Scottish Junior Cup Semi-final 2nd leg
Sunday 20th April 2014, Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (1)
CAMELON JUNIORS 0 (0)
Glenafton win 3-2 on aggregate
Glenafton Athletic, Tommy Bryce and his troops cheered on by the red #Afton Army defeated Camelon Juniors2-0 at Loch Park to secure a 3-2 aggregate win and march on to the Scottish Junior Cup final for the fifth time in the club’s history. This one, arguably the most remarkable achievement following the close-season turmoil that befell the New Cumnock club.
Camelon , a goal to the good from the 1st leg at Carmuirs Park last week, were first to show and top goal scorer Kevin Kelbie was denied a close range header by Brian McGarrity as he rose to cleanly clutch and gather the ball to safety – a sight that would become a feature of the game. A Camelon corner-kick was repelled on 10 minutes as they continued to apply the early pressure.
Glens responded through a determined run into the box by Michael Reilly which earned the home side their first corner-kick and two more would follow in quick succession. Jamie McKernon’s kick arrived in the heart of the six yard box where Aaron Connolly may have got a touch before the ball fell for Cameron Marlow who kept his cool to fire the ball home from a few yards out and level the tie in aggregate with 14 minutes gone.
Camelon’s defence dealt better with another Glens’ corner a few minutes later and then keeper Ritchie Barnard rushed from his line to beat Marlow to the chase for a through ball deep into the box.
The Mariners soon regained their sea-legs and with the wind at their back set sail down both flanks with good effect but finishing touches were proving more elusive that buried treasure. Nevertheless they enjoyed a good fifteen minute spell of pressure beginning with an unchallenged McGarrity plucking a corner kick from the left out the air.
Another corner was only partially cleared by the home defence and the ball eventually fell to Jamie Donaldson wide left in the box but his cross for Colin Allison at the near post crashed off the self-same post. Kelbie found some space at the right hand corner of the six yard box and although he did well to engineer a powerful shot the ball ended well wide of target . Donaldson’s low angled shot was on target but was comfortably collected by McGarrity and the keeper then bravely leapt to grasp the ball to fend off the challenge from Marty Wright. A timely tackle by Jamie McGeoghegan then prevented Allison a sniff at goal.
The home side did break forward on occasion chiefly through Reilly and Connolly however they too were finding clear cut chances to be thin on the ground. Ten minutes from the break a clever through ball by Findlay Frye cut open Camelon’s defence only for Barnard to get the jump on Connolly, run to the edge of the box and launch the ball to safety. Frye then whipped a cross in from the left only for Barnard to grab the ball from under his bar as Reilly challenged. In the last action of the half Blair Batchelor set up Alison in the box but his shot lacked the conviction and power to beat McGarrity H/T Glens 1 Camelon 0
The visitors were quickly on the front foot and Donaldson’s acrobatic volley was deflected wide to earn their first corner of the new half, which McGarrity mopped up with another outstanding piece of handling. Within five minutes of the restart the Glens suffered a serious setback when captain Craig Menzies hobbled off the park.
The reshuffle saw Jamie McGeoghegan drop back and partner Ryan McChesney at the centre of defence and the oncoming Darren McGill fill the vacancy in midfield. The home side quickly regrouped and won a couple of free kicks on the outskirts of the box but these came to nothing while. A powerful run down the right wing by Frye ended with his cross into the box being cut out by the outstretched leg of Alan Benton , as Connolly waited to pounce. At the other end McChesney’s presence was enough to force Colin Leiper’s to volley wide of target. Back upfield and on 67 minutes Glenafton appeared to have doubled their lead after Darren McGill bulleted a header into the net from four yards out, only for it to be disallowed for some infringement.
Two minutes later a Batchelor free kick caused panic in the Glens box as McGarrity got down low to hold the ball only for Allison to attempt to force it over the line beyond the keeper and Craig McEwan. Camelon arms raised to celebrate the equaliser before noticing the raised flag of the assistant referee for an infringement.
On 73 minutes Alain Kinney replaced Michael Reilly the striker exiting to a well-deserved ovation from the home support. With time running out neither side could get the upper hand and the dreaded penalty shoot-out was the talk of the terracing. However, with four minutes to go Scottish Junior cup-tie drama descended on Loch Park. A slick passing moving down the right flank concluded with Batchelor having the keeper to beat only for McGarrity to dive bravely at the feet of the Junior Scotland midfielder and smother the ball, which was then promptly launched upfield.
With their backs to goal Connolly and Eamon Fullerton challenged for the ball on the 18 yard line, the Glens striker chesting the ball back for Alain Kinney to gather who then held off a defender before executing a cute reverse pass to deliver the ball into the path of Findlay Frye who promptly leathered it from 25 yards out and with the aid of a deflection dispatch it into the gaping net with the wrong-footed Barnard rooted to the spot.
The celebrations by players and supporters that followed underlined that the Glens had taken an aggregate lead with only minutes of regulation time remaining.
The home side lifted by their lead and the tireless Connolly was proving a handful, Leiper making a last ditch tackle to prevent Glens’ top goal-scorer a clear run on goal. Cammy Marlow hobbled off to a fantastic reception to be replaced by Stevie Miller shortly before the sweet sound of the final whistle confirmed that sweet Afton were in the final of the Scottish Junior Cup.
The after-match celebrations continued for some time as the sun continued to bathe Loch Park. It would be some time after the sun had sunk before the enormity of this victory had sunk in with all those associated with Glenafton Athletic and been part of this extraordinary season. FT Glens 2 Camelon 0 (3-2 aggregate)
Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; McEwan, McChesney, Menzies (McGill), Cairns; McGeoghan, Frye, McKernon, Marlow (Miller); Connolly & Reilly (Kinney) Subs. Brown
Camelon Juniors: Barnard; Kelly, Benton, Leiper, Fullerton; Donaldson, Ure, Batchelor, Wright; Allison & Kelbie Subs: Bell, Young , Cringean
more photos here