West Region Premier Division : Match 21
Saturday 10th May, Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (0)
ARTHURLIE 0 (0)
Fully recovered from a recent knock club captain Craig Menzies made a return to the Glens starting line-up while top scorer Aaron Connolly remained side-lined and Ryan McChesney began his two match suspension. In Arthurlie’s starting line-up was former Glenafton striker Graeme Barbour.
The home side enjoyed the bulk of possession in the first half with persistent passages of fine passing played at high tempo. However clear cut chances were scarce and the best of these were engineered by striker Alain Kinney. In the opening minutes his low angled shot from outside of the box whizzed past keeper’s Patrick Doherty’s right hand post. On 12 minutes the self-same post came to the visitors rescue after Findlay Frye and Jamie McKernon combined to pick out Kinney in the box who slipped past Kevin Green before stroking the ball beyond the reach of the on-rushing Doherty only for it crash off the base of the woodwork.
There were only glimpses of the Barrhead side as an attacking force with Ryan McArdle often the architect; however they too struggled to test the keeper.
Glenafton continued to press with McKernon and Frye controlling the midfield and full backs Craig McEwan and Alan Cairns pushing forward to support Stevie Miller and Cameron Marlow on the flanks. On 18 minutes Kinney made good progress deep into the box on the left hand side before cutting back for Marlow only for Green to get an outstretched leg to the ball. Marlow then turned provider and his cross into the box saw Michael Reilly put Doherty under pressure and although the keeper flapped the ball away, Mark Blakey was on hand to boot the ball clear.
Arthurlie enjoyed their best spell of the half in the closing ten minutes. McKernon headed clear a corner kick and soon after a good run down the right by McArdle ended with keeper Brian McGarrity comfortably collecting his cut-back at the near post. McArdle then tried his luck with a shot from 20 yards but again McGarrity was more than a match and held the ball cleanly. HT Glens 0 Lie 0
The ‘game of two halves’ took shape immediately from the restart as Arthurlie came flying out the blocks. A quick break down the left by Eddie McTernan ended with ball being flashed across the face of the goalmouth with a touch from McGarrity taking it away from Barbour and Cairns clearing the danger.
A switch of flanks and McArdle’s floated ball to the back post was headed behind by McEwan as Kyle Rafferty threatened and from the resultant corner kick Ryan McGregor’s flick-on was mopped up with another timely clearance from Cairns. On 55 minutes another Arthurlie corner was met at the back post by a tremendous leap from McGregor and his header looked goal-bound only for McGarrity to pull off a magnificent save to stretch and punch the ball away for Frye to mop up.
Straight after the visitors made a double substitution with the Graemes, Barbour and Ramage, making way for Stevie Dymock and Paul Stewart
Some respite for Glenafton on 63 minutes when Cairns cut-back from the bye-line was met by Marlow deep in the box and although the midfielder met it sweetly his shot was pushed over the bar in some style by Doherty. The resultant corner saw Kinney win the aerial battle against no fewer than three ‘Lie defenders but nonetheless the visitors successfully cleared the danger.
The home side brought on the fresh legs of Darren McGill for Stevie Miller but it was the visitors that were soon back on the front foot. McTernan menaced his way down the left wing before firing the ball across the goalmouth which eventually fell for McCardle in space and although his shot beat the keeper, Cairns was again in the right place at the right time to pull off a goal saving block. The defender then double-teamed with Frye to repel Dymock’s near post header from the corner-kick that followed.
McGill’s ball into the box for Kinney was headed clear by Mark Blakey only for it to be snapped up by McKernon on the outskirts of the box and as he drove forward Rafferty took the feet from him; outside the box deemed the referee. McKernon took the free kick and although it beat the wall it zoomed past Doherty’s right hand post.
The game was now more evenly balanced as chances came and went. At one end ‘Lie won a corner-kick which was headed clear by Jamie McGeoghegan, while at the other McGill slipped the ball to Frye in the box and his run brought to and with a brave dive by Doherty at the feet of the Glens’ midfielder. Back up-field and Dymock’s cross intended for Stewart was cut out by the outstretched leg of McGeoghegan, the defender and his keeper relieved to see the ball sail over the bar. Glens responded through a break by Reilly, only for his shot from 22 yards to be comfortably clutched by keeper Doherty.
On 77 minutes Glenafton brought on a trialist for Michael Reilly and soon after his pace took him beyond Green to gather the ball in the box only for the chasing defender to pull him to the ground. Green earned a red card and on 81 minutes Alain Kinney slammed the spot-kick home to out the Glens ahead.
The home side took advantage of a shell-shocked Arthurlie and Doherty had to be alert to save a shot from Marlow and then a close range header from McGill. Back came ’Lie and a free kick floated into the box for McCardle was headed clear by Menzies and then McGarrity saved well from Jamie Lyden as he attempted to head home a corner kick.
With two minutes to go Glenafton appeared to have doubled their lead after a great run into the box by McEwan that took him behind the ‘Lie defence and with the keeper to beat tapped the ball back for Kinney to blast into vacant net. However, celebrations were cut short by an offside flag, although it looked liked mistaken identity, as Marlow was in the offside position.
Kinney left to a great reception to be replaced by Craig Brown and the Glens held on to their slender lead and secure all three points. FT Glens 1 ‘Lie 0
Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; McEwan, McGeoghegan, Menzies, Cairns; Miller (McGill), Frye, McKernon, Marlow; Kinney (Brown) & Reilly (trialist)
Arthurlie: Doherty; McKeown, Lyden, Green, Blakey; McArdle, Rafferty, McGregor, McTernan; Barbour (Dymock) & Ramage (Stewart). Subs Macklin, Ardallany, Smith
The win has Glenafton jump Arthurlie and climb to 7th place in the Premier Division with one league game remaining. A fantastic achievement for the club and great credit goes to Tommy, Cherk and the players. Well done Glenafton!
more photos here