Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup 2nd round
Saturday 30th March, Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 (1)
ARDEER THISTLE 0 (0)
Glenafton gave starting places to new signings to midfielder Jack Steele and striker Ryan Miller while in Ardeer’s ranks was former Glenafton player Derek Gemmell , now skipper of the Stevenston side.
Ardeer began brightly and Ally Semple had to be alert to punch the ball from the head of Scott Reid while soon after Reid’s header flashed wide of the keeper’s left hand post. The home side were soon on the front foot and the lively play up front of Miller and strike partner Ross Robertson was posing problems for Thistle. On 12 minutes a Gus Cochrane corner kick saw Robertson rise unopposed in the six yard box to power a header goal-ward only for Gemmell to stick out a hand to block the ball and earn the defender a yellow card and the home side a spot kick. Ross Robertson gave keeper Chris Lamb no chance as he blasted home from 12 yards out.
The home side continued to press but the game was soon littered with stoppages as Ardeer were forced to concede free kicks, many of which came to nothing and the best of which had Lamb launch himself to push a Robertson effort from 30 yards out over the bar. On 19 minutes a Paul McKenzie pass split the Thistle defence and picked out Miller who worked his way to the bye-line before cutting the ball back for Danny Mitchell but his attempt to place it from 10 yards out was blocked on the line by Ricky Allan with Lamb still floored. The keeper was better placed to handle a Robertson effort after he had gathered a Cochrane pass and turned Scaramuzza in the box.
The visitors had their moments as an attacking force, albeit few and far between, with the inventive play of Ross Munro on the right flank inevitably the source of any impending danger from Thistle, but in the end Semple was seldom tested. At the other end Craig Potter from wide on the right whipped a wicked ball across the face of goal and although neither defence nor attack could connect Lamb was relieved to watch it goes inches wide of his far post. The keeper then held an angled shot from Miller.
Five minutes from the break Miller clipped a cute ball into the box for the incoming Cochrane who took a touch before firing just wide of the outstretched arm of Lamb. Munro and Reid combined well to play Rory Campbell into the box but McKenzie and Glen Mitchell double-teamed to see off the threat. The half concluded with Robertson winning another aerial battle only for his header to go wide of target. HT Glens 1 Ardeer 0
McKenzie jinked past no fewer than three Ardeer defenders on the right hand edge of the penalty box before cutting the ball back to the penalty spot where Cochrane and Steele combined to force the ball goalward only for Lamb to get down low and push the ball wide of the post. Three minutes later the keeper excelled himself with a stunning save that had both sets of supporters applauding their appreciation. Steele deep in the box leapt to head the ball on to Miller whose guided header from the six yard line seemed certain to find the net only for Lamb to throw himself along the length of his goal and with a strong hand push the ball to safety.
Some respite for the visitors in the form of a corner kick with Semple called into action to clear from the head of Reid. Glenafton continued to enjoy the bulk of the pressure and on 65 minutes Bobby Colligan, on for Gus Cochrane, was unfortunate to see his drive crash off bar. However, twenty seconds later Robertson evaded George Bonner’s tackle to break into the box where the late arriving Scaramuzza caught the striker and receives a second yellow card and his marching orders. Lamb was set the wrong way from the spot as Ross Robertson bagged his brace to double the Glens lead.
The home side brought on Gareth Armstrong and Graeme Eaglesham for Robertson and McKenzie. On 72 minutes Jack Steele was denied by the outstretched leg of Lamb and the loose ball gathered by Colligan only for his shot from close range to thunder off the upright.
As the game drew to a close Miller collected the ball in the box but again the alert Lamb came out on top rushing from his line to narrow the angle. An Armstrong header then whistled wide of the post.
Colligan thundered a shot from 25 yards out and although Lamb at full stretch did well to push the ball out the man-of-the-match could do nothing to prevent Danny Mitchell from blasting home from a few yards out, with what was all but the last kick of the game. F/T Glens 3 Ardeer 0
Glenafton will now host the winners of Beith Juniors v Auchinleck Talbot in the next round.
Glenafton Athletic: Semple; McEwan, G.Mitchell, McKillen, Potter; McKenzie (Eaglesham), D.Mitchell, Steele, Cochrane (Colligan); Robertson (Armstrong), Miller . Subs not used. R.McChesney, R. Dunsmuir
Ardeer Thistle: Lamb, Wilson, Allan, Scaramuzza, Bonner, Gemmell, R.Munro, Campbell, Reid, Colligan, Chesney. Subs used. Breen, L.Munro, Gregory. Not used Ramsay, Kean
Other League Scores: Cumnock 1 Clydebank 3, Irvine Meadow 3 Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 3