Stagecoach West Region Premier Division
Saturday 20th April, Dunterlie Park, Barrhead
ARTHURLIE 1 (0)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 4 (2)
Glenafton extended their winning run to six-in-a-row (including four league games) with a convincing win over Arthurlie at Dunterlie to secure another valuable three points and push up to fifth place in the table.
The visitors quickly commandeered the midfield from flank to flank and soon had the home defence on the back foot with the movement of front two of Ross Roberston and Ryan Millar causing all sorts of problems both in the air and on the ground. On 10 minutes the pressure paid off after Craig McEwan collected the ball deep in his own half and lofted the ball over the heads of two ‘Lie defenders for Millar to give chase down the left flank. After leaving former Glens’ defender Chris Merrilees for dead he cut the ball back for Jack Steele who took a touch on the penalty spot before his shot was blocked by Mark Blakey to send the ball skyward and the in-rushing Gus Cochrane react quickest to prod the ball home at the post.
Arthurlie’s forward play lacked any real fluency and long balls up the park were mopped up with ease by the Glens’ centre-backs; if Richie McKillen won one header during the game then he won fifty one. Occasional chances did come their way the best was foiled by McEwan who dispossessed McGregor with a well time tackled and then blocked Steven McKeown’s attempt to bury the rebound.
Midway through the half live-wire Millar burst down the right flank before firing in a cross which had the ‘Lie defence at sixes and sevens and although Cochrane collected the ball it didn’t fall kindly and the chance for a second was lost. At the other end Craig Potter brought a good run to the bye-line by Kieran Brannon to an end at the expense of a corner kick, however like two others that soon followed to ‘Lie they came to nothing. On 29 minutes the Glens enjoyed greater success from a corner, earned after having been camped in the ‘Lie box, when McKenzie’s wicked kick arrived at the back post perfectly for Glen Mitchell to rise above McGregor and bullet home a header beyond keeper Kevin Macklin.
Arthurlie’s attempts to rally through McGregor and McKeown were snuffed out and back came the visitors with Millar darting down the left and cutting back for McKenzie in the box who jinked through the tightest of gaps between Merrilees and Miller only for Merriman to get a goal saving last ditch touch on the six-yard line. The half drew to a close with Glenafton very much on the front foot and looking the more likely to add to their tally , while the ‘Lie had yet to seriously test keeper Ally Semple. HT Lie 0 Glens 2
Five minutes into the new half Glenafton extended their lead with a glorious worked goal. Cochrane picked up the ball deep in his own half and drove forward with great purpose before releasing Robertson wide on the right who in turn made his way into the box and before Merriman could close him down squared the ball across the face of goal. His target, Millar on the six yard line, with his back to goal and Bonar glued to him back-heeled the ball into the danger area where Danny Mitchell got the jump on Brannon to fire the ball home. Arthurlie’s vehement claims for offside were dismissed and the goal rightly stood.
Cochrane left to hearty applause from the appreciative away support to be replaced by Gareth Campbell . Meanwhile Arthurlie introduced James Marks and he was soon in the thick of the action and help set up the home team’s best chance freeing Paul Stewart to work his way into the box to power an angled shot which brought out a fine save for Semple; a strong right hand sending the ball across the face of the goal. The keeper then had to be alert to punch the ball from the head of Stewart as ‘Lie enjoyed a period of pressure.
Paul McKenzie, who had taken a knock in the first half, and then later Ryan Miller left to load applause as they were replaced by John Dempster and Gareth Armstrong.
The game was much more even now with chances being exchanged. Steele manoeuvred his way through the midfield before trying to place the ball home only for Macklin to cover well. Marks carved out a good chance but was denied by a brave block from McKillen. With two minutes to go Arthurlie struck a consolation goal after Mark Blakey cut in from the left flank and unleashed an unstoppable shot beyond Semple into the top corner.
A minute into added time Robertson trapped the ball in the centre circle and sold Merriman a dummy before taking McGregor out of play with a perfect pass to pick out Gareth Armstrong in acres of space in the box who calmly wrong footed Macklin before taking another touch and rolling the ball into the gaping net. FT Lie 1 Glens 4
Arthurlie: Macklin; Miller, Merriman, Merrilees, Blakey; McGregor, Bonar (Crawford), McKeown, Brannon (Marks); Dymock, Stewart. Subs not used McKeever, Holmes, Walker
Glenafton: Semple; Potter, G. Mitchell, McKillen, McEwan; McKenzie (Dempster), D. Mitchell, Steele, Cochrane (Campbell); Millar (Armstrong), Roberston: Subs not used McChesney, Dunsmuir
Other scores: Beith 3 Kirkintilloch 2, Cumnock 4 Petershill 0, Irvine Meadow 1 Ashfield 0, Pollok 0 Clydebank 1