Whitletts 2 Glenafton 2

Wednesday 27th August,  Dam Park, Ayr

Ardagh Glass Sectional Cup Quarter-Final

WHITLETTS VICTORIA  2 (1)

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (0)

  • Glenafton win 2-0 on penalties

Drama at Dam Park as Brian holds back the Vics

Glenafton travelled to face Whitletts in the Ardagh Cup Quarter-final and could name only two substitutes as the injury list continue to take its toll. Bodies may be thin in the ground but the same couldn’t be said about chances as the New Cumnock side started off strongly. In the opening minutes shots from both Pat Walker and Craig McEwan tested Keith Ross, the keeper spilling the latter which resulted in back to back corners kicks for the visitors.

Vics responded with a corner kick of their own on 6 minutes that found former Glenafton striker Jim Wilson at the back post and his powerful volley was pushed behind the post by Brian McGarrity, the keeper then rising to cleanly clutch the resultant corner.

Thoughts of an end-to-end game quickly evaporated as Glenafton took control of the match. Jamie McGeoghegan picked out Walker in the box and his first time shot from 8 yards was well held by the keeper. On 11 minutes Walker turned provider after turning three defenders in the box and rolling the ball back from Cameron Marlow only for his measured shot to skim of the top of the bar.

Cammy's (far left) shot skims the bar

Cammy’s (far left) shot skims the bar

Five minutes later Strachan’s pace down the left took him to the bye-line and Ross showed a clean pair of hands as Michael Wardrope waited to pounce. A rare break saw the home side  break up the park but McGarrity’s bravery saw him beat Tony Balfour to the ball.

Glens responded with Strachan and Walker combining to pick out Wardrope and in a flash the young midfielder leathered the ball from the right corner of the 18 yard box, Ross happy to see it whiz past the post.

Michael Wardrope with Cameron Marlow in support

Michael Wardrope with Cameron Marlow in support

Just before the half hour mark Jamie McKernon clipped the ball into the box where Walker got the jump on the Vics defence and skipped by the outrushing Ross only for the back-tracking Lee Holland to make a goal-saving tackle on the six yard line with the empty net beckoning. The chance was still alive and young Klark Thomson knocked the ball to the back post for Strachan but Martin Lawrie kept his composure to clear the ball over his own bar.

The corner-kick was cleared and Balfour bombed down the left wing before crossing for Michael O’Connor but his shot was comfortably gathered by McGarrity. Buoyed by the chance Whitetts then won a free-kick at the edge of the box and Tony Balfour belted the ball low and hard beyond the Glens’ wall and into the corner of the net, to put the home side ahead on 32 minutes.

Tony Balfour beats the Glens wall

Tony Balfour beats the Glens wall

Shell shocked Glens bounced back and three minutes later Strachan’s cross from the right found Walker but his header from the six yard line to crashed off the bar. The visitors continued to press and although they created a host of chances from open play and corner-kicks alike the keeper was seldom tested and the Vics went in at the break a goal to the good. HT Whitletts 1 Glens 0

Goalscorer Balfour lasted only a few minutes of the new half and Glens also made changes with Darren McGill replacing Thomson and Alain Kinney, in his first appearance of the season, came on for Cameron Marlow. In between times, in a game which was now more evenly balanced in terms of possession, Whitletts came close to extending their lead only for Daniel Orsi to head the ball clear from under the bar following a wickedly taken corner-kick.

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Pat Walker celebrates the equaliser

Glens continued to win corners too and number ten had come and gone by the time the visitors drew level on 72 minutes. A neat flick on by Kinney was gathered by Pat Walker and with a defender either side of him he kept his cool and from 20 yards out guided the ball beyond the out-rushing Ross into the corner of the net.

Three minutes later McGill’s cross from the right was met by Kinney, airborne at the edge of the six yard, but his header looped over the bar. Another McGill cross was intercepted in the Vics’ box and in an instant the home side broke up the right flank courtesy of the fresh legs of substitute Shaun Allan, just on the park,  who set up Michael O’Connor to fire home in some style and put the home side ahead again with ten minutes to go.

Adam Strachan gives Jim Wilson the slip

Adam Strachan gives Jim Wilson the slip

Glenafton dug deep, pressed tirelessly for the equaliser and looked to have engineered a great escape with a minute to go when Walker wriggled his way into the box to lay off the ball to McGeoghegan who drilled the ball from the corner of the six yard box only for the advancing Ross to make a fantastic block.

Alain Kinney (far right) lashes home a late equaliser

Alain Kinney (far right) lashes home a late equaliser

A minute into added time and claims for a penalty fell on deaf ears after Walker’s strike was stopped by a defender’s hands. Still the visitors kept going and on 93 minutes Wardrope played a clever ball to Strachan who stole to the bye-line, taking two defenders with him, before cutting back an inch perfect pass to the incoming Alain Kinney to lash a left foot shot from 12 yards out through a clutch of players and beyond the clutches of Ross into the net for a richly deserved equaliser, with what was all but the last kick off the ball. FT Whitletts 2 Glenafton 2

Shoot-out star Brian McGarrity saves another

Shoot-out star Brian McGarrity saves another

However, the drama was far from over and in an incredible penalty shoot-out Glens keeper Brian McGarrity saved four penalties in a row. Adam Strachan and Jamie McKernon fired home their spot-kicks either side of Craig McEwan’s effort thundering off the cross-bar to secure a 2-0 shoot-out victory over the Vics.

Whitletts Victoria: Ross ; Longair, Lawrie, Buchanan, Holland, Love ,Hanvey (Ewart), Kerr (Allan), O’Connor, Wilson , Balfour (Wallace) Subs (not used) Nisbet, Patterson

Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; Orsi, McGeoghegan, McChesney, McEwan; Thomson (McGill), McKernon, Wardrope , Strachan; Walker & Marlow (Kinney)

More photos here

Glenafton will travel to play the winners of Kilbirnie Ladeside v Irvine Meadow in the semi-final next Wednesday 3rd September.

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