Glenafton 2 Glasgow Perthshire 0

  • Evening Times League Champions Cup
  • Final
  • New TintoPark, Benburb
  • Saturday 10th Jue 2017
  • GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (1)
    • David Gray, Cameron Marlow,
  • GLASGOW PERTHSHIRE 0 (0)

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Premier Division champions Glenafton travelled to New Tinto Park, home of Benburb Juniors to face Central 2nd Division Champions Glasgow Perthshire in the final of the Evening Times League Champions Cup. The two sides last met in the West of Scotland Cup final  in 2012/13 where a Gareth ‘Bo’ Campbell goal three minutes from time forced a penalty shoot-out. It was Bo, a substitute for Craig McEwan – now the Glens boss, that stepped up to strike home the decisive spot-kick to take the cup to New Cumnock.

Glenafton got off to a great start in their quest to complete the ‘treble’ with an opening goal within 3 minutes. Perthshire’s Ryan Gemmell tripped Cammy Marlow at the edge of the box and up stepped David Gray to clip the ball over the defensive wall and dip into the net beyond the reach of keeper Chris Calder – reminiscent of first competitive goal for the Glens, scored on this ground in a 5-1 win over hosts Benburb.

On 11 minutes Kyle McAusland on the overlap down the right was fouled before he reached the dead-ball line. Instead of chipping the free-kick into the box Gray rolled the ball back to the outskirts of the “D” where it was met first time by Marlow to drill a low hard shot that whizzed wide of the post. Two minutes later a bloody-nosed Dan Orsi tried his luck from 30 yards out to pull off a decent save from Calder; before temporarily leaving the field of play to change his blood-stained short.

Shire began to make an impact on the game with some eye-catching silky runs through the middle by midfielder Scott Forrester. On 15 minutes keeper Blair Lochhead had to be alert to clutch a free-kick from under his bar as target man David Kirkwood waited to pounce.

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Blair Lochhead and David Kirkwood

Glens pressed down both flanks through Orsi on the right and Ryan Borris on the left and although Andrew and John Carter were getting a lot of service clear-cut chances were thin on the ground as the Shire defence closed them down.

Fraser Malcolm’s foray forward on 20 minutes was halted on the D of the box by a timely tackle from captain Craig Menzies. Back came Malcolm with another break down the left before bursting into the box and squaring the ball for Forrester in the six yard box only for Alan Cairns to nick the ball from his toes and clear the danger.

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Joe Andrew

Play was now ebbing from end to end with Glens responding through a speculative dipping shot from 30 yards out from Andrew that was well held by Calder. At the other end Kirkwood’s near post header from a corner-kick was blocked and cleared by McAusland. Neat build up play between Forrester and Craig Smith set up the striker with a low angled shot from deep in the box that Lochhead smothered at the near post. On 29 minutes Smith broke through the middle before cracking a powerful shot from 22 yards out that screamed over the bar. The Glasgow side kept up the pressure with a corner-kick which saw Logan McIntyre’s shot blocked by McAusland and Forrester’s attempt to bury the rebound blocked by Orsi.

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Fraser Malcolm with Chris Meikle closing in

Glens countered with shots from Orsi and then Andrew, the former dipping over the bar and the latter saved by the keeper. On 39 minutes Andrew forced his way deep into the box to flash a ball across the face of goal past the keeper at his near post but just beyond the reach of Carter. A minute later Borris, after twisting and turning down the left, unleashed a fierce dipping shot that Calder kept is eye and clutched cleanly with both hands. Back upfield and the nippy Forrester threatened again only to be eventually undone deep in the box by the combined efforts of Cairns and Lochhead. Two minutes from the break Orsi and Andrew played a slick one-two at pace to release Orsi in the box only for his low drive from 15 yards to be stopped and then held by the diving Calder.  An entertaining half ended with a Shire corner-kick being mopped up by the Glens defence.

H/T Glens 1 Shire 0

The first chance of the second half fell to Shire’s Jordan Currie-McLean but under pressure from Cairns his shot drifted well wide of target.  At the other end Marlow slipped the ball to Andrew who worked his way into the box before his shot from a close range took a deflection of a defender to sail over the bar. The resulting corner-kick was only partially cleared and quickly followed by another that came to nothing.

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Ryan Borris gives Ryan Gemmell the slip

On 57 minutes Lochhead was forced to rush out of the penalty box to beat Forrester to the ball only for it to allude them both and Menzies to chase it down deep in the box as Forrester closed in.

Although the tempo of the game had dropped it was still very much in the balance as both sides realised the next goal would be crucial in deciding the outcome. Calder was called into action and dealt comfortably with a Gray free-kick and a Borris shot from the edge of the box. While at the other end Malcolm’s chip into the six yard box was met by the head of Forrester only for the ball to dip over the bar. On 69 minutes the Glens came within a whisker of doubling their lead after fine play down the right by McAusland ended with an inch perfect cross for Andrew who although he met it sweetly first time at the corner of the six yard box the shot flashed wide of target.

In an instant the ball was launched upfield and gathered by Menzies who set off on a characteristic lung-bursting up the right flank and just as it seemed he been stripped off the ball by  Mark Thompson he recovered the ball to drive into the six yard box before cutting it back for the incoming Cameron Marlow to slot home on 70 minutes.

The Glens freshened up the side with Chris Dallas coming on for Ryan Borris and Mick McCann replacing the injured and man-of-the-match Craig Menzies.

The New Cumnock side pushed for a third and Orsi shot from 15 yards was well blocked by Calder and although Andrew slammed home the rebound, it was from an offside position.

At the other end Forrester picked out Smith in the box but despite their best efforts the Shire couldn’t get the better of a squad of blue shirts defending manfully. Lochhead then pushed a shot from distance over the bar and Kirkwood couldn’t properly connect with the resulting corner-kick, his header drifting wide of target.

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Chris Calder saves from Chris Dallas

Back came Glens and Dallas released Carter to run into the box only for a timely tackle from McIntyre preventing the striker from shooting for goal. In the final minute of the game Dallas broke free into the Shire half and from there into the right hand side of the box before drilling a low angled shot that Calder got down to low to push away. The loose ball was snapped up by Andrew on the left hand side of the box and squared back across the face of goal for Dallas only for his second bite at the cherry to be deflected wide off a defender and the final whistle went before anything could become of the corner-kick.

So concluded a quite remarkable season for Glenafton Athletic the magnificent Evening Times trophy on its way to New Cumnock to join the West Region Super Premier League trophy and th Scottish Junior Cup to complete a fantastic treble.

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Goalscorers Cammy & Davie with Mn-of-the-Match Zee in the middle

FT Glenafton Athletic 2 Glasgow Perthshire 0

Glenafton Athletic: 1. Blair Lochhead 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies (14. Mick McCann) 5. Chris Meikle 6. Cameron Marlow 7. Dan Orsi 8. David Gray 9. John Carter 10. Joe Andrew 11. Ryan Borris (12. Dallas)

Glasgow Perthshire: 1 Chris Calder 2 Logan McIntyre 3 Bryan McLaughlin 4 Mark Thompson 5 David Kirkwood 6 Scott Forrester 7 Jordan Currie-McLean 8 Craig Munro 9 Craig Smith 10 Ryan Gemmell 11 Fraser Malcolm Subs: Gordon Brown, Andrew Gibson, Stewart Brodie Mark McDonnell

More photos here

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Glenafton 3 Girvan 1

  • Evening Times League Champions Cup
  • Semi-final
  • Loch Park, New Cumnock
  • Wednesday 7th Jue 2017
  • GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 (1)
    • John Carter, Cameron Marlow, David Gray
  • GIRVAN 1 (0)
    • Robert Patterson

Super League Premier Division champions Glenafton hosted Super League 1st Division champions Girvan in the semi-final of the Evening Times League Champions Cup. The Glens formed a guard of honour to applaud Girvan on to the pitch and in a move that Robbie Shepherd of “Tak the Floor” fame would have appreciated the visitors reciprocated and formed a guard of honour for their hosts.

 

Both sets of players then received their champions medals in turn before posing for team photographs with their respective league trophies; the Glens also displaying the Scottish Junior Cup for good measure.

There were plenty of chances on show in an entertaining first half but the finishing generally lacked the bite of the cloud of man-eating midgies that descended on the Loch Park to munch on players and supporters of both persuasions in equal measure.

Girvan’s early chances fell to Andy Stevenson (his goal had knocked the Glens out of the Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup at Girvan) and Robert Patterson – their respective header just off target. At the other end Ryan McChesney met a corner kick sweetly only for his volley to slip wide of the post and soon after keeper Scott Johnstone rushed from his line to foil Conor Lynass’s run into the box.

Chances continued to come and go at either end with Stevenson & Patterson going close for Girvan with John Carter & Cameron Marlow replying likewise for the Glens.

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Glenafton enjoyed a sustained period of pressure beginning on 28 minutes with a scramble in the box and the ball falling for Lynass only for Johnstone to narrow the angle to force the midfielder to drill his shot inches wide of the back post. The keeper then got two strong hands to push away a thumping free-kick from David Gray. Ten minutes before the break Marlow took out the Girvan defence with a superb pass into the box for Joe Andrew who quickly fired a low-angled shot that slipped beyond the advancing keeper but again the ball finished just wide of the post.

A minute later the home side were almost caught out with a self-inflicted sucker punch. Chris Meikle’s pass-back header caught Blair Lochhead well off his line leaving the keeper to chase after the ball heading to the gaping net and although the ball won the race it also hit the post and bounced back into the hands of the relieved goalie.

 

Back up the field and finally a breakthrough borne out of John Carter’s determination. The striker played a one-two with Lynass on the outskirts of the box before firing a shot from just inside the box that was blocked by the outstretched leg a defender. Unperturbed Carter chased down the loose ball and as he fell to the ground managed to fire a shot between two defenders and beyond the keeper rooted to the spot and into the net. Glens 1-0 on 37 minutes.

Glens pressed for a second, winning three corner-kicks in a row before the last chance fell for the tireless Ryan Borris only for his shot from 20 yards to dip over the bar.

H/T Glens 1 Girvan 0

The home side picked up where they had left off at the start of the second half firmly on the front foot. A couple of corner-kicks were cleared and efforts from Borris and Carter kept the keeper on his toes.

 

Girvan gradually worked their way back into the game to draw level on 63 minutes after a deadly break up the right that ended with Robert Patterson being picked out in space at the back post where he kept his cool to guide the ball beyond Lochhead’s valiant attempt to block it with an outstretched leg.

Two minutes later the visitors brought on the fresh legs of the former Glenafton striker Michael Reilly for Andy Stevenson and the visitors now had a spring in their step and, like the midgies, tasted blood.  On 67 minutes a corner kick played to the near post was met by the leaping Patterson to flash a powerful header that seemed destined for the goal only for Lochhead to powerfully punch the ball to safety.

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John Carter on the move

Another change for Girvan with 10 minutes to go saw Marc Cameron replace David Jardine as both sides chased for the goal that would preclude the dreaded penalty shoot-out and another twenty minutes of midgie torture (yes, they were that bad!). The substitute almost made an immediate impact as he picked out Jack McDowall in a packed box who quickly turned to blasted the ball from 6 yards out only for Lochhead, his view blocked by a defender, to pull off a magnificent save and push the ball wide for a corner kick.

Play was then halted for some time after a Girvan players had noticed that Conor Lynass was in some distress and the Glens midfielder was stretchered off and replaced by Dan Orsi.

Play resumed and the Glens defended the Girvan corner-kick with Kyle McAusland and Borris breaking upfield on the counter-attack which although was eventually cleared up, it heralded a determined final push by the home side which was rewarded on 88 minutes. The ball fell for Orsi on the outskirts of the box and trapped within a pocket of defenders he slipped the ball to Cameron Marlow who lashed a shot from 22 yards out that caught Johnstone rooted to his goal-line with a perfect view to watch the ball crash off the post into the net.

Girvan had little left to give as the Glens continued to push forward in waves and scored again as the game entered time added-on. Carter chased down a seemingly lost cause to win a corner-kick which was floated into the box by Gray and met by Carter only for his header to be blocked by the raised arm of the unfortunate Scott Dinwoodie. Up stepped David Gray to bulge the net from 12 yards out and send the Glens on their way to the Evening Times League Champions Cup final and a possible treble – suddenly the midgies didn’t seem that bad!

F/T Glens 3 Girvan 1

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC: 1. Blair Lochhead 2. Kyle McAusland 3.Alan Cairns 4. Chris Meikle, 5. Ryan McChesney 6. Cameron Marlow 7. Ryan Borris 8. David Gray 9. John Carter 10. Joe Andrew 11. Conor Lynass (15. Dan Orsi). Subs not used: 12. Chris Dallas 14. Mick McCann 17. Brian McGarrity (g/k)

GIRVAN: 1. Scott Johnstone 2. Craig Reid 3. Mark Doolan 4. Steven McCreadie 5. John Frame 6. Scott Dinwoodie 7. James Hilton 8. Jack McDowall 9. Andy Stevenson (16. Michael Reilly), 10. Robert Patterson 11. David Jardine (14. Marc Cameron) Subs not used: 12. Stephen Auld, 15. Sean Robertson

More photos here

Footnote: Happy to reprort that Conor’s injury although a sore one was not as bad as first feared. Here’s to a speedy recovery

 

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Auchinleck 1 Glenafton 2

  • Scottish Junior Cup
  • Final
  • Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
  • Sunday 4th June 2017
  • AUCHINLECK TALBOT 1 (1)
    • Keir Milliken
  • GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (1)
    • Cameron Marlow, Alan Cairns

GLENAFTON GANG FIGHTBACK TO SETTLE OLD SCORES

Auchinlek Talbot 1 Glenafton Athletic 2

Glenafton came into their sixth Scottish Junior Cup final some 24 years after their only previous triumph in the competition against Tayport from Fife. The New Cumnock side is often reminded that they lost all other four finals to Ayrshire sides including to Auchinleck 25 years ago and more recently, three seasons ago, against Hurlford here at Rugby Park. To add to the omens their only other two Scottish Junior Cup appearances at Rugby Park, in the semi-final, had also ended in defeat. Today at Rugby Park those monkeys were removed from their backs in emphatic fashion with the defeat of not only an Ayrshire side, but the defeat of Auchinleck Talbot a side that’s name is synonymous with the Scottish Junior Cup going for their 12th ‘gold star’.

Prior to kick-off a minute’s silence was observed through the stadium as mark of respect for the victims of the terrorist attack in London on Saturday 3rd June. Five minutes after kick-off both sets of supporters joined in a minute’s applause in memory of former Talbot and Glens player Sam McCulloch; the 57-year-old New Cumnock man having passed away in January this year.

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The early encounters saw Talbot enjoy the better start before the Glens began to get a foothold on the game and win several free-kicks on the outskirts of the box which where comfortably dealt with keeper Andy Leishman. However, the Afton head of steam was extinguished on 17 minutes after a classic Auchinleck counter-attack.  Stevie Wilson picked up the ball deep in his own half and burst upfield with the Glens defence back-tracking before him while supported with a team-mate to his left and right.  When the wall of red shirts stood firm he gave them the slip to the right hand side of the box and then slip a perfectly weighted ball for Keir Milliken to drill a low angled shot and beat Brian McGarrity as his near post; the first goal the keeper has conceded in the competition since the 2nd round.

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Soon after Dwayne Hyslop passed up a decent chance to double the holders’ lead only to head well wide a Bryan Young pin-point cross from close range. The Glens regrouped and began to press for the equaliser without however fashioning a clear attempt at goal. Midway through the half the New Cumnock side were almost caught on the break again after Martin McGoldrick launched the ball upfield from the corner of the Talbot box for Graham Wilson to chase down in the Glens box only for captain Craig Menzies and Ryan McChesney to pair up and clear the danger.

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Dan Orsi fends off Willie Lyle

 

Back came Glens and on this occasion McGoldrick got a clear view of Chris Dallas’s clean pair of heels as the striker collected a through ball before hitting a cracking first time shot from the edge the box which Leishman did well to cleanly catch.  Meanwhile Young countered with a shot at the other end that sailed high over McGarrity’s bar.

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Chris Dallas sets up a shot

 

 

An old fashioned stramash in the centre-circle ended with Darren McGill emerging with the ball to drive into the Talbot half where White and Young’s attempt to recover the ball was undone by an alert Dan Orsi who quickly forced his way up the right-wing. With time on his side and Dallas screaming for the ball at the near-side corner the midfielder elected instead to float an exquisite cross to the far side of box where it was met by Cameron Marlow’s late run and equally exquisite touch from 8 yards out to guide it beyond the outstretched hand of the keeper. The match all square on 28 minutes.

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Keeper Andy Leishman looks on as Cameron Marlow (out of shot) scores

The game continued to be played at a frantic pace and ebbing back on forth on the sun-drenched Rugby Park pitch with a few clear-cut chances on show. The best for Talbot’s was Wilson’s long range shot that whizzed past the post with McGarrity at full stretch. While for the Glens, a long throw into the six yard box ended with Dallas’s shot deflected wide for a corner-kick which was delivered by McGill, met by Marlow and his drive well saved by Leishman.

H/T Auchinleck 1 Glenafton 1

Glenafton kicked off second half and early on forced back-to-back corner kicks that were cleared. At the other end Young chipped a free kick into the six-yard box that was punched clear by McGarrity, soon after the keeper then foiled Graham Wilson’s attempt to convert Milliken’s cross into the near post.

Ryan McChesney & Dwayne Hyslop

Ryan McChesney and Dwyane Hyslop (Photo courtesy of John B. Vass)

The Glens were patiently building attacks from the back with Kyle McAusland and Orsi on the right flank in particular seeing a lot of the ball while the Talbot preferred the more direct route trying to pick out their mobile forwards.

On 55 minutes Glenafton won the first of three corner-kicks in quick succession the third one concluding with McGill’s shot from outside the box drifting wide of the post. Talbot countered through a low angled drive by Milliken which McGarrity did well to get down and hold on his line. The keeper and his captain then survived a scare after Graham Wilson failed to capitalise on their misunderstanding in the box and a golden chance to restore Talbot’s lead was lost.

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Mick McCann challenges Steven White

Mick McCann and Dallas combined to keep the Talbot defence on their toes as the Glens continued to press. Another corner-kick midway through the half ended with McCann’s glancing header flying wide of target.  The former Talbot striker made way for Joe Andrew on 68 minutes and five minutes later Conor Lynass replaced Darren McGill; the fresh legs quickly helping to ensure that Glenafton maintained their momentum in controlling the game.

Dallas and Andrew combined well on the right before the latter chipped the ball over the top of the Talbot defence for Marlow and Dallas’s runs into the box only for Ross Harvey to break down the attack and launch the ball upfield where it was quickly snapped up by Ally Park. In acres of space the former Talbot midfielder quickly switched play to the left with a perfectly weighted square pass to Alan Cairns now breaking forward at speed with Lynass available to collect the ball wider to his left. However, the defender took one touch and then launched an unstoppable left foot shot from 30 yards out that screamed over the airborne Leishman at full stretch and into the far corner of the net.

The winning goal

Alan Cairns scores when he wants – his first for the club (Photo Courtesy of John B. Vass)

The goal sparked off celebrations of sheer joy with Cairnsy’s smile wider than the Afton Dam as he ran towards the Glenafton support in the Frank Beattie stand with his overjoyed team-mates in hot pursuit. What a way to open your goalscoring account for the club!

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Alan Cairns with Conor Lynass and Ally Park on his way

The Glens had fought back to the lead on 75 minutes and the contrast in red & white elation and black & gold deflation couldn’t be more stark. The New Cumnock side were more than aware that a wounded Talbot was a dangerous beast but this was a Glenafton side that had shown great character to be crowned league champions and had completed the league double over their formidable neighbours.

Talbot responded by replacing midfielder Craig McCracken with Mark Shankland while soon after the Glens brought on the fresh legs of John Carter for fellow striker Chris Dallas with attack remaining on of the key forms of Afton’s defence.

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Joe Andrew keeps possession

With the Glens defence comfortably breaking down Talbot attacks at one end and the Glens attack frustrating the Talbot back-line with their defiant hold up play at the other the clock ticked on without any further clear-cut chances being created. Three minutes of added time ended with the sweet shrill of the referee’s whistle and for the Afton sweet joy was flowing amang thy green baize of Rugby Park.

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The Final Whistle

F/T Auchinleck 1 Glenafton 2

Glenafton Athletic: 1. Brian McGarrity 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies 5. Ryan MChesney 6. Ally Park 7. Dan Orsi 8. Cameron Marlow 9. Chris Dallas (15. John Carter) 10. Mick McCann (14. Joe Andrew) 11. Darren McGill (16. Conor Lynass). Subs not used 12. David Gray GK. Blair Lochhead

Auchinleck Talbot: 1. Andy Leishman 2. Ross Harvey 3. Willie 4. Martin McGoldrick  5. Steven White, 6.Stephen Wilson 7. Bryan Young 8. Craig McCracken (12 Mark Shankland) 9. Keir Milliken 10. Graham Wilson 11. Dwayne Hyslop. Subs Unused: Dylan Pooler, Klark Thomson, Neil McPherson, Dylan Stevenson.

 

Dan Orsi collected his man-of-the-match award before lining up with his team-mates to mount the podium where captain Craig Menzies lift the Scottish Junior Cup aloft. In their first full season in charge manager Craig McEwan and his assistant Craig Potter had delivered the Western League and Scottish Cup double a truly remarkable achievement. Come Awa’ the Afton.

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In their first full season in charge manager Craig McEwan and his assistant Craig Potter had delivered the Western League and Scottish Cup double a truly remarkable achievement. Come Awa’ the Afton.

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Billy Peacock, Craig McEwan, Craig Potter,Michelle McInnes  and oh the Scottish Junior Cup

More match photos here

Crowd and Celebrations photos here

Photos Courtesy of Mr John B Vass

Chris Dallas

Chris Dallas & S. White, B. Young

Dan Orsi & Bryan Young

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Dan Orsi sets to cross for Cammy Marlow to equalise

Dan Orsi cuts inside to cross for Cameron Marlow to score the equaliser.jpg

Mick McCann and Steven White

Michael McCann & Steven White

Final Whistle

The final whistle has just gone.jpg

1

 

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Glenafton 0 Kirkintilloch 2

  • McBookie West Region Super League Premier Division
  • Match 22
  • Loch Park, New Cumnock
  • Saturday 27th May 2017
  • GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0 (0)
  • KIRKINTILLOCH ROB ROY 2 (1)
    • Shaun Fraser, Willie Sawyers

With one eye on next week’s Scottish Junior Cup final Glenafton made six changes from the side that started against Rob Roy last Saturday in the historic win that clinched the West Region Super League Premier Division title over their nearest challengers.  In came keeper Blair Lochhead, Chris Meikle, assistant manager Craig Potter, Darren McGill, John Carter and Conor Lynass for Brian McGarrity, Craig Menzies, David Gray, Ally Park, Chris Dallas and Cameron Marlow.

The Rob Roy side graciously formed a guard of honour accompanied with flag waving youngsters from Glenafton’s Fun Fours to applaud the champions on to the pitch.

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The tension encompassing last week’s meeting both on and off the park was unsurprisingly not evident with tempo of the match fairly low-key while the home support was in good voice in preparation for the trophy presentation to come.

Early chances came from set plays with a couple of corner kicks from the Glens being comfortably cleared while a Rabs free kick to the back post was headed wide of target by Kevin Green.

On 17 minutes the visitors came within a whisker of opening the scoring.  Blair Lochhead had to be on his toes to tip a wicked cross, from Chris Duff wide on the left, over the bar. The resulting corner kick to the back post was headed back across the goal mouth by Danny Boyle where Willie Sawyers recovered the ball on the bye-line at the far side of the box before brilliantly turning Ryan McChesney and whipping it past Lochhead at the near post only for Fraser to be unable to connect on the goal line with an empty net beckoning.

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Craig Potter closes down Shaun Fraser

Two minutes later Darren McGill fashioned a low shot from 20 yards that whizzed past the post as the Glens began to see more of the ball. The home side engineered a number of good counter-attacks but too often the final ball was over-hit and the chance gone.

On 29 minutes Mick McCann head-flicked the ball from inside his own half to set Conor Lynass free to break into the left-hand side of the box only for his cut-back intended for the onrushing John Carter to be cleared by Boyle. Lynass recovered the ball and picked out to McCann deep in the box who rolled it out to Craig Potter to fire from 22 yards out  only for the ball to sail wide of target.

Rob Roy responded and took the lead on 34 minutes after play was switched from Duff on the left to Shaun Fraser, in space on the right, to cut in the box and use McChesney and Sawyers as a shield to curl a sweetly struck shot beyond the unsighted Lochhead at his near post and into the far corner of the net.

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Shaun Fraser picks his spot

Tails up, the visitors continued to press and Lochhead did well to get a hand to another wicked cross from Saywers earmarked for Fraser in the six-yard box. The Rabs recovered the loose ball for Sawyers to float in another cross that was headed away by McChesney and eventually cleared by Dan Orsi.

Another Rabs attack was mopped up by McGill and cleared upfield for McCann to pick out the overlapping Lynass with another perfectly weighted head flick only for his run to be ended by a trip from Scott Walker. Lynass curled the free-kick beyond the wall for McCann and although he got the jump on Green his header lopped over the bar.

H/T Glens 0 Rob Roy 1

Two minutes after the restart the hosts were denied an equaliser when an alert Michael McKinven rushed from his line to narrow the angle and block Carter’s shot from close range. Rabs replied through a free-kick floated into box and after a game of head-tennis the ball fell for Sawyers who quickly turned to fire a low angled shot that sneaked past the back post with the keeper beaten.

Although play continued to ebb back and forth there were few clear-cut chances created. On 53 minutes McCann’s header from a Kyle McAusland’s cross was well held by McKinven. At the other end a Rabs corner-kick caused havoc in the Glens box before the ball arrived at the feet of Green to thump it first time only for Lochhead to pull off a fine block.

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Scott Walker and John Carter

The visitors won a free kick at the edge of the box and although Fraser curled the ball round the wall it slipped just wide of the post. McAusland opted for power when Glens earned a free-kick from  similar position, his shot ricocheted off the wall and the corner kick that followed was cleared.

On 66 minutes the Glens brought on Ally Park for Craig Potter and before he could kick a ball Fraser was fouled in the box and Willie Sawyers slotted home the spot-kick.

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Willie Sawyers makes it 2-0

The home side then made another couple of substitutions with Chris Dallas coming on for Mick McCann and later Ryan Borris for Dan Orsi.  Dallas’s angled volley from inside the box beat the keeper but dipped over the bar.

The Glens defence frantically scrambled clear another Rabs attack and mopped up a few more as the clock ran down. In a final flurry the home side came close to a conjuring up a consolation when Lynass weaved his way into the box only for the keeper to block his shot. The midfielder snapped up the rebound to fire in another shot that was also blocked sending the ball to the other side of the box where McAusland low powerful drive was also blocked.

The final whistle went soon after.

Full time Glens 0 Rob Roy 2

Glenafton Athletic 1. Blair Lochhead 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Chris Meikle 5. Ryan McChesney 6. Craig Potter(12. Ally Park) 7.Dan Orsi (14. Ryan Borris) 8 Darren McGill 9. Mick McCann (15. Chris Dallas) 10. John Carter 11. Conor Lynass  Subs not used: 14. Cameron Marlow 17. Brian McGarrity

Kirkintilloch Rob Roy: 1. Michael McKinven 2. Scott Walker 3. Daniel MacKenzie 4. Kevin Green 5. Daniel Boyle 6. LukeWhelan 7. Gavin Mackie 8. Jordan McGuire 9. Willie Sawyers 10. Shaun Fraser 11. Chris Duff Subs 12. Sean McCall 14. Reece Pearson 15. Connor Hughes 16. Andrew Johnstone

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CHAMPIONS

The victory and three points secured a second-place finish for Rob Roy and they left the field to great applause from their travelling support. Champions Glenafton were cheered off the park and after changing into fresh tee-shirts in the Hunter Pavilion returned to the park where New Cumnock’s Sir Tom Hunter presented club captain Craig Menzies with the West Region McBookie Super League Premier Division trophy and the celebrations began in earnest.

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Craig Potter & Craiig McEwan

Manager Craig McEwan and assistant manager Craig Potter in their first full season in charge at Loch Park had delivered the league title, the first for Glenafton since they were crowned ‘Last Champions of Ayrshire’ in 2001/2002 prior to reconstruction and the formation of the West Region.

Congratulations Glenafton – you gave it your best.

More match photos here

Presentation photos here

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Kirkintilloch 0 Glenafton 2

  • McBookie West Region Super League Premier Division
  • Match 21
  • Guy’s Meadow’s Cumbernauld
  • Saturday 20th May 2017
  • KIRKINTILLOCH ROB ROY 0 (0)
  • GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (0)
    • Chris Dallas (2)

Glenafton are Champions! The only scenario that could draw the race for the league title to a conclusion today came to pass after leaders Glenafton were  victorious at second placed Kirkintilloch Rob Roy while fourth placed Auchinleck Talbot lost at third placed Beith Juniors.

Before Kick-Off

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Glens travelled to Guy’s Meadow, Cumbernauld to face Rob Roy in the first of their two back-to-back league fixtures and it was the home side that were soon on the front foot with a wave of attacks. The visitors were dealt an early scare on 6 minutes after Ryan McChesney required treatment following a clash of heads with Willie Sawyers – the tussle between those two players both giving their all would become a fascinating feature of the match.

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Ryan McChesney & Willie Sawyers

A couple of corner-kicks in quick succession had the hosts continue to put the Glens under pressure and although the first one ended with keeper Brian McGarrity being impeded the second was scrambled clear to the outskirts of the box where the ball was met by defender Kevin Green only for his shot to scream wide of the post. On 15 minutes another chance was passed up as Kevin Watt’s close range header looped over the bar.

The Glens were struggling to get their passing game going and although they did get forward on occasion they were chiefly on the back foot. Howeve, in defence the visitors remained resolute with McChesney getting the better of target man Sawyers in the bulk of their aerial battles. On the deck the Rabs came up against a forest of legs in the Glens box as the path to, or shots at, goal were blocked time and again.

Sawyers gathered Chris Duff’s header in the box and although he initially gave McChesney the slip the big defender double-teamed with Kyle McAusland to rob the striker before he could engineer a shot at goal. On 20 minutes a free-kick was floated into the box and the ball fell for Watt whose shot from the edge of the six-yard box was blocked by a last-ditch tackle from Ally Park before Cairns’ brave block on Shaun Fraser’s attempt to bury the rebound.

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Craig Menzies blocks Daniel Boyle

Midway through the half Glens won their first corner-kick of the game after Mick McCann and Dan Orsi had combined well down the right flank. The kick was initially cleared at the near post before the ball fell for Cameron Marlow 20 and his drive from 20 yards was deflected wide of the back post, while the resulting corner-kick was punched clear by keeper Michael McKinven.

Back came Rob Roy and Sawyers evaded McChesney at the edge of the box to fire a low-angled shot that took a deflection to send the ball wide of the post. The corner-kick that followed was scrambled clear with the ball falling for Daniel Boyle to clip a well struck shot from 15 yards out only for McGarrity to pull off an equally good save and tip the ball over the bar.

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Brian McGarrity pushes the ball over the bar

Another corner came and went for the home side. Their luck was no better from open play with McChesney rising head and shoulders above all around to head clear a wicked cross by Duff before McGarrity clutched the midfielder’s second bite at the cherry clean out of the air.

Glens finally began to get a foothold on the game and on the half-hour mark David Gray’s free-kick from 30 yards whizzed inches wide of the post. His corner-kick was cleared at the near post as the visitors enjoyed a good spell of pressure. The midfielder’s cross field pass was chested down by Orsi at the edge of the box before the ball slipped to McAusland on the overlap down the right to whip a great ball to the back post where it was headed over his own bar by Green. The corner-kick that followed was headed clear to the outskirts of the box where the ball was gathered by Marlow and fed to McAusland who managed to create some space to tee up a shot that was then blocked by Fraser. Glens continued to press and Park released Gray down the right to clip the ball to the back post for Chris Dallas but with his way to goal covered he was forced to retreat to the left flank and fire a cross into the box which the keeper collected safely as Orsi threatened.

At the other end McChesney outjumped Sawyers in the nick of time to head the ball inches wide of his own post and Glens, through Craig Menzies, mopped up the corner-kick that followed.

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David Gray on the move.

Back game the Glens with Gray powering his way through the middle only to be tripped by Boyle and his free-kick deflected of the wall for a corner that was headed clear by Green.

H/T Kirkintilloch 0 Glenafton 0  

Rabs started the second half brightly only for the Glens to quickly stamp their authority on the half.  Gray and Orsi combined to send McAusland tearing down the right-wing before whipping the ball into the goalmouth where, with McCann lurking, the keeper decided to play it safe and tip the ball over the bar; the right decision as the corner-kick was cleared. At the other end, Duff fired a ball from wide on the left to the near post where again McChesney got the jump on Sawyers.

On 55 minutes Glenafton took the lead. Menzies picked up the ball deep in his own half and in flash it was with McAusland wide on the right flank level with the 18 yard box. Here he took a touch or two before clipping the ball with great precision to  the edge of the six yard box where Chris Dallas nipped in front of Scott Walker to powerfully head the ball downward where it exploded off the Guy’s Meadow surface and shot into the roof of the net despite McKinven’s best efforts to keep it out.

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Chris Dallas heads home the opener

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Five minutes later Dallas hunted down a through ball with two defenders giving chase where on reaching the box he held off one defender before progressing to the penalty spot and slipped the ball beyond the reach of the advancing keeper only for it strike the base of the post allowing the second defender to clear it.

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Chris goes close again

Afton were clearly in the ascendancy and looked dangerous on the break with McCann next to burst into the box only for play to be stopped for an earlier foul on Gray; the free-kick cleared by a rattled Rabs’ defence. Marlow was next to breach the box only to be stopped by a timely tackle from Green.  A trademark box-to-box run by Menzies ended at the corner flag after Boyle’s intervention.

Glens freshened up a rampant midfield with Darren McGill coming on for Cameron Marlow and before he had kicked a ball the visitors doubled their lead on 66 minutes. McCann got between the central defenders to head the ball into the box for both Park and Dallas to chase, the latter better positioned to let the ball take a bounce before unleashing a missile of a shot from a tight angle that flew past the keeper at the near post and into the far corner of the net. Joyous scenes on and off the park for those in Glenafton colours.

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Chris Dallas doubles Glens’ advantage

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The beleaguered Rabs picked themselves up and within a minute had earned a corner kicked that McGarrity had to push over the bar as Watt closed in. The keeper, sandwiched between Sawyers and Boyle, claimed the follow-up corner-kick with a stretch and a juggle.

On 73 minutes the visitors reshuffled their frontline with Chris Dallas and Mick McCann replaced by Joe Andrew and John Carter and their first action was help defend a Rabs free-kick.  Jordan McGuire fired the ball to the left-hand side of the box for Boyle to bullet a header across goal where Sawyers’ glancing header beat McGarrity at the near post, but from a offside position.

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Willie Sawyers heads home from a offside position

Up the park McAusland played successive one-two’s with Carter and Andrew to force his way into the right hand side of the box and send a low angled shot wide of the far post with the keeper ushering it on its way.

Rabs made a double substitution and with time running out they created a number of half chances from set pieces.  A free-kick was partially cleared and the ball quickly recovered by Fraser only for his shot from close range to be deflected inches wide by Menzies before the resulting corner-kick was mopped up.  A looping header from deep in the box was comfortably caught by McGarrity.

The Glens defence  manfully warded off a couple of free kicks floated into a packed box, the last of which McChesney and Carter cleared together before the sweet sound of the referee’s whistle and the news that Auchinleck had lost confirmed Glenafton as Super League Premier Division Champions.

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FT Kirkintilloch 0 Glens 2

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Captain Craig Menzies and Dan Orsi and the final whistle!

Glenafton Athletic: 1. Brian McGarrity 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies 5. Ryan McChesney 6. David Gray 7.Dan Orsi 8. Ally Park 9. Mick McCann ( 12. Joe Andrew) 10. Chris Dallas (14. John Carter) 11. Cameron Marlow (16. Darren McGill) Subs not used: 15. Chris Meikle17. Blair Lochhead

Kirkintilloch Rob Roy: 1. Michael McKinven 2. Scott Walker 3. Daniel MacKenzie 4. Kevin Green 5. Daniel Boyle 6. Jordan McGuire 7. Lee Gallacher 8. Shaun Fraser 9. Willie Sawyers 10. Kevin Watt 11. Chris Duff

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Congratulations and Commiserations after an enthralling match

 

League Table at Close of Play

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Glenafton 2 Troon 1

  • McBookie Premier Division
  • Match 20
  • Loch Park, New Cumnock
  • Wednesday 17th May 2017
  • GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (1)
    • Joe Andrew, David Gray
  • TROON 1 (0)
    • Moore

GLENAFTON moved three points clear of Rob Roy thanks to a late penalty converted by David Gray. They had got off to a dream start with a goal inside a minute after John Carter slipped a great ball to aa_joe_andrew Joe Andrew who took his chance well.

Troon’s first attempt on goal followed a Dean Keenan free-kick which eventually found Ryan Nisbet, whose overhead kick was just wide. Mark Curragh showed a superb turn of pace to pick out Evan Maley in the box but he couldn’t connect cleanly to trouble Brian McGarrity in the Glens’ goal.

Gray then sent a superb crossfield ball towards Dan Orsi but it was just too far in front of the winger. Cammy Marlow then hit the bar, with Andrew following up to head home the rebound, but the offside flag was up.

As the first half drew to a close, the home side were enjoying much possession but the final killer pass was lacking.

Glen’s failure to capitalise came back to haunt them within two minutes of the restart when Dale Moore scored from a low Nisbet crossball. Moore’s night came to an abrupt end when he was stretchered off after 54 minutes – both sets of fans applauded as he left the field.

Troon also lost Zack Simpson to a straight red card after he clashed with Andrew, who was substituted shortly after. Both sides had chances going into the final 15 minutes with a Nisbet solo run ending with a shot that was just past the post.

aa_david_gray00.jpgOrsi and Gray then linked up, with Gray’s shot bringing out a good save from Marty Fraser, but the final chapter was still to come. With less than two minutes left, Morgan Brown hand-balled and David Gray made no mistake from the penalty spot.

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC:   1. Brian McGarrity 2. Kyle McAusland 3.Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies 5. Ryan McChesney 6. Ally Park 7. Dan Orsi 8. David Gray  9. Joe Andrew (12. Mick McCann 76) 10. John Carter (14. Chris Dallas 61 ) 11. Cameron Marlow (15. Conor Lynass 57) Subs not used: 16. Chris Meikle 17. Blair Lochhead (g/k).

TROON: Fraser, Armstrong, Brown, Keenan, Simpson, Spence, Nisbet, McCrea (Forsyth 31), Curragh, Maley, Moore (Phillips 54)(Campbell 80).

Report Courtesy of Cumnock Chronicle.

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Glenafton 2 Arthurlie 0

  • McBookie Premier Division
  • Match 19
  • Loch Park, New Cumnock
  • Saturday 13th May 2017
  • GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 (1)
    • Chris Dallas, Mick McCann
  • ARTHURLIE 0 (0)

Glenafton made four changes to the team that started against Hurlford with Kyle McAusland, Ally Park, Mick McCann and Chris Dallas coming in for Ryan Borris, Joe Andrew, John Carter and Conor Lynass.

Neither side had created a goal threat before Arthurlie were forced to make an early substitution on 7 minutes after central defender Jordon Chisholm suffered a gash in the back of his calf was replaced with James Lynsey.

A minute later and Mick McCann gave Ryan McGregor the slip to pick out Chris Dallas in the box to crack a low angled shot from 12 yards that was blocked by a timely intervention from Ryan McNeil. The corner-kick that followed was comfortably cleared by the ‘Lie defence however the one that followed soon after was met at the near post by Ally Park and his downward header exploded off the ground and seemed destined for the roof of the next before Grant Hay pulled off a magnificent reflex save to punch the ball away. On 15 minutes David Gray curled a free-kick into the box where it was met by Ally Park on the penalty spot only for his attempt to guide it into the net saw the ball drift wide of the post.

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Cameron Marlow on the move with Ryan McKie giving chase

Arthurlie quickly broke upfield and McGregor showed three Glens players a clean pair of heels before electing to shoot for goal from 22 yards out only for the ball to soar high over the bar. Ryan McKie then burst down the right flank and picked out McGregor on the outskirts of the box where Gray and Alan Cairns combined to recover the ball and clear the danger.

Glens enjoyed a good spell of pressure and midway through the half Marlow from wide on the left curled a great ball into the box for Park to burst through the acres of space between two defenders only for his attempt to chip the keeper from 8 yards out dip over the bar.

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Grant Hay and Ally Park

On 28 minutes Kyle McAusland on the right floated a ball into the box where it was trapped by Dallas with McGregor at his back and in flash the striker turned to unleash a shot from the corner of the six-yard box that was brilliantly saved by Hay. Three minutes later Park robbed McNeill midway in the ‘Lie half and quickly fed Dallas who in turn squared the ball to Dan Orsi to release McAusland on the overlap down the right to fire the ball into the heart of the box where the inrushing Park met it first time only for the ball to slip agonisingly wide of the post with the keeper stranded.

Some respite for the visitors in the form of a free-kick won deep in the Glens half which Ryan Deas floated to the back post where keeper Brian McGarrity leapt unchallenged to grab the ball with both hands.

Back came the hosts and a glorious ball from Gray chipped over the head of defender Kieran Brennan for Orsi to collect wide on the right before whipping an equally glorious cross to the back post where Dallas and Marlow lay in wait, the former missing his header by inches and the latter guiding the ball a lick of paint wide of the base of the post.

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Cammy’s shot goes inches wide

Just as ‘one of those days’ feelings descended upon Loch Park the Glens finally broke the deadlock on 37 minutes with a clinical finish. McAusland picked up the ball on the right deep in his own half and sent a long low ball upfield for McCann who instantly rolled it back to Gray on the half-way line. The midfielder then exquisitely lifted the ball over McGregor’s head whose forlorn appeal for offside was cancelled out by his team-mate McNeil playing Chris Dallas on-side and the former Arthurlie striker coolly allowed the ball bounce generously before taking a couple of touches to progress to the corner of the six-yard box where he lashed an unstoppable shot beyond the advancing Hay and McNeill on the line to bulge the roof of the net.

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The visitors rallied and won a free kick wide on the left from the where the ball was played to near post to be headed clear by Park before the ball was recovered by Arthurlie and floated to the back where post where McGarrity leapt to clutch the ball safely under severe pressure from Mark Blakey.

At the other end Gray’s free-kick from the right was met by Marlow at the back post and headed across the face of goal for Orsi only for Hay to pull off another fine save from a point-blank range; the offside flag taking the edge of Dan’s disappointment.

On the stroke of half time Cairns’ throw in from the right was gathered by McCann to pick out Marlow at the corner of the 18-yard box to thread the ball between Blakey and McGregor for Dallas to collect and as the striker set to shoot for the goal the beleaguered McGregor barged into the back of the striker sending him to the ground and consigning himself to an early bath. Once the dust had settled Mick McCann stepped up to fire the spot kick low and hard to the keeper’s left only for the impressive Hay to get down and push the ball round the post; no time for the corner-kick to be taken.

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Grant Hay saves Mick McCann’s spot kick

H/T Glens 1 Arthurlie 0

Glens kicked-off against the 10 men and were soon on the front foot through a powerful run from Orsi beginning on the half-way line to the edge of the box where his low drilled left footed shot slipped just wide of the post.

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Dan Orsi on the move

McCann on the outskirts of the box played the ball back to Gray who played a quick one-two with Park before firing a shot from 20 yards through a ruck of player that curled wide of the target.

The visitors responded through attacks down both flanks. First McKie down the right whipping the cross into the goalmouth which was gathered easily by McGarrity at his near post. Then Deas’s perseverance down the left took him to the bye-line from where he cut into the box and held off a couple of defenders before drilling a low shot that was blocked in the six- yard box by Ryan McChesney.

Glenafton struck back in emphatic fashion through McAusland pushing down the right wing forcing the Lie defence to back off before he slipped a short forward pass to Orsi who with Brennan closing chipped an inch perfect cross to the far end of the penalty box, taking out three ‘Lie defenders, where Mick McCann never took his eye off the ball as he positioned himself to scissor-kick the ball into the net catching the keeper unexpectedly at the back post. A stunningly executed goal to double the Glens lead on 57 minutes.

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Glens continued to press and a superbly struck diagonal ball from Gray in the centre circle saw Dallas run onto the ball and although his shot from a tight angle was sweetly struck it screamed over the bar.  Orsi then burst into the right hand of the box and cut the ball back from the bye-line intended for McCann on the edge of the six-yard box only for Blakey to get his head to the ball just in time.

On 68 minutes Marlow slipped the ball to McCann inside the box to lash the ball home however on this occasion the ‘Lie defence caught the striker offside.

Both sides made changes with the Glens bringing on Conor Lynass and soon after the striking partnership of Chris Dallas and Mick McCann was replaced by John Carter and Joe Andrew. Meanwhile Arthurlie brought off James Lynsey and Ryan McKie for Josh Graham and Daryl Convery.

With 12 minutes to go the visitors won a corner-kick which saw McGarrity rise unchallenged again to gather the ball safely.

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David Gray with another inch perfect pass

Back game Glenafton and again Gray was the architect switching the play with an inch-perfect cross field pass to McAusland to push forward and curl a ball into the danger area where it was cut-out by McNeill only to cannon off Blakey and head for goal where Hay managed to push the ball into air before bringing it under his control.

F/T Glens 2 Arthurlie 0

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC: 1. Brian McGarrity 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies 5. Ryan McChesney 6. Ally Park  7. Dan Orsi 8. David Gray 9. Mick McCann (12. Joe Andrew) 10. Chris Dallas (14. John Carter) 11. Cameron Marlow (15. Conor Lynass) Subs not used 16. Chris Meikle 17.Blair Lochhead

ARTHURLIE: 1. Grant Hay, 2. Ryan McNeill  3. Kieran Brennan 4. Jordon Chisholm (16. James Lynsey 12. Josh Graham) 5. Mark Blakey 6. Graham Girvan 7. Ryan McKie (14. Daryl Convery) 8. Layden 9. Ryan McGregor 10. Ryan Deas 11. Eddie McTernan Subs not used: 15. Gary Smith 17. Gary Bishop

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