Glenafton 3 Kilbirnie 1

Saturday 07 Jan 2023 KO 1:15pm Loch Park, New Cumnock
West of Scotland Football League Cup2nd Round
Glenafton Athletic 3 (2) McMullin, McKee, Kerr
Kilbirnie Ladeside 1 (1)Alexander

Glenafton made one change to the eleven that started against Largs Thistle with Jamie McKernon coming in for Ollie Rowe. In the Largs line-up was former Glens’ striker Chris Dallas a member of the 2016/17 treble squad and who scored 62 goals in 3 ½ seasons at Loch Park. Former Kilmarnock player Shaun Dillon recently returned to the hot seat at Ladeside with Gary Harkins, a League Cup winner with Killie, joining his coaching staff.

Striker James Marks kicked off for Kilbirnie as the first-footers at Loch Park at 2023. However, it was Glens that were first to threaten on 2 minutes through a low angled shot from Adam Caldwell on the right-hand side of the box that keeper Joe Wilton held comfortably.

At the other end Marks broke into the right-hand side of the box only for Slick’s shot to slip inches wide of the far post.

Play then got bogged down for a period and it was Marks on 15 minutes that had another pop at goal from inside the box after picking up a pass from Nathan Wade but this time he his shot flew high and wide of the target. Nevertheless, it sparked a good spell of pressure from the visitors.  Andy Duffy on the right clipped a high ball to the back post where Dean Currie got the better of Marks in the aerial battle to head clear. Ladeside recovered the ball and won back-to-back corners, the second of which keeper David Markey punched clear from the head of Marks. A long throw from the right was chested down by Dallas in a packed box but Jamie McKernon pounced to clear the danger.

Midway through the half Glens came out on top in a midfield battle to win control of the ball which was then released to Mick McMullin on the left to curl a ball into the box where Hugh Kerr bustled his way between two defenders only for his header from 10 yards out to loop high over the bar.

Back came Kilbirnie and Marks won a corner that was floated to the far side of the six-yard box where centre back Jack Wilson guided a strong header to the near post which was gratefully grabbed by both hands of Markey. The keeper quickly threw the ball to McMullin on the outskirts of his box which sparked of a slick flowing move with Sam McKee and Leon Murphy combining to pick out Kerr in the box and although he was stripped off the ball the Glens quickly retrieved it and there was now a real sense of urgency in their play with a wave of attacks.

On 28 minutes Calvin Kemp burst down the right wing and from the corner clipped a perfectly weighted ball to the far corner of the six-yard box for the incoming Kerr and McMullin and it was the latter that leapt above Duffy only for his header to lack power and direction to trouble the keeper who held it safely. Clearly annoyed with himself, McMullin soon took matters into his own hands as the Glens continued to press. He gathered a clearance from Markey deep in the Ladeside half and soon Kerr was by his side with two defenders for company. It seemed he would surely slip the ball into the box for Kerr to chase, but no ….. instead from 22 yards out he swung a left foot sending a ferocious 4-iron of a shot through the gap between attacker and defender and beyond the reach of the keeper, four yards off his line, and into the corner of the net. The celebrations equally glorious as Glens take the lead on 30 minutes.

Two minutes later however, Ladeside were back level with Marks the architect bursting through the middle holding off Currie as he entered the box then firing a ferocious shot as Pettigrew closed-in that whizzed past the advancing Markey only for the ball to thunder off the base of the post and rebounding at an acute and at speed out past the aforementioned four protagonists and to fall Mark Alexander to strike the ball sweetly into the gaping net from 6 yards out. The celebrations were equally sweet, match all square on 32 minutes.

Tails up, Kilbirnie launched a high ball upfield for Marks only for Pettigrew to intercept and guide a powerful to release Kemp down the right held and although he was stripped off the ball at the corner flag the momentum had switched back to the Glens with Paul Paton and McKernon breaking down counter-attacks in the middle of the park. McKee gathered the ball and picked out Kerr in the ‘D’ who slipped it wide to McMullin on the left to whip it high the far side of the six-yard box where Kemp met it on the drop sending an overhead kick back to Kerr at the edge of the box to lash a shot that whizzed over the bar.

Some respite for the visitors when Dallas wide on the left rolled the ball back to Alexander to whip a ball to the edge of the box where Dean Scott’s overhead kick had Markey scurrying along his line and happy to see the ball slip inches wide of the post.

Markey launched a high ball down the left for McMullin only for the leaping Duffy to climb all over him and concede a free kick about 30 yards from goal.  Both sides lined up 5 players along the 18-yard line and as Paton floated the ball to the far side of the six- yard, Kemp was first to peel off the line and square the ball past the keeper along the face of the goal where Sam McKee got the jump on a handful of defenders to knock the ball over the line from a yard out with Ross McKenzie in close attendance.  3 goals in 7 minutes, to put the Glens 2-1 up on 37 minutes.

Play then raged back and forward with each side coming close to adding to their tally. On 43 minutes McKee from wide on the right clipped a ball high into the six-yard box where Kerr leapt between two defenders sending a glancing header towards the back post to fall kindly for McMullin and looked certain to score from 2 yards out only to send it wide of the other post.

At the other end, on the stroke of half-time, Scott pounced on a loose pass and found himself on the 18-yard line with only keeper to beat but with Murphy and Pettigrew closing in fast, he chose to cut inside and then curl the ball past Pettigrew in an attempt sneak the ball in at the post, only for Markey to see it late and push it wide and although Marks recovered the loose ball the chance was gone.

HT Glens 2 Kilbirnie 1

Kilbirnie won an early corner on the left which was headed clear and the ball for McKenzie on the right to clip back into the box setting up Wilson for a shot that was held at the near post by Markey.

Glens then enjoyed a spell of pressure with Kerr, Kemp & McKee all breaking into the box albeit without testing the keeper other than another Kerr run which ended in a collision with the keeper racing to the edge of the box to bravely grab the ball.

On 54 minutes Ladeside came within a whisker of drawing level. Dallas gathered the ball just inside the ‘D’ and held off two defenders before squaring it to Scott on the right hand side of the box to drill a low shot through a ruck of players and beyond the reach Markey’s dive, only for the ball to sneak wide of the post.

Back came Glens with McKee driving to the bye-line cutting the ball back into the six-yard box but just the wrong-side of the incoming Kerr. The home side kept pressing and won a corner on the right which was played short but well defended by the visitors.

The skies darkened the and rains fell on Loch Park!

On 62 minutes Ladeside brought on Owen McGinty for Dean Scott and he was soon in the thick of it down the right laying the ball off to Liam Harris only for his cross to be blocked by McKernon and out for a corner which ended with Currie getting the better of both Marks & Dallas to head the ball clear.

Played raged back and forth and a rainbow to the north made a brief appearance at the Glens goal but there was to be no pot of gold for Ladeside, as the home defence stood firm.  Indeed, it was the Glens on 70 minutes that came close to doubling their lead.  McMullin broke down the left into Ladeside’s half and clipped the ball forward to Kerr who then cut inside two defenders taking him to the far side of the penalty box from where he squared the ball to the inrushing Paton to fire a shot from 10 yards only for Wilton to get down low and pushed the ball away with both hands before Wilson booted the ball out for a corner. McKernon’s kick initiated a scramble deep in the box, followed by another soon after before Ladeside finally cleared their lines. 

On 74 minutes Ladeside brought on Connor Hamilton for James Marks, with Dallas now moving in from the left to the take up the centre-forward role. However, the task got doubly difficult for the visitors and 20 seconds later Hugh Kerr broke into the box and held off the Trialist to advance to the corner of the six-yard box and stroke the ball past the advancing goalie and into the far corner of the net. Glens 3-1 up with 15 minutes to play.

However, a minute later Kilbirnie passed up a good chance of halving the deficit. McGinty’s free kick from 22 yards bounced back off the Glens wall and the ball was scrambled clear of the box only to fall for McGinty who lofted a high ball back into the box where Hamilton’s glancing header deflected off Pettigrew and fell into the path of Dallas but with only the keeper to beat, he skewed his shot wide of the post.

Ladeside made another change with Liam Harris making way for Corey Pearson.

Kerr, from just inside in his own half, released Kemp to burst down the right where he shook off the chasing Alexander before progressing into the box and cutting the ball back for Paton only for his close range to be deflected wide for a corner kick that was quickly cleared.

On 85 minutes Craig Pettigrew pulled up with an injury and was replaced with Ollie Rowe and at same time Sam McKee made way for Cameron McKenzie.

Play went back and forth the closing minutes with few clear cut chances on show other than McGinty’s cross that flashed a cross he the face of the Glens goal and was deflected wide for a corner kick that came to nothing.

FT Glens 3 Kilbirnie 1

1. David Markey 2. Adam Caldwell 4. Craig Pettigrew (capt.) (Ollie Rowe) 20. Dean Currie 3. Leon Murphy 10. Calvin Kemp 6. Jamie McKernon 8. Paul Paton 35. Mick McMullin 9. Hugh Kerr 11. Sam McKee (Cameron McKenzie).
77. Joe Wilton 2. Andy Duffy 3. Mark Alexander 4. Jack Wilson 5. Trialist 6. Liam Harris 7. Dean Scott 8. Nathan Wade 9. James Marks 10. Ross McKenzie 11. Chris Dallas. Subs: 52. Graham Black 12. Andrew Lavelle 14. Corey Pearson 15. Owen McGinty 16. Connor Hamilton
More Match Photos
Glenafton Athletic v Kilbirnie Ladeside
This entry was posted in GAFC Match Report and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.