- McBookie Premier Division
- Match 15
- Bellsdale Park, Beith
- Saturday 8th April 2017
- BEITH JUNIORS 1 (0)
- James Bradley
- GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1)
- Chris Dallas
Glenafton travelled to face fellow title contenders Beith and prior to kick-off the current Scottish Junior Cup holders over the tannoy kindly wished the Glens good-luck in their Scottish semi-final next week which was greatly appreciated by the travelling support
The visitors started off in determined fashion facing up the Bellsdale slope that would be bathed in the sunshine on Beith for the full energy sapping ninety minutes. Dan Orsi was quick off the mark surging up the right flank to whip a cross to the back post that ended inches beyond the incoming Darren McGill. Down the hill and keeper Brian McGarrity dealt comfortably with a low angled drive by Conor McGlinchey from the right-hand side of the penalty box. Kyle McCausland headed clear a Beith corner-kick at the near post and won the aerial battle again as the recovered ball was fired back into the Glens goal-mouth.
The visitors replied through Chris Dallas holding off two opponents tight on the right-wing before playing the ball upfield for Joe Andrew to chase only for keeper Stephen Grindlay to get their first and to despatch the ball downfield as Andrew nipped at his heels. Ten minutes gone and the keeper held an Orsi shot from outside box and a minute later could only look on as Orsi’s looping header crashed off the top of the crossbar.
At the other end Tom Collins, trapped in a pocket of three Glens defenders in the box, turned well to get a shot away that failed to seriously test McGarrity.
McGill’s powerful run through the middle was ended by a robust challenge from Martin McLaughlin. The resulting free kick from 22 yards was struck well by David Gray’s but took a nick of the wall and Beith mopped up the corner-kick that followed. Glens continued to press and on 23 minutes took the lead with a mouth-watering goal. Park deep in his own half held off Paul Frize to slip the ball to Orsi on the right who jinked past Richie Burke leaving the defender at base camp as he set off up the slope and as Jamie Wilson chased him down he released a forward pass to McGill on the outskirts of the box with Chris Dallas matching his run. McGill continued his run into the box and as the back-tracking McGlinchley geared up to block the Glens midfielder shot at goal he calmly squared the ball for the unmarked Dallas to slam the ball beyond the reach of the keeper from 8 yards out.
The hosts responded well and Cameron Marlow was forced to head a Beith free-kick floated into the box over his own bar and Ryan McChesney then won the back-post header to clear the resulting corner-kick as McLaughlin waited to pounce.
Although half chances came and went for either side it was now the hosts that looked the more threatening and on 36 minutes McGarrity pulled off a fine save from a close-range header by David McGowan.
Glens defended manfully as Beith pressed for an equaliser and had a chance to land a sucker punch in the closing minutes of the half after McLaughlin brought down Andrew on the outskirt of the box only for Gray’s free-kick to take another deflection of the wall and dip inches over the bar while nothing came of the corner-kick that followed. H/T Beith 0 Glens 1
Glenafton were forced to make a change at the break after goalscorer Chris Dallas couldn’t shake off a knock to the knee and was replaced by John Carter.
The hosts were first to show and McGarrity & McAusland double-teamed to freeze out Tom Collins at the near post as he tried to capitalise on a loose ball. Glens eventually scrambled clear the corner-kick and indeed almost prospered through a break downfield by McGill only to be foiled through a timely tackle from Kevin McDonald.
The tempo was relentless as Beith mounted another attack through Calum Watt on the right but again the visitors defence proved impenetrable and again a counter-attack followed as Marlow launched the ball down the field where Andrew and Carter combined well before another timely interception by McDonald.
Back came Beith but with a wall of red shirts in the box holding firm Frize fired a shot from 22 yards forcing another fine save from McGarrity on 52 minutes. Soon after the keeper leapt unchallenged to cleanly clutch another corner-kick.
The visitors enjoyed a good spell of possession and McGill’s ball into the box saw Carter hold off McLaughlin to pick out Andrew only for McDonald to intervene again. Orsi slipped a neat pass to Andrew on the right-hand side of the box and after shaking off McLaughlin he fashioned an angled shot that was pushed away by Grindlay.
On 62 minutes Beith made a double substitution with Frize and Collins making way for Joe Bradley and Ross McPherson. Four minutes later the hosts carved out a great chance after Christie weaved his way to the right-hand side of the six yard only to lash his shot wide of the near post with McPherson at the box post feeling a pass to him was the better option. Beith continued to press and while the Glens defended in numbers including McGill & Marlow blocking Christie’s way to goal and Marlow later taking the ball from the toe of McPherson with the keeper to beat from 6 yards out.
On 72 minutes Glenafton were forced to make another change with injured captain Craig Menzies making way for Chris Meikle and for minutes later Ryan Borris replaced Dan Orsi, both players leaving the field to loud applause from the Afton supporters.
Borris was soon in the thick of it gathering a pass down the right from Carter before whipping the ball into the heart of the penalty box where it was trapped by McGill before getting a shot away that was caught cleanly by Grindlay.
Cameron Elliot, on for Calum Watt, made good progress into the Glens box to pick to set up Christie or another shot from a tight angled which McGarrity held tight at the near post. At the other end McGill’s perseverance saw him shake off McGlinchey on the outskirts of the box to slide the ball to Andrew who got the better of McDonald before hitting a low shot from the corner of the six yard and although it beat the outstretched arm of the grounded goalie the ball drifted inches wide of the far post and the same distance from the toe of Carter.
The Glens repelled another attack from their hosts with McChesney nicking the ball from the toe of Elliot and Park mopping up the loose ball. Just as it seemed the Glens had browbeat Beith and weathered the storm the hosts conjured up the equaliser on 85 minutes. The ball fell for Joe Bradley on the outskirts of the left-hand side of the box to leather an unstoppable volley into the back of the net.
Although the host tails were up the visitors head stayed up and almost nicked it a minute before time after great work by Carter in the box to pick out McGill at the edge of the six-yard box and with McGlinchey bearing down and after a great shift his shot sailed over the bar. The Glens stayed on the front foot and in the last action of the game McGlinchey cleared a corner-kick at the near post.
F/T Beith 1 Glens 1
Glenafton Athletic: 1. Brian McGarrity 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Cameron Marlow 4. Craig Menzies (16. Chris Meikle) 5. Ryan McChesney 6. Ally Park 7. Dan Orsi (15. Ryan Borrsi) 8. David Gray 9. Chris Dallas (12. John Carter) 11. Darren McGill Subs not used: 14. Conor Lynass Gk Blair Lochhead
Beith Juniors: 1. Stephen Grindlay 2. Conor McGlinchey 3. Richie Burke 4. Kevin McDonald 5. Martin McLaughlin 6. Jamie Wilson 7. Calum Watt (16. Cameron Elliot) 8. Paul Frize (12. Ross McPherson) 9. Tom Collins (14. Joe Bradley) 10. Darren Christie 11. David McGowan 15. Josh McArthur Gk James Digney