Stagecoach Western Super League Premier Division : Match 5
- Saturday 4th October, Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 6 (3)
SHOTTS BON ACCORD 0 (0)
Aaron Connolly claimed a classy hat-trick as Glenafton hit Shotts for six on a day the home side team impressed all over the park during the spells of bright sunshine and torrential rain that visited Loch Park over the 90 minutes.
The visitors were first to threaten and a cross into the box from deep on the right cannoned off Jamie McGeoghegan before being headed clear from the face of the goal by Ryan McChesney. Glens replied quickly through Aaron Connolly who out ran a defender to chase down an Adam Strachan ball into the box only for the advancing keeper Gary Whyte to block his shot at goal.
Shotts struggled to handle Strachan’s pace and his surging run down the left earned the hosts a corner-kick on 10 minutes. He rolled a short kick to Jamie McKernon who lofted the ball to the back post where it was headed clear to the outskirts of the box and there met by Ryan McChesney who instantly leathered a low flying screamer beyond the bewildered Whyte into the net.
Five minutes later a determined run down the right by Daniel Orsi secured another corner-kick for the Glens and this too was partially cleared only for the ball to be fired back in by McKernon where a McChesney header from the six yard line whizzed wide of the post with the keeper still scurrying across his line. Another corner-kick, won by Alain Kinney, picked out Cameron Marlow at the back post only for Whyte to push his header onto the post and out for yet another corner which was duly cleared.
Shotts battled their way back into the game and created a few chances of their own. Midway through the half a cross from the right required McGeoghegan and McChesney to double team and clear the danger. Four minutes later a fine passage of passing play initiated by Gary McStay ended with keeper Brian McGarrity getting down low at his near post to stop a low angled drive from the left of the box. On 33 minutes another ball from deep in the left was played across the face of goal which Jordan White came within the length of a stud from guiding the ball into the empty net.
Ten minutes before the break McGarrity launched a goal kick up the right which was headed on by Orsi and gathered by Aaron Connolly at the corner of the box, where he turned Peter McMahon before cutting across the outskirts of the box before firing a fierce shot from 20 yards that took a deflection before nestling in the net.
The game opened out again with chances created at either end. A slick passing move from Shotts ended with Mcgarrity bringing McStay’s run to an end at the near post; while McGeoghegan then broke down another attack spearheaded by the same player with a timely tackle at the edge of the box. In between times Connolly’s cut-back for Kinney in the box was cleared and so too the cut-back when the roles were reversed minutes later.
In the closing minute of the half Marlow released Connolly down the left wing and his perseverance warded off a defender before clipping the ball to the back post where Alain Kinney had the freedom to rise unmarked and head the Glens into a three goal lead.
H/T Glens 3 Shotts 0
Shotts started the half in fine fashion and McGarrity had to be alert on a couple of occasions to keep the sheet clean. On 53 minutes another Shotts attack saw McChesney win the aerial battle in the six yard box and the loose ball cannon off Chris Meikle; the visitors appealing in vain that the defender had used an arm to control the ball.
Just before the hour mark the heavens opened and the rain fell heavily from the darkened sky. Still Glens lightened up the park with some silky touches that would have had the Shotts defence chasing shadows if the sun had still been shining. Another fine passing movement had the home support applauding loudly. Tight on the right Strachan rolled the ball back to Orsi who picked out Connolly infield and a magical side foot found Strachan advancing down the flank to fire the ball across the face of goal where the in-rushing Marlow was only undone by the bravery of firstly defender Gary Campbell and then that of keeper Whyte.
A minute later the applause turned to thunderous cheers that threatened to take the roof off the Mick Morran stand. McKernon from the centre-circle slipped the ball down the left to Michael Wardrope , who then guided it skilfully inside to Aaron Connolly and with his back to goal, the striker turned his marker before in the torrential rain lashed the ball from 30 yards out to loop over the head of Whyte at full stretch and shake every last clinging rain drop off the net.
Glenafton now four up with an hour gone controlled the remainder of the game while a higher authority controlled the weather, rain replaced with hail before a rainbow heralded the return of the October sun.
The tireless Orsi wide on the right flashed the ball across the face of goal where the in-sliding Kinney missed his connection by inches and the grounded keeper got enough of a touch to divert the ball from the path of Marlow arriving at the back post. McKernon then menaced his way forward before his thumping shot from 22 yards dipped over the bar. Whyte then made an excellent double save from Kinney. On 75 minutes Marlow curled the ball beyond the reach of Whyte only for a defender to be in the right place to clear the ball over his own bar.
The goal that was coming arrived on 78 minutes courtesy of another touch of class from Aaron Connolly. Quick-thinking Orsi’s short throw-in caught one defender napping allowing Connolly to nip between him and his colleague close to the dead-ball line before cutting back into the box and whipping the ball past the keeper into the inside of the far side-netting. The hat-trick hero left to a rousing reception minutes later to be replaced by Patrick Walker.
In the closing minute Marlow on the left clipped a peach of a cross-field pass to pick out the menacing McKernon who burst into the box before drilling a low drive which slipped through the keeper’s hands and legs allowing Alain Kinney to close in and blast the ball into the empty net from a yard. F/T Glens 6 Shotts 0
Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; Orsi, McChesney, McGeoghegan, Meikle; Strachan (Cainrs) , McKernon, Wardope (McGill), Marlow; Connolly (Walker) & Kinney