Ardagh Glass Sectional Cup Semi-Final
Wednesday 29th August , Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (2)
AUCHINLECK TALBOT 3 (2)
Bitter Tablet to swallow for Sweet Afton
Glenafton surrendered a 2-0 half time lead over the Talbot who had to play most of the second half with 10 men and to add to the bitter taste of defeat former Glenafton striker David Gormley bagged the winner deep into added time to put the holders through to the final where they will face Irvine Meadow.
Honours were fairly even until the game sparked into life just before the half hour mark when John Dempster’s perseverance saw him shake off defenders Martin McGoldrick and Craig Pettigrew and although his pop at goal was blocked by Andy Leishman the ball fell to Danny Mitchell who blasted into the net from the verge of the six yard box.
Talbot wasted no time on mounting a response and Ally Semple did well to stop a free header from Mick McCann and then two minutes later punch the ball clear from the head of Kyle Faulds before the Glens doubled the lead in a frenetic four minute spell. John Dempster beat John White to head the ball down for Scott McManus who slipped past McGoldrick before returning it to Dempster who drove powered his way along the right side of the penalty box before firing home beyond Leishman from an acute angle.
Back came Talbot again and a minute later Gormley cutting in from the left drilled the ball low and hard to the near post only for McMann but in slid Richie McKillen with a goal saving last ditch tackle. At the other end with less than 10 minutes of the half remaining Craig Potter set Paul McKenzie down the right flank and with the Talbot defence back-tracking he cracked a shot from where Dempster had scored and although Leishman got down in time the ball, not for the first time, evaded the keeper’s grasp and to his relief Pettigrew was on hand to mop up the mess before McManus could pounce.
The end-to-end entertainment continued apace and a minute later Gormley looked certain to score with the deftest of touch to guide the ball beyond the reach of Semple from six yards out but the keeper matched the striker’s sharpness of thought to get a touch to send it wide. The resultant corner kick saw the Glens’s goal live a charmed life as Graham Wilson’s header crashed off the underside of the bar and Gormley’s attempt to bury the rebound cleared off the line by Craig Menzies and the striker’s second bite at the cherry clutched by Semple. Two minutes later Menzies forged his way down the right to the dead-ball line and his high cross left Leishman stranded at his near post but Raymond Montgomerie kept his cool at the back post to head clear for a corner as McManus again was on hand to pounce. Maintaining the equilibrium Talbot had the last chance of the half but McCann through on goal pulled his shot well wide of target from close range. H/T Glens 2 Talbot 0
Three minutes into the second half Montgomery was red carded for a rash two-footed tackled on McManus leaving Talbot a mountain to climb. On 55 minutes the mountain almost took on Everest proportions when McKenzie released McManus in the box to slot the ball past the advancing Leishman, but the offside flag was flying on the summit before the ball was in the net.
On the hour mark Glenafton introduced Bobby Colligan for Gareth Campbell and three minutes later Dempster’s strength shrugged aside White as he broke into the box and blasted for goal only for Leishman to make a stunning save; a strong right hand pushing the ball inches wide of the post. Four minutes later the big keeper launched the ball down the length of the park where it was quickly whipped in from the left to the back post for towering substitute Dwayne Hyslop to leap and send a perfectly weighted looping header back across the goal and into the far corner of the net. The hosts’ heads stayed aloft and two minutes later Leishman failed to hold a cross from the right and now on all fours tried to recover the ball from the feet of McManus on the six yard line. To his credit the Glens’ striker stayed on his feet and took the ball away from goal, and the reach of the bedecked keeper , before turning and shooting only for the ball to sail over the bar.
This proved to be the home side’s last real chance as Talbot found a new gear, driven by substitute Colin Spence, and pressed forward in waves, every ball into the Glens’ box creating cause for concern but all eventually cleared, until the 89th minute. Gordon Pope from tight on the left lifted the ball deep into the six yard box where it was headed back across goal for substitute Keir Milliken to force over the line.
An air of inevitably enveloped Loch Park as the holders refused to settle for having salvaged a penalty shoot-out and instead put a shell-shocked Glens to the sword. Three minutes after the regulation ninety another high ball from the right, was met by and this time prodded home by David Gormley at the back post, the Glens’ captain Robbie Henderson receiving a second yellow card for protesting the Talbot man was offside and another red for good measure. F/T Glens 2 Talbot 3
Glenafton: Semple; Menzies (McEwan), G. Mitchell, Henderson, McKillen; McKenzie, Potter, D. Mitchell, Campbell (Colligan); McManus, Dempster. Subs. McChesney, Dunsmuir (gk)
Auchinleck: Leishman; Lyle, Pettigrew, McGoldrick, Pope; Faulds, Montgomery, White, Wilson; Gormley, McCann. Subs. Spence, Milliken, Hyslop, Young, Reilly