- Evening Times League Champions Cup
- New TintoPark, Benburb
- Saturday 10th Jue 2017
- GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (1)
- David Gray, Cameron Marlow,
- GLASGOW PERTHSHIRE 0 (0)
Premier Division champions Glenafton travelled to New Tinto Park, home of Benburb Juniors to face Central 2nd Division Champions Glasgow Perthshire in the final of the Evening Times League Champions Cup. The two sides last met in the West of Scotland Cup final in 2012/13 where a Gareth ‘Bo’ Campbell goal three minutes from time forced a penalty shoot-out. It was Bo, a substitute for Craig McEwan – now the Glens boss, that stepped up to strike home the decisive spot-kick to take the cup to New Cumnock.
Glenafton got off to a great start in their quest to complete the ‘treble’ with an opening goal within 3 minutes. Perthshire’s Ryan Gemmell tripped Cammy Marlow at the edge of the box and up stepped David Gray to clip the ball over the defensive wall and dip into the net beyond the reach of keeper Chris Calder – reminiscent of first competitive goal for the Glens, scored on this ground in a 5-1 win over hosts Benburb.
On 11 minutes Kyle McAusland on the overlap down the right was fouled before he reached the dead-ball line. Instead of chipping the free-kick into the box Gray rolled the ball back to the outskirts of the “D” where it was met first time by Marlow to drill a low hard shot that whizzed wide of the post. Two minutes later a bloody-nosed Dan Orsi tried his luck from 30 yards out to pull off a decent save from Calder; before temporarily leaving the field of play to change his blood-stained short.
Shire began to make an impact on the game with some eye-catching silky runs through the middle by midfielder Scott Forrester. On 15 minutes keeper Blair Lochhead had to be alert to clutch a free-kick from under his bar as target man David Kirkwood waited to pounce.
Glens pressed down both flanks through Orsi on the right and Ryan Borris on the left and although Andrew and John Carter were getting a lot of service clear-cut chances were thin on the ground as the Shire defence closed them down.
Fraser Malcolm’s foray forward on 20 minutes was halted on the D of the box by a timely tackle from captain Craig Menzies. Back came Malcolm with another break down the left before bursting into the box and squaring the ball for Forrester in the six yard box only for Alan Cairns to nick the ball from his toes and clear the danger.
Play was now ebbing from end to end with Glens responding through a speculative dipping shot from 30 yards out from Andrew that was well held by Calder. At the other end Kirkwood’s near post header from a corner-kick was blocked and cleared by McAusland. Neat build up play between Forrester and Craig Smith set up the striker with a low angled shot from deep in the box that Lochhead smothered at the near post. On 29 minutes Smith broke through the middle before cracking a powerful shot from 22 yards out that screamed over the bar. The Glasgow side kept up the pressure with a corner-kick which saw Logan McIntyre’s shot blocked by McAusland and Forrester’s attempt to bury the rebound blocked by Orsi.
Glens countered with shots from Orsi and then Andrew, the former dipping over the bar and the latter saved by the keeper. On 39 minutes Andrew forced his way deep into the box to flash a ball across the face of goal past the keeper at his near post but just beyond the reach of Carter. A minute later Borris, after twisting and turning down the left, unleashed a fierce dipping shot that Calder kept is eye and clutched cleanly with both hands. Back upfield and the nippy Forrester threatened again only to be eventually undone deep in the box by the combined efforts of Cairns and Lochhead. Two minutes from the break Orsi and Andrew played a slick one-two at pace to release Orsi in the box only for his low drive from 15 yards to be stopped and then held by the diving Calder. An entertaining half ended with a Shire corner-kick being mopped up by the Glens defence.
H/T Glens 1 Shire 0
The first chance of the second half fell to Shire’s Jordan Currie-McLean but under pressure from Cairns his shot drifted well wide of target. At the other end Marlow slipped the ball to Andrew who worked his way into the box before his shot from a close range took a deflection of a defender to sail over the bar. The resulting corner-kick was only partially cleared and quickly followed by another that came to nothing.
On 57 minutes Lochhead was forced to rush out of the penalty box to beat Forrester to the ball only for it to allude them both and Menzies to chase it down deep in the box as Forrester closed in.
Although the tempo of the game had dropped it was still very much in the balance as both sides realised the next goal would be crucial in deciding the outcome. Calder was called into action and dealt comfortably with a Gray free-kick and a Borris shot from the edge of the box. While at the other end Malcolm’s chip into the six yard box was met by the head of Forrester only for the ball to dip over the bar. On 69 minutes the Glens came within a whisker of doubling their lead after fine play down the right by McAusland ended with an inch perfect cross for Andrew who although he met it sweetly first time at the corner of the six yard box the shot flashed wide of target.
In an instant the ball was launched upfield and gathered by Menzies who set off on a characteristic lung-bursting up the right flank and just as it seemed he been stripped off the ball by Mark Thompson he recovered the ball to drive into the six yard box before cutting it back for the incoming Cameron Marlow to slot home on 70 minutes.
The Glens freshened up the side with Chris Dallas coming on for Ryan Borris and Mick McCann replacing the injured and man-of-the-match Craig Menzies.
The New Cumnock side pushed for a third and Orsi shot from 15 yards was well blocked by Calder and although Andrew slammed home the rebound, it was from an offside position.
At the other end Forrester picked out Smith in the box but despite their best efforts the Shire couldn’t get the better of a squad of blue shirts defending manfully. Lochhead then pushed a shot from distance over the bar and Kirkwood couldn’t properly connect with the resulting corner-kick, his header drifting wide of target.
Back came Glens and Dallas released Carter to run into the box only for a timely tackle from McIntyre preventing the striker from shooting for goal. In the final minute of the game Dallas broke free into the Shire half and from there into the right hand side of the box before drilling a low angled shot that Calder got down to low to push away. The loose ball was snapped up by Andrew on the left hand side of the box and squared back across the face of goal for Dallas only for his second bite at the cherry to be deflected wide off a defender and the final whistle went before anything could become of the corner-kick.
So concluded a quite remarkable season for Glenafton Athletic the magnificent Evening Times trophy on its way to New Cumnock to join the West Region Super Premier League trophy and th Scottish Junior Cup to complete a fantastic treble.
FT Glenafton Athletic 2 Glasgow Perthshire 0
Glenafton Athletic: 1. Blair Lochhead 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies (14. Mick McCann) 5. Chris Meikle 6. Cameron Marlow 7. Dan Orsi 8. David Gray 9. John Carter 10. Joe Andrew 11. Ryan Borris (12. Dallas)
Glasgow Perthshire: 1 Chris Calder 2 Logan McIntyre 3 Bryan McLaughlin 4 Mark Thompson 5 David Kirkwood 6 Scott Forrester 7 Jordan Currie-McLean 8 Craig Munro 9 Craig Smith 10 Ryan Gemmell 11 Fraser Malcolm Subs: Gordon Brown, Andrew Gibson, Stewart Brodie Mark McDonnell