Glenafton 2 Cumnock 1

Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-final replay

Saturday 22nd March  2014, Loch Park, New Cumnock




Many that had made their way to Loch Park for the Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-final replay between local rivals Glenafton and Cumnock were still queuing to get into the ground when Cumnock took the lead with less than 5 minutes on the clock. As in the dying minutes of the game at Townhead last Saturday local hero Ryan McChesney’s luck deserted him. The young defender was badly winded prior to the visitors winning a corner-kick and had to leave the field of play and could only look on as Chris Robertson leaped head, shoulders and bit more of his anatomy above the Glens’ defence to head home at the back post.

Chris Robertson heads home

Chris Robertson heads home

Five minutes later Glenafton’s first chance came from a corner too, Cameron Marlow out-jumping three Cumnock defenders on the six yard line but his powerful header to flew over the bar.

The visitors looked livelier on the ball and on 15 minutes came close to doubling their lead after a free kick picked out Robert Love deep in the box, where he clipped the ball  beyond keeper Brian McGarrity only for Craig McEwan to clear off the line and then McChesney prevent Love having a second bite at the cherry. The big defender headed clear the resultant corner as well as Paul McInnes’s cut back from the bye-line moments later as ‘Nock continued to press.

Loch Park

Loch Park

Glens gradually came more into the game and midway through the half Alain Kinney broke into the left hand side of the box, however as he cut towards the corner of the six yard box to tee up his shot, the back tracking Robertson made a timely tackle and nothing came of the resultant corner-kick.

A determined run by Jamie McKernon saw him pick up the ball just inside the Glens’ half and drive down the right flank before giving Ray Montgomerie the slip and then attempt to whip the ball across the face of the goal only for the recovering Montgomerie to block it in the box with a raised hand. Former Cumnock striker Aaron Connolly stepped up to lash home the spot-kick, which may have ended back in Old Cumnock if not for the Loch Park net, to level the cup-tie on 32 minutes.

Aaron's spot on

Aaron’s spot on

Four minutes later Cumnock came close to regaining their lead with Love in the thick of it again. He turned well in a crowded box to engineer a snap shot a goal only for McGarrity at full stretch to pull off a great save and push the ball wide with both hands. From the corner-kick the keeper then blocked Love’s attempt to force the ball home from close range – a spell of play that left the travelling support with their hands on their hands and the home faithful with hearts in their mouths.

Brian pulls off a great save

Brian pulls off a great save

With 10 minutes of the half remaining McChesney transformed from Chessy to Messi as he picked up the ball deep in his own half and strolled up the right wing , effortlessly gliding past Cumnock players one after another as if there was a ruling which ‘did not allow them within a 30 metre radius of the player’. The run did come to an end at the edge of the box, fittingly by Robertson, only for the loose ball to fall to McKernon and his blast at goal well held by Muir.

On 40 minutes McChesney reverted to his defending role and tracked Love’s run into the Glens’ box before timing his tackle to perfection and allowing McGarrity to pick up the pieces and initiate another Afton attack which concluded with Muir pulling off another save from a McKernon shot. HT Glens 1 Cumnock 1

Glenafton brought on Michael Reilly for Jamie McGeoghan and soon after Cumnock’s John Johnson, who clearly hadn’t recovered from a first half injury, was replaced by Kieran Wood.

The visitors earned an early corner-kick but found McGarrity in a mean mood as he comfortably rose to clutch the ball cleanly at the near post.  Straight up the park and the ‘Nock defence stood firm to prevent Connolly weaving into a position to shoot for goal. On 48 minutes Findlay Frye chased down a Reilly header and punished Wood’s indecision in the box to steal the ball and from six yards out clipped it over the head of the diving Muir only for the ball to end a whisker past the post.

Findlay goes close

Findlay goes close

Cumnock countered with a free-kick from the edge of the box but Chris McKnight’s effort curled over the wall and bar and then later forced another corner-kick which Craig Menzies and McChesney combined to repel with ease.

On the hour mark an eventful Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-final (over both games) came to an untimely end for Ryan McChesney after his tackle on Montgomerie earned him a second yellow card. However, the home side rallied and Menzies, McEwan & Alan Cairns teamed up manfully to negate the loss of their fellow defender while McKernon and Frye began to completely boss the middle of the park.

Jamie McKernon brushes aside 'Nock

Jamie McKernon brushes aside ‘Nock

Up front Reilly was making his presence known and forced Cumnock to concede a corner-kick which Robertson cleared. On 68 minutes Marlow caught the Cumnock defence cold with a cute ball into the box for Kinney who drove to the corner six yard box but his cut-back for the incoming Marlow was cut out by Montgomerie and eventually cleared to safety.  A minute later a McKernon thunderbolt from 20 yards out whizzed past the airborne Muir at full stretch and inches wide of the post.

Stevie Miller came on for Alain Kinney to freshen up the 10 men as they continued to take the game to Cumnock. On 72 minutes Reilly touched the ball to Aaron Connolly who worked his way into the box with Wood tracking his diagonal run while Muir advanced from his goal line, a final touch created the angle and space for the Glens striker to slot home his 18th goal of the season ……

Aaron slots home the winner

Aaron slots home the winner

….. and spark off a glorious touchline celebration.

It's a Nock Out

It’s a Nock Out

Five minutes later Reilly and Marlow combined well down the right only for Robertson to come to the rescue with a well timed tackle and some excellent clearing up to rid the ball from the Cumnock box. At the other end McInnes tried to cut in from the left but Menzies never gave him an inch and the Glens skipper marshalled the ball out for a corner which sailed over Robertson’s head and safely into the grasp of McGarrity.

Derby Day with Ray and Findlay

Derby Day with Ray and Findlay

With seven minutes to go Glens introduced Darren McGill for Cameron Marlow as the Glens tried to close the game out, with Cumnock lacking in ideas. Two minutes later McInnes went down in the box following a challenge by McEwan, the referee unimpressed with the former Glens midfielder’s theatrics flashed a second yellow card and the visitors were reduced to 10 men.

Glenafton refused to sit back and Connolly muscled Wood off the ball to set up McGill and although his shot from 15 yards beat Muir the ball rolled wide of the post. In the last minute of regulation time Reilly jigged his way into the box before whipping the ball across the face of the goal only for James Lundie to head over his own bar. The home side in no hurry to take the corner but another four minutes would pass before the followers of Sweet Afton heard the sweet sound of the final whistle. FT Glens 2 Cumnock 1

One step at a time Tommy

One step at a time Tommy

Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity, McEwan, McChesney, Menzies, Cairns; McGeoghan (Reilly), McKernon, Frye, Marlow (McGill); Connolly, Kinney (Miller)

Cumnock Juniors: Muir, Lundie, Mcknight, Robertson, Brown (Hanvey), Montgomerie,Johnston (Wood) , Williamson (Bradford), Maguire,  Love,  McInnes.

More photos here

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