New Coin Automatics West of Scotland Cup 2nd round
Sat22nd December, Meadow Park, Irvine
IRVINE MEADOW 0 (0)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (1)
M&M’s for Sweet Afton
Murphy and Mitchell struck early at the beginning of each half for Glenafton to exact revenge for the semi-final defeat to Meadow in last season’s West of Scotland cup to send the holders crashing out the competition.
Glenafton welcomed back Gareth Campbell to the starting line-up in their first competitive match in four weeks. There was no sign of ring-rustiness as they pushed back Meadow from the kick-off and only a superb save by Michael Wardrope prevented Paul McKenzie from opening the scoring in three minutes after the midfielder nicked into the six yard box to get onto a Paul Murphy cross. From the resultant corner the keeper then leaped to take the ball off the head of Ryan McChesney at the expense of another corner.
The home side had yet to breach their opponents’ box by the time Glenafton’s pressure had earned them yet another corner-kick with 11 minutes gone. John Dempster’s run from the back to near post wasn’t matched by his marker Chris McGowan and the Glens forward flicked the ball back to from where he came and the incoming Paul Murphy had a free run to slam the ball home from three yards out.
Meadow reacted well to the set back and fine play by new signing Findlay Frye ended with Willie Kinniburgh having a close range effort scrambled clear after which the game entered into a period of end-to-end play with neither side able to find the net. The holders went close on 27 minutes when Frye’s header from a free kick deep into the box was headed off the line by the outstanding Craig Potter while at the other end a Dempster header whizzed across the face of the Meadow goal.
Meadow pressed for the equaliser in the closing 15 minutes of the half with Richie Barr at the heart of most of the potent play. His thunderbolt from the corner of the six yard threatened to burst the side netting and five minutes from the interval he had two bites at the cherry before Semple got a foot to push a low drive out for a corner. H/T Meadow 0 Glens 1
With what light there had been fading badly the Glens began the half brightly with John Paul Boyle and Dempster menacing their way into the Meadow box albeit without success. On 51 minutes Dempster, on the left, squared the ball to Campbell in the centre circle who rather than play the expected one-two chipped an exquisite ball through the middle and over the flat-footed Meadow defence for Danny Mitchell to gather the ball at the edge of the ‘D’, take a touch and then from 16 yards out perfectly place the ball beyond the reach of Wardrope.
Ten minutes later brother Glen Mitchell, a tower of strength in defence all game, bulleted a header wide of target from a corner kick earned through Dempster’s determination. Meadow, as well, forced a couple of corner kicks but each was repelled by Semple’s safe hands, the leap at full stretch to deny the incoming substitute Tom Brighton of particular note.
The visitors with a two goal cushion grew in confidence as the half progressed and controlled much of the play with Murphy mastering the middle of the park and yet a killer third goal eluded them. Meadow struggled to undo a stubborn Glens’ defence with Richie McKillen and Potter breaking down the attacks on the flanks while central defenders Mitchell and McChesney mopped up the preferred route of high balls into the box.
The last decent chance of the match fell to the visitors when McKenzie cut in from the left and unleashed a low drive as he entered the box only for Wardrope to get down quick and block the ball at his near post. F/T Meadow 0 Glens 2
Irvine Meadow: Wardrope, Ryan, Halliday, C. McGowan, Campbell, Kinniburgh (Brighton), Frye, McLellan, Barr, Strain (McKeever), Hamilton (Gibson).
Glenafton Athletic: Semple; Potter, McChesney, G.Mitchell, McKillen; McKenzie, Murphy, D.Mitchell, Campbell (Cochrane); Dempster (Colligan), Boyle (Armstrong)