- William Hill Scottish Cup
- Round 3
- Tony Macaroni Arena, Livingston
- Saturday 18th November 2017
- LIVINGSTON 2 (1)
- Dylan Mackin (2)
- GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0 (0)
LIVI LIONS TOO STRONG FOR THE PRIDE OF DEAR NEW CUMNOCK
Glenafton Athletic’s journey into this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup began by gaining entry into the competition as Scottish Junior Cup Winners and West Region Premier Division Champions. After successfully navigating two preliminary rounds and the 1st and 2nd round proper of the national cup competition the Glens travelled to face Livingston, last season’s SPFL 1st Division Champions, who currently sit one point off the top of the SPFL Championship as they battle for a return to the Premier Division.
Glens manager Craig McEwan set out his stall with a ‘have a go’ 4-3-3 formation the front three comprising Chris Dallas, Mick McCann and Joe Andrew who between them had scored 12 goals in the four rounds of the competition. The men tasked with managing the midfield were Jamie McKernon, Ally Park and David Gray while the defence had the familiar look of captain Craig Menzies and Ryan McChesney in central defence with Kyle McAusland and Alan Cairns the attack-minded full backs and Brian McGarrity the man between the sticks.
In the opening 15 minutes the visitors were more than a match for Livingston. Clear cut chances were thin of the ground as central defenders of both sides came out on top in the physically crunching aerial battles. When called upon both keepers also came out on top Brian McGarrity clutching the ball as Dale Carrick challenged and his counterpart debutant goalie Gary Maley punching clear a David Gray free kick whipped deep into the box.
On 14 minutes another Gray free kick from all but the right hand corner flag was headed wide by Mick McCann under pressure from Craig Halkett. The Lions roared upfield and the lively Josh Mullin and Keaghan Jacobs combined down the right to set up a chance for Jackson Longridge at the back post only for McGarrity to get down low and push the ball away.
A flowing passage of play ended with Jacobs releasing Mullin to run to the outskirts of the box where his shot for goal cannoned off defender Alan Cairns and behind for a corner. Mullin took the kick which was headed on by Alan Lithgow and the defection off a defender quickly gathered by Dylan Mackin before lashing a left footed shot into the net from 8 yards out to give the hosts the lead on 20 minutes. Four minutes later Glens tried to conjure up a carbon copy with Gray’s corner headed on by Mick McCann but the ball didn’t fall kindly for Dallas and the striker’s effort drifted wide of the target.
Jamie McKernon and Ally Park were having to put in a shift and half in the middle park , however on the half hour mark Park required to leave the field having failed to recover from an injury sustained in a free-kick he had conceded five minutes earlier. He was replaced by Dale Moore and the attacking midfielder showed some nice early touches that drew a couple of free kicks from Livi which came to nothing.
On 34 minutes Craig Menzies headed clearance was recovered by the hosts and Jacobs’ cracker of a shot from 25 yards whizzed inches of the post albeit McGarrity appeared to have it well covered. The keeper then dealt comfortably with Declan Gallacher’s attempt to convert a free-kick into the box from close range. Soon after the full back produced a goal saving tackle at the other end after Dallas had shown Shaun Byrne clean pair of heels to burst into the box only for the back-tracking Gallacher to steal the ball from his toes.
The home side finished the half with a flurry of chances two of the half variety the first a header from Carrick that was comfortably saved by McGarrity and then a powerful 20 yard shot from Mackin that ended in the ubiquitous row Z of the Tony Macaroni Arena. The final chance began with a delightful pass from Scott Pittmann that picked out Jacobs run into the left hand side and the midfielder low angled drive was brilliantly blocked at the corner of the six yard box by the feet of the advancing McGarrity.
Half-time Livingston 1 Glenafton 0
Glens kicked off and within a minute a great through ball saw Dallas get the jump on Alan Lithgow and push forward only for the covering Halkett to cut across and into the path of the striker who was then penalised in the box for holding back the defender. While at the other end Carrick in the box under pressure from Ryan McChesney shot over the bar.
The visitors struggled to conjure up any further early chances in the half as play was punctuated for a period with a number of fouls conceded by the hosts.
Indeed it was Livi that looked the more threatening going forward. On 52 minutes another peach of pass from Pittman looked certain to set up Carrick in the box only for McChesney to execute a superb tackle and Kyle McAusland mop up the loose ball. Soon after McChesney blocked Pittman’s shot and then followed up with a goal saving tackle on the midfielder only for the loose ball to be played back into the heart of the goal where the big defender block Carrick’s shot from close range at the expense of a corner kick. McGarrity was forced to push that kick over the bar for another corner which resulted in a Mullin chance that was saved by the keeper. Mullin on the right then gathered a great pass from the centre circle to cut inside and drill a low angled shot the that was block by the knee of McGarrity.
The Lions pressure paid off on 61 minutes with a well worked and well taken goal. Jacobs picked up a headed clearance on the centre circle and quickly fed Mullin wide on the right who curled a pass upfield to Carrick before setting off to complete the one-two and whip a vicious ball into the box over McChesney’s head and there was Dylan Mackin to bullet a downward header into the net from 6 yards.
Both sides made changes with Livi bringing on Nicky Cadden for Jackson Longridge and Glens later replacing Mick McCann with Ryan Borris. In between times Carrick had the ball in the net but from a offside position.
The home side continued to press and the half chances on offer were all falling to them through a Mullin shot saved by McGarrity and Mackin’s header for a hat-trick sailing over the bar.
Further changes were made with Glens replacing David Gray with Conor Lynass and Livi bringing on Matthew Knox for goal-maker Josh Mullin. Both replacements were soon in the thick of things with McGarrity saving from Knox and Lynass’s run down the left setting up a move then ended with Joe Andrew heading wide of target.
Credit to Glenafton they finished with their heads and tails up. McAusland and Lynass were combining well down the right flank enabling the latter to drive to the goal-line and cut the ball into the goal mouth only for Maley to block with his feet at the near post and send the ball skyward to be cleared. Soon after Lynass whipped the ball high into the box from tight on the right flank forcing Maley to palm the ball away as Dallas threatened. Moore then made good progress down the right before being upended by Pittmann and after the free-kick into the box was cleared Moore was fouled again, this time by Lithgow and again the free-kick was cleared. Lynass then advanced to the deadball line only for his cross into the box to be cleared to safety.
A breather for Livi four minutes for time as goal hero Dylan Mackin had to leave the park through injury to be replaced by Craig Henderson.
Glens continued to push for a what would now be a consolation goal unless of course the ‘miracle of nearby Broxburn’ in the Scottish Junior Cup 1st round last season could be repeated. Alas it was not to be and in added time Knox passed up a good chance to make it 3-0 for the hosts after some fine build up play ended with a shot lacking power that was saved comfortably by man-of-the match McGarrity.
The Lions thoroughly deserved their victory and we wish them well in their push for the Premier Division. As for Glenafton the lion-hearts left the field with the songs of praise from the Afton Army ringing in their ears – ‘The pride of dear New Cumnock‘.
Full-time : Livingston 2 Glenafton 0
Glenafton Athletic: 1. Brian McGarrity 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies (captain) 5. Ryan McChesney 6. Ally Park (14. Dale Moore) 7. David Gray (15.Conor Lynass) 8. Jamie McKernon 9. Mick McCann (12. Ryan Borris) 10. Joe Andrew 11. Chris Dallas Subs not used: 16. Iain McKnight 17. Cameron Marlow 18. Craig Potter 19. Scott Watson (gk)
Livingston: 20 Gary Maley. 31 Declan Gallagher 26. Craig Halkett 4. Alan Lithgow 7. Sean Mullin (16. Matthew Knox) 6. Shaun Byrne 14. Keaghan Jacobs 8. Scott Pittman, 3. Jackson Longridge (11. Nicky Cadden 61) 15. Dylan Mackin (22. Craig Henderson) 19. Dale Carrick.
Subs not used: 1. Neil Alexander 9. Nikolay Todorov 23. Rafa De-Vita
Referee: Alan Newlands