Stagecoach Western Super League Premier Division : Match 2
Saturday 6th September, Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1)
HURLFORD UNITED 3 (0)
Glenafton began with the same starting eleven for the third game in a row as they hosted Hurford in their first home league game of the season. The early chances fell the way of the visitors with the first coming in 3 minutes when a header by Danny Mitchell from a Paul McKenzie free-kick whizzed over the bar from close range. Five minutes later Ross Robertson’s angled shot from the corner of the six yard box was parried well by Brian McGarrity.
The home side counter-attacked immediately with Cameron Marlow’s pass releasing Adam Strachan down the left at pace only for his cut-back to be partially cleared by Neil McGregor before Alan Cairns returned the ball into box where it was cleared again at the expense of a corner-kick. This came to nothing as did the ‘Ford’s corner-kick a minute later.
On 13 minutes a glorious Glenafton passing move paved the way to the home side taking the lead. Alain Kinney collected a short throw at the half way line on the left flank and with little chance of progress upfield he played the ball back across field to Craig McEwan deep on the right. The full back played a neat one-two along the touchline with Daniel Orsi before then picking out Kinney, now wide on the right and with McGregor at his back, who clipped a clever ball for the overlapping Michael Wardrope to run unchallenged into the box and then tempt Ally Brown from the line before lashing home a left footer.
Two minutes later and Orsi wide on the right laid the ball to the incoming McEwan who thundered a low drive from the corner of the penalty box which Brown was relieved to watch zoom wide of the post. Meanwhile Hurlford huffed and puffed in front of goal as they created a number of chances that came and went including on 28 minutes another Mitchell header from a free-kick that narrowly missed its target.
At the other end Strachan swapped from left to right flank and back again but with little reward other than corner-kicks that were well defended. The last chance of the half fell to Hurlford when another McKenzie free-kick from the corner of penalty box was floated to the back post only for Robertson’s header go the way of Mitchell’s earlier efforts. HT Glens 1 Hurlford 0
The first chance of the second half fell to Glenafton within a minute of the restart when Wardrope released Jamie McKernon who in turn picked out Marlow in the far side of the box only for his shot to be well held by Brown. At the other end Watt curled his shot from the edge of the box over the bar.
On 52 minutes Brown clutched McEwan’s cross out of the air and then beat Strachan to the chase as he hunted down another Glens’ ball into the box. The keeper fluffed the clearance allowing Kinney to pounce on the loose ball and run in on goal only for Brown, by this time at the edge of his box, to block the striker’s shot and send the ball soaring into the air and although Strachan met it first time as it descended his volley flew wide of the empty net. Two minutes later an Orsi ball through the middle for Wardrope to chase caught the ‘Ford defence flat-footed, however as the young midfielder entered the box the back-tracking Chris Robertson timed his tackle to perfection and although the loose ball was gathered by Strachan his cross to the back post was cleared.
The visitors responded in clinical fashion. Paul Cameron wide on the right flashed a ball across the face of goal and although McGarrity got a hand to Ross Robertson’s header the ball finished in the net to tie the scores on 56 minutes.
Soon after Glenafton replaced Cameron Marlow, who had sustained a cut-eye in the first half, with Chris Meikle but within a minute found themselves a goal behind. On 63 minutes Chris Robertson soared high above the Glens’ defence to bullet home a powerful header goal-ward only for McGarrity to get a fantastic fist to the ball to send it high into the air and Neil McGregor then pounce to head beyond Cairns on the line.
Five minutes later McKernon got in behind the visitors defence and from 8 yards out Meikle crashed his cut-back off the underside of the crossbar, only for an offside-flag to slightly dampen the agony.
The uphill task got decidedly steeper for the home side on 71 minutes after McEwan earned a second yellow card for a tackle on Ross Robertson and the home side reduced to 10 men. Nevertheless Glenafton rallied and Kinney forced his way into the box but was shut out by the two Robertsons. Strachan them made a fantastic run from deep in his own half but just over ran the ball as he tried to skip past McGregor in the box.
Although Hurlford continued to threaten the game was still in the balance and Glens brought on Pat Walker for Wardrope. Kinney engineered a shot from inside the box that Brown dealt with comfortably. Try as they might the 10 men couldn’t fashion an equaliser.
Hurlford had the last say in the last minute through an unlikely source. McKenzie menaced his way through the box to the bye-line to cut the ball across the face of goal for Paul Cameron on hand to slam the ball into by the way of a ricochet off Meilkle and over the head of the keeper. FT Glens 1 Hurlford 3
Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; McEwan, McChesney, McGeoghegan, Cairns; Orsi, McKernon, Wardrope (Walker), Marlow (Meikle); Kinney & Strachan
More photos here