Glenafton Athletic 3 Kello Rovers 1

KO 1:00PM
Loch Park, New Cumnock
Glenafton Athletic 3 (1)McKee (2), Pettigrew (72), McIlroy (88)
Kello Rovers1 (1)Armour (45)

Football and Fans Return to Loch Park

It was September last year when Glens last played at Loch Park, in a friendly against Muirkirk behind closed doors in accordance with the COVID-19 restrictions of the time.

It was March 2019 when Glens last played at Loch Park with supporters in attendance, at a league match against Largs Thislte, before the league closed down for the season in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions of that time.

Today we are delighted to welcome our neighbours Kello Rovers and supporters of both sides to Loch Park, under the COVID restrictions of today.

The Glens under the new managment team of Mick McCann and Brian McGarrity had to rebuiId a team having closed down and released all their players at the beginning of last season. Several, thankfully, agreed to return while a number of new faces have also been signed up. Rovers opted to play last season looking to continue to build on great progress made the season before, only for the league to close down.

The sun was shining tempered by a cold wind (yes football’s back) and both sides with a sprinkling of trialists on show served up an entertaining match.

Glens opened the scoring after two minutes with a well-worked goal. The ball was switched from Darren Curtis on the right via Cameron Marlow to Mark Gilmour and then onto Alan Cairns wide on the left. He curled a low ball towards the penalty spot, taking 3 defenders out of play, for Sam McKee to pounce and beat a fourth defender to the ball before slotting it home from 10 yards past the advancing goalie Ryan Dunsmuir.

Rovers recovered from the early set back and menacing runs from Mark Armour kept the Glens back-four on their toes. From a short corner the striker weaved into the box and although he temporarily lost the ball, he won it back forcing Iain McKnight to concede another corner. This one was floated into the heart of the box and headed clear by Ross Fisher but again it was Armour that retrieved the ball to drive into the box, only to be dispossessed by Craig Pettigrew.

The midfield battles were intensifying as both sides tried to build attacks. Cairns and Gilmour combined well down the left with the latter earning a corner. Leon Murphy’s kick was flicked on by from Glens keeper Dunsmuir, who then gathered Pettigrew’s attempt to guide the loose ball home. Up the other end and an excellent run through the middle by Aiden Lang ended with him slipping the ball to Armour to break into the right- hand side of the box only for keeper Scott Thomson to narrow the angle and force the striker to send his low shot wide of the far post.

Back came Glens and David Blyth’s perseverance won the tussle with Andrew Struthers to release the ball to Marlow to thump a shot from 25 yards that whizzed passed Dunsmuir at full stretch and inches wide of the post. Soon after Thomas Shirkie’s free kick from the same sort of distance beat the Glens wall but sailed high over the bar.

On 15 minutes a patient build-up from Glens ended with McKnight in the centre circle slipping a through ball for Blyth to chase down and crack a low shot from the 18-yard line only for the outrushing Dunsmuir to block it with an outstretched leg. Fisher and Murphy then combined well down the right to pick out McKee on the edge of the box to flash a shot from a tight angle that bulged the side netting.

Kello won another free-kick just outside the box and although Armour curled it wide of the wall the ball fell comfortably into the hands of the keeper. Up the park and Blyth drilled a daisy-cutter from 22 yards out which Dunsmuir got down quick to smother. Some excellent defending with McKnight robbing Armour of the ball deep in Glens’ box to set up a break upfield that ended with Struthers perfectly timing his tackle to nick the ball from the feet of Blyth as he burst into the box. Back came Kello and Johnson eluded a pocket of Glens defenders to set up a shot that flew well over the bar.

On 37 minutes Murphy curled a corner-kick to the back corner of the six-yard box for McKnight to bullet a header that Dunsmuir dived to hold at the near post. Fisher and Murphy combined down the right before feeding McKee tight on the touchline to whip the ball into the goalmouth only for it to find the top of the net. Cairns and Gilmour then followed suit combining down the left before picking out Blyth in the box only for Smith and Dunsmuir to block his attempt at goal.

On the stroke of half-time Kello drew level through a fantastic strike. A corner kick was headed clear at the near post by Marlow and the loose ball pounced on by Lang to take a touch before squaring it for Lori Johnson to casually clip it into the box where Mark Armour, with his back to goal, turned and lashed home an unstoppable shot from 17 yards out.

HT Glens 1 Kello 1

Glens made two changes at half-time with keeper Daniel Sloan replacing Scott Johnson while Mark Gilmour made way for Jordan Ryan.

The tall striker was soon in the thick of the action gathering a slide-rule pass from Fisher and slipping the ball into the path of Blyth to run into the box and drill a low angled shot that Dunsmuir got down low to push it away. Ryan chased down the loose ball his claims he was impeded by Declan Hill before he collided with the unfortunate Struthers and the ball booted upfield.  Play raged on Curtis threaded a great through ball for McKee to thunder a shot from 25 yards which Dunsmuir blocked with his feet, while his team-mate Struthers was still lying injured on the corner of the six yard box. It was Ryan that snapped up the loose ball again and as Blyth burst into the box for the cut-back his claims that Hill pulled him back were also waved away and Ryan’s squared ball was blocked by Dunsmuir. As Kello tried to clear their lines common sense prevailed and play was stopped to attend to Struthers while players from both sides saw the funny side.

No laughing matter when Pettigrew’s attempt to clear the ball from the box cannoned off team-mate McKnight and headed goalward but Sloan was alert to get down and clutch the ball cleanly.

Glens enjoyed a good period of possession in the Rovers half without creating any clear-cut chances against a hard-working defence.

Play then entered a period of the end to end variety. Dunsmuir launched a goal-kick upfield and after some good build up play Lang forced his way to the bye-line but his cut-back to Armour caught the striker wrong-footed and the chance was gone. Back came Glens and McKee and won a corner-kick that was well defended while Rovers responded through a Liam Fleming header that Sloan punched away as Lang closed in. David Thomson, from within a ruck of defenders in the box, cracked a low powerful shot that had Sloan diving at full stretch only for it to sneak wide of the post. At the other end Fisher won a corner and then was in place to clip into the six-yard box where Dunsmuir punched it clear from the head of Ryan.

The Kello goal survived a scare when McKnight’s header from a corner-kick looped over the head of Dunsmuir and bounced along the goal line with two defenders frozen to their respective posts. McKee then clipped it back into the danger area only for it to be cleared.

Midway through the half Glens brought on striker Sean McIlroy for David Blyth as the home side continued to threaten. A corner kick was cleared up field and the ball recovered by McKee to thunder a shot from 25 yards out that Dunsmuir pushed away with both hands. Soon after Ryan on the bye line cut the ball back to Marlow to drill a low angled shot that was deflected wide of the far post. Murphy’s corner kick eventually fell for McKee in a crowded box to curl a powerful shot from 8 yards out that somehow Dunsmuir, having seen it late, managed to get down to push the ball away only for Craig Pettigrew to leather it home from the corner of the six yard box and put the Glens ahead on 72 minutes. Glens continued to press and another couple of corner-kicks were cleared by the Rovers rear guard.

On 78 minutes Glens brought on fresh legs with Ross Fisher and Darren Curtis making way for Scott Sherrie and Calum Thomson and both made a quick impression. Young Thomson combined down the right wing with Ryan and with a bit of trickery took two Rovers out of play to break into the box and slip the ball to Sherrie only be denied a shot by a third defender.

Although Rovers were still in the game the Glens were creating the better of the chances and turned up the pressure in the closing five minutes with a couple of corner kicks and close-range shots that Dunsmuir dealt with admirably. However, with two minutes to go McKee gathered the ball, some 30 yards out and wide on the left, before launching a ball deep into the six yard box where Sherrie trapped it brilliantly before slipping the ball through Dunsmuir legs only for it to nestle at the back post but Sean McIlroy got the jump on the defender to clip it over the line.

Glens continued to push and McKee’s shot from 18 yards was deflected over the bar for a corner which was duly cleared. In the last action Dunsmuir stretched out an arm to cut out McIroy’s cut-back across the face of the goalmouth.

1. Scott Johnson ; 5. Ross Fisher 3. Iain McKnight 6. Craig Pettigrew 17. Alan Cairns; 15. Leon Murphy 8. Cameron Marlow 9. Darren Curtis 14. Mark Gilmour; 11. David Blyth, 10. Sam McKee Subs. 2. Jordan Ryan 7. Scott Sherrie 8. Sean McIlroy, 12. Calum Thomson, 19. Daniel Sloan (gk)
1. Ryan Dunsmuir 3. Kieran Pagan 4. Lori Johnson 5. Andrew Struthers 6. Aiden Lang 7. Evan Crombie 9. Mark Armour 10. Liam Fleming 11. Declan Hill 12. Steven Parker 16. Alistair Smith 17. Michael Kane 18. Thomas Shirkie ) 19. David Thomson
Match Photographs
More Photos Here
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