Sat 27th APR 2019 KO 2:00 pm
McBookie.com West Region Premiership| Match 27
Loch Park, New Cumnock
Glenafton Athletic 1 (1) Largs Thistle 1 (0)
With Brian McGarrity out throughout the remainder of the season with a knee injury young keeper Craig Burns covers again. He is joined on the injury list with Leon Murphy which for some time now has also included top goal scorer Chris Dallas. Ally Park and Mick McCann were unavailable for selection and Glens could only name a bench of three with manager Craig McEwan, assistant manager Craig Potter joining striker Kit Cummins.
The Largs side included former Glenafton striker Scott Adam while fellow striker John Carter part of the Glens treble side of 2016/17 was not available for selection. Meanwhile in the dug-out was former Glens defender Liam McVey, now player-coach at the North Ayrshire side.
The home side were first to threaten in the opening minute when Davie Winters glancing header from a Kyle McCausland cross beat the keeper but slipped wide of the back post. Largs responded with a break down the left which ended with Ben Black’s low angled shot be held by Craig Burns as Ryan McKie closed in.
Back up the park and a Glens short corner kick was partially cleared and the recovered ball headed on toward the goal by Joe Andrew only for keeper Daniel Farrell to clutch it cleanly from Winters’ head in the six-yard box.
Another Glens corner quickly followed which was won in the air by Ryan McChesney and headed back across the face of the goal but was cut out by Scott Adam, the striker then blocked McAusland’s attempt to drill home the loose ball. The visitors broke upfield on the right through Black who picked out Paul Harkins to drive to the bye-line before gathering the return ball but his shot from 10 yards missed the target.
The game continued at a frantic pace as play flowed from end to end.
On 11 minutes Glens came within a whisker of opening the scoring after McAusland whipped a great ball in from the right which eluded the keeper but despite a lung bursting run by Dale Moore into the six-yard box the midfielder could only get an outstretched boot to the ball to send it over the bar. At the other end Adam and Black combined well to set Harkins up with a shot from 18 yards only for McChesney to time his challenge to perfection and the loose ball cleared by Cammy Marlow.
Back and forth remained the pattern of an entertaining match with both sides playing nice passing football but lacking the guile to unlock their opponents defence.
On 20 minutes Dan Orsi created panic in the Largs box. He burst between two defenders to drive into the box and although the pair back-tracked to block his way to goal he played a marvellous one-two with Winters to progress to the bye-line before cutting the ball across the face of goal but Mark Millar was in hand to clear as Andrew threatened.
Back came Glens through Marlow clipping a great ball through the middle for Orsi to chase and holding off Laurie McMaster he tried to lob the keeper from 18 yards only for Farrell, having advanced 8 yards off his line, to get his fingers to the goal bound ball. Findlay Frye hunted down the loose ball on the bye-line before turning and whipping it back into the heart of the box where it eventually fell for Andrew to hook a low shot from 15 yards that beat the keeper at full stretch but whizzed inches wide of the post.
Largs countered with a powerful break through the middle by Millar who then played the ball forward to Adam to crack a first time shot from inside the ‘D’ forcing Burns to get down low and pull off an excellent save and the big striker’s attempt to head home the rebound drifted wide of target. At the other end Winters set up Marlow for a 20 yard strike but again the keeper came out on top.
Glens won another corner-kick and although McChesney again won the aerial battle the ball was cleared initiating a break upfield by Harkins only for the back-tracking Marlow to steal the ball at the edge of the box with a well-timed sliding tackle.
On 34 minutes Moore clipped a ball up the left wing for Orsi to head on and just as it seemed Ryan Begley would clear the danger the centre half missed his kick completely allowing the ball run free. Off went Orsi to chase down the ball and drive into the box, wary of McMaster now closing in, he curled a cracking shot into the top corner beyond the reach of the advancing keeper.
As the half drew to a close a Glens free-kick floated into the box came to nothing as did the visitors’ first corner kick of the game when Harkin’s glancing header at one post flew wide of the other.
The last goal action of the half when the ball was switched from Alan Cairns on the left to Orsi on the right, via Andrew and Winters, and the midfielder letting the ball take a bounce before rifling an angled shot that whizzed wide of the post.
HT Glens 1 Largs 0
The visitors began the new half in determined fashion and loud claim for a penalty were waved away after Adam’s near post header struck the unraised arm of McChesney. Largs continued to press with Black seeing a lot of the ball on the left flank.
Some respite for Glens as Cairns fired in a cross from the left only for Moore looping header to dip over the bar.
Back came Largs and Craig Menzies and Burns combined to snuff out Black’s half chance. Soon after McKie’s effort from distance zoomed over the bar. On 56 minutes the visitors’ pressure paid off when the ball was switched from right to left by Adam and Harkins to the feet of Ben Black who took a touch before curling an exquisite shot from the edge of the box into the top corner.
The home side responded well and Orsi’s cross into the box was fired over the bar by Moore. Orsi then gathered a pass from Moore, before the midfielder was hacked down by Millar, and with played waved on Orsi picked out Winters in the box only for his shot to whiz inches wide. Millar could count himself fortunate only to receive a yellow card for his late tackle.
Play fell into the pattern of the first half with the pace not relenting as both sides pushed for a winner. On 62 minutes Begley headed clear a Glens corner kick and a minute later Burns pushed away a Largs corner kick from under the bar.
Begley picked up a knock and was replaced by Ross George.
Although endeavour remained high clear-cut chances were low in number. With five minutes to go the home side almost snatched all three points with a wonderful move. Moore fed Orsi on the right to play a one with Andrew in the box before making for the bye-line to whip a ball to the back post for the incoming Frye and his flying header was stopped on the line by Stuart Faulds and then cleared off the line by Martin Orr. Glens finished on the front foot and in the closing minute Farrell pushed away Orsi’s shot from 20 yards to ensure the match ended all square.
FT Glens 1 Largs 1
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC: 1 Craig Burns 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies 5. Ryan McChesney 6. Findlay Frye 7. Dan Orsi 8. Cameron Marlow 9. Davie Winters 10. Joe Andrew 11. Dale Moore Subs. 12. Kit Cummins 14. Craig Potter 15. Craig McEwan
LARGS THISTLE: 1. Daniel Farrell 2. Stuart Faulds 3. Laurie McMaster 4. Martin Orr 5. Ryan Begley 6. Gary Fleming 7. Ryan McKie 8. Mark Millar 9. Scott Adam 10. Paul Harkins 11. Ben Black. Subs 12. Graham Muir 14. Ross George 15. Kevin Struthers 16. Jamie McGowan (gk)