Ardagh Cup Section 4 : Match 1
Saturday 6th August, Nithside Park, Kirkconnel
KELLO ROVERS 1 (1)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 (2)
Glenafton gave starting places to summer signings keeper Blair Lochhead and full backs Kyle McAusland and Andrew Hunter for the trip to Kello who numbered former Glens’ players Ryan Dunsmuir and Scott Caldwell in their ranks.
After a slow start the hosts got into their stride with slick one-touch passing to move the ball with some style from box to box. They also enjoyed the best of the early chances with Lochhead pulling off a point blank save from a close range header as the Rovers threatened from a series of corner-kicks. On 12 minutes Liam Fleming’s angled shot from inside the box screamed over the bar.
In the meantime Glens had been making decent progress down both flanks, attacks initiated by Hunter and McAusland respectively, without converting it into goalmouth pressure, until the 18th minute. Darren McGill gathered the ball on the left and played a one-two with Joe Andrew before bursting into the box, slicing his way through a sandwich of Kello defenders and guiding the ball past the outrushing Dunsmuir and into the net.
The visitors pressed for a second and David Gray’s screamer from 25 yards had Dunsmuir at full stretch to usher the ball inches over the bar. Ross Ballantyne repeated the feat ar the other end his shot blazing over the bar at the former gas-works end. Five minutes before the break, as the Glens tried to build another attack from the back, Ballantnye pounced on a loose pass and from a tight angle lashed a daisy cutter past the keeper and into the far corner of the net to draw the sides level.
Dunsmuir pulled off a fine reflex save from Ryan McChesney as he tried to bullet a header home at the near post from a corner kick . Back came the visitors to restore their lead on 43 minutes. Dan Orsi forced his way down the right flank before picking out Andrew in the box to roll the ball on its way into the path of Cameron Marlow to fire the ball from 15 yards out through a ruck of players beyond the unsighted keeper.
H/T Kello 1 Glenafton 2
Glenafton raised the tempo of their play after the restart and pushed forward in waves of attacks. McGill and Mick McCann combined in the box to set up Marlow only for his shot to be pushed away by Dunsmuir, the keeper now constantly on his toes. Just after the hour mark the visitors made a triple substitution with Andrew, Marlow and Orsi making way for Ally Park, Chris Dallas and close-season signing Ryan Borris. Before the fresh-legs were stretched the Rovers served notice that they were still vety much in the game after Graeme Ramage tried his luck from 30 yards only for the ball to fly past the keeper and just wide of the junction of post and bar.
On 66 minutes the Glens doubled their lead after some fantastic build up play between Hunter (putting in a great shift) and McGill down the left flank. Hunter’s final contribution was the finest of touches that took two defenders instantly out of play to leave McGill with a seemingly a free run into the box only for centre back Liam Weir to cut across and clip the heels of the Afton midfielder. Mick McCann stepped up and slotted the spot kick home.
Glenafton’s fresh legs now kicked in and Borris and Park were exploiting the space in the home defence to good effect while at the other end McChesney and Chris Meikle were fending off the less frequent attack from Rovers. The visitors continued to breach Kello’s box and although McCann came close with an overhead kick and Dallas with a glancing header there was to be no more scoring.
F/T : Kello 1 Glenafton 3
Glenafton Athletic: 1. Blair Lochhead, 2.Kyle McAusland, 3. Andrew Hunter 4.Chris Meikle 5. Ryan McChesney 6. David Gray 7. Dan Orsi (16.Ryan Borris) 8. Cameron Marlow (14. Ally Park) 9. Mick McCann 10. Joe Andrew (15. Chris Dallas) 11. Darren McGill. Subs . Brian McGarrity (gk)
Kello Rovers: 1. Ryan Dunsmuir 2. Robert Hampson 3. Kieran Pagan 4. Sean Bennie 5. Liam Weir 6. Declan Hill 7. Graeme Ramage 8. Geoff Paterson 9. Scott Caldwell 10. Ross Ballantyne 11. Liam Fleming Subs. Steven Hyslop, Craig Gordon
More photos here
Other section scores: Cumnock 6 Lugar 0 , Muirkirk 1 Auchinleck 4