Ardagh Glass Ayrshire Sectional League Cup
Section 4: Match 1
Saturday 9th August, Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (0)
CUMNOCK JUNIORS 2 (1)
Prior to kick-off there was a minute’s silence for life-long Glenafton supporter Jackie Harris who sadly passed away recently after an illness.
Glenafton kicked off the new season with summer signings Adam Strachan, Daniel Orsi and Pat Walker in the starting line-up for the opening match in the Ardagh Glass Sectional Cup against local rivals. Defenders were thin on the ground with Ryan McChesney, Jamie McGeoghegan and new signing Chris Meikle all unavailable for selection and so the Glens kicked off with three at the back.
The visitors too had a handful of new faces in their starting eleven and were soon reshuffling their defence after Stevie Crawford suffered an early knock and was replaced by Stephen Maguire.
After a tepid opening 15 minutes Cumnock were first to string a series of passes together ending with Robert Love feeding Colin Williamson’s run into the left hand side of the box but the midfielder’s attempt to complete the one-two, with Love continuing his run, was thwarted by Brian McGarrity. Glens countered two minutes later when Aaron Connolly slipped beyond James Lundie to break into the box where Keiran Wood’s timely intervention forced the striker to fire wide of target. A ball from Jamie McKernon split the Cumnock defence to release Walker but the former Glens keeper Ally Semple rushed from his line to gather the ball safely.
Cumnock’s summer signing Owen Ronald was beginning to catch the eye with some clever wing play down the right. On 21 minutes his cross from tight on the touchline was parried by McGarrity and Love looked favourite to slam the loose ball home only for McEwan to produce a goal saving clearance. A minute later another Ronald cross was whipped into the six yard box where the air-borne Keiron Maxwell killed the ball brilliantly with his chest before warding off the attention of Craig Menzies and Daniel Orsi to poke the ball into the corner of the net.
A lull in proceedings as the Cumnock manager Brian McLuckie was ordered to the clubhouse for another lapse in discipline.
Glens forced a corner and although Semple failed to clear the keeper was adjudged to have been impeded and Cumnock were soon back on the front foot. Williamson tested McGarrity with an angled shot from the edge of the box and with five minutes of the half remaining the keeper held a Ronald shot from the corner of the penalty box.
In the closing minutes Menzies took matters into his own hands and from deep in defence drove forward only for his run to be ended on the half-way line by a late tackle from Williamson, the Glens captain having to hobble off. HT Glens 0 Cumnock 1
Darren McGill replaced Menzies at the break with the former Cumnock player moving into midfield and Jamie McKernon falling back to fill the centre back role. McGill was soon in the thick of things, combining well with Orsi down the right flank, as the Glens started in determined fashion as they pressed for an equaliser. However, a Walker header that flashed past the post from a corner kick proved to be their best chance before the visitors doubled their lead, just before the hour mark. Ronald earned and then floated a corner-kick into the six yard box where fellow close-season signing Darren Mitchell was first to react and poke the ball home.
At the other end Strachan leapt high to meet a cross from Walker but his looping header dipped over Semple’s bar. Back came Cumnock and Ronald’s menacing run down the right and into the box concluded with his cut back being partially cleared in acrobatic fashion by McEwan. Soon after, a cross from the left found Ronald in space in the box but his header flew straight into the hands of McGarrity. Another Cumnock corner-kick ended with Keiran Wood’s free header at the back post being blocked by McEwan.
Midway through the half Glens brought on Klark Thomson, signed from the Glenafton U19 team, for Findlay Frye. A McKernon shot from distance was well held by Semple and the home side continued to press with McGill and Strachan battling for the ball in the box, to no avail, and the ball cleared. Ray Montgomerie broke up field and won a free kick at the edge of the box which he curled round the wall and into the welcoming arms of McGarrity.
End to end play saw Strachan fly down the right and whip a dangerous ball across the face of goal and marshalled clear by the ‘Nock defence, out for a throw in on the left hand side. Alan Cairns’ throw picked out Walker who darted to the bye-line and left Wood stranded before threading the ball back between a clutch of defenders to Cameron Marlow who drilled the ball low and hard from 10 yards out beyond the outstretched leg of the outrushing Semple and perhaps taking a touch of Aaron Connolly before resting in the net, with 72 minutes gone.
Their tails up, the Glenafton went in search of the equaliser with pressure mounting down the right flank. Strachan’s downward header from a throw-in into the box was snapped up by Walker and only a timely block by Ronald prevented Semple from being tested. Back came the Glens with perhaps their best move of the game. Beginning with Strachan wide and deep on the left he skipped past players with ease before picking out Marlow in the middle of the park who effortlessly sent the ball on its way to Orsi on the right for the midfielder to drive at the box before lashing a shot from 25 yards that Semple did well to parry and collect the spilled ball before Connolly pounced.
Cumnock countered from a corner kick on the right that was initially cleared and the ball recovered wide on the left by Williamson who showed some neat touches before picking out Love on the edge of the six yard box only for his shot to clip off the bar.
On 82 minutes Thomson’s attempt to find Marlow in the box was intercepted by a header from Lundie. The resultant corner-kick was headed clear by Montgomerie but two bounces later the ball was met on the outskirts of the box by the left foot of Klark Thomson and leathered it with such power and accuracy that Semple could only take some of the sting out it before it threatened to rip the net from its stanchions. A debut goal to remember!
Two minutes later and after a scramble in a crowded penalty box Marlow’s shot came off Wood and loud home appeals for hand ball were waved away, meanwhile Walker recovered the loose ball and although he got beyond Semple, the keeper had forced the Glens striker wide enough to leave an impossible angle from which to score. Back came Glens as they sensed all three points were still up for grabs as the ‘Nock were content to clear their lines by hook or by crook.
Some respite for the visitors with a Ronald cross from the right only for McGarrity to clutch the ball cleanly to deny Love a header. Back up-field and Orsi careered down the right, hurdling the last defender to get to the bye-line only for his cut back to be taken from the feet of Connolly. Throw-ins and corners into a crowded box were repelled by the visitors defence. Yet two minutes into time added-on Cumnock had a chance to land a sucker punch when a free-kick found Maguire with time and space but not the composure to get his shot on target.
FT Glens 2 Cumnock 2
Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; McEwan, Menzies (McGill), Cairns; Orsi, Marlow, Frye (Thomson), McKernon, Strachan; Connolly, Walker. Subs Adam, Meikle
Cumnock Juniors: Semple; Lundie, Canning, Wood, Crawford (Maguire); Maxwell, Montgomerie, Williamson, Ronald; Mitchell & Love. Subs Quinn, Metcalf, McMurdo