Cumnock 1 Glenafton 0

Ardagh Cup Section 4 : Match 5

Saturday 22nd August, Townhead Park,  Cumnock



Holders Glenafton made six changes to the starting eleven side that defeated Lugar on Wednesday night and secure a place in the knock-out stages of the Ardagh Cup. In came Brian McGarrity, Ally Park, Alan Cairns, Jamie Hay, Craig McGuffie and Mick McCann for David Buchanan, Ryan McChesney, Darren, McGill, Dan Orsi, Robert Dunn and John Paul Boyle.

In the Cumnock side was Paul Murphy a member of the Glenafton side that won the Super League 1st Division and hopefully he can repeat that feat with our neighbours in the forthcoming season.

The first half proved to be a dull affair matching the overhead conditions and the few clear cut chances on offer were equally shared.

Ross McNeil blasted an early chance for the hosts well over the bar. On 13 minutes Mick McCann responded for the visitors when his turn and shot from 10 yards out beat keeper Joe Baker at full stretch but skimmed wide off the post. At the other end keeper Brian McGarrity comfortably saved McNeil’s looping header from deep inside the box.

Midway through the half McCann and Joe Andrew combined to release Craig McGuffie into the box and although he gave Murphy the slip his shot from an acute angle was blocked by the keeper as he rushed to the edge of the six yard box. McGuffie’s header from the resultant corner was duly cleared by Josh Watt guarding the back post. Two minutes later a Cumnock corner found Keiren Wood in space in a busy box only for his powerful header to flash well wide of target.

Joe Andrew in the 'Nock box

Joe Andrew in the ‘Nock box

Glenafton then enjoyed a good period of pressure with Chris Malone at the heart of the action. With 33 minutes gone McCann slipped the ball down the right flank for Ally Park on the overlap and from the corner flag cut the ball back into the box where it was met first time by Malone and although his shot beat a line of ‘Nock defenders Baker got down low to pull off another good save. Three minutes later Malone burst into the box to gather a McGuffie knock-down and outfoxed Baker at the near post before sending a square ball across the face of the goal only for Wood to get a foot to it as McCann threatened to pounce.

Chris Malone cuts back

Chris Malone cuts back

Glens continued to press and Alan Cairns and Malone whipped in wicked crosses from the left but again the ‘Nock defence stood firm.With four minutes to go Cumnock shouts for a penalty were waved away after substitute Aiden Malone’s run ended with a tumble in the box as Glens’ captain Craig Menzies looked on, earning the former Airdire U19s striker a yellow card. H/T Cumnock 0 Glenafton 0

The new half took on a similar pattern to the first with half chances at either end. McGarrity got down low to stop at angled shot from Aiden Malone while the alert Baker raced from his line to beat Andrew to a long through ball into the box. Kieran Downs’ free-kick curled round the Glens wall but lacked the power to bother McGarrity.

With an hour gone Glenafton were forced to make a change with the injured Hay making way for Ryan McChesney. Meanwhile the visitors’ long balls into the box continued to be mopped up by Baker. On 63 minutes Cumnock responded with a fine passage of flowing football beginning with Del Esplin winning a header in the middle of the park and picking up the ball again, following neat touches by Owen Ronald and McNeil. Esplin then slid the ball to Watt in acres of spaces on the left hand side of the box and although his low angled shot beat the keeper Menzies was in the right place to clear the danger at the back post as Malone waited for the tap in.

Mick McCann and Paul Murphy

Mick McCann and Paul Murphy

A flurry of substitutes had the home side swap Downs for Andy Scott and the visitors replace John Adam for Darren McGill and Craig McGuffie with John Paul Boyle.

On 72 minutes Ronald pulled back Malone as he pushed forward and from the resultant free-kick Baker pulled off an excellent save from a McGill special; two strong hands pushing the ball over the bar. Chris Malone’s short corner was played back to him by McGill and his cross headed on by Park and McCann’s touch took the ball beyond the raised arm of the keeper and the ball seemed net bound only for James Lundie to keep his cool a few yards off the line and hook the ball to safety. Soon after Lundie’s outstretched leg did enough to prevent another Malone corner finding McCann deep in the box.

James Lundie hooks clear as Joe Andrew looks to strike

James Lundie hooks clear as Joe Andrew looks to strike

Cumnock forced a couple of corners of their own both of which were defended well including an excellent punch from under the bar by McGarrity under pressure. With four minutes to go the home side’s late push paid off after Scott’s cute pass split the Glens’ defence and in a flash Ross McNeil collected the ball and unleashed a ferocious shot and in another flash the ball screamed past the keeper and into the net.

Ross McNeil's shot ends in the net

Ross McNeil’s shot ends in the net

Glens almost drew level from the kick-off after McGeoghegan broke forward and picked out McChesney who thundered a shot from 30 yards out only for a strong left-hand from Baker to send the ball up and over the bar and into the air for about the same distance. FT Cumnock 1 Glenafton 0

Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; Park, Menzies, McGeoghegan, Cairns; Hay (McChesney), Adam (McGill), C.Malone; Andrew, Mcann & McGuffie (Boyle) . Subs Buchanan (gk), Dunn

Cumnock Juniors: Baker; Lundie,Wood, Murphy, Lindsay; Ronald, Esplin, Downs(Scott), Watt; McNeil(Lowe) and Moore (A. Malone). Subs Johnson (gk), Crawford

more photos here

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