- McBookie West Region Super League Premier Division
- Match 01
- Loch Park, New Cumnock
- Saturday 19th August 2017
- GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1)
- Joe Andrew
- CLYDEBANK 0 (0)
On the 19thAugust 1307 the standard of Edward II was raised at Cumnock Castle that stood on the castle-hill overlooking the meeting place of the Afton Water and River Nith. The newly crowned King of England had marched his great army north in his quest to capture Robert the Bruce, King of Scots who had taken refuge in the hills of Glen Afton.
Today on the 19th August 2017, exactly 710 years later, Glenafton Athletic raised their treble winning standard at Loch Park, which lies sandwiched between the castle-hill and the River Nith. On this occasion the newly promoted Clydebank descended on New Cumnock to face the champions of Scotland and just as Edward had managed to purloin Bruce’s own sleuth-hound in an attempt to get one over on the King of Scots, the Bankies now had former Glenafton coach Kieran McAnespie at their head, hoping to sniff-out the Scottish champions weaknesses.
Thankfully only league points were at stake today and proceedings started with the age-old act of chivalry with the opponents forming a guard of honour to applaud the Champions onto the field of play while the Champions and their supporters respectfully acknowledged their genuine gesture.
The battle lines drawn on a grey, wet day Clydebank quickly revealed their strategy, one of attack being the best form of defence, as their yellow shirts lit up the gloom like a hail of flaming arrows as they darted forward down both flanks. Within two minutes Glenafton’s captain Craig Menzies had to be sharp to block Jordan Shelvey’s angled volley from inside the left hand side of box and deflect the ball for a corner which was grabbed cleanly under the bar by keeper Brian McGarrity. Attacking full back Andy Paterson whipped a great ball in from the left for Ryan Deas to stoop and flash a header wide of the post on 4 minutes followed quickly by Josh Watt’s shot from the corner of the 18-yard box that flew over the bar as the Bankies continued to press.
The hosts rallied and although Chris Dallas outjumped his markers his header from a David Gray free-kick slipped wide of the post. Jamie Darroch then robbed Joe Andrew of the ball in the box at the expense of a corner-kick which was cleared by the big defender. On 10 minutes Gray trapped in a pocket of three yellows dinked a superb ball into the box for Ally Park to chase down only for his brave cut-back from the dead-ball line to be smothered by keeper Josh Lumsden as Dallas closed in.
Possession was now more evenly balanced but play was scrappy with the strong wind not helping matters.
On 15 minutes defender Kyle McAusland gathered the ball on the right flank, deep in his own half, and like a human trebuchet catapulted the ball upfield over the Bankies defences where in anticipation Joe Andrew had already breached the self-same defences to let the ball bounce twice before calmly clipping it over the head of the keeper, who had advanced to edge of the box, and into the gaping net. This was the striker’s fourth goal in this fixture, the previous three coming in the colours of Clydebank.
Darren McGill’s determined running style was proving a handful for the visitors and often a source of a set piece, and a free-kick opportunity for Gray. Having already floated a few into the box the Glens midfielder tried to catch Lumsden off guard with a low drive that slipped past the near post.
The visitors regained their composure with Shelvey leading the vanguard and Johnny Allan and Deas pulling the strings they created half a clutch of decent chances in a 20-minute spell. It began with Shelvey on 20 minutes his close-range header from a corner-kick glancing agonisingly inches wide of the post. The striker then drilled a low drive from 20 yards that was comfortably held by McGarrity.
On 32 minutes the keeper faced a greater test as Shelvey picked up a fine pass and broke into the box before trying to place his shot into the net only for McGarrity now on the penalty blocking it with his legs; the resulting corner-kick headed wide by Ross Forsyth.
Six minutes later Jamie McKernon brought a Deas run to an end at the expense of a free-kick on the edge of the ‘D’. Up stepped Watt, a summer signing from Cumnock, to curl a shot over the wall and beyond the reach of the keeper only for the ball to crash off the crossbar.
The Glens had created a couple of chances of their own during the Bankies onslaught through Ryan Boriss’s shot from outside the box that was blocked by a legion of legs while McKernon’s blast from 22 yards had Lumsden at full stretch to push the ball wide of the post; the resulting corner-kick cleared.
In the closing minutes of the half it was more a case of handbags than hand-to-hand combat as the troops from both sides gathered to contest a robust tackle and the reciprocated retaliation. The referee bringing the joust to a close with a yellow card apiece and dishonour even!
HT Glenafton 0 Clydebank 0
Following the half-time truce play resumed and with the strong wind continuing to frustrate both sides as they huffed and puffed and cancelled each other out. The first real chance fell on the hour mark to Shelvey after he showed great skill to shake off two defenders at the edge of the box and drive forward to sweetly strike a low angled shot from 8 yards out only for McGarrity to block it with an outstretched leg and pounce on the loose ball.
Reinforcements were introduced with the Bankies bringing on Ciaran Lafferty for Josh Watt while Glens followed suit soon after with Ryan Borris making way for Dale Moore.
On 63 minutes Lafferty slipped a fine pass to Deas on the edge of the box and rather than complete the one-two he turned a defender to fashion a powerful shot at goal that proved no match for the power of McGarrity’s gauntlets.
Midway through the half Glenafton came close to doubling their lead. Gray’s corner-kick was headed into the crowded goalmouth by Dallas where the ball was trapped by Andrew with his back to goal and yet, somehow, he engineered a shot that battered off the post before Moore tried not once but twice to bury the rebound but could not penetrate the schiltron of shirts of yellow.
At the other end a free kick 10 yards from the corner-flag was floated into the six yard box for Darroch only for the ball to be cleanly clutched from his head by the formidable McGarrity.
Glens brought on Cameron Marlow for David Gray in preparation for the final 20 minutes as the Bankies pressed for a precious equaliser. Shelvey sent another 20 yard shot whizzing wide of the post and minutes later Allan from the ‘D’ hooked a well struck shot that McGarrity clutched firmly on the line.
A final flurry of substitutions followed with the home side bringing on Mick McCann for Joe Andrew and the visitors replacing Phil Johnston with Reece Pearson and the gallant Jordan Shelvey with Chris Black.
In the closing minutes the two captains duelled in the Glens box as Menzies threw his body in front of Forsyth’s shot and the ball eventually deflected for a corner-kick that was headed clear by McKernon at the near post.
The final whistle ended with warm handshakes between players and management teams.
FT Glenafton 1 Clydebank 0
Glenafton Athletic: 1. Brian McGarrity 2. Ally Park 3. Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies 5. Kyle McAusland 6. Jamie McKernon 7. Ryan Borris (15. Dale Moore) 8. David Gray(14. Cameron Marlow) 9. Chris Dallas 10. Joe Andrew (12. Mick McCann) 11. Darren McGill Subs not used 16. Iain McKnight Gk Scott Watson
Clydebank: 1. Josh Lumsden 2. Jamie Lyden 3. Andy Paterson 4. Ross Forsyth 5. Jamie Darroch 15. Alan Vezza 18. Johnny Allan 7. Phil Johnston (12. Reece Pearson) 11. Watt (10. Ciaran Lafferty) 8. Ryan Deas, 9. Jordan Shelvey (16. Chris Black) 11. Josh Watt Subs not used: 6.Calum Gow 20. Scott Morrison
The Bankies were sent homeward not so much to think again but to think of what might have been after having created so many chances in such difficult conditions.
Champions Glenafton will relish the three points and reflect that they have won 7 games in 17 days and kept three clean sheets against Premier Division sides.