Glenafton 2 Largs 4

Ko 1:00pm
Loch Park, New Cumnock
Glenafton Athletic2 (1)Blyth (12), Bennie (64)
Largs Thistle4 (1)Milliken (25), W.Sewell (66, 71), Faulds (70)

Glenafton had Alan Cairns, Leon Murphy, Jordan Ryan and Scott Sherrie all unavailable for selection while midfielder Dean Hawkshaw returned from holiday to make his first appearance in the pre-season friendly.

Largs Thistle had kindly accepted the short-notice invitation to play at Loch Park following the cancellation of the Glens planned trip for face Dalbeattie Star.

The early encounters settled into a period of end-to-end play without either side fashioning any clear-cut chances.

The visitors began to gain the upper hand in terms of possession and won a free-kick on the right-hand corner of the penalty box. Although the kick was blocked Thistle recovered the ball and Craig Forbes quickly switched play to the left wing for Jack Haggerty to whip a great ball into six-yard box where Ross Fisher headed clear for Glens as Keir Milliken and George Sewell both challenged. Soon after keeper Scott Johnson had to sprint from his line and dive at the feet of the incoming W. Sewelll to strip him of the ball.

Glens countered through Blyth picking up the ball with his back to goal only to be wrestled to the ground by the attentive Forbes. The young striker stepped up to take the free-kick and from 30 yards out lashed a shot beyond the reach of keeper Jamie McGowan at full stretch to bulge the net almost to bursting. Glens 1-0 after 12 minutes.

Largs responded well and enjoyed a decent passage of pressure. Milliken, on the left, clipped a ball into the box which Simon McBryde hooked goalward only for captain Craig Pettigrew to get a head to it and Johnson dive on the loose ball. Another good move ended with Stuart Faulds curling a ball over the bar from 29 yards out. Johnstone had to be alert again and race to the edge of his box to beat McBryde to the ball.

Some respite for Glens after Sean Bennie’s long throw into the box kept Thistle’s defence on their toes and although the ball was cleared at the second attempt it eventually fell for Dean Hawkshaw on the half-way line to float a long ball deep into the box only for Fisher’s knock down for the incoming Cameron Marlow to be cut out by McGowan.

At the other end Milliken broke into the box but his attempt to chip the advancing keeper was foiled by a strong pair of hands. Back came Glens and Marlow’s determined run ended with him slipping a great through ball for Sam McKee to break into the right-hand side of the box to drill a low angled shot that beat the diving keeper on the six-yard line only to slip past the far post.

On 25 minutes Milliken won a free kick 10 yards inside the Glens half. Faulds clipped a great ball into the box for Millken to meet first time on the drop and deftly guide in into the net to draw Largs level.

Chances were then exchanged by both sides. Marlow’s shot from 22 yards out sailed over the bar. Millken’s header from a free-kick into the box was cleanly clutched by Johnson while at other end Iain McKnight’s header from 8 yards bounced just wide. Another menacing ball into the Glens box ended with Fisher outjumping Faulds to head clear.

The visitors enjoyed another sustained spell of pressure only to meet a resolute GlenS defence ably supported with some tenacious tackling by Darren Curtis. Glens did carve out a couple of counter attacks, these too were repelled by a well-disciplined rear guard.

HT Glens 1 Largs 1

The hosts made a couple of changes at half-time with Daniel Sloan replacing Scott Johnson in goal and Ryan McChesney replacing Iain McKnight in the centre of defence. The visitors too made a couple of changes with two trialists 12. and 14. coming on.

Largs were quickly on the front foot and forced a corner on 51 minutes which was played to the back post where Laurie McMaster’s header battered off the post. The visitors continued to press and both Pettigrew and Fisher both sustained knocks.

Bennie and McKee combined well down the right to gallantly try and get Glens further upfield but the visitors stood firm. Back came Largs with a great run by Trialist 12 that ended with a timely tackle by McChesney in the box.

On 57 minutes Glens were forced into a double substitution after both Craig Pettigrew and Ross Fisher failed to recover from their knocks and were replaced with Calum Thomson and manager Mick McCann slotting into a defensive role.

Largs resumed their offensive and Sloan rushed from his line to clatter the incoming W. Sewell on the outskirts of the penalty box. Sewell’s free-kick was deflected over the bar and the ensuing corner kick was partially clearly before Thistle set up another attack that again was repelled with red bodies putting their bodies on the line.

Glens at last breached Thistle’s box through Bennie’s long throw which was won in the air by McChesney only for McGowan to get down low and save the bullet header. Sloan then raced from his line to bravely face the incoming attacker and launch a long ball through the middle that was chased down by Blyth who broke into the box before firing a low shot that the keeper got fingers too but couldn’t hold. McKee fed the loose ball back to Blyth only for his cut back to be booted upfield where Curtis released Sean Bennie down the right and cut inside the box, gave McMaster the slip, and drill a low angled shot into the far corner. Glens back ahead on 64 minutes.

The lead however was short-lived as Largs got into their stride again and scored now fewer goals in a five-minute spell.

It began with a break down the left and the ball played to the far side of the box where Forbes squared to William Sewell to slam home the equaliser home from six yards out on 66 minutes.

Soon after McGowan launched a long ball upfield and Trialist12 made a great run into the box only to skew his close range shot wide of target. He quickly made amends by playing a neat one-two to set up Stuart Faulds to stroke the ball home from 8 yards to put Largs ahead for the first time on 70 minutes.

Glens tried to steady the ship but an attack was broken deep in the Largs half and a great forward diagonal ball gave Trialist12 a free run into box before taking a great touch to set up a shot from the 18 yard line that cracked oof the post to fall for William Sewell to thump the ball off the ground to send it over the head of Sloan and into the net. Largs 4-2 on 71 minutes.

A brief respite for Glens before back came Largs and Sloan pulled off a great save from Milliken’s close-range shot. Soon after Trialist14’s effort from the six yard box dipped over the bar.

Nohar made a break down the right and his effort from outside the box also dipped over the box while at the other end Blair McIntyre’s attempt to lo the advancing Sloan drifted wide of the goal mouth. In the last action McKee’s free kick from distance stung the fingers of McGowan before the handshakes.

FT Glens 2 Largs 4

1. Scott Johnson (19. Daniel Sloan) 2. Sean Bennie 4. Iain McKnight (5. Ryan McChesney) 6. Craig Pettigrew (12. Callum Thomson) 3. Ross Fisher (17. Mick McCann) 10.Cameron Marlow 7. Darren Curtis 8. Dean Hawkshaw 14. Liam Nohar 9. Sam McKee 11. David Blyth
21.Jamie McGowan 2. Craig Forbes 3. Laurie McMaster 4. Cory Hughes 5. George Sewell 6. Stuart Faulds 7.Simon McBryde 8.Blair McIntyre 9. Keir Milliken 10. William Sewell 11. Jack Haggerty Subs: 12. Trialist 14. Trialist 15. Trialist GK Daniel Farrell
Glenafton Athletic v Largs Thistle
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