthrough would herald a more open game soon dissipated. For once again proceedings were fragmented with flags, whistles and then players seeking clarification from officials over some mystifying decisions. On the hour mark Glenafton manager Darren Henderson was sent to the clubhouse for making his feelings known. Four minutes later the game was held up yet again as another flag led to more confusion with the referee stopping play and marching the width of the park, the match-ball at least firmly in his grasp, to consult with his assistant before overturning the decision and restarting with a bounce-up surrounded by perplexed players from both sides.
Back to the football and midway through the half a Dempster header was gathered by Armstrong who , with his back to goal and a yard or so inside the box, swiveled and drilled a low shot that beat Leishman at full stretch but the ball whizzed just wide of the post. Talbot introduced striker David Gormley to the fray but it was his former side that were on the front foot in search of an equaliser; they too bringing on fresh legs with Gareth Campbell for Craig Potter and John Paul Boyle for John Dempster. On 84 minutes in a packed Talbot box McKenzie beat Pope to the ball to pick out Armstrong who held off the challenge of Collins and return it to McKenzie with Pope in pursuit and as both players tumbled to the ground Armstrong’s appeal for a penalty was waved away. A minute later the Glenafton striker was shown red for dissent. In the last minute of regulation time Bobby Colligan won the ball in the Talbot’s half where a burst of speed took him deep into the box and before Collins slid in for the tackle he fired for goal but Leishman looked on as it went wide of target.
The half almost ended it as it had begun with Colin Spence finding the net. In what was perhaps Talbot’s best move of the match Gormley played Spence into the box with only Semple to beat and perhaps a touch too many allowed the back tracking Campbell to put pressure on the midfielder who failed to test the keeper and pulled his shot wide of target. F/T Glens 0 Talbot 1
Glenafton: Semple; Menzies, G.Mitchell, Henderson, McKillen; McKenzie, Potter (Campbell), D.Mitchell, Colligan; Armstrong, Dempster (Boyle). Subs. McEwan, McChesney, Murphy, Dunsmuir (gk)
Auchinleck: Leishman; Lyle, Pettigrew, Collins, Pope; Faulds (Montgomerie), White, Spence, young, Milliken (McCann), Wilson(Gormley)