Irvine Meadow 2 Glenafton 0

West Region Stagecoach Premier Division : Match 12

Saturday 21st December, Meadow Park, Irvine

IRVINE MEADOW 2 (0)

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC   0  (0)

Glenafton made two changes to the side that faced Rob Roy with Michael Reilly replacing Alain Kinney up front after the big striker failed a late fitness test and captain Craig Menzies returning to the heart of the defence in place of Craig McEwan.

Heavy dark rain clouds hovered low over Meadow Park as the home side kicked off with a strong blustery wind at their back. The Medda almost caught the visitors cold in the opening minute after winning a couple of tackles in the Glens box to set up Darren Miller only for his drive from 20 yards out sail over the bar. Five minutes later determined play down the left by Reilly and Cameron Marlow won Glenafton a corner kick from which Reilly, in a crowded six yard box, was unfortunate to see his stab at goal go agonisingly wide. Soon after Reilly’s drive from 25 yards was well held by Graeme Shepherd and then the keeper, on loan from Albion Rovers, was relieved to see a John Craig free kick whizz past the post.

Michael Reilly goes close

Michael Reilly goes close

On 15 minutes Mark Sideserf’s cross from the left was met at the back post perfectly by Paul Maxwell but his powerful header bulleted wide of target. Five minutes later Ryan Caddis muscled his way through the middle of the park and as two red shirts closed in he drilled the ball low and hard from 22 yards beyond the reach of keeper Brian McGarrity.

Glens came close to levelling within three minutes only for Shepherd to pull off a magnificent save in geting a hand to a 30 yard pile-driver of a free kick from Jamie McKernon. The keeper then punched the ball clear from the head of Aaron Connolly as the visitors tried to convert the resultant corner. His counterpart McGarrity performed similar heroics from a corner kick to flick the ball from the head of Maxwell.  On 34 minutes the home side doubled their lead when Caddis on the left picked out Maxwell who then drove to the bye-line before whipping the ball to the back post where Gary McCann timed his leap to perfection to bullet a header downward and into the net.

Aaron Connoly hunts down the ball

Aaron Connoly hunts down the ball

Five minutes from the break Connolly slipped the ball to Marlow who stole behind the Medda defence but his angled shot from the corner of the six yard box was just off target, albeit the keeper had his near post well covered. H/T Meadow 2 Glens 0

The Meadow were first to threaten as McCann bolted down the right only for his cross to be cut out at the near post by McGarrity as Caddis waited to pounce. The home side forced a couple of corners that came to nothing before the Glens began to force their way into the game. On 53 minutes McKernon made excellent progress down the right flank before clipping the ball into the box for Marlow but his volley from 10 yards was blocked by Mark Staunton.

Glens, now with the wind at their backs, continued to press with McKernon and Findlay Frye controlling the midfield as Meadow dropped deeper back into defence. However, unlocking that ‘thick blue line’ was proving beyond the guile of the visitors, particularly with Shepherd in fine form.

A McChesney cross from tight on the right was punched from under the bar by Shepherd and booted clear by Staunton as Marlow looked to halve the deficit. Soon after, on 62 minutes, the keeper conjured up another top drawer save when at full stretch he pushed a Reilly rocket from 25 yards past the post. Back to back corners were cleared in determined fashion by the home rear guard.

Graeme Shepherd pulls off another fine save

Graeme Shepherd pulls off another fine save

As the Glens toiled to make most of their possession the Meadow threatened to add to their tally through McCann’s electric pace.  On 83 minutes he disappeared in the failing light down the right before picking out Maxwell in the box only for McGarrity to get the finest of touches to concede a corner kick which the keeper then clutched safely under the bar.  Two minutes later McCann and Maxwell combined again, on this occasion the striker had time onhis side to pick his spot, but again McGarrity came out on top with a stunning save.

With three minutes left Frye lashed a left footer from 20 yards out that flashed past the post. In the last serious action of the match substitute Shaun Fraser broke upfield at haste before feeding McCann on the right and although the one-two took McGarrity out of the play, McChesney slid in to prevent Hall from facing an empty net for a tap-in. FT Meadow 2 Glens 0

 Irvine Meadow: Shepherd; Darroch, Staunton, Twadlle, Halliday; McCann, Thomson, Miller (Fraser), Sideserf; Maxwell and Caddis (Hall).

Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; McGeoghan, McChesney, Menzies, Cairns; Craig, McKernon, Frye, Marlow (Dimilta); Connolly, Reilly (Brown). Subs Dunsmuir, McEwan, Miller

Posted in GAFC Match Report

Glenafton on the Heritage Trail

The New Cumnock Liaison Group’s “Auld Kirk and Village Heritage Trail” project is making good progress. and a heritage trail of a number of information panels has now been established along the length of the Castle. ( See more about the project here .)

Project leader Bobby Guthrie explains ‘Glenafton, for many people,  hold a special place in our community’s past, present and of course our future. It is fitting that the club feature in our heritage trail and I would like to thank the club for giving their permission to place a panel at the entrance of Loch Park.”

Loch Park Entrance

Loch Park Entrance

The panel maps gives a brief overview of the birth of football in our parish with the formation of senior side Lanemark , through Glenafton’s early years at Connel Park and from there to their home here at Loch Park.

Come Awa' the Afton

Come Awa’ the Afton

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Kirkintilloch 1 Glenafton 0

West Region Stagecoach Premier Division : Match 11

Saturday 7th December, Adamslie Park, Kirkintilloch

KIRKINTILLOCH ROB ROY 1 (1)

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC   0  (0)

Former Rabs team-mates Findlay Frye and Scott Adam made the return trip to Adamslie but only as spectators with the pair both out through injury. With Craig Menzies unavailable for selection defender Ryan McChesney wore the captain’s armband, a proud day for the New Cumnock youngster.  Wearing the Rabs’ captain’s armband was Gordon Moffat one of two former Glens players in the home side’s starting eleven; Kris Mitchell the other.

Captain Chessy

Captain Chessy

On 3 minutes Brian McGarrity made a clean clutch at the near post as the ball was fired in from the left flank. The home side continued to enjoy the bulk of the forward player in the opening 20 minutes albeit without seriously testing the Glens’ keeper again in that spell.

The visitors began to make some inroads but without any real fluency to their play and they seldom threatened keeper Gordon McPherson – a dive at the feet of Cameron Marlow on 21 minutes and gathering the ball from the head of Alain Kinney two minutes later his most challenging moments.

Aaron Connolly and Alain Kinney challenge as Gordon Moffat looks on

Aaron Connolly and Alain Kinney challenge as Gordon Moffat looks on

Rabs continued to look the more threatening and Craig McEwan made a crucial block on a Willie Sawyers drive and soon after the Glens defence stood solid as Alan Urquhart and Sawyers tried to pick their way through a packed penalty area. It proved to be a dress rehearsal for on 26 minutes a wonderful piece of passing play delivered the opening goal. Urquhart picked out Ryan Deas in the box who quickly squared for Sawyers and his subtle flicked released the incoming Urquhart in space and he duly picked his spot from a few yards out.

Alan Urquhart puts Rabs ahead

Alan Urquhart puts Rabs ahead

The Rabs turned the screw and in a three minute spell McChesney worked wonders to clear a Sawyers header off the line, the big striker then sent a free header from a corner kick wide of the post and Urquhart had the ball in the net again but from an offside position.

Glenafton rallied and ten minutes from the break they conjured up their best move of the half when Marlow and Connolly combined down the left before firing the ball into the near post where McPherson made a great block to deny Kinney a tap in.

Before the interval both sides forced a couple of corner-kicks a piece, all of which were duly mopped up by the respective defences.   The half ended in disappointment for goalscorer Alan Urquhart who appeared to twist a knee and was replaced at the break.

H/T Rob Roy 1 Glenafton 0

Michael Reilly

Michael Reilly

Glenafton introduced midweek signing Michael Reilly in place of David Dimilta and he was soon in the thick of the action with McPherson having to race from his line to clear the ball as the striker chased down a long ball into the box.

At the other end McChesney had to be on his toes to head a brace of corner kicks clear as Sawyers menaced with intent and then timed to perfection a tackle on Deas in the box. Another Rabs attack was frantically cleared and to some effect as the Glens broke up-field with a sense of purpose that had been missing in the opening half. Reilly released Connolly wide on the right who skipped past a clutch of defenders before whipping the ball across the face of the goal for the in-rushing Marlow only for McPherson to get a crucial finger-tip on the ball and then his outstretched arm cleared the resultant corner lick from the heads of Connolly and Reilly.

Play was now flowing from end-to-end and on 55 minutes a lightning quick break down the left ended with a Deas drive at goal being cleared by McGarrity and the ball rebound off a Rabs forward, deemed to be in an offside position, and into the net. Two minutes later the Glens suffered the same fate when a Marlow header crashed off the base of the post and Kinney netted the loose ball, but again the flag was raised aloft and the goal disallowed. Soon after Reilly, surrounded by three defenders, engineered a shot at goal from the six yard box only for McPherson to perform heroics again and get a foot to the ball to concede another corner, which again came to nothing – a common feature of the set-piece play of both sides on the day.

Further chances came and went at both ends.  The best of which for the respective sides saw McGarrity defy a posse of  Rabs hit men as they hunted down a telling cross from Mitchell and his counter-part McPherson get down low to push a powerful Reilly header wide of target.

In the dying moments of the game Craig McEwan earned a second yellow card to draw a disappointing day to conclusion for the visitors.

Glenafton:  McGarrity; McGeoghan, McChesney, McEwan, Cairns; Dimilta (Reilly), McKernon, Craig (Brown), Marlow;  Connolly & Kinney. Subs. Dunsmuir, Miller.

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Michael signs up at Loch Park

Glenafton Athletic are delighted to announce the signing of 22 year-old striker Michael Reilly from Auchinleck Talbot on a 2 year deal. Michael has made six appearances for Talbot this season, five of them in the Ardagh Cup, and has scored 5 goals. He made the move to Beechwood in the summer of 2012, after having finished top goal scorer with Annbank United.

Michael will have mixed memories of Loch Park while at Annbank. He earned two yellow cards in a league defeat in March 2011 and four months later he fired the visitors ahead with the goal of the game in a pre-season friendly.

Welcome to Loch Park, Michael

 

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Glenafton 1 Stranraer 1

Friendly

Tuesday 3rd December, Ralston Playing Fields, Paisley

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1)

STRANRAER 1 (1)

Glenafton, with a number of trialists on show, faced Stranraer in a friendly at Paisley. The game ended all square with each side conceding an own goal.

Posted in GAFC Match Report | Tagged , , ,

Royal Albert 0 Glenafton 5

Scottish Junior Cup 3rd round replay

Saturday 30th November , Tilework Park, Stonehouse

ROYAL ALBERT 0 (0)

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 5 (1)

Glenafton progressed to the 4th round of the Scottish Junior Cup after overcoming Royal Albert in the replay at Stonehouse.

Cameron Marlow, suffering from flu,  broke the deadlock on 24 minutes with his 8th goal of the season the score remained that way until the break. Findlay Frye who had taken a bad knock in the first half , didn’t reappear for the second, and was replaced by John Craig.

Craig Brown

Craig Brown

Aaron Connolly doubled the visitors lead three minutes after the re-start and just before the hour mark Alain Kinney added a third. Soon after substitute Craig Brown, on for the struggling Marlow,  made it 4-0 with his first goal for the club. Connolly completed the scoring 7 minutes from time and Alain Kinney, who also took a sore one on the shin, missed a penalty.

Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity; McGeoghan, McChesney, Menzies, Cairns; Dimilta (McEwan), Frye (Craig), McKernon, Marlow(Brown);  Connolly & Kinney

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Glenafton 2 Royal Albert 2

Scottish Junior Cup 3rd round

Saturday 23rd November , Loch Park, New Cumnock

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC  2 (0)

ROYAL ALBERT 2 (1)

Glenafton made a number of changes from the starting eleven defeated Cumnock at Townhead last Saturday with Craig Menzies, Findlay Frye and Alain Kinney making way for Craig McEwan, David, Stevie Miller and Craig Brown.

Although the park had survived overnight freeze the match officials only gave the game the green light after the stand-side touchline had been sanded for the well-being of the assistant linesman.

Royal Albert certainly seemed to have little difficulty with the conditions underfoot as they began to stroke the ball about with some purpose putting the home on the back foot.  After winning possession wide on the right the visitors played the ball across the face of the 18 yard box in determined fashion before it was slipped into the left-hand side of the box  where it was met first time only for the shot to dip inches over the bar.

At the other end good work by Stevie Miller on the right saw him whip a cross from the bye-line to the back post which was missed by the defender allowing Cameron Marlow to stoop and head the ball home, or so he thought, but keeper Craig Smith pushed the ball onto the inside of the post before it was booted off the line to safety.

Craig Smith saves from Cameron Marlow

Craig Smith saves from Cameron Marlow

The keeper then made a fine save from Marlow’s shot from inside the box after the Glens midfield had gathered a great through ball by Craig McEwan. Smith came out on top again when he first blocked Marlow’s close range shot and then clutched Craig Brown’s attempt to bury the rebound.

John Craig on the ball

John Craig on the ball

His counterpart Brian McGarrity then came to the home side’s rescue with a point blank save from a well struck volley by David Hamilton who had pounced on knock-down in the box from a free kick. However, the Glens keeper could do little to prevent the visitors taking the lead on 30 minutes. On this occasion the free-kick lofted in the box was headed well clear by Jamie McGeoghan only for Fraser Stobie let the ball take one bounce before lashing a guided missile of a shot from 30 yards out through a packed penalty box and into the net.

GlenaftonvRoyalAlbert

Glens came close to drawing level when Brown’s header from a John Craig free-kick crashed of the bar and Connolly poked the loose ball home but from an offside position. Soon after substitute Alain Kinney turned the defender in the box before drilling a low angled shot that was well held by Smith.

H/T Glens 0 Albert 1

The home side pressed from the kick-off and Craig split the Albert defence with a peach of the pass for Marlow to collect but again an alert Smith had his measure with a brave block. On 55 minutes it was substitute David Dimilta’s turn to catch out the Albert’s defence with a slick ball into the box for Connolly who was brought down by the back-tracking Campbell.  Up stepped Alain Kinney to send Smith the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Although Glens continued to push it was the visitors that regained the lead with 15 minutes to go. A throw in from the left was headed out the Glens’ box only for the ball to be quickly fed straight back in and then squared to Davie Dickson who finished in some style from 15 yards out and ignite a right Royal celebration.

Five minutes later a quickly taken free kick by Craig caught the Albert defence and found Connolly in the box who instantly turned and fired an angled shot which Smith could only Parry and the in-rushing Cameron Marlow prodded the loose ball home at the back post from a few yards out.

A long ball over the visitors defence was gathered by Connolly who ran through on goal but Smith ran from his line kept his composure to get a hand to the Glens’ striker shot. A Craig chip into the box was headed down by Marlow but as Kinney looked to pounce the advancing Smith dived at his feet to push the ball away and the presence of another defender forced the Glens striker to fire the loose ball over the bar.

In a rare Albert attack McGarrity had to be alert to hold a strike from distance. Another Glens’ break saw Connolly bomb down the right and his cross killed by Kinney before shooting for goal; claims that the shot was blocked by an Albert hand waved away.

In the dying minutes the visitors came close to claiming the cup-tie when a free-kick from an outrageous distance whizzed over McGarrity’s bar.

Glenafton:  McGarrity; McEwan, McChesney, McGeoghan, Cairns; Miller, Craig, McKernon, Marlow; Connolly & Brown. Subs used Dimilta, Kinney and Menzies

Glenafton TV Highlights: 1st half and 2nd half

Posted in GAFC Match Report

Cumnock 1 Glenafton 2

West Region Stagecoach Premier Division : Match 10

Saturday 16th November, Townhead Park, Old Cumnock

CUMNOCK JUNIORS 1 (0)

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2  (0)

CLASSIC DERBY FINISHING BY GLENS

Local derbies are often tense and heated affairs and although the league clash between Cumnock and Glenafton was littered with yellow cards and three red cards the match was far from the proverbial ‘dirty’ game. Similarly the final score-line, 2-1 in favour of the visitors, perhaps didn’t truly reflect the Glens superiority in terms of creating the best of the goal-scoring chances.

Glenafton created the first decent chance of the game on 7 minutes when a head-flick by Alain Kinney was gathered in the box by Cameron Marlow only for his attempt to lob the ball over the outrushing Ally Semple denied by a fantastic finger tipped save from the keeper.

Cammy denied by Ally

Cammy denied by Ally

The hosts responded with a drive from the edge of the box by Robert Love which flew wide of the post, albeit keeper Brian McGarrity had the goal well covered in any case. Soon after McGarrity showed a clean and safe pair of hands to clutch a header from Keiran Woods – a sign of things to come as the Glens keeper handling proved to be immaculate throughout the match.

On the quarter hour mark Kinney again fended off the home defence and tried to pick out Connolly’s run into the box only for Semple to win the race for the ball. Two minutes later Connolly turned provider after a determined run to the goal-line and a cut-back for Findlay Frye but Ray Montgomerie timed his tackle to perfection and the chance was gone. A Connolly free-kick from the edge of the box was then clutched firmly under the bar by Semple.

On 20 minutes Cumnock conceded another free-kick at the edge of the box after Wood brought down Connolly.  Jamie McKernon lined up apparently to curl it beyond the wall but instead calmly rolled the ball into the box for Alain Kinney who blasted the ball goal-ward only for Semple to pull off a stunning point blank save and have the presence of mind to smother the rebound as a posse of red shirts waited to pounce.

Alain Kinney fires for goal

Alain Kinney fires for goal

Cumnock had the ball in the net on 26 minutes but Love was well offside deep in the box when receiving a through pass from Paul McInnes. Two minutes later, in the move of the half, Kinney left McInnes and Gary McMenamin for dead on the half-way line before finding Frye with an exquisite pass and the tireless midfielder stormed to edge of the box with Chris McKnight in pursuit before slipping the ball to right for the incoming Connolly and although his first time shot beat Semple the ball soared inches over the bar.

Findlay flying

Findlay flying

The game began to get bogged down with play being regularly disrupted for free-kicks some of which were accompanied by the brandishing of yellow cards at a frequency that seemed unnecessary.  In any case neither side conjured up any further clear cut chances and the half ended goal-less. HT Cumnock 0 Glenafton 0

With 3 minutes of the new half gone the home side showed their teeth at last with a McMenamin free-kick from the corner of the box which McGarrity pushed onto the inside of the post and then bravely grabbed the loose ball as Wood threatened.

Brian Mcgarrity Glens No. 1

Brian Mcgarrity Glens No. 1

Glens responded with Jamie McGeoghan and John Craig combining on the right and the latter’s cross finding Connolly at the back post only for his shot to be pushed out for a corner by Semple; the former Cumnock striker yet to get the better of the former Glenafton keeper.

However, on 55 minutes Connolly was cock-a-hoop . Craig sold McMenamin a delicious dummy before picking out Connolly down the right flank with perfectly weighted pass and the striker’s glorious cross from the right whipped to the back post was met by Findlay Frye and his delightful downward header nestled in the corner of the net with Semple rooted on his line.

Finldlay Frye heads home

Finldlay Frye heads home

Yellow cards continued to be flashed and on 63 minutes John Craig earned his second of the match as he challenged McMenamin for a 50:50 ball in the middle of the park.  The home side took heart and forced a corner-kick only for McGarrity’s unflappable handling to deny them again.

Howzat!

Howzat!

Midway through the half 10 man Glens shuffled the pack with Aaron Connolly leaving to great applause from the travelling support after another tireless shift with midfielder Stevie Miller his replacement.  Four minutes later it was ten-a-side after a series of tackles of the right flank ended with Cumnock substitute Stephen Maguire shown a straight red card for his flying tackle on Craig Menzies.

With parity restored the visitors came close to doubling their lead after Kinney’s header from a narrow angle crashed off the outside of the post. The loose ball recovered by the Glens and returned to Kinney to slot home, but not before the offside flag was waved.

Glenafton continued to press and as McKnight and Richard Hanvey tried in vain to clear their lines the latter adjudged ti have tripped Frye as he shot for goal from the outskirts of the box; earning him his second yellow card and reducing Cumnock to 9 men. Miller blasted the resultant free-kick just wide of target much to the relief of Semple.

Kinney then powered his way beyond McKnight into the box and on reaching the bye-line whipped the ball across the face of goal, taking McMenamim, Semple and James Lundie out of the game, leaving the incoming Cameron Marlow free to tap the ball home at the far post and double the Glens lead with 12 minutes remaining.

Cammy clips home the second

Cammy clips home the second

Thoughts of comfortably seeing the game out with an extra man quickly vanished two minutes later when Cumnock at last showed a touch of guile in the box with Robert Love’s  deft touch clipping the  ball from an acute angle beyond the reach of McGarrity.

Robert Love gives Cumnock heart

Robert Love gives Cumnock heart

Kinney continued to haunt the home defence and yet another forceful run saw him skin McMenamin on the right flank and drive along the bye line only to be stopped at the base of the post by Wood at the expense of a corner-kick, which came to nothing. At the other end McGarrity soared again to clutch a Cumnock corner.

In the last minute of regulation time substitute Craig Brown ghosted into the Cumnock box and with the advancing Semple to beat fired just wide of target.  Deep into the four minutes of added time striker John Bradford was left with his hands on head as a half-chance went a-begging and the ball comforted in the safe and reliable hands of keeper Brian McGarrity. F/T Cumnock 1 Glenafton 2

Cumnock. Semple;  Lundie, McKnight, Wood,  McMenamin , Johnston, Montgomerie, McInnes, Hanvey; Bradford & Love  Subs. McGuire Crawford Williamson McGill O’Donnell

Glenafton: McGarrity; McGeoghan, McChesney, Menzies, Cairns (McEwan); Craig, Frye, McKernon, Marlow (Brown); Connolly (Miller), Kinney. Subs – Maltoni, Dimilta

More photos here

Glenafton TV 1st half highlights 2nd half highlights

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Glenafton 1 Clydebank 2

West Region Premier Division : Match 9

Saturday 9th November, Loch Park, New Cumnock

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1)

CLYDEBANK 2 (0)

Alain Kinney

Alain Kinney

The Bankies were quickly on the front foot with the play of Adam Strachan in particular catching the eye but try as they might they struggled to conjure up an opening goal.

Fewer chances came the home side’s way and yet in on 26 minutes they took the lead. Aaron Connolly pounced on a poor clearance by keeper Robert Smith from an ambitious pass-back and burst into the box where he was adjudged to be brought down to by the back-tracking Austin McCann. Despite the defender’s plea that he had made a clean contact with the ball a penalty kick was awarded and Alain Kinney blasted it home with some aplomb.

The breakthrough spurred the Glens on and Cameron Marlow tested the keeper from distance. Just before the interval Smith was on top form to tip a fantastic 25 yard free-kick by Connolly over the bar.  H/T Glens 1 Clydebank 0

Aaron Connolly

Aaron Connolly

Three minutes into the new half and the visitors were on level terms. Andy Paterson’s  cut back from the left wing missed its intended target but the ball rolled on into the path of on rushing Scott Walker who struck in sweetly beyond the reach of keeper Brian McGarrity.

Bankies with their tails erect again pressed with Strachan ghosting his way about the Loch Park time and again. Yet, on 66 minutes it was the Glens that created the biggest scare with another stunning Connolly free-kick and although it beat Smith this time the ball crashed off the under-side of the bar.

With 15 minutes to go the visitors took the lead when Marc Russell rose to bullet home a Strachan corner-kick. In the dying minutes the home side had a strong appeal for a penalty as Walker tangled with Connolly in the box, but the claims were waved away and Bankies took the points and the plaudits. F/T Glens 1 Bankies 2

Glenafton: McGarrity; McGeoghan, McChesney, Menzies, Cairns; Craig, Frye, McKernon, Marlow; Connolly and Kinney Subs Miller

Clydebank: Hamilton, Walker, Russell, McCann, Paterson; Gold, Martin Wilson, Strachan, Berry , McPherson subs

Posted in GAFC Match Report

Glenafton 3 Kilbirnie 2

West Region Premier Division : Match 8

Saturday 2nd November, Loch Park, New Cumnock

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 (2)

KILBIRNIE LADESIDE 2 (1)

A minute’s silence was held before kick-off in memory of Davie MacFarlane who passed away in the midweek. Time for many memories to flood back for those on the terracing who will forever remember the magical midfielder’s contribution to the great Glenafton sides of the 1990s and in particular the glorious season of 1992/93 when the Glens won the terrific treble of Scottish Junior Cup, Ayrshire League title and Ayrshire Cup.

For Davie

For Davie

Glenafton kicked off with the same starting eleven that overcame Lugar Boswell in the Scottish Junior Cup last week-end. Starting up front for Kilbirnie was John Paul Boyle and the former Glenafton striker was soon in the thick of the action as the visitors dominated the opening 15 minutes.

The Blasties had the ball in the net within a minute only for an offside flag to curtail the celebrations of Boyle’s headed goal from a corner kick.  Jamie McGeoghan and Ryan McChesney then combined in the six yard box to block Chris Strain’s shot at goal. Passages of delightful one touch passing saw the visitors continue to press and on 10 minutes Josh Mullin’s cut across the face of goal just missed Boyle and McGeoghan cleared at the expense of a corner kick – which came to nothing. Four minutes later Boyle conjured up a shot at goal from the edge of the box which had keeper Brian McGarrity at full stretch to push the ball round the post.

From the ensuing corner-kick Glenafton broke upfield and in some style with a string of telling passes that concluded with Alain Kinney’s shot at goal blocked by Joe Coleman before Aaron Connolly’s attempt to fire home the loose ball was forced out for a corner by Kevin McDonald. The chance may have gone but the game quickly swung the way of the home side and in dramatic fashion.

On 19 minutes Craig Menzies on the half-way line picked out Connolly who drove forward before finding Findlay Frye who then picked out Cameron Marlow on the left outskirts of the box. The midfielder took Mullin out of the game by rolling the ball into the box for the incoming Connolly who muscled off the challenge of Darren McLean before feeding the ball to Cameron Marlow to lash a left footer home from 12 yards out.

Cameron Marlow fires home the opener

Cameron Marlow fires home the opener

A minute later a McGeoghan cross from wide on the right was just out of Marlow’s reach as it whizzed past the far post.  Soon after Connolly, who doesn’t know the meaning of lost causes, hunted down McDonald and robbed him of the ball wide on the right touch line before breaking into the box and drilling a low angled shot that was pushed wide of the post by keeper Daniel McLeay.  Although McChesney rose unchallenged at the near post to meet Jamie McKernon’s corner-kick the ball sailed over his head and the keeper’s attempt to punch it clear with one hand ended up in the back of the net.

Celebrations as Glens double their lead

Celebrations as Glens double their lead

The home side went in for the kill and former Kilbirnie striker Kinney was unfortunate not to put the Glens further ahead in a torrid three minute spell. First McLeay punched a corner-click clear from the striker’s head and then pulled off a super reflex save from his attempt to bury a John Craig cross and finally his low drive from deep in the box whizzed past the post.

Back came the Blasties and McChesney had to be at his best to disarm the menacing Chris Craig in the box. McGarrity then got down low to save a Boyle shot from the edge of the box and minutes later the striker did well to evade McChesney in the box but his ball to back to the back post was beyond the reach of Chris Hamilton. Ten minutes before the break the former Afton lad had the ball in the net but again from an offside position.

However, on 39 minutes the flag stayed down when Chris Malone’s header from a corner kick was headed home at the back post by John Paul Boyle.

JP heads home

JP heads home

In the last serious action before the break McLeay had to be alert to push a Connolly cross from tight in the right flank round the post from which the Glens earned a couple of back-to-back corner kicks, but neither came to anything. H/T Glens 2 Kilbirnie 1

The visitors created the first chance after the break when Boyle’s cross forced McGeoghan to head clear for a corner from which Malone’s attempt at the back post was blocked by McKernon. On 52 minutes Marlow fed Connolly down the right who skipped past McDonald into the box and whipped the ball to the back post but despite a lung bursting run by live-wire Findlay Frye his effort went inches wide. Less than a minute later Kilbirnie drew level after Liam McGuiness slipped the ball to Hamilton in the left of the box and his cut back caught out the Glens defence and the incoming McGuinness guided the ball home.

Liam McGuinness squares the match

Liam McGuinness squares the match

Play flowed from end-to-end and on the hour mark Glenafton regained the lead.  Kinney won the ball in the box and as it fell to Frye he in turn found Cameron Marlow to drive the ball into the net from 8 yards out, despite McLeay getting a hand to it.

Cammy bags his brace

Cammy bags his brace

On 65 minutes Ladeside made a double substitution including Boyle coming off for Michael Moore and although JP received the usual reception reserved for former players by the home support, most were delighted to see the visitors danger man leave the field of play.

Glenafton enjoyed a good spell of pressure winning a series of corner-kicks each of which were repelled by the Blasties defence. At the other end a timely tackle by Alan Cairns blocked Craig’s path to goal and Moore’s header from a free kick sailed over the bar.

With 10 minutes to go Kinney barged his way into box and powered the ball for goal only for McLeay to pull off the save of the match and there was no further scoring,

Credit to both sides for serving up an entertaining game in such poor conditions.

F/T Glenafton 3 Kilbirnie 2

Final whistle celebrations from captain Zee

Final whistle celebrations from captain Zee

Glenafton:  McGarrity; McGeoghan, McChesney, Menzies, Cairns;  Craig, McKernon, Frye, Marlow; Connolly, Kinney. Subs Maltoni, Dimilta, Brown, McEwan

Kilbirnie: McLeay; Mullin, McDonald, Coleman, Malone; Strain, McGuiness, McLean, Hamilton; Boyle, Craig. Subs used Moore, McGeown and Barclay

More photos here

Posted in GAFC Match Report