Stagecoach West Region Premier Division
Saturday 4th May, Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1)
CUMNOCK JUNIORS 0 (0)
Glenafton completed the league derby double over Cumnock in a tense affair at Loch Park to extend their winning streak in the league to five games in a row. While victory secures the New Cumnock side’s place in the Premier Division the fate of their neighbours from Old Cumnock is now in the hands of others.
Cumnock kicked off with a strong wind at their back and were quickly on the front foot without however posing any serious threat to keeper Ally Semple in the home goal. After a slow start Glenafton began to make some headway and on 16 minutes came close to opening their account. Ryan Millar and Paul McKenzie played a neat one-two in the middle of the park which released the former down the right flank who then left Stuart McDonald for dead before cutting the ball back across the face of the goal for strike partner Ross Robertson only for central defender Stuart O’Donnell to intervene and sclaff the ball inches wide of the far post with keeper Chris Fahey rooted at the near one.
At the other end a John Johnston glancing header had Semple scurrying across his goal-line to usher the ball wide of target. On 26 minutes Millar muscled Chris Robertson off the ball and then skipped past James Lundie before threading the ball between two defenders and into the penalty box for Jack Steele to gather and fire for goal only for the outrushing Fahey to block well on the six yard line.
Five minutes later the midfielder was not be denied. Gus Cochrane stripped the ball from Richard Hanvey and rolled the ball down the left wing for the overlapping Richie McKillen who whipped the ball into the heart of the box where it was partially cleared by Donnelly and then met it on the 18 yard line by Jack Steele who drilled the ball into the corner of the net beyond the reach of the outstretched Fahey. The ensuing celebrations were well worthy of both taking a derby lead and opening his account for the club.
The home continued to create the best of the chances that were on offer and five minutes from the break McKenzie’s cut back from the bye-line was met by Millar at the corner of a crowded six yard box but his first-time shot went high and wide of target. H/T Glens 1 Cumnock 0
The visitors were first to show and five minutes into the new half Semple rose well at his near post to safely clutch a free kick as with former Glens’ captain Willie Howie waiting to pounce. A lung-bursting run by James Lundie was ended on the edge of the box by McKillen and although Chris McKnight could only drill the resultant free-kick into the wall the corner kick that followed created panic in the Glens box. Hanvey’s claim that his header hit Glen Mitchell’s hand were waved away and the big defender combined with Robertson to clear the danger. At the other end Steele powered past McKnight to drive into the box but Fahey cut out the ball intended for Robertson at the back post.
On 56 minutes McMenamim and McKenzie tussled for the ball on the touchline and the home dug-left infuriated when the Cumnock man went down and the Glens’ captain booked. Five minutes later McKenzie turned McMenamin inside out as he made his way to the bye line, the referee playing advantage after a tug from the ‘Nock midfielder, but as he continued his run towards the box McKenzie went down with McMenamin at his heels – the official deciding there was no contact and a second yellow card administered, to reduce the home side to ten men.
Glenafton reshuffled the pack with John Dempster coming on for Robertson and later Graeme Eaglesham for Millar; the front pair having put in another great shift for the team. In between times Semple showed superb athleticism to stop McKnight’s looping header.
With ten minutes to go McMenamin stayed on his feet to dance past three Glens’ players as he forged his way deep into the box only for Glen Mitchell’s superbly timed tackle to deny him a shot at goal. The visitors continued to push for the equaliser but were running short on ideas to penetrate the home defence; long balls lofted into the box were readily clutched by Semple.
Five minutes from time goalscorer Jack Steele, with blood still flowing from a burst lip, left the field to a roar of appreciative applause to be replaced by Ryan McChesney with the home side intent on shutting up shop. However, it was the 10 men that came closest to finding the net. First, having broken down a Cumnock attack , Dempster sent the ball upfield for Danny Mitchell to give chase only for the alert Fahey to rush 30 yards from the his goal line to kick clear. Soon after the keeper could only watch as a Dempster rocket from 15 yards out thundered off the cross-bar seconds before handshakes witnessed the end of the match. FT Glens 1 Cumnock 0
Glenafton: Semple; Potter, McKillen, G.Mitchell, McEwan; McKenzie, Steele (McChesney), D.Mitchell, Cochrane; Robertson (Dempster), Millar (Eaglesham) Subs not used : Menzies, Armstrong
Cumnock: Fahey; Lundie, Robertston, O’Donnell, McDonald (Bradford); Johnston, Howie, McKnight, McMenamin; Hanvey, Pierce (Anson). Subs not used Cairns, McInnes
Other Scores: Beith 2 Shotts 1, Irvine Meadow 2 Pollok 1, Kirkintilloch 0 Auchinleck 3