Stagecoach Western Super League Premier Division : Match 14
Saturday 14th February, Valefield Park , Kilbirnie
KILBIRNIE LADESIDE 2 (0)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 (1)
Players and supporters joined in a minute’s applause in memory of former Kilbirnie goalkeeper Tom McQueen, a member of Ladeside’s Scottish Junior Cup winning side of 1952 and father of former Scotland defender Gordon McQueen.
Glenafton in their first competitive game under the new management team of Craig McEwan, Stevie Kerrigan and Craig Potter introduced new signing Jamie Hay to the starting line up while loan signing Craig McGuffie was on the bench.
Kilbirnie were quickly on the front foot and excellent build up play between Ryan Borris and Adam Forde set up Graham Boyd with a great chance in the six yard box only for the alert Craig Menzies to nip in and steal the ball from the big striker and clear the danger. At the other end Aaron Connolly came within inches of connecting on a Daniel Orsi cross before the ball was gathered safely by former Glenafton goalie Chris Fahey. His counterpart Brian McGarrity then cleanly clutched the ball from under the bar following a clever chip by Borris from outside the box.
On 16 minutes a cute pass by Alan Cairns sent Michael Wardrope careering down the left flank and his wicked ball across the face of the goal was cleared for a corner kick. Although this was also cleared the Glens were now enjoying much more possession with Hay and Jamie McKernon controlling play in the middle of the park and the opener arrived on 19 minutes. A forward ball by Hay was cut out only for Connolly to pick up the pieces and quickly feed the ball wide to Wardrope in the box who completed the one-two with great style for the incoming Aaron Connolly to burst between two defenders and drill the ball low and hard past Fahey from 10 yards out.
Five minutes later Fahey pulled off a great save to turn a clever flick from Alain Kinney round the post. The resultant corner-kick was headed clear by Scott Gair before the ball was returned into the box by Cairns where Ryan McChesney’s knock down was met by Kinney and his snap shot blocked by the stretched out leg of Fahey.
Ladeside fought their way back into the game and an excellent run by Borris down the right to the bye-line ended with his cut-back being blocked by Jamie McGeoghegan. Boyd’s shot from an acute angle beat McGarrity but slipped past the far post and just before the break Chris Malone pulled his shot wide of target. H/T Kilbirnie 0 Glenafton 1
A lively start to the second half saw play flow back and forth beginning with McKernon breaking into the box and giving defender Chris Wilson the slip before the covering Gair came to the rescue. The home side’s Malone tried his luck from the edge of the box but again pulled his shot wide of target while at the other end Kinney beat the offside trap only for Fahey to win the chase for the loose ball and punch it clear. Kinney was then foiled by Gair as he tried to control a cut-back from Orsi, after another lung-bursting down the right by the midfielder. Back upfield and Darren McLean’s curled shot from the corner of box beat McGarrity at full stretch but sailed inches wide of junction of post and bar.
The goal that was on the cards arrived on 56 minutes and it fell to Glenafton. Orsi exploded down the right before squaring the ball along the 18 yard line where Kinney with his marker close by diverted it back to Jamie McKernon who with a cool head skipped past one defender into the box before placing the ball with some aplomb in the far corner of the net.
End to end play resumed and McGarrity did well to see off the challenge of Boyd and gathering the ball at a second attempt. McKernon then found himself in unknown territory with a free run in on goal, after fine play by Connolly and Kinney, only for Fahey to keep his side in the hunt with a brave save at the midfielder’s feet.
Midway through the half substitute Richie Barr muscled his way behind the Glens’ defence but his attempt to dink the ball home beyond McGarrity was blocked by the keeper’s knee. Soon after Barr broke into the box from the right and again McGarrity came out on top after narrowing the angle and getting both hands to the striker’s shot. On 74 minutes Barr’s effort were rewarded. Adam Forde burst through on goal and after rounding the keeper his shot from an acute angle was cleared off the line by McGeoghegan. Having recovered the ball Forde squared it across the face of goal only for his team-mate to miscue his shot but the ball fell kindly for Richie Barr who slammed the ball home via the underside of the bar.
Glenafton replaced Hay with Darren McGill and the substitute was immediately in the thick of the action. Orsi made excellent progress down the right wing before picking out Kinney in the centre to roll the ball along the 18 yard line for the incoming McGill to take a touch before shooting for goal only for the ball to strike Billy Gibson’s arm and the referee award the visitors a penalty kick. Alain Kinney stepped up and sent Fahey the wrong way to restore the Glens two goal advantage on 77 minutes.
Three minutes later the home side halved the deficit again after a free kick from wide on the right was lofted high into the six yard box where Billy Gibson got the better of McGarrity to glance a header home.
Both sides created a number of chances in a frantic finish with McGarrity pulling off saves from Borris and Stevie Meechan while Fahey held a low drive from substitute Craig McGuffie. F/T Kilbirnie 2 Glenafton 3
Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; Menzies, McChesney, McGeoghegan, Cairns; Wardrope, Hay (McGill), McKernon; Orsi, Connolly, Kinney (McGuffie). Subs: Buchanan, Meikle, Thomson
Kilbirnie Ladeside: Fahey, Coleman, Chris Wilson, Gibson, Gair, MCLean, Borris, Meechan. Boyd, Forde, Malone Subs: Barr
more photos here