Kilbirnie 3 Glenafton 2 West of Scotland League Super League Premier Division : Match 15

Saturday 16th April 2016, Valefield Park, Kilbirnie



Glenafton made two changes to the starting eleven that faced Arthurlie last week with Cameron Marlow and Dan Orsi replacing Mick McCann and Chris Dallas.

The hosts quickly had the visitors on the back-foot and earned a corner-kick in the opening minute after a determined run down the left by Caolan McAleer, on loan from Airdrie United. Keeper Brian McGarrity with a spring in his step outjumped former Stranraer striker Adam Forde to clutch the ball cleanly at the back post. Two minutes later Craig Menzies cut out a cross-field pass destined for McAleer at the expense of another corner kick which was headed clear by Ryan McChesney. Ladeside continued to probe down both flanks to good effect but the balls into the box failed to find their targets.

Glenafton made some headway through Dan Orsi down the right and although his cross for Joe Andrew on the left was cleared by Stephen McKeown the loose ball was snapped up by David Gray and his long range shot sailed over the bar. On 7 minutes the visitors took the lead with Orsi at the heart of the move again. He gathered a one-two with Andrew before driving down the right to the bye-line where he outwitted Mark Staunton to fire the ball into the danger area and although Ryan Haxton got a touch Cameron Marlow pounced to clip the ball into the net between defender and wrong-footed keeper.


Cammy clips the ball home

The visitors grew in confidence and began to stroke the ball about in some style. Marlow, John Paul Boyle and Andrew combined to set up the latter for a shot at goal that was deflected wide. The corner kick was headed clear and the ball trapped well by Marlow to set up a lob that looped over the bar.

Back came Kilbirnie and McAleer jinked down the left and turned a couple of defenders before curling a sweet strike from the edge of the box that appeared destined for the top corner only for McGarrity, at full stretch, and at the last minute get his finger tips to the ball to push it on the post. The danger was still real and present as the ball bounced across the face of the empty goal but at a pace too strong to deny the incoming Kieran Brannan the opportunity to poke it home.


Brian tips the ball onto the post

The corner kick was cleared and so too the Glens break upfield allowing Ladeside to mount another attack. This concluded with Matty Bennet whipping a ball to the back post which  was grabbed by McGarrity before he was barged by McAlleer and the infringement flagged before Martin Grehan stroked the ball into the net. The keeper then pulled off saves from McAleer and Brannon as they both tried low shots from distance.

On 26 minutes the Glens appeared to have doubled their lead. Boyle twisted and turned to force his way to the bye-line and shirk off Bennet before cutting the ball to the near post where Staunton stumbled over the ball leaving Andrew free to pick up the pieces and squeeze the ball home from the tightest angle. Celebrations curtailed with a reprieve for the Ladeside defender and Andrew penalised.


Joe turns to score but disallowed as Staunton stumbles

Up the park and Forde fizzed a wicked drive from 20 yards forcing McGarrity into vertical take-off and touch the ball over the bar and the short corner kick that followed was cleared. Glens replied with Boyle leaving the sluggish Staunton in his wake to pick out Andrew wide in the left to roll the ball back to Gray who quickly found Marlow and his low angled drive was well held by keeper Kieran Hughes. Marlow then broke down a Kilbirnie attack before setting Boyle off through the middle to shake Staunton off again only to be tripped by Haxton. Dead centre and 25 yards from goal up stepped David Gray to curl the ball beyond the wall and leave goalie Hughes rooted to spot and to slowly turn with a supporting hand on knee to confirm that the sound he had heard was the ball crashing into the net to put the visitors two up with 34 minutes gone.


David Gray celebrates 2-0

Soon after the keeper had time on his side to gather his wits and foil Andrew’s attempt from 30 yards to catch him off his line.

Bennet broke down a Glens attack on the half way line and released Grehan who made excellent progress through the middle before cracking a decent shot that McGarrity blocked before Chris Meikle and Gray combined to clear the loose ball. It was snapped up at the edge of the box by Kyle Rafferty only for his shot to skim inches wide of the post. The home side continued to press and another corner-kick was cleared by the Glens before McGarrity comfortably saved McAleer’s curling free-kick. Ladeside’s pressure paid off three minutes from the break when Forde clipped in a free kick into the six yard box where an unmarked Mark Grehan headed home from close range for his first goal for the club.


Mark Grehan halves the deficit

An enjoyable and competitive first half drew to a close with no further goals with the visitors just shading it.

H/T Kilbirnie 1 Glens 2

The new half was less than a minute old when McChesney’s hand-ball in the box was adjudged deliberate and Kierann Brannan converted the spot kick to level the scores. A few minutes later McGarrity clawed the ball from the head of Forde as Ladeside tried to finish off a free-kick floated into the box.


Kierann Brannan slots home to make it 2-2

Glens pushed forward and a Menzies throw in was gathered by Andrew to take a turn in the box and roll the ball back to Ally Park to thunder an angled shot wide of the far post. Marlow then chased down a ball into the box only for the back-tracking Bennet to win the race and blast the ball wide of his own post. Park’s near post header from the resulting corner-kick flashed wide of target. Park then was inches away from guiding home Gray’s deflected free-kick .

On 55 minutes  matters took a dramatic twist when Gray earned a second yellow card for an innocuous challenge. Two minutes later Alan Cairns spoke out of turn to the referee and in the same interaction received a second yellow and was sent packing with his back to the official and the visitors faced the next half-hour with 9 men.

The hosts went for the kill and McGarrity held McAlleer’s free kick before McKeown and Anderson each fashioned shots at goal, the former going wide and the latter over the bar. On 65 minutes the Glens reshuffled the diminished pack with Boyle and Orsi making way for Mick McCann and Chris Dallas, the latter soon in the thick of the action weaving his way upfield before ta timely tackled by the hard-working Anderson.

Although the nine men were giving a good account themselves there were concerns their numbers could be depleted further as yellow cards continued to be flashed and yet similar misdemeanours committed by their opponents went unpunished.

Dallas drove down the left and picked out Marlow to whip the ball into the box and McCann was denied a hook shot at goal with a perfectly timed tackled by Bennet.

Meanwhile the 11 men continued to huff and puff up front as the Glens rearguard stood firm forcing  the hosts to shoot from distance, McGarrity dealing comfortably with substitute Darren Miller’s low trundler from 25 yards out. His counterpart Hughes then cleanly held a Park free-kick from outside the box.

On 78 minutes Menzies mopped up a Ladeside attack and curled a cracking ball down the right for Dallas to explode out the blocks, tear down the wing and whip the ball into box only for Andrew’s header to be deflected wide.


Chris crosses for Joe

The corner kick was quickly cleared and the break capitalised in the gaps in the visitors defence with Grehan feeding McAleer in acres of space down the right but his angled shot lacked the power to trouble McGarrity.

Kilbirnie piled on the pressure and it was all hands to the pumps in the Glens box. Dallas’s outstretched leg nicked the ball from the toe of Miller and then McCann headed clear a dangerrous cross into the box. Bennett took matters into his own hand and weaved his way past a clutch of defenders into the box before a timely tackle from Park prevented a shot at goal.  On 85 minutes the home side earned another penalty after McChesney’s tackle sent McAleer tumbling in the box and Darren Miller buried the spot kick in style.


Darren Miller bags the winner

The nine men battled on and deep into added time Meikle threw caution to the wind and forced his way through the middle only to be hauled down by Anderson.  The free-kick was eventually cleared at the expense of a corner-kick from which McCann’s header pulled off a decent save from Hughes leaving Park and Meikle to tussle for the loose ball with two defenders and the grounded keeper but to no avail; the ball went wide and the referee’s whistle blew.

F/T Kilbirnie 3 Glens 2

Glenafton Athletic:  1. McGarrity 2. Menzies 3. Cairns 4. McChesney 5. Meikle 6. Park 7. Orsi (12. McCann) 8. Gray 9. Andrew 10. Boyle (14. Dallas) 11. Marlow Subs:

Kilbirnie Ladeside: 1. Hughes 2.McKeown (14. Turner) 3. Bennett 4. Staunton 5. Haxton  (15. Miller) 6. Anderson 7. Brannan (12. Gold) 8. Rafferty 9. Grehan 10. Forde 11. McAleer

More photos here

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