- McBookie West Region Super League Premier Division
- Match 00
- Abbey Park, Kilwinning
- Saturday 13th January 2018
- KILWINNING RANGERS 1 (0)
- Own goal
- GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1)
- Chris Dallas
Reigning Premier Division champions Glenafton and league leaders Kilwinning shared the points at a rain-sodden Abbey Park in a game short of clear-cut chances but full of endeavour in difficult conditions.
The Buffs enjoyed some early pressure forcing the Glens central defenders into a couple of ‘close-shave’ pass backs that saw keeper Brian McGarrity keep a cool head to clear both quickly. On 10 minutes the home side won a corner-kick after Sam McCloskey’s cross from wide on the left was headed over the bar by Craig Menzies as Brian Boylan threatened. The kick, taken by former Glens midfielder Mick Wardrope, was partially cleared to the outskirts of the box only for Boylan to recover the ball and then to lose it again after a well-timed slide tackle by Menzies.
A quick break down the right by Glens concluding with Conor Lynass cut-back from the bye-line stirred up a stramash in the six-yard box with the ball taken from the toes of Ally Park and then recovered by Chris Dallas before Tommy Maitland cleared for the Buffs. Within 30 seconds however the visitors were on the attack again. Brian McGarrity launched the ball upfield which was headed on by Dallas only to be intercepted by James Latta, however his weak header back to his keeper was pounced on by Mick McCann who was then brought down by his former Talbot team-mate as he tried to make amends for his error. Latta was shown a red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity and
Chris Dallas sent Adam Strain the wrong way as he slotted home the spot kick to put the Glens ahead on 14 minutes.
Back came the Buffs through Boylan winning a corner-kick, after another fine tackle from Menzies, which was punched to safety by McGarrity.
The game then slipped into a scrappy period with play bogged down in the middle of the park and possession quickly lost if there was touch too many was taken or a pass then went astray as the pitch became heavier with the constant rain.
On 26 minutes Strain ventured well off his line to make a clearance only to get into a fankle giving Dallas time to close in, nick the ball and round the keeper before Strain got his wits back to dive at the striker’s feet and recapture the ball.
Boylan then broke down the right to the bye-line and with his route to goal blocked by Alan Cairns he elected to slip a pass to Wardrope but in stepped Menzies to clear the danger again. Buffs continued to press through Ben Lewis down the right who curled a wicked ball to the far post for the incoming Boylan only for McAusland to intercept at the expense of a corner kick which was headed clear by Park.
Ten minutes from the break Glens responded through Dallas down the right forcing his way to the bye-line where his cut-back for McCann was cut-out by Maitland for a corner-kick which was followed by two other corners in quick succession as Buffs cleared their decks. The 11 men continued to press for a second goal and earned yet another corner-kick which eventually fell for Park only for his shot be blocked in a packed box as was McChesney’s attempt at the rebound.
With the half drawing to a close Rickey Hanvey tried to fashion a equaliser with a shot from 25 yards out but the ball swerved harmlessly wide of target. At the other end he tripped McKernon on the outskirts of the box but the Buffs wall took the brunt of McAusland’s free kick in all but the last action of the half.
HT Kilwinning 0 Glens 1
Within two minutes of the restart the Glens won another corner after McKernon’s attempted chip to the back post cannoned off Lewis and despite Strain’s valiant attempt he couldn’t prevent the ball crossing the line. The kick was cleared upfield but back came Glens and Dale Moore’s run down the left-wing was brought to an abrupt end resulting in a free-kick floated in the six-yard box that was cut-out by Maitland with Dallas sliding in at the back post.
On 50 minutes McCann was first to react to snap up a headed clearance before pushing forward to drill a shot that sailed over the bar. Glens were seeing a lot of the ball without however testing keeper Strain.
The Buffs gradually came back into the game and created a couple of decent chances in quick succession. Wardrope on the left slipped the ball inside to Carlo Monti who struck the ball sweetly in his stride from 22 yards only for McChesney outstretched leg diverting the ball wide for a corner kick which was over hit and the danger over momentarily. Boylan gathered the ball in the centre circle and chipped a great ball for Wardrope to chase into the box however no sooner had he taken a touch the backtracking McChesney stole the ball from his toes.
At the other end McKernon over hit a free-kick seemingly straight into the keeper’s hands but although he spilled the ball he quickly dived on it to prevent Dallas prodding it home. Not only that, Strain’s long clearance upfield saw the ball eventually fall for Sam McLoskey wide on left to whip a vicious ball into the box for the incoming Lewis only for Cairns’ attempt to block the ball see it end up in the back of his own net, levelling the match on 59 minutes.
Two minutes later Monti’s free kick into the box was headed over the bar by Maitland.
Glenafton brought on Darren McGill for Conor Lynass and the midfielder was soon in the thick of the action. McCann chased down Dallas’s headed knock down to burst into the box and hit a low angled shot that was blocked by the foot of advancing Strain sending the ball to the outskirts of the box where it was met by McGill his shot drifted well wide of the post.
On 72 minutes Monti played a fine one-two at pace with Lewis to break down the right with McChesney on his heels and as he cut into the box the big defender stole he ball cleanly before the Buffs player tumbled to the ground, earning only a ticking off from the referee.
Wardrope failed to recover from and earlier injury and was replaced by Findlay Frye, another former Glenafton player.
Back came Glens and McCann did brilliantly to break free from the arms of Maitland to slip a superb pass for Dallas to pick up the ball at the edge box and with the indefatigable Maitland closing in the striker cracked a stinging shot from 17 yards that although the ball beat the keeper it swerved wide of the far post.
Glenafton then changed to three up front with striker Joe Andrew coming on for Dale Moore. However, a change of plan quickly transpired after McChesney was shown a straight red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity after impeding Monti’s run into the box. 1-1 and 10 aside with 74 minutes. Monti then fired the free-kick from 22 yards high over the bar. Soon after Glens reverted to two up front with the tireless Mick McCann making way for Ryan Borris while Buffs brought on David Winters for Brian Boylan.
With ten minutes to go McKernon lasered a free kick into the box which was trapped by Dallas and rolled back out for Park to thunder a low drive which although looking to go wide was angled towards goal by Andrew only for the alert Strain to get down low and push the ball away with both hands before diving on the loose ball.
Buffs made their last change with Rick Hanvey hobbling off.
With three minutes of regulation time remaining Kilwinning came close to claiming all three points when Maitland’s header from a corner kick crashed off the post.
A Glens corner kick was headed clear in added time and in what was all but that last action of the match McGill’s free kick from 25 yards was clutched comfortably by Strain.
F/T Kilwinning 1 Glenafton 1
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC: 1. Brian McGarrity 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies 5. Ryan McChesney 6. Jamie McKernon 7. Conor Lynass (14. Darren McGill) 8. Ally Park 9. Chris Dallas 10. Mick McCann (15. Ryan Borris) 11. Dale Moore (12. Joe Andrew)