Stagecoach Western Super League Premier Division : Match 19
Saturday 21st March, Hannah Park , Shotts
SHOTTS BON ACCORD 0 (0)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (0)
Glenafton made number of changes to the side that started at Meadow last week with captain (and new dad) Craig Menzies, Jamie Hay, Darren McGill, Aaron Connolly all unavailable for selection. In came Joe Andrew, Michael Wardrop and Craig McGuffie while Alan Cairns returned from injury.
The fantastic looking Hannah Park was bathed in glorious sunshine from start to finish with not an eclipse in sight. Jamie McKernon made the most of the bowling green surface switching play from flank to flank with his trademark passes and was well supported in the middle of the park with the lively pairing of Michael Wardrope and Craig McGuffie.
On 7 minutes, after McKernon had won the ball, Wardrope threaded a clinical pass down the left for Alan Cairns to gather and clip the ball into the box for the incoming McGuffie only for the midfielder’s header to flash inches wide of the post with keeper Gary Whyte rooted on his line.
With quarter an hour gone the home side earned a corner kick and although keeper David Buchanan lost control of the ball under the bar he did enough to force it to the back post where Gary McStay’s cut back across the face of gaol was booted clear by Ryan McChesney.
Back to back headers from Chris Meikle repelled another Shotts corner kick while at the other end Glens’ first corner of the game caused little concern for the home defence. The visitors quickly recovered the ball and Alain Kinney released Wardrope down the left. Although his cross into the six yard box went beyond the incoming Joe Andrew the ball found Jamie McGeoghegan at the back post and his cut-back was eventually cleared by a pack of defenders.
On 24 minutes Daniel Orsi collected the ball on the outskirts of the box and turned Douglas MacKay before drilling a low angled shot that was cleanly held by Whyte. At the other end Buchanan did well to swipe the ball clear from under his bar. On the half hour mark MacKay pounced on a misjudged clearance and forced his way into the box but his shot lacked power and was comfortably clutched by Buchanan. Five minutes later the impressive Cairns blasted down the left and on reaching the edge of the 18 yard box whipped a wicked ball across the face of goal that evaded three defenders and the outstretched arm of the keeper but was just beyond the reach of Kinney ghosting in at the back post.
With five minutes of the half remaining another corner for the home side ended with Chris Walker’s header from a corner-kick sailing over the bar as did McKernon’s free kick at the other end in the final action of the half. HT Shotts 0 Glens 1
Buchanan was first in action after the break clutching the ball cleanly at the near post. On 51 minutes McGuffie gave a couple of defenders the slip on the outskirts of the box before slipping the ball to Kinney who then forced his way into the box way past the self-same defenders only for Whyte to dive at his feet and get both hands to the ball – resulting in polarised calls from opposing sets of supporters of ‘dive’ and ‘penalty’ – while the official got the call right and waved play on.
McKernon’s free kick from 30 yards out whizzed over the bar and then McGuffie’s run into the box ended with a timely tackle on the goal-line as the visitors began to turn up the heat on the sun-bathed pitch. Andrew combine with McGuffie who then jinked past a number of defenders in a packed box before being dispossessed with the ball eventually falling for McKernon on the outskirts of the box and his thunderbolt of a shot exploded off the back of a brave defender.
On 65 minutes the visitors’ pressure told when Joe Andrew beat the offside trap and with a defender on his tail and the keeper advancing from his line, the striker kept his cool to slot the ball home from 15 yards out and score his first goal for Glenafton.
Two minutes later Andrew deep in the box turned his marker to pick out Orsi who with his back to goal turned quickly only for his snapshot from 10 yards through a ruck of defenders to finish wide of target. Soon after, McGuffie’s cross from wide on the left flank was headed home by Kinney in the six yard box only for it to be flagged offside.
Shotts enjoyed a second wind but found McChesney and Meikle at the heart of the Glens’ defence in a mean mood come out on top on ground and air. Ten minutes from time Andrew outstripped a tiring home defence and made his way into the Shotts’ box where once again Whyte had advanced from his line and on this occasion the keeper came out on top getting both hands to push the attempted chip wide for a corner. Although this came to nothing another wicked cross from Cairns caused considerable panic in the home box after finding Orsi at the back post but his neat header back into the danger area was cleared.
At the other end Anthony Traynor’s effort was mopped up before Glens won another corner kick and although McChesney’s downward header beat Whyte the ball was cleared off the line by the head of Anton McDowall. Whyte and McDowall then combined well to force Orsi fire wide from the corner of the six yard box. Shotts enjoyed a final flurry in search of an unlikely equaliser without however testing the keeper. Shotts 0 Glens 1
Glenafton Athletic: Buchanan; McGeoghegan, McChesney, Meikle, Cairns; McGuffie, Wardrope, McKernon; Orsi, Kinney, Andrew. Subs Thomson
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