Maybole 3 Glens 2

Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup 2nd round

Saturday 29th March  2014, Ladywell Stadium, Maybole



Robert Paterson put the home side ahead on 30 minutes and Jo Maxwell doubled Maybole’s lead on the hour mark. Three minutes later Darren McGill slotted home his first goal for Glenafton to halve the deficit.

Darren McGill scores his first goal for the club

Darren McGill scores his first goal for the club (Photo courtesy of J.B.Vass)

With 15 minutes to go substitute Aaron Connolly squared the tie with a powerful finish only for Paterson to restore Maybole’s lead a minute later with the pick of the goals.

Aaron Connolly levels the tie

Aaron Connolly levels the tie (Photo courtesy of J.B.Vass)

Maybole: Scott Johnstone,Craig Reid, Steven McKissock, Stephen Cargill , Stuart Peacock,Jo Maxwell, Alan Love, Scott Dinwoodie, Chris Allan, (Marc Dyer 67) Stuart McGrady,Robert Patterson. Unused substitutes: Andy Bargh, Dillon Dunn, Graeme Whittaker, Robert Forde.

Glenafton Athletic: Brian McGarrity, Craig McEwan, (Aaron Connolly 67) Alan Cairns, Ryan McChesney, Craig Menzies, Findlay Frye, Stevie Miller, (Alain Kinney 74] Jamie McKernon, Michael Reilly, Craig Brown, (Cameron Marlow 54) Darren McGill. Unused substitutes: Jamie McGeoghan, Robert McLatchie. G/k.

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Scottish Junior Cup Semi-Final draw

Loch Park

Loch Park

Scottish Junior Cup Semi-final draw

  • Camelon Juniors or Whitletts Victoria v Glenafton Athletic
  • Irvine Meadow or Bo’ness United v Hurlford United

Games played over two legs in the weekend of 12th / 13 th April and 19th / 20th April

  • Glenafton will be away from home in the 1st leg.
  • Teams will agree to play on the Saturday or Sunday

Saturday 29th March – Revised Draw

  • Camelon Juniors v Glenafton Athletic
  • Irvine Meadow v Hurlford United


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Who’s still in the hat?

aa_dressingroomThe draw for the Scottish Junior Cup semi-final will take place tomorrow, Thursday 27th March, at 6:30pm on th ‘Peter Martin and Alan Rough’ show on Central FM.

Glenafton Athletic and Hurlford United have already booked their place in the semi-final while at the week-end Irvine Meadow will face Bo’ness United and Camelon will host Whitletts Victoria in the two remaining quarter final ties.

  • The semi-final will be played over home/away legs in the week-ends of 12/13th April and 19/20th April

So how have Glens fared against these sides in Scottish Junior Football’s ‘Holy Grail ?

Bo’ness United

  • The two sides first met in 1977/78 and after a goal-less draw at Loch Park in 1st Round, the Glens triumphed 1-0 in the replay. It took a replay to decide the last meeting in 2003/04  when after a 1-1 at Newton Park, the Glens were victorious again following a 3-1 home win.


  • Glens and Camelon have met once before in the competition with the New Cumnock side winning 1-0 in the 3rd round at Loch Park in 1992/93 on their way to lifting the trophy at Firhill on that glorious day in May.

Hurlford United

  • The only meeting between the two sides was back in 1978/79 with Glens running out comfortable 4-0 winners at Loch Park.

Irvine Meadow

  • The first meeting between the two sides was in that fateful all Ayrshire final at Hampden in 1962/63 with the Glens going down 2-1 to the Meadow. The only other meeting took place in 2001/02 with Glens winning 2-0 in a 4th round tie at Loch Park.

Whitletts Victoria

  • The two sides have never met in the competition
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Glenafton 2 Cumnock 1

Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-final replay

Saturday 22nd March  2014, Loch Park, New Cumnock




Many that had made their way to Loch Park for the Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-final replay between local rivals Glenafton and Cumnock were still queuing to get into the ground when Cumnock took the lead with less than 5 minutes on the clock. As in the dying minutes of the game at Townhead last Saturday local hero Ryan McChesney’s luck deserted him. The young defender was badly winded prior to the visitors winning a corner-kick and had to leave the field of play and could only look on as Chris Robertson leaped head, shoulders and bit more of his anatomy above the Glens’ defence to head home at the back post.

Chris Robertson heads home

Chris Robertson heads home

Five minutes later Glenafton’s first chance came from a corner too, Cameron Marlow out-jumping three Cumnock defenders on the six yard line but his powerful header to flew over the bar.

The visitors looked livelier on the ball and on 15 minutes came close to doubling their lead after a free kick picked out Robert Love deep in the box, where he clipped the ball  beyond keeper Brian McGarrity only for Craig McEwan to clear off the line and then McChesney prevent Love having a second bite at the cherry. The big defender headed clear the resultant corner as well as Paul McInnes’s cut back from the bye-line moments later as ‘Nock continued to press.

Loch Park

Loch Park

Glens gradually came more into the game and midway through the half Alain Kinney broke into the left hand side of the box, however as he cut towards the corner of the six yard box to tee up his shot, the back tracking Robertson made a timely tackle and nothing came of the resultant corner-kick.

A determined run by Jamie McKernon saw him pick up the ball just inside the Glens’ half and drive down the right flank before giving Ray Montgomerie the slip and then attempt to whip the ball across the face of the goal only for the recovering Montgomerie to block it in the box with a raised hand. Former Cumnock striker Aaron Connolly stepped up to lash home the spot-kick, which may have ended back in Old Cumnock if not for the Loch Park net, to level the cup-tie on 32 minutes.

Aaron's spot on

Aaron’s spot on

Four minutes later Cumnock came close to regaining their lead with Love in the thick of it again. He turned well in a crowded box to engineer a snap shot a goal only for McGarrity at full stretch to pull off a great save and push the ball wide with both hands. From the corner-kick the keeper then blocked Love’s attempt to force the ball home from close range – a spell of play that left the travelling support with their hands on their hands and the home faithful with hearts in their mouths.

Brian pulls off a great save

Brian pulls off a great save

With 10 minutes of the half remaining McChesney transformed from Chessy to Messi as he picked up the ball deep in his own half and strolled up the right wing , effortlessly gliding past Cumnock players one after another as if there was a ruling which ‘did not allow them within a 30 metre radius of the player’. The run did come to an end at the edge of the box, fittingly by Robertson, only for the loose ball to fall to McKernon and his blast at goal well held by Muir.

On 40 minutes McChesney reverted to his defending role and tracked Love’s run into the Glens’ box before timing his tackle to perfection and allowing McGarrity to pick up the pieces and initiate another Afton attack which concluded with Muir pulling off another save from a McKernon shot. HT Glens 1 Cumnock 1

Glenafton brought on Michael Reilly for Jamie McGeoghan and soon after Cumnock’s John Johnson, who clearly hadn’t recovered from a first half injury, was replaced by Kieran Wood.

The visitors earned an early corner-kick but found McGarrity in a mean mood as he comfortably rose to clutch the ball cleanly at the near post.  Straight up the park and the ‘Nock defence stood firm to prevent Connolly weaving into a position to shoot for goal. On 48 minutes Findlay Frye chased down a Reilly header and punished Wood’s indecision in the box to steal the ball and from six yards out clipped it over the head of the diving Muir only for the ball to end a whisker past the post.

Findlay goes close

Findlay goes close

Cumnock countered with a free-kick from the edge of the box but Chris McKnight’s effort curled over the wall and bar and then later forced another corner-kick which Craig Menzies and McChesney combined to repel with ease.

On the hour mark an eventful Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-final (over both games) came to an untimely end for Ryan McChesney after his tackle on Montgomerie earned him a second yellow card. However, the home side rallied and Menzies, McEwan & Alan Cairns teamed up manfully to negate the loss of their fellow defender while McKernon and Frye began to completely boss the middle of the park.

Jamie McKernon brushes aside 'Nock

Jamie McKernon brushes aside ‘Nock

Up front Reilly was making his presence known and forced Cumnock to concede a corner-kick which Robertson cleared. On 68 minutes Marlow caught the Cumnock defence cold with a cute ball into the box for Kinney who drove to the corner six yard box but his cut-back for the incoming Marlow was cut out by Montgomerie and eventually cleared to safety.  A minute later a McKernon thunderbolt from 20 yards out whizzed past the airborne Muir at full stretch and inches wide of the post.

Stevie Miller came on for Alain Kinney to freshen up the 10 men as they continued to take the game to Cumnock. On 72 minutes Reilly touched the ball to Aaron Connolly who worked his way into the box with Wood tracking his diagonal run while Muir advanced from his goal line, a final touch created the angle and space for the Glens striker to slot home his 18th goal of the season ……

Aaron slots home the winner

Aaron slots home the winner

….. and spark off a glorious touchline celebration.

It's a Nock Out

It’s a Nock Out

Five minutes later Reilly and Marlow combined well down the right only for Robertson to come to the rescue with a well timed tackle and some excellent clearing up to rid the ball from the Cumnock box. At the other end McInnes tried to cut in from the left but Menzies never gave him an inch and the Glens skipper marshalled the ball out for a corner which sailed over Robertson’s head and safely into the grasp of McGarrity.

Derby Day with Ray and Findlay

Derby Day with Ray and Findlay

With seven minutes to go Glens introduced Darren McGill for Cameron Marlow as the Glens tried to close the game out, with Cumnock lacking in ideas. Two minutes later McInnes went down in the box following a challenge by McEwan, the referee unimpressed with the former Glens midfielder’s theatrics flashed a second yellow card and the visitors were reduced to 10 men.

Glenafton refused to sit back and Connolly muscled Wood off the ball to set up McGill and although his shot from 15 yards beat Muir the ball rolled wide of the post. In the last minute of regulation time Reilly jigged his way into the box before whipping the ball across the face of the goal only for James Lundie to head over his own bar. The home side in no hurry to take the corner but another four minutes would pass before the followers of Sweet Afton heard the sweet sound of the final whistle. FT Glens 2 Cumnock 1

One step at a time Tommy

One step at a time Tommy

Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity, McEwan, McChesney, Menzies, Cairns; McGeoghan (Reilly), McKernon, Frye, Marlow (McGill); Connolly, Kinney (Miller)

Cumnock Juniors: Muir, Lundie, Mcknight, Robertson, Brown (Hanvey), Montgomerie,Johnston (Wood) , Williamson (Bradford), Maguire,  Love,  McInnes.

More photos here

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Junior Cup Replay arrangements

Cumnock v Glenafton

Cumnock v Glenafton

Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-final replay

Loch Park, New Cumnock

Saturday 22nd March , KO 2:30pm

Glenafton Athletic committee has decided that the following arrangements will be put in place for Saturday’s replay

  • A random body search will be carried out by official stewards on persons entering the ground. Any person bringing/attempting to bring smoke bombs, flares or similar object or alcohol into the ground will be refused entry or ejected from the ground.
  • Away supporters will occupy the north side of the ground, access to toilet and refreshment facilities by way of path behind clubhouse end goals will be permitted until ten minutes before the end of match. Away supporters will leave the ground by the north-east corner.
  • The raised area in front of the Hunter Pavilion will be out of bounds to all but club/sjfa officials, match sponsors and disabled supporters/carers.
  • At the end of the match and if penalty kicks are required no person will be allowed inside the boundary of the wall
  • Any person not complying with these arrangements will be liable to any punishment deemed appropriate by club committee.

Congratulations to both sides on making the Quarter-Final of Scottish Junior Football. It’s only the third time that the old rivals hav faced each other in the competition.

So please come along to cheer your team on and ENJOY the MATCH.


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Cumnock 2 Glenafton 2

Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-final

Saturday 15th March  2014, Townhead Park, Cumnock




The home side enjoyed much of the early pressure without seriously testing Brian McGarrity in the Glens’ goal. On 8 minutes a quickly taken throw from the right picked out John Johnston’s run into the box but his first time volley went wide of target. Five minutes later Ryan McChesney headed clear a Cumnock corner-kick and soon after McGarrity comfortably clutched a ball under his bar as Chris Robertson challenged.

Glenafton gradually worked their way into the game with Aaron Connolly’s movement causing concern in the home defence.  On 25 minutes a cross field ball from Jamie McGeoghan on the right flank picked out Findlay Frye deep in the left hand side of the box, where he quickly skinned Gavin Brown and then outfoxed James Lundie before cutting the ball back across the box for the incoming McGeoghan only for his shot to sail well over the bar.

Townhead line out

Townhead line out

Two minutes later Cumnock were reduced to ten men when Steven Crawford was shown a straight red after a rash tackle that saw him win the ball with one foot and pole-axe Craig McEwan with the other. Soon after Brown was fortunate not to follow his team-mate following what looked a blatant kick at McChesney, a yellow card sufficing on this occasion.

Glens made the breakthrough on 37 minutes following Ray Montgomerie’s foul on Cameron Marlow wide on the left. Jamie McKernon whipped the free-kick into the box and a glancing header by Ryan McChesney from 15 yards out  beat keeper Willie Muir at full stretch and the ball nestled in the far corner of the net..

Chessy celebrates the opener

Local Hero Chessy celebrates the opener

Clear cut chances remained thin on the ground and Glenafton went in at the break a goal to the good. H/T Cumnock 0 Glens 1

The new half began brightly with end to end play resulting in chances for both sides.  On 47 minutes a Glens’ corner was only partially cleared and the ball played back into the box and although McKernon met it sweetly his volley was well held by Muir.  Cumnock forced a couple of corners of their own, one of which  ended with a Steven McGuire header back across the face of goal sneaking inches wide of McGarrity’s far post.

On 51 minutes the visitors let slip the chance to double their lead. Frye picked up a headed clearance and shrugged off former Glens player Paul McInnes before feeding Alain Kinney in the box who squared the ball across the six yard line where a combination of Frye and Connolly tried to force the ball beyond the reach of the grounded Muir but the keeper made a fine block and then another to foil Marlow.

Glens go close

Glens go close

Back up the park and a Cumnock free kick from the corner of the box saw McGarrity in the right place to gather MacGuire’s close range header. Glens replied on the hour mark with a clever ball from Kinney that released Marlow for a run in on goal only for the irrepressible Robertson to recover the situation with a well timed tackle in the box and although McChesney won the header from the resultant corner it too was cleared by the ‘Nock defence. Two minutes later Marlow was the Glens architect again his run taking him all the way to the six yard box only for Muir’s shins to block his shot at goal and although fighter Frye won the race for the loose ball it cannoned off the keeper high into the air, then off the bar and Montgomery kept his cool to clear the ball off the line.

Glens go close again

Glens go close again

Instead of being two ahead the visitors found themselves pegged back as Cumnock broke upfield and won another free kick at the right hand corner of the box. Mongtomerie’s free kick found its target and Chris Robertson powered home a header to square the cup-tie with 62 minutes gone.

Chris Robertson heads home equaliser

Chris Robertson heads home equaliser

Both sides introduced fresh legs and with 15 minutes to go Stevie Miller, on for Marlow, engineered a shot at goal from the corner of the six yard box from which Muir pulled off a fine save to parry the ball on to the post, before any notice of an offside flag had been taken. Five minutes later Kinney sandwiched between Brown and Johnston on the six yard line powered a header goal-ward only for Muir to clutch safely.

McGarrity matched his counter-part with another goal-line save from another header by Robertson from another Cumnock free-kick.  Glens quickly broke down the right flank and substitute Michael Reilly’s cut back into the box was partially cleared by Lundie and the ball gathered for Frye , his shot from the 18 yard line was blocked by Colin Williamson, with Glens appeal for hand-ball waved away.

Michael Reilly puts the Glens ahead

Michael Reilly puts the Glens ahead

On 83 minutes Glenafton regained the lead after Alan Cairns and Miller combined well down the left before the latter’s cross picked out McGeoghan in the six yard box and although Muir parried the resultant header Michael Reilly was first to react to force the ball home from two yards out and score his first goal for the club.

Cumnock regrouped and substitute John Bradford made good progress down the right flank only for McEwan to bring the run to the end in the box with a fine tackle, the grounded Cumnock striker’s appeal for a penalty waved away. At the other end substitute and former Cumnock midfielder Darren McGill’s effort from the edge of the box beat Muir before sailing over the keeper’s cross bar.

The home side won a corner kick two minutes into time added on and their last hopes of an equaliser appeared to have vanished as the ball was fired well beyond the back post. However as McChesney with Robertson all over his back raced to where they both expected the ball to land it struck the Glens defender’s arm and a spot-kick was awarded. The referee’s interpretation of a deliberate hand-ball under such circumstances left the visiting side bemused and the home side hopeful of a late late reprieve.

Chris Robertson sinks the spot kick

Chris Robertson sinks the spot kick

On 93 minutes Chris Robertson stepped up and slotted the ball home despite McGarrity’s gallant attempt to prevent the replay. FT Cumnock 2 Glens 2

 Cumnock Juniors: Muir; Brown, Crawford, Robertson, Lundie; Montgomerie, Johnston, Williamson, McInnes, Maguire & Love. McInnes. Subs. McKnight,Bradford, Wood,  Hanvey,  Kinnaird.

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

More photos here

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Largs 3 Glenafton 0

West Region Stagecoach Premier Division : Match 15

Saturday 8th March  2014, Barrfield Park, Largs



The Glens suffered their heaviest league defeat of the season after going down 3-0 at Largs Thistle. Graham Muir opened the scoring in 7 minutes slotting home from close range after a determined run down the right flank and a deadly cut back from the dead ball-line by Willie McLure. The visitors did create a number of chances but struggled to severely test keeper Grant Weir while the home side always looked dangerous as the stroked the ball about the Barrfields surface.

Largs doubled their lead three minutes into the new half with McLure the architect once again.  Breaking into the Glens half he played the ball back to Glen Thomson who completed a slick one-two with a deft chip over the visitors’ defence for McLure to gather and cut-back from the bye-line only for Euan Lindsay’s pop at goal to crash off the near post and the ball then fall kindly for Dylan McLaughlin to take a touch and pick his spot at the back post.

Just beyond the hour mark Lindsay burst through the Glens half unchallenged and fed Nicky Little wide right on the box who slotted the ball between Alan Cairns and keeper Brian McGarrity from the narrowest of angles.

A clash between Michael Reilly and Euan Lindsay ended with both players receiving their matching orders along with Barri Stanton who rushed from the dug-out to join the melee that ensued.

Largs Thistle: Weir, Thomson, Fisher, Walton, Gilbride, Muir, N. Little, Struthers, McLure (Keogh), Lindsay, D. McLaughlin (B. McLaughlin) subs: Stanton, C. Little, McWilliams (GK)

Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity, McEwan, McChesney (Brown), Menzies, Cairns; Reilly, Frye, McKernon. Marlow (Miller); Connolly & Kinney (McGill). Subs: McGeoghan

Video Highlights Courtesy of Largs Thistle here

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Glenafton 0 Auchinleck 1

West Region Stagecoach Premier Division : Match 14

Saturday 1st March  2014, Loch Park, New Cumnock



Glenafton began with the same starting eleven that knocked Shotts Bon Accord out the Scottish Junior Cup in a pulsating match at Loch Park last Saturday for the visit of league leaders Auchinleck Talbot. 

The home side made a nervy start and in the opening minutes keeper Brian McGarrity had to deal with a pass back hit with some pace and then rush to the edge of the box to deny Keir Milliken a sniff at goal.  With less than three minutes of the game gone the Talbot striker was heading back to the pavilion after a reckless challenge on Craig Menzies, catching the Glen’s captain with a high flying boot as he tried to head the ball back upfield.

Those coming late into Loch Park would have been hard pushed to recognise the Glens had a man advantage as the 10 men of Talbot knuckled down and were quick to hustle their opponents off the ball.  The visitors were creating the few openings of any note, Gormley and Colin Spence combining well, but without testing the keeper.

On 20 minutes Glens broke down the right flank with Aaron Connolly getting the better of Ally Park before cutting the ball into the box for Cameron Marlow only for Martin McGoldrick to cut out the danger at the corner of the six yard box.  Andy Leishman then rushed from his line to beat Marlow to a ball into the box and soon after the Glens midfielder’s good work down the left ended with Craig Pettigrew cutting out his cross at the near post.

Just as Glenafton had started to show their teeth back came Auchinleck to bite them on the ‘bot.  Gormley engineered his way into the box and with his way to goal blocked by a host of red shirts he touched the ball to James Latta, seemingly placing his team-mate in the same predicament.  A tangle of legs followed ending with Latta on the ground, Jamie McGeoghan penalised and a spot-kick awarded which was leathered home by David Gormley with 27 minutes gone.

David Gormley scores from the spot

David Gormley scores from the spot

Glenafton rallied and a neat one two by Kinney and Marlow by-passed Pettigrew only for Willie Lyle with a timely tackle rob Marlow in the box. Soon after, ten minutes from the break,  Marlow skipped past John White and drove into the box before drilling a low shot from 8 yards out which although went through Leishman’s legs, the ball’s pace had been killed giving the big keeper time to swivel and smother the ball.

No luck for Cammy

No luck for Cammy

Five minutes later the home side won a free kick short of 30 yards from goal and although Connolly’s effort beat the Talbot wall the ball sailed over the bar. At the other end Gormley’s shot from open play at the corner of the penalty box suffered the same fate. The half ended with Talbot on the front foot but following a short game of head tennis in the Glens box, the defence cleared their lines. HT Glens 0 Auchinleck 1

The Glens were first to press and although their play earned a number of set pieces they struggled to convert these into any serious efforts on target; a malaise endured equally by their opponents.

Indeed, it was defender Craig Pettigrew that had the travelling support cooing as he gathered the ball deep in his own half and plundered his way upfield, brushing red shirts aside one by one to arrive at edge of the Glens’ box but the final pass failed to find a Talbot forward and McGarrity mopped it up.  The keeper later comfortably clutched a Spence shot from the edge of the box.

Aaron loses out to Andy

Aaron loses out to Andy

At the other end, a Craig McEwan cross into the box was miscued by Latta and flew over Leishman’s head and the bar but again the resultant corner-kick came to nothing.  A high ball into the box saw Connolly get the jump on McGoldrick and Pettigrew but the alert Leishman was already well placed to collect the ball comfortably.

Talbot responded with a slick passing move that ended with Gormley feeding McGoldrick wide on the right and although the latter’s cross was blocked, the former’s run into the box was impeded by Frye, earning Talbot a free kick 20 yards outs. Although Gormley’s effort beat the ball it lacked any power to concern McGarrity.

Brian ready for Davie's free kick

Brian ready for Davie’s free kick

Leishman was back in action having to desert his box to close down Connolly on the right flank. With 10 minutes to go Connolly made good progress down the other flank leaving Pettigrew in his wake but he couldn’t shake off man-of-the-match McGoldrick and the Glens man subsequent tumble in the box was adjudged to be a dive, earning him a yellow-card – one of five flashed to the home team during the second half.

At the other end, a cross from the right from the unusually quiet Bryan Young was only partially cleared by Ryan McChesney as Latta waited to pounce and the loose ball then punched out by McGarrity as substitute Graham Wilson threatened. McGarrity mopped up the corner-kick unchallenged at the back post.

Michael outdone by Andy

Michael outdone by Andy

Straight up the park and the tireless Connolly slipped a neat ball for Reilly to get behind the Talbot defence but yet again Leishman’s positional play was exemplary as he rushed to bravely dive at the feet of his former team-mate and push the ball to safety. FT Glens 0 Auchinleck 1

Glenafton: McGarrity; McEwan, McChesney, Menzies, McGeoghan; Reilly, McKernon, Frye, Marlow (Brown); Connolly & Kinney (McGill). Subs : Hart (gk). Cairns

Auchinleck: Leishman; Lyle, Pettigrew, McGoldrick, Park; Young, Spence, White, Latta; Milliken & Gormley (Wilson)

More photos here

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John moves on

GlenaftonSquad_JohnCraigBy mutual agreement midfielder John Craig has left the club. John made 20 appearances since making the move to Loch Park in the close season.

All at Glenafton Athletic would like to thank John and wish him all the best in the future.

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Glenafton 3 Shotts 2

Scottish Junior Cup 5th round

Saturday 22nd February, Loch Park, New Cumnock



Aaron Connolly scores what proves to be the winner.

Aaron Connolly scores what proves to be the winner.

The Glens marched into the Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-finals after a 3-2 win over a slick Shotts side in a pulsating encounter at Loch Park. All the goals came in the opening half with the lead changing back and forth. Both sides deserve great credit for serving up an excellent cup tie.

Glenafton got off to a dream start with Michael Reilly earning two corners in quick succession. Chris Walker headed the first of Findlay Frye’s kicks clear but his second fell at the feet of Ryan McChesney , who took a touch with his left before hooking it with his right through a ruck of defenders in the six yard box and sweetly into the net.

Ryan McChesney opens the scoring

Ryan McChesney opens the scoring

A minute later Aaron Connolly evaded Bryan Wharton to engineer a lob from the left corner of the penalty box to send Gary Whyte scurrying back to his line and watch the ball skim inches wide of the post.

Shotts soon found their feet, stroking the ball about with some style and Gary McStay served noticed when his drive cracked off the base of the post. On 15 minutes the visitors were back on level terms.  Steven Canning threaded a ball into the box and as a line of Glens defenders stood motionless with arms aloft claiming offside Jack Marriot continued his run undaunted and forced a brave save from the outrushing Brian McGarrity but the keeper could do nothing to prevent the alert Sean McKenna from keeping his nerve and placing the ball into the far corner of the net – memories of his four goals for Bellshill in a Scottish Junior Cup tie three season ago now engulfing Loch Park.

Sean McKenna equalises

Sean McKenna equalises

Glens responded with a corner kick and a shot from the edge of the box both of which Whyte clutched cleanly.

Mid-way through the half McKenna released Tom Hanlon in acres of space in the right hand side of the box but the midfielder skewed his effort well wide of target. On 33 minutes McKenna menaced his way past two defenders into the right hand corner of the six yard box and with McGarrity guarding his near post tried to guide the ball in at the other, only for it to roll inches wide of the post and the sole of the boot of the incoming Andy Cross.

Four minutes later McKenna left white shirts in his wake as he weaved his way into the box but his finish failed to match the quality of the build up and his shot from a narrow angle found the side netting.  A minute later the striker was deep in the box again and with Craig Menzies blocking his way to goal he delicately chipped the ball into the six yard box for Andy Cross to glance a header beyond the reach of McGarrity.

Andy Cross puts Shotts ahead

Andy Cross puts Shotts ahead

The home side surrendered possession from the kick-off and McKenna, back in the box, forced a decent save from the Glens goalie.

Shell-shocked Glens were unfortunate not to equalise on 42 minutes when Connolly left Walker in his wake and blasted into the box to clip the ball beyond Whyte only for the back tracking Wharton to clear the ball off the line at the expense of a corner-kick. This was only partially cleared and a Connolly cross from the right saw Cameron Marlow nick between Marriot and Whyte to rise and guide his header into the net.

Cammy Marlow heads home the equaliser

Cammy Marlow heads home the equaliser

In time added on Glenafton won a free kick on outskirts of the right hand corner of the penalty box. The expected pop at goal did not materialise and Connolly squared the ball for Alain Kinney to shoot only for the referee call play back for early movement In the Shotts wall.

Aaron Connolly's free kick  finds the net

Aaron Connolly’s free kick finds the net

Once bitten, twice shy and Aaron Connolly curled a beauty which took a slight deflection before crashing into the net at Whyte’s near post.  HT Glens 3 Shotts 2

Glens replaced Michael Reilly with Alan Cairns who slotted in at left back with Jamie McGeoghan switching to the right and Craig McEwan in right midfield. The reshuffle was soon put to the test as Shotts came out with all guns firing and controlled the match for long periods with only glimpses of the Glens as an attacking force.

McGarrity was quickly in the thick of it and on 48 minutes got down well to grab the ball as Cross threatened in the six yard box.  The pressure began to mount and McChesney and Menzies marshalled the defence to repel attack after attack. Just before the hour mark a couple of corners were cleared off the line. The first saw Cairns and McGarrity double-team to prevent McStay’s effort and then McEwan blocked Cross’s near post header.

Gary McStay foiled by Brian McGarrity and Alan Cairns

Gary McStay foiled by Brian McGarrity and Alan Cairns

Some respite for the home side after Kinney picked out Frye only for his run into the box to be ended by substitute Paul Burns. Back came Shotts and a free-kick into the box was won by the head of Walker and as McGarrity dived bravely at the feet of McStay to gather the ball he took a knock on the face that required a few minutes treatment.

Brian Mcgarrity saves from Gary McStay

Brian Mcgarrity saves from Gary McStay

With 15 minutes to go the Glens twice almost caught Shotts in the break. McGeoghan released Connolly wide on the right and his run from the half way light saw him skip past Burns before Cross forced him wide in the penalty box and his low drilled angled shot was well save by Whyte. A minute later Frye sent Connolly flying down the right flank and on this occasion the Glens’ striker had a free run into the box but again Whyte came out on top as he rushed from his line to narrow the angle and block the shot with his shins.

Back came Shotts and substitute Clark Rankin’s delicate flick in the box picked out fellow sub Jordan White in space but with only the keeper to beat he miscued his effort well wide of target. Soon after it was Rankin that had the Glens’ goal in sight only for Menzies to quickly close in and deflect this effort inches wide for a corner, which too was bundled clear at the same near post.

Glenafton's defence stands firm

Glenafton’s defence stands firm

With five minutes to go Glens almost stunned Shotts with a sucker punch. Marlow outwitted two defenders at the edge of the box before lashing an angled shot that was pushed away by Whyte at full stretch, Connolly gathered the loose ball and fed it back into the danger area where Frye fired for goal but Whyte again came to the rescue and smothered the ball safely.

In the dying minutes Glens introduced midweek signing Darren McGill for Alain Kinney as they tried to see out the game. Shotts found a final wind and yet they could not break down a determined home rear guard.  A great run down the left by Cross was ended with a gritty tackle by McEwan at the expense of a corner, which uncharacteristically was fired into the side netting. On 95 minutes a Shotts throw in from the right, deep into the box, was headed clear by Cairns and mopped up by McChesney prior to the arms being raised aloft to welcome the final whistle. FT Glens 3 Shotts 2

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

Shotts Bon Accord: Whyte; Finnigan (Rankin); Walker, Wharton (Burns), Summers; Hanlon, J.Marriot, Canning, Cross; McKenna & McStay (White)

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