Glenafton 2 Craigmark 1

South Challenge Cup | 1st Round11/09/2021
KO 2:00pm
Loch Park, New Cumnock
Glenafton Athletic 2 (0)Ryan, McKee
Craigmark Burntonians1 (1)Adam
Ryan Caddis and Mick McCann

Glenafton hosted neighbours Craigmark Burntonians in the 1st round of the South Challenge Cup, a new competition.The home team made a number of changes to the side that defeated Bonnyton last Saturday. Assistant manager Brian McGarrity returned to goal keeping duties for the first time since a serious knee-injury side-lined him two years ago. Ross Fisher returned from injury; Jordan Ryan started up front while young Calum Thomson made his first start for the club in his full debut. Captain Craig Pettigrew picked up an injury, Alan Cairns was unavailable for selection, while keeper Daniel Sloan and Darren Curtis were on the bench.


Craigmark were first to threaten after a slick passing from Grant Kirkwood before Ali Boyle released Darren Smith down the right flank to whip a great ball across the face of goal only for Ollie Rowe to clear for a corner-kick that came to nothing.

Although Glens then enjoyed a good spell of possession, with Calum Thomson making good use of the ball, there were few chances on offer, other than a David Blyth a shot from distance that sailed well over the bar.

Calum Thomson on his full debut

On 15 minutes Leon Murphy slipped a well-weighted forward pass for Sam McKee to chase down and break into the box, forcing keeper Darren Johnson to rush 10 yards from his line and get his finger tips to McKee’s shot to push the ball wide of the post. Blyth’s corner kick was won in the air by Fisher; his header from 12 yards zipped wide of the post.

A minute later Jordan Ryan played a neat one-two with Blyth running into the box to collect the return pass before hitting a low angled shot that the advancing keeper stopped on the six-yard line with his foot and the danger was cleared. Glens continued to press without testing the keeper again.

On 20 minutes Craigmark came close to breaking the deadlock. Ali Boyle played a short one-two from a corner-kick with Jordan Cherrie before picking out Ross McIvor on the six-yard line to back-heel a low ball to the far post and before his team-mate Kevin Adam or keeper McGarrity won the race for the ball it drifted inches wide of the post.

Ross McIvor goes close

Five minutes later the injured Mitchell Ewing was replaced by Darren Boyd who came within a whisker of getting on the end of another dangerous ball into the box, this time from Kevin Adam after being picked out by Boyle.

Although the visitors continued to look lively through Fraser Smith earning a corner kick it was won in the box by Jordan Ryan who pushed forward and curled a pass down the left for Murphy to gather and drive to the edge of the six-yard box before cutting the ball back to Mark Gilmour only for the ball to get stuck under his feet and James Lamont clearing the danger.

Thomson, hemmed in on the right wing played a one-two with Bennie before clipping the ball into the box where Ryan’s header was deflected wide for a corner. Blyth rolled the corner back to Gregor Fotheringham who fired the ball to the far post where Ryan’s header looped over the bar.

Back came Craigmark and fancy footwork from Darren Smith took three Glens players out before he picked out Kyle McCrum and his pass cannoned off the shins of a defender into the path of Adam who drilled his low shot from 18 yards wide of the post.

Mark Gilmour on the ball

On 36 minutes Fisher pushed forward and squared to Fotheringham on the half way line to thread a long diagonal ball upfield for Ryan who held of the challenge of Lamont and forced his way into the box where his low angled shot was well held by the keeper. As play raged back and forth Murphy was brought down on the outskirts of the box after weaving past a handful of players, however Blyth’s free-kick flew over the bar.

On 41 minutes Craigmark broke the deadlock with a wonderfully worked goal beginning in the visitors’ box. Cherrie pushed forward and picked out McCrum in the centre circle who slipped it wide to Fraser Smith on the left touchline. He played it back to Cherrie who immediately played it forward to Sloan on the overlap and in a flash the ball was back with Smith on the wing and after a touch he whipped a vicious ball in the box which although was beyond the reach of Boyd and his marker Fisher, it bounced up for the incoming Kevin Adam to slide in and guide the ball into the far corner of the net.

Glens fought back through Murphy winning a corner kick which was cleared and initiated another ‘Mark lightning quick counter attack down the right that ended with an offside flag. In the last action of the half Bennie’s free-kick floated into the box was punched cleared by keeper Johnson,

Half-time: Glens 0 Craigmark 1

The home side forced an early corner which Blyth rolled back to Fotheringham who curled the ball to back post where it was met by the incoming Bennie only for his effort to end wide of target. Glens continued to press without success as a couple of free-kicks into the box came and went.  At the other end Adam’s header from a long throw looped over the junction of post and crossbar.

On 57 minutes Glens fashioned an equaliser, worthy of similar praise to that of their opponents’ opening goal. McGarrity rolled the ball out to Rowe on the right-hand side of his box who then squared it to Fisher to push forward before pinging a great forward ball to Ryan who laid it off to Thomson to roll a perfectly weighted ball forward into the box for Jordan Ryan to chase down, with a couple of defenders on his heels, and keep his cool to clip it over the outrushing keeper, who although got a hand to the ball couldn’t stop it nestling in the back of the empty net.

Glens quickly won the ball back from the kick-off and Thomson released McKee down the left with another fine pass only for the striker to be stopped in his tracks with a clumsy tackle. Fotheringham fizzed the ball into a crowded box and Johnson did well to push it over the bar with both hands. From the corner-kick, Blyth played a short one-two with Fotheringham before breaking into the box where he was barged to the ground by Cherrie but claims for a penalty were waved away.

David Blyth bundled in the box

The Glens however continued to push for a second and it arrived on 60 minutes. Darren Smith under pressure from McKee was forced to play the ball back to Johnson, well of his line but Ryan had read the pass and was quick off the mark to just beat the keeper to the ball and knock it forward beyond his reach, free for the incoming Sam McKee to slam it into the empty net. The celebration somersault that followed was nearly as good!

With their tails up the home side were in the mood for third chasing down every ball and pushing forward in packs while ‘Mark were clearly rattled. Blyth and Murphy worked their way to the edge of the box to set Blyth up for a shot that was comfortably held by the keeper.

On 64 minutes Craigmark replaced goalscorer Kevin Adam with Ryan Connelly and he was quick to make his mark but not before Thomson curled another perfectly weighted ball upfield for Ryan to get the jump on Lamont and drive into the box before lashing a shot that whizzed past the post.

Connelly then began to show for the visitors and bring them back into the game beginning with a great run down the left before cutting into the box and firing an angled shot that was blocked by Rowe. He then combined with substitute Steven Tan, on for McCrum, to win a free kick on the left that was whipped into the box and clawed away at the back post by McGarrity.

With Craigmark pushing for the equaliser the Glens made a double substitution with Jordan Ryan, and David Blyth departing to well-earned applause to be replaced with Scott Sherrie and Aaron Miller, returning from injury.

McKee broke down the left and clipped the ball into the box and although Murphy’s attempt to volley home never came off, the ball fell for Sherrie to lay it back to Fotheringham only for his shot to be blocked and the ball booted out for a corner.  Sherrie’s kick was cleared and the ball later recovered by Bennie to float it back into the back box where Fisher’s header drifted just wide of the post.  Soon after, Glens brought on Ryan McChesney for Ross Fisher, who left to well-earned applause as well, with a solid 75 minutes under his belt after recovering from a lengthy injury.

The visitors mounted another attack as Boyle picked up a header from Tan to drive forward before feeding Connelly on the left to whip another cross into the box where Tan mis-timed his volley. Soon after Tan picked up a square ball from Connelly and curled a shot from the edge of the box wide of the post. At the other end McChesney’s header from a Bennie long-throw dropped over the bar.

On 79 minutes another marvellous box-to-box move from Craigmark ended with Tan holding off two defenders to roll the ball into the path of Connelly breaking into the left hand side of the box to power a seemingly net-bound shot that evaded Bennie’s attempted block only for Brian McGarrity, who would see it late, to pull off a magnificent save at full stretch to push it wide of the back post. Connelly’s corner found an unmarked Tan at the edge of the box but his lot shot was blocked by McChesney.

At the other end Murphy won a corner kick with a cute deflection off Lamont but the visitors cleared and set up a counter-attack which concluded with Boyle releasing Darren Smith wide on the right to cut inside and drill a low shot that McGarrity got down low to hold as Boyd threatened.

Brian McGarrity saves from Darren Boyd

Back came Glens and McKee skipped past two defenders into the box to blast a low shot that Johnson stopped on the six yard line with an outstretched foot. Play continued to rage back and forth as Glens looked for a killer third and Craigmark searched for an equaliser to take the cup-tie into extra time.

On 93 minutes in the last action of the match Sherrie broke forward and slipped the ball forward to Murphy for a free run into the box only for Kirkwood to make a last ditch tackle.

time up

Full Time Glens 2 Craigmark 1

19. Brian McGarrity 2. Sean Bennie 4. Ollie Rowe 5. Ross Fisher (14. Ryan McChesney) 3. Mark Gilmour 11. David Blyth (12. Aaron Miller) 6. Calum Thomson 8. Gregor Fotheringham 13. Leon Murphy 7. Sam McKee 9. Jordan Ryan (16. Scott Sherrie) Subs Not Used: 1. Scott Johnson (gk), 21. Daniel Sloan (gk), 1. Darren Curtis 20. Mick McCann
1. Darren Johnson 2. Darren Smith 3. Fraser Smith 4. Grant Kirkwood 5. James Lamont 6. Jordan Cherrie 7. Alistair Boyle 8. Kyle McCrum (14. Steven Tan) 9. Kevin Adam (12. Ryan Connelly)  10. Ross McIvor 11. Mitchell Ewing (15. Darren Boyd). Subs. 16. Jamie Newton 17. Steven Hill 18. Ross McKay 19. Lee Binnie
Match Photos
Glenafton Athletic v Craigmark Burntonians

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