West Region Premier Division : Match 8
Saturday 2nd November, Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 (2)
KILBIRNIE LADESIDE 2 (1)
A minute’s silence was held before kick-off in memory of Davie MacFarlane who passed away in the midweek. Time for many memories to flood back for those on the terracing who will forever remember the magical midfielder’s contribution to the great Glenafton sides of the 1990s and in particular the glorious season of 1992/93 when the Glens won the terrific treble of Scottish Junior Cup, Ayrshire League title and Ayrshire Cup.
Glenafton kicked off with the same starting eleven that overcame Lugar Boswell in the Scottish Junior Cup last week-end. Starting up front for Kilbirnie was John Paul Boyle and the former Glenafton striker was soon in the thick of the action as the visitors dominated the opening 15 minutes.
The Blasties had the ball in the net within a minute only for an offside flag to curtail the celebrations of Boyle’s headed goal from a corner kick. Jamie McGeoghan and Ryan McChesney then combined in the six yard box to block Chris Strain’s shot at goal. Passages of delightful one touch passing saw the visitors continue to press and on 10 minutes Josh Mullin’s cut across the face of goal just missed Boyle and McGeoghan cleared at the expense of a corner kick – which came to nothing. Four minutes later Boyle conjured up a shot at goal from the edge of the box which had keeper Brian McGarrity at full stretch to push the ball round the post.
From the ensuing corner-kick Glenafton broke upfield and in some style with a string of telling passes that concluded with Alain Kinney’s shot at goal blocked by Joe Coleman before Aaron Connolly’s attempt to fire home the loose ball was forced out for a corner by Kevin McDonald. The chance may have gone but the game quickly swung the way of the home side and in dramatic fashion.
On 19 minutes Craig Menzies on the half-way line picked out Connolly who drove forward before finding Findlay Frye who then picked out Cameron Marlow on the left outskirts of the box. The midfielder took Mullin out of the game by rolling the ball into the box for the incoming Connolly who muscled off the challenge of Darren McLean before feeding the ball to Cameron Marlow to lash a left footer home from 12 yards out.
A minute later a McGeoghan cross from wide on the right was just out of Marlow’s reach as it whizzed past the far post. Soon after Connolly, who doesn’t know the meaning of lost causes, hunted down McDonald and robbed him of the ball wide on the right touch line before breaking into the box and drilling a low angled shot that was pushed wide of the post by keeper Daniel McLeay. Although McChesney rose unchallenged at the near post to meet Jamie McKernon’s corner-kick the ball sailed over his head and the keeper’s attempt to punch it clear with one hand ended up in the back of the net.
The home side went in for the kill and former Kilbirnie striker Kinney was unfortunate not to put the Glens further ahead in a torrid three minute spell. First McLeay punched a corner-click clear from the striker’s head and then pulled off a super reflex save from his attempt to bury a John Craig cross and finally his low drive from deep in the box whizzed past the post.
Back came the Blasties and McChesney had to be at his best to disarm the menacing Chris Craig in the box. McGarrity then got down low to save a Boyle shot from the edge of the box and minutes later the striker did well to evade McChesney in the box but his ball to back to the back post was beyond the reach of Chris Hamilton. Ten minutes before the break the former Afton lad had the ball in the net but again from an offside position.
However, on 39 minutes the flag stayed down when Chris Malone’s header from a corner kick was headed home at the back post by John Paul Boyle.
In the last serious action before the break McLeay had to be alert to push a Connolly cross from tight in the right flank round the post from which the Glens earned a couple of back-to-back corner kicks, but neither came to anything. H/T Glens 2 Kilbirnie 1
The visitors created the first chance after the break when Boyle’s cross forced McGeoghan to head clear for a corner from which Malone’s attempt at the back post was blocked by McKernon. On 52 minutes Marlow fed Connolly down the right who skipped past McDonald into the box and whipped the ball to the back post but despite a lung bursting run by live-wire Findlay Frye his effort went inches wide. Less than a minute later Kilbirnie drew level after Liam McGuiness slipped the ball to Hamilton in the left of the box and his cut back caught out the Glens defence and the incoming McGuinness guided the ball home.
Play flowed from end-to-end and on the hour mark Glenafton regained the lead. Kinney won the ball in the box and as it fell to Frye he in turn found Cameron Marlow to drive the ball into the net from 8 yards out, despite McLeay getting a hand to it.
On 65 minutes Ladeside made a double substitution including Boyle coming off for Michael Moore and although JP received the usual reception reserved for former players by the home support, most were delighted to see the visitors danger man leave the field of play.
Glenafton enjoyed a good spell of pressure winning a series of corner-kicks each of which were repelled by the Blasties defence. At the other end a timely tackle by Alan Cairns blocked Craig’s path to goal and Moore’s header from a free kick sailed over the bar.
With 10 minutes to go Kinney barged his way into box and powered the ball for goal only for McLeay to pull off the save of the match and there was no further scoring,
Credit to both sides for serving up an entertaining game in such poor conditions.
F/T Glenafton 3 Kilbirnie 2
Glenafton: McGarrity; McGeoghan, McChesney, Menzies, Cairns; Craig, McKernon, Frye, Marlow; Connolly, Kinney. Subs Maltoni, Dimilta, Brown, McEwan
Kilbirnie: McLeay; Mullin, McDonald, Coleman, Malone; Strain, McGuiness, McLean, Hamilton; Boyle, Craig. Subs used Moore, McGeown and Barclay
More photos here