Scottish Junior Cup Semi-final 1st leg
Sunday 13th April 2014, Carmuirs Park, Camelon
CAMELON JUNIORS 2 (1)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1)
Teeming rain welcomed the teams as they gingerly descended the steps from the dressing rooms onto the Carmuirs Park pitch, led out by two young proud-as-punch Mariners’ mascots oblivious to the conditions overhead or underfoot. Pennants exchanged the youngsters departed the scene while the rain decided to hang around to the final whistle and witness the opening leg of the Scottish Junior Cup semi-final between Camelon Juniors and Glenafton Athletic.
The New Cumnock side were quick off the blocks with Michael Reilly and Aaron Connolly combining well as the white shirts pushed forward. From tight on the right wing Connolly picked out Cameron Marlow in the six yard box only for the midfielder to scoop his shot over the bar.
Seconds later Connolly clipped a through ball that caught the Camelon defence flat footed and gave Cameron Marlow a one-on-one with Ritchie Barnard with the keeper forcing the Glens man much wider than he had hoped to travel and the chance appeared to have gone – not in the slightest! From wide on the left and from an outrageous angle he fired the ball back across the goal mouth beyond a flotilla of floundering Mariners gallantly trying to divert its course but to no avail, instead it struck the back post before nestling in the rigging. Glenafton a goal to the good and with less than 3 minutes gone.
Five minutes later Barnard tipped a Ryan McChesney header over the bar and from the resultant corner-kicker the Scotland international keeper made a stunning point blank save from a close range Marlow header and from that corner kick clutched Marlow’s header from under the bar.
At the other end Brian McGarrity matched that save by getting down low to push away a Blair Batchelor drive after the midfielder had pounced on a headed clearance from Alan Cairns. The chance kick-started Camelon into action and the game was now end-to-end. On the slippery surface tackles won didn’t always result in the ball being retained and possession change hands readily.
On 26 minutes the home side drew level after a ball into the six yard box saw McChesney win the aerial battle only for the ball to break free and the two Colins, Alison and Leiper, react quickest with the latter Colin Leiper prodding the ball home from a yard out.
Four minutes later Craig McEwan stood firm in another goal mouth scramble forcing Alison to set up Gary Kelly but McGarrity’s pressure forced the defender to skew his effort wide.
On 35 minutes Connolly on the left made excellent progress into the Camelon box and although his square ball eluded the out-rushing Barnard defender Alan Benton got a timely touch to deny the incoming Findlay Frye a tap in. Five minutes later a Jamie McKernon corner kick almost sneaked in at the back post but for a headed clearance by Andy McGown, the ball then hooked back into the mix by McChesney only for Kelly to partially clear and then no fewer than three red shirts close down Reilly before he could shoot for goal.
H/T Camelon 1 Glens 1
Camelon came out firing and Alison’s pace and movement on a surface that was becoming greasier by the minute caught the eye. Headers from Craig Menzies and then Jamie McGeoghan cleared the Afton line as crosses from both flanks were fired into the box.
Back came the Glens to earn a corner kick which was ably cleared by the Mariners defence. On the hour mark Marlow’s cross from wide on the left found Connolly in space on the box but the Glens’ striker touch eluded him and the chance lost. Four minutes later the electric Alison burst through the middle only for the tracking Menzies to nick the ball in the danger zone and McKernon to pick up the pieces and clear the ball.
The home side continued to press and muddy white shirts were strewn across the ground as they manfully continued to repel balls whipped into the box. On 67 minutes it was the red shirt of Kevin Kelbie that lay prostrate in the penalty box after a coming together with Frye, the referee waving away claims for a spot kick. Soon after Allison’s athletic leap and header in the box was bravely headed clear by McGeoghan as Marty Wright looked certain to nod home from close range and then Cairns’ pressure was enough to ensure Batchelor’s header loop over the bar.
Some respite for the visitors when Frye forced his way up-field and little wonder after an energy sapping run Barnard comfortably held his shot from distance. Glens won a couple of corners in quick succession, the second of which saw Barnard punch the ball from the head of McGeoghan.
Back came Camelon and again balls were being whipped in from both wings before the pressure paid off on 77 minutes when Craig Menzies’ attempt to prevent a cross from the left reaching Kelbie ended with his clearing header unfortunately flying into his own net. In the aftermath Camelon’s Andy McGown was shown a straight red card for his misguided celebratory gesture.
Glenafton brought on the fresh legs of Alain Kinney for Michael Reilly and soon after Darren McGill for Cameron Marlow while the hosts sacrificed Colin Alison for defender Eamon Fullerton. Only a few chances were created in the closing minutes the best of which ended with Barnard saving well from a Connolly header.
F/T Camelon 2 Glenafton 1
Great credit goes to both sides for serving up an entertaining cup-tie in tricky conditions.
Camelon Juniors: 1. Ritchie Barnard 2. Gary Kelly 3. Andy McGown 4. Alan Benton 5. Colin Leiper 6. James Donaldson 7. Blair Batchelor 8. Derek Ure 9. Colin Alison (15. Eamon Fullerton).10. Kevin Kelbie 11. Marty Wright
Glenafton Athletic: 1. Brian McGarrity 2. Craig McEwan 3. Alan Cairns. 4. Ryan McChesney 5. Craig Menzies. 6.Findlay Frye 7. Jamie McGeoghan 8. Jamie McKernon 9. Aaron Connolly. 10. Michael Reilly (12. Alain Kinney) 11. Cameron Marlow (15. Darren McGill) Subs. Stevie Miller, Craig Brown.
More photos here