- McBookie West Region Super League Premier Division
- Match 22
- Guy’s Meadow, Cumbernauld
- Saturday 2nd June 2018
- KIRKINTILLOCH ROB ROY 2 (0)
- Gallagher, Hughes
- GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0 (0)
Glenafton ended this season’s league campaign away to Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in a repeat of the fixture that saw them clinch the title ahead of their nearest rivals. Neither side were in the running to be crowned champions and both were forced to make a number of changes to the starting personnel for various reasons. The Glens without any of their recognised strikers available gave Jake Griffen, stepping up from the U19s, his first start; keeper Scott Watson earned his first league start as cover for Brian McGarrity and assistant manager Craig Potter partnered Jamie McKernon in the middle of the park. The visitors could only name two substitutes with Ryan Berry, another promising player from the U19s’ and coach Craig Clark.
The game was only two minutes old when Glens were forced to make a change after Ryan McChesney’s superb tackle to dispossess Connor Hughes in the box saw the big defender fall awkwardly and in some pain. Berry came on in his place to slot into the midfield with Craig Menzies returning to his familiar role in the centre of defence.
The Rabs earned their first corner kick on 5 minutes and it was Kyle McAusland that won the aerial battle against the home side’s trialist centre half to clear the ball. The game was being played at a fair tempo in very close (as in humid!) conditions with possession rapidly changing from one team to the other.
On 14 minutes fine work by the Glens down the right flank set up a header for Griffen at the near post only for the ball to drift inches wide.
Three minutes later Willie Sawyers held off two Glens defenders to engineer a shot from outside the box which swerved well wide of target.
Glens countered through Menzies with his trademark run from the heart of the defence to the opponent’s half before picking out Moore on the right and his cross to the back post was just beyond connecting with Berry’s good run into the box. This was a good spell for the visitors and Potter broke down another Rabs attack in the middle of park before releasing Moore down the right, to skin the full back. Twice the midfielder’s attempt to cross the ball were blocked before the third attempt found Lynass at the back post to play a one-two with McKernon before blasting the ball over the bar from 18 yards out. At the other end Lee Gallagher’s shot from inside the box suffered the same fate.
Back came Glens and neither Berry’s or McKernon’s speculative efforts from distance tested keeper Martin Fusari.
On 28 minutes the Rabs came within a whisker of taking the lead from a corner kick after their trialist centre half’s glancing header at the near post sneaked inches wide of the back post. Two minutes later and the centre half looked favourite to get his head to another corner only for keeper Watson to leap and grab the ball cleanly.
From just inside the Rabs’ half McKernon floated a free kick to the back post for McAusland to head back into the danger area where Griffen lost his marker to fire a snap shot wide of target.
McKnight broke down a Rabs attack on the edge of the box and the ball fell to Moore to clear upfield for Lynass to chase only for keeper Fusari to rush out of his box and time his tackle perfectly to clear the danger.
The midfield tussles continued with no quarter given and a competitive first 45 minutes ended all square and goal-less.
H/T Rob Roy 0 Glens 0
The home side were first to show after the break with a decent spell of possession and pressure. On 49 minutes a corner from the right saw no fewer than three Rabs rise as the back post to challenge for the header with Mark McCulloch winning that battle only for Watson to come off his line to leap and catch the ball cleanly as Andrew Johnstone waited in vain for a spill. A cute pass from Chris Hopkins released Hughes to progress to the box and lash a powerful shot that Watson pushed up into the air with both hands and stayed alert to grasp the loose ball as Sawyers challenged. Rabs continued to press and Sawyers’ squeal help earn a free kick on the edge of the box and although Gallagher curled the ball past the wall it dipped over the bar.
On 55 minutes some respite for the visitors after Potter broke down another attack and played the ball upfield for Lynass to show McCulloch a clean pair of heels before drilling a low angled shot from the corner of the box which Fusari did well to get down low and push the ball away across the face of goal to be mopped up. Lynass and Moore then combined down the right to win the Glens a corner-kick which was played short back to Moore to drill the ball into the box only to be cleared eventually by the home rearguard.
At one end Watson saved a snapshot from Gallagher low at his post and at the other end Fusari was quick off his to line to gather the ball as Griffen closed in. A fine passing move from the Glens began with left back Alan Cairns deep in his own half picked out Griffen who played the ball packed to McKernon to then feed the overlapping Cairns to skip back the Rabs full back and drive deep into the box only for his cut-back for the incoming McKernon to be blocked by a brace of defenders.
The visitors were enjoying a good spell and on 65 minutes Moore skinned Mark Gourlay at the corner flag to drive along the bye-line before his cross was deflected out for a corner which was headed clear by McCulloch. Two minutes later Glens won another corner and again this was headed clear. The visitors continued to press and McAusland cut infield to play a one-two for Lynass and although his shot from the outskirts of the box was blocked Potter snapped on the loose ball at the edge of the “D” only to be tripped by Hopkins. McAusland drilled a low free-kick past the wall but again Fusari got down low at his post to stop the ball and then smother it safely.
Possession changed hands a number of times during a midfield skirmish before the ball fell for Hopkins to push forward and drill a low hard shot that Watson held well.
On 69 minutes Glens lost possession upfield before the ball was picked up by Lee Gallagher on the half-way line to push forward to the box where he played a one-two with Sawyers and then showed quick feet to turn a clutch of defenders as he advanced deep into the box to fire home from 12 yards.
Three minutes later Glens brought on Craig Clark for Ryan Berry and play continued to flow from end with both keeper showing a safe pair of hands to end a couple of half-chances.
On 81 minutes the Rabs doubled their lead in controversial fashion after the full back trialist lofted a great ball deep into the six-yard box where Sawyers and Watson challenged for the ball with the young keeper getting a face-full of the striker’s forearm sending him crashing to the ground leaving Connor Hughes free to slam home the loose ball. Glenafton’s pleas went unheeded by a disinterested official.
With 5 minutes to go Rabs’ manager Stuart Maxwell came on to replace Sawyers. The home side won another couple of corner kicks both of which were cleared before the referee blew for time. The result has the Rabs leapfrog Glens into sixth place in the Premier Division.
F/T Rob Roy 2 Glens 0
Glenafton Athletic: 1. Scott Watson 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Iain McKnight 5. Ryan McChesney (12. Ryan Berry (14. Craig Clark) )6. Craig Menzies 7. Craig Potter 8. Jamie McKernon 9. Dale Moore 10. Connor Lynass 11. Jake Griffen
Kirkintilloch Rob Roy: 13. Martin Fusari 2. Trialist 3. Mark Gourlay 4. Gary McCulloch 5. Trialist 6. Shaun Fraser 7. Andrew Johnstone 8. Chris Hopkins 9. W. Sawyers (12. Stewat Maxwell) 10. Connor Hughes 11. Lee Gallagher Subs. 14. Trialist 15. Joe Slattery