Stagecoach Western Super League Premier Division : Match 4
- Saturday 27th September, Bellsdale Park, Beith
BEITH JUNIORS 1 (1)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0 (0)
Aaron Connolly, having recovered from injury, returned to the starting line-up and partnered Alain Kinney up front while in an attack minded side Glens played with three at the back.
The visitors started brightly in the sunshine at Beith and a Connolly cross from the right cut out by John Sheridan in the opening minute earned a corner which was duly cleared by the home defence. Two minutes later Kinney’s angled drive from was deflected by the outstretched leg of Kevin McDonald deep in the six yard box and Sheridan on hand to lash the loose ball to safety.
Adam Strachan kept the pressure on as he gathered the ball at the centre circle and skipped past one opponent and wrong footed another for a free run down the left flank only for Stuart McDonald to cut out his square ball into the box as Kinney and Connolly waited to pounce. Strachan returned for seconds with a more direct route into the left hand side of the box and although his cut-back was beyond Connolly at the near post, Michael Wardrope at the back post was poised to connect only for Gary Wilson to get a timely contact on the ball. It would be a similar outcome when Jamie McKernon released Daniel Orsi down the right and his cut-back fell betwixt and between Connolly and Cameron Marlow at the either posts.
On the quarter hour mark the visitors were awarded a free kick tight on the left touchline which was only partially cleared by the Glens defence before the ball fell to Sheridan and although the defender did well to engineer a shot at goal the ball flew just wide of target. Three minutes later an incisive run inside by Connolly ended with a clip from Stuart McDonald and keeper Strain saved McKernon’s 30 yard free kick comfortably. Connolly then ghosted past the other McDonald before lashing the face of goal but just beyond the reach of strike partner Kinney.
Midway through the half Darren Christie’s knock-on header set up Andy Reid to run in on goal only for Chris Meikle to knock the ball from the striker’s feet with a goal saving tackle. The visitors defended Beith’s back-to-back corner kicks before breaking up field with a slick passage of passing play. McKernon picked out Strachan In the centre circle and a surging run took him to the outskirts of the box before slipping the ball to Orsi on the right wing who immediately knocked it down the line to Kinney only for both his first and second attempts to pick out teammates blocked by outstretched legs of defenders and the ball eventually sailing across the face of goal with Strain stranded on the ground.
On 25 minutes Strachan’s free kick from wide on the left saw the ball headed clear to the edge of the box and met by McKernon and his thunderous shot whizzed inches wide of the post and boomed off the advertising hoarding. Glens continued to press and another assault on the Beith box was defended well and the ball gathered by Paul Frize who picked out Reid wide on the right, the striker then launching the ball up the wing for Christie, before continuing his climb up the Bellsdale slope. Christie, now boxed in at the corner by Jamie McGeoghegan, managed to whip the ball into the box where a touch by David McGowan took the sting out of it before it fell for Andy Reid who lashed a low angled drive into the corner of the net beyond keeper Brian McGarrity at full stretch to put the home side ahead on 28 minutes.
Shell-shocked Glens had to be on their toes as Frize combined well with McGowan and then later Christie as the home side looked to double their advantage.
On 37 minutes Kinney’s determination won the ball in the middle of the park and a defence splitting pass picked out Marlow and with only the keeper to beat the Glens top scorer appeared caught in two minds and fired wide of target. The visitors forced a couple of corners that came nothing while at the other end McGarrity comfortably held a Reid free kick and an Christie’s effort from outside the box sailed over the bar. H/T Beith 1 Glens 0
The visitors again started brightly as the sunshine continued to bathe Bellsdale. Orsi made excellent progress up the right flank twice while there were no takers for his first cut-back he found Connolly with his second but the striker’s attempt from 8 yards skewed wide of target. At the other end Christie’s powerful shot from the of the box was blocked by McGeoghegan.
On 55 minutes a clever ball from Marlow found Wardrope in the corner of the box who in turn tried to pick out Kinney only for McShane to slide in and clear the ball. A minute later the striker gave McShane the slip to get a shot away from 15 yards out and although it beat the advancing Strain the ball slipped wide of target.
On the hour mark the impressive Sheridan broke down another Glenafton attack and the ball quickly dispatched down the left flank where an excellent pass by Christie took out three defenders and found Joe Bradley with time and space in the box but with the keeper to beat he sliced his shot wide.
Both sides made changes but further clear cut chances were thin on the ground. A free-kick from substitute Darren McGill sailed over the bar at one end while Reid blasted wide at the other.
With 15 minutes to go Strachan released Orsi in the box only for his square ball for Kinney to be cut out by Frize and from the resultant corner Meikle’s header looped over Strain’s bar. Five minutes later the keeper flapped at a Strachan corner-kick but the loose ball fell kindly for the home defence and Nicky Docherty and Wilson combined to clear the danger.
As the visitors pressed for the equaliser Beith broke at pace down the right through McGowan who then played the ball infield for Docherty in turn to release Frize for a run into the box only for Ryan McChesney to time his tackle to perfection and keep the visitors hopes alive.
However, the Glens couldn’t penetrate the Beith box and a couple of late chances from free-kicks at the edge of the box didn’t test the keeper. F/T Beith 1 Glens 0
Beith Juniors: Strain, McShane, Wilson, K. McDonald, Sheridan, S. McDonald, Bradley, Frize, Christie,. Reid, McGowan Subs: McKeown, Docherty, McKay, Ryan, Calder (GK)
Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; McChesney, McGeoghegan, Meikle; Orsi (Reilly), Strachan, McKernon, Wardrop (McGill), Marlow; Kinney & Connolly. Subs. McEwan, Menzies, Adam
More photos here