Saturday 3rd August, Islecroft Stadium, Dalbeattie
DALBEATTIE STAR 3 (1)
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (1)
With Craig McEwan, Craig Potter, Richie McKillen, Danny Mitchell and Paul McKenzie all unavailable for selection and new signing Stevie Miller injured Glenafton travelled to Dalbeattie with a threadbare squad which included Ryan McChesney , returning from holiday, and three trialists that had featured in pre-season matches.
There were two familiar faces in Dalbeattie Star’s starting eleven with former Glens players Jack Steele, who joined in the close-season, and Lewis Sloan.
On a glorious day it was the silky Sloan that carved out the first chance in 5 minutes but his angled drive from the edge of the box just failed to hit the target. The game quickly settled into a period of keenly contested end-to-end play albeit short in real chances. Midway through the half the visitors took the upper hand and on 25 minutes keeper Euan Drysdale managed to take the heat of a Gareth Armstrong’s header and a defender was on hand to clear the ball of the line.
Glens continued to press and Armstrong’s attempt to knock in the resultant corner kick at the near post was blocked at the expense of another corner. This too caused havoc in the Star box and ended with Trialist 1’s shot being blocked by two raised hands of a defender and a penalty awarded to the visitors. However Drysdale stood his ground and did well to stop Armstrong’s spot kick and keep the match all square.
Undaunted, the Glens made the breakthrough on 32 minutes when Findlay Frye flying down the right flank skinned two defenders before picking out Ross Robertson in the box, who expertly turned another defender in the box before drilling the ball with pin-point precision beyond Drysdale and into the corner of the net.
Four minutes later and the Star drew level when Lewis Sloan capitalised on some slack defending in the box and slotted the ball past the advancing Brian McGarrity.
With their tails the hosts pushed forward and a last ditch tackle deep in the box by Craig Menzies brought a mazy run by Sloan to an end.Back came Glenafton and all but the last kick of the half Drysdale pulled off a fine save from a close range Robertson effort. H/T Dalbeattie 1 Glenafton 1
Glenafton U19 keeper Ryan Dunsmuir replaced Brian McGarrity, who had limped off a the break, and on 52 minutes he rose above attack and defence to clutch the ball cleanly as the hosts looked to gain the initiative. At the other end his counterpart responded by firmly holding a Robertson’s free-kick and then warding off an aerial attack from Armstrong.
Just after the hour mark Dunsmuir pulled off the save of the match with an outstretched preventing a certain goal but on 70 minutes there was little he could do when Danny Dunglison drove through the middle of the park before unleashing a thunderbolt that started off as straight as a die before swerving viciously into the corner of the net.
Gareth Armstrong made way for Glenafton U19 striker Ryan Campbell but it was the fresh legs of the hosts that were taking their toll on the visitors as they stretched the game from flank to flank.
However Star’s third and final goal came with a ball through the middle that was gathered by Lewis Sloan and his pace saw him shake of the Glens defence and calmly slot the ball home to finish off a fine performance. F/T Dalbeattie 3 Glenafton 1
Glenafton: McGarrity (Dunsmuir); Menzies, McChesney, G.Mitchell, Trialist; Trialist, Craig, Frye, Trialist; Armstrong (Campbell), Robertson.
More phot0s here