Stagecoach West Region Premier Division
Saturday 1st September , Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1)
BEITH JUNIORS 3 (1)
A minute’s silence was held before kick off in memory of Glenafton supporter Jim McEwan who had passed away in the early hours of the morning. Jim was an elder brother of Glenafton legend Ian McEwan, the club’s longest serving player.
Wearing their new home tops for the first time the Glens created the best of the few half chances on offer in the opening twenty minutes of a game that was deeply lacking in inventive play. On 12 minutes Scott McManus tight on the right touchline twisted and turned to shake off Nickey Docherty before firing in a cross from the corner flag and although Gareth Campbell headed the ball down for John Dempster no fewer than five Beith defenders descended on the Glens’ striker to clear the loose ball. Six minutes later Paul McKenzie found McManus in the box who did well to hold off Greg McShane only for his shot from an acute angle to hit the side netting. Soon after as the hosts continued to press Gary Wilson’s attempted clearance at the corner of his six yard box cannoned off Danny Mitchell and the ball fell for Craig Potter on the 18 yard line but his attempt to guide it home was well held by Adam Strain. In a flash Beith broke upfield with Kris Irvine finding Calum Hardie in space on the right hand side of the penalty box where the impressive midfielder whipped the ball across the face of goal for the incoming David McGowan only for the unfortunate Glen Mitchell’s attempt to head it clear finish in the back of his own net, with 21 minutes gone.
Chances at either end were now on the increase and so too the tempo of the match. On 27 minutes a trademark run from Andy Reid saw him glide down the left flank before cutting into the box but hopes of doubling his side’s lead were dashed by a last ditch tackle from Robbie Henderson. Four minutes later McMnaus outwitted Wilson on the 18 yard line to knock down a neat header into the path of Dempster to run on and fire for goal but he too was undone by a perfectly timed tackle, Docherty the purveyor. Glen Mitchell rose to win the resultant corner but his powerful header whizzed past Strain’s right hand post.
The home side’s efforts were rewarded on 41 minutes when McManus lost Wilson in the box again only for the covering McShane to dive in with a rash tackle and floor the Glens’ forward. Gareth Campbell stepped up and slammed spot kick beyond the reach of Strain for Glenafton’s first goal of the Premier campaign. H/T Glens 1 Beith 1
The second half proved to be a mirror image of the first with the opening 15 minutes or so devoid of any decent chances. A feature of the proceedings was the contrast in the set pieces from both sides with the home side struggling to conjure up anything to cause concern in their opponents’ box while the visitors’ attempts tended to carry greater threat. Beith also looked the livelier going forward in taking the ball from box to box with some slick interchanges, Hardie at the heart of many of the moves the best of which ended with Semple pulling off a fine save from Docherty.
Beith made the breakthrough on the hour mark beginning in the centre circle with Gary Wild pushing McKenzie off the ball which fell to Hardie and in no time Kenny McLean was motoring down the right before drilling the ball low and hard to the back post where Andy Reid was free to pick his spot and tap the ball home.Glenafton made a couple of changes with Paul Murphy replacing Danny Mitchell and Gareth Armstrong on for Craig Potter but managed only to test Strain through a McKenzie drive before Reid struck again on 73 minutes in almost a carbon copy of his first with another tap in at the back post to put the finishing touches on a McGowan cross from the right hand side of the penalty box.
Beith continued to stroke the ball around with some style and although the Glens enjoyed an equal share of possession converting this into shots at goal proved elusive – a Murphy effort in the closing seconds sneaking wide of target the nearest they came. FT Glens 1 Beith 3
Glenafton: Semple; Menzies, G.Mitchell, Henderson, McKillen; McKenzie, Potter (Armstrong), D. Mitchell (Murphy), Campbell; McManus, Dempster . Subs – McEwan, McChesney, Dunsmuir
Beith: Strain, Irvine, Wilson, McShane, Docherrty; Hardie, Callaghan, Reid; McGowan, Reid. Subs Howarth, Crozier, Bristow, J. McGowan, Greenwood
More photos here
Other Premier scores: Ashfield 4 Clydebank 2; Cumnock 1 Kirkintilloch 2; Irvine Meadow 2 Arthurlie 1, Petershill 0 Auchinleck 1