McBoookie.com West of Scotland League Super League Premier Division: Match 05
Saturday 8th October 2016, Loch Park, New Cumnock
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (0)
BEITH JUNIORS 3 (2)
Glenafton Athletic secretary John Stewart presented Beith Juniors president John Boal with a memento to mark Beith’s achievement in winning the Scottish Junior Cup for the first time in the clubs history last season.
On a more sombre note a minute’s silence was observed before kick-off in a mark of respect for Ryan Baird from nearby Sanquhar who tragically lost his life last Saturday when the Nith Valley Loyal Rangers Supporters bus crashed on its way to Ibrox.
The game kicked-off in bright October sunshine and it was the Glens that came close to scoring the quickest goal at Loch Park for many a season when on 17 seconds a Mick McCann low shot from inside the box struck the base of the Beith post.
Four minutes later the visitors passed up a great chance after Darren Christie got the jump on the Glens defence to break into the box and slip the ball to the incoming Kenny McLean and although he was put off by the attention of Ally Park the ball rolled on for Richie Burke but he blasted his effort well over the bar. Four minutes after that Christie pushed forward again forcing keeper Brian McGarrity to advance to the outskirts of the box to make a strong block and leave captain Craig Menzies clear up the loose ball.
On 13 minutes luck deserted the Glens again after Kyle McAusland on the overlap down the right flank picked out Joe Andrew on the corner of the six yard who quickly turned a couple of Beith defenders only for keeper Stephen Grindlay to get a foot to his snap shot. Two minutes later the home side spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead. Cameron Marlow broke free down the left and with a clear route into the box made excellent progress and just as the back-tracking Nick Docherty closed him down he took out him of play by calmly squaring the ball for Conor Lynass in acres of space only for his shot from 8 yards to squirm wide of the post.
Beith were quickly back on the front foot and progressed to dominate the remainder of the half seldom giving their opponents a minute to dwell on the ball and forcing them to hurry their passing which more often than not resulted in the surrender of possession. Their pace up front was causing the Glens defence all sorts of problems while their centre backs were literally all over the Glens front men, John Sheridan and Mark McLaughlin a formidable force.
On 17 minutes a lung-bursting run down the left wing by Docherty ended with the ball being whipped towards the goal mouth only for Ryan McChesney’s outstretched leg diverting the ball over the bar as McLean the predator prepared to pounce; the corner kick that followed was safely cleared.
Christie was McLean’s next provider as he shook a couple of defenders before slipping the ball into the box for his unmarked team mate to chase down but the alert McGarrity rushed from his line to execute a goal-saving block and Menzies mopped up the loose ball.
On 27 minutes Beith made the breakthrough after a Glens free kick into their box was partially cleared only to be recovered by the Glens before Jamie Wilson stole the ball back and set Docherty free on the counter-attack who in turn released Kenny McLean for a free run at goal, tempting McGarrity to advance to the edge of his six yard box before unleashing a powerful shot from 20 yards that exploded beyond the keeper’s outstretched hand an into the roof of the net.
The visitors continued to look the more threatening and six minutes later doubled their lead. A free kick from the left was floated to the back post and headed clear by Park only for the ball to be snapped up by Christie who made for the bye-line before delicately chipping it back into the heart of the six yard box where although McLaughlin’s header was off target the ball bounced perfectly at the far corner of the six yard box for John Sheridan to meet it first time and thunder a volley into the net with panache that manager John Millar would have been proud of in his playing day.
The game continued in a similar pattern with Beith doing all the meaningful pressing while Glens struggled to create the space and time to get their passing game going. In the closing action of the half a Sheridan shove gave the Glens a free kick just outside the box but too close to the bye-line to allow Gray a pop at goal and it was fitting that the impressive McLaughlin won the aerial battle and cleared the ball with another determined header.
HT Glens 0 Beith 2
McGarrity was the first keeper to be called into action after break with a stunning save on 51 minutes to push a low angled shot from Christie past the post and then pluck David McGowan’s header from the resultant corner out of the air. Grindlay made similar light work of Park’s header at the other end a minute later.
Glens then made a couple of changes on with Conor Lynass and Ally Park replaced by Dan Orsi and Ryan Borris.
Although Beith’s attacking intensity was not at the level of the first half their defence was still getting the better of their opponents’ attacks. McChesney got the jump on Sheridan to head a free kick goalward only for the keeper to save comfortably again. On 58 minutes Beith had greater success after a free-kick from the right was met at the near post by a leaping David McGowan and his glancing header beat McGarrity at full stretch to send the ball into the far corner of the net.
Three-nil down with 30 minutes to go and a glimmer hope for Glenafton after Borris released McCann to run into the box and although he beat man-of-the-match McLaughlin to the ball the defender timed his slide tackle to perfection and blocked the striker’s shot at goal.
Midway through the half Mick McCann made way for the fresh legs of Chris Dallas and Glens continued to seek out a breakthrough. Gray appeared to set up to float another free-kick into the box only to play a short one-two before striding forward and thundering a shot that Grindlay saw late but still got down low to push the ball wide of the post. Gray’s corner-kick was met at the corner of the six yard box by McChesney and his powerful volley whizzed inches wide of the post, the referee spotting something worthy of another corner-kick that was headed clear by Sheridan.
The home side were now enjoying their best spell of the game and were rewarded on 75 minutes when Chris Dallas capitalised on a slip by Grindlay on the outskirts of the box and before Sheridan could close him down lashed the ball into the empty net in some style.
Glens pushed for a second through a clever run from Marlow after a one-two with Andrew saw him progress to the edge of the box and although his cute ball took the Beith centre-backs out of play it was just beyond the reach of Dallas leaving the keeper to clear up. With 10 minutes to go Beith began their first of three substitutions the best of the remaining chances fell to the Glens when Dallas and Andrew combined in the box only for Grindlay to block the latter’s effort and the former’s attempt to bury the rebound deflected wide by Sheridan. Back-to-back corners kicks followed neither of which tested the keeper.
Glenafton’s unbeaten run in the league ended by a very impressive Beith side.
F/T Glens 1 Beith 3
Glenafton Athetlic: 1. Brian McGarrity 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairnd 4. Craig Menzies 5. Ryan McChesney 6. David Gray 7. Conor Lynass (15. Dan Orsi) 8. Ally Park (14. Ryan Borris) 9. Mick McCann (12. Chris Dallas) 10. Joe Andrew 11. Cameron Marlow Subs. 16. Andrew Hunter GK Blair Lochhead
Beith Juniors: 1. Stephen Grindlay 2. Conor McGlinchey 3. Nicky Docherty 4. Martin McLaughlin 5. John Sheridan 6. Jamie Wilson 7. David McGowan (15. Calum Watt) 8. Paul Frize 9. Kenny McLean (12. Thomas Collins) 10. Darren Christie (14. Ross McPherson) 11. Richie Burke Subs 16. Iain Fisher 17. Josh McArthur
More photos here